By Misbahul Huda, New Age Islam
8 July 2014
This piece is inspired by recently posted articles of NAI’s contributors on the theme of ‘Wahdat-ul-wujud’.
“He it is Who created the heavens and the earth in six Days; then He mounted the Throne. He knows all that enters the Earth and all that emerges therefrom and all that comes down from the sky and all that ascends therein; and He is with you wherever you are” (Al-Hadid:4)
Bhagavad-Gita reads as follow:
“Earth, water, fire, air, ether, mind, intellect and ego constitute my Nature. This is My Apara Prakriti, which is of lower nature. This is different from my higher nature or Para Prakriti, the Jiva also known as Self consciousness or life principle, on which the entire universe is sustained. All beings evolve from my two fold Prakriti (broadly classified into 2 types of energies). I am the source of entire creation and into Me the entire creation dissolves. Arjuna, there is nothing beyond Me and all creatures are bound to me like cluster of gems are bound by a thread.” Bhagavad-Gita (Chapter -VII. Verses 4 – 7)
The Islamic doctrine of Wahdat-ul-wujud is not an invention in faith (Bid’ah), as it is promulgated by the opponent ideologues. On the contrary, when we delve deeper into the subject, we find the concept of Wahdat-ul-wujud deep-rooted in Muslim religious scriptures and in Hindu religious scriptures as well.
According to Vedanta philosophy pertaining to the concept of Advaita (which is called Wahdat-ul-wujud in Islamic term), Atma, the unchanging consciousness, inside all the living beings whether it is you, me, gods (Devas), demons (Asuras), animals, birds, insects, plants, occupants of this universe or the other worlds, is identical with the non-dual, indivisible and infinite Brahma, (consciousness, universal soul or spirit). Brahma and Atma are identical to each other with not, even, a slightest difference. It would be more accurate to perceive Brahma and Atma as just two words for the same being, and nothing else. Hence, there is a complete unity between Jiva or the individual beings and Brahman (God).
This establishes the complete consensus between Muslim and Hindu ideologues of Wahdat-ul-Wujud, teaching the oneness of Supreme Being, which is called Brahman in Vedic term. According to Vedanta philosophy Brahman is infinite and omnipresent (present absolutely everywhere), thus, there cannot be a place where he is not. And this very concept of Vedanta philosophy is well demonstrated in the following Qur’anic verse:
“He it is Who created the heavens and the earth in six Days; then He mounted the Throne. He knows all that enters the Earth and all that emerges there from and all that comes down from the sky and all that ascends therein; and He is with you wherever you are” (Al-Hadid:4)
The proponents of the Advaita concept have assumed the reality of the universe as a delusion of sight, which implies the world is unreal illusory, very much like a dream, which has its own subjective reality but it is illusory as compared to the waking state.
Below are the some verses from Quran that make the Islamic doctrine of Wahdat-ul-Wujud or Advaita Vedanta Philosophy more reasonable and acceptable:
1. “And We have already created man and know what his soul whispers to him, and We are closer to him than [his] jugular vein”. (Qaf 50:16)
2. “And to Allah belong the east and the west, so wherever you turn (yourselves or your faces) there is the Face of Allah” [al-Baquarah 2:115]
3. “He is the First and the Last, the Outward and the Inward; He is the Knower of everything” (Al-Hadid 57:3)
4. “And you did not kill them, but it was Allah who killed them. And you threw not, [O Muhammad], when you threw, but it was Allah who threw that He might test the believers with a good test. Indeed, Allah is Hearing and Knowing.” (Al-Anfal 8:17)
5. “His throne includeth the heavens and the earth, and He is never weary of preserving them. He is the Sublime, the Tremendous.” (Al-Baquarah 2:255)
6. “And (also) in yourselves. Can ye then not see?” (Adh-Dhariyat 51:1)
7. “We will show them Our signs in the horizons and within themselves until it becomes clear to them that it is the truth. But is it not sufficient concerning your Lord that He is, over all things, a Witness?” (Fussilat 41:53)
While elaborating the concept of Wahdat-ul-Wujud, a well-known Sufi of Baghdad Abdul Karim Jili, observes in one of his books ‘The Perfect Man’ as following:
“When man progresses from his mundane state, reaches an elevated status in all purity shedding off the bad fat, and peers removing the screen, he realizes that his own essence is the essence of Allah. That was why the Prophet had proclaimed, “If one has known oneself, one has known Allah.” [The Perfect Man P. 224]
The prime stimulus to the Islamic doctrine of Wahdat-ul-Wujud, however, is to experience the higher culmination of inward association with God Almighty by self-denial, purifying the soul and heart, mystical knowledge of God (‘Irfan) and thus, annihilating into God (Fana Fillah).
Abu Yezid al-Bistami (d. 875) for instance, used to utter in the state of trance “Glory be to Me! How great is my Majesty!” it should be remembered that, he uttered such sentences because of the higher spiritual union with God, achieved through the constant ecstasy (Mujahidah and Muraqabah), in which Sufis claim to have annihilated into God (Fana Fillah). Similar examples, however, are found in the more solemn Islamic mystics such as Muhasibi (d. 857), Zunun Misri (d. 861), Kharraz (d. 899) and al-Junaid (d. 910) who exposed their mystical experiences in less unbalanced language.
Having read the above mentioned Qur’anic verses, and the excerpts from the Muslim and Hindu religious scriptures, it is obvious that, those who term the pure Islamic doctrine of Wahdat-ul-Wujud as invention in faith (Bid’ah) and equate it with setting up the partners with god, are suffering from grave misconception, and they must take into account their sources of knowledge. Since the doctrine of Wahdat-ul-Wujud is well-founded, not only in Islamic scriptures; rather, it is deep-rooted in Hindu scriptures as well, as it is demonstrated in Vedanta philosophy of Advaita. It could be concluded that, calling the sheer Islamic doctrine of Wahdat-ul-Wujud un-Islamic will only expose one’s biased approach.
A regular contributor to New Age Islam, Misbahul Huda is an Alim and Fazil (Classical Islamic scholar) with a Sufi background. He has completed the classical Islamic sciences (Alimiat) from a renowned Sufi Islamic seminary Jamia Amjadia Rizvia Mau, (U.P) and holds degree of Fazilat (master) in Tafseer, Hadith, theology and Islamic jurisprudence from Jamia Manzar- e- Islam, Bareilly, U.P. He is currently pursuing graduation in Arabic (Hons) from Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi.