In this book , he interpreted the ideology of Wahdat al-wujud for the first time in the most comprehensive way. But the Sufi saint who is most characterized in discussing the ideology of Sufi metaphysics in deepest details is Ibn Arabi. He also attributes the term to everything other than God, but he insists that wujud does not belong to the things found in the cosmos in any real sense. Rather, the things borrow wujud from God , much as the earth borrows light from the sun. Therefore he interprets that wujud is one and unique reality from which all reality derives. The external world of sensible objects is but a fleeting shadow of the Real al-Haq , God.
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Apart from Allah everything is vain. This doctrine along with its corresponding doctrine of the Oneness of Perception Wahdat al-Shuhud is not among the doctrines that are necessary in the religion to know or to believe in their validity or invalidity.
Rather it is best not to be preoccupied with it and not to discuss it, because it is a dangerous subject, discussion of which may lead to heresy zandaqah and apostasy ilhad. The reality is that it is a philosophical and dialectical question, the true nature of which human minds are incapable of comprehending. We have not been commanded in the religion to fine-tune these matters. Due to this we did not wish to discuss this topic nor increase the length of the book in verifying its reality.
However, since discussions on this topic have become more frequent as has occurred among the philosophers and Sufis of the Muslims, and many kinds of extremism have surfaced in it from various sides, it behooves us to write a short essay here on the different positions on this issue, in order to caution people against extremism, whether that extremism is in the matter at hand, or in declaring the adherents of these positions as right or wrong.
And Allah Most High is the Helper. The article [of faith] which the adherents of Islam, rather the adherents of all heavenly religions, have agreed upon is that independent beginningless eternal existence belongs to none besides Allah Most High, and that He Most High is the One who created the cosmos and originated it, and that all creatures were non-existent and came into the domain of existence by the creation of Allah Most High and His origination.
As regards to the difference between real acquired existence al-wujud al-haqiqi al-muktasab and relative idafi , imaginative khayali and shadow zilli existence, it will become clear with [the help of] an illustration or an analogy, and that is if we were to put a glass before the sun, the sun would produce four changes in the glass: The first change is that the glass would become warm due to the heat of the sun.
The existence of heat and warmth in the glass in this state is a real existence different to the existence of the heat of the sun. Hence, this is a proof for the difference between the reality of heat and the reality of warmth. However, the warmth of the glass is acquired from the heat of the sun and is dependent on it. This is an illustration or analogy of real acquired existence. However, real existence is different from the existence of Allah Most High.
Moreover, the existence and existent are both complete and separate. Real existence is divided into two types: the beginningless independent existence by Itself, and this existence belongs to none besides Allah Most High; and an acquired temporal existence, and this is a quality of all possible entities.
Likewise the existent is divided into two types: the beginningless independent existent and this is none besides Allah Most High, and a contingent created existent, and this includes all possible entities. The second change in the glass facing the sun is that it emits light due to the radiation of the sun but this light which the glass emits is not different to the light of the sun.
Rather, it is the same as the light of the sun, but it is distinguished from it by a specific relation acquired by it due to the ascription of the glass to it. And the proof of it being from the light of the sun is that it disappears when the opposition between the sun and the glass is removed.
This is an analogy of relative existence since the existence of the light of the glass, from the perspective that it is the light of the glass, is not real, and it is only the light of the sun by which the glass acquires a specific attribution by it.
Hence, the light of the glass is the same as the light of the sun, although it is distinguished from it by this specific relation. Some of the Islamic philosophers have taken the position that the characterisation of possible entities by existence is but analogous to the description of the glass with light in this illustration.
When Allah Most High wanted to create the possible entities He gave them a specific connection, whose true nature is unknown, to the existence that is subsisting in itself. He did not give it an existence different from that existence, but it is described as [having] existence by virtue of this connection which Allah Most High gave to it.
Hence, the existence according to them is real and partial, and the existent is complete and separate. The third change in the glass facing the sun is that the disc of the sun appears in the glass as though it is located in it. However, the reality is that the image of the sun which appears in the glass does not have a real existence since it is not the same as the sun, as is clear, or an apparition of it or a replication of it, rather it is purely fantasy and imaginary.
Its reality is nothing except that the visual rays, when it descends on the glass, it turns to the sun, so the sun appears in those visual rays. Thus the image of the sun reflected in the glass is an imaginary image, generated only by visual rays. Hence, if one were to close his eye, the image of the sun will no longer remain in the glass. If, therefore, it had an actual existence in the glass, that existence would not disappear upon closing the eye.
