In the section related to timelessness, we mentioned
that all our information is in the memory. All the details pertaining
to one’s life, everything one sees, hears, knows or feels are bits of
memorized information. So are our sensations about time. Now, we will
deal with the concept of memory more fully.
As mentioned in the preceding pages, we rely on our
five senses to live. We perceive only what our senses allow and we can
never succeed in stepping out of the boundaries of our senses. The time
and space we live in is similarly perceived.If our brain cannot detect
a being through our five senses, we simply say that that being has "disappeared."
Accordingly, for us, events, images or sensations, which are stored
in our memory, exist, i.e., they are alive, while those that are forgotten
no longer exist. To put it another way, beings and events, which are
not in our memory, become past events for us;they are simply dead and
Yet, this holds true only for human beings; that
is because it is only human beings who have a limited memory. The memory
of God, on the other hand, is superior to everything.It is boundless
and eternal. Yet one point deserves mention here: the concept "the
memory of God" is used only for clarification purposes. It is definitely
unlikely that any comparison or similarity could be drawn between the
memory of God and the memory of a man. God is surely the One Who creates
everything from nothingness and Who knows everything down to the last
God introduces Himself in His book through His attributes.One
of them is al- Hafiz (The Preserver), "He Who preserves all things
in detail". Behind this attribute, there are very important hidden
"The Mother of the Book"
In the sight of God, everything has taken place and
finished in a moment. Since the beginning of time, everything has taken
place at this single moment. In the sight of God, all information pertaining
to this moment is kept in a "Book." This "Main Book",
or as the Qur’an calls it, "The Mother of the Book", holds
every bit of information about everything:
And truly, it is in the Mother of the Book, in
Our Presence, high in dignity, and full of wisdom. (Surat az-Zukhruf:
… with Him is the Mother of the Book. (Surat
We possess an all-preserving Book (Surah Qaf:4)
Certainly there is no hidden thing in either
heaven or earth which is not in a Clear Book. (Surat An-Naml: 75)
And the Book (of Deeds) will be placed (before
you); and you will see the sinful in great terror because of what is
recorded therein; they will say, "Alas for us! What a Book is this!
It leaves out nothing small or great, but takes account thereof!"
They will find all that they did, placed before them and your Lord will
not wrong anyone at all. (Surat al-Kahf: 49)
In other verses, too, God declares that all the events
one experiences, all the thoughts one considers, and everything that
befalls one are included in this Book:
No misfortune can happen on earth or in your
souls without its being in a Book before We bring it into existence:
That is truly easy for God.(Surat al-Hadid: 22)
Actually everything, living or non-living, which
has existed since the beginning of the universe and all events, which
have happened, have all been created by God. Consequently, God is cognizant
of them all. To put it in another way, "They all exist in the memory
of God." In this sense, the Mother of the Book is a manifestation
of God's attribute, the al-Hafiz.
At this point, we come upon a striking fact: because
the memory of God is infinite, nothing existent in Him becomes lost.
In other words, no living being created by God vanishes, no flower fades,
no drink finishes, no period comes to an end, and no food is consumed.
Every moment God creates and every exact detail of everything are created
in eternity and it is "destined to eternity."
Every moment pertaining to the collapse of these buildings
is kept in the sight of God.
What then does this phrase "destined to eternity"
Let us put this explanation in the following way:
eternity has begun for a being or an event by the time it is created.
For instance, when a flower is created, it is, in reality, destined
not to disappear. That this being ceases to become a part of one’s sensations
and is erased from one's memory does not actually mean that it has vanished
or died. Its state in the sight of God is what actually matters. Furthermore,
all states of this being, be it its creation, all moments throughout
its life or death, do exist in the memory of God.
Upon all that is created, God bestows eternity. In
other words, existing things have attained eternity by the time they
are created.To have a thorough grasp of this notion, however, one needs
to reflect on all beings and events individually. But, before proceeding
with this subject, it would be useful to stress the following fact:
what has been stated so far, together with the following, is no doubt
the most important information one can ever acquire in one’s lifetime.
Most probably, many people are hearing and reflecting on these facts
about timelessness for the first time in their lives. However, here
is something important to keep in mind: God, in the Qur’an, draws our
attention to the fact that "only those who sincerely turn to God"
take heed. In other words, only those who truly seek the guidance of
God and endeavour to appreciate His infinite might and His greatness
will heed these explanations and have a grasp of these facts.
People in Eternity
God, the al-Khalig (the Creator), is the One Who
creates everything from nothing and Who creates all things with the
knowledge of what will happen to them. As a manifestation of this attribute
of God, by the time He creates man in his mother's womb, eternity has
begun for him. Surely, man does not recall the stages of his own development
in the womb. However, every moment of this progress is present in the
sight of God and they quite definitely never disappear. Similarly, it
is unlikely that those initial phases and developmental stages of a
human being remain in his memory. Unless informed by God, man never
manages to see these moments. Some moments, however, remain only as
memories. The moments we experience are purely sensations presented
to our soul. Yet, in the infinite memory of God, everything remains
as it is. Everything people encounter in life, all details pertaining
to one’s experiences, are all created by God and they never disappear.
As stated in the following verse, everything down to its last detail
remains in the sight of God.
".... This is so you will know that God
knows what is in the heavens and in the earth and God has knowledge
of all things." (Surat al-Ma'idah: 97)
Let’s take the Prophet Adam as an example; all the
details pertaining to Adam’s creation in paradise before he was sent
to earth, and the way he was tested in paradise are all present in the
Main Book. Adam’s initial creation from clay, the angels’ prostration
to him, as well as the moment he was sent to earth and all the events
he experienced are all vivid and existing right now. None of them has
disappeared, they all exist right now in the sight of God, right down
to their finest details.
