Eternity has Already Begun (2/2)
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 Allah. 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 Allah and will continue to exist forever. By the same token, all these incidents are happening just at this moment.
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 Allah. 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.
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 Allah is hidden here. Allah, the al-Alim, is the All-Knowing. Allah surely knows everything about each being, whether it is living, inanimate or dead. This remarkable fact is related in the following verse:
He has counted them and numbered them precisely. (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 Allah 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 Allah. Alternatively, in the Sight of Allah, each moment of a dead dog's past life and the moment it died are known. The image of its death is a single frame. 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 Allah.
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 Allah. Likewise, the camel brought by the Prophet Salih (pbuh), and the moment his people slew the camel, though clearly prohibited by Allah, are in His memory. Alternatively, the moment a beast is killed by being trodden upon remains in the Sight of Allah. 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 Allah. 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 in a single frame 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 Allah, 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 colorful 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 colors, is right now in the Sight of Allah. 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 Allah. 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 Allah and this is the point that really matters. As long as the information about any animal is recorded in the Sight of Allah (remember that by the time it is created, it is destined to eternity), it is alive. Yet, what is meant by "alive" here is Allah's creating it in the form of a sensation. In this sense, none of the other living beings bear any similarity to Allah'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 Allah wills, this living being exists in our memory; if not, it does not. If Allah 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 Allah forever, since Allah 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…
Allah 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 Allah. 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 Allah. Furthermore, all stages of this leaf pertaining to its fall from the tree are individually kept in the memory of Allah. 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.
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 Allah.
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 directs the whole affair from heaven to earth...." (Surat as-Sajda: 5), Allah created all animals, plants, human beings, in brief, all living beings and events and their information is kept in the Sight of Allah.
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 Allah. As made clear in the verse "He has total knowledge of each created thing" (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 Allah, all details pertaining to a single poppy are kept. However, Allah 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 Allah.
Allah, 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 Allah. 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 Allah presents its image to someone else's memory, he continues to see this particular leaf.
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 Allah. 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 Allah is superior to all times. Remembering this fact, one realizes 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".
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 Allah. 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 Allah is superior to all times. Remembering this fact, one realizes 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 Allah. Most probably, no one on earth is aware of these plants and from now on, no one will ever recognize them. However, they are all known to Allah:
… 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)
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, odor, color, and ripeness of a banana growing in Africa is in the Sight of Allah. 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 Allah. Allah informs us about this fact in the following verse:
There is no creature on the earth which is not dependent upon Allah for its provision. He knows where it lives and where it dies. They are all in a Clear Book. (Surah Hud: 6)
Every stage the banana goes through from the moment it is plucked till it is eaten, is in the memory of Allah. 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 Allah, 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 Allah. 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 color, 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 moldy, 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 Allah for all eternity. Therefore, that orange does not vanish in the Sight of Allah. That is because, Allah is the al-Hayy. In other words, He is alive. Everything in His memory becomes alive from His saying "Be!".
Not A Drop of Water Disappears
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 Allah. 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 Allah'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 Allah.
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.
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 Allah. In this sense, by the will of Allah, man has the chance to see whatever he wishes, which is surely of great blessing to him.
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 harbor are kept in the Sight of Allah. From the following words of the Prophet Jesus (pbuh) revealed in the Qur'an, it is ascertained that believers are well acknowledged of this great fact:
And when Allah says, "'Jesus son of Maryam! Did you say to people, 'Take me and my mother as two gods instead of Allah 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'ida: 116)
There is another aspect of this fact: any attitude, which is not favored by Allah, or any deed, which is not within the limits of Allah, are all kept in the memory of Allah. 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 Allah or engaging in deeds which will not earn the good pleasure of Allah—assuming that nobody sees or hears them—will be greatly astonished. They will individually witness that Allah knows everything. Allah states in the verse:
He is Allah 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 the Day of Judgment, the day when everyone will see his deeds, nobody will have any opportunity to save himself since, as stressed by Allah in the Qur'an, on that day Allah will encompass them entirely:
... What confronts them from Allah will be something they did not reckon with. What confronts them will be the evil actions which they earned and what they used to mock at will engulf them. (Surat az-Zumar: 47-48)
The Day of Judgment will be the day unbelievers will face something they never expected to face: Allah 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 Allah 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 Allah 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 realize that the knowledge of Allah surrounds them all. Allah describes this state of the unbelievers as follows:
Allah is mocking them, and drawing them on, as they wander blindly in their excessive insolence. (Surat al-Baqara: 15)
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)
Without exception, the violence resorted to by unbelievers in the time of the Prophet Muhammad (may Allah bless him and grant him peace), the misdeeds perpetrated by unbelievers in the respective periods of the Prophets Noah and Abraham are all kept in the Sight of Allah. That the Prophet Joseph (pbuh) was thrown down to the bottom of the well by his brothers or that the people of Israel mistreated the Prophet Moses (pbuh) are, by no means, forgotten; with no exception, they all exist in the Sight of Allah. 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 try to conceal themselves from people, but they cannot conceal themselves from Allah. He is with them when they spend the night saying things which are not pleasing to Him. Allah 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 Allah. 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 Allah. By the Will of Allah, these incidents might, at any time, reappear in their memories. Yet, unaware of this fact, and "because they are people who do not use their intellect" (Surat al-Ma'ida: 58), unbelievers cannot comprehend the might of Allah. Yet, on the Day of Judgment, they will see the reality and suffer great shame and regret.
The same truth lies in the response of the Prophet Shu'ayb (pbuh) informed in the Qur'an 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 Allah? 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 Allah 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 Allah would never know much of what you did. It is that thought you had about your Lord that has destroyed you so now you find yourselves among the lost. (Surah Fussilat: 22-23)