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The Problematic Issue of Time On the Last Day within the Hereafter

 

The Problematic Issue of Time On the Last Day within the Hereafter

 

Published in August 3, 2018

Translated by: Ahmed Fathy

 

 

Firstly: time between the current day/age of this transient world and the Last Day:

1- The arch-angels of the Upper Realm who are nearer to God know that the physical universe, with its metaphysical levels of heavens and the earth, is transient and temporary; it will be destroyed at one point in time; this duration is known as the day of the world; these angels know that there will be an Eternal Realm of endlessness and timelessness that will be the Last Day of the Hereafter, when souls of human beings will be resurrected; this is why when God has expelled Iblis the arch-angel, who became Satan the Devil, from the Upper Realm, Iblis asked for a respite (i.e., a postponement for his being punished) until the Resurrection Day so that he (and devils of his progeny) would misguide and mislead as many human beings as possible so that they end up in Hell, as he envied and hated Adam and his progeny: "He said, "Give me respite, until the Day they are resurrected." He said, "You are of those given respite."" (7:14-15). 

2- There are arch-angels headed by the Holy Spirit, Gabriel, who are guardians of the Throne of the Lord; i.e., the universe or dominion/kingdom of God; this means that they implement and execute the decrees/commands of the Lord God in the universe and on earth; God has decided that this transient day of the world will be 50 thousand years as per God's calculation; i.e., this has nothing to do with human calculation of years. This means that God's angels ascend and move within this universe with its heavens, its physical and metaphysical levels, and its creatures to guard the universe and implement God's commands since the point in time when the universe was created until the appointed time for its total destruction; when this duration of 50000 years will end, the destruction of the universe will be followed by the Eternal Realm and the Last Day (which will go on for eternity, with some people in Paradise and others in Hell) when all resurrected human beings will be made to stand in a row before the Dominant Lord God for judgment: "Unto Him the angels and the Spirit ascend on a Day the duration of which is fifty thousand years. So be patient, with sweet patience. They see it distant. But We see it near." (70:4-7). After the descent/revelation of the Quran 14 centuries ago, which is the Last Divine Message of the Lord God given to humanity, we understand that the Day of Resurrection is very near; God says the following in the Quran: "The Judgment of the humankind has drawn near, but they turn away heedlessly." (21:1). Indeed, God's command/decree has been issued regarding the time when the Day of Resurrection will occur as per the Time of God; the execution/implementation of this divine command/decree will occur later on as per the human sense of time on the physical earth: "The command of God has come, so do not rush it. Glory be to Him; exalted above what they associate." (16:1).     

3- This means that the age/time of the universe or the day of this world is 50000 years as per the Dominant Lord God's Time, and not as per the human sense of what a year means (365 days). This day of this transient realm differs from the Day of the Lord God when commands/decrees of the Lord God move between the heavens and the earth during this day of the world: "He regulates all affairs, from the heavens, to the earth. Then it ascends to Him on a Day the length of which is a thousand years by your count." (32:5); God says the following about the disbelievers who mockingly hasten their own torment: "And they ask you to hasten the torment. But God never breaks His promise. A day with your Lord is like a thousand years of your count." (22:47). This 1000 years are as per the moving time on earth; when the universe (with its earth, heavens, galaxies, stars, Barsakh levels, etc.) is destroyed, the Last Day of an Eternal Realm (of Judgment, Hell, and Paradise) will emerge; it will have no end and no sense of time; this is in contrast to the first day or the day of the transient world which has a moving time that goes ahead and never turns back and it has a beginning and an end.

4- As per the speeds, the sense of time differs within the earth, the planets, stars, and galaxies in this current day of the world; the time unstoppably goes ahead; it moves nonstop; there are past, present, and future; it will have an end when the Hour comes. Of course, we read in the Quran about the chronological arrangement of the Last-Day events: the Day of Resurrection, gathering, judgment, Hell, and Paradise; we cannot imagine how the Last-Day events will take place in this Eternal Realm which has no past or future; the only sense will be of the present always; hence, the issue of time concerning the Last Day is a problematic one.    

