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The Problematic Issue of (Place) in the Hereafter

The Problematic Issue of (Place) in the Hereafter
Published in June 23, 2018
Translated by: Ahmed Fathy
 This is our Quranist ponderings regarding the problematic issue of (place) in the Hereafter; i.e., where Hell and Paradise will be situated in the future; this is part of the metaphysical realm which is yet to be created; we ponder some Quranic indications about it; our reflections and inferences might be right or wrong, but eventually, we know quite well that the Quranic verses about the Hereafter will be interpreted/realized/fulfilled only on the Day of Resurrection.   
Firstly: human knowledge is always limited and so is our vision within this transient, physical realm:
1- We never see rays and energy and yet we benefit from them within our physical world; we never see with the naked eye living creatures which are the denizens of the deep oceans; we never see with the naked eye harmful and useful microorganisms inside our bodies and on our skin; God says all living creatures are communities like the human community: "There is no animal on land, nor a bird flying with its wings, but are communities like you..." (6:38). Human beings use the intricate, complex microscopes and telescopes to be able to see atoms and galaxies which we cannot see with the naked eye; the more human beings discover, the more they know the fact that they know very little of the creation of the Omnipotent Dominant Lord God. 
2- Science now is knowing at the doors or thresholds of the Barsakh levels; i.e., we mean the Superstring theory; many controversial details surround this theory, as is the case of any new theory that aims to discover and study the unknown elements of the physical universe. The three main dimensions in the universe is length, width, and height, and the fourth dimension enveloping all the others is Time. The Superstring theory assumes that there are 11 dimensions in this universe: the four ones we have mentioned plus 7 others. The Superstring theory assumes that before the Big Bang that caused the creation of the universe, the entire existence was one mass or point which has exploded; this is alluded to in this Quranic verse: "Do the disbelievers not see that the heavens and the earth were one mass, and We tore them apart?..." (21:30). Scientists assume that the dimensions of the universe move/vibrate as per new laws; these strings seem to be the basic building block of the universe; they consist of minute strings of energy which are vibrating all the time within wavelengths or frequencies that differ; gravitation (among other powers) is the result of such vibration of certain strings. Everything in the universe; e.g., fermions, quarks, leptons, hadrons, bosons, and carriers of power/energy like photons, are known by the pattern of how its strings vibrate and move. These vibrating strings form the basic units of matter, not just the particles and atoms. If the theory of the 11 dimensions is true, this means that the known universe overlaps with other universes unknown yet to humanity; each one of these universes has its own laws which is yet to be discovered.     
3- The Quran has preceded science in asserting the fact that there are seven Barsakh levels in the heavens and seven others within the earth and that they overlap with one another; these might be the dimensions; they are 13 and not 11 or 14; as the physical level of the earth is one of these levels or dimensions, of course.
4- The Quran has preceded science in asserting the fact that there are living creatures in the heavens and the earth: "And of His signs are the creation of the heavens and the earth, and the creatures He has spread throughout them; and He is Able to gather them at will." (42:29); "To God bows down everything in the heavens and everything on earth - every living creature, and the angels, and without being proud." (16:49). We understand that these creatures are human beings, jinn, devils, and angels.
5- Human beings know very little about the physical realm (i.e., the earth, the stars, the galaxies, etc.) and the only pieces of information know about the Barsakh levels are found in the Quran exclusively; the Quran is the exclusive source of the future events which will occur in the Hereafter, when the physical universe is destroyed and a New, Eternal Realm of earth and heavens will exist and the Dominant Lord will judge human beings, jinn, angels, and devils, and the sinners will be forced to enter into Hell for eternity and the good ones will be made to enter into Paradise for eternity.  
6- The Quranic verses employ metaphorical, figurative style to help our limited human minds understand things about the Hereafter; this is the Divine Knowledge bestowed to us in the Quran to be able to ponder on this New, Eternal Realm which will be created in the Hereafter after the Hour takes place and the physical universe is destroyed, and hence the difficulty of the problematic issue of (place) and (eternal time) in the Hereafter.   
7- Those who support the Superstring theory assume that there are other universes overlapping with the physical one we live in, and each universe of those has other dimensions, laws, etc. which has of course, other sense of time and place. Since it is hard to imagine this since no photos are taken of such universes, it is harder to imagine the sense of timelessness and the sense of place in the Hereafter and on the Last Day.   
Secondly: the earth and the heavens on the Last Day:
1- The Quranic term (earth) has different meanings; they include the land/earth of the Paradise of the Hereafter, as we infer from these verses: "We have written...that the earth will be inherited by My righteous servants." (21:105); "And they will say, "Praise be to God, who has fulfilled His promise to us, and made us inherit the land, enjoying Paradise as we please." How excellent is the reward of the workers." (39:74).
2- God says in the Quran: "And the Trumpet was sounded, whereupon everyone in the heavens and the earth were stunned, except whomever God wills. Then it was sounded another time, whereupon they were risen up, looking on." And the earth shone with the Light of its Lord; and the Book was put in place; and the prophets and the witnesses were brought in; and Judgment was passed among them equitably, and they were not wronged." (39:68-69). This Quranic context asserts that the Last-Day events and the meeting with the Dominant Lord God will be on the earth of the Hereafter; thus, we conclude that the earth and the heavens are overlapping within the Hereafter within this Eternal Realm.  
3- God says the following about the vastness of Paradise: "And race towards forgiveness from your Lord, and a Garden as wide as the heavens and the earth, prepared for the pious ones." (3:133); "Race towards forgiveness from your Lord; and a Garden as vast as the heavens and the earth..." (57:21). The gates of Paradise will be opened for its dwellers: "The Gardens of Eden, with their doors wide-open for them." (38:50), and this allow Paradise-dwellers to go everywhere; they will even be able to see Hell and its dwellers; God narrates this scene as a flash-forward about a Paradise-dweller rebuking one of the Hell-dwellers who tried to misguide him within the temporary life on earth: "Then they will approach one another, questioning. One of them will say, "I used to have a friend. Who used to say, "Are you of those who believe? That after we die and become dust and bones, we will be called to account?" He will say, "Will you have a look?" He will look, and will see him in the pit of Hell. He will say, "By God, you almost ruined me. Were it not for the grace of my Lord, I would have been among the arraigned." "We will not die. Except for our first death, and we will not be tormented."" (37:50-59). Paradise-dwellers will never be harmed by Hell or hear its frightening voices; we infer this from this context about Hell-dwellers and Paradise-dwellers: "In it they will wail. In it they will not hear. As for those who deserved goodness from Us - these will be kept away from it. They will not hear its hissing, and they will forever abide in what their hearts desire." (21:100-102). 

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