The 'Chest' of Time:
Ibn ‘Arabî asserts that:
You should know that everything has a 'chest' (sadr), and knowing it in this path (of mysticism) is one of the noble sciences and knowledge. This is because the world and every kind (in it) is created according to the image of the Human Being (insân), who is the last existent, and the Human Being alone is created according to the divine Image, both its inner and outer dimensions, and Allah created him with a chest. So between the Real, to Whom is the firstness, and the Human Being, to whom is the lastness, there are 'chests' whose number no one knows other than Allah.
The 'chest' of a thing is its front, the first thing to appear, which is why it is so important to know it. Ibn ‘Arabî here applies and generalizes the verse in Qur’an that says: 'And whomsoever Allah wants to guide, He expands his chest for 'surrender' (islâm), and whomsoever He wants to leave astray, He makes his chest narrow and constricted as if he were engaged climbing up into the sky.' (6:125)
But Ibn ‘Arabî adds that 'the chest is in the second state of each form' [II.652.27], since the first state is the essence (the 'heart') of the form itself and the chest is its first appearance or effect. Then he lists many things and their corresponding 'chests', and he says that 'the chest of time is the time (instant) of the Dust's acceptance of the form…' and 'the chest of days is Monday.' [II.652.27]
Thus Ibn ‘Arabî adds that:
For every 'chest' there is a 'heart' (qalb), so as far as the heart remains in the chest, the person will be blind because the chest is a veil over him. So when Allah wants to make him truly seeing, he goes out of his chest and sees. So the causes are the 'chests' of the existing things, and the existing things are like the hearts; as far as the existing (thing/person) is looking at the cause that it originated from, he will be blinded from witnessing Allah Who (actually, ultimately) created him. Thus when Allah wants to make (the person) truly seeing, he stops (or He causes him to stop) looking at the cause that Allah created him 'with' (‘indahu: i.e., as opposed to 'through', bihi) and looks (instead) at the 'special Face' that is (uniquely) between his Lord and him.
We are, therefore, normally 'imprisoned' in the chest of time, just as the heart of the person lacking faith is imprisoned in or 'veiled by' his chest. To overcome time (and space), we therefore have to break out and perceive the reality of existence through the 'heart', and in particular the special inner relation or aspect between the 'heart' and the Real.
The 'Chest' of Time
The 'Chest' of Time: