Islamic Web Library

An Islamic Resource Center

The use of the word ‘Day’ in the Quran

2 min read

Verse 5 of the sura ‘The Prostration’ and Verse 4 of the sura ‘The Heights’ not only point to the relativity of time, but give also a clear meaning of the Arabic word “yawm” that denotes not only the space of time of one day – which comprises 24 hours – but also a certain period of time. This makes it easier to understand the six “yawm”s mentioned in the Quran (See: 7-The Purgatory, 54; 11-Hud, 7; 10- Jonah, 3; 25-The Distinguisher, 59; 32-The Prostration, 4; 57-Iron, 4.)

Before the creation of the universe and the world there was no notion of “day,” a period of 24 hours. Therefore, the six “yawm”s must be understood as six “periods.” This gives a clue to the Jews and Christians for the interpretation of the Biblical account according to which the world was created in six days. Findings in the domain of space physics show that the universe and our world passed through many stages, from a gaseous state to galaxies, to the formation of the atmosphere surrounding the Earth, and of waters and metals.

The fact that the Quran refers to the stages that the process of creation went through is also better understood by modern cosmology. If we remember the stories of creation of ancient Egypt, China and India, we encounter wild fancies such as a universe standing on a tortoise or as an eternally existing entity. None of the past civilizations had made any reference to the stages of this evolution. This message of the Quran contributes to a correct interpretation of Biblical exegeses of the concept of day. The message in the Bible that reads: “And on the seventh day God finished His work that He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work that He had done.” (Genesis 2, 2) was thus corrected, as fatigue was certainly out of the question for God.

We created the heavens and the earth, and all that lies between them in six days, and no fatigue touched us. (50:38)


Ali, Project. THE QURAN: Its Undeniable Miracles . Unknown. Kindle Edition.