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['Aalim Network QR] Wahdat e Wujood


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|       In the Name of Allah, the Compassionate, the All-Merciful       |\
|  Greeting of Allah be upon Muhammad and the pure members of his House |\
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This question was kindly answered by Sayyed Mohammad Soleiman-Panah.

Regards

Abbas Jaffer
Acting Moderator - ABDG-A.

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Question

What is the ulama's view on "Wahdat-e Wujood"? Is it considered to be
"Kofr"? Are the believers  in this concept "kafir"? I specially like to know
about Imam's ruling.

........................................................................

Answer

As to the issue of Wahdat-e-Wujood. Let me first tell you that there 
is no consensus among Ulama on this question. It is perhaps the most 
controversial issue among Muslim theologians and philosophers. Therefore 
you should not expect it to be resolved in these few lines. 

Since this issue belongs to the realm of I'ateghadat one cannot look for
Fatwa in this area. It is an obligation of each Muslim to understand what is 
meant by Tawhid in Islam, for it is the bedrock of Islamic faith. But for you to 
know where I am coming from let me say that I am convinced that without 
believing in Wahdat-e-Wujood, Tawhid does not make sense. Be advised that Allah 
is Ahad and his Ahadiyat as Masumin's (A) traditions explain is not a numerical
one. In other words he is not one as opposed to two for in that case he would be 
in Arz (parallel to) of others. But if you note in  the Holy Quran 58:7 Allah 
(SWT) is mentioned as the fourth of the three, the sixth of the fifth and so on, 
not  the fourth of the four or sixth of the six.  

Here are two major schools of thought with regard to Wahdat-e-Wujood, one
philosophical and one mystical. The philosophical school is mainly
associated with Mulla Sadra and the mystical with Ibn Arabi. The problem of the 
One and the Many has always been at the heart of metaphysical thinking even 
today those who could solve this problem have preferred to move into what they 
call post metaphysical thinking which does not bother with this question. Even 
political thought today is preoccupied with this problem, minorities' >rights, 
diversity, multi-culturalism, marginalized and localized voices  all are terms 
used to discuss the problem of One and Many.   

Mulla Sadra formulated a notion of Wahdat which has room of Kathrat (Many)
in Wahdat  (One). He considered Wojood to be Tashkiki or Zu Marateb (of 
different degrees and level). These levels all are Wujood and not non-Wujood but 
at the same time their differences are real. He used analogy of light. A
candle's light is light and light of the Sun is also light and between them
infinite degrees of light. Each degree is distinct from others and at same
time one identity. 

Ibn Arabi on the other hands formulated the theory of Wahdat Shakhsi-e-Wujood 
(personal unity of Being). For him distinction in Being is meaningless and 
arbitrary, there is no real distinction. The only distinction is the distinction 
of Muhat and Muhit  (no proper translation, literally means the circumscribed 
one, and the circumscribing one). Both of these formulation have come under 
sharp criticisms and attack from more traditional views. Certainly there are 
many who believe this is Kufr. Mulla Sadra's view is these days receiving more
acceptance among traditionalists due to contributions of Imam Khomeini (ra),
Allameh Tabatabai (ra) and their students to understanding  of his position. But 
Ibn Arabi's view is still considered to be radical in contrast to Islam. 

Since you wanted to know Imam Khomeini's opinion on this issue I should know
that he was a firm admirer of Ibn Arabi and his letter to Mikhail Gorbachov,
Russian president he referred to Ibn Arabi as "Abar Mard" (the greatest
man). Allameh Tabatabai was also Ibn Arabi's admirer he is said to have said
that "all writings on Islam are not worth of two sentences of Ibn Arabi's works 
on Islam".  

Of course as I said he has his own critics and without a serious and
systematic study of his idea under specialist scholars of his school of
thought, understanding his theory is impossible.

I strongly believe that the exploration of the question of the One and Many
from an Islamic perspective in lights of the idea of Wahdat-e-Wujood could
be a major contribution to the politics of Islam and human right in Islam. I
hope this is useful but if one does not have independent study of the issue,
this might seem confusing. In that case just ignore what I have said.

With regards,

Mohammad



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