Al-Isra’ Wal Miraj, Time & Science

What is Theory of Relativity?

Einstein proved that Matter, Energy, Space and Time are interlinked by a special relation.He stated that the position of a body influences time. According to Einstein’s theory of relativity, time slows down under the effect of gravity. Accordingly, the passengers on a plane flying somewhere with lower gravity will age by a few extra nanoseconds on every trip. Stephen Hawking and many other scientists supported the theory of relativity of time.

Einstein and Hawking’s theory that time passes more slowly near centers of gravity has been proved by experiments conducted by American scientists. A rocket at high altitude and two separate sites with different gravitational fields were selected for the first experiment. Two very sensitive atomic clocks, capable of measuring atomic vibrations were installed in these two locations, which had different gravitational fields because of their different altitudes, and the relative nature of time was confirmed. The scope of the experiment has today been increased and relativity has been observed in daily life. Two atomic clocks hundreds of times more sensitive than the original ones were used for this experiment. But it was not the two sensitive atomic clocks that distinguished this experiment from the earlier one. The difference in elevation between the two clocks was a mere 33 cm.

According to the results of the experiment, published in the American magazine Science on 24 September, being 33 cm higher, in other words two steps higher, causes time to pass faster because pressure is slightly reduced, and someone standing above these two steps ages slightly faster. However, since Almighty Allah has not created this phenomenon in such a way as to eliminate the need for free will, the difference is only one 90 billionth of a second in a life span of 97 years, and is therefore imperceptible to anyone.

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THE TWIN PARADOX

Einstein came up with an example to show the effects of time dilation that he called the “twin paradox.” 

Let’s try it out with a pair of pretend twins, Al and Bert, both of whom are 10 years old in their highly futuristic universe.

Al’s parents decide to send him to summer camp in the Alpha-3 star system, which is 25 light-years away (a light-year is the distance light travels in a year). Bert doesn’t want to go and stays home on Earth. So Al sets out on his own. Wanting him to get there as quickly as possible, his parents pay extra and send him at 99.99 percent the speed of light.

The trip to the star and back takes 50 years. What happens when Al returns? His twin brother is now 60 years old, but Al is only 10 and a half. How can this be? Al was away for 50 years but only aged by half a year. Has Al just discovered the fountain of youth?

Not at all. Al’s trip into space lasted only a half year for him, but on Earth 50 years passed. Does this mean that Al can live forever? Nope. He may have aged by only half a year in the time it took 50 years to pass on Earth, but he also only lived half a year. And since time can slow down but never goes backwards, there’s no way he could grow younger.

The renowned physicist Stephen Hawking describes this using the example of twins:

“Consider a pair of twins. Suppose that one twin goes to live on top of a mountain while the other stays at sea level. The first twin would age faster than the second. Thus, if they met again, one would be older than the other.” ► [Stephen Hawking, A Brief History of Time, p.54]

RELATIVITY OF TIME CONFIRMED IN THE QUR’AN

The conclusion from these scientific findings summarized very briefly here is that the fact that time is a perception has been confirmed. This fact was also revealed hundreds of years ago in the Qur’an. The relevant verses read:

“And they ask you to and Allah shall never fail in His promise, and undoubtedly, there is with your Lord such aday like a thousand years in your reckoning.  ► [Surat al-Hajj Chapter 22 : Verse 47]

He plans and executes (the Command and Control System) from the heavens to the earth. Then His Command ascends (and will ascend to completion) towards Him in one Day which measures one thousand years according to (the number) that you count.  ► [Surat as-Sajda Chapter 32 :Verse 5]

The angels and ar-Ruh al-Amin (the Spirit) rise towards His (Throne) in a day which measures fifty thousand years (according to the worldly scale). ► [Surat al-Ma’arij Chapter 70 : Verse 4]

The scientific experiments in question prove that we can never know how or even if time passes. That, in turn, shows that time has no absolute reality, that it is simply a perception. This fact, corroborated by modern science, that time is simply a psychological perception and that it can be perceived differently depending on events, location and prevailing conditions, is revealed thus in the Qur’an:

“On the Day He calls you, you will respond by praising Him and think that you have only tarried a very short time.”  ► [Surat al-Isra’ Chapter 17 : Verse 52]

AL-ISRA WAL MIRAJ AND THE TIME FACTOR 

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Almighty Allah states in the Qur’an:

Holy (free of any imperfection, weakness and insufficiency) is He Who took His (most beloved and intimate) Servant in a small portion of a night from the Sacred Mosque to the al-Aqsa Mosque, whose surroundings We have blessed, in order that We might show him (the Perfect Servant) Our Signs. Surely He is the One Who is All-Hearing, All-Seeing.  ► [Surah Al-Isra Chapter 17 : Verse 1]

As such, there is scholarly consensus (ijma) Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu Alaihi wasallam) journeyed in body and soul the night of al-Isra’ from Masjid al-Haram in Makkah to Masjid al-Aqsa in Jerusalem.

According to Special Theory of Relativity– if a body travels with the velocity of light then Time Dilation and Relativity of Simultaneously occurs. Time dilation is an actual difference of elapsed time between two events as measured by observers either moving relative to each other or differently situated from gravitational masses.

Holy Prophet Muhammad (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) was riding on the Buraq, and the speed (velocity) of the Buraq was similar or more than the speed (velocity) of light. Therefore, now we can easily understand that Time Dilation occurred during the Event of Miraj:

Then a white animal which was smaller than a mule and bigger than a donkey was brought to me … The animal’s step (was so wide that it) reached the farthest point within the reach of the animal’s sight. [Sahih Bukhari]

Therefore, time seemed to stop or a very short duration of time passed as mentioned in the Qur’an.

Further Reading: The Qur’anic Philosophy on the Mystery of Time

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