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Is Islam a pantheistic Religion? Is Allah present in everything?

Example: If I cut down a tree, do I physically cut Allah?

  • There are some sufis who may have a somewhat similar view but even they would reject some of your conclusions. – Medi1Saif Aug 25 '16 at 15:10
  • pantheism stipulates that the universe=God. You might also look up "panentheism". I don't see how cutting down a tree means cutting Allah by the pantheistic definition – user19208 Sep 24 '16 at 19:43
  • That Allah is 'nearer than the jugular vein' does not mean He is the jugular vein. – Mozibur Ullah Nov 27 '16 at 1:53
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Pantheism has several formulations not all of which or their components are necessarily consistent with Quran. In the Islamic world, Sufis have put forward descriptions of Allah that somewhat resemble Pantheist ideas but since both Pantheistic views and Sufi doctrines are very subtle and sensitive in their implications, it is impossible to summarize the relation between the two. But here is a contemplation that can help acknowledge the valid basis for the Sufi account of the relation between God and creation that also rules out the faulty suggestions that are read into Sufi accounts of God by non-Sufis who randomly encounter their statements, such as the idea that Divine omnipresence necessitates affection of the Divine Essence by creation.


There are indeed some verses of Quran that equate Allah with creation while some other verses suggest distinction. Consider these examples:

"He is the apparent and the hidden" (57:3), verse that if literally understood, implies that God is virtually everything because all things are either apparent like the natural universe or hidden such as angels, so we can summarize the verse by saying "He is everything" or "He is the creation".

"He is with you wherever you be"(57:4) and "We are closer to him than his vein"?! (50:16) The question that these verses raise is that how God can always accompany us and be closer to us than our vein without becoming subject to time and space or becoming part of the creation? (Also see What is the concept of holool [sic] in Sufism?)

But mainstream theologians in Islam tend to ignore or explain away those verses that indicate unity of Allah and universe for being unable to properly account for its several troubling connotations such as the conclusion you made above. This is while these verses seem to be special gifts for those who strive for deeper understanding of transcendent truths. Interestingly, there's a meaningful hadith from Ali bin Hussain, al-Sajjad (the fourth in the line of Shia Imams who are believed to posses esoteric knowledge of Islam by their followers and to whom many Sufi orders trace their lineage to) who has said this about these verses:

«فَقَالَ إِنَّ اللَّهَ عَزَّ وَ جَلَّ عَلِمَ أَنَّهُ يَكُونُ فِى آخِرِ الزَّمَانِ أَقْوَامٌ مُتَعَمِّقُونَ‏ فَأَنْزَلَ اللَّهُ تَعَالَى قُلْ هُوَ اللَّهُ أَحَدٌ وَ الْآيَاتِ مِنْ سُورَه الْحَدِيدِ إِلَى قَوْلِهِ وَ هُوَ عَلِيمٌ بِذاتِ الصُّدُورِ فَمَنْ رَامَ وَرَاءَ ذَلِكَ فَقَدْ هَلَكَ»؛ (كافى، ج 1، ص 91)

Allah, the High and Majestic knew that in the End-times, there will be groups who are deep thinkers, hence Allah sent down the verses "Say, He is Allah the One," and the [first] verses of Surat al-Hadid [verses from chapter 57, two of them quoted above] until His saying "He is aware of what is in the hearts." [verse 6] And he who seeks beyond this will surely perish. (Usul al-Kafi, vol. 1, Kitab at-Tawhid, Bab an-Nisba, p. 91)

Unlike the mainstream, Sufi scholars moved by this quest for deeper knowledge of Quran tended to highlight these verses that indicate unity of God and universe under a theory know as wahdat al-wujud or unity of existence according to which all creation are only manifestations of the singular, whole and inclusive reality of the Divine essence that reveal some of Its attributes while being at the same time fully present in the Divine essence.

