SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) The discussion concerning unity of being is one of the complex topics in mysticism and Islamic philosophy. It requires profound knowledge of metaphysics and Islamic sciences. We are therefore giving an allegorical and simple example of unity. If need be for further study, we will refer you to certain references in this regard.
Mystics maintain that the only real existent in the world of existence is God; others have no real existence but they are the expressions and shadows of God. Therefore, the term “existence” is applied figuratively to them. This statement does not mean denial of God nor does it mean denial of the existence of the universe. Mystics say that they accept multiplicity but multiplicity applies to the expression of existence not to the existence itself.
To explain their views, mystics have referred to Quranic verses as well as traditions which have been discussed in mystical books. Here we shall make mention of one Quranic arguments: The Quran says about God’s existence: “He is the First and the Last, and the Outward and the Inward; and He is Knower of all things.” This verse indicates that He alone is the Outward and He alone is the Inward. That is when a mystic looks at an ocean, he sees God in it and when he looks at a desert, he sees God in it. A mystic also views the whole universe as the manifestation of the Truth. That is why if a mystic says that when everyone else is in search of God, I am in search of something other than God, it is true because the only one who is manifest is God. Where is that place where He could not be seen?
In order to simplify this point, the mystics have turned to certain examples. Although an example does not and cannot contain all meanings because one has to understand and comprehend it by heart and mind, it can, however, facilitate understanding to some extent.
One of the examples is the example ‘face in the mirror’. Suppose a person is standing beside ten mirrors which are different in terms of concavity, convexity and size. Naturally, he is one person whereas, in fact, there are different pictures of him in the mirrors. This individual has shown ten expressions of himself but these different images or expressions do not cause his essence to be different; rather he is not but one reality with ten different expressions. The conclusion is that multiplicity exists but it is in the expressions not in essence. In other words, those who believe in unity of being never seek to deny the existence of multiplicity. In fact, they are of the view that real existence is that of God. He is the one whose existence is real whereas other beings are just shadows of the real existence. If we look carefully at the mirror example, we will come to know that all the created images are not identical whereas each is different depending on the size and shape of the mirror. Therefore, we do not mean to say by the expression ‘unity of being’ that all the existents are one thing and that they are not different from one another. In fact, the stress is on the fact that real existence is that of God despite that other entities have real existence.
It is therefore clear that according to the theory of unity of being the only real existence is that of God and that others have just expressions and shadows of the Truth. Conclusively, multiplicity does exist in the world but it is in the expressions.
There are other examples in the books regarding mysticism and we are not going to mention them for the sake of brevity.
Another point to mention is that this theory does not imply polytheism. That is to say, according to this theory never is a human being considered god because a human being does not exist at all and the only real existent is God. Human being is just an epiphany of God.
 If you need to read more, you can read “Kulliyat-e Irfan Islami” by Hamayoon Himmati, Amir Kabir Publications; The Principles of Mysticism and Sufism, Muhammad Hussein Bayat, Allamah Tabatabai University. Also, vide: Answer 31574 (site: 1090) on our website.
 Al-hadid, 3.
 Lessons on Theoretical Mysticism, Yazdan Pananh, second volume, p. 84 – 85, Encyclopedia of Islamic Rational Sciences.
 Ibid, p. 15; also see: The Principles of Mysticism and Sufism, Muhammad Hussein Bayat, p.69.
 Lessons on Theoretical Mysticism, Yazdan Pananh, second volume, p. 34 – 35.
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) – In an exclusive interview with Shafaqna, Hojatul-Islam Dr Mohammad Reza Jabbari said in order to find out about Hazrat Fatima’s (AS) behaviours in life it is enough to study the life of Prophet (PBUH) and all the narrations on this regard because she was educated by the Messenger of Allah. He added that Hazrat Zahra (AS) is the only lady amongst infallibles in Islamic era based on many evidences such as Ayah Tathir as well as various Shia / Sunni Narrations which consider that she is included in that Ayah.
