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Qur'an and the Realities of Time

Wa nazzalnā 
And We sent down

to you

the Book 

(as) a clarification

of every



The very essence of time as divinely taught in Sūrah al-Kahf of the Qur’ān is that it is complex and multi-dimensional. There is a multi-dimensional movement of time as it passes through the ages. Only the faithful and righteous are endowed with Nur (i.e., light) which gives them the capacity to penetrate the reality of time. In a very famous Sūrah of the Qur’ān (i.e., al-‘Asr) named after time, Allah Most Wise warns that all except the believers would be at sea about this subject. They would be in a state of loss because of their incapacity to fathom the subject of time and thus to swim gracefully with the river of time as it flows to a destination which would witness the final triumph of Truth over falsehood (See Qur’ān, al-‘Asr, 103:1-3).

The youths in Sūrah al-Kahf thought that their 300-year long stay in the cave lasted just a day or part of a day because every spiritual experience and contact with the eternal transports us to a world in which we lose track of time (i.e., the ‘here and now’ or the ‘moment’). Whoever breaks the barrier that imprisons us in the prison of the ‘here’ and ‘now’, can experience timelessness. Only true love for Allah Most High and sincere devotion to the religion of truth can break the barrier of time.


What is common between the major Divine Messengers such as Daniel, Jesus Christ and Last Prophet Muhammad, may divine peace and blessings be upon him and upon all God's Messengers, was that they warned his generation and generations to come about Anti-Christ and Anti-Chrsitic figures who carry the satanic impulses and eagerness to spread corruption on the earth.

None can understand the Anti-Christ or Dajjāl (Liar, Impersonator) as it is known in Islamic tradition, the mastermind of the strange world today, unless he first liberates the mind from the prison of the ‘here and now’ and penetrates the different worlds of time.

All, save those who have faith in Allah Most High, remain imprisoned in the  consciousness of only one dimension of time. When those who are devoid of faith are raised on the Last Day, veils will be removed from their eyes so they will see with a sharpness of vision hitherto not possible. That new sharpness of vision, in turn, would reveal to them something of the reality of time.

The Qur’ān has described a people who would one day be forced out of that prison of time to see the real world. Even though they may have lived for scores of years in this life, yet after their resurrection into a new world (which would be ghair al-ard, i.e., different from the present order of creation; see Qur’ān, Ibrāhim, 14:48), they would themselves be conscious of the new dimension of time into which they have been reborn. They will then declare that the scores of years in their previous life seem like “a day or part of a day”: (It will be said) “You were heedless of this (Day of Judgement), now have We removed thy veil, and sharp is thy sight this Day! (And one of the first things that they now see with their sharp sight would be the reality of ‘time’.)” (Qur’ān, Qāf, 50:22)

He will ask (those who are doomed): “What number of years did you stay on earth?” They will answer: “We have spent there a day or part of a day: but ask those who (are able to) count time.” He will say: “Ye stayed not but a little if ye had only known!” (Qur’ān, al-Muminūn, 23:112-114)

On the Day that the Hour (of reckoning) will be established the transgressors will swear that they tarried not but an hour: thus were they used to being deluded! But those imbued with knowledge and faith will say: “Indeed ye did tarry within Allah's Decree to the Day of Resurrection and this is the Day of Resurrection: but ye were not aware!” (Qur’ān, al-Rum, 30:55-56)

These verses of the Qur’ān reveal a relationship between ‘faith’ and time such that those who possess faith would penetrate the reality of time. The depth of penetration of that reality would be a measure of ‘faith’.


‘Protestantism’ is a uniquely European phenomenon. It represents a strange conception of religion bereft of its spiritual core. It thus facilitates the emergence of a western ‘one-eyed’ epistemology that limits knowledge to external observation while casting doubt about, or denying the validity of knowledge internally or spiritually derived. When that epistemology influenced Islamic thought it created a ‘Protestant’ Islam that abandoned the Islamic spiritual quest. It eventually became a strange and curious creature that worked overtime on behalf of Dajjāl, the false Messiah, while waging war on the Sufis of Islam and on the use of internal intuitive spiritual insight in the interpretation of religious symbolism. Prophet Muhammad (sallalahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) has explained the subject of Dajjāl the False Messiah, or Anti-Christ, in quite some detail. Among the things he said about Dajjāl was that:

. . he would live on earth (after Allah Most High releases him) for a period of forty days, one day (being) like a year, one day like a month, one day like a week, and all his days (i.e., all the rest of his days) like your days”. (Narrated by al-Nawwās ibn Sama’ān and recorded in Sahīh Muslim)

Some scholars of Islam have most unfortunately been deceived, because of the profound intellectual impact of modern Euro-Christian and Euro-Jewish western colonial rule over the world of Islam, into embracing a ‘Protestant’ version of Islam.

As a result they see with only ‘one’ eye, the ‘external’, and are either unwilling to, or incapable of interpreting any sacred text pertaining to time beyond its literal meaning. Such scholars would insist that somewhere on earth, if we would only search well enough, we could find a place where a single ‘day’, as we know a ‘day’, can last for as long as a ‘year’, as we know a ‘year’. We could also find a place where a ‘day’ can last for a ‘month’, and another for a ‘week’; and that when Allah Most High releases him into the world, if we continue our search in those places, we should eventually be able to locate Dajjāl or the False Messiah.

Unfortunately the nearest that we can approach to this explanation is at the north and south poles where we can experience six months of continuous light and another six of continuous darkness. But that phenomenon cannot explain the Hadīth. The authentic Sūfi Shuyūkh (Shaikhs) of Islam have been, for more than a thousand years, spiritual luminaries who penetrated the very heart of the religious way of life, and like Khidr (‘alaihi al-Salām), they saw with ‘two’ eyes, i.e., the external and internal. Because of the depth of faith they had attained they were able to comprehend the reality of time.

