By Kazi Wadud Nawaz
07 September 2016
The Holy Qur’an has discussed elaborately
on modus operandi of time and its functional strategy in divine governance.
Functional strategies identified by the Holy Qur’an are as follows:
A. Appointing a Fixed Term to All Events
of Divine Creations
Entire three dimensional universe continues
expanding (post Big-Bang phenomenon) with forward movement of time until it
starts contracting with reversal of time (pre-Big Crunch Scenario). All events
and scenarios are being recorded in time just to be played back on the reversal
Existence and movement of the sun, moon, the stars and the Milky Way in their
respective orbit are just time-Bound.
Ultimate longevity of all life process is also
time bound. Individual and collective longevity of Adam and its progeny on
earth is time-bound [Qur’an:3:145].
According to the Holy Quran Rise and fall
of nations as historical realities are also time-bound.
Withdrawal of divine command from human body
during death and sleep is also time –bound [Qur’an:39:42].
And so is the respite granted to the Satan
by Allah to meet the divine challenge is also time-bound.
Respite granted by Allah to the
wrong-doers, the followers of the Satan prior to divine punishment is
The material and spiritual life of a Muslim
is regulated by a fixed time-schedule prescribed by Allah (SWT) in the holy
Qur’an. His prayers, Siyam, religious festivals, Hajj-are all time-bound.
The Holy Qur’an was revealed for the first
time on the auspicious night of Lylatul-Qad’r. The Day of Judgment that is the
day of profit and loss (profit for the believers and loss for the
non-believers) [Qur’an: 64:9-10] is also time-bound.
a day that will mark completion of one phase of evolutionary process of the
three-dimensional universe and opening up of the next phase of divine creation
in higher dimension. The whole drama is being staged according to the term
appointed within a fixed time –frame best known to Allah.
“We created not the skies, the earth, and all
between them, merely in idle sport: We created them not except for just ends:
but most of `them do not know. Verily the day of sorting out is the time
appointed for all of them.” [Verses 44:38-40].
The above three verses have linked up the
time-specific Day of Judgment with divine purpose of creation. The provision of
the Day of Judgment has been made by Allah to make mankind comprehend the real
meaning and hidden purpose of creation
of the universe.
B. Time as the Prime-Mover of
not been over Man a long period of Time, when he was nothing (not even) mentioned?”
have created Man in to toil and Struggle” [verse: 90:4].
“O you man!
Verily you are ever toiling on towards your Lord painfully toiling, but you
shall meet Him”.[Verse:84:6]
The Holy Qur’an in the above mentioned
Verses has disclosed a historical truth in connection with the evolutionary
process of mankind. A pretty long time must have passed before appearance of
the man on the stage of history which confirms that man is the product of
historical evolution not in the sense of Darwinian Theory of evolution based on
the process of natural selection and doctrine of Survival of the fittest with
forward movement of time but in the sense of Qur’anic concept of development
that upholds infinite possibility of development. The Qur’anic concept of
development holds immense potential of evolution from lower to higher in
conformity with “Divine Will and Purpose”. In course of this evolutionary
process man has been struggling hard against the Satan, the symbol of evils to
prove his worth and retain his spiritual superiority as Allah’s caliph on
“It is Allah
Who begins the creation; then repeats it; then shall you be brought back to
Him.” [Qur’an: 30:10].
It is evident that this universe as a
divine phenomenon is not an end in itself but a single link of an infinite
chain of events passing sequentially towards the future, phase by phase as
function of time as per divine will. Evolutionary process of divine creation
unfurls with forward movement of time while its reversal with rolling up of the
scroll that is space and time will result in ultimate termination of one phase
and opening up a new phase in the evolutionary process of all natural events.
Time is both a Pen and an Erasure in the
hands of Allah. It writes up different events in the infinite space during its
forward movement to be brushed off at the time of reversal of time and gravity
on the Day of Judgment-the master plan of which is well-documented in the
Record Perspicuous. [Qur’an: 34:3]. Time as an attribute of Allah encompasses
all and every stage of the evolutionary process of divine creation.
C. Relativity of Time in the Holy
The Holy Quran upholds the Concept of
Relativity of Time. The nature and
functional behaviour of time in three dimensional universe compared to that of
the universe of higher dimensions, is different – but both are at the disposal
of Allah (SWT). A single moment of higher dimensional universe during the Day
of Judgment or during or prior to the evolutionary process of divine creation
is equivalent to billions of years of the terrestrial time. [Qur’an:32:4-5,
The events described in the verse [Qur’an:
2:259] and the stories of Ashab e Kahf described in the verse
[Qur’an18:19-25], all are divine demonstration of relativity of time and the
relevant change of its functional behaviour due to divine intervention.
