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Marching Does Not Necessarily Mean Marching on Foot

 
Question:

Salam alaykom,I have a question pertaining to a hadith: Ibn Khuzaymah narrated in his Saheeh (9105) and in his Kitaab al-Tawheed (no. 594) that Ibn Mas’ood (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: “Between the lowest heaven and the one above it is (a distance of) five hundred years, and between each heaven and the next is (a distance of) five hundred years marching.” According to another report: “The thickness of each heaven is a distance of five hundred years marching…” It was classed as saheeh by al-Dhahabi in al-‘Alw (p. 64) and by Ibn al-Qayyim in Ijtimaa’ al-Juyoosh al-Islamiyyah, p. 100. How do we understand this hadith? According to a reply given by you here – http://www.islamweb.net/emainpage/index.php?page=showfatwa&Option=FatwaId&Id=297961You write:”Therefore, even if this Hadeeth is authentic, it does not contain any known actual determination of the distance between the earth and the heaven, and nor does it contain any actual known determination of the distance between each of the seven heavens, because the speed and even the time itself is not specified.”You say that the speed is not mentioned but the hadith uses the word “marching” “مسيرة”Is that not a reference to the speed? Lastly, when the hadith says “The thickness of each heaven is a distance of five hundred years marching.” Does that mean you can walk (مسيرة) from the beginning of the lowest heaven (this universe) to the end of it in just five hundred years? How do we understand this in light of todays science?

Answer:

All perfect praise be to Allah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allah, and that Muhammad, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, is His slave and Messenger.

The word “marching” does not necessarily mean marching on foot; it may be another kind of marching.

In was reported in one Hadeeth that one of the angel bearers of the Throne, that the distance between his ear and shoulder, the throbbing of a bird, is equal to the distance of one hundred years. [Abu Na’eem, with this wording] It was also reported by others with similar wordings.

Therefore, you see that the word ‘marching’ [In Arabic ‘Maseerah’; in the above Hadeeth, it is translated just by the word distance] did not refer to the marching of a man on his feet; rather, it referred to the speed of the throbbing of the bird with his wings.

We advise you to busy yourself with what is more important and beneficial to you, and do not exhaust yourself in searching matters of the Unseen, which you are not Islamically required to investigate.

In the fatwa that you referred to, there is a beneficial reference to this meaning.

Allah knows best.

 

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