Sayyid Ahmed Amiruddin

Researcher of Political Science & Classical Islam. Initiated by the Khwajagan i-Naqshband.

Wahdat al-Wajud, Arab-Neoplatonism & Monism

The frontispiece of an Arabic atlas with Mecca as the center of the world. Around the edge of the circle are the names of countries, with lines showing their orientation relative to the Holy Kaaba. The frontispiece dates from 958, published in 1551.

“The great Arab philosopher Ibn Rushd, known as Averroes wrote a systematic rebuttal of the Persian polymath al-Ghazali’s landmark critique of Greco-Arab philosophy titled Tahafut al-Falasifa (The Incoherence of the Philosophers) titled Tahafut al-Tahafut (“Incoherence of the Incoherence”). Ibn Arabi met Ibn Rushd, and learned from him.  Al-Ghazali is credited with the intellectual collapse of the Islamic education system and the subsequent dark age of imaginal poverty which followed.”  — Sayyid Ahmed Amiruddin

“Once his father sent the youthful Muhyiddin to visit the greatest philosopher of the era, Ibn Rushd (Avveroes). Ibn Rushd was amazed by the supernatural talent and aptitude of the young man…Muhyiddin wished to encounter Ibn Rushd again.” — Shajrat al-kawn: An Ode to the Perfect Man (Muhammad(S)) p. 36

“One of our aims… consists of demonstrating clearly that the whole world is composed in conformity with arithmetical, geometrical, and musical relations. There, we have explained in detail the reality of universal harmony” Islamic Cosmological Doctrines Conceptions of Nature and Methods Used for its Study by the Ikhwan al-Safa, Al-Biruni, and Ibn Sina. Revised Edition Seyyed Hossein Nasr 1978 p. 45

The greatest supporters of Arab-Neoplatonism included Muslim philosophers and Sufi Saints. These include Jabir Ibn Hayyan (Geber), translator of the Emerald Tablet, the Ikhwan al-Safa (Brethren of Purity), Ibn Sina (Avicenna), Shahab al-Din Suhrawardi, initiated by ‘Abd al-Qadir al-Jilani, subsequent founder of the first Sufi Brotherhood, Muhiuddin Ibn Arabi, who wore the cloak of Abd al-Qadir al-Jilani in Mecca and subsequently became renowned among Sufis as Shaykh Al-Akbar “the greatest master”, Mullah Sadra, Sadruddin al-Qunawi, student of Ibn Arabi; and friend of Rumi, Nasir al-Din al-Tusi, the creator of trigonometry, and Sadr ad-Din Muhammad Shirazi, also called Mulla Sadra, arguably the single most important and influential philosopher in the Muslim world in the last four hundred years according to Oliver Leaman. One of the greatest tragedy throughout Arab and Islamic history seems to be the misreading of Tawhid, literally meaning “oneness”, non-dualism, which constitutes the foremost article of the Muslim profession of faith, from Monism (oneness) to Monotheism (dualism). The characteristic of Neoplatonic thought in Islamic theology is that of emanation, linking God’s transcendence with the corporeal reality of His creation.

Arab Muslim-Neoplatonism was allowed to flourish in the 10th to early 11th century, but there was a strong reaction against it in the later 11th century, especially from the Persian polymath Al-Ghazali, who represents Islamic theology’s “most biting attack on philosophy” at the time, and the severest reaction to Neoplatonism in particular (Netton 1998). Al-Ghazali’s criticism evoked a counter-reaction by the Arab philosopher Ibn Rushd, known as Averroes, who wrote a systematic rebuttal titled Tahafut al-Tahafut (“Incoherence of the Incoherence”) of al-Ghazali’s landmark critique of Greco-Arab philosophy titled Tahafut al-Falasifa (The Incoherence of the Philosophers).

According to Ulema of Hindustan

Arabic-Neoplatonism philosophy (Monism/Wahdat ul-Wajud/Tawhid) in the Sufi teachings of the most recent unanimously accepted leader of the Ulema of Hindustan – Haji Imdadullah Muhajir Makki – quoted in the Shamaim-e-Imdadiyah by Ashraf Ali Thanwi: “In the stage of Ubudiyah (The state of being ‘Abd or worshiper), there are three meanings of the Kalimah – La ilaha illa Allah, La Ma’bud (Nobody is worthy of worship), La Matlub (Nobody is desired) and La Mawjud (None exists), the last being the loftiest stage…It is Shirk to differentiate between the worshiper (Abid) and the Worshiped (Ma’bud)…To summarize, based upon the explanations of our predecessors, we understand that this position is Haqq (fact) and there is no doubt about it. However, it is experienced only after the initiate is separated from his self (delusion) and is made to overcome fear. Because when a person is made unaware of his own existence (nafs), he is unaware of everything. Nothing remains in his thoughts or his sight except Allah. Therefore, all concentration of the initiate is turned upon (finding) Allah. When nothing distracts his attention and he meditates his mind on Allah; then when he opens his eyes, he sees nothing but Allah. (At this stage) the Dhikr of Hu Hu (He He) turns to Ana Ana (I Am, I Am). This stage is called Fanah der Fanah … (Similarly) from the elite of the Ummah, it was Bayazid al-Bastami who said: ‘Subhani ma Adham-Shani (Glory be to me, I Am far removed from all imperfections, how great is my state) and Mansur al-Hallaj who said: ‘Ana al-Haqq’ (I Am the Truth).”