Following the path of Khidr (‘alaihi al-Salām) we have applied the Sufi epistemology of internal intuitive spiritual insight to the interpretation of religious symbolism (t’awīl al-Ahadīth). Consequently, we have dismissed the view that any amount of searching at the poles, or anywhere else on earth, could result in Dajjāl ever being located on earth. Rather, we hold the view that the only place on earth that a believer would ever be able to see and recognize Dajjāl in person is in the Holy Land. It would of course be at the very end of his evil reign over the world when ‘his day’ would be like ‘our day’ and, hence, when he would be in our dimension of time.

Perhaps it is because of special divine blessings conferred upon the Holy Land that the passage from different dimensions of time to our time has often taken place there. This would explain why Prophet Muhammad (sallalahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) had to be taken to Jerusalem in order to be raised to the Samāwāt (i.e., the seven strata of space and time, other than our own, that Allah Most High fashioned after having created the earth and all within it, for the benefit of mankind. See Qur’ān, al-Baqarah, 2:29).

But at that time Dajjāl would have successfully completed his mission and his enigmatic ‘forty’ days on earth would be about to end.


In fact, space and time are both multi-dimensional. And heaven and hell both exist as real localities, and not just as states, in dimensions of space and time other than the one in which we now live. In this important chapter we attempt to explain time in a manner that would hopefully encourage the skeptics to revisit their views on the subject.

Allah Most High has declared that He created the entire earth in two days, and both the heavens and the earth in six days. These could not be ‘days’ as literally understood by us since such ‘days’ came into being only after the creation of both the heavens and the earth:

“Say: Is it that you deny Him Who created the earth in two Days? And do you join equals with Him? He is the Lord of (all) the Worlds.” (Qur’ān, Fussilāt, 41:9)

“Verily your Lord is Allah Who created the heavens and the earth in six Days and is firmly established on the Throne (of authority) regulating and governing all things. No intercessor (can plead with Him) except after His leave (hath been obtained). This is Allah your Lord; You should serve Him. Will you not celebrate His praises?” (Qur’ān, Yūnus, 10:3)

That there is more to ‘time’ than that which is literally understood is also clear from the following statement of the blessed Prophet (sallalahu 'alaihi wa sallam):

“Narrated Abu Dhar: I asked, O Allah's Messenger! Which Masjid was first built on the surface of the earth? He replied, al-Masjid al-Harām (in Makkah). I (then) asked, which was built next? He replied, The Masjid of al-Aqsā (in Jerusalem). I (then) asked, what was the period of time which elapsed between the construction of the two? He said, Forty years. He added, Wherever (you may be, and) the prayer time becomes due, perform the prayer there, for the best thing is to do so (i.e. to offer the prayers on time).” (Sahīh Bukhāri)

If we understand ‘time’ (forty years) in this Hadīth literally then the Hadīth would be manifestly false. It requires just a little reflection for one to understand that the blessed Messenger of Allah (sallalahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) was not referring in this Hadīth to a ‘year’ in the sense of twelve lunar months. When he spoke in this Hadīth of that period of ‘forty’ years, and when he referred in the Hadīth concerning Dajjāl, to a ‘day’ like a ‘year’, he was not referring to a ‘year’ as we know a ‘year’.

Well then, we ask, what kind of a ‘year’ was he referring to when he described a period of time that history has recorded as more than a thousand years long, to be just ‘forty’ years in duration?

It is impossible for the statement concerning the 40-day lifespan of Dajjāl on earth (or the forty years which elapsed between the building of the two Masājid) to be  understood if we limit ourselves to our human notion of ‘time’. Such is derived from our sense perception of ‘night’ and of ‘day’ and of the movement of the sun and the moon.

Those bound to the western epistemology cannot interpret it, though quantum physics might shed some light on the matter. Nor can the Ahadīth concerning Dajjāl etc., be understood by those who are imprisoned in the literal interpretation of that which ought to be symbolically interpreted. In fact, it is only the Sufi epistemology that can unlock the subject of Dajjāl (Anti-Christ)!

We can understand literally ‘a day (youm) which would be like our day (youm)’. Such a ‘day’ (youm) would comprise a ‘night’ (lail) and the following ‘day’ (nahār), in other words from ‘sunset’ to ‘sunset’. Dajjāl would be in our dimension of time, in ‘days like our days’, when he would be at the end of his life on earth. That is quite clear! Whoever is in our dimension of time must, it would appear, also be in our dimension of space. This is what the historical record indicates. We have no evidence in history of anyone being in our dimension of time but not in our dimension of space. Because of Dajjāl being in our dimension of time, as well as space, at the end of his life on earth, it would be possible for us to see him in Jerusalem.

The question which arises is: where on earth would Dajjāl be during the period of a ‘day like a year’, and then a ‘day like a month’ and finally, a ‘day like a week’? The second question is how long would ‘a day like a year’ last – then ‘a day like a month’ – then, ‘a day like a week’?

(to be continued in next post inshaAllah)

Adopted from the writings of Sheikh Imran N. Hosein, quoted from Surah al-Kahf and the Modern Age

* You may download the full Book as PDF here or order a copy here.

# Resources:
* Sheikh Maulana Imran N. Hosein, Official Website
* Books by Imran N. Hosein
* Knowledge of the Later Days 'Ilmu Akhir al-Zaman
* Discourse Surah al-Kahf (Recorded Video)
* Quran and the Last Age
* Hidden Knowledge of End Time



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