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Do Muslims believe Allah created the heavens and earth in 6 days?
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A student. Took Islamiat and History as subjects, and greatly interested in Islamic and Indo-Pak history.
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The Qur'an states that "Allah created the heavens and the earth, and all that is between them, in six days" (7:54). While on the surface this might seem similar to the account related in the Bible, there are some important distinctions.

The verses that mention "six days" use the Arabic word "youm" (day). This word appears several other times in the Qur'an, each denoting a different measurement of time. In one case, the measure of a day is equated with 50,000 years (70:4), whereas another verse states that "a day in the sight of your Lord is like 1,000 years of your reckoning" (22:47). The word "youm" is thus understood, within the Qur'an, to be a long period of time -- an era or eon. Therefore, Muslims interpret the description of a "six day" creation as six distinct periods or eons. The length of these periods is not precisely defined, nor are the specific developments that took place during each period.

After completing the Creation, the Qur'an describes that Allah "settled Himself upon the Throne" (57:4) to oversee His work. A distinct point is made to counter the Biblical idea of a day of rest: "We created the heavens and the earth and all that is between them in six days, nor did any sense of weariness touch Us" (50:38).

Allah is never "done" with His work, because the process of creation is ongoing. Each new child who is born, every seed that sprouts into a sapling, every new species that appears on earth, is part of the ongoing process of Allah's creation. "He it is Who created the heavens and the earth in six days, then established Himself on the Throne. He knows what enters within the heart of the earth, and what comes forth out of it, what comes down from heaven, and what mounts up to it. And He is with you wherever you may be. And Allah sees well all that you do" (57:4).

The Qur'anic account of creation is in line with modern scientific thought about the development of the universe and life on earth. Muslims acknowledge that life developed over a long period of time, but see Allah's power behind it all. Descriptions of creation in the Qur'an are set in context to remind the readers of Allah's majesty and wisdom. "What is the matter with you, that you are not conscious of Allah's majesty, seeing that it is He Who has created you in diverse stages? See you not how Allah has created the seven heavens one above another, and made the moon a light in their midst, and made the sun as a (glorious) lamp? And Allah has produced you from the earth, growing (gradually)" (71:13-17).
 

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