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Quranic Terminology: That Day

Quranic Terminology: That Day



Published in December 23, 2019

Translated by: Ahmed Fathy






1- The problematic notion of time has bewildered many scientists who examine and study the physical universe; it is a complicated notion, especially regarding the levels of the metaphysical Barsakh realm in the earth and in the heavens: "God is He Who created seven heavens, and their like of earth. The command descends through them, so that you may know that God is Capable of everything, and that God Encompasses everything in knowledge." (65:12).

2- The divine decrees and commands of the Lord God pass through the levels of the metaphysical Barsakh realm in the earth and in the heavens until reaching the physical planet Earth; yet, we have to bear the following Quranic fact in mind: the (Barsakh Day) is 1000 years within the time counted on earth: "He regulates all affairs, from the heavens, to the earth. Then it ascends to Him on a Day the length of which is a thousand years by your count." (32:5). This means that there are time differences between the earthly/terrestrial day (i.e., 24 hours) and the Barsakh Day.  

3- The disbelievers among the Meccan Qorayish tribe used to mock Muhammad by demanding from him to urge the Lord God to torment them and to hasten the Hour (i.e., the destruction of the universe before the Resurrection Day); the Lord God has said the following to Muhammad: "And they ask you to hasten the torment. But God never breaks His promise. A day with your Lord is like a thousand years of your count." (22:47); this means that the divine command about the realization of the Hour has been issued but the execution of this command will take time because of the time difference between the terrestrial time count and the sense of time within the Barsakh Day.

4- Time engulfs the (in)animate creatures and all things in the (meta)physical universes without exception; yet, the Lord God the Creator of time is, of course, Exalted and Above time; this means that time does not encompass Him; He is Superior to, and Separate from, His creation including time itself; this is inferred from this Quranic verse in which He describes Himself: "He is the First and the Last, and the Outer and the Inner, and He has knowledge of all things." (57:3). This means that the Lord God is timeless or outside the encompassing time which surrounds and envelopes the (meta)physical realms. This is hard to grasp by our limited human minds; the divine commands/decrees are issued from timelessness and pass through the Barsakh time in order to reach the terrestrial time. This means that the divine command regarding the advent of the Hour has been issued already but it has yet to pass through the Barsakh time until it reaches the physical universe (or, in Quranic terms, the heavens and the earth) which will be destroyed. This Quranic verse is addressed to those who, while mockingly addressing Muhammad, hastened the advent of the Hour: "The command of God has come, so do not rush it. Glory be to Him; Exalted above the polytheism they invent." (16:1). Hence, the divine command regarding the Hour has been already issued and we wait for its very near execution. The present perfect tense in the following Quranic verses (but in Arabic, the past tense is employed in these verses) indicates the inevitability of occurrence.    

4/1: "The humankind’s Judgment has drawn near, but they turn away heedlessly." (21:1).

4/2: "The promise of truth has drawn near. The eyes of those who disbelieved will stare in horror: “Woe to us. We were oblivious to this. In fact, we were unjust ones.”" (21:97).

4/3: "The Hour has drawn near, and the moon has split." (54:1).

5- Of course, the time in the (meta)physical universes (i.e., both the terrestrial day and the Barsakh Day) is, for the Dominant Lord God, one, temporary day or the First Day, which has a beginning and an end, as opposed to the Last Day which is yet to come (after the Hour) and it has a beginning and it has no end; it lasts for eternity. This means there is no 'third day' or any time stage after the Last Day. The First Day is 50000 years but not as per the terrestrial time count or the Barsakh time count; rather, this is as per the count of the Lord God Himself which is above the time. This is inferred from the following Quranic context: "A questioner questioned the imminent torment. For the disbelievers; none can repel it. From God, Lord of the Ways of Ascent. Unto Him the angels and the Spirit ascend on a Day the duration of which is fifty thousand years. So be patient, with sweet patience. They see it distant. But We see it near. On the Day when the sky will be like molten brass. And the mountains will be like tufted wool. No friend will care about his friend." (70:1-10).

6- In the terrestrial time, or the First Day, there are centuries, years, months, weeks, days, hours, minutes, and seconds. It is a moving time which has past, present, and future; there is no turning back in time at all; it is like a non-stop train: the present turns into the past and the future replaces both the present and the past. When we examine our watches/clocks, we find that we cannot stop the fleeting seconds, let alone trying to stop femtoseconds and bigger and smaller units of time within a second; let alone imagining the speeds of the Barsakh-level creatures within their frame of time which differs from the terrestrial time-frame. This shows that even the present is almost nonexistent; once a second passes, another second comes and then passes; when we count a second, we find that it ends; it is gone at once and forever; it will never come back. 

7- The Quranic expression of this fleeting, terrestrial time or the First Day is (that day).


