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Six Days of Creation

Sayyid Qutb

 

In the name of Allah, the Lord of Grace, the Most Merciful

 

Allah it is who created the heavens and the earth and all that is between

them in six days, and established Himself on the Throne. You have none

to protect you from Allah, and none to intercede with Him for you. Will

you not, then, reflect? He regulates and governs all that exists, from

the celestial space to the earth; and in the end all shall ascend to Him

(for judgment) on a day the length of which is one thousand years by

your reckoning.(Prostrat ion, Al-Sajdah: 31: 4-5)

 

Those whom Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him) is ordered to warn were

polytheists, people who associated partners with Allah. Therefore, the

surah explains Allah's attribute by which they know the truth of Godhead.

It also distinguishes who deserves to have this great name, Allah, and who

must never be associated with His status: "Allah it is who created the

heavens and the earth and all that is between them in six days, and

established Himself on the Throne. You have none to protect you from

Allah, and none to intercede with Him for you." (Verse 4)

 

Such is Allah, and such are the effects and indications of Godhead. They

are seen all over the universe, felt in the realm that lies beyond human

perception, and recognized in the origins of man and the stages of his

development. Allah tells them about these in His true book.

 

"Allah it is who created the heavens and the earth and all that is between

them in six days." (Verse 4) The heavens and the earth and what is in

between them refer to the great many creatures about which we know very

little, while there is much more which we do not know anything about.

They constitute this huge kingdom of unlimited dimensions, which

fascinates us. We stand speechless, overwhelmed at the accurate design

and perfect system that run through it all. It combines this greatness

with captivating beauty in which neither sight nor any of our senses

finds defect. No one is ever tired of contemplating it. Repetition and

familiarity do not detract from its self-renewing appeal. This kingdom

includes such a great variety of creatures, with countless races and

species, endless shapes, sizes, characteristics, qualities, features and

tasks. They are all subject to the same law, coherently fulfilling one

great activity, looking up to one source from whom they receive their

directives and to whom they submit in complete obedience.

 

It is Allah who created the heavens and the earth and all that is between

them. Hence, He is the One who deserves this name. Their creation was

'in six days,' and these were certainly not the earth days, which we are

familiar with. Earth days are a measure of time which results from the

revolving of the earth around itself while moving in orbit around the

sun. When it completes one round, it completes one 24-hour cycle

applicable only to our earth, a tiny little planet when compared to the

universe. This time measure only came into existence after the sun and

the earth were set in their respective positions. It is also the one

most suitable for us who live on this planet.

 

Of what nature are the six days mentioned in the Qur'an? This is known

only to Allah, while we cannot define or measure them. They belong to

Allah's days, which He describes in the verse that says: "Well, in your

Lord's sight a day is like a thousand years of your reckoning." (22: 47)

These six days might have been six epochs that the heavens and the earth

went through until they reached their present status; or might have been

six stages of creation and formation, or six eons the length of which is

known only to Allah. They are definitely something different from the

earth days that we know. We take them as something belonging to the

realm beyond the reach of our perception, which means that we cannot

know exactly what they were. Mentioning them serves to remind us of the

elaborate planning of Allah's creation, in accordance with His knowledge,

wisdom and perfect creation.

 

"And established Himself on the Throne." (Verse 4) This expression

refers to the fact that Allah is above all creation. We cannot say

anything about the throne, except to take it as a name. The word istawa,

which is translated as 'established Himself' is different, as it clearly

indicates elevation and exaltation. The Arabic text also uses the word

thumma, which is the conjunction 'then', but it is clear here that it

does not indicate any chronological order, because no change of

situation applies to Allah. He, limitless is He in His glory, is not in a

certain situation, nor does He then move to a new one. This does not

apply to Allah. It is only an abstract order. His exaltation means that

His is a level high above that of His creation, and this is expressed in

the way the verse is composed.

 

With this absolute glory of Allah, the surah tells them of the fact that

applies directly to them: "You have none to protect you from Allah, and

none to intercede with Him for you." (Verse 4) Who could have? Where

does such protection come from? It is Allah who controls the throne, the

heavens, the earth and all that is between them. It is He who has

created the heavens and the earth and all who live in them. Who, then,

can protect or intercede for anyone against His will? "Will you not,

then, reflect." (Verse 4)

 

In addition to all that has been said about creation and elaborate

planning, it is now stated that whatever takes place in the heavens, the

earth or in between them will be presented to Him on the Day of Judgment

when He will determine their fates: "He regulates and governs all that

exists, from the celestial space to the earth; and in the end all shall

ascend to Him (for judgment) on a day the length of which is one

thousand years by your reckoning." (Verse 5) The expressions used here

provide a great, broad perspective: 'from the celestial space to the

earth.' Thus, human perception is given an impression that it can

contemplate. In fact, the domain of what Allah regulates and governs is

far greater than that of the heavens and the earth. For us, however, it

is sufficient that we look at this broad expanse and reflect on the fact

that Allah regulates everything in it when we cannot even imagine the

figures of its dimensions.

 

Everything that has been determined and planned, with its results and

consequences, is then put to Him, in His exalted presence, on the day He

has determined for reviewing the results of actions, words, objects and

living creatures. It is "a day the length of which is one thousand years

by your reckoning." (Verse 5) Nothing of this is created in vain or

abandoned or neglected. All run their course in accordance with Allah's

design to an appointed time. They all "ascend to Him," because

everything and every position and stage is below that of Allah Almighty.

Hence they ascend or are raised to Him, by His permission, when He

wills.

 

With Kind Regards

 

Mohammad Usman

 

Jeddah

 

SAUDI ARABIA

 

The sayings of our beloved Prophet Muhammad <http://muhammad. net/>

(peace be upon him) 'Acquiring (religious) knowledge in company for an

hour in the night is better than spending the whole night in prayer.'

 

 

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