As another example, let’s think of someone who is
sorry for the death of his cat. In fact, the moment the cat died and
the period that that same cat was still a kitten, in fact, its entire
development from the moment of its birth are kept vivid in the memory
of God. Besides, the moments the owner of this cat when he was at work
or all the moments he did not spend with the cat are vividly stored
in the sight of God. Consequently, death does not put an end to the
existence of a being. For all eternity, everything exists in the sight
Likewise, the moment the Prophet Solomon (Sulayman)
caressed the legs of his horse remains forever. The disappearance of
these horses behind a curtain, the letter the Prophet Solomon sent to
the Queen of Saba, the moment this letter is read by the Queen and her
soldiers, how the Queen is welcomed to the palace of Solomon, the moment
she thought the ground of the palace to be a lake and the words of the
Queen: "I do now submit in Islam, with Solomon,
to the Lord of the Worlds." (Surat an-Naml: 44) currently
exist and will continue to exist for all eternity.
These examples deserve a deeper and more detailed
reflection. Assume that in the time of the Prophet Noah (Nuh), a man’s
shirt became unravelled and that after sometime a tailor sewed it up.
This shirt, the loom on which it was initially woven, the state of the
shirt before it became unravelled and the state in which it was sewed,
and even every second the tailor spent on using the needle to sew this
shirt, the process by which this shirt became utterly unusable, in brief,
every stage, every second, every moment the shirt went through are retained
in the sight of God. Right at this moment, this shirt is being woven,
it is still sewn and it is still worn by its owner who lived in the
time of the Prophet Noah.
For someone who crosses the street from one side to the other,
there is a certain distance to be crossed. A person, however,
who looks at this street from a bird's eye view, feels no difficulty
in seeing every point in this street from one end to another.
Let’s also think about the antique clock in your
home. All the stages of manufacturing which took place 200 years ago
along with the manufacturing stages of a single wire in the clock, the
moment its hour and minute hand were placed in it, the time this clock
was sold to a shop and a customer purchased it, then the moment the
clock went out of order and was given to a rag-and-bone man, the moment
your grand-grandfather purchased it from him and the time this clock
was inherited first by your grand father and then your father, and then
you, the way you placed the clock in your living roomand watched it
with admiration, briefly, every second in the history of the clock still
remain in the sight of God. In absolute terms, this clock is working
right at this moment, it has stopped again right now, it is being placed
by you in your living room and it is purchased by your grandfather at
this moment. All these happenings are present in the memory of God.
Furthermore, not only what the clock went through in the past but also
its every future-related moment — surely this is the "future"
for you — is known by God and is preserved in His sight. The way this
clock will be placed in your son’s home in forty years' time and the
collapse of the clock in three hundred years' time is also included
in the Mother of the Book.
The verse "He knows what
is in front of them and what is behind them. But their knowledge does
not encompass Him." (Surah Ta ha: 110) refers to this fact
(Surely God knows best). That is because God knows every being moment
by moment. He knows their previous states as well as their latter states,
that is, in the words of the Qur'an, "what is in front of them
and what is behind them", at all stages. In another verse, God
once again reminds us of the fact that everything is within His Knowledge;
God - Him from Whom nothing is hidden, either
on earth or in heaven. (Surat Al 'Imran: 5)
All Events Are Happening Right At This Moment!
Moment by moment, every picture above
shows an image of the vehicle crossing the bridge. A person travelling
by this vehicle supposes that a particular period of time is spent
in crossing the bridge. However, we can see all of these pictures
at a single moment.
An example will lead us to a better understanding
of the fact that, in the sight of God, every incident takes place in
a single moment. Assume that you have the picture of a big city spread
in front of you. Streets, vehicles, buildings lined up side by side
and people are clearly seen in this picture. Let’s also imagine that
there is a man trying to reach the other end of this city. From the
point of view of this man, there is a certain distance to be crossed
from one end of this city to another in a definite time. It surely takes
some time for this man to reach his destination.It is unlikely that
he can be present at two distinct places at the same time. Yet, this
is not the case for a person like you who looks at this picture from
the outside. At a first glance, you can see all the details of the city
in a single moment. Moreover, you do not even need a specific time in
which to do this.
This state outlined in the above example also holds
true for people like us confined to a specific dimension. For us, reaching
a destination becomes possible only with the passage of time and by
expending some energy. However, for God, the Creator of all dimensions,
it takes only a single moment for all events to occur.
The second important fact is the simultaneity of
these events. As stated earlier, in the sight of God, it is not possible
to talk about the notion of time; everything takes place and ends in
a single instant.
The Prophet Adam is created from clay right at this
moment, angels are prostrating themselves before the Prophet Adam right
now. Likewise, he is now being sent to earth. Furthermore, the "moment"
we are talking about is the "moment" you are reading these
Another example will further clarify this explanation.
Let’s think about the Prophet Moses (Musa). The moment his mother decided
to place the baby Moses in a box and set him adrift on the water is
still present; that moment never disappeared and will continue to exist
forever. The moment the Prophet Moses went to Pharaoh (Fir’awn) and
conveyed the message of God to him still exists. In reality, just at
this moment, the Prophet Moses is inviting Pharaoh to accept the religion
of truth. It is a fact that this is also the moment the Prophet Moses
is receiving the revelations of God in the sacred valley of Tuwa. It
is also this instant the Prophet Moses is running away from Pharaoh
with his people, and at this moment the Red sea opens a way for the
Prophet Moses and his people to walk across. For all eternity, this
moment when the sea opens will remain and exist in God's memory.
The moment Mary became pregnant, the moment she gave
birth to Prophet Jesus ('Isa) under a date palm, the moment she returned
to her people, the moment the Prophet Jesus talked to them while he
was still in his cradle, as well as the moment he asked the question
"Who will be my helpers to God?" to his disciples, and was
resurrected by God, are all happening right at this moment. Indeed,
not only the past events we are familiar with, but also the ones of
which we have no idea because they will happen in the future are, in
reality, happening just at this moment. Every second the Prophet Jesus
spent in this world, his communication of the message of God to his
disciples, his return to the earth, every speech he delivered to call
people to the path of God, his death and his resurrection on the Day
of Judgement as well as the moments he will be greeted by angels in
his entrance to Heaven are actually happening at this moment.
