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Quantum Field Theory and General Relativity are the most well-established modern fundamental theories of physics. According to these theories, spacetime is a collection of points called 'spacetime locations' where physical events occur. Spacetime is a four-dimensional continuum, with physical time being a distinguished, one-dimensional sub-space of this continuum, but no longer a separate entity nor space: space and time are always taken together as one entity.
In 1908, the mathematician Hermann Minkowski, Einstein's teacher, was the first person to realize that spacetime is more fundamental than time or than space alone. As he put it:
The views of space and time which I wish to lay before you have sprung from the soil of experimental physics, and therein lies their strength. They are radical. Henceforth space by itself and time by itself are doomed to fade away into mere shadows, and only a kind of union of the two will preserve an independent reality. (Pais 1982: 152)

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Aristotle's notion of circular time, based on an eternal (uncreated) universe, could not generally be accepted by most theologians of the three Abrahamic religions—Islam, Christianity and Judaism—insofar as they considered time to be linear, with a definite created beginning and end. St. Augustine, and later Thomas Aquinas, objected to Aristotle's belief that time is circular, insisting instead that human experience is a one-way journey from Genesis to Judgment, regardless of any recurring patterns or cycles in nature. This latter view was later adopted by Newton in 1687, when he represented time mathematically by using a line rather than a circle.

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Muslim philosophers were in general greatly influenced by their Hellenistic predecessors, and therefore tried to apply their theories of time in relation to the related issues raised by the Qur’an and Prophetic Hadith. Many Muslim philosophers prior to Ibn ‘Arabî, such as al-Kindî, al-Fârâbî, al-Râzî, al-Ghazâlî, Ibn Rushd (Averroes) and Ibn Sînâ (Avicenna) analysed and criticized or adapted the differing conceptions of time in the schools of Greek philosophy represented by Aristotle, Plato and Plotinus (Badawî 1965).
For example, al-Ghazâlî,[1] in his famous 'Refutation of the Philosophers' (Tahâfut al-Falâsifa),[2] dealt with most of the standard philosophical and logical arguments regarding time and creation, and his criticism was also thoroughly discussed in Ibn Rushd's famous philosophical rebuttal, the Tahâfut al-Tahâfut.[3] However, one of the most influential Muslim philosophers who had many original views about time is Ibn Sînâ, who devoted long chapters in several works to discussing time and related issues according to the views of kalam theology and of previous philosophical schools.

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Since the age of Homer, the Greek word chronos was used to refer to time. Chronos was a Greek god who feared that his sons would take over his kingdom, so he ate them one after the other—just like time, which brings things into existence and then overtakes them.
We can already detect two clearly opposing views about time in the contrast between Plato's and Aristotle's schools of thought. Plato considers time to be created with the world, while Aristotle believes that the world was created in time, which is an infinite and continuous extension. Plato says: 'Be that as it may, Time came into being together with the Heaven, in order that, as they were brought into being together, so they may be dissolved together, if ever their dissolution should come to pass.' (Cornford 1997: 99)