Hadiths On The Cosmos
On Cosmic Revolution,
Time, The Dying Sun And Energy

by Sh. G. F. Haddad
  1. Cosmic Revolution Hadith
  2. Slow Time, Reverse Earth Rotation Hadiths
  3. Dying Sun Hadith
  4. Throne as Energy Source Hadiths


1. COSMIC REVOLUTION HADITH

Thanks to the clock-like cyclic motion of heavenly bodies in space we are able to divide time into periods such as day and night, months, and years. When the earth completes one full revolution around the sun it has turned around its own axis 365 times and the moon has turned around it 12 times. The Ulema have noted, in this respect, that the Arabic word for "day" in the singular, yawm, occurs 365 times in the Qur'An while the Arabic word for "month" in the singular, shahr, occurs 12 times.

This cyclic motion produces other regular reoccurrences in the position of the stars and planets, such as the joint return of the earth and the moon to their same original point every 19 years or the reappearance of Halley's comet every 76 years in the earth's sky. These few reoccurences matter to us but are less than a thin droplet from the great ocean of cosmic times and motions. However, if someone were to reveal the ocean itself, as if he had been present at the beginning of time and were able to identify and describe its ebb and flow, he must either be God Himself - or one to whom God speaks.

Al-Bukhari and Muslim narrate from Abu Bakrah - Allah be well-pleased with him - that the Prophet said MHMD upon him and his House blessings and peace:

Truly, TIME HAS COME AROUND TO THE WAY IT WAS THE DAY ALLAH CREATED THE HEAVENS AND THE EARTH [ - ] You shall all certainly meet your Lord and He shall ask you about your deeds. Do not go back! Do not go back, after me, to being misguided pagan unbelievers striking one another with swords! Lo! Let those that are present tell those that are absent. It may be that some of those they will tell will keep this instruction more faithfully than some of those who heard it directly. Lo! Have I made myself clear?

In his observation on the revolution of time to his Companions, the Prophet MHMD, upon him blessings and peace, not only showed familiarity with the circularity of cosmic time and motion but, more dramatically, hinted at his encompassing, God-given cosmic knowledge of its exact modalities. He conveyed the unfathomable, Divine nature of Prophetic knowledge and information about the universe as simply as one of us passes a scenery snapshot to his friends.

The great Saint and Scholar of Murcia and Damascus, Shaykh Muhyi al-Din Ibn `Arabi, saw in this hadith on the great revolution of Time a reference to the primordiality of the person of the Prophet Muhammad himself MHMD upon him blessings and peace - in the light of his statement - as narrated from Abu Hurayra by al-Tabari, Ibn Abi Hatim, al-Hakim, and al-Bayhaqi (as cited by Ibn Kathir in his Tafsir) and from Anas by al-Bazzar through trustworthy narrators according to al-Haythami:

Allah Most High said: I have made you the first of the Prophets to be created and the last of them to be sent.

There is yet another depth of meaning in the Prophet's MHMD hadith in connection with history. By announcing that Time had come around to the exact same spot it occupied the day Allah created the heavens and the earth, the Prophet MHMD - upon him peace - described his own time as a fresh start for the entire universe. It is undoubtedly the case with every divinely-appointed Prophet and Messenger that they each represent a second chance for the success and perfectibility of mankind. This is ever more so for the last Prophet, after whom no Prophet is to come whatsoever. Hence, the Prophet MHMD pleaded, in this last sermon of his delivered at his "Farewell Pilgrimage" in the last year of his life on earth: "Do not return, after I am gone, to your previous state of ignorance."

The hadith encapsulates the Islamic understanding of the working of salvation in history. There is no chance of salvation for humankind from the self-destruction into which the forces of darkness push it since the beginning of time, except in clinging to the source of each Prophetic Time-cycle: Moses in the time before Jesus; Jesus in the time before Muhammad; and Muhammad until the end of time, to name the last three. And when Jesus returns for the final triumph of good over evil, it will be to lead the sincere of his flock into the fold of the true believers, as a faithful follower of Muhammad MHMD upon them blessings and peace.


2. SLOW TIME AND REVERSE EARTH ROTATION HADITHS

The observation that the rotation of the earth slows down a fraction of a second every hundred years led to the extrapolation that four billion years ago the day and night cycle took only four hours instead of twenty-four. It is logical to further expect two results.

[1] The earth will continue to slow down to the point that the day and night will increase inordinately in duration. This was predicted by the Prophet Muhammad MHMD - upon him and his House blessings and peace - in those terms in connection with the appearance of the Anti- Christ at the end of times. Imam Muslim narrated from al-Nawwas ibn Sam`an al-Kilabi - Allah be well-pleased with him - that the Prophet MHMD mentioned the Anti-Christ (al-Dajjal) to the Companions "as such a significant matter that we felt he was in the cluster of the date- palm trees!" The Prophet MHMD said:

Whoever among you lives to see the time of the Anti-Christ should recite - for protection against him - the first few verses of Surat al-Kahf. He will come out from a crater (khalla) between Syro-Palestine and Iraq. He will spread corruption and evil right and left like wildfire. Servants of Allah! Be steadfast! His period on earth will last for forty days: one day will be like a year, one like a month, one like a week and the rest of his days will be like your days.

