Did Allah Literally Create the World in Six Days?

Answered by Shaykh Abdullah Anik Misra


What is the meaning of the verse of Allah creating the world in six days?  Was it really six days, or is it a metaphor for something? What is the time scale with Allah (I heard one day was like 50,000 years)?


In the Name of Allah, Most Merciful and Compassionate,

Thank you for your interesting question.  It shows that you are pondering the meanings of the Quran, which is praiseworthy.

In seven places in the Qur’an, Allah Most High says, “Indeed, it was your Lord who created the heavens and the earth in six days…” [al-Quran, 7:54, 10:3, 11:7, 25:59, 32:5,50:38, 57:4]

According to the scholars of Qur’anic exegesis, there were different opinions about what a “day” here means.  Some said it was the time equivalent from sunrise to sunset, even though the sun hadn’t been created to measure an actual day.  Ibn al-Jawzi calls this “far-fetched”. [Ibn al-Jawzi, Zad al-Masir]

Others said it meant “days of the Hereafter”, periods of time much longer than a normal day, such as a “1000 years each for day” [or perhaps more].  There are no authentic reports to confirm the length, but Ibn Ashur felt strongly that this was the correct opinion.

In the Arabic language, “yaum” commonly means a day, but also any period of time, no matter how long.  Thus, it is in Allah’s knowledge how long each stage was.  [al-Asfahani, Mufradat Alfaz al-Qu’ran]

Of course, the All-Powerful Creator does not even need an instant to create the universe.  He is not subject to time since it is His creation: 1 second and 1,000,000 years are the same for Him.  “And going too deeply into this issue is missing the point that the Quran is making.” [Ibn Ashur, al-Tahrir wa al-Tanwir]

The purpose of mentioning creation over various stages was: a) to show that the world was created by a Creator with purpose, intelligent design, and wisdom, and not a matter of chance, b) to repeat what Allah said in the Torah to remind people about its common source, and c) to teach patience and deliberation in all matters, and that Allah Ta’ala can “take His time” in punishing or revealing wisdom. [Razi, Mafatih al-Ghayb]


[Shaykh] Abdullah Anik Misra
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Shaykh Abdullah Anik Misra was born in Toronto, Canada, in 1983. His family hails from India, and he was raised in the Hindu tradition. He embraced Islam in 2001 while at the University of Toronto, from where he completed a Bachelor of Business Administration. He then traveled overseas in 2005 to study the Arabic language and Islamic sciences in Tarim, Yemen, for some time, as well as Darul Uloom in Trinidad, West Indies. He spent 12 years in Amman, Jordan, where he focused on Islamic Law, Theology, Hadith Sciences, Prophetic Biography, and Islamic Spirituality while also working at the Qasid Arabic Institute as Director of Programs. He holds a BA in Islamic Studies (Alimiyya, Darul Uloom) and authorization in the six authentic books of Hadith and is currently pursuing specialized training in issuing Islamic legal verdicts (ifta’). He holds a certificate in Counselling and often works with new Muslims and those struggling with religious OCD. He is an instructor and researcher in Sacred Law and Theology with the SeekersGuidance The Global Islamic Seminary. Currently, He resides in the Greater Toronto Area with his wife and children. His personal interests include Indian history, comparative religion, English singing, and poetry.