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Why Should I Be Grateful to Allah for Being Created in This Painful World?

Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil

Question: Assalam aleykum,

If this world is designed to break our hearts why do we have to be grateful for being created? When we wake, why do we thank Allah for returning us back to this painful world?

Every night I sleep in the hopes that I don’t wake. I’ve heard good deeds extend our lives but why would I want more time in this Dunya?

Why are people punished for suicide – does Allah not understand the depth of our pain?

Answer: Assalamualaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I pray this finds you well. May Allah reward you for reaching out to us.

Dunya

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “The best of people is the one who lives long and does good.” [Tirmidhi]

There is much pain in this world, and there is also much joy.

Think of this world as farmland, which you tend to, and then harvest in the next life. More time on this dunya means more opportunity for you to seek closeness to your Lord, through serving Him and being of service to His creation.

Pain

Dear questioner, you sound like you are in an incredible amount of pain. Your soul can only bear so much, and you have been pushed beyond your limits.

When you are are suffering so much, it may seem easier to die, because it may feel like a cessation of pain.

Instead of looking to death as a lasting solution, I encourage you to seek help. There are other far more reachable means of gaining comfort. Is there a compassionate doctor you can speak to? A counsellor? A psychologist? A holistic healer? Please reach out for support. You cannot, and do not need to, face this alone.

In the meantime, I urge you to please commit to a daily practice from this website: Emotional First Aid.

Even though it may seem unimaginable to you right now, I pray that Allah grants you healing, and the gift of a life which brings you more joy than heartbreak. You sound very depressed and suicidal, and you need help.

Support

Where is your family? Are you connected to them? Are they are a source of comfort for you? Do you have close friends? Friends who support you, and believe in you?

If there has been abuse and trauma in your past, then suicide may feel easier than living with your tremendous pain. Please trust that you can recover from your trauma. Life can be joyful and meaningful again.

Suicide

“Indeed We have created man, and We know whatever thoughts his inner self develops, and We are closer to him than (his) jugular vein.’ [Qur’an, 50:16]

Allah understands the pain you are going through. Despite this, He forbids suicide. Your Loving Creator wants you to choose life.

Please perform the Prayer of Need and beg Allah to help you choose life.

Gratitude

Gratitude comes when you recognise your blessings, and the One who continually gives them to you.

A Reader on Thankfulness to Allah and True Gratitude

Right now, because you are in so much pain, it may feel impossible for you to see the blessings in your life. Your priority right now is not gratitude. Your priority right now is your survival, and your sanity. Please reach out for help.

Please see:

Ridding Oneself of Depression and Suicidal Thoughts
Doubts, Difficulties, and Suicidal Thoughts
Selected Prophetic Prayers for Spiritual, Physical and Emotional Wellbeing by Chaplain Ibrahim Long

Wassalam,

[Ustadha] Raidah Shah Idil

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil has spent almost two years in Amman, Jordan, where she learned Shafi’i’ fiqh, Arabic, Seerah, Aqeedah, Tasawwuf, Tafsir and Tajweed. She continues to study with her Teachers in Malaysia and online through SeekersHub Global. She graduated with a Psychology and English degree from University of New South Wales, was a volunteer hospital chaplain for 5 years and has completed a Diploma of Counselling from the Australian Institute of Professional Counsellors. She lives in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, with her husband, daughter, and mother-in-law.

Was the World Created in Seven Days?

Answered by Ustadh Salman Younas

Question: Assalam aleykum

How have our scholars interpreted the hadith in Sahih Muslim in which the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) stated that: “Allah Mighty and Majestic created the earth on Saturday, and over it He created the mountains on Sunday. He created the trees on Monday, He created things entailing labor on Tuesday, He created light on Wednesday, He scattered the animals in it on Thursday, and He created Adam, peace be upon him, after ‘Asr on Friday, the last of creation in the last hour of Friday, between ‘Asr and nightfall.”

Is this hadith to be taken literally in that the world was created in seven days?

Answer: assalamu alaykum

There are two discussions pertinent to this hadith:

(a) its authenticity, and
(b) its meaning.

