Fatwa: # 43350
Category: Beliefs and Practices (Aq...
Country:
Date: 7th October 2019

Title

Answer to objection No.1 on: Fact or fiction: Analysing the idea of the universe being created in 6 days.

Question

Hello I previously asked you to explain verse 50:38: وَلَقَدْ خَلَقْنَا ٱلسَّمَٰوَٰتِ وَٱلْأَرْضَ وَمَا بَيْنَهُمَا فِى سِتَّةِ أَيَّامٍ وَمَا مَسَّنَا مِن لُّغُوبٍ (We created the heavens and the earth and all between them in Six Days, nor did any sense of weariness touch Us.) You replied that ‘days’ in this context isn’t referring to literally 24 hours but rather (and I quote) Rather, the correct interpretation of the word Ayyaam is “long periods” or “ages” If merely a long period of time is being spoken of, than what does it mean to say there’s six of such units ? If i was to ask you ‘what’s the distance between New York and London’ and you said 6 I’d reply ‘6 what? Centimetres, miles, kilometres?’. You need to give me a precise unit- and there must be a unit you had in mind because you’re saying there’s 6 of such units that describe the distance. It wouldn’t make any sense to say ‘The distance between New York and London is 6 arbitrary measure of distance’. Semantically this makes no sense- whereas ‘The distance between New York and London is very great’ is a more reasonable thing to say. So by saying ‘We created the heavens and the earth and all between them in Six Days’ a very definite time period is being spoken of- six, but of what? Not 4 or 7 or 1000 but 6. Thank you Thank you

Answer

In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

As-salāmu ‘alaykum wa-rahmatullāhi wa-barakātuh.

Brother Ronald,

We appreciate that you reverted to us on the issue.

Your initial query was about the universe being created in 6 days as opposed to scientific estimated duration of the creation which states that the creation took millions of years to form right after the big bang.

You saw a contradiction between both ideas. It seemed impossible for you to reconcile a short span of 6 days with millions of days.

In our response, we endeavoured to remove that misconception. We have pointed out that your perception of the ayah referring to 6 literal earth days- 144 hours, is not correct. We have clearly used words such as “Epoch”, “Long Periods”, “six different periods of time” while explaining the word “Yaum”.[1][2] If you view 6 days in the verse as “6 stages\phases\epochs\periods” instead of “6 long time period”, you will understand.

Brother we respectfully state that we have answered your query in our previous answer- 43304. The respective verse does not leave us with 6 unknown units, rather what is meant by days has been discussed in detail in our previous response. However, it now seems that you have started to question why 6 days is used to express a long period of time. Your query seems to have changed from the period being short to why 6 specific days. If Quran were to state 7 days, wouldn’t then you have had the same objection? Why 7? The same objection would rise for any specific number.

The issue is simple and straight forward, Allah wanted to create the universe in 6 days and so He did. Allah does what He wills, and Allah is not bound to follow any set of rules and regulations.

Brother, the reference to units is a relative issue. Surely 6 American dollars are not equal to to 6 Zimbabwean dollars. If a Zimbabwean is told by an American that he will be given 6 dollars, it is less likely to be Zimbabwean dollars. Similarly, six steps of a baby are never equal to 6 steps of an adult. Six steps of an ant are not equal to six steps of an elephant. When Allah refers to 6 days, we should understand that in the context of Allah’s power and might, not in a finite or a comparative way. Allah Ta’ala is above time. He says:

اِنَّمَاۤ اَمۡرُهُ اِذَاۤ اَرَادَ شَیْـئًـا اَنۡ يَّقُوۡلَ لَهُ كُنۡ فَيَكُوۡنُ

Translation: (36:82) Whenever He wills a thing, He just commands it “Be” and it is.

