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.
On the other hand, Ibn ‘Arabî gives special importance to the cosmic 'Week', and says that each of the seven cosmic week-Days are unique and not alike. Saturday (al-sabt) in particular has a special importance, because he considers it to be the 'Day of eternity', so that the observable week days, including Saturday itself, are therefore happening in Saturday! This initially may look rather confusing, but it should become easier to understand, especially after we explain Ibn ‘Arabî's view of the re-creation principle and his theory of the oneness of being which we discuss in detail in Chapter V below.
Finally, what is very important and unique about his view of time is that Ibn ‘Arabî considers time to be discrete: there is a minimum indivisible 'day' or 'time'—and thus, surprisingly, this 'day' is equal to the normal day itself which we live and divide into hours, minutes, seconds and much less than that! This conception at first looks very strange and ambiguous, but in order to explain this, Ibn ‘Arabî introduces three kinds of days, depending on the actual flow of time that is not so uniform and smooth as we ordinarily imagine. The key point here is that Ibn ‘Arabî stresses that, according to the Qur’an, only one 'event' should be happening every 'day' (of the actual days), and not many different events as we observe. To achieve his deeper understanding of this key Qur’anic expression, he reconstructs the underlying reality of the normal days in a special way from the different days of the actual flow of time, as we shall discuss further in Chapter IV.
Also based on a number of key verses in the Qur’an, Ibn ‘Arabî says that the world ceases to exist instantly and intrinsically the next moment right after its creation, and then it is re-created again and again. We shall see that Ibn ‘Arabî's view of time and how it flows is precise and unique; it has never been suggested or discussed by any other philosopher or scientist. This distinctive cosmic vision of 'ever-renewed creation', when added to the understanding of the actual flow of time based on the three kinds of days alluded to above, can be used to build a new unique model of the cosmos which we shall discuss in Chapter VI and we shall discuss some of the consequences of this model in Chapter VII.