Issue of Authenticity

There has been significant debate over the soundness of this hadith. Leading hadith scholars have questioned its ascription to the Prophet (blessings and peace be upon him) for the following reasons that return to both its chain of transmission and its text:

i. Some stated that Abu Hurarya actually took this narration from Ka’b al-Ahbar and not the Prophet (blessings and peace be upon him). This was the position of Imam Bukhari and Yahya ibn Ma’in, which later scholars cite approvingly, such as Ibn Taymiyya and Ibn al-Qayyim. [al-Bukhari, Tarikh al-kabir (1:413); Ibn Taymiyya, Majmu al-fatawa (1:256); Ibn al-Qayyim, al-Manar (84)]

ii. Some scholars, such as Ibn al-Madini, stated that the chain of this hadith actually goes through an individual named Ibrahim ibn Abi Yahya who is unreliable and accused of forging narrations. [al-Bayhaqi, Asma wa’l Sifat (358-59)]

iii. Other scholars mentioned that this hadith contradicts the Qur’an (7:54), which states the universe was created in six days.

Meaning of the Hadith

As for the meaning of this hadith (with those deeming it sound), which also applies to all other hadith that mention a duration of time in which creation took place, then there were a number of views taken by scholars:

a. that the “days” mentioned here refer to a duration of time resembling what is customarily understood as a normal day,

b. that the “days” mentioned here are not understood as a duration of time resembling what is customarily understood as a normal day but to a “day with God”, which some Qur’anic verses identify as “similar to a thousand years of those which you count.” (22:47)

c. that the “days” mentioned here refer to six periods.

d. that the knowledge of the duration of these “days” is not known specifically by anyone but God.

[al-Maturidi, Ta’wilat (5:369-71); Ibn Ashur, al-Tahrir (9:162)]

:قال الإمام البخاري في التاريخ الكبير

أيوب بن خالد بن أبي أيوب الأنصاري عن أبيه عن جده أبي أيوب أن النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم قال له إذا أكننت الخطيئة قم توضأ فأحسن وضوءك ثم صل ما كتب الله لك قاله لي يحيى بن سليمان عن بن وهب أخبرني حيوة عن الوليد بن أبي الوليد أن أيوب حدثه وروى إسماعيل بن أمية عن أيوب بن خالد الأنصاري عن عبد الله بن رافع عن أبي هريرة عن النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم قال خلق الله التربة يوم السبت ، وقال بعضهم عن أبي هريرة عن كعب وهو أصح

:قال ابن القيم في المنار المنيف

ويشبه هذا ما وقع فيه الغلط من حديث أبي هريرة خلق الله التربة يوم السبت الحديث وهو في صحيح مسلم ولكن وقع الغلط في رفعه وإنما هو من قول كعب الأحبار كذلك قال إمام أهل الحديث محمد بن إسماعيل البخاري في تاريخه الكبير وقاله غيره من علماء المسلمين أيضا وهو كما قالوا لأن الله أخبر أنه خلق السماوات والأرض وما بينهما ستة أيام وهذا الحديث يقتضي أن مدة التخليق سبعة أيام والله تعالى أعلم

:قال ابن عاشور في التحرير والتنوير

وظاهر الآيات أنّ الأيّام هي المعروفة للنّاس، التي هي جمعُ اليوم الذي هو مدّة تقدّر من مبدأ ظهور الشّمس في المشرق إلى ظهُورها في ذلك المكان ثانية، وعلى هذا التّفسير فالتّقدير في ما يماثل تلك المدّة ستّ مرّات، لأنّ حقيقة اليوم بهذا المعنى لم تتحقّق إلاّ بعد تمام خلق السّماء والأرض، ليمكن ظهور نور الشّمس على نصف الكرة الأرضية وظهور الظلمة على ذلك النّصف إلى ظهور الشّمس مرّة ثانية، وقد قيل: إنّ الأيّام هنا جمع اليوم من أيّام الله تعالى الذي هو مدّة ألف سنة، فستّة أيام عبارة عن ستّة آلاف من السّنين نظراً لقوله تعالى { وإن يوماً عند ربك كألف سنة مما تعدون } وقوله { يدبر الأمر من السماء إلى الأرض ثم يعرج إليه في يوم كان مقداره ألف سنة مما تعدون } ونقل ذلك عن زيد بن أرقم واختاره النّقاش، وما هو ببعيد، وإن كان مخالفاً لما في التّوراة، وقيل المراد: في ستّة أوقات، فإنّ اليوم يطلق على الوقت كما في قوله تعالى:{ ومن يولهم يومئذ دبره } أي حين إذ يلقاهم زَحْفاً، ومقصود هذا القائل أنّ السماوات والأرض خُلقت عالَماً بعد عالم ولم يشترك جميعُها في أوقات تكوينها، وأيّاً مّا كان فالأيام مراد بها مقادير لا الأيام التي واحدها يوم الذي هو من طلوع الشّمس إلى غروبها إذ لم تكن شمس في بعض تلك المدّة، والتّعمّق في البحث في هذا خروج عن غرض القرآن

