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Many people ask questions like 'what is the age of the universe?' or 'when did the world begin?' And many cosmologists go along with these questions and give estimates for the age of the physical universe (today, usually about 15 billion years). Any answers to such questions will quickly lead to a modern version of the still-ongoing debate between Plato's and Aristotle's schools already mentioned in Chapter I: i.e., whether time was created in/before the world, or vice versa; or whether they are both eternal. Many riddles and paradoxes quickly emerge out of this debate. For example, one may ask: if the world started at a certain point of time, why God chose that time in particular? Could the world have been created ten minutes before or after that designated time? And what was God doing or what was happening before the beginning of the world?

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Physical Time and Spiritual Time:
Ibn ‘Arabî distinguishes between two kinds of time; physical or 'natural time' (zaman tabî‘î) and spiritual or 'para-natural time' (zaman fawq-tabî‘î). The first is used to compare the motion of bodies and orbs, while the latter is used to compare the changes in spiritual states, such as realizing and knowing. He explains that the existence of time does not necessarily require the existence of matter [IV.337.5], because there is time that is associated with material motion that is under the effect of Nature, and time that is associated with immaterial motion that is above the effect of Nature: i.e., in the spiritual world. Thus he says that 'you should know that some of time is above Nature and some of it is below Nature' [I.377.12], and he explains further by saying that the time that is under Nature 'is defined by the motion of orbs …and the time that is beyond Nature is defined by (spiritual) states' [I.477.12]. So when Ibn ‘Arabî says: 'and the origin of the existence of time is Nature, whose state is below the Universal Soul and above the Universal Dust' [III.548.19], this actually refers to natural time which is used to compare the motion of bodies and orbs—while spiritual time is used to compare the change of spiritual states, and its origin preceded the existence of the physical world.

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What is Time?
To start with, Ibn ‘Arabî declares that time is an imagined attribute that does not exist on its own; it has no separate physical or non-physical entity. He argues that 'time in relation to us is like eternity in relation to Allah, and since eternity is a negative attribute[1] that does not exist on its own, so time in relation to the contingent world or the entire cosmos is (also) an imagined attribute that does not exist.' [I.291.28]
 In his major book al-Futûhât al-Makkiyya, he says: 'we showed in this book and in our book "The Time" (al-zamân) (OY, #838) that time is something that has no (real) existence' [I.490.17]. Although this last book is not found today, Ibn ‘Arabî's concept of time is developed in quite detailed fashion in the Futûhât, though it is scattered all around the book and not placed in specific parts, including even those chapters 59, 291 and 390 whose titles relate directly to time.
The concept of time is needed to compare the sequence of events or motion, but real existence is only attributed to the thing that actually moves, not to the abstractions of motion, time or space in which motion is observed:

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As we shall see in Chapter II, Ibn ‘Arabî considers time to be imaginary and without real existence; it is only a tool used by the mind to chronologically arrange events and the motion of the heavenly spheres and physical objects. Ibn ‘Arabî then distinguishes between two kinds of time; 'natural time' and 'paranatural time'. He also explains that the origin of this ultimately imaginary time is from the two forces of the soul: the active force and the intellective force.
Despite time being imaginary, Ibn ‘Arabî considers it as one of the four main constituents of nature: time, space, the monad (al-jawhar), and the form (al-‘arad). Like some modern theories, Ibn ‘Arabî also considers time to be cyclic, relative and inhomogeneous.
Ibn ‘Arabî then gives a precise definition of the 'day', the 'daytime' and the 'night' and generalizes that in relation to all (real and imaginary) orbs or spheres, every orb has its own 'day' and those days are measured by our normal day that we count on the earth.