How to understand time in a whole new way
Creative Thinker and writer – Kingdom of Bahrain
As soon as you come to this life, your physical clock starts to tick signifying the work that has to be done on this earth. It is amazing that even after our physical body seizes to function, the existence clock will be ticking until the soul departs it.
Thus, this illustrates that the only thing that will always be constant in the existence of one’s life is “time”. And even after the earth reaches its last day, time will extend in a strange way alarming the people of the Judgement Day, which is going to last for long according to the holy scripts in the Islamic theology.
Time will be really different after the Judgement Day than what we are used to in this life. A single day will take on a larger temporal frame. “Verily a day in the sight of thy lord is like a thousand years of your reckoning.” Surat Al-Haj, verse 47.
However, time does not apply to the eternity frame for the believers and non-believers who will be forever either in heaven or hell.
Time with its constant changes will always exist, therefore, trying to analyse it or understand its mechanics is as crucial as understand our being and what surrounds us, because time is a thing that has started with the dawn of life and will last until infinity and beyond.
From referring back to this life and trying to deeply understand time, we can see that comprehending what time is, is very essential for learning more about the human time’s map.
Through this map, we can enhance the human being life, and avoid faults that could lead to the decrease of human production.
Does time travel in a straight line?
It is a universal fact that time does not rewind back, however, it keeps repeating itself, which means that it goes in a circular motion.
So is it a straight line or a circle?
The answer is both; time is a combination of a circle and a straight line which forms a serpentine tunnel. And if you look deeper, we would understand the real meaning of verse 111 of Surat Yusuf in the holy Quran: “There is, in their stories, instruction for men endued with understanding…”
The tales of their lives have finished by the end their time on this earth. However, we can still look through them and grasp the morals behind them, which can function like an x-ray to our present.
A successful person would learn from the past in order to live the present and plan for the future. Thus, it shows that time is flexible and not a solid line which cannot be twisted.
“Say: Go ye through the earth and see what has been the end of those guilty of sin.” Surat Al-Namil, verse 69.
If we look into the verse, we would find that God is warning us from falling into the same trap that led to the destruction of the previous nations, which only proves that history has the same paths that one can go through but with slightly different features.
Holy Quran keeps stressing on the fact that one should always learn from the past, and it provides us with a special seat in a hall that projects the tale as an immortal film.
It is a problem if each one us lived life merely without widening the horizon to what is beyond our path i.e. we need to study other people’s paths in life as well.
As a result of neglecting the study of the different paths of the past generations, our understanding to life can be incomplete and would lead to an unexpected way of life perspective.
The different time paths can be read through:
- Calculations of internal factors and elements by investigating an event in a short period of time.
- Induction: Judging a certain event depending on noticing certain conditions.
- Prediction: It is a formula that is founded on mathematical calculations to an event in its normal state, without taking into consideration the urgent conditions.
Other time paths cannot be read by the normal human mind:
- The miracle of knowing the unknown, i.e. foretelling an event before its occurrence as a proof to a Godly message by a prophet.
- Déjà vu which means that something has been beheld before, and it is a feeling that one gets if he/she sees a scene with all its details for a second time. There is not definite explanation for this phenomenon yet.
Apart from the miracle, all of the other paths can be used to know time travels and its measurements.
Below is an illustration to the time as a serpentine tube integrating with several external lines. Look at illustration no. 1.
What we are living when we are at the centre of an event is different than if we living it with other unexpected conditions or from an external point of view. It is like the carriage horse in which its eyes are covered with blinders in order to keep the horse focused and looking at a straight line only i.e. a time’s perspective track.
However, the non-perspective time track is curved and has many twists, and many event’s points will be on one line in spite of their temporal distance. Therefore, we have to contemplate over the anecdotes of the past generations in order to prevent ourselves from falling at the same trap if time decided to repeat itself. Look at illustration no. 2.
