69. Zamakhshari and Imam Razi point out that Allah was quite capable of creating the universe in one go. But creation in stages is more miraculous than a sudden creation which could have been attributed to an accident.
As to why six, the answer is, says Zamakhshari, there is no significance attached to them. It could have been any other number. There are nineteen keepers of Hell-fire, the bearers of `Arsh are eight, a week has seven days, there are five Prayers a day, and so on. Allah knows best why in each case He chose those numbers.
The textual word is “yawm” (day). But what day was it? Obviously not the day and night caused by the sun, for, as Zamakhshari has pointed out, the sun had yet to be created. Therefore, it could only have been “days” of another definition. Imam Razi speculates that, perhaps, Allah first created “time” and then created the heavens and the earth in six days. He is inclined to believe that those were six earth-days. But, of course, this is only a guess. For, even now, the days of the Hereafter are different. Verse 5 of Al-Sajdah tells us that the day of the other world is equal to one thousand years of ours. Another verse says (70: 4), “Angels and the Ruh rise up to him in a day whose measure is fifty thousand years.”
See detailed discussion at verse 54, note 81 of Surah Al-A`raf.
70. Imam Razi points out that our knowledge that the `Arsh was created before the heavens and the earth, should teach us caution in fixing the meaning of Allah’s “istawaa’” on it.
71. “I.e., (questions such as) ‘What is His name? What are His attributes?’” (Majid), etc., maybe addressed to him who has knowledge of Him, such as the Prophet (Alusi and others). Or, in the words of Asad, “Ask God Himself: since He alone holds the keys to the mysteries of the universe, it is only by observing His creation and listening to His revealed messages that man can obtain a glimpse, however distant, of God’s Own reality.”