The Challenge of Existence of Imaginary Time in the Opinions of Muslim Theologians and Philosophers

Ali Reza Kohansal / Associate Professor in Department of Islamic Philosophy and Theosophy; Ferdowsi University Mashhad                                                                                                                       

@ Maʿsouma Sadat Sari ʿArefi / PhD Student of Transcendental Theosophy; Ferdowsi University Mashhad

Received: 2020/12/25 - Accepted: 2021/07/19                    


The discussion pertaining to the origination and eternity of the universe is rooted in the foundations of the theological and philosophical thoughts such as the effect’s need of the cause; the relationship of the ultimate cause and the effect; the cause and effect necessity; explaining the time and place and their relationship; explaining the divine essence and attributes such as knowledge, power, willpower, and the relationship between the attributes and the essence. Meanwhile, some of the theologians have chosen the temporal origination of the universe on the basis of their intellectual foundations and by considering the appearance of the verses and traditions, having presented some evidences and arguments for this. On the opposite side, the Muslim philosophers have criticized their evidences and reasoning to choose eternity of the universe. However, some other theologians have presented the theory of the imaginary time to evade the challenges of the temporal origination and proceed with its structural modification. One of the basic lines in this theory is the issue pertaining to the existence or non-existence of the imaginary time, which forms the argumentative dialogue among the philosophers and theologians. In this study, we have firstly investigated the opinions of the theologians in three lines of existence, nothingness and noumenality of the time. Secondly, we have explained the critiques of philosophers to the theologians’ opinions. Finally, it is clarified that in spite of the inconsistency between the views of the philosophers and theologians and the objections posed such as similarity between the existent time and the imaginary time as well as the absurdity of the nothingness of the imaginary time, we can consider both groups as having agreement in proving some sort of container for the beings beyond matter and in spite of disagreement in explaining the features and the source of abstractness of that container.

KEY WORDS: imaginary time, container, explicit nothingness, existing time, philosophers, theologians.

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