There are two levels of time: Physical Time called Zaman and Spiritual Time called ‘Asr. This is why Mawlana Hazar Imam is Sahib al-Zaman wa’l-‘Asr, meaning, “Master of Physical Time and Spiritual Time.”
Spiritual Time is the desire, experience, and spiritual motion of the Universal Soul and its particular souls towards attaining self-perfection at the rank of the Universal Intellect. Spiritual time, the life of the Soul, is the cause of the existence of the physical world of bodies. The mental “time” that a human beings experience when deep in thought, in dreams, in the moments of sheer happiness and spiritual contemplation, in near death experiences, is spiritual time. The evolution of the human soul from imperfection to the perfection of all virtues and the recognition of God is “spiritual time.”
Physical time is the motion of physical bodies and it’s existence depends on physical bodies. The perception of physical time is only possible due to the consciousness of the human soul, and the human soul’s inner perceptions are part of spiritual time. In both cases, physical time is caused by spiritual time. The great Ismaili sage Nasir-i Khusraw has written:
“Time (zaman) is the cause of the coming to perfection of natural things. Natural things have come to exist by the movement of the natures (elements). The elements are in motion by the revolution of the spheres. The spheres are revolving by the movement of the Universal Soul from the motion of desire which does not cease except with the Universal Soul becoming perfect and attaining to the rank of the Universal Intellect. Thus, we say that the cause of time is the movement of the spheres which are in motion by the desire of the Universal Soul. Thus, the cause of time is the desire of the Universal Soul. Time came into being upon the Universal Soul by necessity due to its bringing things from the state of potentiality to the state of actuality and the Soul knew that whatever is made to emanate from it cannot receive its spiritual resources except through time. Thus, time became necessary for the entities that emanated from the Soul. Likewise, the movement of the pen brings forth the emergence of the line from the pen and also, human thought requires instruments and the pen in order to bring out wisdom from the intellect.”
— Nasir-i Khusraw, (The Feast of the Brethren, tr. Ismaili Gnosis, p. 135)
Ismailimail Series on TIME
|Where Did Time Come From?
Conversation on Time with Paul Davies, physicist at Arizona State University.
|What Time Is – What It Is Not
Two Intellectual giants: Nasir Khusraw and Einstein speak across millennium. Easy Nash’s Science and Religion in Islam: The Link.
|What Or Who Causes Time To Exist?
Professor Azim Nanji, defines Time and its properties as being critically important in the Shia Ismaili Tariqah of Islam. Easy Nash’s Science and Religion in Islam: The Link.
|The Origin of Time In Conscious Agents
Cognitive Sciences Professor Donald Hoffman of University of California defines Time.
|Physical Time & Spiritual Time
The mental “time” that a human beings experience when deep in thought, in dreams, in the moments of sheer happiness and spiritual contemplation, in near death experiences, is spiritual time.