Tuesday, April 05, 2005

That old thorny problem elucidated.

Bismi'llah ar-Rahman ar-Rahim...for the sake of Prophet Muhammad saws and Sheikh Nazim may Allah protect his secret.

Here's a piece from muslimphilosophy.com which may help to shed some light on a thorny problem which sometimes/often crops up in sufism. I wouldn't have expressed it all exactly this way,but,as I've found it extremely difficult to express at all,this is much etter than nothing! Also there are several strange bits of spelling/expression,which I suppose are because the writer may be of Indian origin.However I don't think this poses too much problem or detracts enough from the text to warrant not including it.
I somehow doubt that Ibn Arabi was quite on such a low plane of realisation as the writer suggest(!) but the example helps to elucidate the point being made.
"Wa lam yaqu'n lahu qufuwan ahad," ..."And Allah is not like any other thing."(surat al Ikhlas)

I hope the inclusion of the piece is useful.

C EXISTENTIAL OR EXPERIENTIAL UNITY (Wahdat al-Wujud or Wahdat al-Shuhicd)
In order to understand the rift somehow created between Islam and Sufism one must ponder over the philosophical aspect of pantheism. Pantheism was the real bane of Islam. The Mujaddid knew its fallacy and he was one of those who denounced it vehemently. He based his stand on the training he had received from his father and his Shaikh, Khwajah Bi qi Billah. The state of pantheism was revealed to him shortly after he had adopted the Naga_hbandi way of approach to reality. He was anxious to understand the mysticism of ibn 'Arabi. The light of God and of His attributes dawned upon him and this, according to ibn 'Arabi, is the ultimate end of Sufism. For years he kept thinking that he had reached the state in which he had realized the ultimate, but all of a sudden this state vanished. Then he came to realize that union with God is only experiential and not existential; God is not and cannot be one with anything. God is God and the world is world. All that the Sunni theologians said in this respect was true. As the Mujaddid had loved pantheism much in the earlier stage of his life, he was rather uneasy at this change; yet with the new revelation, the veil was lifted and the reality appeared to him in its true form. This world is merely a mark of the existence of its Creator, and it merely reflects the various attributes of the Lord. It does not consist of these attributes. A pseudo revelation, he thought, like erroneous deductions in religious matters, may not be denounced; but it must not be followed, lest others be misled.
With the followers of ibn 'Arabi, pantheism is the final stage of Sufistic perfection, while in reality it is nothing but one of the states experienced by every devotee. After the devotees have passed this preliminary state, they walk on the right Path. Khwijah Nagst band says that all that is heard or seen or known is a veil. It must be negated with the word "none" (la). "I had accepted pantheism," says the Mujaddid, "as it was revealed to me and not because I was directed to it by someone else. Now I denounce it because of the right revelation of my own which cannot be denied, although it is not compulsory for others to follow...." The presence of the One means that the Sufi sees nothing except the One. The pantheist acknowledges the presence of the One in everything and thinks all besides it as nothing, yet the very same non-entity is regarded by him as the incarnation of the One.
Pantheism is not at all essential, because sure knowledge is possible without it, and sure knowledge does not entail the denial of the existence of others. The sight of the One is in no way denial of the existence of the others. The prophets never preached pantheism, nor did they ever call the pluralists

A History of Muslim Philosophy
Shaikh Ahmad Sirhindi
infidels. They invited people to the oneness of Being. No prophet ever preached that creation is an incarnation of the Creator. Their aim was to inculcate faith in the One Lord who is unique and has no like.

C EXISTENTIAL OR EXPERIENTIAL UNITY (Wahdat al-Wujud or Wahdat al-Shuhicd)
In order to understand the rift somehow created between Islam and Sufism one must ponder over the philosophical aspect of pantheism. Pantheism was the real bane of Islam. The Mujaddid knew its fallacy and he was one of those who denounced it vehemently. He based his stand on the training he had received from his father and his Shaikh, Khwajah Bi qi Billah. The state of pantheism was revealed to him shortly after he had adopted the Naga_hbandi way of approach to reality. He was anxious to understand the mysticism of ibn 'Arabi. The light of God and of His attributes dawned upon him and this, according to ibn 'Arabi, is the ultimate end of Sufism. For years he kept thinking that he had reached the state in which he had realized the ultimate, but all of a sudden this state vanished. Then he came to realize that union with God is only experiential and not existential; God is not and cannot be one with anything. God is God and the world is world. All that the Sunni theologians said in this respect was true. As the Mujaddid had loved pantheism much in the earlier stage of his life, he was rather uneasy at this change; yet with the new revelation, the veil was lifted and the reality appeared to him in its true form. This world is merely a mark of the existence of its Creator, and it merely reflects the various attributes of the Lord. It does not consist of these attributes. A pseudo revelation, he thought, like erroneous deductions in religious matters, may not be denounced; but it must not be followed, lest others be misled.
With the followers of ibn 'Arabi, pantheism is the final stage of Sufistic perfection, while in reality it is nothing but one of the states experienced by every devotee. After the devotees have passed this preliminary state, they walk on the right Path. Khwijah Nagst band says that all that is heard or seen or known is a veil. It must be negated with the word "none" (la). "I had accepted pantheism," says the Mujaddid, "as it was revealed to me and not because I was directed to it by someone else. Now I denounce it because of the right revelation of my own which cannot be denied, although it is not compulsory for others to follow...." The presence of the One means that the Sufi sees nothing except the One. The pantheist acknowledges the presence of the One in everything and thinks all besides it as nothing, yet the very same non-entity is regarded by him as the incarnation of the One.
Pantheism is not at all essential, because sure knowledge is possible without it, and sure knowledge does not entail the denial of the existence of others. The sight of the One is in no way denial of the existence of the others. The prophets never preached pantheism, nor did they ever call the pluralists infidels. They invited people to the oneness of Being. No prophet ever preached that creation is an incarnation of the Creator. Their aim was to inculcate faith in the One Lord who is unique and has no like.

A History of Muslim Philosophy. Sheikh Ahmad Sirhindi.

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