Aļļaah is not in Time, let alone time itself.

A few weeks ago I was debating a derailed Arab who was heavily influenced by various western philosophies. It was a bit like taming a wild horse. I first wanted him to understand that the world is not eternal, using the argument in Foundations of the Religion. I remained with him, as he was a friend of a friend, and after about 2 hours of dealing with his escape artistry he finally conceded, and said, “OK, I was only pretending to disagree, now what?”

I said, “Well, we know that the world has a beginning, and that it is not preceded by changes. We also know that since it could not have created itself, as it has a beginning. Clearly then, it must have been brought into existence by other than itself, and this other cannot be something that changes. We also know that this other has unlimited power, as testified to by the existence of the world after non-existence. Moreover, this other must have a will, because the world has a specification, and came into existence with a certain specification. In addition, we know that this other must have knowledge, because will without knowledge is impossible. Finally, this other must be attributed with beginningless and changeless life, not like the life of bodies, as anything with power, will, and knowledge cannot be said to be lifeless or dead.”

He said, “OK, and what else?” I said, “we know that Aļļaah is not in time and not in place, because things in time and place change and need a Creator.” Then he said something that made me almost fall out of my chair, “but Aļļaah said He is time. It is narrated by Al-Bukħaariyy that Aļļaah said, ‘I am the Dahr,’ ‘I am time,’ This is not correct what you are saying!”

I tried to explain to him that no scholar I know in history, deviant or otherwise, has understood the ĥadiitħ in this way, but it seemed to have little effect. Even when I told him that time is change, so how can you claim that Aļļaah is change? This is the result of efforts to remove rational thought from religious beliefs…. He told me that since he was a child he was taught to just accept the religion, and never to think about proofs or deeper meanings.

Today he is an agnostic, even if he does not say it plainly, as so many, many people in Muslim countries. Even those odd few that attend prayer in the masjid. They think that there are no certain proofs for religious beliefs. And the campaign against rational thought in religion, i.e. against the science of kalaam goes with full intensity from the “correction movements.”

Wa laa quwwata illaa billaaah.

After this odd incident, I did not think much of it again, until I received the following


Could you please explain, what the holy Prophet (ˆalayhissalaam) meant by the following ĥadiitħs:

Volume 8, Book 73, Number 200: Narrated Abu Huraira: Allah’s Apostle said, "Allah said, "The offspring of Adam abuse the Dahr (Time), and I am the Dahr; in My Hands are the night and the day." ! http://www.usc.edu/d…tml#008.073.200
Book 027, Number 5585: Abu Huraira reported Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: None of you should abuse Time for it is Allah Who is the Time, and none of you should call ‘Inab (grape) as al-karm, for karm is a Muslim person. http://www.usc.edu/d…t.html#027.5584
Book 56, Number 56.1.3: Maalik related to me from Abu’z-Zinad from al-Araj from Abu Hurayra that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said,"Let none of you complain about time, for Allah is time.’http://www.usc.edu/d…html#[1]


As a first note, the expression, “abuse” should be “blame,” not abuse.

The ˆArabs were in the habit of blaming the passage of night and day for the bad things that happened to them, so they would say, the disasters of time have hit me. In reality, however, everything that happens is by the will and creation of Aļļaah. Accordingly, the one who blames time for what happens to him, it is as if he blames its creator. Aļļaah said about the Arab idolaters:

“وَقَالُوا مَا هِيَ إِلَّا حَيَاتُنَا الدُّنْيَا نَمُوتُ وَنَحْيَا وَمَا يُهْلِكُنَا إِلَّا الدَّهْرُ وَمَا لَهُمْ بِذَلِكَ مِنْ عِلْمٍ إِنْ هُمْ إِلَّا يَظُنُّونَ [الجاثية : 24]”

Meaning: “They said: ‘This is only our worldly life, we die and we live, and nothing destroys us other than time,‘ and they have no certain knowledge of this, they are only thinking that this is so.”[2] (Al-Jaatħiyah, 24) . (Tafsiiru-n-Nasafiyy, 4/198).

The Prophet (ˆalayhissalaam) therefore forbade them from this practice, and said that what you claim is time, is not time at all. It is the Creator that has willed and created whatever happens to you.

This essence of this problem is that people do not know Aļļaah, because they have not learned. Consequently, whenever they are told something like this, they have no firm principles to understand that it is not literally meant, so they can avoid falling in kufr before asking scholar what the real meaning is. Now bring a literal translation, and you have brought it out of the context of the Arabic language as well, which leaves little or no room for a sound figurative understanding. A true recipe for disaster.


Madaariku-t-Tanziil wa Ĥaqaa’iqu-t-Ta’wiil. Al-Nasafiy, Abuu Barakaat. Ed. Maĥmuud Muĥammad Asħ-Sħaˆˆaar. Beirut, Lebanon: Daar An-Nafaa’is, 2005.

