According to the Theory of General Relativity, “Time has no independent existence apart from the order of events by which we measure it”. As time is based on perception, it is determined by the one who perceives, and is, therefore, relative.
The findings of modern science have led us to the conclusion that time is not as absolute a fact as supposed by materialists. However, this great knowledge, undiscovered until the twentieth century by science, was revealed to mankind in the Qur’an fourteen centuries ago. There are various references in the Qur’an to the relativity of time. It is possible to see in many verses the scientifically proven fact that time is a psychological perception dependent on events, setting, and conditions. For instance, a person’s entire life is a very short time, as we are informed in the Qur’an:
“On the day when He will call you, you will answer His call with words of his praise and obedience, and you will think that you have stayed in this world but a little while!” (Qur’an 17:52)
“And on the day when He shall gather them together, it will seem to them as if they had not tarried on earth longer than an hour of a day: they will recognise each other.” (Qur’an 10:45)
Some verses indicate that people perceive time differently and that sometimes people can perceive a very short period as a very lengthy one:
“He will say: ‘What number of years did you stay on earth?’ They will say: ‘We stayed a day or part of a day, but ask those who keep account.’ He will say: ‘Brief indeed was your sojourn, if you had only known!’” (Qur’an 23:112-114)
In some other verses, God states that time may flow at different paces in different settings:
“… Truly, a day in the sight of your lord is like a thousand years of your reckoning.” (Qur’an 22:47)
“The angels and the spirit ascend to him in a day the measure of which is like fifty thousand years.” (Qur’an 70:4)
These verses are clear expressions of the relativity of time. God encompasses the whole of time and space. The situation described in the verse below is also evidence that time is in truth a psychological perception:
“God caused him to sleep for a hundred years, then brought him back to wakefulness. God asked him: ‘How long did you tarry thus?’ He said: Perhaps a day or part of a day.’ God said: ‘No, you have tarried thus a hundred years; but look at your food and your drink; they show no signs of age; and look at your donkey. And so that we may make of you a sign to the people, look further at the bones, how we bring them together and clothe them with flesh.’ When this was shown clearly to him, he said: ‘I know that God has power over all things.’” (Qur’an 2:259)
The above verse clearly emphasises that God, who created time, is unbound by it. Man, on the other hand, is bound by time, which is ordained by God. As in the verse, man is even incapable of knowing how long he has slept. This being so, to assert that time is absolute (just as materialists do in their distorted thinking) is very unreasonable.
The writer is a master’s student of Zoology at CUK. [email protected]