SATURDAY, 08 FEBRUARY 2003 09:14MARWAN BOUSTANYHITS: 1792 THE RELEVANT QUR’ANIC PASSAGES:- 002.029 It is He Who hath created for you all things that are on earth; Moreover in His design he comprehended the heavens, for He gave order and perfection to the seven firmaments; and of all things He hath perfect knowledge. 041.009 Say: Is it that ye deny Him Who created the earth (in its barest form) in two Days? And do ye join equals with Him? He is the Lord of (all) the Worlds. He set on the (earth), mountains standing firm, high above it, and bestowed blessings on the earth, and measure therein all things to give them nourishment in due proportion, in four Days, in accordance with (the needs of) those who seek (Sustenance). Moreover He comprehended in His design the sky, and it had been (as) smoke: He said to it and to the earth: “Come ye together, willingly or unwillingly.” They said: “We do come (together), in willing obedience.” So He completed them as seven firmaments in two Days, and He assigned to each heaven its duty and command. And We adorned the lower heaven with lights, and (provided it) with guard. Such is the Decree of (Him) the Exalted in Might, Full of Knowledge. 079.027 Are ye the harder to create, or is the heaven that He built? He raised the height thereof and ordered it; And He made dark the night thereof, and He brought forth the morn thereof. And after that He spread the earth, And produced therefrom the water thereof and the pasture thereof, And the mountains, He made them firm, A provision for you and for your cattle. The chart below may well reflect the whole history of the universe. Note that in the context below, Ayaam (sing. Yaum) can either mean ‘unspecified period’ or ‘1000 years’.
|1ST TWO Ayaam||2ND TWO Ayaam||3RD TWO Ayaam|
This seems to fit in with the Qur’anic description in which the universe is made up of seven (spherical) layers with only the bottom layer containing light emitting bodies. The above sequence was worked out by referencing the relevant ayahs and remembering the variable meanings of yaum and thumma. Also, there is no reason why the length of one yaum must equal the length of another. Recall ‘yaum = 1000 years, yaum = 50000’. Hence the above may reflect a long history. Notes on the translation of YAUM and THUMMA in many English translation of the Qur’an:- While referring to the creation of the universe, you may find that in the English translation the word ‘day’ is used. In actuality the Arabic word ‘yaum’ can mean (in the Qur’an anyway):
- 1000 years
There is also the issue of the word ‘thumma’ which is usually translated as ‘then’ (with a sequential implication) in the English translation (Examples of this can be seen in 2:29 AND 41:11). ‘Thumma’ can mean ‘then’ and also ‘in addition’ or ‘moreover’. YAUM = DAY? I present below the words written by Abul A`ala Maudoodi, while giving his interpretation of Al-A`raaf 7: 54. He writes, in his exegesis of the Qur’an “Tafheem al-Qur’an” (Urdu): In this verse, the word “day” could either be the 24-hour day which people call a “day” or it is used here to simply imply a “period” of time…. Amin Ahsen Islahi, in his exegesis of the Qur’an, “Tadabbur-e-Qur’an“, while explaining the same verse, writes: “In ‘Fi Sittate Ayyaam’ the word ‘ayyaam‘ is not used for the 24-hour days, it is rather used for Divine days…” Ibn Kathir, in his exegesis of the Qur’an, “Tafseer Ibn Kathir“, while explaining the same verse, writes: “They [i.e. interpreters] differ in the implication of these “ayyaam“, regarding whether each of the six days is like these [i.e. 24-hour] days as seems to be more apparent or each of the six days is like a thousand years, as is also mentioned in the Qur’an.” This excerpt from Ibn Kathir‘s exegesis is a clear evidence that even in his days, there were people who did not take the word “days” as used in these verses to imply 24-hour days. Al-Qurtabi in his exegesis of the Qur’an, “Al-Jami` li Ahkaam al-Qur’an” while explaining the same verse writes: “The implication of ‘Fi Sittate Ayyaam’: that is days of the hereafter, each day as long as one thousand years …. And it is also said that it refers to normal worldly [24-hour] days.” These are only a few references, which should suffice as evidence to the fact that all Muslim commentators have not taken these “six days” to imply six “24-hour” days. There has been a difference of opinion in this regard. Now, if the interpretation of days as 24-hour intervals is contradictory to scientific information, all that anyone can say is that this “interpretation” is contradictory to scientific information. The Qur’an could only have been said to be contradictory to scientific information if there was no other implication of the word “days” except the “24-hour interval” days. Before looking at “Thumma” in the Arabic language, let us have a look at “then” in the English language. The word “then” in Webster’s Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary” is given to mean: then … 1 at that time 2 a: Soon after that: next in order of time (walked to the door, then turned) b:following next after in order of position, narration or enumeration: being next in a series (first came the clowns,then came the elephants) c: in addition: BESIDES (then there is the interest to be paid) 3 a (1): in that case (take it then, if you want it so much) (2): used after but to qualify or offset a preceding statement (she lost the race, but then she never really expected to win) b: according to that: as may be inferred (your mind is made up, then) c: as it appears: by way of summing up (the cause of the accident, then, is established) d: as a necessary consequence (if the angles are equal, then the complements are equal)… then: that time (since then, he has been more cautious) then: existing or acting at or