Some people can deal with different kinds of situations better than others because they tend to understand and contemplate over what is going on around them and not only focus on their life.
Looking at the quranic perspective, this holy book provides a great tool to the people to widen their horizon by illustrating examples from the past experiences, in which people can avoid falling at the same mistakes.
Despite the fact that what is apparent to us is that time travels in a straight line –not constantly-, but what is constant in all of this is the human element, and human different reactions to what is around them. The Quran asks us to contemplate over the previous nations as a way to present the first lesson of understanding time and how to deal with it, and without fallings at the same mistakes others did.
Evaluative prediction is one of the tools that are being used by the contemporary societies to widen their vision for any upcoming event. Such attempts are the foundation for many initiatives to reduce or eliminate what is coming through the time tunnel. For example, Japan has created many techniques in order to prevent major earthquake damages, and also embedded different programmes to educate people on how to deal with earthquakes, which ultimately made them accurate and committed clocks to what might happen in the future.
And the fewer tools used to widen the way people look at events, the more the society will be threatened with unexpected and shocking events. It is like if someone was hit by a car without knowing where the car came from, which will also lead to catastrophic results to the car and the driver. On the other hand, if someone is on a racing track will be more aware of what is around him, because all of his senses will be working, so any hit will not come as a surprise.
Therefore, thoughtful societies are trying their best to avoid falling in the same mistakes that previous generations did, which empowers them and gives the ability to understand time better, store and invest in it through using it in doing other things.
However, societies that do not understand time, will use it in a wrong way which leads to its aging too soon. Such societies spent their energy in falling at mistakes that others have previously have done as well.
Holy time, frightening, productive and withdrawing!
In spite of its consistency, time takes different frames because as mentioned before time is like a winding tunnel, but nevertheless, it travels in a straight line; time is the frame for each event taking place, it is like air for each living being, and each event has a birth date like any newborn.
Time has special sacred events specifically for the believers. For example, there is the Islamic pilgrimage season “Haj” and the holy month of Ramadan fasting, and the 40 days of fasting for Christians. The same thing applies for other religions which have many occasions which are connected to time. Sometimes, such events combine both time and place like the Haj, and sometimes it is just time like fasting and praying.
Sacred events can lead also to the prosperity of what is linked to them. For instance, merchandising in Mecca flourishes during the pilgrimage, and also trading and food marketing booms during the month of Ramadan.
Any authority which has a power over people could be annoyed about certain times in the human history because they represent a strong stimulation to people who rise against these powers and their tyranny. For example, the yearly occasion of Ashura for Shiites demonstrates the values of dignity and how to fight the unrighteous.
These powers hate such events because they feel that they are the bad guys of this equation, therefore, it tends to suppress them, just like Saddam Hussein who assaulted anyone reviving Ashura. Thus, the sacred time for a group of people can be frightening to others.
Such examples can be seen from a non-theological perspective as well, like a national memorial which can cause an upheaval for another society, such as the anniversary of the Zionist occupation to the Palestinian land, and Berlin Wall which is considered as a symbol of division. Also, it is like when countries celebrate their independence day, except for the UK. Such events are stored in the minds of people, as well as the authorities.
Alongside with the religious and political times, there are also the economical and intellectual events. What matters with time is how to use it very well. The Japanese people have come up with a new way of developing what is around them, and it is called “Kaizen”; it aims to improve things around them in order to save time. Kaizen depends mainly on a continuous trials and experiments in which it builds a whole programme that gets rid of wasting time and efforts “Muda”.
Using time is one of the quality values that companies around the world is trying to implement by investing their time, effort and money in the Research and Development field (R&D).
As for the individuals they interact with time according to their understanding and they deal with it as a straight line. This makes them practise the same routine everyday that can result in a low productivity compared to the capacity they have, which is like a grasshopper who has been locked in a box for a long period of time, and when it gets released it will not jump higher than the box height the muscles diminished and got weak.