Dr Jabbari pointed to other evidences regarding Hazrat Zahra (AS) such as the famous sentence by the Prophet (PBUH) which has been reported by Shia / Sunni sources. Prophet (PBUH) said Fatima is part of me if anyone bothers her, bothers me and if anyone bothers me is like bothering Allah. This is a clear evidence of the lofty position of Hazrat Fatima (AS) amongst other infallibles. He added that people can take example of Lady Fatima’s way of life as all her entire life was based on pure Islamic way.
Hojatul-Islam Jabbari believes that during the commemoration of the martyrdom of Hazrat Fatima (AS) the truth about her life and all her sufferings must be explained and other matters which disturb the unity between Shia / Sunni Muslims must be avoided. In his final remarks Dr Jabbari reminded that it will be very useful if the historical events are explained justly especially when fair minded anti-Shia people can hear them and try to research further to find the full truth. He added that if we look at the history, many people found the truth through just behaviours of Shia scholars. Therefore the duty of the media and scholars is only to explain the truth about the life and the sufferings of Hazrat Zahra (AS).
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) – In an exclusive interview with Shafaqna, Dr Mohammad Hossain Rajabi Davani, a researcher of Islamic history said, if certain divisive behaviours are avoided, commemorating martyrdom of Lady Fatima Zahra (AS) can be a unity point amongst Shia and Sunni Muslims. Dr Davani who was speaking on the occasion of the anniversary of martyrdom of Hazrat Zahra (AS) described the daughter of the Holy Prophet of Islam (PBUH) as a supreme example for individuals, social life, spirituality and a complete human being. He added that Lady Fatima (AS) is a role model for all mankind but as she was a woman, it is a priority for all women to take example of her.
This Islamic scholar explained that Lady Fatima (AS) was a shining example of a wife and mother whom others can learn from. She felt responsible for guiding the society and was the first woman to support the Prophet’s son in law, the leader of the pious and her husband Ali (AS). When those men who broke their allegiance to Imam Ali (AS), she actively entered the scene to defend him and the foundation of Islam. Despite all her social responsibilities, she was at the highest levels of obedience to the Almighty. Dr Davani said that considering her short life, Lady Fatima (AS) was an active teacher of her knowledge and wisdom which was obtained from her father, to others around her.
At a time when Imam Ali (AS) was under severe pressure from certain people, despite illness, Lady Fatima (AS) in a sermon invited people to understand their responsibilities towards their faith and encouraged them to break their silence and defend the Prophet’s ways. This Muslim historian described how commemorating the martyrdom of Lady Fatima (AS) can be an opportunity for Shia and Sunni Muslims to unite. He thinks both Islamic denominations should respect all members of the Prophet’s household (Ahlul Bait) in proper manners. Dr Davani believes the best way to commemorate the members of the Prophet’s household is the model left behind by the infallibles themselves. They used to invite poets to recite in the ceremonies as they listened whilst shedding tears for the sufferings of the Ahlul Bait. In his final remarks he asked for all the behaviour that offends Shia/Sunni Muslims to be avoided.
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) – Sheikh Abdul-Tawwab Ghotb stressed the need to fight against all discriminations and those mischief makers amongst Shia and Sunni Muslims. According to Alwafd network, he pointed to the fact that the Great Sheikh of Al-Azhar is trying to work towards structures of unity amongst Shia and Sunni Muslims. The Egyptian scholar added that for unity mutual understanding between Muslims must be expanded. He also asked the Shia scholars to issue a decree to stop all curses against some Sahabas in order to increase the mutual understanding between Shia and Sunni Muslims.
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) – SHAFAQNA Exclusive: The Head of Islamic Propagation Office in Qom says Shias in Europe should transfer from a passive minority to an influential one. There should be more interaction between Shia communities with their ulamas in Europe
Living in the West should not mean we distance ourselves from our identity. Our behaviours in the society must be somehow that will not attract negative attentions from those who we deal with and should be logical. Therefore based on the type of society we live in, our behaviours are adjusted to that society. Like when Prophet’s ambassadors went to see Najashi, they recited Quran but they chose Surah maryam. So every progressive vision needs to have the right structures, said Hojjatol-Islam Dr Vaezi, Head of the Islamic Propagation Office in holy city of Qom in an exclusive interview with Shafaqna.
