What Is the Explanation of the Hadith of Allah’s Ordainment 50,000 Years before Creation?

Answered by Mawlana Ilyas Patel

This question is about the hadith in Sahih Muslim. Abdullah b. ‘Amr b. al-‘Aas reported: I heard Allah’s Messenger (Allah bless him and give him peace) as saying: Allah ordained the measures (of quality) of the creation fifty thousand years before He created the heavens and the earth, as His Throne was upon water.

Would you be able to provide a comprehensive explanation of this hadith (the portion of it relating to the ordainment in particular) and how we are to understand it in light of Allah, Most High, being beyond time? Please correct any misconceptions you may have identified from my question and, if Allah Wills, convey at what point this matter is taken beyond the capacity of the intellect.


In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate

The correct translation of the hadith is: Abdullah ibn ‘Amr ibn Al-‘Aas reported, I heard Allah’s Messenger (Allah bless him and give him peace) as saying, “Allah wrote down the decrees of creation fifty thousand years before He created the heavens and the earth, as His Throne was upon water.” [Muslim]

Allah Most High commanded the pen to write down on the tablet all that is to happen according to his eternal will and knowledge of His, in terms of sound, bad, quality, and quantity, and expressing it with 50,000 years to show time for human understanding, not that Allah Most has is bound by time or space. Allah Most High is transcendent above any quality of His creation, including existing within time or space, as that would entail being limited. Time is contingent, created, and having a beginning; it is not the attribute of Allah Most High. Here, the 50,000 years refers to the creation of Allah, not Himself, Mighty and Majestic.

There are associations, a realm the mind cannot penetrate. The exact relationship between the timeless attributes and their temporal effects in creation is one of the mysteries of the cosmos. And despite the amazing expression of our theology, it remains a theology of humility and embracing our limits. Trying to enter such realms causes only problems and misgivings. [Adam Atyubi, Al-Bahr al-Muhit al-Thajjaj Fi Sharh Sahih al-Muslim]

Check these links as well:
Did Allah Literally Create the World in Six Days?
When Did Allah Most High Create Heaven, Hell, and the Barzakh?
Allah’s Relationship with Time and Space
Where Is Allah
Can I Ask Allah To Reverse Time In Paradise?

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I pray this helps in your question.

[Mawlana] Ilyas Patel
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Mawlana Ilyas Patel is a traditionally-trained scholar who has studied within UK, India, Pakistan, Syria, Jordan and Turkey.

He started his early education in UK. He went onto complete hifz of Qur’an in India, then enrolled into an Islamic seminary in UK where he studied the secular and Alimiyyah sciences. He then travelled to Karachi, Pakistan.

He has been an Imam in Rep of Ireland for a number of years. He has taught hifz of the Qur’an, Tajwid, Fiqh and many other Islamic sciences to both children and adults onsite and online extensively in UK and Ireland. He was teaching at a local Islamic seminary for 12 years in the UK where he was a librarian and a teacher of Islamic sciences.

He currently resides in UK with his wife. His personal interest is love of books and gardening.