But this notion of unity is far removed from those versions of Pantheism in which God is nothing beyond the totality of the natural universe. According to Unity of Existence, Allah preserves His transcendence and distinction from the created worlds while being present at all levels. Therefore while God can be equated to the creation so as to suggest that existence of creation is not independent or separate from that of God, God's existence can't be reduced to any particular creation and even the entirety of creation as commonly understood. God is always beyond any perceivable or conceivable entity while being present in every entity. By the same token, every description, characterization and comparison of God is relatively true only to the extent that it reveals some of the signs of His omnipresent being but is at the same time relatively misleading for excluding some of His other attributes or for partly clouding His irreducible Holy essence.

So do you physically cut Allah when you cut a tree given that Allah is present right in the tree? No you don't, because while Allah is present in the thing, He can't be reduced to any of its properties such as divisibility which enables it to be cut!

Hence God is as mysterious as it gets but realizing this very elusive mystery is the indication of an actual faith! The reason only Sufis (in addition to Shia Imams to whom many Sufis orders trace their lineage) in the history of Islam highlighted these apparently conflicting attributes of Allah is that they were the only ones who actually had succeeded in capturing the truth of these elusive features of Allah to some (varying) degrees through spiritual exercise.

  • It was said "There are indeed some verses of Quran that equate Allah with creation while some other verses suggest distinction." Adding references sure would help. I like your style keep up the good work. Also as personal revelation, I believe it's Allah that cuts down the tree. – Decrypted Nov 26 '16 at 16:18
  • @Decrypted, You're welcome! I added some Quranic references and commentary from a previous answer. And I concur with your last statement. Allah's agency covers all occurrence. – infatuated Nov 26 '16 at 17:26
  • @infatuated you didnt mention that Allah is above the Arsh? that would just summarise everything - mentioned a lot e.g. in surah sajdah – henna_ Dec 15 '17 at 19:08
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Is Islam a pantheistic Religion?

No, Islam is not a pantheistic religion. In Islam, "everything is Allah's" not "everything is Allah" (which is the fundamental pantheistic doctrine).

If I cut down a tree, do I physically cut Allah?

No, you don't. You cut down a creation of Allah not him.

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This idea has no place in islamic theology. The godhead is said to have certain attributes which it manifests, its ontology undivided in itself and independent of creation. Your other question here (which your link doesn't actually point to) suggests you are reading this coming from a sort of Christian theology, which will not be useful in understanding islamic theology.

The central doctrine about the godhead in islam is that it has no needs, nothing and no one has even the most miniscule quantum of power over it, and it does precisely what it wishes to. Its existence is undivided. Nothing that exists does so except that the godhead sustains and creates it at any moment, even the notion that the godhead created something that it could undo, but while it does not, creation sustains itself, is considered disbelief in islam. The hawqala, which is the oft-repeated phrase "la haula wa la quwatta illa billah" (loosely translated to "there is no might nor power except god"), expresses this; only god has power, and god has power over everything, expresses these notions in a condensed form.

So no, islam is in no way pantheistic.

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Islam is partially pantheistic religion because everything came in the existence from Allah and everything including multiples universe are emerged from the shadow of Allah or AKS-E -ILAHI. If we think it rationally,then there are two cases. The first case is that Allah's creation is finite and ALLAH is infinite(widely accepts in Islam) in all dimensions. The second case is that Allah's creation is infinite and ALLAH is infinite in all simensions In both cases, creation is a subset of Allah but not similar to Allah. In both cases creations are within Allah and Allah is in the purdah(veil ) unlimited dimensions. In the second case only one infinite object is possible because if two infinite objects are present at the same time,they will become one. Hence, If one cut down the trees. He is not damaging Allah because the tree is only the part of Allah’s creation and even if the whole universe will be destroyed. only Allah will exist because whole creation is the subset of the divine unity or Allah. If we consider ISLAM a true religion then in surah al-ikhlas it is said that Allah es never born and never die but his creation or all the universes(around 7) will end when Allah ask Azrael or angle if god to finish everything including himself and only Allah will remain to exist. There is a problem with the pantheism because if we say that every thing is god,Then humans are also the part of universe.Therefore,humans should be God but in islam it is clear that there is no god besides allah and if we consider human as god it will be shirk.we all know that islam is true monotheistic religion therefore it is not a pantheistic religion like hinduism but it never deny the fact that God is omnipresent.

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