Interpretation of verse [21:104]
Fatwa No: 355672

Question

Assalaamu alaykum. Can you give me the different interpretations of 21:104? I do not understand this verse.

Answer

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

Allah, the Exalted, says (what means): {The Day when We will fold the heaven like the folding of a (written) sheet for the records. As We began the first creation, We will repeat it. (That is) a promise binding upon Us. Indeed, We will do it.} [Quran 21:104]

As-Sa‘di  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him commented on the verse saying, “Allah, the Exalted, informs us that He shall fold the heavens on the Day of Judgment – vast as they are – the way a scribe folds the sheets on which he is writing; the stars will be scattered and the sun and moon will be wrapped up. {As We began the first creation, We will repeat it.} This means that Allah will resurrect the creatures after their death, out of nothing, just as He created them out of nothing.” [Tafseer As-Sa‘di, p. 531]

Ibn Katheer  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him wrote:

Allah, the Exalted, says (what means): {The Day when We will fold the heaven like the folding of a (written) sheet for the records.} [Quran 21:104] This will happen on the Day of Resurrection. This is the same meaning in the verse that reads: {They have not appraised Allah with true appraisal, while the earth entirely will be (within) His grip on the Day of Resurrection, and the heavens will be folded in His right hand. Exalted is He and high above what they associate with Him.} [Quran 39:67] Ibn ‘Umar reported that the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said, ‘On the Day of Resurrection, Allah will grip the whole earth, and the heavens will be in His right hand.’ [Al-Bukhaari: Marfoo’ (attributed to the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ))] Ibn 'Abbaas said, ‘Allah will fold the seven heavens with all the creation in them and the seven earths with all the creation in them; He will fold all this in His right hand, and all of this will be the size of a mustard seed in His hand.’ [Ibn Abi Haatim] The verse goes on: {...like the folding of a (written) sheet for the records...} It was said that the (Arabic) word As-Sijill in the verse means a written sheet. It was also said that As-Sijill is an angel. However, the correct view, as narrated from Ibn ‘Abbaas, is that As-Sijill refers to the scroll. This was also stated by Mujaahid, Qataadah, and others. This was the view favored by Ibn Jareer because this usage is well-known in the (Arabic) language. Based on the above, the meaning is, ‘The Day We will fold the heaven the way the scroll is rolled for the writings'... and Allah knows best.” [Mukhtasar Tafseer Ibn Katheer, 2/523]

This was a summary of the most significant interpretations of the verse in reference.

Allah knows best.

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