:قال أبو منصور الماتريدي في تأويلات أهل السنة

والثاني أن تكون تلك الأيام الستة على ما في علم الله تعالى تقديرها، لا يعلمه أحد سواه إلا من طريق الجملة التي أدى، وقد بيّن يوماً كخمسين ألف سنة، ويوماً كألف سنة حده لا يعلمه غيره، ثم كان يوم السابع يوم تبلى السائر وتقع العقوبة والمثوبة، وهو المقصود من خلق العالم الأول؛ فيكون ما ذكرت من تمام الظهور، والله الموفق.

[Ustadh] Salman Younas

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadh Salman Younas graduated from Stony Brook University with a degree in Political Science and Religious Studies. After studying the Islamic sciences online and with local scholars in New York, Ustadh Salman moved to Amman. There he studies Islamic law, legal methodology, belief, hadith methodology, logic, Arabic, and tafsir.

Is the World Seven Thousand Years Old?

Answered by Shaykh Shuaib Ally

Question: I’m confused about two hadiths I have read as they seem to imply that the earth is 7000 years old even though science says the earth is billions of years old. Is there a dispute in their authenticity or is there a different interpretation?

Answer: Assalamualaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I pray this finds you well.

General Principle for Understanding Revealed Texts

A general principle is that revealed texts are interpreted in a manner that accords with known facts, not in ways that contradict them.

There are a number of hermeneutical tools scholars employ to understand narrations in a way that makes sense of the text and the surrounding knowledge environment. The inability to reconcile them with empirical and observed truths constitutes a reason for scholars to consider a report fabricated.

A non-Literal Reading of Such Narrations

One such tool to make sense of the narrations in question is to consider them as intending to highlight the closeness of the Hour, not to give a specific numerical value for days remaining on Earth. That is, to consider them a type of example or comparison [ibn Hajar, Fath; ibn Rajab, Fath]. This would accord with the general meaning of other narrations that indicate the proximity of the Hour (see below), as well as allowing for those who uphold the veracity of the transmissions.

Many Scholars Consider these Narrations Fabrications

A modern reader would likely critique them because they do not seem to reconcile, prima facie, with current scientific understandings of dating the age of the universe. However, a number of classical scholars – including ibn Hazm, Qadi ‘Iyad, ibn al-‘Arabi, and al-Sakhawi – largely considered them fabricated for a different reason.
That is, that the narrations specify an age for the universe, seven thousand years, and indicate that about five hundred years remain. If this were the case, one could ostensibly calculate the end of the universe. Ibn al-Qayyim, in al-Manār al-Munīf, says that if these narrations were true, one could easily calculate from his time that there only remains of the universe two hundred and fifty one years.
This contradicts the Qur’anic text, which clearly states that this knowledge is something God has reserved for himself. For example: People ask you about the Hour; say: Its knowledge is with God alone [Qur’an; 33.63].

It is also contrary to established Prophetic narrations in the same vein, such as the Hadith of Gabriel, in which the Prophet – peace and blessings of God be upon him – was asked about the time of the Hour. He replied, ‘The one being asked is not more knowledgeable about it than the one asking’ [Muslim].

For this reason, a number of scholars have considered these narrations fabrications. Ibn Kathir, in his Nihāya, for example, holds that no narration that delimits the beginning of the universe, or indicates how much remains, is authentic. Ibn Rajab, in his Fath, argues in a similar fashion. Qadi ‘Iyad uses a similar line of reasoning to reject these reports, arguing that these time frames have already passed, and the world has not ended, clearly indicating the falsity of the contents of the reports. Ibn Hajar adds to this that since the time of Qadi ‘Iyad, three hundred years have additionally passed. [ibn Hajar, Fath].

The Closeness of the Hour

A number of Prophetic narrations, as mentioned above, do indicate the closeness of the Day of Judgment. He said – peace and blessings of God be upon him – that “I was sent, along with the Hour, like this” and held up his index and middle fingers together, indicating the proximity of the two events [Bukhari].

Such narrations indicate that what remains of this world is minimal compared to what has already passed. However, no one knows their actual lengths, and there does not appear to be anything authentically transmitted on the matter [ibn Rajab, Fath].

Further discussion, along with analysis of chains of transmitters, can be found in the sources cited above. See, for example, ibn Hajar, Fath.

God knows best.

Shuaib Ally