Not one moment lived by a person is
lost. Each one remains hidden forever in all its vitality
in God's memory.
Some of those who do not
completely understand that matter is actually a complex of perceptions
formed in the brain fall into error and draw wrong conclusions.
For example, some people understand the explanations about matter
being an illusion to mean that matter does not exist. Others think
that matter exists as an illusion only when we are looking at
it, but when we are not looking at it, it does not exist. Neither
of these ideas is correct.
First, to say that matter does not exist, or that people,
trees or birds do not exist is definitely wrong. All of these
things exist and have been created by God. But, as we have explained
from the beginning of this book, God has created all these things
as an image or a perception. That is to say, after God created
these things, He did not give them a concrete independent existence.
Every one of them continues to be created at every moment.
Whether we see them or not, all these things are eternal
in God's memory. All those things that have existed before us,
and that will exist after us, have already been created by God
in one single moment. As has been explained in the earlier chapter,
time is an illusion; God created time and He is not bound by it.
Therefore, those things that will exist for us in the future have
been created in one moment in God's sight and they currently exist.
But we cannot see them yet because we are bound by time.
Just as those things we will see in the future (or
will exist in the future for us) are present every moment in God's
memory, so, in the same way, things in the past do not cease to
exist, but are present in God's memory. For example, when you
were a fetus in your mother's womb, the day when you started to
learn how to read and write, the moment you picked up your first
school report, the moment you first drove a car, the time an old
lady smiled at you when you gave her your seat on a bus, and other
such things you experienced in the past, together with all the
moments you will experience in the future, are at this moment
in God's memory and will remain there for eternity.
EVERY MOMENT OF OUR LIVES
IS KEPT IN GOD'S SIGHT. NONE IS LOST, THEY ALL REMAIN VIVID
Suppose you kick a stone as you walk along a path.
The time when you would kick that stone was determined and created
in your fate even before you were born. The fact that this stone
fell off a larger piece of rock, and every stage at which each
of its cracks and recesses was formed-all of these were present
in the sight of God even before you kicked the stone.
||Every state of the
butterfly you see in the picture-from the time it is
an egg to when it enters its cocoon, from the time it
leaves the cocoon and begins to fly to the time it dies-is
vividly present in God's sight. In God's sight the butterfly
is leaving the cocoon now, beginning to fly now and
dying and falling to the ground now
The same thing is true of a dead butterfly you see
in a garbage can or a dry leaf falling from a tree onto your head.
From the time the butterfly was still a caterpillar to the time
it left its cocoon, from the time its wings dried to the time
it fell into the garbage, everything was predetermined in its
fate. In God's sight, the living butterfly and the dead butterfly
continue continue to exist and will continue to exist eternally.
Everything Is Recorded In The Mother Of The Book
As we explained in the foregoing section, God created
in one moment every event and every creature that we perceive
as past and future. In the Koran it is revealed that the fates
of every human being and every other creature are hidden in the
Mother of the Book:
And truly, it is in the Mother
of the Book, in Our Presence, high in dignity, and full of wisdom.
(The Koran, 43: 4)
… We possess an all-preserving
Book. (The Koran, 50:4)
Certainly there is no hidden
thing in either heaven or earth which is not in a Clear Book.
(The Koran, 27: 75)
In other verses, God says that everything that happens
in heaven and on earth is recorded in this book.
Those who disbelieve say, "The Hour will never
come." Say: "Yes, by my Lord, it certainly will come!" He is the
Knower of the Unseen, Whom not even the weight of the 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. (The Koran, 34: 3)
It is revealed in these verses that, since the universe
was created, everything animate and inanimate, every event which
happens are the creation of God and are therefore in His knowledge.
In other words, all these things are in God's memory. The Mother
of the Book is a manifestation of God as the Preserver (Al-Hafiz).
