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A seeker's question to followers of Islam:

In all the religions that originated from India, there is a concept of oneness with God.

My question is: What is the equivalent of this in other religions, like Islam and Christianity?

Explanation:

(1) There is but one God ==> Monotheism

(2) There is but one, God ==> Advaitic religions (Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, Jainism, etc.)

Please understand the difference in the two. The first (1) statement, is more like a moral science lesson, which says there is one God, God is one. There should not be a fight between my God and your God, because God is one. There is no your God and my God ... etc.

The second statement means, There is only God in the universe and we are all part of Him. Oneness with God. It also implies, the entire universe is not separate from God. The entire universe is filled with God/consciousness. We all are one with each other, and one with God. There is no individual identity - what we call EGO. Advaitic philosophy says, that EGO is a illusion, because there is no individual separate existence. It is like God is a big ocean (param aatma / super consciousness), we are drops (aatma/consciousness) in that ocean. And Upanishads go even further to tell us, even if you take out that drop (aatma) from the ocean (param-aatma), even then that drop (aatma) is not separate from the ocean (param-aatma).

In short, we are one with God. This is celebrated as Shivoham => I am Shiva / God (one with God & universe) Soham => I am that (whomever you believe as God), etc.

What is the equivalent OR alternative of this in Islam?

Let me clarify even further.

When I say, Shivoham, or I am one with God, or I am God, what it means. It is like, there is God (paramaatma = super consciousness) And our bodies are mirrors. Our souls are reflection of God ((paramaatma) in the mirror (body).

So who are we? The mirror (body), the soul (reflection) or the source (God)?

There answer is none! There is no me. There is no me. There is no me. There is no me. There is no individual existence. There is only God! And I am that. I am not separate with God. What I perceive as me (body/soul/brain/emotion/whatever) that is just an illusion. Actually there is no individual existence. There is only God! There is no me or I.

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You may want to look into Sufism (please use direct sources, such as books by Mowlana Rumi RA and Hazrat Al Jilani RA- there's a lot of misinformation about Sufism, especially on the Internet). The state of fana fillah (i.e. annihilation in God), the story of Anal Haq ("I am God"), and the following poem written by Mowlana Rumi (RA) are all worth looking into.

Say I Am You

I am dust particles in sunlight

I am the round sun

To the bits of dust I say, Stay

To the sun, Keep moving
I am morning mist,

and the breathing of evening.
I am wind in the top of a grove,

and surf on the cliff.
Mast, rudder, helmsman, and keel,

I am also the coral reef they founder on.
I am a tree with a trained parrot in its branches.

Silence, thought, and voice.

The musical air coming through a flute,

a spark of a stone, a flickering
in metal. Both candle,

and the moth crazy around it.
Rose, and the nightingale

lost in the fragrance.
I am all orders of being, the circling galaxy,

the evolutionary intelligence, the lift,
and the falling away. What is,

and what isn’t. You who know
Jelaluddin, You the one

in all, say who
I am. Say I

am You.


Disclaimer: I know that Sufism is a controversial concept to some. However, this website is open to all denominations, and I have openly stated from which perspective I am providing an answer. I hope that it is helpful for the OP.

  • Another source that may be useful- Dr. Tahir ul Qadri is a scholar (of the Sufism denomination). A list of his English talks: itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/english-speeches-by-dr-tahir/… (all free on iTunes, but you can look them up on Youtube as well). He made this analogy about the soul and mirrors in one of his talks, but unfortunately, I can't remember which one. I don't want to repeat the analogy here for fear of misquoting. – Student Feb 17 '15 at 12:51
  • can you find the exact source where the analogy you mentioned is discussed ? – Sri Nithya Sharabheshwarananda Feb 17 '15 at 13:50
  • Unfortunately, I don't know. I heard it off of a CD. I''ve tried tracking it down but with no luck thus far. – Student Feb 17 '15 at 15:56
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Sufism is a thought is Islam Philosophy, widely known with the name Mowlana Rumi, but it is not dominant.

