CHAPTER V - Cosmology and the Notion of Eternity

“Eternity… I like it so much.
Such a sweet word with such a sweet reality.”

Mawlana Shaykh Muhammad Nazim Adil al Haqqani 

I – The Notion of Eternity

1 – Eternity VS the Temporal World

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines eternity as “infinite time” and “the state of being eternal”.  In this aspect, eternity refers to the after-life because the fundamental characteristic of the temporal world is the passage of time.  Hence, eternity could be thought of as the absence of time.

From a spiritual perspective, the notion of eternity encompasses all spiritual realities because these realities belong to the after-life.  It is a symbol of the heavenly world and as such is manifested every time the value of the temporal world is minimized or decreased through spiritual discussions (sohbas) and ascetic practices (tazqiyat al nafs).

2 – Slowing of Time: Einstein’s Time Dilation Theory

Since the fundamental characteristic of the temporal world is the concept of time, one could get closer to the reality of eternity by experiencing the slowing of time.  This phenomenon, which what scientists call “time dilation”, is a consequence of Einstein’s special theory of relativity.

According to Einstein’s special theory of relativity, time slows down as an object moves at a speed that is approaching that of light.  This is explained by the fact that all physical processes slow down relative to a stationary clock when those processes occur in a moving frame.  Spiritually speaking, it means that the entity that is approaching the reality of the Muhammadan Light is freeing itself from the temporal world and is getting closer to the reality of eternity.

The slowing of time can be scientifically determined by the Lorentz time dilation transformation formula which is named after Dutch mathematician Hendrick Lorentz:

In the Holy Name of God, the All-Compassionate, the All-Merciful,
With peace and blessings upon His Prophet Muhammad SAW
upon his holy family, and upon his blessed Companions.
Bridging the Gap between Spirituality and Science

Δt’ is the passage of time measured by a stationary observer in the universe.
Δt is the passage of time measured by the entity traveling at great velocity.
v is the velocity at which the entity is traveling
c is the velocity of light.

The Wikipedia encyclopedia explains the formula as follows:

“When one accelerates towards the speed of light, time slows down with respect to the rest of the universe. 
That is, a stationary observer would see the traveling object slowing down their activity (while still traveling fast).  For them, time passes slower.”
The Wikipedia Encyclopedia

We see from the formula that as v increases (say up to 98% the speed of light) the time measured by the traveling entity tends to 0.  Scientists agree that it is impossible for any moving entity that has a mass to fully reach the velocity of light.  Spiritually speaking the 3rd postulate teaches us that this law must be a manifestation of the superiority of the station of the Muhammadan Light which can never be fully reached.  Indeed, Prophet Muhammad’s knowledge and reality will never be fully grasped.

3 – Scientific Proof of Prophet’s Sayings about Time

a – A Day With Your Lord

Prophet Muhammad (SAW) said in one of his sayings:

“A day with your Lord is like a thousands years of your counting.”

Einstein’s special theory of relativity implies that, as an object approaches the speed of light, time tends to slow down in the frame of reference of the observer.  Here, approaching the speed of light is what is meant by the expression “a day with your Lord” because the Muhammadan Light c is a manifestation of God.  The slowing of time is manifested by the expression like a thousands years and the frame of reference of the observer by the expression of your counting.

Note the term day in Arabic also refers to the smallest possible unit of time.  Hence, the saying could be read in the following way:

“As an object approaches the speed of light,
time tends to slow down relative to the frame of reference of the observer.”
Interpretation of Prophet Muhammad’s Hadith

As one may see, the definition of Einstein’s time dilation theory is a direct interpretation of Prophet Muhammad’s saying.

b – One Hour of Meditation

Prophet Muhammad (SAW) said in another one of his sayings:

“One hour of meditation is better than 70 years of worship.”

When one is engaged in meditation (muraqabah), one is like a ship that is traveling extremely fast and that is approaching the spiritual light of the Prophet (SAW) .  Mathematically speaking, it means that one’s ship is moving at a speed v that is nearing c, the velocity of light. 

Prophet’s saying provides us with the time elapsed for the traveling entity (1 hour) and the time elapsed for the stationary frame of reference (70 years).  If we take the value of time given by the Prophet (70 years of worship) and plug it back into the time dilation formula, we should find a maximum value for v that is extremely close to c.

The time dilation formula is:

Δt’ is the passage of time measured by the stationary observer (70 years).
Δt is the passage of time measured by the traveling entity (1 hour).
v is the velocity at which the entity is traveling
c is the velocity of light.