Past And Future Are Actually Experienced In The
Because time does not exist in the sight of God, all
things happen in a single moment, that is in the "present". All
events which we think of as past and future are present to God;
in His sight everything is much more clear and vital than we can
perceive. For example, at this moment Jonah is being cast into
the sea as a result of the drawing of lots; Joseph is being thrown
in to the well by his brothers; he is eating his first meal in
prison and leaving the prison. At this moment Mary is speaking
with Gabriel; Jesus is being born. At this moment Noah is driving
the first nail into the ark and leaving the ark with his family
at the place God chose for them.
|Events in the past are
vividly and clearly experienced in God's memory as present
events. For example, the workers making the pyramids
are carrying their materials now, getting tired now,
getting thirsty and drinking water now.
The mother of Moses is putting his cradle into the
water, Moses is receiving his first revelation from God in the
bush, he is dividing the sea and the believers are passing through
it. At this moment Pharaoh and his army are being drowned as they
cross through the sea and Moses is speaking with Khidr, Khidr
is repairing the walls of the orphan children. Those who asked
Dhu'l-Qarnayn to build a barrier to protect them are at this moment
presenting their request and Dhu'l-Qarnayn is building the rampart
that was not to be breached until the Day of Judgment. Abraham
is at this moment warning his father, breaking down the idols
of the pagans, and the fire they threw at him is giving Abraham
coolness. Muhammad is at this moment receiving a revelation from
Gabriel and he is being taken from Masjid al-Haram to Masjid al-Aqsa.
At this moment an earthquake is destroying the people of 'Ad.
The dwellers in Paradise are on their thrones engaged in mutual
conversation; the dwellers in Hell are being consigned to the
flames suffering in great sorrow for which there is no remedy
God sees and hears all these things, in this moment,
with a far greater clarity than we can imagine. God can hear sounds
at frequencies that we cannot hear and He can see things that
we cannot see. All the events and sounds that we can perceive
and not perceive are all present in the sight of God and experienced
at every moment in all their vividness. None of these things is
ever lost but continue in God's memory with all their details.
This is also true of all the events in your life. For
example, the foundation of the house left to you by your grandfather
is at this moment being constructed. Your father is now being
born in this house. The moment you first started to talk is happening
now. You are now eating the meal you will "actually" eat ten years
Moses and his people
are fleeing through the divided sea now and being
saved. Pharaoh and his army are being covered by the
sea now and being drowned. Noah's ark and Solomon's
temple are being built now. All these things are now
present in God's memory, much more vividly and clearly
than we can know.
The reality that all these examples present us with
is this: no moment, no event or no existing thing has ever, or
will ever cease to exist. As a film we are watching on television
is recorded on a film strip and composed of several frames, and
as our not seeing some of the frames does not mean that they do
not exist, so it is with what we call "the past" and "the future".
It is very important to understand one point correctly:
none of these images is like a memory or a dream. All of them
are vivid as if you were experiencing them at this moment. Everything
is vitally alive. Because God does not give us these perceptions,
we see them as past. And God can show us these images whenever
He wants to; by giving us the perceptions proper to these events,
He can make us experience the events.
From these examples it can be seen that for God, past
and future are both the same. For this reason, nothing is hidden
from God, as is pointed out in this verse;
(Luqman told his son): "My son, even if something
weighs as little as a mustard-seed and is inside a rock or anywhere
else in the heavens or earth, God will bring it out. God is All-Pervading,
All-Aware." (The Koran, 31: 16)
Every moment of the demolition of
this building is present in God's memory. Every moment--from
the laying of the foundation to the moment when it is destroyed--will
remain present forever without being lost.