 

Secondly: drawing lessons and heeding the warning are the bases of the Quranic methodology when talking about the Last-Day events:

1- Of course, the issue of time is still a problematic one even in this transient world or the day of this world; Albert Einstein drew nearer to understanding time by his relativity theory; in fact, he has opened the door for more problematic issues for scientists that remain unsolved until now. Hence, the problematic issue of time in the Hereafter is more complex and tackling it is a more complicated thing; the difficulty here is not confined to imagining how eternity will feel like in this Eternal Realm (which will have  no sense of future or past; it will be an eternal present) that will emerge after the destruction of the universe; the more difficult point is to express this Eternal realm as per our limited perception and the limited capacity of the human mind; as human beings, our minds and perceptions are confined to the physical world and its time; we cannot imagine how the Last Day and the Hereafter will look like; we will feel/live or experience the Hereafter as resurrected souls after the destruction of the transient, physical realm or our universe.     

2- Hence, the Lord God in the Quranic text employs figurative style and imagery to make our limited minds grasp, as much as possible, some facts about the Last-Day events, within the context of warning, preaching, guidance, and the call to adhere to piety. It is the same Quranic methodology within the Quranic stories; i.e., the focus is not on mentioning names, time, locations, details, etc. like the methodology of books of history; hence, the focus of the Quranic stories is on drawing the moral lessons while seeking guidance and heeding the divine warning. The same Quranic methodology is employed when scientific indications are mentioned in some Quranic verses; these verses aim at making human beings take heed of the Lord God and His Greatness so that they reflect on the Last Day and Judgment, etc. so that they adhere to monotheism and piety as guided persons. The same Quranic methodology is adopted within verses that contain legislations; most of these verses end in a reminder of piety or a call addressed to human beings to adhere to piety.      

3- As per this Quranic methodology of calling others to take heed and be warned to guide themselves, verses about the Last-Day events in all contexts are linked to figurative, metaphoric style and to calling people to repent, heed the warning, and adhere to piety. God in the Quran addresses the human minds in easy, simple ways and figurative terms/words to make them understand as much as possible the notion of eternity or timelessness within an Eternal Realm on the Last Day; this experience is too difficult to be imagined by the human minds with their limited capacity.   

 

Thirdly: Barsakh and Resurrection:

1- God says the following about the Day of Resurrection: "...And behind them is a barrier/Barsakh, until the Day they are resurrected." (23:100); this phrase comes within the Quranic context about the moment of dying of the disobedient disbelievers/sinners when it is too late for them to make amends: "Until, when death comes to one of them, he says, "My Lord, send me back. That I may do right in what I have neglected." By no means! It is just a word that he utters. And behind them is a barrier/Barsakh, until the Day they are resurrected." (23:99-100).

2- The following are two Quranic contexts that do not mention the term Barsakh as the barrier or temporary stage between death and Resurrection.

2/1: The events are arranged here as deeds of human beings are recorded by angels; human beings die and then are resurrected after the Hour takes place; the Trumpet or Horn is figuratively referring to the Hour and the destruction of the universe and the Resurrection: "As the two receivers receive, seated to the right and to the left. Not a word does he utter, but there is a watcher by him, ready. The daze of death has come in truth: "This is what you tried to evade." And the Trumpet is blown: "This is the Promised Day."" (50:17-20); Barsakh is not mentioned here as the barrier stage between death that occurs in this transient world and the Day of Resurrection because dead souls never move or feel anything inside this Barsakh level of timelessness and senselessness; there are no more deeds to be recorded.