Wahdat ul-Wajud: Allahu Haqq (Only Allah Almighty is Real) By Mawlana Shaykh Nazim al-Qubrusi

Dr. Mahmood Saeed al-Tantawi, of the Supreme Council of Islamic Affairs, Arab Republic of Egypt, writes on page 186 of his book, Min Fada-il al-‘Ashrat al-Mubashireen bil Janna, published in 1976 by Matab’a al-Ahram at-Tijariyya, Cairo, Egypt: “May God have mercy upon Ali ibn Abi Talib. He was born in the Kaaba. He witnessed the rise of Islam; he witnessed the Da’wa of Muhammad, and he was a witness of the Wahi (Revelation of Al-Qur’an al-Majid). He immediately accepted Islam even though he was still a child, and he fought all his life so that the Word of Allah would be supreme.”

In the Name of Allah Almighty, the Most Merciful, the Most Beneficent and the Most Munificent, the Lord of the Heavens and the Creator of all existences. He created everything in existence and at anytime that He wishes to do so, he can take it all away. When a certain Saint was asked questions on Marifatullah by some people, he did not give any answers because he was able to see their level of understanding. He was saying “leave these questions to us and the answers are not for you.” He who has been given Hikmah (Wisdom) must before he speaks or addresses people know the general rule. Kalimannaasa Ala Kadaru Kooli. That is a command from Rasulullah (on whom be peace), that you must speak to people according to their understanding and the capacities of their minds. You cannot speak more than this because then you will be held responsible. Those who speak to ordinary people carry a heavy responsibility and if they do not give this Hikmah (wisdom) properly, those people will become empty people. They will become empty because they do not know anything about Shariatallah or about Tazeem Shariatallah.

There is Shariatallah (Laws) and there is Tazeem Shariatallah which is the order to respect Shariatallah. Some of the Saints when they get into Jazbah develop a strong relationship to Alamul Malakoot. They can lose Alamul Mulk and speak of something that belongs to Alamul Malakoot. Some of them speak about their levels in Alamul Jabaroot and even Alamul Lahoot. When they speak from their levels it can be Muhatha, which is their addressing may be above the level of the people whom they speak to. When one speaks about Alamul Lahoot, Alamul Jabaroot and Alamul Malakoot in such a manner it is a big mistake, because it can make much trouble amongst the Muslim community. It can make people to misunderstand and fight with each other. They might become separated from each other and even become enemies to one another. Thus the respect for Shariat will be taken away.

Therefore the person who speaks on such subjects openly, may not be doing a good thing. You cannot give such knowledge to ordinary people because these people may not be able to understand what the realities of these words are. There must be a  Taweel for ordinary people and sometimes ordinary people cannot understand even what Taweel means. For example, the Holy Quran says Waja’a Rabbuka Wal Malaku Saffa – it means that Allah Almighty who is your Lord is coming with His Angels with Lights. What does this mean? How can you see this? What is the meaning of this when Allah Almighty says that He is coming. But by these translated Arabic words it means that He is coming, and you may ask with base knowledge, from where to where does He come, for we know Allah Almighty is everywhere. Does He come with a form or without a form? Light is Saffa, but how is He coming? You cannot answer this because you can only believe and also because there are Secret Knowledge’s about this point. Not everyone can know about such a Taweel. Those who have been given Ilm ul Yakeen, Ayn ul Yakeen and Haqq ul Yakeen, (the Certainties of Knowledge), will not doubt because it is clear to them as to what is the meaning of Taweel.

Therefore when the Saints say something it is not always for ordinary people. It may be some form of code for the opening of Marifatullah (Divine Knowledge), like the combination lock in a briefcase with a digit code for opening the lock. Only the person  who put in that code number may open it, and not another. In the same way if that Secret is not given to you, you may look but you cannot open it. For example in the Holy Quran consider the letters at the beginning of a Surah like the letters Alif, Laam, Meem.  Who can give their meanings? Even Angel Gibreel (alai) who brought these Surahs down did not know their meanings. Once when Gibreel (alai) came to reveal Surah Mariyam, he said “Kaaf“, then the Prophet (on whom be peace), said, “I know”, he then said “Ha”, the Prophet (on whom be peace), said, “I know”, he said, “Ya,” again the Rasool (on whom be peace), said, “I know, he said “Ayn”, the Rasool (on whom be peace), said, “I know”, Gibreel then said “Saad”, and again the Prophet (on whom be peace), said, “I know. “ Gibreel wondered about this and asked the Prophet (on whom be peace), “Oh! Muhammed, I am bringing this Surah for the first time, but how is it that I do not know and you say, “I know, I know!” The Prophet (on whom be peace), replied that he, Gibreel, was only a transmitter of the Revelation and that it was Allah Almighty who was his teacher.

This was Secret Knowledge that belonged to the Prophet (on whom be peace). Gibreel (alai), who brought this revelation gave only five letters, and these five letters gave the meaning of this whole Surah. Ar Rahman Allama’l Quran. Ordinary people cannot fathom the Secret Code because they cannot understand the value of the Holy Quran. The Holy Quran has Oceans of treasures, Oceans of pearls, Oceans of wisdom, Oceans of Knowledge and Oceans amongst Oceans. However much one may dive into it, an end cannot be reached. The Saints may speak sometimes from the Secrets of the Holy Quran but there is no benefit without giving you the key to the code number.  Therefore such an attitude by them is to give some openings to make people understand, but if such people cannot reach that level of Knowledge what will be the benefit? We have also been given the Secret knowledge about this Secret Code but it is not for ordinary people. It may be for high level Saints and not even for the ordinary Saints. This knowledge is for the big Ulema and not for every Alim.

We can see this glass of water and the ice cubes that is in it. When you touch this ice cube it is hard as rock, if you apply pressure to it, it may crack and melt after sometime. Both are composites of water but the ice cube is not real water. If you put an ice cube into a pan and heat it, it will boil and evaporate very quickly. Ordinary water however needs a hundred degrees centigrade to boil. Likewise the Knowledge’s are the same, but there are different levels of understanding for different types of people.

The Saints may speak about Wahdat i Wujud. We Naqshbandi’s also have the ZikrLa Mowjooda Illallah – which means that there is no existence but Allah. Only Allah Almighty was in existence and even now also there is none else in existence but Him. Every learned person knows that this World came into existence for some reason and also for some reason it will disappear and vanish. This is our belief.

At one time there was nothing in existence and there will come a time when once again there will be nothing in existence. Mumkin ul Wujud means the possibility for reasons in existence. What is the reason for this Universe to appear in existence? It is only Iradathullah. Inna Ma Amruhu Iza Aradha Shayyan Yakoolulahu Kunfayakoon. This is from Surah Yaseen. Above all reason the only reason is His Will. He just said, “BE” and the Universe came into existence. Everything in existence does not have any real existence. “Wahdat i Wujud”, means that only Allah Almighty is “Existence.”

It is an obligatory belief that His Existence does not need any reason. There cannot be any reason for His Being. He is in existence without reason but everything else, which is in existence, is with reasons. That means that with His Will, He brings everything into existence and this is “Iradah”. How can you say that there is a shadow existence to Allah
Almighty. It is only like an appearance on a mirror. Do you think that the one who is reflected in a mirror is real. No! it cannot be real. The reflection of His existence belongs also to Him when He is in front of a mirror, and when he turns away there is nothing in it.

The whole existence of Mankind is like this image in a mirror. Allah Almighty created a Universe so large that the minds of people cannot even fathom it. Even to speak of the distances of this “Seen Universe”, perhaps from one point to another is impossible. I am not speaking about the unseen Worlds that belong to the Heavens. I am only speaking of this Universe that is the World that you can touch and feel, and also what we call Space. You may reach for astronomical numbers and even then it is only a very limited area. Who knows where this Universe (Alamul Mulk) begins and where it ends. We only know a little dot of all this which makes us to wonder, and we can only wonder about the Endless Greatness and the Endless Power Oceans of the Lord. Where is the Lord? How can you say that He is in the stones, the mountains and the trees. Allah Almighty is One and what is His position? Therefore we must keep Maa Al Ilm Adab , we must keep Adab (respect) with Ilm (knowledge).

Allah Almighty is asking to show mankind His Endless Greatness. We have been only given small vision and we are looking through big telescopes. We talk about millions and billions of light years but that distance is really nothing for a Saint who has been given spiritual power and authority to reach up to millions or billions of light years in less
than a minute or even a second. He is able to travel such distances and even place his foot on it. This spiritual power is from the Authority of Muhammed (on whom be peace), and it is faster than the speed of light. If light needs more than ten million years to reach from one point of the Universe to another a Saint will take less than a second to do so
and even one billion light years is nothing for him. Allah Almighty is asking to be known, and for us to know something of His Endless Greatness. When you say, Allahu Akbar through which scale and what measure can you measure His Greatness and Fame.  Allah Almighty therefore created this Sama ad Dunya and filled it up with huge galaxies that you cannot even see through gigantic telescopes. You can only view the photographs that have been taken with electronic instruments and you cannot ever see them physically.

Once an Astronomer was curious and wanted to look through the most powerful telescope although it was dangerous. He just had one look and the light was so powerful that he fainted. Even this gigantic telescope is only like a matchstick compared to the gigantic view of the Endless Greatness Oceans of Allah Almighty, and one day it is all going to disappear. How can one say that this is Allah Almighty and this is not. No one can give real value to His Greatness and of His being in existence. None can know Allah Almighty?s Greatness and it is left for us only to say so much according to the Marifa or Divine Knowledge that we have been given. We can only say “Subhanallah”.  Glory be to You. Oh Allah, we can never reach completely to know anything of Your Greatness. Alhamdulillah.

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