Dr Vaezi believes for a suitable presence of the Shias in Europe three main points must be considered. Firstly the main aims must be determined, secondly the best ways of achieving the aims must be sought and finally the basis for achieving the aims should be prepared. Dr Vaezi thinks there are two opinions exist regarding the aims of Shia communities in Europe. One opinion is that Shias in Europe should behave exactly the same as any other place in the world. The followers of this opinion say Shias should be different from other Islamic communities, have their own religious programmes as should commemorate them like they used to do in their own countries. The followers of this opinion believe that there is only one version of Shia and that should be followed without any change even when we live in Europe.
There is also another opinion regarding the presence of Shia communities in Europe, a kind that considers the elements like the geographical position, cultural and political situation of the society. Dr Vaezi believes in this type of opinion and tried to make clear the aims of it. He said that if Shias do not consider the cultural, political and social conditions of the societies which surround them, there is a danger that they may attract negative sensitivities from those who try to find excuses against the minorities. Therefore for protecting their origins, Shias should be aware of their situation and the place they live in.
Dr Vaezi believes that the only difference between Shia and Sunni school of thoughts is the subject of ‘Imamat’. Shias believe that the Prophet (PBUH), his beloved daughter Hazrat Zahra (AS) and the 12 Imams after him are infallibles. They also believe in the occultation of Imam Mahdi (AS) and consider Velayat-e-Faqih as part of Imamat. Dr Vaezi said the bitter fact remains that there is no unity amongst Shias in Europe. This is happening when you see members of other religions like Jews who are considerably less in numbers are more united. The point is that if we are united then our voice can be heard and we can be more influential in the societies we live in. In that way we can defend our rights and religion better in the western countries.
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) – In his interview with Shafaqna the distinguished scholar from Qom referred to very good and positive co-operations that have always existed between Shia and Al-Azhar scholars. He said that scholarly relations between famous Al-Azhar ulamas such as Dr Majid Saleem, Sheikh Mahmood Shaltoot with their Shia counterparts like Sheikh Sharaful-deen and Sheikh Qomi existed in order to establish co-operations between Islamic denominations. This co-operation led to creation of Resalatul-Islam magazine which so far 25 issues have been published. All the articles in this magazine are connected to the subject of co-operation between Islamic denominations and Sheikh Shaltoot issued a religious decree (Fatwa), declaring that Ja’afari Fiqh can be followed.
Ayatollah Gharavi also expressed his surprise at the recent remarks made by the current Sheikh-ul- Al-Azhar Ahmad Al-Tayeb about Shia school of thought and its widespread appeal in Islamic world especially in Egypt. Ayatollah added that Al-Azhar University originally was not in the main stream of Al-Azhar scholarly community which was established by Shia communities like Fatemian. As such a historical relationship always existed between Shia and al-Azhar communities and it will count as a negative move by Sheikh Tayeb if he wanted to go against all the traditions of his predecessors. Ayatollah Gharavi encouraged the current Sheikh-ul-Al-Azhar to play a positive role in Islamic unity.
Ayatollah Gharavi who is a specialist in Islamic history added that Ja’afari school of thought and Fiqh has always been recognised in the courts and universities in Egypt. He said that the current moves by some against Shia in that country cannot stop the teachings of Ja’afari School of thought in Al-Azhar. He stressed that the moves and influences by Salafi/Wahabis are destructive and despite the large amount of money spent by Saudis to promote Wahabism, the Shia and Sunni scholars can draw peoples’ attention to the main stream Islam and prevent Wahabis to sew the seed of discord amongst Muslims. In his final remarks Ayatollah Gharavi pointed to the duties of all Shia/Sunni scholars to answer all the doubts raised by Salafis/Wahabis in order to keep the unity amongst Muslims and encourage positive co-operation between them.
