In the Quran, this is referred to by the verse, “The day they see it, it will be as though they had not remained (in the world), except for a time of sunset or twilight.”[1] The original word used for sunset or twilight is ashiyya, which is equivalent to the time of the evening prayer. As known, this is the short period of redness in the sky disappearing after sunset. The time when the sun is no longer visible, but its light has not totally disappeared; the brief time only moments before darkness.

When you gaze up at the sky and the redness of the newly set sun disappears, and though you can still see the things around you, suddenly darkness descends… This is how short it’s going to feel when a person dies, leaves the time zone of the earth, enters the dimension of the grave and becomes subject to the time zone of the sun!

When we dream during our sleep, based on earthly and physical senses and our current concept of time, our dreams last around 40 to 50 seconds. But, while we are dreaming, those few seconds feel much longer. Nevertheless, when we wake up and think about our dream, we say it was simply a dream… A few brief seconds… Nothing more.

In the same way, we are told that when we die and move on to the next dimension of existence or the dimension of the sun, looking back on our life at earth we are going to say, “It was as though we remained (in the world), only for a time of sunset or twilight.” This is the reality revealed to us in the 49th verse of chapter an-Naziat in the Quran. On the other hand, we are also told:

“They will say, ‘We remained a day or part of a day; ask those who count.’

He said, ‘You remained there only a short while, if only you knew!’”[2]

What does a dream of a few seconds or the time of sunset mean to us the next day?

Death is going to make us ‘realize’ that our 70-year life span on earth was only 8.6 sun seconds long!

All of our struggles on earth, our griefs, our fights, are all within these few seconds!

And note that this 70-year period is in reference to gross life span! Childhood, youth, old age, senility are all included. So, if we take the net period of conscious evaluation of life, how many seconds remain?

According to Islam, our life on earth is for the sole purpose of preparing for life after death; for constructing our spirit-bodies and developing the resources for our journey of life after death.

Through death we shall ‘change dimensions’! And life in that dimension shall last until Doomsday. That is, millions and billions of years! While the time we spend here, in terms of the sun time zone, is a matter of a few seconds!

[1] Quran 79:46

[2] Quran 23:113-114

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