When Allah says that He created the universe in 6 days, it refers to 6 stages with each having a time period according to His absolute and infinite might.  It is not just any long period of time or distance as is the distance between London and New York. While the distance between both these cities is great in terms of physical length, it is not so in electronic distance. It may take 10 hours to fly from London to New York, whereas an electronic message reaches the other city in split seconds. It makes no sense to calculate one unit of measure using another unit of measure. How can we use the measure of the Creation to understand the measure of the Creator who in every sense is absolute and infinite?

Moreover, Allah has revealed the Quran for the whole of mankind. As much as an academic should be able to benefit from the gems of the Quran, a Bedouin should also be able to understand the Quran according to his own level of understanding. A Bedouin should be able to believe in the Quran and reflect about the greatness of Allah Ta’ala just as a learned Scholar has the right of doing so.

Brother, it is obvious that 1441 years ago it would have been easier for a person to understand simple plain words of “6 days” rather than to understand technical terms such as “phases that are equivalent to billion of years, each phase with a different time frame”. Hence, Allah wisely used the most appropriate word that could be applied to every time and age. The main objective however was to display power of Allah to His creation that He is the Creator of the world, the whole creation has come into being due to His command which was in contrary to the primitive belief of the philosophers that the universe is Qadeem (Eternal). Allah having said that He created the universe was enough to reject the idea of the philosophers. Yet, Allah further emphasizing on the matter gave the universe an age stating that it was created in 6 days. Negating the idea of the universe being eternal is an abstract concept. Giving it a number makes it more concrete leaving no room for any doubt. This only shows the brilliance of the Quran. More so, when scientific discoveries are also in accordance to the same Quranic verse as explained in our previous answer. Brother, The Quran stands firm for every generation. No matter what intellectual status a person holds, a sincere look at the Quran will surely appeal to his instincts. We pray that Allah opens your heart to the truth. Aameen.

And Allah Ta’āla Knows Best

Naved Akhtar Ibn Shabbir.

Student - Darul Iftaa

Shillong, India.

Checked and Approved by,

Mufti Ebrahim Desai.

______

 



[1] تفسير البيضاوي = أنوار التنزيل وأسرار التأويل (3/ 15) 

إِنَّ رَبَّكُمُ اللَّهُ الَّذِي خَلَقَ السَّماواتِ وَالْأَرْضَ فِي سِتَّةِ أَيَّامٍ أي في ستة أوقات كقوله: وَمَنْ يُوَلِّهِمْ يَوْمَئِذٍ دُبُرَهُ أو في مقدار ستة أيام، فإن المتعارف باليوم زمان طلوع الشمس إلى غروبها ولم يكن حينئذ،

 

[2] التفسير الوسيط - مجمع البحوث (4/ 48)

{فِي سِتَّةِ أَيَّامٍ}: أي في ستة أَوقات لا يعلم مداها إلا الله تعالى

 

Follow Mufti Ebrahim Desai’s official Twitter handle: @MuftiEbrahim

 

Latest Tweet:

 

“It may be uncomfortable to request a business counterpart who is close to you to record a transaction in writing. However, the discomfort could be worse when there is a dispute due to the agreement not being recorded. Maintain a healthy relationship by recording your transactions.”

 

DISCLAIMER - AskImam.org questions
AskImam.org answers issues pertaining to Shar'ah. Thereafter, these questions and answers are placed for public view on www.askimam.org for educational purposes. However, many of these answers are unique to a particular scenario and cannot be taken as a basis to establish a ruling in another situation or another environment. Askimam.org bears no responsibility with regards to these questions being used out of their intended context.
  • The Shar's ruling herein given is based specifically on the question posed and should be read in conjunction with the question.
  • AskImam.org bears no responsibility to any party who may or may not act on this answer and is being hereby exempted from loss or damage howsoever caused.
  • This answer may not be used as evidence in any Court of Law without prior written consent of AskImam.org.
  • Any or all links provided in our emails, answers and articles are restricted to the specific material being cited. Such referencing should not be taken as an endorsement of other contents of that website.
The Messenger of Allah said, "When Allah wishes good for someone, He bestows upon him the understanding of Deen."
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim]