How Does Multiplicity Arise From Unity?
Since the One denoted by the name Allah is the ONLY existence, how did the seeming multiplicities form? If existence is originally within the knowledge of the One, how did the engendered existence come about? How did these imaginary forms of existence, comprising the assumed world or illusionary creation come to be?
I want to simplify this by way of an example. It cannot be applied to the One denoted by the name Allah, of course, but it will give us some clarification.
Imagine a world in which there is a rich, a poor, a beautiful and an ugly… Equip these people in your imagination with various attributes and then leave them to interact with each other…
Do these imaginary beings that you have created in your mind have independent existence? Obviously not! From where do they obtain their existence? From you! You have created them in your mind! To whom do their attributes and qualities belong? To you! You formed them and their qualities!
So can I take a look at these imagined beings and define you according to them? Can I claim you are the sum total of these qualities? No! Just as you have assigned these qualities to these forms, you could be assigning completely different qualities to other forms…
Remember, they owe their existence to you, they are non-existent without you, hence all of their qualities and attributes belong to you. You are the one who formed their qualities! Just as they don’t have independent existence without you, they don’t have any attributes that are independent of you either!
Nevertheless, I cannot confine you to these qualities, I cannot claim you exist with or comprise these qualities alone!
Let us try to understand the engendered existence and all the multiplicities it comprises by way of this example…
The One denoted by the name Allah, the absolute possessor of infinite, limitless knowledge and power, has created the multiplicities with the infinite structural qualities he created in His consciousness!
We are individuals created in the knowledge of Allah!
Our whole existence and all of our qualities belong to Allah, however, Allah cannot be defined with or confined by these qualities and attributes; Allah is beyond all comparison, definition and resemblance!
If we can understand this, we will see that, essentially, we are NOTHING in the sight of Allah.
How much can a piece of artwork encapsulate its artist?
An artist may have a moment of inspiration and produce an incredible artwork. But this piece can only be the reflection of the artist’s frame of mind at that time, perhaps the reflection of only a moment of inspiration! Surely, it cannot be a depiction of the artist as a whole!
The whole universe, with all of mankind, from the first human beings to now… all of creation, everything comprising the earth, our solar system, the 400 billion stars in our galaxy (in which our solar system is like a grain of sand)… and the entire cosmos composed of billions of galaxies, everything that we can perceive, the infinite, vast space, all of it, is a depiction of only a thought of one INSTANT in the sight of Allah.
Our UNIVERSE, or what we perceive as this infinite limitless existence comprising the whole of creation, to which Sufism refers with various titles like the Perfect Man (Al-Insan Al-Kamil), the Grand Spirit (Ruh-ul Azam) and the First Intellect (Aql-i Awwal), is nothing but an INSTANTANEOUS CREATION in the sight of Allah. Our cosmos, which we perceive to be infinite and everything in it, is the result of this creation of an instance!
Just as a human body is formed from one single cell, the whole cosmos is formed from one instance of a thought. Just as the whole of the creation program is contained in that one single original cell, the complete creational plan and program of the whole universe and everything in it is contained in that single instance of observation. This is the reality of destiny.