What is the wisdom behind the universe’s remaining as it is after Doomsday strikes?

The Details of the Question

- The angel Israfil will be resurrected forty years after Doomsday strikes and all angels die; and he will blow the Trumpet (Sur) for the second time.   

- What is the wisdom behind 40 years? Why 40 years? What is meant by it?

(We ask in order to learn the wisdom behind it, not in order to accuse - God forbid.)

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

When Abu Hurayra said, “Between the two blowings of the trumpet, there will be an interval of forty”, the people asked whether it was forty days, months or years. He said, “I cannot say anything definite.” Then, he added the following: “Then, Allah will send down some water from the sky and everybody will be revived like plants. Everything of the human body will decay except the coccyx bone (ajb adh-dhanab). The deed of resurrection will start from it on the Day of Judgment.”  (Bukhari, Tafsiru surah 78/1; Muslim, Fitan, 141/2955)

- Nawawi states that the expression “forty years” is included in some narrations made by someone other than Abu Hurayra in some sources. (Nawawi, Sharhu Sahihi Muslim, 18/92) However, he does not mention the name of the source.

- Ibn Hajar included narrations saying “forty years” instead of “forty” and pointed out that all of them were weak. (see Fathul-Bari, 8/552)

- Accordingly, we should first make the following determination that we cannot definitely say that “the period between two blowings is forty days, forty months or forty years”. It could also be “forty moments”, indicating a very small period of time.

- Whether it is a day, a month or a year, the wisdom of the number forty is important for us - as we understand it from the question. It will useful to mention the following points in this regard:

a) The number forty, like the number seventy, expresses multitude in Arabic. Accordingly, there is a certain period of time between two blowings.

b) The stages related to the development of the fetus in the mother’s womb are mentioned in a hadith, and each of those stages is expressed as a period of “forty days”. (see Muslim, Qadar, 1, h. no. 2643)

- The fact that people are resurrected in the womb of the grave and set foot in the next world with a birth, which is expressed as forty (days, months or years), is in compliance with the forty-day processes, which are the first stages of creation in the mother’s womb.

- The expression meaning “Allah sends down water/rain from the sky and people are resurrected like plants grow in the hadith in question supports our analogy.

That is, a water/rain called “semen” from the father to the mother’s womb is in question in the first creation; similarly, “rainwater from the clouds” falls into the earth’s womb in the second creation, and the person in that womb will again evolve and come into being in a period of forty days (or months-years). This description seems very wise as a divine sunnah.

Although divine power is essential in the second resurrection, the fact that wisdom is also active is an understandable fact in terms of “sunnatullah”.

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