Harun Yahya - Eternity Has Already Begun - Chapter 3
Eternity Has Already Begun


Chapter 3

The Eternity Has Already Begun

The Limited Memory of Man and the Endless Memory of God

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 non-existent.

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 detail.

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 mysteries.

"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: 4)

… with Him is the Mother of the Book. (Surat ar-Ra'd: 39)

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" mean?

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 of God.

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 lines.

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 this passage.

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 of God.

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 verse:

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 al-Kahf: 53)

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 extinction.

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 Qur’an:

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 God.

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 of God.

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 leaf.

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': 3)

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 following verse:

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 al-Ma'idah: 116)

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 entirely:

... 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 az-Zumar: 47-48)

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: 15)

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)