According to the Qur’an, the creation was made in 6 days, or time periods, and ayat al-kursi makes it clear that Allah did not ordain a ‘sabbath,’ or rest, on the seventh day.
From my understanding of history, the concept of a seven day week was something that was introduced by the Jewish people because of their belief in the seventh-day sabbath, as outlined in their scriptures.
Why then, did muslims adopt the seven day week? Why was the concept not corrected and changed to a 6 day week or some other system of counting time?
I am very interested to hear your response, as so far I have not found a satisfactory answer to my question.
Jazakum Allah khair for your thought and consideration to answer.
Although the origin of seven-day week as given in Encyclopedia Britannica is the Jewish belief of creation in seven days yet there exists some difference of opinion on the issue. According to information provided at http://www.greenheart.com/billh/origin.html it was the pagan concept of seven heavenly bodies of solar system governing the universe.
Whatever the case may have been regarding the actual origin of the seven-day week, it is clear that the Arabs from the pre-Islamic times had been observing a seven-day week. The Qur’an adopted this seven-day week without giving it any religious sanctity, as there was no reason to change such an age old custom, which was a-religious in its nature.
Nevertheless, the incorrect Jewish idea entailed in the seven-day week which directly effected our concept of God – and, therefore, had religious implications and significance – was expressly and unequivocally rejected by the Qur’an:
وَلَقَدْ خَلَقْنَا السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضَ وَمَا بَيْنَهُمَا فِي سِتَّةِ أَيَّامٍ وَمَا مَسَّنَا مِن لُّغُوبٍ
And verily We created the heavens and the earth, and all that is between them, in six days, and naught of weariness touched Us. [50:38]
The fact that the Sabbath was held sacred and exclusively portioned out for worship is supported by the Qur’an. Therefore, the Qur’an only corrected the wrong concept attached to the practice and did not touch the number of days in the week.
I hope this helps
Tariq Mahmood Hashmi
March 22, 2003