2/2: Within the arrangement of the Last-Day events, we read about the dying moments of the most unjust human beings; i.e., those who fabricate misguiding hadiths/discourses/narratives and ascribe them to God and to His Religion as if such falsehoods were part of the Divine Revelation; their dying souls will hear the rebuke of the angels as the last thing they hear at the threshold of Barsakh within the gate of Hell. Upon being resurrected, they will hear reproach of the Lord God: "Who commits graver injustice than someone who invents falsehood against God, or says, "It was revealed to me," when nothing was revealed to him, or says, "I will reveal the like of what God revealed"? If only you could see the unjust ones in the floods of death, as the angels with arms outstretched: "Give up your souls. Today you are being repaid with the torment of shame for having said about God other than the truth, and for being too proud to accept His Verses." "You have come to Us individually, just as We created you the first time, leaving behind you everything We gave you. We do not see with you your intercessors - those you claimed were your partners. The link between you is cut, and what you had asserted has failed you."" (6:93-94).

 

Fourthly: drawing lessons and heeding the warning are the reasons for not arranging the Last-Day events within the Quranic Chapter 83:

1- The Quranic Chapter 83 begins with warning and preaching addressed to cheaters/defrauders who misuse their authority and cheat while weighing goods/merchandise within trade and deals of purchase/selling to make more money by this grave injustice against people by imposing prices and never applying justice: "Woe to the defrauders. Those who, when they take a measure from people, they take in full. But when they measure or weigh to others, they cheat." (83:1-3).

2- God warns and preaches such sinners by reminding them of the Last Day: "Do these not know that they will be resurrected? For a Great Day? The Day when the humankind will stand before the Lord of the Worlds?" (83:4-6).

3- God reminds unrepentant sinners that if they die as such, they will have no mercy from Him: "Not at all. The record of the wicked is in Sijjeen. But how can you know what Sijjeen is? A numerical book. Woe on that Day to the deniers. Those who deny the Day of Judgment. But none denies it except the sinful aggressor. When Our Verses are recited to him, he says, "Legends of the ancients." Not at all. Their hearts have become corroded by what they used to earn. Not at all. On that Day, they will be screened from their Lord. Then they will enter into Hell. Then it will be said, "This is what you used to deny."" (83:7-17).

4- God talks here about the Paradise dwellers: "No indeed; the record of the righteous is in Elliyyeen. But how can you know what Elliyyoon is? A numerical book. Witnessed by those brought near. Indeed, the righteous ones will be amid bliss. On luxurious furnishings, looking on. You will recognize on their faces the radiance of bliss. They will be given to drink a sealed wine. Whose seal is musk - this is what competitors should compete for. Its mixture is of Tasneem. A spring from which those brought near drink." (83:18-28).

5- God mentions the following about disbelievers in this transient world who ridicule the believers and about the fate of disbelievers in Hell and believers in Paradise: "Those who committed crimes used to laugh at those who believed. And when they passed by them, they would wink at one another. And when they went back to their families, they would go back exulting. And if they saw them, they would say, "These people are lost." Yet they were not sent as guardians over them. But on that Day, those who believed will laugh at the unbelievers. On luxurious furnishings, looking on. Have the unbelievers been repaid for what they used to do?" (83:29-36).

 

Fifthly: the arrangement of the Last-Day events:

 On the Last Day, in ways we can never imagine, the occurrence of the Resurrection, gathering, standing in a row before the Lord, Judgment, and entering into either Hell or Paradise will be simultaneous; these Last-Day events, we presume, will occur at the same time because the Eternal Realm has no past or future; it is an everlasting present as if time is frozen; it is extremely difficult to imagine this time or eternity. Another possibility is that the Last-Day event will take place in a certain chronological order or arrangement without past and future, in a way we cannot imagine, as per the Omnipotence and Omniscience of the Lord God Who is the Creator of Time and the Owner of the Day of Judgment. Hence, the Quranic methodology of preaching/warning, within the call for guidance and adherence to piety and taking heed of the Quranic message of the Lord, is the only way to understand and grasp as much as we can the problematic issue of time on the Last Day and the Hereafter. Examples of arranging the Last-Day events are provided in the points below.    