The incidence of “Meraj” as described in
the verse [Qur’an:17:1], is another practical demonstration of the change of
functional behaviour of space and time due to divine intervention. All signs or
attributes of Allah in three and higher dimensional universe (Six Heavens)
collectively constitute the spiritual embodiment of the eternal entity. Time is
one of the attributes or signs of Allah that regulate the entire evolutionary
process of life and the universe – its origin, development, death and
D. Spiritual Perspective and
Time-Management Strategy for Muslim Community
Different people from different
civilisation and culture consider value of time from different point of view
mostly in terms of their material benefits-some as money, some as gold in
defiance of its spiritual perspective. But the Holy Qur’an gives stress both on
its material as well as spiritual values.
The time management strategy from Islamic
point of view involves an integrated and balanced approach towards organising
material and spiritual aspects of human life. Different Hadiths have clearly
articulated the Qur’anic concept of time that clearly reveals how much
importance does Allah Attach to time! These have identified priority areas of
time management in worldly life of a Muslim. The priority areas are: Youth,
wealth, leisure time and Divine the short span of life.
The life of a Muslim is essentially bound
up with the sequence of time. Time is the greatest divine blessing and most
valuable asset for mankind. And for a Muslim time is the most powerful
instrument for success in life on the earth as well as hereafter. Strictly
avoiding abuse of time in any form and making proper use of it like all other
divine blessings is part and parcel of the faith of a believer.
Qur’anic verses have clearly declared that the success of human life
does not lie in abundance of worldly resources, power and privileges. Running
madly after wealth and amenities in life in violation of moral bindings will
prove futile when he comes face to face with the reality in hereafter and be
held responsible for moral transgression on the Day of Judgment. The ultimate success for the people with
faith comes when they perform regular worship, righteous deeds and sincerely
engage in mutual adjoining of the truth with patience and constancy. To be more
specific only the believers that strive hard and make proper utilisation of
precious time in worldly life will achieve success in this world as well as in
a. By the Time ,verily Man is in loss ,except such as have faith and
do righteous deeds, and (join together)in mutual enjoining of Truth , and of
patience and constancy[verses:103:1-3].
b. “The Mutual rivalry for piling up (the
good things of the world) diverts you until you visit the graves. But nay, you
soon shall know (the reality). [Verses: 102:1-2-3]
c. Nay (behold) you prefer life of this
world. But here-after is better and more enduring. [Verses: 87:16-17]
d. O you man! Verily you are ever toiling on
towards your Lord painfully toiling, but you shall meet Him. [Verse: 84:6]
e. Haidith: 1: “Allah said, ‘the son of
Adam wrongs Me for he curses Ad-Dahr (Time); though I am Ad-Dahr (Time).
In My Hands are all things, and I cause the revolution of day and
The Holy Prophet (pbuh) said “ Take advantage
of five matters before five other matters: your youth before you become old;
your health before you fall sick; your wealth before you become poor ;your free
time before you become pre-occupied and your life before your death.”(Narrated
by Ibn Abbas in Mustadrak of Hakim and Musnad Imam Ahmed Sahih
The Daily Sun, Dhaka on 20.7.2018
“A pretty long time must have passed
before appearance of the man on the stage of history”
The above is the meaning most
commentators take because they cannot make sense of the very straightforward literal
meaning of the verse which is very well translated by Yusuf Ali:
(76:1) Has there not been over Man a
long period of Time (l-dahri), when he was nothing
- (not even) mentioned (mazkūran)?
l-dahri – a very long
period of time, epoch, ages
mazkūran – mentioned, remembered (past
participle from zakara, zikr which means to remember, to mention. It does not
mean existence and therefore, the meaning of the verse cannot be that a very
long period of time elapsed before man came into existence.
The long period of time
refers to man’s primitive existence when he was a creature not even worth
mentioning or being remembered as there was nothing to distinguish him from
other creatures. This period is referred to by the historians as prehistory.
History begins with the Cognitive Revolution when man began to form complex
structures called culture based on shared values and concepts from religion.
This date begins from the creation of Adam as discussed in my article: Was Allah Unjust
in Creating Adam and Favouring His Progeny Over All His Creation?
Muslims are greatly influenced by the
Biblical story of creation. There are significant differences between the story
in the Bible and the Quran and the Quran clearly supports and does not
contradict the pre-historic existence of man for a very long period of time
before the creation of Adam. This was however an existence not worth being
mentioned or remembered.
Surah Kahaf does not contain any concept of relativity of time. It contains a reference to the difference between lunar and solar years - 300 solar years = 309 lunar years. Verses 22:47, 32:5, 70:4, contain the concept of relativity of time.