An Addendum to the Answer to Your Question about Muhyiddin al-‘Arabi
Q u e s t i o n : Muhyiddin al-‘Arabi considered the Unity of Existence to be of the highest level. Likewise, some of the great saints who took the path of love followed him. However, you say that this matter is not of the highest level and is not real; that it is rather the way, to a degree, of those who become intoxicated and immersed in the divine, and of the people of love and ecstasy. So what, briefly, is the high level of the affirmation of divine unity pointed out by the clear verses of the Qur’an, through the mystery of the legacy of prophethood? Can you explain it?
T h e A n s w e r : It is a hundred times beyond the ability of an utterly powerless unfortunate like myself to judge those elevated stations with his limited thought. I shall just explain one or two extremely brief points proceeding from the effulgence of the All-Wise Qur’an. Perhaps they will be useful in understanding the matter.
There are numerous reasons for becoming embroiled in the way of the Unity of Existence. One or two of them may be described as follows:
The First Reason: Because they could not squeeze into their brains the maximum degree of the creativity of dominicality, nor entirely establish in their hearts the idea that everything, through the mystery of divine oneness, is held directly in the grasp of dominicality and that all things have existence through divine power, choice, and will, those who took that way were obliged to say that everything is either Him, or does not have existence, or is imaginary, or is His manifestation or emanation.
The Second Reason: The mark of passionate love is to want never to be separated from the beloved and to flee desperately from such separation; to tremble at the thought of parting, to fear distance from the beloved as though fearing Hell, and to abominate transience; to love union with the love of one’s own spirit and life, and to yearn to be near to the beloved as though longing for Paradise. Thus, through adhering to a manifestation of divine immediacy in all things, those who took the way of the Unity of Existence disregarded separation and distance; supposing union and meeting to be permanent, they said: “There is no existent but He;” through the