The same also holds true for someone who lived 3,000
years ago. A man who sat under a tree at noontime in 3000 BC, reflecting
on a ladybird perched on his finger and who therefore glorified the
creation of God, is actually performing these actions right at this
moment.Moreover, the moment the ladybird returned to its nest, as well
as all the phases the ladybird went through, from the moment it was
in its egg to its death, are all kept in the memory of God. Consequently,
all these happen in a single moment, at the very moment you are reading
Each incident, each moment
in timelessness exists simultan eously everywhere and will continue
to exist for all eternity. None of the moments, none of the events,
none of the living beings which existed in the past have disappeared,
nor will they ever disappear. The Prophet Noah is building the
ark right at this moment. The flood at the time of Noah, too,
is making its impact right now; everything, every moment related
to the flood is taking place during the time you read these lines.
These are certainly not the incidents of the past. The ongoing
events, as well as the aforementioned incidents, all happen at
the same time, since each one of them is fated to remain in the
memory of God for all eternity.
All these examples indicate, once again, an important
fact: None of the moments, none of the events, none of the living beings
which existed in the past ceased to exist and they will never disappear.
A film we watch on television is recorded on a filmstrip and the moving
pictures composing the film are not lost, whether we watch them or not.
The same thing also holds true for each and everything which has to
do with life relating to the past or future.
It is essential that this point should be well grasped.
None of these occurrences are similar to a memory, reminiscence or an
image. They are all vivid, everything being preserved as it is, and
are just like the moment we experience right now. We perceive them as
incidents of the past simply because God does not present these perceptions
to us. However, whenever He wills, God may display these images to us,
making us believe that we truly experience them.
Past, Present and Future; they are All the Same
All construction stages of these buildings as well as their
current state are in the sight of God. Every deed engaged in by
the former dwellers of these buildings is kept "right now" in
the sight of God.
As has already been clarified, in the sight of God,
all events, which have occurred on earth so far, take place at a single
moment. What the Prophets Moses, Abraham (Ibrahim), Noah, Solomon, and
Muhammad, together with all the other prophets, went through is experienced
in the time we actually live in. Likewise, the experiences of our grandsons,
of their grandsons, as well as of all the people who will live until
the Judgement Day take place at one and the same moment. Among these
people those who believe are now in heaven, while the disbelievers are
in hell, suffering agonies.
What our Prophet went through, too, will remain in
the sight of God forever. These events are presented to our sensations
as if they happened 1400 years ago. However, the truth is, right at
this moment, our Prophet Muhammad is ascending to heaven, right now,
he is taking refuge in the cave with his friend. Again, this is the
moment our Prophet is communicating the message of God to disbelievers.
Actually these are not events, which occurred in the past. On the contrary,
they are incidents doomed to exist for all eternity. The reason why
we do not see, witness or experience these events is simply because
they are not present in our memory.
The same thing holds true for all the events that
took place and the people who appeared on earth throughout history.
Philosophers in ancient Greece, those Sumerian people who invented cuneiform
writing, Cleopatra, the Egyptian Queen, artists of the renaissance period,
scientists of the 19th century, dictators of the 20th century and all other
people, even your grandfather, his grandgrandfather and you are, in
reality, living at the same moment.
None of these events disappear; they continue to
exist without changing. The Crusades, the great migration, World Wars
I and II, though seemingly distinct historical events, are actually
events happening right at this moment and they will continue to do so
for all eternity. Likewise, Egyptian, ancient Mexican, Greek and Anatolian
civilisations all existed at the same moment.
The rain, which watered the field of a man who earned
his living as a farmer in 1000 BC in Mesopotamia, and the very moment
this farmer got wet in this rain are also present in the sight of God.
A spider which wove a net in the branches of a willow in the Akkadian
period is, likewise, weaving this net just now. The same spider, in
a corner of this net, is also waiting for its prey right at this moment.
Furthermore, the very same moment you try to visualise this spider in
your mind, it is laying its eggs, collecting them on its back, and also
taking care of them. Also, at this very moment, the eggs are cracking
and its many offspring are hatching.
Nothing is left out or forgotten; the creation of
God serves various purposes. So, nothing disappears, vanishes or is
wasted. That people do not see, know or experience these various occurrences
does not mean that they are not happening right now. As God is unbounded
by time, everything has already taken place and finished in His sight.
However, being bound by time, the experiences of an individual appear
to be arranged in a series of events the order of which is apparently
based on the criterion of the past, the present and the future. However,
as also mentioned earlier, "events not yet experienced" are
not "yet experienced" for us. Past, future and present are
all the same to God. That is why God knows everything. This fact is
also stated in the following verse:
"My son!" (said Luqman), "Even
if something weighs as little as a mustard-seed and is inside a rock
or anywhere else in the heavens or earth, God will bring it out. God
is All-Pervading, All-Aware." (Surah Luqman: 16)
Your Life is Also a Single Moment
The human being in the picture is being born "right now"; he
is fishing, he is receiving his diploma, getting married and even
having children and grandchildren "right at this moment." Furthermore,
he is dying now and likewise, he is being judged in the sight
To comprehend this fact, there is no reason to ponder
merely upon events or wander in the realms of history. One’s life, which
he assumes to be long, too, is nothing but a moment. That first moment
you were born, and the moment your mother embraced you for the first
time still exist. That single square or that event will continue to
exist for all eternity because it is stored in the memory of God. Yet,
as stated earlier, because all the information that you have about the
world is conveyed to you by your five senses, and because you have such
a dependency on your senses and no information pertaining to this image
is kept in your memory, you do not see such a scene. This is true of
everything you experience in life. The day you enrolled in primary school,
one of the birthdays you celebrated, an event you experienced, the day
you graduated from high school, your wedding day and similar other "turning
points" in your life are each, in the sight of God, merely a moment.