1- The last generation of human beings will witness the occurrence of the Hour; God warns here all generations of humanity that emerge after the descent of the Quranic Message: "O people, fear your Lord within piety. The quaking of the Hour is a tremendous thing. On the Day when you will see it: every nursing mother will discard her infant, and every pregnant woman will abort her load, and you will see the people drunk, even though they are not drunk - but the torment of God is severe." (22:1-2).

2- Human beings are successors of Gog and Magog on earth; Gog and Magog had their own advanced civilization and its ruins are being discovered; we have covered this topic before in our previous writings. God got rid of Gog and Magog by the figure/character  known as Zu Al-Qarnayn who sealed/imprisoned them inside the crust of the earth; they are still alive inside it, generation after the other; we assume that they are behind flying saucers and capturing some human beings to examine them; their civilization and advancement exceed those of humanity though they lived on earth before human beings emerged; hence, Gog and Magog will feel the tremendous earthquake coming from the inside of the earth and they will come out of its crust to mingle with human beings; at that time, the Hour explosion will take place: "Until, when Gog and Magog are let loose, and they swarm down from every mound. The promise of truth has drawn near. The eyes of those who disbelieved will stare in horror: "Woe to us. We were oblivious to this. In fact, we were unjust ones."" (21:96-97); "They said, "O Zu Al-Qarnayn, the Gog and Magog are spreading corruption on earth. Can we pay you, to build between us and them a barrier?" He said, "What my Lord has empowered me with is better. But assist me with strength, and I will build between you and them a dam." "Bring me blocks of iron." So that, when he had leveled up between the two cliffs, he said, "Blow." And having turned it into a fire, he said, "Bring me copper to pour over it." So they were unable to climb it, and they could not penetrate it. He said, "This is a mercy from my Lord. But when the promise of my Lord comes true, He will turn it into rubble, and the promise of my Lord is always true." On that Day, We will leave them surging upon one another. And the Trumpet will be blown, and We will gather them together." (18:94-99).

3- God says the following about the Resurrection "And listen for the Day when the caller calls from a nearby place. The Day when they will hear the Shout in all truth. That is the Day of Emergence. It is We who control life and death, and to Us is the destiny. The Day when the earth will crack for them at once. That is an easy gathering for Us." (50:41-44); "On the Day when the Trumpet is blown, everyone in the heavens and the earth will be horrified, except whomever God wills; and everyone will come before Him in humility." (27:87).

4- The Resurrection is followed by the gathering and the standing in a row before the Lord God, and then Judgment: "On the Day when the Trumpet is blown-We will gather the sinners on that Day, blue. Murmuring among themselves: "You have lingered only for ten." We are fully aware of what they say, when the most exemplary of them in thinking will say, "You have lingered only a day."" (20:102-104); "And the Trumpet is blown: "This is the Promised Day." And every soul will come forward, accompanied by a driver and a witness." (50:20-21).

5- These two points are about the arrangement of explosions of the Hour (i.e., blowing of the Horn or the Trumpet).

5/1: The first explosion is the destruction of the universe within the Hour, and the second one is related to the Resurrection of human souls: "And the Trumpet will be sounded, whereupon everyone in the heavens and the earth will be stunned, except whomever God wills. Then it will be sounded another time, whereupon they will rise up, looking on." (39:68).

5/2: The first explosion is the destruction of the universe within the Hour, and the second one is related to the Resurrection of human souls; a third one is linked to the gathering of these souls: "And they say, "When will this promise be, if you are truthful?" All they can expect is a single blast, which will seize them while they feud. They will not be able to make a will, nor will they return to their families. The Trumpet will be blown, then behold, they will rush from the tombs to their Lord. They will say, "Woe to us! Who resurrected us from our resting-place?" This is what the Dominant Lord had promised, and the messengers have spoken the truth. It will be but a single shout; and behold, they will all be brought before Us. On that Day, no soul will be wronged in the least, and you will be recompensed only for what you used to do." (36:48-54).

