The foundation of Islam is 'Tauheed.' To a Sufi “La ilaha illal lah” (no God exists but Allah) means “La mojoud illal lah” (i.e. nothing exists but Allah). This is the most important reality of a Sufi’s life that determines his relationship with God. According to the Sufis, the Creator is not distant (or detached) from His Creation; rather, there is just one presence everywhere. It is due to taiyyunat that so much diversity seems to exist within the unity. As has been expressed in the following Sufi poem:
Each image painted on the canvas of existence is the form of the Artist himself Eternal Ocean spews forth-new waves. Waves we call them; but there is only the sea.
Similarly, light has no color, but when its rays shine through the colored glass, then do hues and tints appear. To the Sufis, “Wahdat-ul-Wujood” (oneness of the Being) is a very sensitive subject and is like a double-edged sword. Without a Sufi Shaykh & proper discipleship; one is bound to misunderstand the whole concept. Our Murshid (Sufi Shaykh) Dr. Ikhtiyar H. Mirza once told a story about the possibility of such misunderstanding:
“A person came to know about this concept (of Wahdat-ul-Wujood) from the Sufi doctrines. One day, while walking on the street, he noticed several people running for their lives as a mad elephant got freed from his chains and was on a rampage. He immediately remembered the Sufi doctrine and said to himself, ‘I am God and this elephant is also God, so why to run and be afraid when we both are the same’. He waited while the elephant approached and crushed him to death”.
Another story told by our Murshid touches the concept of Wahdat-ul-Wujood in a subtle way and requires more than a mere intellectual understanding of the subject:
“Mulla Nasruddin entered a serai (inn) for an overnight stay. The serai-keeper approached to welcome him. Mulla asked him, ‘Did you see me entering in your serai?’ He replied, ‘Yes! This is why I have come to welcome you’. ‘Do you know me?’ Mulla once again enquired. ‘No Sir!’ answered the keeper. ‘Then, how can you say that the person entered in your serai is me?’ MULLA WAS THERE YET NOT THERE.
The following QURANIC verses also support the concept of Wahdat-ul-Wujood:
“Huwa ma’akum ayna maa kuntum” He is with you, wherever you are (57:4) .
“Huwal awwalu wal akhiru wazzahiru wal batinu wa huwa bi kulli shay’in aleem” He is the beginning, He is the end, He is the manifest and He is the hidden. (57:3)
“Nahnu aqrabu ilaihi min hablil wareed” We are closer to them (human) than their jugular vein (50:16).
“Fa ayna maa tuwallu fasamma wajhullah” Wherever they see there is Allah’s face (2:115).
“Idha sa’alaka ibadee annee fa innee qareeb “(O Prophet) if my slaves ask you about me I am certainly close (to them) (2:186).
There is a special class of Hadith called divine sayings (hadith-e-qudsi), which are in effect extra-Quranic revelations in which God speaks in the first person. The following Hadith-e-Qudsi– Qurbe-Nawafil is also giving the same message of oneness i.e. wahdat-ul-wujood:
“Nothing is more pleasing to Me, as a means for My slave to draw near unto Me, than the worship I have made binding upon him. And My slave does not cease to draw near unto Me with added devotions of his free will until I love him. And when I love him, I become the ear by which he hears, the eye by which he sees, the hand by which he grasps and the foot by which he walks.”
A few Hadith may also be mentioned here which not only shed light on the spiritual status of Prophet Mohammad (pbuh), but also convey the same message of wahdat-ul-wujood:
“The first thing that God created was my light (“noor”), which originated from His light and derived from the majesty of His greatness”.
“I was a prophet even when Adam was between spirit and body”.
“Whoever has seen me, has seen the Truth”.
“God created man in His own form”.
Also, there is a famous saying of Hazrat Ali, “Whomsoever has known his self, has recognized God”.