Essentially there is only a SINGLE SPIRIT in existence to which Sufism refers as “The Great Spirit”. Everything in the universe is created from this Great Spirit.
The Great Spirit, or in modern terms the power within the essence of existence or the First Reflection of Allah!
Abu Hurairah (ra) in the Muslim book of Hadith narrates from the Rasul of Allah (saw):
“Allah says: Man curses time yet I am time, for in my hand are night and day.”
And, “Allah said: The son of Adam abuses me. He curses time yet I am time, for I turn the night into day.”
The word “dahr” (time) in Arabic means “instant”. It should not be construed as the linear concept of earthly time to which we have been conditioned.
According to us one day equals the time it takes the Earth to rotate once around itself, one year equals the time it takes the Earth to rotate around the Sun, i.e. 365 days, and a century is 100 rotations around the sun hence 100 years. All of this is “relative” time. It is according to us earthlings.
In reality there is only ONE time.
Pre-eternity and post-eternity, in the sight of Allah, is a single “instant” (dahr).
Relative time is an illusion we have collectively come to accept. It changes according to the speed and plane, i.e. the dimension in which we live. As one moves from being less matter to more consciousness and spirit, the experience of relative time also changes and becomes more expansive.
Essentially the word “dahr” refers to the universal energy that composes existence, that is, the attribute of divine power.
It is an unfathomable concept for one who is conditioned to the daily linear concept of time.
This is why the Quran narrates many of the “future” events as things that have already transpired using past tense to explain them.
For pre and post eternity is a single existence in the sight of divine observation or the ‘Knowledge of Allah’.
This is the intimates of the reality have claimed:
“Essentially there is only one reflection. It is the Single Reflection (Tajalli-i Wahid). There has never been a second reflection.”
The whole of existence is only one single reflection, referred in Sufism as the ‘One Theophany’ or the Divine Self-disclosure of Allah (Tajalli Wahid). There has never been a second reflection thereon. Everything that is seen, felt, perceived, imagined and experienced is a depiction of this Single Reflection.
Sufism also refers to this as the “constant instant”. Though for the truly enlightened and awakened ones this “constant instant” is quintessentially an “imagined instant” and is no other than the Knowledge of Allah.
The entire existence in the sight of Allah is nothing other than a principle of knowledge. That is, the universe doesn’t even have an actual existence in the sight of Allah. This is why the Sufis have frequently claimed, “The worlds are only a dream”!
To discern this is to become familiar with this reality. And that my friend, is entirely a matter of experience and joy. Only one who is passionate and dedicated enough may eventually be given the insight to perceive the inner depths of this reality through the activation of ilm-i ladun (manifestation of a special angelic force from His grace) by Divine Grace.
So, in respect to its essence there is really only a single dimension of time in the universe. For those who can perceive! Within this single frame of time, countless dimensions have ‘materialized’ through divine order, spawning innumerous forms of existence.
There is also a general misconception that I would like to correct.
Due to misconstruing the fact that “all forms of existence exist in the Knowledge of Allah” some claim “knowledge is subject to the known.” That is, because all known existence was in the pre-eternal knowledge of Allah and Allah knew what they were capable of doing He determined their fates according to their known capacity.
This fiction has been fabricated to endorse the fact that Allah does not do wrong by His servants, He does not oppress or torment, He simply does as their pre-eternal states necessitate. Hence Allah does not cast anyone to hell by force.