HomeQ and A

Contradictions About Time

Free Iftar in Ramadan
My Faith is Not Constant
Conflict and Fanaticism

Question: The Quran is the book from Allah and has no contradictions. Kindly clarify as to why at
one place the Quran says ‘One day equals to 1,000 years’ while at another place its says ‘One day
equals to 50,000 years in the sight of Allah’.
Md. A. Khadir, Gulbarga-585101

Time is a Perception, Not an absolute Quantity
Abdul Ghafoor Parekh replies:

Time is not an absolute thing or a tangible object. But, the period between two specific events is regarded as time. The time can be felt and perceived when the events stored in the brain arrange themselves in a particular order. Therefore, time is not something concrete, but a sort of perception.

As sense of colours is for differentiating various colours, and sense of smelling is for differentiating between fragrance and stench, in the same way time is possible balance and possible order of events. Therefore, in 20th century Einstein has put forth the “General Theory of Relativity” that explains: “Time has no independent existence apart from the order of events
by which we measure it.”  As the time is a sort of feeling and perception, it is completely dependent on a perceiver. Therefore there is a relation and relativity between the two. This type of relativity is there in different frame of references. As the colours are meaningless without the visions of the eyes, and the fragrance is meaningless without the sense of smell, in the same way time is meaningless without the happening of events.

According to the general theory of Einstein : “Speed of time changes, depending on the speed of the object, and its position in the gravitational field. As speed increases, time is shortened and compressed, and it slows down.” The relativity of time does not depend on how slow or fast running of clock is, but it is the frame of reference of the system between operation periods. This proves that time is only a relative perception. This relativity has been clearly stated around 1400 years ago in Holy Quran’s chapter 22 verse 47: “And O Prophet, they ask you to hasten the punishment (of Allah): and Allah never fails to fulfill HIS promise ““ and a day with your Lord is like a thousand years of your counting.”

The Quran is not a book of science, but it contains references to several undeniable scientific facts. It will remain a pinching evidence for every age of science to prove itself the Divine Writ, not manmade but revealed by the Almighty. The frame of reference, with which we are familiar, will be altogether replaced by the Almighty. It will be definitely a different frame of reference. The speed and pace of time will also be different. Counting of day and night
depends on the movement of earth on its axis. If we move away from the movement of earth into the space, then the duration of this day of 24 hour will not be there. We can do this experiment without going into the space. We can understand it if we fly from East to West against the movement of earth, in a super sonic aircraft, the day will never end as our speed will be in accordance with the revolving speed of the earth around the sun.

The parable of a day, equal to thousand years is a comparison in a separate from of reference. In yet another frame of reference, in chapter 70 verse 4 it has been stated: “The angels and the soul ascend to God Almighty in a day, the measure of which is like fifty thousand years (according to your counting).” In the above quoted verses, the items to perceive time are different. The relativity of time is evident from the verse.  Today, the science with so much advancement has arrived at the conclusion, that the time is not absolute, but it is a relative  perception. It is clear from the Theory of Relativity that, billions of years in one frame of reference, could be equal to one second in another frame of reference. Apart from modern science, if one has the firm conviction that the Divine Writ is the words of Almighty, he will also take both the statements as difference of day-duration in the next world he has to enter by his earthly death. (Abdul Ghafoor Parekh is an Islamic Scholar, businessman and social activist in Nagpur)