None of these events disappeared; they will exist forever.
Similarly, the sweet taste you discovered in chocolate
when you were only a five year old, the anxiety you felt when you woke
up to the first day of the primary school, the boredom you felt in one
of the classes in high school, the difficult equations your maths teacher
wrote on the blackboard, the pain you felt when you lost a close a friend
in a traffic accident, the pride you took in your academic accomplishments,
the glow of happiness you felt when you succeeded in having something
you had dreamed of for years, in brief, all your experiences and feelings
remain just as they were; they are not simply kept in your memory. You
perceive what is kept in your memory simply as memory or the past. Though
they exist right now, the brain does not perceive these scenes, since
this is the way man is being tested on earth. Believing they are bound
by a steady, unvarying time flow, streaming from the past to the future,
people assume their lives are divided into distinct sections, namely,
past, present and future. This actually poses a major hindrance to their
grasp of particular events like the existence of the hereafter, when
and where paradise, hell and the day of judgement will take place. They
cannot relate the concept of time in the sight of God to the concept
of time people are bound by.However, knowing that every living being,
every event and everything is created eternally square by square just
like the squares making up a film roll and brought into being simultaneously
will make it easier to comprehend this issue.
In the sight of God, everything has already taken
place and finished. Some people hold the superstitious belief that God
created the universe and granted man a certain lifetime and waits for
them to be tested (Surely God is beyond all that). And He will wait
until the end of the universe. Yet, this is surely impossible. Waiting
is a weakness peculiar to man and God is surely not bound by such weakness.
God's attribute, the al-Quddus (The Holy), with which God presents Himself
to us in the Qur'an, means "free from all error, incapability and
from any kind of defect". That is why God knows the past and future
of all people, as well as their experiences, in great detail. But man,
in this life, the arena of this test, assumes time to be linear with
a beginning and an end. Yet, as stated earlier in this section, it is
not possible to talk of the concepts of past and present. Everything,
all people, all living beings live simultaneously. All ages, minutes,
seconds and even all days, hours and moments occur at the same time.
Though man is unable to see this due to the limited capacity of his
sensations, this fact is evident. In the section "Relativity of
the Qur’an", many examples were given to explain the difference
between the time man is bound by and time in the sight of God. God draws
our attention to this issue in the following verse:
Truly, a day in the sight of your Lord is like
a thousand years of your reckoning. (Surat Al-Hajj: 47)
God, the al-Hasib, knows in detail the account of
things people do throughout their lives. If one remembers that nothing
that is experienced and that exists ever disappears, one will have a
better grasp of this attribute of God. That God knows everything, every
detail of every event that is experienced is stressed in the following
Truly,God alone has knowledge of the Hour of
Doom. It is He Who sends down rain, and He Who knows what every womb
contains. No self knows what he will earn tomorrow: nor does anyone
know in what land he is to die. Truly, God has full knowledge of all
things. (Surah Luqman: 34)
This is the main reason why believers appreciate
the glory of God, submit to Him and put their trust in Him. His Majesty
simply reminds one how prone one is to weakness and how one is in need
of Him. They are aware how weak they are next to His might. This superior
moral attribute displayed by believers is referred to in the Qur’an:
Say: "Nothing will happen to us except what
God has decreed for us: He is our protector": and in God alone
should believers put their trust. (Surat at-Tawbah: 51)
Say: "I possess no power to harm or help
myself except as God wills." (Surah Yunus:49)
People whose faith is assured and who say these words
are the ones who can conceive of God’s attributes. That is why they
wholeheartedly submit to God.
Death is Not Extinction
Death is also one of the issues about which people
have misconceptions. Someone who dies is regarded as simply perishing.
Because they have inadequate information regarding the hereafter, the
eternal life, paradise and hell, people commonly either never believe
in resurrection after death or harbour vague convictions about it. Consequently,
the majority surmise they lose someone for ever when he or she dies.
This is surely a completely bigoted stance. By the time one is born
(once he is brought into the realm of existence by God), one’s eternal
life has begun. Like all other moments composing one’s lifetime, death
is merely a single moment that one experiences, but, in reality, that
person is still alive. All moments before and after death and everything
pertaining to one’s life are preserved without changing. For instance,
after the death of someone people mourn and say, "It is unfortunate
that he died; he was so young." However, all the details of one’s
life, memories of childhood, birth and family still exist. They do not
fade or become extinct. All experiences are preserved. As a requisite
of the test in this world, these memories are simply wiped from one’s
memory; however, this, is by no means, the equivalent of their not existing.
In the sight of God, the birth, life and death of
a man take place and finish simultaneously. The same reasoning applies
to all human beings. All human beings are coming into existence and
dying right at this moment. All are being resurrected and being sent
to paradise or hell. Thus, no one dies and nobody is reduced to insignificance;
all individuals are alive for all eternity. Within eternity, man spends
only a portion of his time in the world, and during this period where
he is doomed to go—either paradise or hell— is known. Just at this moment,
some of the people currently living in this world are in paradise while
others are in hell. This fact is stressed in the Qur’an; in many verses
relating to paradise and hell, the life in the hereafter is referred
to in the simple present or past tense, which draws one’s attention
to the fact that all these incidents are taking place at a single moment:
Truly, the Companions of the Garden that Day
have joy in all that they do; they and their associates are in shady
groves, reclining on Thrones (of dignity). (Surah Ya sin: 55-56)
And those who feared their Lord were led to the
Garden in crowds: until behold, they arrived there; its gates were opened;
and its keepers said: "Peace be upon you! You have led good lives!
