The Time Taken to Destroy the Aad
Concerning the twelfth alleged contradiction:
How many days did Allah need to destroy the people of Aad? One day [54:19] or several days [41:16; 69:6,7]
Verses in question:
54:19 For We sent against them a furious wind, on a Day of violent Disaster
41:16 So We sent against them a furious Wind through days of disaster, that We might give them a taste of a Penalty of humiliation in this life; but the Penalty of a Hereafter will be more humiliating still: and they will find no help.
69:6 And the ‘Ad, they were destroyed by a furious Wind, exceedingly violent;
69:7 He made it rage against them seven nights and eight days in succession: so that thou couldst see the (whole) people lying prostrate in its (path), as they had been roots of hollow palm-trees tumbled down!
A number of points can be said in this regard:
1. One can very easily see that the day in the first verse has been understood to describe the day on which the violent storms were initiated, and not necessarily indicating the duration of the punishment.
The example of this, is that of one who says, “I will be going away on the last day of this month.” And later on, they mention, “I will be going away for three months.” Is this a contradiction? Of course not. The first statement describes the day of initiation, while the second specifies the duration.
2. The word yawm, which has been translated as day can also mean period. It has been explained thoroghly by Moiz Amjad in his article entitled The Length of God’s Days. Therefore, the first verse can be taken to mean simply a period of Calamity.
3. The first verse can also be taken to describe the duration of punishment for each citizen of the nation of Aad, while the other verses refer to the time taken for the complete destruction of the Aad as a nation. This interpretation of the first verse is strengthened by examining the following verse:
54:20 Plucking out men as if they were roots of palm-trees torn up (from the ground).
Hence, we understand from the first verse that individuals were killed within the time span of one day. If we understand the verses according to their context, there is no contradiction.