[1]صحيح البخاري – حَدَّثَنَا يَحْيَى بْنُ بُكَيْرٍ حَدَّثَنَا اللَّيْثُ عَنْ يُونُسَ عَنْ ابْنِ شِهَابٍ أَخْبَرَنِي أَبُو سَلَمَةَ قَالَ قَالَ أَبُو هُرَيْرَةَ رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ قَالَ اللَّهُ يَسُبُّ بَنُو آدَمَ الدَّهْرَ وَأَنَا الدَّهْرُ بِيَدِي اللَّيْلُ وَالنَّهَارُ . صحيح مسلم – و حَدَّثَنِي زُهَيْرُ بْنُ حَرْبٍ حَدَّثَنَا جَرِيرٌ عَنْ هِشَامٍ عَنْ ابْنِ سِيرِينَ عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ عَنْ النَّبِيِّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ قَالَ لَا تَسُبُّوا الدَّهْرَ فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ هُوَ الدَّهْرُ. موطأ مالك – أَنَّ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ قَالَ لَا يَقُلْ أَحَدُكُمْ يَا خَيْبَةَ الدَّهْرِ فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ هُوَ الدَّهْرُ

[2]قال المؤلف في تفسير النسفى :{ وَقَالُوا مَا هِىَ } [الجاثية : 24] أي ما الحياة لأنهم وعدوا حياة ثانية { إِلا حَيَاتُنَا الدُّنْيَا } [المؤمنون : 37] التي نحن فيها { نَمُوتُ وَنَحْيَا } [المؤمنون : 37] نموت نحن ونحيا ببقاء أولادنا ، أو يموت بعض ويحيا بعض ، أو نكون مواتاً نطفاً في الأصلاب ونحيا بعد ذلك ، أو يصيبنا الأمران الموت والحياة يريدون الحياة في الدنيا والموت بعدها وليس وراء ذلك حياة. وقيل : هذا كلام من يقول بالتناسخ أي يموت الرجل ثم تجعل روحه في موات فيحيا به { وَمَا يُهْلِكُنَآ إِلا الدَّهْرُ } [الجاثية : 24] كانوا يزعمون أن مرور الأيام والليالي هو المؤثر في هلاك الأنفس وينكرون ملك الموت وقبضه الأرواح بإذن الله ، وكانوا يضيفون كل حادثة تحدث إلى الدهر والزمان ، وترى أشعارهم ناطقة بشكوى الزمان ومنه قوله عليه السلام : " لا تسبوا الدهر فإن الله هو الدهر " أي فإن الله هو الآتي بالحوادث لا الدهر { وَمَا لَهُم بِذَالِكَ مِنْ عِلْمٍ إِنْ هُمْ إِلا يَظُنُّونَ } [الجاثية : 24] وما يقولون ذلك من علم ويقين ولكن من ظن وتخمين. (4 / 198).


3 Responses to Aļļaah is not in Time, let alone time itself.

  1. Ahmad-Qadri says:

    “Today he is an agnostic, even if he does not say it plainly, as so many, many people in Muslim countries.”

    Salam Alaikum

    Today I got an email from the alumni club of my university. A christian/athiest professor died last night and one of the professors sent an email to the mailing list.

    It was absolutely unbelievable how many “Muslims” replied by comments like “may he rest in peace” and “May God have mercy on him” and “May his grave be a part of heaven” and “May Allah show him rahmah” – wal 3eyadhu billaah.

    I think the “correctional movements” are not all to blame for such deen-less-ness. But those so called “Sunnis” and “Sufis” too who are only in it for worldly gains and fame are equally guilty, who have sold their souls to these “correctional movements” and other shayateen and who preach kufr like Allah can be called a “cause” or that it is “hypothetically possible” for Allah to lie or that kafirs can also enter heaven or that Muslims should take part in christmas celebrations along with the christians; and other such kafirs posing as men of deen! Sunniism and Sufism is not growing a beard and donning a jubba and pretentiously pretending to be in an elevated state while the heart is drunk on kufr and/or bid’ah and dhalalah.

    Such people are the ones who on one hand, pay lip service against the filth of the wahabis in Sunni circles and may mention a point of fiqh or tasawwuf only to feel good being called “sidi”, but on the other hand forget the ways of the lions of Ahlus Sunnah who refuted them (the wahabis) and called them for what they’re worth, and say that these heretics are also a part of the Ahlus Sunnah, and cleverly slip in their other heretical filth and preach cowardice and shamelessness in the name of adab.

    May Allah destroy these cursed dunya-seeking cowards. Aameen.

  2. tru_Qur'an says:

    As salamu ‘alaykum Shaykh,

    You said:

    I said, “Well, we know that the world has a beginning, and that it is not preceded by changes.

    What does it mean by the world is ‘not preceded by changes’?

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