How should we understand the fact that time is relative? What does the phrase "like a thousand years of your reckoning" mentioned in the Quran mean?
Submitted by on Fri, 07/07/2017 - 16:07
Dear Brother / Sister,
"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)
O Muhammad! The unbelievers and polytheists of your nation want the punishment that you promised them due to their denial to come quickly and to see it in the world. They should know that Allah never breaks His promise. They will see the punishment they have been promised in the world; in addition, they will be punished in the hereafter.
The following is stated in the verse: "Verily a Day in the sight of thy Lord is like a thousand years of your reckoning." There are various explanations about what day it is in the sight of Allah.
According to a view reported from Abdullah b. Abbas, what is meant by that day is one of the six days when Allah created the earth and the skies. According to another view reported from Abdullah b. Abbas and Mujahid, what is meant by that day is the Day of Judgment.
After stating that the unbelievers want the punishment that has been promised to come quickly at the beginning of the verse, Allah’s mentioning that He will not break His promise about the punishment that has been promised and that one day in the sight of Allah is equal to ten days is explained as follows: The unbelievers wanted the punishment to come quickly. Allah states that this punishment has not been delayed. For, one day in the sight of Allah is equal to ten days calculated by His slaves. Therefore, the punishment is not late.
Or, the unbelievers want the punishment but they do not know its nature. If they had known its real nature, they would have never wanted such punishment to come to them. For, due to the severity of the punishment every day of the punishment will be as long as one thousand days for them.
As it is known, our division of time into certain pieces is artificial. Day and night, seasons and year occur when the world rotates around its own axis and around the sun. Since there will be no day and night, seasons and year in the hereafter, the concept of time, in a sense, will not be in question. What we mean is the artificial time. Therefore, when the Day of Judgment is mentioned, attention is attracted to the fact that half a day of our time is equal to 500 years and a day is equal to 1000 years; the term «yawm», that is, «day» is used; thus, it is indicated that it is not equal to twenty-four hours of our time.
Those who do not think about this fact want something that they desire to happen at once; when a few years pass, they start to lose hope. However, the Sunnah of Allah Almighty never errs; His decree never changes. If punishment is necessary for a nation, there is definitely a time determined for it. No matter how much people hurry, it will not be sent unless that time comes.
Those who wanted a quick punishment from the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) were the people of Quraysh. They did not believe that a punishment would come; they wanted the punishment to come quickly in order to make fun of the Prophet and to show him as weak.
What is meant by «a day as long as one thousand years» is the day when that punishment will come. The length of the day is simile for the severity of the punishment. For, days of mercy and joy are short but days of hardship are long.
According to Farra, the verse covers punishment in both the world and the hereafter. What is meant by punishment that is wanted quickly is the punishment in the world.
«Allah Almighty does not break His promise of punishment being sent to you in the world.»
One day of the punishment of the hereafter is as long as one thousand years of the world.
In this verse, the relativity of the verse is expressed. Time passes differently in each realm. For instance, one day of the realm of the grave is not the same as one day of the Gathering Place. There are different times in different planets of even this universe. This shows that time can change.
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