بسم اللہ الرحمٰن الرحیم
Terminologies used in the post:
Pantheism is the belief that reality is identical with divinity, or that all-things compose an all-encompassing, immanent god. Pantheist belief does not recognize a distinct personal anthropomorphic god.
Fanā Fillah means self-extinguished in Allah.
Thrall (Uboodiyat) refers to servanthood (the state of being in someone’s power).
Concerning the Necessary Being the Ultimate One I do not say like the author of the Fusûs that ‘He created things and He Is those things’ yet I do venture to say: ‘He created things and He is like those things. This universe is like a palace hall paved with smooth slabs of glass, beneath which strong currents of waters flow. He does whatever He wills. Defective eyes mistake these things for existing by themselves. They imagine that the Sun, moon, and the stars are independently effective and functional on their own, whereas none is truly independent and effective but He.’
(Taudhih e Maram [Elucidation of Objectives]. Riyaz Hind, 1891. R. K. iii. 89).
Allah — there is no God but He, the Ever-Living the Self-Subsisting and All-Sustaining. Slumber seizes Him not nor sleep. To Him belongs whatsoever is in the heavens and whatsoever is in the Earth. Who is he that dare intercede with Him except by His permission? He knows all what is before them and all that is behind them; and they comprehend aught of His knowledge except what He wills. His throne encompasses the heavens and the Earth; and the care of them wears Him not; and He is the Most High the Great.
(The Holy Quran. Al Baqarah [The Cow]. 256).
It is ascertained by looking at this verse that the Panentheist creed has strayed far from truth and has stumbled in understanding of the Divine attributes. Its followers do not know that they stumbled at the relationship between thrall and Divinity. Those who have been visionaries from among them in actuality and those crusaders who have wished to make discoveries. They were unable to distinguish the relationship between thrall and Lordship and began believing the ‘He created things’ apophthegm.
The Holy Quran first occurs in the heart and then upon the tongue and what a relationship the heart must have for it to have come upon the tongue. They could easily have fallen in understanding this delicate point. But the thing is that when one embarks upon a fallacy, one gets stuck in a whirlpool of difficulties. As I have just mentioned, one’s affairs with Almighty God are unfathomable and recondite so that no power can mention them and if this were possible then His Lordship and Divine attributes would not have been found as they are in the Quran. Our very negation is the proof of His existence and this is a verity that when one is helpless in every way that is indeed one’s extinction. Not having understood this fine secret some people start saying ‘He created things and He Is those things.’ The foremost among the Panentheists and the Apparentists are those who say and believe that ‘He created things and He Is those things’ and then there are those who are adherents of the notion of Fanā [self-extinction] and say that one can be so immersed in love that one can become Fanā Fillah [self-extinguished in Allah]. For it then becomes incumbent to say
I am you and You are I – I am the body and you are the soul
So let none say evermore that I am someone and you are someone
Albeit they also have to accept the Divine workings. Be they Panentheists or be they Apparentists. Some of the words of their elders and people of perfection from Bayazid Bastami to Shibli, Zunnoon to Muhiyudeen ibn-‘Arabi have generally affirmed this. I want to say this openly that it is not our right to consider them rejected, no no. They were people of discernment. The thing is that this was a recondite and fine secret of gnosis, with which people cut off their ties. That was the only problem and nothing else. Man is self-annihilated before the tremendous works of Almighty God. They recognised man to be so and uttered such things from their mouths and their minds became occupied with it. So attend your hearts towards remembering this precept. That one reaches such a platform by definition (as our Holy Prophet on whom be peace and blessings and gratitude reached this grand status) whereon he is granted power of dominion. But there is a marked distinction between the Creator and the creation. One should never forget that in one’s heart.
One is not free from the confines of existence. Neither here nor there. [One] drinks and eats. [One] sins, both great and small [ones] and similarly in the afterlife some will be in Hell and some in the Eternal Paradise. The fact is that man can never exist outside of the cloak of thrall. So I cannot understand what type of veil it is which can be taken off and replaced by the cloak of thrall. Many great ascetics and crusaders partook of this thrall.
(Address to the Annual Conference of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, 30 December 1897. Malfoozat i [Discourses]. 73, 74).