Firstly: The expression (that day) in relation to this temporary, transient world:

1- The Lord God says the following about the destruction of the people/tribe of Thamood: "Then, when Our command came, We saved Saleh and those who believed with him, by a mercy from Us, from the disgrace of that day. Your Lord is the Strong, the Mighty." (11:66).

2- The Lord God has addressed the following to the early believers after the battle of Badr: "O you who believe! When you meet those who disbelieve on the march, never turn your backs on them.  Anyone who turns his back on them on that day, except while maneuvering for battle, or to join another group, has incurred wrath from God, and his abode is Hell - what a miserable destination!" (8:15-16).

3- The Lord God has addressed the following to the hypocrites after the battle of Uhud: "And that He may know the hypocrites. And it was said to them, “Come, fight in the cause of God, or contribute.” They said, “If we knew how to fight, we would have followed you.” On that day, they were closer to infidelity than they were to faith. They say with their mouths what is not in their hearts; but God knows what they hide." (3:167).

4- This is about the last sign before the advent of the Hour; i.e., the emergence of Gog and Magog from beneath the crust of the earth and their mingling with the human beings: "On that Day, We will leave them surging upon one another. And the Trumpet will be blown, and We will gather them together. On that Day, We will present the disbelievers to Hell, all displayed." (16:99-100). We think that the enormity of the situation entails repeating the expression (that day) twice in this context: the first one is about the First Day and the second one is about the Last Day.


Secondly: introductory notes about the expression (that day) in reference to the Last Day:

1- The terrestrial time in the First Day is moving/mobile; in contrast, in the Last Day or eternity, time is frozen and still; this is beyond the scope of our imagination or the limited reasoning minds of human beings.

2- Yet, what we understand about time on the Last Day is inferred exclusively from the Holy Quran, as per the following points.

2/1: The time on the Last Day has its ''days'' or main phases/stages/situations: the Resurrection Day, the Gathering Day, the Displaying Day, the Judgment Day, and the Torment Day; these stages may overlap; they are also overlapped by other situations such as witnesses who will bear testimony against others during the Judgment Day and torment ways which are related to the Torment Day. This is exemplified in the following verses: "The Day when they are dragged upon their faces into the Fire: “Taste the touch of Saqar.”" (54:48); "The Day when their faces are flipped into the Fire, they will say, “If only we had obeyed God and obeyed the Messenger.”" (33:66).

2/2: We cannot know/grasp how such days/stages may overlap; they may occur successively or simultaneously; we do not know; the Omniscient Lord God knows best.

2/3: The Quranic expression (that day) marks the differences between such overlapping stages/situations. 

3- We quote the Quranic verses containing the expression (that day) without deeper pondering on our part; this is beyond the scope of this article (which is part of the "Quranic terminology" series); we leave this mission to our dear fellow Quranists who can write more about this topic and ponder it deeply.


Thirdly: the Quranic contexts of the expression (that day) in relation to the Last Day:

 This is about the expression (that day) in relation to the Resurrection Day in general.

1- This expression comes in the context of reminding believers that the Lord God is the Master and Owner of the Judgment Day: "On that Day, true sovereignty will belong to the Dominant Lord, and it will be a difficult Day for the disbelievers." (25:26).

2- This is about the inevitability of the Resurrection Day; no one can escape it.

2/1: "So devote yourself to the upright religion, before there comes from God a Day that cannot be averted. On that Day, they will be shocked." (30:43).

2/2: "Respond to your Lord before there comes from God a Day that cannot be turned back. You will have no refuge on that Day, and no possibility of denial." (42:47).

3- We see here a Quranic indication refuting the myth of intercession [i.e., that any soul would intercede on behalf of any other soul(s) on the Last Day] even if the Muhammadans would dislike debunking their myth: "But what will convey to you what the Day of Judgment is? Then again, what will convey to you what the Day of Judgment is? The Day when no soul will avail another soul anything; and the decision on that Day is God’s." (82:17-19).

 The expression (that day) in the Quranic contexts about the advent of the Hour and about the indications of certain successive or overlapping stages/situations.

1- This is about the individual's moving away from family members upon Resurrection: "On the Day when the Hour takes place - on that Day they will separate." (30:14)

2- This is about the loss of disbelievers: "To God belongs the kingship of the heavens and the earth. On the Day when the Hour takes place, on that Day the falsifiers will lose." (45:27).

3- This is an indication of the damnation and perdition for those who have denied/rejected the Quran; this includes the Muhammadans who never heeded the Quranic warning: "The torment of your Lord is coming. There is nothing to avert it. On the Day when the heaven sways in agitation. And the mountains go into motion. Woe on that Day to the deniers." (52:7-11).

