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THE SINGLE MONAD MODEL OF THE COSMOS:

Ibn al-Arabi's Concept of Time and Creation

by Mohamed Haj Yousef



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Figure IV.1: The 'Taken-out' days. (It helps to imagine the resulting loop in three dimensions (x, y, z), as indicated graphically below.)


But what is the significance of conceiving the 'taking-out' daytimes and nights in this way? In his book Ayyam Al-Sha n: Ibn Arabi explains that the reason why there are three daytimes and three nights in the taken out days is the three-dimensional (or six-directional) structure of the space in which we exist. In other books he (or rather, his later interpreter al-Qashani)[68] points out that the word 'day' also means direction. So it appears to us as if our three-dimensional world is built up as a unit in seven Days (a Week). Therefore the Week with its seven Days is the unit of space-time, and not only time.

In chapter 302 of the Futuhat, Ibn Arabi explains how the process of taking the daytime out of the night is identical to taking the world out of non-existence into the 'light' of existence:

Now we have mentioned that the world was hidden in the (absolute) Unseen (ghayb) of Allah, and that this Unseen was like the shadow of a person. So if something were taken out from the entirety of that shadow, it would come out in the image of that shade just as that shadow is itself in the image of that of which it is a shadow. So the result of what is taken out of that shadow is in the image of the person. Do not you see that light is what appears when the daytime is taken out of the night-time?

So those things which were hidden in the night (of the divine 'Unseen') appear by the light of the daytime. Therefore the daytime does not resemble the night, but rather resembles the light, by the appearance of those things through it. So the night was the shadow of the (divine existentiating) Light, and the daytime, when it is taken out of the night, comes out on the image of the Light. Likewise, the world, in its coming out of the Unseen, comes out in the image of the world (already present in) the Unseen, as we said.

[III.12.1]

So the process of creating the world out of non-existence is exactly like the Qur anic image of 'taking the daytime out of the night', because time in the end is reduced to the instantaneous presence (or the events that happen in it). As summarized in the passage just quoted, Ibn Arabi says that the world already exists in the all-encompassing fore-Knowledge of Allah, in the absolute Unseen (al-ghayb al-mutlaq). Thus its emergence into manifest existence is like the daytime: both of its states are 'Light', first hidden in the 'shadow' of the absolute Unseen, and then when Allah takes the world out of that non-existence, just as He 'takes the daytime out of the night'. And because Allah had determined that the manifest world would be three-dimensional, He created it 'in six Days' (or directions). He could have created it in many ways, but Ibn Arabi affirms that the divine Ability does not over-rule His Determination or destiny (qadar); it only accomplishes what He has already determined (the maqdur) [Ayyam Al-Sha n: 6]. Therefore, in order for the daytime (of the manifest world) to appear in existence, there have to be three daytimes and three nights between this daytime and the night that it was 'taken out' of it [I.716; Ayyam Al-Sha n: 7]. Thus in each Day Allah creates a direction, and in the six Days of creation (from Sunday to Friday) Allah creates the world in (three-dimensional) space, while Saturday accounts for the 'Day of event' or time wherein this world is displayed.



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I have no doubt that this is the most significant discovery in the history of mathematics, physics and philosophy, ever!

By revealing the mystery of the connection between discreteness and contintuity, this novel understanding of the complex (time-time) geometry, will cause a paradigm shift in our knowledge of the fundamental nature of the cosmos and its corporeal and incorporeal structures.

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