The Greatest Master Muhyiddin Ibn al-Arabi
The Greatest Master Muhyiddin Ibn al-Arabi

Most of these introductory articles are exracted from Volume I of the Single Monad Model of the Cosmos: Ibn al-Arabi's View of Time and Creation... more on this can be found here.

The Circulated Days (ayyam al-takwir)

Then if we stick to one place and watch the flow of time, we see that the sun sets, for example, at the beginning of 'Sunday night' (i.e., the night that begins before Sunday daytime);[1] and then it rises on Sunday morning, and so on until it completes a full week on the following Sunday night. This is the witnessed week, and its days are the normal days, or the witnessed days. Ibn al-Arabi calls them the 'circulated days' (ayyam-ul-takwir),[2] because they (daytimes and nights), seem to run after each other in a circle, as Allah says in the Qur’an:

He created the Heavens and the earth through the real. He causes the night-time to encircle (v. yukawwiru) the daytime, and the daytime to encircle the night-time. He has subjected the sun and the moon: each one follows a (designated) course for a time appointed. Is He not the All-Mighty, the All-Forgiving?


So we can also say that the daytimes are circulated around the nights, and the nights are circulated around the daytimes, because the daytime and the night are like hemispheres surrounding the earth all the time, but running after each other as if they were seeking each other, as Allah said in Qur’an: 'Lo! Your Lord is Allah Who created the Heavens and the earth in six Days then mounted He on the Throne. He covers (yugshi) the night-time with the daytime, which is in haste to seek it.' (7:54)

The Arabic word yugshi in this verse not only means 'to cover' but also 'to embrace' [Ayyam Al-Sha’n: 7], and it is particularly used for marriage. Thus Ibn al-Arabi suggests that it is as if the daytime and the night are seeking each other because they want to 'marry' each other, to produce children - since we and everything else in the world are all the 'progeny' of the daytimes and nights [Ayyam Al-Sha’n: 7]. This 'abstract marriage', is a basic concept in Ibn al-Arabi's cosmological teachings, and we shall come back to it shortly.

We conclude that in every normal day (i.e. circulated day) as we observe it in one specific place on the earth, a vast number of 'Days of events' happen, as many as there are indivisible moments in this day. In other words, in every moment that we encounter on the earth, there is a Day of event happening that encompasses the whole world or cosmos (all of creation). Yet each Day of event is also composed of the seven distinctive Days of creation, the divine creative 'Week' described in detail in the previous chapter.


[1] For the Arabs, whom Ibn al-Arabi follows on this point, the nighttime of a particular day is that which precedes the daytime of that day, and not the night that follows that daytime. See Ayyam Al-Sha’n: 4. See also section II.14.

[2] In Appendix A in their study of Ibn al-Arabi's book: Ayyam Al-Sha’n, 'The Seven Days of the Heart' (p. 149), Pablo Beneito and Steven Hirtenstein translated ayyam al-takwir' as 'the cyclical days' and translated the Qur’anic verb yukawwiru as '(He) wraps'. However, I prefer to use the term 'circulate' to emphasize the meaning that the daytimes and the night-times go around each other in a circle, and that they both (together) encircle the earth. This type of days (the circulated days) is also the normal, observable type of days that are 'circulated' amongst us, to differentiate them from the other two types that we shall see below.

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