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"Even God cannot change the past." ...goes a saying.

We Indeed know that Time is the creation of Allah.

Sahih Muslim: Book 027, Hadith 5584.

Abu Huraira reported Allah's Apostle (may peace be upon him) as saying: Do not abuse Time, for it is Allah Who is the Time.

We humans can strongly believe that Allah has control over future and the present, but cannot grasp the fact that Allah has control over the past (Events that have already taken place). Adding to it, there are no evidences (at least to my knowledge نعوذ بالله) which tell us that Allah can control or change the past. Still, bound by our Imaan and the fact that Allah is the creator of everything, including time (referring to above hadith),

  • should we believe that Allah can change the past and has chosen not to exhibit this strength for the reasons divine?

    OR

  • should we believe that we fail to notice the changes as the present is the consequence/result of the past (ie. when past changes, present changes accordingly)?

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Such questions makes more sence to not ask and avoid thinking it them –  Desolator Oct 26 '12 at 7:58
    
Maybe He already changed the past. How would you know? –  user2350 Jul 12 '13 at 3:05
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7 Answers

up vote 6 down vote accepted

Well, it is a little it hard to explicitly answer as shortly as stating yes or no, but let only clarify the situation to some extent. Based on this answer, time is a creation of Allah, and Allah is not bounded to His own creation so Allah is just beyond the notion of time. That is, all past, present, and future are the same in the view of Allah. The past, present and future are past, present and future as measured by us, not by Allah. We cannot understand anything beyond the notion of time, so it is even close to impossible to say Allah has created the whole past, present and future --that is, the whole creation book-- in one single instant, as an instant has meaning only on a time axis and there is no time axis in the being-scale of Allah! What we or any other creature of Allah feels as a gradual effect by Allah is merely in our own view of universe, the creation being evolved in the course of time is also in our own view of universe, the word of Allah that "Be" --and it will be-- is also in our view of universe. Difficult to understand, yes, but anyway, that's intellectually correct, Allah is beyond His creations, time being one among the most fundamental creations of Him.

In our view of universe, Allah has ordered a whole system through introducing a rule that we call it the Causality principle, and He is Al-Jabbar (the predestinator):

هُوَ اللَّهُ الَّذِي لَا إِلَٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَ الْمَلِكُ الْقُدُّوسُ السَّلَامُ الْمُؤْمِنُ الْمُهَيْمِنُ الْعَزِيزُ الْجَبَّارُ الْمُتَكَبِّرُ سُبْحَانَ اللَّهِ عَمَّا يُشْرِكُونَ

Allah is He, than Whom there is no other god;- the Sovereign, the Holy One, the Source of Peace (and Perfection), the Guardian of Faith, the Preserver of Safety, the Exalted in Might, the Irresistible [or indeed: predestinator], the Supreme: Glory to Allah! (High is He) above the partners they attribute to Him. [59:23]

He, the Wise, has put forward this order based on His wisdom starting from a set of initial conditions, and He never ever commits a vain attempt so there is no way to think He will ever change the past or will to do so. But He has always contrived an option for compensating the past, that is, by changing the effect a past event has/will-have on the present and/or future. Tubbah (repentance) is one such mechanisms to compensate the past. Some scholars also believe in even some miraculous compensations through history like Radd-ush-Shams (رد الشمس: bringing back the sun) as a probable implicitly-cited-story in [38:31-33], but still no change of the past even by Allah.

To sum up all the above explanations, changing the past certainly is not something that God would ever do, He is Al-Jabbar and He has predestinated the whole story since the very beginning (indeed, beyond the concept of time and not exactly in a beginning), the history will not ever change as the present or future will not ever change in the view of Allah, but in our view of universe past is passed and has been frozen and only present and future are formable!

Godspeed

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+1, great answer. Jazaakallah . . . –  Tabrez Ahmed Oct 25 '12 at 20:38
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I'm no scholar of course, and this is not a fatwa, however:

We have been told that:

Originator of the heavens and the earth. When He decrees a matter, He only says to it, "Be," and it is. Source: http://quran.com/2/117

i.e. he can do anything and everything he wills. So I think if Allah wanted to change time he could, but I don't think he will because we know that Allah always does what he says, i.e:

O Children of Israel, remember My favor which I have bestowed upon you and fulfill My covenant [upon you] that I will fulfill your covenant [from Me], and be afraid of [only] Me. Source: http://quran.com/2/40

We also know about the Al-Lauh Al-Mahfuz, where Allah has recorded everything:

Do you not know that Allah knows what is in the heaven and earth? Indeed, that is in a Record. Indeed that, for Allah , is easy. Source: http://quran.com/22/70

It's because of this, it seems that Allah can change the past if he wanted to, but he probably will not need to because Allah does not make mistakes which he needs to correct i.e. the Al-Lauh Al-Mahfuz, unless of course he wrote in the Al-Lauh Al-Mahfuz that he will change the passed, for whatever reason.

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Of course he can, Allah(swt) is all powerful - if there is a need for him to change the past he does. The thing is, as humans we are unaware that things have changed since we would have been part of the change too.

The best thing to do brother is accept that Allah knows best and if you put your faith in him and dedicate your life to his message, you and your family will be fine.

Allahu Akbar.

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Jazaakallah. Thanks for replying. You seem to adhere to second option (after "OR" in the question) . But ultimately, I have reached the conclusion: Though Allah can change the past, he doesn't because He does everything so perfectly that he will never need to correct it (change the past). . . . See @owari's answer. –  Tabrez Ahmed Oct 26 '12 at 23:55
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Yes Allah is capable of changing the past, He is capable of doing anything that He wills. Allah has said many times in the Quran that He is capable of doing anything, example: http://quran.com/2/20 . and if He wants something all He has to do is say BE and it is.

Originator of the heavens and the earth. When He decrees a matter, He only says to it, "Be," and it is.

Surat Al Baqarah Ayah 117

Whatever choice Allah makes, we have no right to question it. If Allah chose to exhibit His power than that is His choice, but if He chooses not too than that is His choice.

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I did not fully understand the context of the hadith. But I will answer the question itself. Can Allah change the past?

Yes, he can. The way you look at it is not in real world example but rather what Allah can do. For example you may have committed many sins, did many things wrong not knowingly or knowingly. At the end of the day you are a sinful man. But when you enter the world after (Akharath), you may notice that God has turned all your bad things into good thing. He rewarded even your bad acts into good one. Thus Allah has changed your past.

Again I have not referenced the hadith which I failed to understand properly.

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Flawed reasoning. –  ZafarS Dec 18 '12 at 17:22
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The notion of an omnipotent being (which Allah is, according to Islam) is that he can do everything. However, I'd say that the main feature of time is that the past is unchangable, and the future can be determined by events in the present, Allah made time this way. So, your question is same as asking 'can Allah make a dog of a cat?'. Yes he can, but there is no reason to, since he made dogs and cats seperately. In a similar way, he made time such that the past can't be altered.

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According to islam everything except ALLAH is a creation of ALLAH . It includes time also. So ALLAH is independent of time ,Ie terms like present, past and cureent are not applicable for ALLAH

I hope it will answer your question :)

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Please mention the reason for downvote :) –  tachyons Oct 28 '12 at 0:53
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Perhaps the lack of references or sources. –  Muz Oct 28 '12 at 7:50
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