Recently l reconsidered the concept of existence and read some work of Ibn Arabi. I think we face a lot of problems establishing a relation between God and universe in terms of existence, given the Islamic belief of Oneness of God. God is transcendental and nothing resembles him. He is above all comparisons. The universe cannot be said to be a part of God as that would constitute Shirk. The other alternative is to regard the universe as being apart from God but that puts a limit on the being of God , which is also contrary to Islamic belief. I think the only concept that can explain relation between God and universe in terms of existence would have to regard the universe as non existent in reality when compared to God and only existent in relation to absolute non existence ,ie square circles, unicorns etc. The universe acquires existence due to being a part of the unlimited knowledge of God. It can also be said to exist in relation to God as a manifestation of his command, " Be " . We can give different names to this relation but the essential aspect remains the same.

Is this concept acceptable and does it go against the mainstream belief of Ahle sunnah wal Jamah ? Further more, l think it could be a philosophical issue and not a matter of creed, or is it not ?

1 Answer 1


Wahda al-Wujud has been historically rejected by Ibn Timiyya and his followers such as the Salafiyya and Wahhabiyya. It also runs against all other historical theological schools such as the Mu'tazila, the Ash'ariya, and even many Akhbari and Usuli positions among the Shias. That's because Wahdat ul-Wujud has only been the doctrine of mystics among both Sunnis and Shias: the Sufis. So it was recognized by the mystics of both schools, such as Ghazzali and Khaji Nasir but rejected by non-mystics.

And yes, it is the only account of the nature of God that avoids both problems that you mentioned. Creation on this account are forms in the knolwedge of God existing by virtue of His existence. But to establish God as the only existence makes the belief in existence of creation inside God inevitable. However, as existence is unitry in essence, existence of creation inside God poses no problem. It niether implies division of the Divine essence because existence incurs no real divisions, nor does it imply identity of creation with God, because what distinuishes creation from God is not their existence but rather their essence (what they are, not the fact they merely are). By this account, God is also greater than some total of all creation because the Divine essence is inexhuastable in its expressions. God defined as the exclusive existence can't be reduced to any of the creations either because like I said creations are of an entirely different category. So by this account you have a notion of God that is in some sense identical with creation and in some different from creation. They are united in existence but different in essence. The verses "He is the first and the last, the apparent and the hidden", "wherever you turn, God's face is apparent" visa vis "there's nothing like Him", capture all of the above points, so the doctrine is quite consistent with the Quran. In Shia, evidences from hadiths also support the doctrine such as the tradition narrating Ali (sa) chanting la huwa illa hu (there's no he but He) during the battle of Badr.

  • @ infatuated I didn't want to post this question as l feared that it might misguide some muslims. Wahdatul wujud is really a sensitive issue but it's always sad to see muslims not tolerating differing perspectives. Thanks for your feedback. Jun 10, 2020 at 14:45
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    @AristotleStagiritis You're welcome. As you saw this doctrine can be explained to prevent any misconceptions. That's because followers of Ibn Arabi substainially expounded on his doctrines and eliminated all the ambiguities and misunderstandings.
    – infatuated
    Jun 10, 2020 at 14:49

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