4- Again, this is about the individual's moving away from family members, relatives/kinsmen, companions, friends, and acquaintances upon Resurrection: "When the sky splits apart, and becomes rose, like paint. So which of your Lord’s marvels will you deny? On that Day, no human and no jinn will be asked about his sins." (55:37-39); this is detailed here: "But when the Deafening Noise comes to pass. The Day when a person will flee from his brother. And his mother and his father. And his consort and his children. Every one of them, on that Day, will have enough to preoccupy him." (80:33-37).

5- This is about the Dominant Lord God's full control of the Resurrection Day, the Day of Gathering, and the Day of Judgment: "Then, when the Trumpet is sounded a single time. And the earth and the mountains are lifted up, and crushed, with a single crush. On that Day, the Event will come to pass. And the heaven will crack; so on that Day it will be frail. And the angels will be ranged around its borders, while eight will be carrying the Throne of your Lord above them that Day. Onthat Day you will be exposed, and no secret of yours will remain hidden." (69:13-18).

6- This is about the disbelievers: "When the Trumpet is blown. That Day will be a difficult day. For the disbelievers - not easy." (74:8-10).

7- This is about how the Lord God has counted deeds of humanity, forgotten by them, and about gathering of human souls before their Lord God after the Hour and the Resurrection: "He asks, “When is the Day of Resurrection?” When vision is dazzled. And the moon is eclipsed. And the sun and the moon are joined together. On that Day, man will say, “Where is the escape?” No indeed! There is no refuge. To your Lord on that Day is the settlement. On that Day man will be informed of everything he put forward, and everything he left behind." (75:6-13). 

8- This is an indication about the questions and fright of disbelievers after the Resurrection: "On the Day when the Quake quakes. And is followed by the Successor. Hearts on that Day will be pounding. Their sights downcast. They say, “Are we to be restored to the original condition?" (79:6-10).

9- This is about the Hour followed by the Judgment Day: "Those who disbelieve will continue to be hesitant about it, until the Hour comes upon them suddenly, or there comes to them the torment of a desolate Day. Sovereignty onthat Day belongs to God; He will judge between them. Those who believe and do good deeds will be in the Gardens of Bliss. But those who disbelieve and reject Our Verses - these will have a humiliating torment." (22:55-57).

10- This is about the destruction of the earth and the astonishment of the resurrected human beings: "When the earth is shaken with its quake. And the earth brings out its loads. And man says, “What is the matter with it?” On that Day, it will tell its tales. For your Lord will have inspired it. On that Day, the people will emerge in droves, to be shown their works. Whoever has done an atom's weight of good will see it. And whoever has done an atom's weight of evil will see it." (99:1-8).

 The expression (that day) regarding the Resurrection itself.

1- The blowing of the Trumpet here is a figurative way to express the Hour and then how it is followed by the Resurrection; there is an indication of refuting the myth of intercessors: "When the Trumpet is blown, no relations between them will exist on that Day, and they will not ask after one another." (23:101).

2- The excuses of the unjust ones will never be accepted: "But those endowed with knowledge and faith will say, “You remained in God’s Book until the Day of Resurrection. This is the Day of Resurrection, but you did not know.”On that Day, the unjust ones' excuses will not benefit them, nor will they be excused." (30:56-57).

3- This is an indication of Judgment after the Resurrection and about the Omniscience of the Lord God: "Does he not know? When the contents of the graves are scattered around. And the contents of the hearts are obtained. Their Lord, on that Day, is fully informed of them." (100:9-11).

 The expression (that day) regarding Gathering all souls before the Dominant Lord God after the Resurrection.

1- Gathering is the stage following the Resurrection: "The Day when a person will flee from his brother. And his mother and his father. And his consort and his children. Every one of them, on that Day, will have enough to preoccupy him." (80:34-37)

2- This is about Gathering Day for the Display Day.

2/1: "On the Day when the Trumpet is blown - We will gather the sinners on that Day, blue." (20:102).

2/2: "And leg is entwined with leg. To your Lord on that Day is the drive." (75:29-30).

2/3: "On that Day, they will follow the caller, without any deviation..." (20:108).

 The expression (that day) regarding the Judgment.

  Of course, there is no intercessors at all among human souls: " On that Day, they will follow the caller, without any deviation. Voices will be hushed before the Dominant Lord, and you will hear nothing but murmur. On that Day, intercession will not avail, except for him permitted by the Dominant Lord, and whose words He has approved. He knows what is before them and what is behind them, and they cannot comprehend Him in their knowledge." (20:108-110).

 This is about the witnesses on the Judgment Day.

1- "The dwellers of Paradise on that Day will be better lodged, and more fairly accommodated. The Day when the sky is cleft with clouds, and the angels are sent down in streams." (25:24-25). Muhammad will bear witness against disbelievers: "And the Messenger will say, “My Lord, my people have abandoned this Quran.”" (25:30)

2- Witnesses (who had been pious people who adhered to the Truth) including prophets/messengers will testify against their contemporaries; the disbelievers will sense deep regret after it is too late for them: "Then how will it be, when We bring a witness from every community, and We bring you as a witness against these? On that Day, those who disbelieved and disobeyed the Messenger will wish that the earth were leveled over them. They will conceal nothing from God." (4:41-42).

