Can you give some information about the Unity of Existence?
It is a school of Sufism, which accepts that existence is peculiar to God and which deny the existence of creatures by saying: La mavcuda illa hu (There is no existent save Him.) The founder of this school is Muhyiddin-i Arabii. There are not many great people who entered this way except Sadeddin Konvevii.
Although some of the views of Muhyiddin-i Arabii were accepted by the Sufis that came after him, this way did not become a path that attracted large crowds like other tariqahs-a Muslim religious order. While on the path of Unity of Existence creatures are denied for the sake of God, materialists and naturalists took to the way of denying God for the sake of nature by deviating this way to a very contrary direction to the understanding of this great knowledgeable person.
Let us first focus on the words of unity and existence. The opposite of unity is multitude. For example, five different letters are multitude, but if they are united and one word is obtained, then unity is provided.
There are innumerable examples of this point in the book of Universe. Just like the way hundreds of branches come before us as one tree, billions of cells unit in just one body. The term Necessarily Existing One is used for the sacred existence of One God; and the term possibly existent one is used for the existence of His creatures that form the circle of multitude.
Necessarily Existent: The Existence of God whose existence is from Himself, who is in no need whatsoever of the creation of any other for existence, and who is existent eternally. Possibly existent: One whose existence is depended on the creation of its Creator, who is obliged to instantly vanish when He wills; in that respect the existence of the creatures whose existence and non-existence are the same according to the power of their Creator.
Thus, when he enters the condition of spiritual intoxication, a knowledgeable person on the path of Unity of Existence attributes existence only to the Necessary Existence and denies the possible existence. He says, La mavcuda illa hu i.e. there is no existent save Him.
It is clear that this sentence is uttered at the time of spiritual intoxication, because if there were no existent other than Him, then it would not have been possible for him to say these words. But the person who says these words is not in such a situation as to realize this.
A small example of the situation of spiritual intoxication can sometimes be seen in our daily lives. When he is wholly absorbed in the meaning, someone who reads a work of knowledge in a way begins not to see the words. He does not recollect them or occupy himself with them. He becomes absorbed in knowledge with all his being. At this point, he forgets both the book and his fingers that hold and his eyes that see it.
In the Mesneve-i Nuriye, the Unity of Existence is described as a spiritual intoxication and a joy of unity that escapes understanding. and it is pointed out that this path cannot be explained with reason.
When we hold a mirror against the Sun, it will be seen on that mirror. With the light of the Sun, the mirror also gets light. It also begins to shine. If that mirror were possessive of consciousness it would bear the light of the Sun in its heart, believe in it, know that all colors, light and heat that it possesses come from it and would be thankful to it. Imagine that this conscious mirror nears to the Sun. The nearer it draws the more light it will get and the brighter it will shine; on the other hand the warmer it will get and it will eventually burn up. The closer it gets to the Sun, the bigger the reflection of it on the mirror. Finally, the entire mirror is covered with the Sun. From then on there is no place for anything in its heart. As it continues to get closer, the mirror begins not to see itself because of the intensity of the light. It loses consciousness with intense heat and light, and goes into spiritual intoxication. There remains neither its self nor its light anymore. If the mirror says in this situation that there is nothing except the Sun this is only the expression of its spiritual intoxication.
In the Risale-i Nur Collection, in The Letters, it is pointed out empathically: he should not change this way, which pertains to the heart and to illuminations and certain states, into a form which pertains to the reason, knowledge, and words (The Letters, 29. Letter, Fifth Alusion). And in the Flashes, by saying that propagating this issue of unity of existence to people of this time would bring about serious harms, Bediüzzaman points out that many people are attracted to materialism and that it would just bring about the opposite effect to try to direct people to this path in this time of unwariness in which causes are excessively regarded and he says:
For the highest of the elite, who pass out of the sphere of causes and in accordance with renouncing everything other than God, sever their attachment to contingent beings and enter a state of absolute absorption in God, this way is a righteous way. However, to present it as intellectual knowledge to those who are submerged in causes, enamored of the world, and plunged into materialist philosophy and Nature, is to drown them in Nature and materiality and to distance them from the reality of Islam. (The Letters, 29. Letter, Fifth Allusion)
There are some medicines on which it reads: Do not put within reach of children. This path is like that. Its provision is to be the purest of the pure, to be superior in closeness to God. This is not even recommended for them every time, only when they are in the state of spiritual intoxication. In other words, only when they are lost in the ocean of oneness and they have lost contact with anything else except God can they say: There is no existent save Him
In the above statement, the ones who criticize these exclusive people recklessly are answered with the expression of For the highest of the elite, this way is a righteous way.
Imagine a fruit in our hand. This fruit came into existence with the deed of khalk-creation and the name the Creator manifested itself in it. If it were not for this deed and this manifestation this fruit could not have come into being. These exclusive people feel and experience this meaning, which we understand scientifically and mentally, and judge that this fruit does not exist. When they come out of this state, they eat their fruits with pleasure and offer thanks to God who is the Ever Providing. There is also no thanksgiving in the condition of spiritual intoxication, because there is neither fruit nor human being there.
In the Risale-i Nur Collection, while it is said that this path is rightful and its followers are the purest of the pure, it is especially pointed out that this path is not the ultimate way of truth as is supposed. It is emphasized that this path stayed personal, not accepted by many with the expression: For this reason, this way is not to be seen explicitly in the Four Rightly-Guided Caliphs, the leading authorities and interpreters of the Law, and the authorities of the first generations of Islam.
Neither the Companions nor the Imams of sects nor such exclusive people as Imam Ghazali, Imam Rabbani, and Abdulkadir Gaylani who were charged with the duty of leading their ages entered such a way. They canalized all their efforts into instructing and warning people, endearing the truth and showing the nastiness of the false, which we call the duty of prophethood. This sacred duty can only be fulfilled with wakefulness not with intoxication. In fact, Muhyiddin-i Arabi states that their path is personal by saying: The one who has not risen to our rank should not read our book.
Another point highlighted in the Risale-i Nur Collection is that a person of closeness on this path develops only in his faith in God; on the other hand, by not thinking about other pillars of faith or by supposing them as imagination, he cannot relish them. If the expression There is no existent save you., which is uttered in the condition of spiritual intoxication, is said wakefully, then it would come to mean not heeding the other five pillars of faith.
On the other hand, to claim this view wakefully is so big a murder as reducing the manifestations of the names of God to imagination and supposition. If the livelihood were imagination, then the name Provider, God forbid, would not be real. When you take creatures as imagination, then the creation of God becomes imagination. As an endless power and will are not needed to create imaginary things, the sublimity of all the divine names would be hidden. Only God would be regarded; His names, deeds, and the creatures upon which these names and deeds manifest themselves would not be reflected upon. Therefore, it is clear that this cannot be an elevated path in closeness to God.
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