Islamic Calligraphy

ULTIMATE SYMMETRY:

Fractal Complex-Time and Quantum Gravity

by Mohamed Haj Yousef



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IV.1 Oneness of Being and Pantheism


The Oneness of Being, for Ibn al-Arabi and his followers, is the Oneness of God s Being and the consequent oneness of everything in relative existence. Being or absolute existence belongs only to God, while all other things exist in a derivative or illusory manner. Therefore, since there can be no plural existence in any real sense, all things, to the extent that they do exist, are theophanies of the God s own One and Unique Being.

Although he himself had never mentioned the precise term in his writings, the Oneness of Being is one of Ibn al-Arabi s most controversial doctrines which many later Muslim scholars attributed to him, usually with different and often more polemic than philosophical meanings and interpretations. Nevertheless, it is quite evident that his books are full of statements that develop notions related to the Oneness of Being in one way or another, in many places quite explicitly and rigorously. This is especially the case in his most controversial book, the Bezels of Wisdom, for which he was widely criticized, but related discussions are also found throughout the Meccan Revelations and his other shorter works. Indeed, the possible misunderstandings of this conception clearly underpin Ibn al-Arabi s distinctive multi-layered rhetoric writing style, as he explained quite clearly in the key Introduction to the Meccan Revelations itself. For this reason, he started this book by mentioning his four distinctive levels of creed, also in accordance with the same divine quadratic rule that underpins many fundamental fours in nature, as we noted before, including the four levels of symmetry discussed in this book. These four hierarchical levels of creed are essentially equal and do not represent any controverting opinions, but they are categorized according to their relative imminence to the ultimate divine reality.

These four levels of creed are:

1. The level of General Muslims

2. The level of Theologians

3. The level of the Elite People of Allah

4. The level of the Prime Elites

 

The first level is the faith of common simple Muslims, that must be held by every believer, because it includes the core concepts based on the creed of the early generations of the righteous predecessors of the companions of the Prophet, peace be upon him, and their direct followers. This creed is characterized by its unconditional acceptance of what is mentioned in the Quran and Hadith about God, while it is unconcerned with any profound theological questions that are usually dealt with in the second level of the theologians according to the different Islamic theological schools, such as the Ashaarite and Muatazila. Therefore, this first level is the essential creed binding all Muslims, who are not necessarily required to understand any of the intense metaphysical and theological connotations embraced in Quran and Hadith on describing the Attributes of God and His relation to the creation.

In the second level, there are many different, and often contradicting, schools of Islamic thought and branches of various theology concerning the details of Muslim creed, mainly splitting between Sunni and Shia. However, most of these contradictions were initially more political than theological, which is also correct for many other subdivisions. Nevertheless, some essential differences also occurred between the main schools of theology on the various religious doctrines and practices. Unlike the following two levels, this level of creed is based on strong foundations of intellectual scholarship supported by rational statements and logical proofs, in addition to the various authentic accounts of related prophetic narrations and other religious statements attributed to some chief pious leaders.

The third and fourth levels are the views of the Islamic mystical tradition, which include knowledge of the ultimate reality on all subjects of metaphysics, epistemology and philosophy. All these various subjects are directly dealt with by Ibn al-Arabi and other Sufi mystics in their multitudes of general books and other more specialized treatises.

However, the fourth level of creed, held by the Prime Elites of the People pf Allah, is the most important with regard to the doctrine of the Oneness of Being that is the bases of the Single Monad Model of the Cosmos. Ibn al-Arabi intentionally scattered the details of this ultimate faith in the hundreds of chapters in his book of the Meccan Revelations, because of its unfathomable profundity that even the most intelligent thinkers will inevitably fail to comprehend it correctly, without any confusion between the distinctive temporal and eternal realities. Although they are both complementary and compatible with each other, this ultimate level of faith is often indistinguishable from the third level, especially in the mystical views of divine attributes.

 



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Because He loves beauty, Allah invented the World with ultimate perfection, and since He is the All-Beautiful, He loved none but His own Essence. But He also liked to see Himself reflected outwardly, so He created (the entities of) the World according to the form of His own Beauty, and He looked at them, and He loved these confined forms. Hence, the Magnificent made the absolute beauty --routing in the whole World-- projected into confined beautiful patterns that may diverge in their relative degrees of brilliance and grace.
paraphrased from: Ibn al-Arabi [The Meccan Revelations: IV.269.18 - trans. Mohamed Haj Yousef]
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