How does Jibril, the angel of revelation, come at once if it takes a long time to ascend to Allah?

Details of the Question

It takes a long time for Jibril, the angel of revelation, to ascend to the presence of Allah according to the relativity of time. Then, how does the angel bring revelation to the Prophet at once if it takes a long time to ascend to Allah? What do "day" and "thousands of years" mentioned in the verses mean?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

There are thousands of means of covering a distance like the pace of human walking, speed of sound, speed of light and speed of imagination. Therefore, it is possible to cover a distance that takes millions of years in a moment with imagination; similarly, the creatures that Allah created out of light can go anywhere in a moment like imagination, which is also a creature of Allah, with the permission of Allah. 

Besides, if one is asked how the law of gravity goes from one part of the world to the other part and how long it takes, the answer will be it is everywhere in the world. So, the angels of Allah, who are His officials, can convey the order of Allah in a moment.

The issue of ascension and days being equal to thousands of years mentioned in the question:

The word "yawm (day)" mentioned in the Quran has several meanings and it is used in several senses. Therefore, the word day mentioned in the question aims to state that life in the hereafter is vast, that there are different realms in the universe and that time is relative. It is not used for the revelation to come.  

"Yet they ask thee to hasten on the Punishment! But Allah will not fail in His Promise. Verily a Day in the sight of thy Lord is like a thousand years of your reckoning." (al-Hajj, 22/47)

Similar expressions are used in other verses too. They give clear signs that time is not a being that is definite and unchanging and that it functions or is perceived differently in different places and at different speeds. That the phrase "a Day in the sight of thy Lord" is used instead of "a Day of thy Lord" in the verse is remarkable since it shows that Allah, who is the creator of time, is free from such limitations. In addition, in many verses like 10:45, 23:112-113, 70:6-7, 79:46, there are statements showing that different people perceive time differently in different environments.  

"He rules (all) affairs from the heavens to the earth: in the end will (all affairs) go up to Him, on a Day, the space whereof will be (as) a thousand years of your reckoning." (as-Sajda, 32/5)

"The angels and the spirit ascend unto him in a Day the measure whereof is (as) fifty thousand years." (al-Maarij, 70/4)

It is stated in the second verse above that "angels will ascend unto Him in a day the measure whereof is fifty thousand". It seems as if both verses describe the Day of Judgment, in which the results of everything will be presented to Allah. As a matter of fact, that a day of one thousand years is mentioned in one verse and fifty thousand years in another suggests that the Day of Judgment will be perceived differently by different people.

In order to explain that Allah does not ascend and descend to those levels but His order and His messengers and officials that convey His order, that is, the angels and the spirit do, Allah states that the Angels and the Spirit ascend to Him. Upon His order, all of them ascend to His presence and

"The Day that the Spirit and the angels will stand forth in ranks" (an-Naba, 78/38)

will stand in ranks as it is stated in the verse above. Means disappear completely.

"And to Him shall be your return." (al-Baqara, 2/245)

"But to Allah do all questions go back (for decision)." (al-Baqara, 2/210)

"All that is on earth will perish." (ar-Rahman, 55/26)

"Everything (that exists) will perish except His own Face." (al-Qasas, 28/88)

"Whose will be the dominion that Day?" (al-Mumin, 40/16)

The secrets mentioned in the verses above are revealed; there will be no defender.

The length of that day is equal to fifty thousand years. The limitation “of your reckoning” does not exist here. However, acting upon the verse "He rules (all) affairs from the heavens to the earth: in the end will (all affairs) go up to Him, on a Day, the space whereof will be (as) a thousand years of your reckoning" (as-Sajda, 32/5), there are some scholars who say that this meaning will be in question here.   

However, it is possible that the day here expresses warning since this year is the year of the angels and the Spirit. Some scholars say what is meant by fifty thousand years here is not to explain the duration but to express the horror of that day, which does not prevent that day from becoming longer and shorter. As a matter of fact, the following hadith, narrated from Abu Said al-Khudri, reminds it:

"That day is made light for the believer. It becomes even lighter than a prayer he performs in the world."

There are various phases of the Day of Judgment like the ones between blows, states and horrible incidents. They are perceived differently by believers and unbelievers before they enter Paradise and Hell. This fifty thousand-year day is not the whole Doomsday and the hereafter; they are days of waiting. Before a believer is taken to Hell after he is reckoned, he will wait at stopping places of fifty thousand years and in each one of many more places for fifty thousand years.

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