To Those In Paradise Who Desire To See It, God
Can Show The Past Just As It Happened
If a servant of God in Paradise wishes, God can show
him things from the earthly life just as they happened. For example,
if a person in Paradise asks God to let him see his dead dog alive
again, his burned house before it was destroyed, or the Titanic
before it sank, God can show it all to him even more vivid that
it was before. For example, as the Titanic makes its way on the
sea, the fish surrounding it will all be in the same place as
at that moment and the passengers will be discussing the same
things using the same words. Or ancient great civilizations can
be seen in the high point of their splendor and wealth. A person
who is curious about the Inca civilization can see any period
of this civilization whenever he wishes. Because every event continues
to be lived eternally with the same vividness in God's memory,
the person who wants to see an event will find everything present
the same as it was.
|NO MOMENT THAT IS
EXPERIENCED DISAPPEARS IN GOD'S SIGHT
In one verse, God reveals that in Paradise people will
have everything they desire:
... You will have there all that your selves
could wish for. You will have there everything you demand. (The
Koran, 41: 31)
MAN WATCHES EVERY MOMENT
HE LIVES WHEN IT OCCURS, JUST LIKE THE FRAMES OF A FILM
If those in Paradise wish it, God will show them every
worldly image and occurrence that will give them sorrow but will
make them happy and joyous. This is a great blessing that God
has prepared for His worthy servants in Paradise.
The Importance Of This Matter For Human Beings
This matter is of great importance for human beings
because everything that happens to us in a day, even things we
have forgotten by the time evening comes, the way we act, our
attitudes and every thought that crosses our minds are unforgotten
and kept in God's sight.
For example, a person gossiping with his friend forgets
this; it is not important to him. But that moment when he gossiped
remains forever in God's sight. Or if a person has a negative
thought about Muslims, that thought, the moment he thought it,
the expression on his face and the sentences he used all remain
forever in God's sight. Or the self-sacrifice with which a person
feeds his friend although he himself is hungry will remain eternally
in God's sight together with the circumstances of that moment,
and the attitude and the thoughts that were expressed. Or a person
who remains patient in a difficulty for God's sake and speaks
kind words to the one who is troubling him will not have his fine
moral behavior lost, but kept for eternity. And on the Day of
Judgment, God will question all the good and evil deeds that a
person has committed; those things which people have done but
forgotten will confront them unforgotten and unchanged. Some people
will even be surprised that the book they are given in the course
of the reckoning is so detailed and they will say,
The Book will be set in place and you will see
the evildoers fearful of what is in it. They will say, "Alas for
us! What is this Book which does not pass over any action, small
or great, without recording it?" They will find there everything
they did and your Lord will not wrong anyone at all. (The Koran,
For this reason, a person aware of this reality must
never forget that his every act and thought are locked for ever
in God's memory and will continue to exist there; he must take
care and fear the Day of Judgment.
A PHYSICIST WHO EXPLAINS
TIMELESSNESS AND ETERNITY
In an interview in Discover
magazine with the famous physicist Julian Barbour, author
of The End of Time, it is shown that the subjects we have
touched in this section are scientifically verifiable. Some
of the topics which Barbour explained in the article entitled
"From Here to Eternity" are reported by Tim Folger, a writer
In his view, this moment and
all it holds- Barbour himself, his American visitor, Earth,
and everything beyond to the most distant galaxies- will
never change. There is no past and no future. Indeed, time
and motion are nothing more than illusions. In Barbour's
universe, every moment of every individual's life- birth,
death, and everything in between- exists forever. "Each
instant we live," Barbour says, "is, in essence, eternal."
Every possible configuration
of the universe, past, present, and future, exists separately
and eternally. We don't live in a single universe that passes
through time. Instead, we-or many slightly different versions
of ourselves-simultaneously inhabit a multitude of static,
everlasting tableaux that include everything in the universe
at any given moment. Barbour calls each of these possible
still-life configurations a "Now." Every Now is a complete,
self-contained, timeless, unchanging universe. We mistakenly
perceive the Nows as fleeting, when in fact each one persists
forever. Because the word universe seems too small to encompass
all possible Nows, Barbour coined a new word for it: Platonia.
The name honors the ancient Greek philosopher, who argued
that reality is composed of eternal and changeless forms,
even though the physical world we perceive through our senses
appears to be in constant flux.
Julian Barbour says that none of a person's moments
is lost and that every one of them continues to exist
forever along with others. The place where man's life
continues to be lived is God's memory.
