What exactly is the meaning of the word bisultan بسلطان in Surah Ar-Rahman ayat 33:

Sahih International:

O company of jinn and mankind, if you are able to pass beyond the regions of the heavens and the earth, then pass. You will not pass except by authority (bisultan) [from Allah ].

According to this ayah/verse, we cannot pass the galaxy or heavens except from the authority of Allah. However, nowadays NASA has the technology to go even to Mars; in the future humans may well have technology that can go to another galaxy.

Does "You will not pass except by authority" mean that humans cannot pass and go to another galaxy without the permission of Allah? Could someone please explain the meaning of this phrase to me?

  • Thanks for Editing my Question, @goldPseudo. could you please tell me how to design the question like this? I mean in html? Dec 15, 2014 at 6:54
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5 Answers 5


You correctly wrote in your question that it means permission.

According to Islahi:

The word سُلْطَان means “authority” as well as “permission”. Here it is used in the second of these meanings. However much they may want to cross the boundaries of the heavens and the earth, they cannot do so. This is only possible when they have the passport to do so and obviously it is only God who can grant this to them.

However, to understand what message this verse intends to convey you should read the next verse: So which of your Lord’s authorities would you deny? [55:34]

Islahi explains its meaning as:

Then occurs the repetitive verse. Here it would mean that if they are not being able to comprehend even this sign of being helpless and powerless before God, then what other signs and majesties of their Lord will they continue to deny?

The Universe is expanding faster than the speed of light and object within the space-time cannot travel faster than the speed of light. So, apparently we do not have the permission.

  • I think you should add the reference of the next ayat. so everyone easy to understand. Thanks for the answer and the reference. and one more think, Correct me if I'm wrong, so by your answer human cannot go across the galaxies, and it means its useless if we're working togather to cross the galaxies? Dec 17, 2014 at 10:28
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    @user2652524 Thanks for pointing out! Just updated. أَقْطَارِ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ translated as 'the realms of the heavens and the earth' means the outer most boundaries of the Universe. Galaxies only form a small portion of the ever expanding Universe. So, I believe even if mankind succeed in crossing the Milky Way the verse will remain intact.
    – a_fan
    Dec 19, 2014 at 12:06
  • SubhanAllah, Now I Understand the miracle of the Quran. Thanks for the explanation Dec 21, 2014 at 14:55

The proper translation of this verse in my opinion in the following

O company of jinn and men, if ye have power to penetrate (all) regions of the heavens and the earth, then penetrate (them)! Ye will never penetrate them save with (Our) sanction.

Its a challenge from God towards all kinds ( jinn and men ) to try to penetrate all regions, and the answer was stated by God also, you will not be able without approval, in other words no one will enter heaven without permission from God, and if you continue the verses like 35, you will read about what will happen for those that they will not get the permission to enter the heaven

There will be sent, against you both, heat of fire and flash of brass, and ye will not escape.

references: http://www.holyquran.net

hope this will help you


The word you used in the translation "authority" may not be the right translation. The word used in quran is "sultan'. Closer meaning great power. According scholar yousuf estes, it is indicating to the speed that is needed to escape gravity. 7 miles in one second, that's velocity to reach space. For prophets journey, something more than light speed is needed. I don't think this ayah refers to that. Research in to this. Always read the tafsir of the ayah before reaching your own conclusions. May Allah increase our knowledge.

  • thanks for your answer, your opnion about "authority" could yout please refer some link or somekind of the that I can read more about the meaning? May 18, 2015 at 5:40

Authority also means power, control,command. The license to reach up is given but not without the right equipments. And of course Almighty God's permission.


It means, heaven is the sky and the Earth is its self. No jinn or man can pass through the fermament except with God's permission. Yes this means there's a fermament over the Earth, and yes the Earth is fixed immovable as Allah states that the sun and moon follow their path over the Earth, and yes the Earth is flat not a ball. There's plenty of verses in the Quran that God states the Earth is spread out like a carpet, flat and so on.

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