According to Islam, every living soul except Allah will die and be returned to him.

Every soul will taste death. And We test you with evil and with good as trial; and to Us you will be returned. (Surat Al-'Anbya' 21/35)

Every soul will taste death. Then to Us will you be returned. (Surat Al-'Ankabut 29/57)

And do not invoke with Allah another deity. There is no deity except Him. Everything will be destroyed except His Face. His is the judgement, and to Him you will be returned. (Surat Al-Qasas 28/88)

According to these verses, there is Allah, and there are other things. All of the other living things will die and will be returned to Allah.

Nor is there to Him any equivalent. (Surat Al-'Ikhlas 112/4)

Allah is eternal, but not other things.

He is the First and the Last, the Ascendant and the Intimate, and He is, of all things, Knowing. (Surat Al-Hadid 57/3)

Also, all of the things except Allah named as a "creature", but Allah is not a creature.

According to Islam, the existence is divided into 3 categories:

  1. The Ultimate Existence: The existence which doesn't need anything to be exist. This is Allah, eternal, all knowing, all powerful etc.
  2. The Possible Existence: The existence which needs something else to be exist. This is everything around you. Every material, every emotion, every thought... All of these need something else, eventually The Ultimate Existence in order to be exist.
  3. The Impossible Existence: The existence which is impossible. For example a 2nd ultimate existence, or not all knowing Allah etc.

Who, when disaster strikes them, say, "Indeed we belong to Allah , and indeed to Him we will return. (Surat Al-Baqarah 2/156)

Allah is very close to us, but separate from us.

And We have already created man and know what his soul whispers to him, and We are closer to him than [his] jugular vein. (Surat Qaf 50/16)

  • So it seems what you are saying is. Souls do return into God, but there is a time when they are separate. However in Hinduism, it is said, that souls are just reflections, and a perception of separation from God, while in reality we are never separate, the separation is an illusion. Upanishads ॐ पूर्णमदः पूर्णमिदम् पूर्णात् पूर्णमुदच्यते | पूर्णस्य पूर्णमादाय पूर्णमेवावशिष्यते || || ॐ शान्तिः शान्तिः शान्तिः || Om. That is the absolute, this is the absolute; from the absolute, the absolute becomes manifest; when the absolute is added to or taken away from the absolute, the absolute remains. – Sri Nithya Sharabheshwarananda Feb 19 '15 at 5:31
  • Yes. In Islam, one can't simply say "I am God" or "This is God". Before Islam, Arabs were worshipping to idols in order to get help for the judgement of Allah. Yes, they were believe in Allah, with other half-god idols. In Qur'an, this is absolutely forbidden and said "Nor is there to Him any equivalent.". He is mentioned all the time as he is separate and ultimately superior. (by the way Allah is not he but sexless according to Islam, this problem caused by English) – kalahari Feb 19 '15 at 14:08
  • "Nor is there to Him any equivalent." it is same. See, there are stories in hinduism where rakhas (demons) came to God and asked for a boon. After getting the boon they became arrogant and started thinking of themselves as God. Then God killed them. Understand killing of demon signifies killing of EGO, not the soul, not the body. In hindu tradition, Shivoham is considered the ultimate truth. But not everyone realizes it. To realize it, the last final step is conquering over ego. reach Egolessness. When you know you don't exists, how can then you be compared to God! There is no comparison. – Sri Nithya Sharabheshwarananda Feb 19 '15 at 15:01
  • Please understand the context. There are 2 ways in which you can see it 1) I am God <-- With a big "I" <<< EGO 2) I am non-existence. My existence is illusion. There is no me, there is only you(God). It is called Advaita (non-duality). There is no comparison between God and man. That is but natural. Say you are standing in front of a mirror and your mirror image tells you, hey u I am you. Wouldn't you laugh? The mirror image doesn't have it's own existence. Shivoham is oneness/non-duality in that sense. Please don't mix this with EGO based comparison with God. – Sri Nithya Sharabheshwarananda Feb 19 '15 at 15:34
  • In Islam, this ego fight happens as this: Allah is the Ultimate Existence, everything else is a possible existence. The difference is in my answer. Therefore, anything can't be compared as equal to Allah. The biggest evidence for this is death. Hove can you be compared to God while you can't overcome death! In this philosophy, you don't have to be an illusion. You are real, but you have a place. – kalahari Feb 20 '15 at 3:01
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According to Islam, there is only one God. And this God is the Creator of the whole universe. It would be shirk to claim that everybody is a part of God (which basically means you are worshiping yourself and others when you pray).