Such interaction with time leads to energy and power consuming without having any tangible results.
The ball is going to fall…
If a ball reaches he top of a mountain, it will definitely tumble down and the reason for this is of course the gravity and the breaking of the touch barrier, and this is the same case with a balloon getting pinched with a needle.
If we imagine ourselves on the surface of the ball or balloon, it will be shocked and taken by surprise when the ball starts rolling down or the balloon explodes, and that is because we did not realise the third dimension which is the height. Therefore, most advanced societies realise the importance of the three dimensions. You would see people in Japan or the US looking for anything new, that is why you notice them reading everywhere; in a clinic, waiting for their bus, or on a flight. In other words they invest their time very well.
Some would also go beyond that by paying attention to the fourth dimension, so they would look at things from outside the time tunnel which makes there perspective more objective and accurate.
People in such societies try to implement a plan that goes far more than 10 or 15 years, and Japan for example has a view which goes to the year 2050. Thus, it is important to know when the ball will fall and how to catch it when it falls as well.
Which Déjà vu are we seeking?
Déjà vu is a French word which means “already seen”, and it happens when someone feels that he has seen this scene before and lived it with all its details. Although there are many explanations to this phenomenon, but it also means that it is a power outside the frame of time that occurs to people at certain times and lasts for few moments.
This gives us the ability to predict what is going to happen in the future which gives us the ability to deal perfectly with the route of events. Many films dealt with this issue like The Matrix, Next and Déjà vu.
If we look into the sayings of Ahluelbait, we can see how they look time in a way that makes anyone acquainted with receiving any kind of expectations. Imam Ali (AS) says: “Destiny is two days; one for you & one against you so when its for you don’t be proud or reckless & when its against you be patient”. This explains how we should be balanced while dealing with time in different scenarios and situations.
The Imam also draws a roadmap when dealing with time; he says: “Work for this life as though you are going to live forever, work for the next life as though you will die tomorrow.” This perfect equation provides a very nice constitution because it looks at the timeline of human beings from two different places; life and the afterlife.
It means that if you work endlessly in this life, it will give you the meaning of your existence because it proves you can be feel the eternity even if you move in a blink of an eye to a different place “the afterlife”.
The prophet (SAW) says: “If the Day of Judgment erupts while you are planting a new tree, carry on and plant it”, it gives a whole picture of why someone should work even if it was the last day in life.
Moreover, Imam Ali says that whoever has two days in a row the same then he is aggrieved, and if his yesterday is better then he is cursed. This illustrates how Imam Ali denounced routine and how to look at time in a totally new way, because it means that the person has a higher capacity to produce but they are not using it or investing their time.
Therefore, we should not live the destructive Déjà vu in which we live the same scenario every time but we do nothing regarding it.
How to live longer than our earthly age?
Putting a time plan to everything we do in life in order to get a whole view o what is to become. For example, any company will put a time plan to where they see themselves in the future in order to make sure we have the least amount of losses, and saves a lot of time for us.
Such plan gives us the opportunity to prepare the raw material for any project. For example if we decided to build a restaurant we would start preparing for the staff, marketing, training…etc.
Having the knowledge about time ensures we know about paths of life even if we did not reach the end of the time tunnel, because you have the time map between your hands. Therefore, many people have been immortal in this life even if they die, because of the great awareness they had.
The Prophet (SAW) says that every single individual will be asked in the judgment day of how he spent his life, youth, money and what have you contributed to this life with the knowledge you had.
* Jaafar Hamza, a Bahraini writer in culture, branding, creative thinker.
His first book was “I Love My doll, the love story between Human and Doll”, translated to English. A Germany publishing house reprint the book and put in in more that 300 website and library in Europe and US. It’s available in Amazon.com
His second book in Arabic under this title “The Holy Origami. A modern understanding for the Holy Quran”
To communicate with the writer:
His channels to communicate:
www.jaafar-hamza.com (mainly in Arabic)
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