Enter Paradise and dwell in it forever." They said: "Praise
be to God, Who has truly fulfilled His Promise to us, and has given
us this land as a heritage: We can dwell in the Garden as we will: how
excellent a reward for the righteous!" And you see the angels surrounding
the Divine Throne on all sides, glorifying their Lord with praise. They
are judged with fairness and all say: "Praise be to God, the Lord
of the Worlds!" (Surat az-Zumar: 73-75)
And the sinful saw the fire and realised they
are going to fall into it and find no way of escaping from it. (Surat
In human life, another important mystery prevails.
While mourning for someone who has died, people do not consider that
they, themselves, have also died and even been resurrected. The birth
and death of a person occur simultaneously. Even trivial details about
all people’s lives, deaths, resurrections and eternal lives are retained
in the sight of God. In other words, everything is taking place right
at this moment. Death and resurrection are truly not incidents occurring
at distinct times.
People are born in timelessness. Likewise, they die
in timelessness, they are resurrected in timelessness and, as a matter
of fact, just at this moment, they are alive. By the moment God creates
man, he becomes an eternal being. To put it another way, he starts his
endless life, becoming alive for all eternity. Meanwhile, he also witnesses
his own death as a single square. Just as he sees himself alive all
through his life, he witnesses his death, but only on one occasion.
An example will further clarify this subject. In
the Qur’an, God informs us that sleep is also created as a form of death.
Thus, every night one witnesses his death when he goes to sleep and
witnesses his resurrection when he wakes up in the morning. This fact
is manifested in the following verse:
God takes back people's selves when their death
arrives and those who have not yet died, while they are asleep. He keeps
hold of those whose death has been decreed and sends the others back
for a specified term. There are certainly Signs in that for people who
reflect. (Surat az-Zumar: 42)
Hence, man unceasingly witnesses his death and resurrection
all through his life. Similarly, he will also see his real death. Consequently,
his birth, death and resurrection as well as his eternal abode are all
known and man is forever alive in the sight of God. All these incidents
have taken place and finished in the sight of God. That is why, death,
in the sense that it is commonly understood, is not a termination or
Considering these facts, mourning for someone who
dies and feeling sorry for his death sound simply irrational. A young
man, a child or a healthy person who dies does not, after all, perish;
each exists in his best state. In the sight of God, each is alive. This
is a clear indication of God’s greatness, which is also stated in the
God, there is no deity except Him, the Living,
the Self-Sustaining. He is not subject to drowsiness or sleep. Everything
in the heavens and the earth belongs to Him. Who can intercede with
Him except by His permission? He knows what is before them and what
is behind them but they cannot grasp any of His knowledge save what
He wills. His Footstool encompasses the heavens and the earth and their
preservation does not tire Him. He is the Most High, the Magnificent.
(Surat al-Baqarah: 255)
The Life of an Animal Is Also A Single Moment
By the time life came into existence on earth, all phases an animal
went through had been retained in the sight of God. For instance, the
birth, death, the first hunt of a penguin, which lived at the south
pole and died 250 years ago, exist currently in the sight of God and
will continue to exist forever. By the same token, all these incidents
are happening just at this moment.
Every moment of a pet an animal lover possessed in his childhood
remains in the sight of God. The moment he played with it, the
moment he caressed it, the moment it died in an accident, in brief,
each moment whether he remembers it or not…
This also holds true for animals we never saw. A
camel, which lived and died 700 years ago, a crocodile in the Amazon
in 5 BC, a snake that will crack the shell of its egg in the year 2200,
or a kangaroo in Australia today. As a matter of fact, all these details
and incidents pertaining to the animals mentioned above, as well as
of all other animals of all times, occur simultaneously, that is to
say, right at this moment. Every moment of this camel, including the
moment it was born, the moment it carried a load in the desert and the
moment it drank water are all retained in the sight of God. Just now,
the camel in question, however, is still drinking water, and is still
carrying its load… All the camels that have ever lived throughout world
history and each moment they spent in this world are still alive.
The butterflies and flowers, in short, all the details you
see in a garden which you pass by are preserved in the sight of
This may seem to be beyond the grasp of the human
mind, when one considers that there have been trillions of animals living
on the planet. Yet, a mystery of the might of God is hidden here. God,
the al-Alim, is the All-Knowing. God surely knows everything about each
being, whether it is living, inanimate or dead. This remarkable fact
is related in the following verse:
He does take an account of them (all), and has
numbered them (all) exactly. (Surah Maryam: 94)
The death of animals is no different from that of
human beings. As is the case with human beings, the moments of an animal’s
life do not vanish after its death either. At the sudden death of one’s
pet, —for instance, a bird,— one feels sorry. That bird, however, is
not dead; it is retained in the memory of God in its best state. The
time this bird spent in its egg, the day it came one’s house and the
time it struggled to fly as a young bird are entirely in the memory
of God. Alternatively, in the sight of God, each moment of a dead dog’s
past life and the moment it died are known. All moments pertaining to
the dog’s past life; while it was still a puppy, while it barked, walked,
drank water and all its other states unknown to its owner are available
in the sight of God.
The same reasoning applies to all animals. The birth
and death of the dog mentioned in Surat al-Kahf, and each moment it
spent in front of the cave is in the memory of God. Likewise, the camel
brought by the Prophet Salih, and the moment his people slew the camel,
though clearly prohibited by God, are in His memory. Alternatively,
the moment a beast is killed by being trodden upon remains in the sight
of God. The death of the beast lasts only a moment and, like all other
beings, it is only an image and each image of it remains in the sight
of God. That we do not see anything pertaining to the beast after it
has died does not mean that it disappears. The death of an insect is
also over in a single moment. Like all other beings, it is only a perception
for us and every image regarding its life remains without changing.
That we do not see anything connected with it does not mean that it
has disappeared. It has merely vanished from one’s memory. In the sight
of God, if the image belonging to that insect is animated again, and
presented to our five senses, we may see it again.