However, we are sent to this world in order to believe in God and to learn/know His names/attributes. In order to understand the names/attributes of God, we have to look at this universe. So, for instance, by looking at the subject of mathematics; we understand that the Creator must be the All-Knowing (otherwise He could not have created mathematics). By looking at the mercy of a mother, we understand that the Creator of this universe must the All-Merciful. This is one reason why Islam continuously instructs Muslims to think and ponder about this universe (because it allows us to understand, at least to some degree, the attributes of our Lord). We can see this in the following verse,

ٱلَّذِى خَلَقَ سَبۡعَ سَمَـٰوَٲتٍ۬ طِبَاقً۬ا‌ۖ مَّا تَرَىٰ فِى خَلۡقِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ مِن تَفَـٰوُتٍ۬‌ۖ فَٱرۡجِعِ ٱلۡبَصَرَ هَلۡ تَرَىٰ مِن فُطُورٍ۬

Who hath created seven heavens in harmony. Thou (Muhammad) canst see no fault in the Beneficent One's creation; then look again: Canst thou see any rifts? (Al-Mulk, verse 3)

So even though this universe is completely separate from God (God is the Creator and this universe is the creation), we can see the attributes of God being displayed and manifested. This allows us to understand the attributes/names of our Creator. This is the closest concept in Islam to what you mention (in my opinion). If you want to see an elaboration of this concept, you may want to look here (starting from the 12th paragraph) and here

However, to say that this universe is one with God or a part of God is definitely shirk..and completely against Islam.

  • Please understand. I am not saying that the implied meaning of my statement is that God is universe. Universe is filled with divinity. Anyway that aside. I am also not saying universe is one with God in the way you think. Universe is maya/illusion. See, again refering to the mirror example. There is God, a mirror(any living body or universe itself), reflection of God(soul). I am not saying that the mirror is God. Or the reflection is God. I am saying in the entire setup, there is no one other than God. There is only God! There is only God. I do not exists, there is no me. – Sri Nithya Sharabheshwarananda Feb 17 '15 at 12:35
  • @ShashankTulsyan Ok, I guess I understand that. However, this is not how it is in Islam. The universe does exist and God is separate from it (He is the Creator). However, since the names/attributes of God are being displayed/manifested in this world; it may be said that the universe (in a sense) is a mirror to God's attributes (similar to how the colors are a reflection of the sun). The Islamic scholar Bediuzzaman discusses this concept deeply...and the two blogposts that I linked to summarize this. – Artus Feb 17 '15 at 12:54
  • thank you. But what does Quran say about it. What you said is that some Muslims claim, what about Quran itself. Thank you. – Sri Nithya Sharabheshwarananda Feb 17 '15 at 16:43
  • see it is like, u stand in front of the mirror, the image of yours is an illusion, u know that. That doesn't mean the mirror doesn't exists or the reflection doesn't exists. It exists, but it is an illusion. The universe is an illusion in that sense as per vedic tradition. – Sri Nithya Sharabheshwarananda Feb 19 '15 at 16:49
  • @ShashankTulsyan I don't think that's how it is in Islam. The universe is mirror-like in the sense that we can see the attributes of God when looking around us (as described in my answer). For instance, if you look at a painting, you will see some of the attributes of the painter. If the painting is about nature, you'll know the painter likes nature. You'll also see how talented the painter is, and so on. In other words, the painting reflects the attributes of the painter. But its not like you're seeing the totality of the painter by looking at the painting. – Artus Feb 19 '15 at 17:16

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