The Islamic position on 'time travel'
Fatwa No: 279472

  • Fatwa Date:7-1-2015 - Rabee' Al-Awwal 17, 1436
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What does the Islam say about time-travel?


All perfect praise be to Allaah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allaah, and that Muhammad, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, is His Slave and Messenger.

If you mean by "time travel" moving between different points in time forward or backward, meaning physically visiting the past or the future, then this is impossible. Allaah, The Exalted, says (what means):

• {And if I knew the unseen, I could have acquired much wealth, and no harm would have touched me.} [Quran 7:188]

• {And no soul perceives what it will earn tomorrow, and no soul perceives in what land it will die. Indeed, Allaah is Knowing and Acquainted.} [Quran 31:34]

Only Allaah, The Exalted, knows the Unseen; if it were possible to travel to the future and know what would happen, this (the fact that only Allaah knows the Unseen) would be falsified. Allaah, The Exalted, says (what means): {And with Him are the keys of the unseen; none knows them except Him.} [Quran 6:59] And He says (what means): {Say, "None in the heavens and earth knows the unseen except Allaah.} [Quran 27:65]

We would like to point out that "time" is nothing more than a mathematical function of two variables; it cannot be separated or abstracted so that it would be possible to travel through it. However, certain "periods of time" can be (relatively) longer or shorter compared to others. For instance, the time the Dajjaal will spend on earth was described by the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, as follows: "forty days: one like a year, one like a month, one like a week, and the rest of his days like yours." [Muslim]

Another example is in the Hadeeth about Yoosha‘ ibn Noon (Joshua the son of Nun) conquering Jerusalem: "He reached that town at the time of the ‘Asr prayer, so he said to the sun, 'O sun! You are bound by the command (of Allaah) and so am I! O Allaah, stop it (i.e. the sun) from setting for a while.' It was stopped until Allaah made him victorious." [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

However, if you mean merely imagining that one is living in the past and envisioning people's lives then or imagining the future and envisioning the potential scientific and intellectual advancement, then there is nothing wrong with that. Many of the matters that were fantasies in the past have become realities.

Allaah Knows best.

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