The same is true of a colourful butterfly seen by
a man during the period of the French Revolution. It is quite possible
that the man felt sorry for this beautiful butterfly when he saw that
it had become a prey for a bird. However, that butterfly, with all its
symmetric beauty and colours, is right now in the sight of God. Every
moment of the butterfly, every time it opened its wings, every time
it closed them, every flower it visited are known in the sight of God.
Furthermore, this butterfly is doing all these deeds just now. Just
now, this butterfly is flying, right now it is eating and right now,
it is dying… After all, this butterfly is alive, and it will remain
alive for all eternity. The feelings of the man who felt sorry for the
death of this butterfly, and moreover, each and every moment of this
man’s life exist forever.
This fact is stressed in the following verse:
Certainly there is no hidden thing in either
heaven or earth which is not in a Clear Book. (Surat an-Naml: 75)
These explanations provide explicit answers to some
frequently asked questions, such as, "Do animals have a spirit?"
or "What will be their end?" These living beings are in the
memory of God and this is the point that really matters. As long as
the information about any animal is recorded in the sight of God (remember
that by the time it is created, it is destined to eternity), it is alive.
Yet, what is meant by "alive" here is God’s creating it in
the form of a sensation. In this sense, none of the other living beings
bear any similarity to God's attribute, the al-Hayy (The Ever-Living).
In that sense, the really important thing is not whether the animal
has a spirit or not, but whether it is created in the memory or not.
If God wills, this living being exists in our memory; if not, it does
not. If God takes back the image of an animal from one’s memory, this
means that it has died. If, however, He gives it back to the memory,
this means that it has become alive. It must be borne in mind that this
animal remains in the memory of God forever, since God is not bound
by time. In timelessness, it is not possible to talk of past, present
and future. It is all a single moment.
Flowers Never Fade, Fruits Never Disappear…
God is the One Who retains the knowledge of everything.
As stated in the verse above, since the creation of the universe, all
the leaves, and the different states they go through during their life
span, are all known by God. For instance, the information about a tree
which grew in Babylon — down to a single leaf of this tree, is all kept
in the sight of God. Furthermore, all stages of this leaf pertaining
to its fall from the tree are individually kept in the memory of God.
Sitting under this tree in Babylon, a man watching the leaf falling,
too, unknowingly remains there. None of the seconds he spent in watching
this leaf disappeared or remained in the past.
The concept of time is valid only for man. The memory of God
is above all times. Throughout history, all violets, which existed,
are actually blossoming right now, just as they are fading now.
The same is also true for the violets you grow in your flowerpot.
Most probably, the fall of a single leaf from a tree
might be perceived as an insignificant incident. Nevertheless, the fall
of all the leaves which have ever existed throughout history is also
in the memory of God.
In one of the verses, this fact is related as follows:
...He knows everything in the land and sea. No
leaf falls without His knowing it. There is no seed in the darkness
of the earth, and nothing moist or dry which is not in a Clear Book.
(Surat al-An'am: 59 )
The only thing one who comprehends this fact should
do is to submit himself to his Creator.
As stated in the verse, "He
rules all affairs from the heavens to the earth..." (Surat as-Sajdah:
5), all animals, plants, human beings, in brief, all living beings
and events are created by God and their information is kept in the sight
The same facts also hold true for flowers. Contrary
to the common belief, a poppy does not disappear when it fades: it simply
continues to exist in the sight of God. As made clear in the verse "For
He is Well-versed in every kind of creation!" (Surah Ya sin: 79),
all phases of the flower; its budding, as well as this very same flower
in bloom, together with its faded state, are all present. Besides, as
stated earlier, the consecutive changes occurring in the poppy, though
seemingly separate, are in fact phases occurring simultaneously. In
the sight of God, all details pertaining to a single poppy are kept.
However, God makes this information known to whomever He wills. In the
memory of those who see the poppy, all the images relating to it disappear.
Yet, every image remains forever in the memory of God.
God, the al-Muhsi (The Counter), Who knows the number
of all things although they cannot be counted, knows the number of every
leaf falling. Besides, all plants, leaves and flowers, all moments from
their birth to death, their growth, drying and falling, as well as each
rain drop falling on them are within the knowledge of God. These, with
all the moments of all other living beings, are created in a single
moment and on a single plane. As a whole, they are brought into being
right now. Consequently, when a leaf dries and falls down, this does
not mean that it is dead; it is only erased from our memory. However,
they may still be alive in someone else’s memory. If God presents its
image to someone else’s memory, he continues to see this particular
Every stage of the formation of raindrops is within the knowledge
of God. God is Well-versed in every kind of creation.
The same is true of a violet in your flowerpot. The
budding stage of your violet, the first moment it faded and fell down
to the ground are all in the sight of God. In other words, the violet
is blossoming right at this moment. Yet, it is also fading just at this
moment. There is no time gap between its blossoming and its fading.
The time concept exists only for us; the memory of God is superior to
all times. Remembering this fact, one realises that all violets, which
existed all through history, are blossoming simultaneously, just as
how they are fading at the same time. All the moments of the lifetime
of a tiny little plant in an African jungle which grew 1500 years ago
are also coded in the "The Mother of the Book". Similarly,
14 centuries ago, the tree under which true believers swore allegiance
to our Prophet Muhammad, the production of seeds by this tree, extension
of its buds, as well as the drying up of this tree, take place right
at this moment. All the moments of a blade of grass, growing on any
mountain of the earth, a cactus in any desert, a bush growing in a remote
part of the world, a snowdrop in the tundra or a daisy growing near
a motorway are all kept in the memory of God. Most probably, no one
on earth is aware of these plants and from now on, no one will ever
recognise them. However, they are all known to God:
… Whom not even the weight of smallest particle
eludes, either in the heavens or in the earth;nor is there anything
smaller or larger than that which is not in a Clear Book. (Surah Saba':
Knowledge of the Hour is referred to Him. And
no fruit emerges from its husk, nor does any female get pregnant or
give birth, without His knowledge. (Surah Fussilat: 47)
All details, such as what will happen as these trees are cut
down, who will cut them down, in the construction of which house
they will be used, are determined beforehand in the sight of God.
