Limits of thinking about Allah's creation

Third question from Fatwa No. 782

Q 3: The question states: “We have children whom we want to encourage to reflect upon Allah’s creation. What holds the land that exists on the surface of water, and prevents it from falling into the water?

( Part No : 1, Page No: 59)

They said that ‘The earth consists of seven layers and there are inhabitants in each one of them’. Among the claims they presume is that: ‘One of the earth’s layers is hotter than Hellfire. It is where Allah places the souls of sinners and disbelievers.’ They also claim that the two angels Harut and Marut are being punished under the earth. Please, tell us about their punishment! May Allah reward you with the best”.

A: Firstly: There is no land on top of the waters surface for you to ask about what is preventing it from falling. Only the air and the sky are above the water. All universal elements are held by Allah’s Omnipotence. Allah (may He be Exalted) says: Verily, Allâh grasps the heavens and the earth lest they should move away from their places, and if they were to move away from their places, there is not one that could grasp them after Him … This constant system may be referring to a profound secret that Allah embeds in the creation and only discloses to whom He graced amongst scholars of Universal Laws and others. According to an accountreported in the Sahih (authentic) Book of Hadith of Al-Bukharion the authority of `Aly (may Allah be pleased with him) Talk to people in a manner they can understand, lest they should belie Allah and His Messenger

Secondly: Allah states that the earth is composed of seven layers saying: It is Allâh Who has created seven heavens and of the earth the like thereof (i.e. seven) … Exercising their knowledge, geologists state that these layers are above each other where air exists in-between.

( Part No : 1, Page No: 60)

Every layer is inhabited by some of Allah’s creation according to the following Ayah (Qur`anic verse):Surah Al-Talaq, 65: 12 His Command descends between them (heavens and earth), that you may know that Allâh has power over all things… Others state that the earth consists of seven layers adjacent to each other with no cavity in-between. They quote the following Hadith in support of their view: Whoever wrongly seizes a span of land, his neck will be encircled with it down seven earths on the Day of Resurrection.

Thirdly: “Sijjin” is a matter of Ghayb (the Unseen) that we should refrain from asking questions about except within the scope revealed by Allah in His Book or by His Messenger (peace be upon him). Allah (may He be Exalted) says: Nay! Truly, the Record (writing of the deeds) of the Fujjâr (disbelievers, polytheists, sinners, evil-doers and the wicked) is (preserved) in Sijjîn. Surah Al-Mutaffifin, 83: 8 And what will make you know what Sijjîn is? Surah Al-Mutaffifin, 83: 9 A Register inscribed. We should believe in it as it is with no further addition, otherwise, we may fall into the zone of prohibition, as Allah says:Surah Al-Isra’, 17: 36 So ask not of Me that of which you have no knowledge …

Fourthly: Harut and Marut are two angels whom Allah sent down to test His servants. They obeyed Allah and did not do except what He has ordered them to do. Allah has the right to test His servants as He wills, with whatever He wills. None can stop His Decree or Judgment. Allah (may He be Exalted) said: And they followed what the Shayâtîn (devils) gave out (falsely of the magic) in the lifetime of Sulaimân (Solomon). Sulaimân did not disbelieve, but the Shayâtîn (devils) disbelieved, teaching men magic and such things that came down at Babylon to the two angels, Hârût and Mârût, but neither of these two (angels) taught anyone (such things) till they had said, “We are only for trial, so disbelieve not (by learning this magic from us).” …

( Part No : 1, Page No: 61)

As for the view that they were two angels but later transformed into two men, for they disobeyed Allah by committing sins, then they were denied entry into Heavens and were put to punishment by being hung from their hair, etc. These are no more than lies. Muslims should not accept these lies. Muslims should avoid reading books such as, Bada’i` Al-Zuhur fi Waqa’i` Al-Duhur, for the authors of such books are the ones who circulate these lies. Allah knows best.

May Allah grant us success! May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions!

Permanent Committee for Scholarly Research and Ifta’

Member Member Committee Deputy Chairman
`Abdullah ibn Sulayman Ibn Mani` `Abdullah ibn `Abdul-Rahman ibn Ghudayyan `Abdul-Razzaq `Afify