This is an illustration of imaginary existence. All the possible entities were non-existent in the exterior but its detailed knowledge was available to Allah Most High. Hence, when Allah Most High intended to remove the world from pure non-existence, He manifested these immutable entities upon external existence, by different levels of manifestation and in a manner whose true nature is known only to Allah.
Thus, the reflections of these immutable entities were manifested into external existence, whereby they do not acquire an existence from the outside, nor do they acquire the ability to penetrate into external existence, and it only acquires an imaginary existence that appears from the outside as though it is an external existence, just as the disc of the sun acquired an imaginary existence in the glass without it acquiring a real existence externally.
Thus, the real existent is none other than Allah Most High and the entire world is a reflection of the immutable entities and is nothing but pure imagination, which appears to be existent externally, but is not existent with a real existence. Hence, from the imaginary existent is that which disappears by stepping up the imagination, thus rules do not pertain to them; and from it is that which does not disappear by stepping up the imagination, so it is proper that some rules pertain to it.
The fourth change in the glass facing the sun is that the shadow of the glass falls on the earth. This shadow does not have a real existence. It is but an original darkness encompassed by light, and by this encompassment it becomes an image from the outside called a shadow. This is an illustration of shadow existence.
The adherents of the theory of the Oneness of Perception, and the foremost of them is Shaykh Mujaddid al-Alf al-Thani Allah have mercy on him , would say before the creation of the world there was nothing existent besides Allah Most High and all the possible entities were non-existent. Thus, the names of Allah Most High and His attributes were existent with a beginningless existence, and these are an expression of the attributes of perfection.
In contrast to them are the non-existent imperfect entities, like incapacity in contrast to power, and ignorance in contrast to knowledge. When Allah Most High intended to create the world, He manifested the attributes of His perfection on these non-existents, so the image of the perfections reflected on these non-existents, and by this reflection emerged the realities whose substance maddah are the non-existents and their forms surah these reflections.
Thus they are not existent with a real existence, due to originally being non-existents and imperfect entities, but they are by virtue of this reflection not considered pure non-existents. As regards to the safest position in the like of these issues, it is what we set forth beforehand, in leaving discussion about it and consigning its reality to Allah Most High.
Thus we believe generally in that the existence of Allah Most High is independent, complete, eternal and beginningless, while the existence of creatures in their entirety is a temporal existence dependent on the will of Allah Most High and it is imperfect in all respects relative to the existence of Allah Most High.
As regards to the true understanding of this imperfect existence and the manner in which the creatures are characterised by it, we are not commanded to investigate this and arrive at its true nature. There is no way for us to have firm resolve in this at all. However, at the same time there is nothing in the texts which necessitate adhering to their views or being resolute about what they said. The intent is only that all things besides Allah are imperfect and death will overtake them, whereas imperfection or death does not occur in Allah Most High.
As for struggling to establish them using the texts, if the text contains their possibility, then its mention is by way of supposition, and although this is not extremism, it is forced interpretation; and if it is elevated from the level of mere supposition to the level of firm conviction and confidence it is extremism; and if it is not contained as a possibility in the text then the claim of that issue being established by the text, whether as a supposition or as firm conviction, is a clear distortion tahrif of the texts.
As regards to when the asserted tenet is not established by a text, then indeed mention of it by way of a consideration of it, is also forced interpretation.
Wahdat al-Wujud, Wahdat al-Shuhud and the Safest Position
March 5, Wahdatul syuhud, wahdatul wujud Wahdatul wujud atau tauhid wujudi adalah fahaman yang membentuk kepercayaan bahawa yang ada hanya satu wujud iaitu Wujud Tuhan dan yang selain Tuhan tidak wujud. Segala kewujudan yang selain Tuhan merupakan penzahiran dan aspek-aspek ketuhanan atau wajah-wajah wujud Yang Esa itu. Dalam doktrin wahdatul wujud, Wujud Tuhan dikatakan bersamaan dengan wujud alam. Apa yang disaksikan dan dipandang adalah alam pada satu aspek dan juga Tuhan pada aspek yang lain.
Apart from Allah everything is vain. This doctrine along with its corresponding doctrine of the Oneness of Perception Wahdat al-Shuhud is not among the doctrines that are necessary in the religion to know or to believe in their validity or invalidity. Rather it is best not to be preoccupied with it and not to discuss it, because it is a dangerous subject, discussion of which may lead to heresy zandaqah and apostasy ilhad. The reality is that it is a philosophical and dialectical question, the true nature of which human minds are incapable of comprehending. We have not been commanded in the religion to fine-tune these matters.