He likens his view of reality
to a strip of movie film. Each frame captures one possible
Now, which may include blades of grass, clouds in a blue
sky, Julian Barbour, a baffled Discover writer, and distant
galaxies. But nothing moves or changes in any one frame.
And the frames-the past and future-don't disappear after
they pass in front of the lens.
"This corresponds to the way
you remember highlights of your life," Barbour says. "You
remember very vividly certain scenes as snapshots. I remember
once, very tragically, I had to go to a man who
had shot himself.
And I still have no difficulty
in recalling the scene of opening the door just to where
he was at the foot of the stairs and seeing him there with
the gun and the blood. It's still imprinted as a photograph
on my mind. Many other memories I have take that form. People
have strong visual memories. If it's not just a snapshot,
it might be a few stills of a movie you recall. Think of
perhaps your most vivid memories. You don't think of them
as just lasting a second. You see them as snapshots in your
mind's eye, don't you? They don't fade-they don't seem to
have any duration. They're just there, like the pages of
a book. You wouldn't ask how many seconds a page lasts.
It doesn't last a millisecond, or a second; it just is."
Barbour calmly awaits the inevitable
Don't we then somehow shift
from one "frame" to another?
No. There is no movement from
one static arrangement of the universe to the next. Some
configurations of the universe simply contain little patches
of consciousness-people-with memories of what they call
a past that are built into the Now. The illusion of motion
occurs because many slightly different versions of us-none
of which move at all-simultaneously inhabit universes with
slightly different arrangements of matter. Each version
of us sees a different frame-a unique, motionless, eternal
Now. "My position is that we are never the same in any two
instants," Barbour says.
The parish church next to Barbour's
home contains some of the rarest murals in England. One
painting, completed in about 1340, shows the murder of Thomas
à Becket, the 12th-century archbishop whose beliefs clashed
with those of King Henry II. The mural captures the instant
when a knight's sword cleaves Becket's skull. Blood spurts
from the gash. If Barbour's theory is correct, then the
moment of Becket's martyrdom still exists as an eternal
Now in some configuration of the universe, as do our own
deaths. But in Barbour's cosmos, the hour of our death is
not an end; it is but one of the numberless components of
an inconceivably vast, frozen structure. All the experiences
we've ever had and ever will have lie forever fixed,
set like crystalline facets
in some infinite, immortal jewel. Our friends, our parents,
our children, are always there.
"We're always locked within
one Now," Barbour says. We do not pass through time. Instead,
each new instant is an entirely different universe. In all
of these universes, nothing ever moves or ages, since time
is not present in any of them. One universe might contain
you as a baby staring at your mother's face. In that universe
you will never move from that one, still scene. In yet another
universe, you'll be forever just one breath away from death.
All of those universes, and infinitely many more, exist
permanently, side by side, in a cosmos of unimaginable size
and variety. So there is not one immortal you, but many:
the toddler, the cool dude, the codger. The tragedy- or
perhaps it's a blessing- is that no one version recognizes
its own immortality. Would you really want to be 14 for
eternity, waiting for your civics class to end? (Tim Folger,
"From Here to Eternity", Discover, December 2000, p.54)
These explanations of Julian
Barbour's theories illustrate very well the scientific aspect
of what has been related in this section. From this point
of view, Barbour's theories parallel the subject of this
book. But the important point that must be explained is
this: Barbour explains that nothing that has happened in
the past will be lost, and that every event is present in
this moment as a series of photographs. Certainly, past
and future are present every moment in God's memory but
not as a series of photographs; they are actually being
experienced at this moment. For example, Joseph's brothers
are actually putting Joseph in the well at this moment.
The Egyptian pyramids are actually being constructed at
this moment and the workers are putting the stones in place.
Just as we are experiencing this moment actually and vividly,
so all the past and future are being experienced in God's
sight as actual and vivid.
Today these facts have been
scientifically proven by developments in modern physics
and there is a great correspondence between them and what
is said in the Koran about timelessness and eternity. This
great wonder in God's creation is a sign of God's eternal
power and majesty; it is a reality which must be carefully
considered and understood.