 

Sixthly: examples of not arranging the Last-Day events:

1- We read in this Quranic context about Resurrection and the Trumpet and also about Judgment and Hell torment for sinners; the gathering and standing in a row before the Lord are not mentioned here: "That I may do right in what I have neglected." By no means! It is just a word that he utters. And behind them is a barrier/Barsakh, until the Day they are resurrected. When the Horn is blown, no relations between them will exist on that Day, and they will not ask after one another.Those whose scales are heavy - those are the winners. But those whose scales are light - those are they who have lost their souls; in Hell they will dwell forever. The Fire lashes their faces, and therein they grimace." (23:100-104).

2- In the following Quranic context about the Day of Judgment, Resurrection is linked to gathering of souls after the occurrence of the Hour and then Hell-torment for disbelievers: "The Day of Sorting has been appointed. The Day when the Trumpet is blown, and you will come in droves. And the sky is opened up, and becomes gateways. And the mountains are set in motion, and become a mirage. Hell is waiting eagerly. For the tyrants; it is their destination." (78:17-22).

3- We quote the following about the occurrence of Hour and the destruction of the physical universe.

3/1: We perceive in this Quranic context quick scenes of the Last-Day events about the Hour and Judgment: "When the sun is rolled up. When the stars are dimmed. When the mountains are set in motion. When the relationships are suspended. When the beasts are gathered. When the oceans are set aflame. When the souls are paired. When the girl, buried alive, is asked: For what crime was she killed? When the records are made public. When the sky is peeled away. When the Fire is set ablaze. When Paradise is brought near. Each soul will know what it has readied." (81:1-14).

3/2: We perceive in this Quranic context other details about the Last-Day events about the Hour and Judgment: "When the sky is ruptured. And hearkens to its Lord, as it must. And when the earth is leveled out. And casts out what is in it, and becomes empty. And hearkens to its Lord, as it must. O man! You are laboring towards your Lord, and you will meet Him. As for him who is given his book in his right hand. He will have an easy judgment. And will return to his family delighted. And will return to his family delighted. But as for him who is given his book behind his back. He will call for death.  And will enter into Hell." (84:1-12).

3/3: We perceive in this Quranic context the details about gathering of souls and the mention of how the Hour will occur and the total destruction of the universe will take place: "The Shocker. What is the Shocker? What will explain to you what the Shocker is? The Day when the people will be like scattered moths. And the mountains will be like tufted wool. As for he whose scales are heavy. He will be in a pleasant life. But as for he whose scales are light. His home is the Abyss. Do you know what it is? A Raging Fire." (101:1-11).

3/4: After talking about the Hour and the total destruction of the universe here: "When the Inevitable Event occurs. Of its occurrence, there is no denial. Bringing low, raising high. When the earth is shaken with a shock. And the mountains are crushed and crumbled.  And they become scattered dust." (56:1-6), we read directly about types of human beings on the Day of Judgment here: "And you become three classes. Those on the Right - what of those on the Right? And those on the Left - what of those on the Left? And the Forerunners, the Forerunners." (56:7-10).

3/5: After talking about the Hour and the total destruction of the universe, we see directly in the same context Quranic verses about standing in a row before the Dominant Lord God: "On the Day when the sky will be like molten brass. And the mountains will be like tufted wool. No friend will care about his friend. They will be shown each other. The criminal wishes he would be redeemed from the torment of that Day by his children. And his spouse, and his brother. And his family that sheltered him. And everyone on earth, in order to save him." (70:8-14).

3/6: We do not see any mention of Resurrection and gathering here in this context about the Hour and the total destruction of the universe and about Judgment and other Last-Day events: "Then, when the Trumpet is sounded a single time. And the earth and the mountains are lifted up, and crushed, with a single crush. On that Day, the Inevitable Event will come to pass. And the heaven will crack; so on that Day it will be frail. And the angels will be ranged around its borders, while eight will be carrying the Throne of your Lord above them that Day. On that Day you will be exposed, and no secret of yours will remain hidden." (69:13-18).

 


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