We have not revealed unto thee (Muhammad) this Qur'an that thou shouldst be distressed,
But as a reminder unto him who feareth,
A revelation from Him Who created the earth and the high heavens,
The Beneficent One, Who is established on the Throne.
Unto Him belongeth whatsoever is in the heavens and whatsoever is in the earth, and whatsoever is between them, and whatsoever is beneath the sod."
Surah Ta Ha , 20 : 1-6
Translation of The Noble Qur'an by Marmaduke Pickthal
The Quraish of Makkah taunted The Prophet that the revelation of the Qur'an was meant to be a burden to him who has to spread it, and a burden to them who have to change their preexisting values.
From tafseer Ibnu Katsir,
"(A Revelation from Him (Allah) Who has created the earth and high heavens. ) means, `This Qur'an, which has come to you, O Muhammad, is a revelation from your Lord. He is the Lord of everything and its King. He is Most Able to do whatever He wills. He created the earth with its low depths and dense regions. He created the lofty heavens with their high altitudes and subtleties.' It has been reported in a Hadith, which At-Tirmidhi and others graded as authentic, that the density of each sky of the heavens is the distance of five hundred years travel and the distance between it and the next heaven is also five hundred years. Concerning Allah's statement,"
How did Al Termidhi and the 'sahabats' before Ibnu Katsir came to know that the distance between each sky of the seven heavens was a distance of 500 years travel? This was 1400 years ago when Copernicus even was not yet born; when people's perception of the earth must have been flat even many centuries after Prophet's time! Let alone being able to have any perception of the universe.
This, my friends, is the miracle of the prophetic revelation!
Now,with our Hubble telescope and modern spectroscopic analysis of light rays, we are able to fathom the extreme reach and even the diameter of this universe. From one extreme end of light to the other extreme end of light, it is several billion light years apart.....so vast is the distance, our perception of the distance has to be measured in the unit of light years. One light year is 300,000x60x60x24x364 kilometres. Imagine you further have to this figure nine more zeroes to come to the final diameter assessment in kilometers!
If you are not the scientific kind,just go up a mountain or a hill in the middle of a forest, far away from the town. Devoid of any surface light, and especially on a clear cloudless night, if you look up to the heaven, the night sky will have a definitive 3-D effect as if one is in a planetarium. Try that sometime. It is a subliminal experience. Billions of stars staring down at you! Even then you could not even imagine that their distance 'from one heaven' to another would be '' five hundred years travel and the distance between it and the next heaven is also five hundred years'', as what the companions and The Prophet knew 1450 years ago!
And we are not even pondering on 'His Throne' yet.
Ibnu Katsir, in the spirit of all salaf ulama, would not ponder on this 'unponderable':
"(The Most Gracious Istawa the Throne.) A discussion concerning this has already preceded in Surat Al-A`raf, so there is no need to repeat it here. The safest path to take in understanding this, is the way of the Salaf (predecessors). Their way was to accept that which has been reported concerning this from the Book and the Sunnah without describing it, reinterpreting it, resembling it to creation, rejecting it, or comparing it to attributes of the creatures. Concerning Allah's statement,"
Of course if you go to the sufis, their perception of The Arash is a lot more grander:This vast universe would just be like a pin lost in a haystack when compared to the Arash!
If some 'lovers of Allah' want to think of Him in this super grandiose term why do we mere ignorant, 'straight jacketed' and ' mostly blinkered'[ whatever we call ourselves, Wahabi,non Wahabi, salafi,sunni, etc etc and etc] mortals have an issue to complaint about ?.
Their position is certainly a billion billion miles away from those who insist that 'The Beneficient has got Himself a son', as all the misguided trinitarians do!
We should really stop pointing fingers and look into our hearts and soul and ask ourselves whether really all these years of prayers, dhikr and doa have really change us into God fearing,peace loving individuals who look to the Hereafter as the Day of Judgement. That is the core of the matter.