In this equation the only unknown is v, the traveling entity’s velocity.  Thus, by solving for v one may get the minimum speed at which one must move in order to gain 70 years of worship in 1 hour of meditation.

First, let’s convert 1 hour into years .  For the sake of our application we will count 30 days in each month lunar month.

1 hour = 1  ÷ 24  ÷ 360 = 1.15740740740.10-4 years

Equation (6) then becomes:

Solving for v, we get:

v = c × (0.999999999)

We see that v differs from c by a factor of 0.999999999999.  Using the values provided by Prophet Muhammad (SAW) we came up with a minimum value for the speed of the traveling entity that is extremely close to c exactly as Einstein’s special theory of relativity predicted.

In other words, when a soul is meditating it is approaching the light of the Prophet (SAW)  and this nearness gives it the reward of 70 years of worship in just 1 hour.  As noted before, the speed of the traveling entity may come close to the speed of light but it will never reach it just as a spiritual seeker will never completely reach the ocean of light and wisdom of the Prophet (SAW).

Because of the nearness that exists between the traveling entity’s speed and the velocity of light a stationary entity would not be able to distinguish the speed of the traveling entity from the velocity of light.  However, since the speed of light remains constant in all frames of reference the traveling entity would still see light speeding past him or her at 299,792,458 m/s. 

Spiritually speaking, this phenomenon implies that that those who interact with a guide who attained nearness with the Prophet (SAW) see him or her appear with the light of the Prophet (SAW).  The guide  is literally dressed with the Muhammadan Light.  However, since he sees light traveling past him or her at constant speed, he or she will also see another entity appearing with the dress of the light of the Prophet (SAW).  Indeed light appears constant to both the traveling entity and the stationary one.  This scientific property of light is a manifestation of the following holy verse:

“And above each knower there is a knower with higher knowledge.”
Wa fawqa kulli dhi `ilmin `aleem
Holy Quran, Chapter Yusuf

Therefore the stronger the meditation the higher the number of years of reward.  In Sufism the most powerful meditations are found in the Naqshbandi Sufi Order because this order emanates from the spirituality of the closest companion of the Prophet (SAW), Seydina Abu Bakr as-Siddiq (RA).  His nearness to the Prophet (SAW) makes the value of a Naqshbandi meditation increase exponentially as a small amount of time spent in meditation would yield to a large number of years of reward.

In this regard Seydina Ubaydullah al Ahrar (q), 20th Grand Shaykh of the Naqshbandi-Haqqani Sufi Order, said:

“Our order is a Way in which all states are multiplied quickly in every moment. 
One second may be multiplied to the value of a thousand years.”
Related by Shaykh Kabbani.  History and Guidebook of the Naqshbandi Sufi Masters.

The Twins Paradox

Scientists often use the concept of twin paradox to explain the theory of relativity’s time dilation principle.  Consider a set of twins named Nur and Dun-Yah who are 20 years old.  Nur sets out on a journey to another planet (planet Akhira), located 20 light-years from the earth.  His spaceship is capable of reaching a speed of 0.95c  (95% the speed of light) relative to the earth where his twin brother is located.  After having reached planet Akhira, Nur returns to the earth at the same speed 0.95c.

Upon his return, Nur discovers that 42 years have passed on earth while he spent only 13 years traveling through space.  His brother Dun-Yah is now 62 years old while he is only 33.  This twins paradox is an example of some of the sayings of Prophet Muhammad   on the value of time.  Nur and Dun-Yah are in fact the two souls that are fighting in every human being: the spiritual soul and the earthly one.  By moving towards God and the eternal life through meditation for 13 years, Nur, the spiritual soul, gained the value of 42 years of worship.  On the other hand, Dun-Yah, the earthly soul would have had to spend 42 years to get the same reward.

c – Time Dilation and the Miracle of Time Folding (Haqiqah at-Tai)

Sufi Masters often use the technique of time folding to perform a large number of spiritual devotions in a very short time.  As the Master gets closer to the presence of the Prophet (SAW) his soul travels at a speed that is nearing the velocity of light while time tends to slow down.  Outside of his frame of reference however, time is elapsing at a “normal” rate, much like in the example of the twins paradox.  Therefore, one hour of the Master’s time may correspond to thousands of years in the frame of reference of the earth.  For everybody outside of his frame of reference, it would be as if he performed millions of acts of worship.