belonging to the time mentioned (the then secretary of state) The Oxford Advanced Learner’s Encyclopedic Dictionary states: then … 1 (referring to past or future time) (a) at that time: We were living in Wales then. o I was still married to my first husband then. o See you on Thursday — we’ll be able to discuss it then. o Jackie Kennedy, as shethen was, was still only in her twenties. o [attrib] The then Prime Minister took her husband with her on all her travels. (b) next; after that; afterwards: I’ll have soup first and then the chicken. o The liquid turned green and then brown. o We had a week in Rome and then went to Vienna. o (c) (used after a preposition) that time: From then on he refused to talk about it. o We’ll have to manage without a TV until then. o She’ll have retired by then… 2 and also: There are the vegetables to peel and the soup to heat. Then there’s the table to lay and the wine to cool. o I’ve sent cards to all my family. Then there’s your family and the neighbours. 3 in that case; therefore: If its not on the table then it will be in the drawer. o Offer to take him out for lunch,then (ie as a result of this) he’ll feel in a better mood. o He’ll be looking for a secretary then?… I don’t think any more evidence shall be required to the effect that the word “then” in the English language is not used ONLY to indicate “sequence and order”. THUMMA = THEN? Now let us turn to “Thumma“. Mohammad Jama’l al-Din ibn Ma’lik, in his famous poetic book on Arabic Grammar “alfiah al-Ma’lik”, has started his book with the following poetic verse: ‘Our speech consists of sensible words, nouns, verbs and moreover prepositions’. It is obvious that the word “thumma” has been used in the same meaning as given in 2(c) and 2 in the two respective quotations from the dictionaries. I would request any doubter to explain the meaning of “thumma” in this poetic verse, by holding it to necessarily indicate “sequence and order” (ie the meaning of “then” as given in 2(a) and 1(b) in the two respective quotations). Moreover, the Qur’an has clearly used the word “thumma” with other meanings:- In Al-An`aam 6: 1, the Qur’an says: ‘Praise be to Allah, Who created the heavens and the earth and made the darknesses and the light, still those who do not believe, ascribe equals to Him.’ The word “thumma” in this verse has been used in the meaning “even after this” or even more simply stated, in the meaning: “still”. The verse simply refuses to accept then with a sequential implication. Then again, in the same surah, verse 8, “thumma” has been used in exactly the same meaning as given in 1 and 1(a) in the two respective English dictionaries cited above. 6: 8 reads as: The Qur’an has used the “thumma”, in the same meaning as given above in a number of other places. (For instance see: Yunus 10: 103, al-a`la’ 87: 11 – 13) Then again, in Al-balad 90: 11 – 17, “thumma” has been used in yet another meaning: ‘But he did not scale the height. What do you know what the height is? Freeing of a bondsman, feeding of an orphaned relative or a distressed poor, in times of hunger. Moreover the person be from amongst those who believe…’. In this verse, it is more than obvious that “thumma” is used exactly in the same meaning as given in 2 (c) and 2, in the two respective dictionaries cited above. I present below a few examples only from “Hamasah” — a collection of Arabic poetry — that should suffice as evidence to this effect. One of the poets is reported to have said: ‘How many problems have fallen on me, I faced them all patiently and “still” I did not bow before them.’ In the above poetic verse, “thumma” has been used in the same meaning as in the Qur’anic verses 6: 1 and 6: 2 above. Another one, a woman from Banu Huzza’n, says: ‘If she saw me in burning fire, and she had power, she would only increase the fire wood’. In this verse, “thumma” has been used in the same meaning as we say “and” or “moreover”. Sanna’n says: ‘If it was possible to complain to the dead regarding the severe problems that the living faced after them, and (then) if I had complained…’. Abu Habba’l Barra’ ibn Rai`ee says: “They were [my] excellent brothers [and they were all killed]. And what is hand but a finger, then another”. (ie I am like a hand who has lost all its fingers except one, thus I do not deserve to be called a hand anymore). I think these Qur’anic and poetic verses would be considered as evidence enough as proof of the fact that the word “thumma” need not have a sequential implication. I present below one citation from a dictionary. Al-Mawrid — the common Arabic-English dictionary — has explained the word “thumma” as: then, thereupon, afterwards, thereafter, after that, next, later, later on, subsequently, moreover, furthermore, besides Besides this, the famous dictionary, “Al-Qa’moos al-muheet” may also be seen. This should suffice as evidence for the fact that “thumma” is used in a number of other meanings besides the one of sequence. (Information for yaum and thumma taken from www.understanding-islam.org) If you have questions on my ordering please email me. Salaam!  Interestingly enough, Having spoken to the astrophysics professor at UCC he told me that the majority of the universe does not in fact contain light emitting bodies (e.g. stars) and the light emitting bodies are localized about the center of the universe.  “Tashi’l al-Dira’sah fi’ sharh al-Hamasah”, Zulfiqar Ali, `abd al-Tawwa’b Academy, Multan, March 1986. (Pg. 71)  “Tashi’l al-Dira’sah fi’ sharh al-Hamasah”, Zulfiqar Ali, `abd al-Tawwa’b Academy, Multan, March 1986. (Pg. 222)  “Tashi’l al-Dira’sah fi’ sharh al-Hamasah”, Zulfiqar Ali, `abd al-Tawwa’b Academy, Multan, March 1986. (Pg. 233)  “Tashi’l al-Dira’sah fi’ sharh al-Hamasah”, Zulfiqar Ali, `abd al-Tawwa’b Academy, Multan, March 1986. (Pg. 246)