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) –Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan received Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal and the duo took up the reconciliation process in Palestine.
According to reports, Meshaal briefed Erdoğan about a series of meetings and work to ensure a reconciliation between Palestinian factions.
Premier Erdoğan said maintaining the process without any disruption is of vital importance, and it will contribute positively to the peace process.-www.shfaqna.com/English
The first ‘International Seerat Conference’ was held in the UK and the city of Manchester on 2nd February 2013. The conference highlighted the week of unity in which all Muslims from various denominations should gather under the banner of Islam and work together to enhance the main theme of the religion which is offering peace and mercy to all mankind.
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) – On the auspicious occasion of the birthday of the Prophet of Islam (PBUH), first ‘International Seerat Conference’ was held in the UK and the city of Manchester on 2nd February 2013. The conference highlighted the week of unity in which all Muslims from various denominations should gather under the banner of Islam and work together to enhance the main theme of the religion which is offering peace and mercy to all mankind. Speakers talked about the need for unity within Islamic Ummah (nation) and urged all Muslims to promote unity amongst them all over the world. At the end of the conference, the participants belonging to all schools of thoughts issued the following declaration.
- All the devotees of the Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) and his followers in Britain strongly condemn all types of extremism and terrorism. We invite all the nations to study and understand the true religion of Islam which is offering compassion and peace.
- We strongly condemn all types of blasphemy against the Prophet of Islam (PBUH). We also forcefully demand that any offenders of blasphemy be duly punished.
- We appeal to all Muslims living in the UK and Europe to develop cordial relations with other nations and refrain from any dissension and disunity among themselves.
- We sincerely invite Muslims of the world in general and the followers of Ahlul-Bait (members of the household of the Prophet PBUH) in particular for cohesion and unity. They must co-operate and assist each other in virtuous deeds.
- We condemn the sad deaths caused at the hands of the terrorists anywhere in the world and offer our sincere condolences to the families of the deceased. We particularly condemn the violent brutality, terrorist activities and target killings in Bahrain, Palestine, Iraq, Syria and Pakistan. We appeal to the respective governments that they should put an end to this bloodshed and punish all involved in such nefarious acts.
Unity of God
The Islamic creed is that THERE IS NO GOD SAVE ALLAH AND THAT MUHAMMAD IS HIS PROPHET. (LA ILAAHA ILLA-ALLAH MUHAMMADUR- RASOOLILLAH).
Muslims believe that Allah is ONE. He was neither begotten nor does He beget. He has no Partner. He is the Beginning and He is the End. He is Omniscient and Omnipresent.
The Quraan says that He is closer to man than his jugular vein yet He cannot be encompassed by human intellect.
See the following verses of the Quraan:
Imam Ali says in a supplication:
"Oh God, verily I ask Thee by Thy Name, in the name of Allah, the All-merciful, the All-compassionate, O the Possessor of Majesty and Splendour, the Living, the Self-subsistent, the Eternal, there is no God other than Thou, Oh He of Whom no one knows what He is, or how He is, or Where He is, or in respect of what He is, And yet, we know that He is."
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) – Ahmadinejad said in a Wednesday message to Lebanese President Michel Suleiman on the occasion of the Lebanese Independence Day: “Lebanon can undoubtedly take further steps toward achieving national goals and ideals as well as growth and development with national unity and peaceful coexistence among different tribes.”
The Iranian chief executive expressed hope that stability, security and development would be established in Lebanon through the wise management by the Lebanese president, and other senior officials and various political groups.
Meanwhile, in a message to his Lebanese counterpart Nabih Berri, Iran’s Majlis Speaker Ali Larijani hoped that Lebanon’s officials would pay heed to the country’s important role in regional equations and disappoint the enemies from hatching plots.
Larijani said: “Under the circumstances where the conditions of the region have become complicated and ambiguous due to the interference of global and arrogant powers, the necessity for all countries in the region - particularly those which are on the front line of the resistance - to remain vigilant is felt more than before.”
He added that the Lebanese people and government play a vital role in this regard.– www.shfaqna.com/English