Siddiqi and Sidawi say about this spiritual technique:

“The haqiqat at-tay could be due to the fact that the saints of God may move as a wave and travel at the speed of light.”
Siddiqi and Sidawi.  “Light and Prophet Muhammad” article.

The technique of time folding is part of six different powers that are hidden within the human heart.  Here is what Shaykh Kabbani has to say about these six powers:

“Six levels must be opened to the seeker in order to set foot on the first step of the way.  There are:
The reality of Attraction (haqiqat al- jadhba)
The reality of Receiving Heavenly Revelation (haqiqat al fayd)
The reality of Directing the Heart’s Power to Someone (haqiqat at-tawajjuh)
The reality of Intercession (haqiqat at-tawassul)
The reality of Guidance (haqiqat al-irshad)
The Ability to move in Space and Time in one Moment or the reality of time folding and space folding (haqiqat at-tay)
There six powers (…) are the First Major Step on the Sufi Path [that takes you] to the State of Witnessing.”
Shaykh Kabbani.  History and Guidebook of the Naqshbandi Sufi Masters.
Quote from the biography of As-Sayeed Jamaluddin al Ghumuqi al-Husayni (q)

The reality of time folding is similar to that of space folding which we shall discuss in the next section.

II – Spiritual Concept of Spacetime

1 – What is Spacetime?

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary spacetime is a system of one temporal and three spatial coordinates by which any physical object or event can be located.  In other words space is a single four-dimensional plane that is made up of three dimensions (width, height, depth) and time: it helps us define the concepts of space and time simultaneously.

2 – Spiritual Interpretation of Space

Spiritually speaking spatial points such as the ones pictured on figure 24 are manifestations of spiritual stations or maqam in Arabic.  To go from point A to point B simply means to travel from the spiritual station A to the spiritual station B.  In this aspect, space is what separates us from the next maqam.

Since time and space are bound together in the universe one may rightfully think that, like time, space may be affected by an object moving at a speed close to the velocity of light.

3 – The Length Contraction Formula

a – Scientific Introduction

Einstein’s special theory of relativity predicts that objects traveling at a substantial fraction of the speed of light will shrink in the direction in which they are traveling.  The length contraction formula, which is similar to the time dilation formula, is expressed as follows:


L’ is the distance measured by an observer traveling at velocity v.
L is the distance traveled measured by a stationary observer.
v is the velocity at which the entity is traveling
c is the velocity of light.

The Wikipedia encyclopedia explains the formula as follows:

“Note that the Length Contraction effect is negligible at everyday speeds, and can be ignored for all regular purposes. 
[However] when an object approaches speeds on the order of 30,000,000 ms; 1/10 of the speed of light, then it becomes important. 
As the magnitude of the velocity approaches the speed of light the Length Contraction effect becomes dominant.”
The Wikipedia Encyclopedia

A stationary observer would see the object that travels at high speed shrink according to the intensity of its speed.  The length of the object is always contracted in the direction of motion.  Thus, if the object is traveling in a horizontal way, it can only shrink horizontally.  If the object is traveling vertically then it would shrink vertically.  Below if a picture highlighting the length contraction effect.

In this picture point A represents the leftmost point of the moving object while point B represents its rightmost.  As the object moves horizontally at high speed the two extremities A and B are brought together.  As a result of this, the object appears compressed.

b – Spiritual Interpretation

The beauty of the length contraction formula lies in the fact that it explains the spiritual sate of an illuminated soul in a clear mathematical way.  The extremities A and B represent the first and last spiritual stations of the traveling soul (or its lowest and highest stations).  As the object is compressed these stations are joined together in such a way that the soul is able to instantly reach its last spiritual station.

This concept is explained by Grand Shaykh Abd Allah al Faiz ad-Daghestani (q), 39th Master of the Naqshbandi-Haqqani Sufi Order, in a discussion with his representative Mawlana Shaykh Muhammad Nazim Adil al Haqqani (q):

“O my son, we have [such a] power that in one second we can make our student reach his station.”
Related by Shaykh Kabbani.  History and Guidebook of the Naqshbandi Sufi Masters.

The power Grand Shaykh Abd Allah (q) is referring to is the light of the traveling soul that is moving closer to the light of the Prophet (SAW).  This proximity creates a “length contraction effect” that brings the furthest possible spiritual stations closer to the traveling soul in a very short time.

Next: Chapter VI - The Binary System and the Two Faces of the Prophet (SAW)