3- Mortals who have been worshiped as deities will disown the polytheists who worshiped and deified them; e.g., Muhammad will disown the Muhammadans and Christ will disown the Christians, and so on and so forth: "And when the polytheists see their associates, they will say, “Our Lord, these are our associates whom we used to invoke besides You.” They will strike back at them with the saying, “Surely you are liars.”On that Day they will offer their submission to God, and what they had invented will abandon them." (16:86-87).

4- This is about the outcome of Judgment: "Whoever brings a virtue will receive better than it - and they will be safe from the horrors of that Day. But whoever brings evil - their faces will be tumbled into the Fire. Will you be rewarded except for what you used to do?" (27:89-90).

5- The disbelievers will be screened from the mercy of the Dominant Lord and this means that they will enter into Hell: "Not at all. Their hearts have become corroded by what they used to earn. Not at all. On that Day, they will be screened from their Lord.Then they will burn in Hell." (83:14-16).

6- This is about the pardon and forgiveness granted to the pious ones.

6/1: The angels pray for them: "And shield them from the evil deeds. Whomever You shield from the evil deeds, on that Day, You have had mercy on him. That is the supreme achievement.”" (40:9).

6/2: Despite the following words of Muhammad, the Muhammadans assume he would act as their 'intercessor': "Say, “I fear, should I defy my Lord, the torment of a tremendous Day.” Whoever is spared on that Day - He had mercy on him. That is the clear victory." (6:15-16).

7- This is about Judgment using the Scales: "The Scales on that Day will be just. Those whose weights are heavy - it is they who are the successful. But as for those whose weights are light - it is they who have lost their souls, because they used to deny Our Verses." (7:8-9).

 The expression (that day) about the Torment Day.

This is about the disbelievers: "On that Day, you will see the sinners bound together in chains." (14:49).

The following is about their seeing the torment.

1- "They will be shown each other. The criminal wishes he would be redeemed from the torment of that Day by his children." (70:11).

2- This is about their being rebuked by questions: "On the Day when He will call to them, and say, “What did you answer the Messengers?” They will be blinded by the facts on that Day, and they will not question each other." (28:65-66); "Abundance distracts you. Until you visit the graveyards. Indeed, you will know. Certainly, you will know. If you knew with knowledge of certainty. You would see the Inferno. Then you will see it with the eye of certainty. Then, on that Day, you will be questioned about the Bliss." (102:1-8).

 The following is about disbelievers in Hell.

1- This is about their disputes: "They will come to one another, questioning one another. They will say, “You used to come at us from the right.” They will say, “You yourselves were not believers. We had no authority over you. You yourselves were rebellious people. The Word of our Lord has been realized against us. We are tasting it. We seduced you. We were seducers.” On that Day, they will share in the torment." (37:27-33).

2- Those who deny the Lord God's Word/Discourse (i.e., the Quran) will regret it inside Hell after it is too late for them:

2/1: " Woe on that Day to the liars. Did We not destroy the ancients? Then succeeded them with the others? This is how We deal with the guilty. Woe on that Day to the rejecters." (77:15-19); "Woe on that Day to the rejecters. In what discourse, beyond this, will they believe?" (77:49-50).

2/2: " Not at all. The record of the wicked is in Sijjeen. But how can you know what Sijjeen is? A numerical book. Woe on that Day to the deniers." (83:7-10).

 The expression (that day) regarding the comparison between Hell-dwellers and Paradise dwellers.

1- This is about enmity and amity in each case: "On that Day, friends will be enemies of one another, except for the righteous ones." (43:67).

2- This is about how eternity will look like in each case

2/1: "Faces on that Day will be radiant. Laughing and rejoicing. And Faces on that Day will be covered with misery. Overwhelmed by remorse. These are the faithless, the vicious." (80:38-42).

2/2: " Has there come to you the news of the overwhelming? Faces on that Day will be shamed. Laboring and exhausted. Roasting in a scorching Fire. Given to drink from a flaming spring. They will have no food except thorns. That neither nourishes, nor satisfies hunger. Faces on that Day will be joyful. Satisfied with their endeavor. In a lofty Garden." (88:1-10).

2/3: " No - when the earth is leveled, pounded, and crushed. And your Lord comes, with the angels, row after row. And on that Day, Hell is brought forward. On that Day, man will remember, but how will remembrance avail him? He will say, “If only I had forwarded for my life.” On that Day, none will torment as He torments. And none will shackle as He shackles. But as for you, O tranquil soul. Return to your Lord, pleased and accepted. Enter among My servants. Enter My Paradise." (89:21-30).

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