In another verse, the same fact is stressed as follows:
He knows what goes into the earth and what comes
out of it, and what comes down from heaven and what goes up into it.
And He is the Most Merciful, the Ever-Forgiving. (Surah Saba': 2)
To have a better grasp of these explanations, one
can think about fruits. The taste, odour, colour, and ripeness of a
banana growing in Africa is in the sight of God. Even before the seed
of this banana tree is planted in the soil, the moment the banana is
plucked from its branch, the person plucking it and the time this banana
will be eaten are known by God. God informs us about this fact in the
There is no creature on the earth which is not
dependent upon God for its provision. He knows where it lives and where
it dies. They are all in a Clear Book. (Surah Hud: 6)
Every second of the life span of a single orange is preserved
in the memory of God for all eternity.
Every stage the banana goes through from the moment
it is plucked till it is eaten, is in the memory of God. It may seem
that a long period of time passed between when the banana flower first
blossomed on its branch and the moment it was eaten. In other words,
one might assume that the banana existed for a considerably long time.
This fruit became ripe, and then it was plucked from its branch. Then
it went through several stages like packaging, loading, shipment, storing,
distribution, delivery, and lastly purchasing. Most probably a member
of the family of the person who bought this banana or a visitor will
eat it. Yet, as stressed earlier in former sections, this sequence of
events is perceived by man, a being bound by time and space. In the
sight of God, however, the whole life of the banana takes place at a
single moment. The banana is growing right at this moment and is being
eaten again at this moment. Yet, the same banana is being plucked from
its branch, just as it is being loaded on to a truck right now.
To repeat, the life of that banana, or your life,
as well as the life of Julius Caesar, Alexander the Great or of Edison,
is lived in the same moment. The knowledge of all fruits, plants, human
beings and animals, ever to have lived throughout history, is in the
memory of God.
These facts are surely comprehensible for those who
ponder deeply and with sincerity.
Another important point is that none of these fruits
decay, disappear or become extinct. Think of an orange that grew in
a Mediterranean country 50 years ago. Many details regarding this orange
are predestined; such as when it will grow and on which tree, whether
it will be sour or sweet, its shape, its exact colour, the place where
it will be stored, the truck by which it will be transported, the grocery
shop in which it will be sold, the customer who will buy it…Maybe it
will be forgotten in a fruit basket. In this case, the process through
which it goes totally mouldy, the moment it is found by someone and
thrown into the trash are all predestined. As we have seen, every second
of even an orange’s life, the first moment it buds, ripens or decays
exists in the sight of God for all eternity. Therefore, that orange
does not vanish in the sight of God. That is because, God is the al-Hayy.
In other words, He is alive. Everything in His memory becomes alive
from His saying "BE!".
It is He Who sends down water from the sky from
which We bring forth plants of every kind, and from that We bring forth
the green shoots and from them We bring forth close-packed seeds, and
from the spathes of the date palm date clusters hanging down, and gardens
of grapes and olives and pomegranates, both similar and dissimilar.
Look at their fruits as they bear fruit and ripen. There are Signs in
that for people who have faith. (Surat al-An'am: 99)
Not A Drop of Water Disappears
Waters all over the universe are also running at a single moment.
Even a drop of water does not disappear; it is preserved in the
sight of God for all eternity.
What has been related so far is also valid for running
water. Each drop of a stream, a spring, a fountain, an artesian well,
or a fall is kept in the sight of God. Not a drop disappears and is
wasted. It continues to exist for all eternity. As is the case with
living beings, all moments and states pertaining to them are hidden
in God's memory. All waters which have run ever since the beginning
of the universe, the ones currently running, as well as the ones which
will run in the future are actually running just at this moment. That
is to say, all are running at this single moment. There is a time in
eternity and all incidents take place in one moment.
The water which ran 300 years ago in the Mississippi,
and the water which ran 500 years ago in the Rhine as well as the water
which will run in 200 years time in the River Euphrates are, in reality,
running simultaneously in a single moment. They are all running at this
very moment. Not a drop of water disappears; it continues to run forever
in the sight of God.
Going Back To The Beginning is Also Possible
That everything is in the memory of God brings us
to another important mystery: by the will of God, going back to the
initial moment of an event is also possible. Being bound by time, such
an incident seems impossible for man. Yet, in the sight of God, time
does not exist. As stressed earlier, past and present are all a single
moment; just as a videotape cassette includes all the actions moment
by moment. After watching a film, it is possible to rewind and re-watch
it. Likewise, the same is true for daily events; by the will of God,
it is possible to see past events again. It is surely easy for God to
recreate a past event.
The states in which these areas were 1000 years ago or 500
years ago together with the foundations, which will be built on
in the future, actually exist at a single moment.
An example will contribute to a fuller understanding
of these facts: The gardens ofSaba' that have been converted into "gardens
containing bitter-tasting plants and tamarisk and a few lote trees"
(Surah Saba': 16), as referred to in the Qur’an, are still in
the sight of God. The state of the garden both before and after its
destruction remains in the memory of God. Thousands of years ago, in
a remote part of the world, the transformation of a beautiful garden
into a wheat field is in the sight of God. A house built on this wheat
field after hundreds of years, as well as the collapse of this building
and construction of a workshop in its place are all present in the sight
of God. Finally, the current state of this wheat field, now a region
populated with ghettos, is also present in the sight of God. All the
intermediary stages in between these views of the same area, too, are
in the sight of God for all eternity. By the will of God, it is possible
to go back and see the initial appearance of this garden.
Surely, all beings and incidents that have existed
since the beginning of the universe are in the memory of God. None of
these moments are missing. This is indeed a remarkable phenomenon. This
fact is a great blessing for believers in paradise, since they might
wish to see their past life or certain historical events. By the will
of God, believers might actually have the opportunity to see these events.
