TWO SCHOOLS OF THOUGHT AMONG THE MYSTICS— ONENESS OF BEING AND ONENESS OF WITNESSING

“…the interactions of God Almighty with human beings are so profound and multifaceted that no human power can articulate them. For if it was within the power of man to express, divine providence and the perfect attributes of Allah Almighty would not be expounded by Him in the Qur’an…”

“A study of this verse also demonstrates that the Oneness of Being (wahdatul-wujuud) is an ideology that has gone far from the truth and has failed to grasp the attributes of God. This concept is unable to realise the very relationship between servitude (ubuudiyyat) and divinity (uluuhiyyat). The reason for this, as it appears, is that from among those who subscribe to this ideology there were those blessed with visions and those engaged in spiritual struggle; when they ventured into the depths of contemplation, they were unable to distinguish between the characteristic nature of servitude (ubuudiyyat) and divine providence (rubuubiyyat), and ultimately began to hold that the things God created are God Himself.

The Holy Qur’an descends upon the heart before it flows from the tongue. The heart possesses such a close affinity with the Divine that it became the recipient of God’s Word. It is understandable that some could be misled by the deep and subtle nature of this subject. However, the fact of the matter is that when a person advances on the basis of a misunderstanding, they become trapped in a vortex of difficulty. As I have just mentioned, the interactions of God Almighty with human beings are so profound and multifaceted that no human power can articulate them. For if it was within the power of man to express, divine providence and the perfect attributes of Allah Almighty would not be expounded by Him in the Qur’an.

Our non-existence is the very proof of God’s existence. It is certainly true that when man is helpless in every respect, he is essentially a non-entity. Certain people were unable to grasp this subtle and profound secret and as a result began to proclaim:

خلق ٱلأشیَاء هو عَین

God created things and He is those things.

From among the Wujuudis and Shuhuudis, the former are those who declare and believe that ‘God created things and He is those things.’ The latter group, however, believe in the annihilation of perception (fana-un-nadhari) and assert that man can become so engrossed in love that he can become annihilated in God (fana fillah); whereafter such people may be described as embodiments of the following verse:

“I have become you, and you me, I the body, you the soul; So that no one can say hereafter, that you are someone, and me someone else”.

All of this aside, even mystics are compelled to accept the presence of God’s independent, overarching power and control, whether they are Wujuudis or Shuhuudis. Various sages and masters from among them such as Bayazid Bastami(rh), Shibli(rh), Dhun-Nun(rh) and Muhy-ud-Din Ibni Arabi(rh) have generally expressed this view in their discourses, either explicitly or implicitly. However, I would like to state clearly that we are not at liberty to mock them or look down upon them. On the contrary, they were wise and intelligent people. The fact of the matter is that this subject is a subtle and profound secret that relates to understanding the essence of the Divine, and so they were unable to grasp the nature of this relationship—that is all, nothing else.

In the face of God’s supreme power and control, human beings seem as though they were lifeless creatures. When they observed man as such, they began to express the views I have just mentioned and their thoughts became inclined to such concepts”.

(Malfoozat Vol. I, pp. 111-113)
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