[2] The earth's rotation will eventually come to a full stop and revert itself, at which point the sun will rise from the West. This, too, was predicted by the Prophet MHMD - upon him peace - in those same terms. Al-Bukhari and Muslim narrate from Abu Hurayra - Allah be well-pleased with him - that the Prophet MHMD said:

The final hour will not begin until the sun rises from its point of setting. When the sun rises from the West and the people see that, they will all believe. However, at that time, {its belief avails naught a soul which theretofore believed not} (6:158).

The Prophet MHMD - upon him peace - gave further confirmation of this sequence of events in another hadith. When Hudhayfa - Allah be well-pleased with him - asked what the immediate sign of the Western sunrise would be, the Prophet MHMD replied that it would be preceded by an inordinately long night, lasting two or three times more than normal. Ibn Marduyah and al-Bayhaqi narrated it from Hudhayfa and Ibn Abi Awfa as stated by Ibn Hajar in Fath al-Bari (11:355).

It is also speculated that the rising of the sun from the West is connected to the events of the "Cosmic Crunch" - the pendant of the "Big Bang" at the other extremity in the lifespan of this universe - at a time the entire universe will fall back onto itself. In such a scenario, perhaps the "Cosmic Crunch" would cause the Earth to flip upside down, which would cause the sun to rise from the West and set in the East, or perhaps it would change the rotation of the sun and its planets all together.

Another Western-sunrise scenario is built on the periodic "magnetic pole reversal" of the earth that would lead to a temporary re-naming of the East "West" and vice-versa.

Neither the slowing of time not the reversal of the earth's rotation are bound to take another few million or billion years to occur. Either could be set into motion by a shock of massive proportions that would literally unhinge the globe such as the detonation of hydrogen bombs or the collision of an asteroid.


3. DYING SUN HADITH

Modern science has shown that the sun is in a state of constant deperdition of energy and that it will inevitably die as a star, implode, and engulf the earth into its supra-dense mass. Al-Bukhari and Muslim narrate from Abu Dharr - Allah be well-pleased with him - that the Prophet MHMD - upon him and his House blessings and peace - said as the sun was setting:

Do you know where it goes? It goes to where it prostrates under the Throne and asks permission to rise again. Then it receives permission. The time is very close when it will prostrate but it will not be accepted, and it will ask permission but not receive it. It will be told, "Go back whence you came." At that time it will rise from its place of setting. This is His saying - Most High is He! - {and the sun runs its course until its place of rest (mustaqarr); that is the measuring of the Mighty, the Wise} (36:38).

The Prophet MHMD said that the sun went to a certain place he described as its place of "prostration" in every day-and-night cycle. The repetitive "prostration" of the sun refers to its perceived movement of "rising" and "setting" in relation to the earth, as in the verse referring to the prostration of all the heavenly bodies in the sky of the earth - {The sun and the moon are made punctual and the stars and trees adore} (55:5-6). This rising and setting is described as a prostration under the Throne to signify the seemingly replenished energy which these innumerable and massive objects possess. The end of their prostration signifies the termination of their energy.

Western cosmology traces this energy back to the Big Bang and extrapolates that its universal end occurs in the Cosmic Crunch of which the so-called Black Holes are miniature models in the view of the Princeton physicist who coined the latter term, John Archibald Wheeler. The Sunna names the Throne as the source of this energy and describes the end of the supply as the termination of Divine permission for the sun to "rise again" in the usual manner. At that time it will "go back whence it came" in the sense of stopping its course, reversing it, or imploding. This end-of-time even signifies the end of the function of the sun in relation to the earth, at which time the sun will go to its mustaqarr or "place of rest," i.e. it will die as a star. The Cosmic Crunch is essentially a cosmic reversal of motion - from expansion to implosion - and the hadith expressed this reversal of motion by describing the sun as rising from the West.


4. THRONE AS ORIGIN OF ENERGY HADITHS

The author of the _Book of the Throne and All That Was Related About It_ - Abu Ja`far ibn Abi Shayba - and others narrated the following reports on the Divine Throne as the origin of energy and light.

(i) The Companion and freedman (mawla) of the Prophet Muhammad MHMD upon him and his House blessings and peace - Maysarat al-Fajr - Allah be well-pleased with him - said:

Concerning the saying of Allah Most High in Surat al-Haqqa, {And the angels will be on the sides thereof, and eight will uphold the Throne (`arsh) of their Lord that day, above them} (69:17): Their feet will reach to the sign-posts dividing the seven earths and they will be unable to look upwards due to the intensity of the light.

(ii) The greatest exegete of the Qur'an among the Prophetic Companions, Ibn `Abbas - Allah be well-pleased with him, said:

[The Archangel] Gibril said to the Prophet MHMD upon him peace: "This is [the archangel] Israfil, Allah Most High created Him standing to attention before Him from the moment He created him. He never looks up: between him and the Lord are seventy lights. There is not one of those lights that he could approach except it would burn him."

(iii) The Successor (Tabi`i) Zurara ibn Awfa said:

Gibril came to the Prophet MHMD upon him peace - who asked him, "Did you ever see your Lord?" He replied: "Truly, between me and Him there are seventy veils of light; if I were to approach the least one of them I would burn."

(iv) Ibn `Abbas also said:

Think about everything but never think about [the Essence of] Allah Most High for between the seventh heaven to His Seat of Authority (kursi) there are a thousand veils of light - and yet He is beyond that.

 

Hajj Gibril
GF Haddad
[25 Apr 2003]

 







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2003-04-25

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