For instance, one might wish to see the big-bang,
the first moment of the creation of the universe, the initial formation
of galaxies, the initial stages of the first atom, the phases one goes
through in one’s mother’s womb, a war which took place in ancient times,
the lives of living beings in the depths of oceans, the sinking of the
Titanic, the childhood of one’s mother, the life of one’s grandson,
a cat lost years ago or a plant planted in childhood. All these events,
with all their details are present in the sight of God. In this sense,
by the will of God, man has the chance to see whatever he wishes, which
is surely of great blessing to him.
The Responsibility This Information Imposes On Man
The subjects which have been related so far are surely
very important and striking. The aspect of this issue which is crucial
for us is the following: every moment we live, every attitude we assume,
every word we utter or every thought we harbour are kept in the sight
of God. That believers are aware of this fact is manifested in the words
of the Prophet Jesus, in the following verse:
And when God says, "‘Jesus son of Mary!
Did you say to people, 'Take me and my mother as two gods instead of
God alone?'" he will say, "Glory be to You! It is not for
me to say what I have no right to say! If I had said it, then You would
have known it. You know what is in my self but I do not know what is
in Your Self. You are the Knower of all unseen things." (Surat
Messengers before you
were mocked. I gave those who disbelieve a little more time and
then I seized them. How terrible was my retribution!
(Surat ar-Ra'd: 32)
There is another aspect of this fact: any attitude,
which is not favoured by God, or any deed, which is not within the limits
of God, are all kept in the memory of God. Anyone trying to deny any
misdeeds will fail, since he will see the images relative to these misdeeds.
Since nothing disappears, misdeeds are also retained. Therefore, those
failing to observe the limits of God or engaging in deeds which will
not earn the good pleasure of God - assuming that nobody sees or hears
them - will be greatly astonished. They will individually witness that
God knows everything:
He is God in the heavens and in the earth. He
knows what you keep secret and what you make public and He knows what
you earn. (Surat al-An'am: 3)
However, on Judgment Day, the day when everyone will
see his deeds, nobody will have any opportunity to save himself since,
as stressed by God in the Qur’an, on that day God will encompass them
... What confronts them from God will be something
they did not reckon with. What confronts them will be the evil actions
which they earnedand what they used to mock at will engulf them. (Surat
The Day of Judgement will be the day unbelievers
will face something they never expected to face:God will disclose all
the misdeeds the unbelievers try to hide. Just as stated in the verse,
what unbelievers used to mock at all through their lives will, this
time, engulf them. The faith of believers in God and the hereafter had
always been an issue ridiculed by unbelievers all throughout their lives.
They merely interpret these certified facts as misconceptions. To their
disappointment, however, these facts encompass them all in an unexpected
way, since they themselves have been deceived. All their misdeeds are
present in the memory of God and on the Day of Judgment, they will come
face to face with each one of them. Every time they try to deny them,
the images pertaining to their misdeeds will be presented to them. This
will be the time they will realise that the knowledge of God surrounds
them all. God describes this state of the unbelievers as follows:
God is mocking them, and drawing them on, as
they wander blindly in their excessive insolence. (Surat al-Baqarah:
Without exception, the violence resorted to by unbelievers
in the time of the Prophet Muhammad, the misdeeds perpetrated by unbelievers
in the respective periods of the Prophets Noah and Abraham are all kept
in the sight of God. That the Prophet Joseph (Yusuf) was thrown down
to the bottom of the well by his brothers or that the people of Israel
mistreated the Prophet Moses are, by no means, forgotten; with no exception,
they all exist in the sight of God. Everything, most probably with all
the details no one has ever witnessed before, is kept in its entirety.
This fact is stressed in the following verse:
They may try to hide from people while they can
never hide from God. He is with them when they spend the night saying
things which are not pleasing to Him. God encompasses everything they
do. (Surat an-Nisa': 108)
The same thing holds true for those unbelievers living
in our day. They confidently assume that the plots they plan against
believers or religion will remain hidden and they will never have to
face them on the Day of Judgment. But the slightest wicked deed, and
every slander they make up against believers are in the memory of God.
The fact that these images are withdrawn from their memory should not
deceive them. It may be quite possible that they themselves forgot a
slander they spread about believers a decade ago. However, all these
misdeeds exist in the memory of God. By the Will of God, these incidents
might, at any time, reappear in their memories. Yet, unaware of this
fact, and "because they are a people without
understanding" (Surat al-Ma'idah: 58), unbelievers cannot
comprehend the might of God. Yet, on the Day of Judgment, they will
see the reality and suffer great shame and regret.
The response of the Prophet Shu'ayb to such an attitude
on the part of the leaders of his people draws our attention to the
same point — that they are people without understanding:
They said, "Shu‘ayb, We do not understand
much of what you say and we see you are weak among us. Were it not for
your immediate family, we would have stoned you. We do not hold you
in high esteem!" He said, "My people! Do you esteem my family
ties more than you do God? You have made Him into something to cast
disdainfully behind your backs! But my Lord encompasses everything that
you do!" (Surah Hud: 91-92)
When God creates the Day of Judgment, He will be
very swift at reckoning the unbelievers. When one fully comprehends
the facts presented throughout the book - that every moment of everything
that is created is preserved for all eternity - it will surely not be
difficult to imagine that all people will be judged very swiftly, in
a single moment. Moreover, it is essential that one should not consider
this moment very far off, because that moment is actually now. In other
words, all people are giving an account of the misdeeds they have committed
in this world right now. Unbelievers imagine that what they do will
not be seen or heard, or will be forgotten. However, on the Day of Judgment
they will be greatly disappointed:
You thought that God did not know many of the
things that you used to do! "But this thought of yours which you
entertained about your Lord, has brought you to destruction, so that
now you are among the utterly lost!" (Surah Fussilat: 22-23)