Defining time has puzzled philosophers and scientists alike. Current definition of time is a lapse of duration between two events. But the problem with this definition is that it creates different times throughout out the universe. It makes time subjective to the location of an observer or estimator of time. A person holding a stop watch on earth, moon, mars or another galaxy will report different times. Similarly a star two lunar years away is considered moved to the future when the light emitted by it reaches earth. This means that in prevalent understanding of time distance and speed plays a role as well. But this should not be the case because everything in the Universe emanates from a single event which we call a Big Bang or as Quran suggest it in Verse 2.117 “..He saith to it: ‘Be’. And it is”. If it is true then time throughout the universe should be same or unified independent of the location of an object or observer. How do we solve this paradox?
Big bang is an event that has not finished yet and is still unfolding. In this ongoing event Time is a state of universe at a particular moment. This State is the collective state of everything contained in the Universe from celestial bodies to a virus at the depth of sea or a particle of dust resting on a stone. From this perspective everything in the universe has an affect on each other and there is a connection between all. An ant carrying a piece of grain is as relevant to a person as a dust particle removed from the surface of a stone by the wind. Each state is unique in its composition from the one preceding or succeeding it.
Time can not exist in absolute vacuum regardless of its size because in vacuum there is no change of state from one moment to the other. Vacuum does not exist in the universe as there is dark matter present in all points of space. Time is neither a rate of change of state from one moment to another nor is it the measure of duration between two events rather it is a unique state of the universe at a particular moment. Time is like a movie that is continuous presentation of still impressions on a canvas. Each still is unique but when they are changed in continuum we experience motion of the characters or things. If we present stills of the movie out of sync meaning they are presented in random rather than in a sequence then we can not perceive a comprehensible motion. Just like a movie the moments follow each other in succession for it to appear continuous to our sensory perception. From this perspective duration is a set of moments in continuum. For instance while watching a movie we can watch a particular two minute slice which is different from other parts of the movie.
How long is a moment depends on who fast a change occurs. If no change happens the time will stand still and not progress to the next moment. Since each moment is defined by a unique state of the Universe at that point in time so as soon as a change occurs we are in the next moment. Change in State happens because of the involuntary change like the earth revolving around Sun as well as voluntary change such as when a person starts a car or moves his hand. A moment is the sum total of all the states resulting from the voluntary and involuntary change.
Time has no relation to motion, space or distance. This is the only way there could be unity of time at different points in the universe. From this concept of time a ray of light is independent of its speed. This means that its position in space and state of ray of light is relevant rather than the distance it has traveled from one moment to the other. A ray of light emitted from a far off star (say 2 lunar years away) that is seen on earth and the star itself are at a particular state in a particular moment in time regardless when the ray of light was generated. So there is unity of time in the universe.
Time provides a source of audit and accounting for each living and non living thing in the universe. A person knows his or her particular state at a given moment in time but they can not fathom the exact state of all other things that are within their domain of observation. Only God has the exact measure of each moment of time as HE is the only one aware of exact state of all things in the Universe.
Humans are endowed with free will which means they have the power to change things around them to define the next moment. But the scope and extent of this power is no greater than an electron revolving around a nucleus in an atom. We must remember this when we inflate our egos for our achievements. In spiritual terms the state of the next moment is only in control of God as only he has the power to allow or stop the Universe to change from one state to another from one moment to the next.