Difference between al-Wahidiyyah (Divine Unity) and al-Ahadiyyah (Divine Oneness)

The Second Station of the Fourteenth Flash (Part 8) 

NOTE: The quoted passages are from Ustadh Bediuzzaman’s book and the commentaries below them are my own.

Muslim Prayer_Sujood

Fourth Mystery: The manifestation of divine unity (Al-Wahidiyyah) within a boundless abundance is not sufficient for everybody [while] uttering the address إِيَّاكَ نَعۡبُدُ “It is You we worship”. The mind drifts away. To contemplate the One of Divine Oneness (Al-Ahadiyyah) behind the unity in its entirety, saying إِيَّاكَ نَعۡبُدُ وَإِيَّاكَ نَسۡتَعِينُ “It is You we worship; It is You we ask for help” ; the presence of a heart with a breadth [equal to that of] the globe is necessary. And based on this reason, just as the stamp of divine oneness (Al-Ahadiyyah) is shown in particulars (juziyyat) in a visible manner; in order to show the stamp of Divine Oneness (Al-Ahadiyyah) and [in order] that the One of Divine Oneness (Al-Ahadiyyah) be contemplated in every type [of a thing], a stamp of divine oneness (Al-Ahadiyyah) is shown within the seal of mercy (Rahmaniyyah). So that, effortlessly, everybody in every level can say إِيَّاكَ نَعۡبُدُ وَإِيَّاكَ نَسۡتَعِينُ , “It is You we worship; It is You we ask for help” facing the One of Purity and Holiness by directly addressing [Him].

We will start by elaborating and expanding on a previous post on Al-Wahidiyyah and Al-Ahadiyyah.

Recall the discussion on the difference between Al-Wahidiyyah and Al-Ahadiyyah. Observing the oneness of God by considering something as a whole is a result of Al-Wahidiyyah, while observing His oneness by considering a particular within that something is a result of Al-Ahadiyyah.

Furthermore, the names and attributes of God have both a divine unity (Wahidiyyah) and a divine oneness (Ahadiyyah) aspect. We will begin by observing some examples. Notice that in the earlier post the discussion was specifically about the oneness of God, whereas this one will discuss the Wahidiyyah/Ahadiyyah aspects of the names and attributes of God.

EXAMPLE ONE

The name Rabb[1] (رب), for instance, is manifested in the universe as a whole since God is the Owner, Nourisher, and so on of all the beings. He thus creates the order and harmony in the universe in a way which benefits all His creatures.

On the other hand, He is also the Rabb (رب) of every particular being within the universe, taking care of each of them individually according to their needs. He thus grants medicine to a patient and parents to a child.

The former (Rabb of the Universe) is the Wahidiyyah aspect of Rububiyyah[2], while the latter (Rabb of every particular being) is called the Ahadiyyah aspect. Both forms are seen in the Holy Qur’an, for God is referred to as the “Rabb of the Worlds” (رب العالمين) and by “Your Rabb” (ربك) as well.[3]

EXAMPLE TWO

Al-Musawwir (المصور) is a name of Allah (ﷻ), meaning The One Who designs or gives form or fashion. This name is manifested in the human population as a whole, since humans are given a certain design or form distinguishing them from other beings. They are thus created with a face, hands, and legs in perfect form suitable for human life. Furthermore, every human being individually manifests the name Al-Musawwir since each is given a unique appearance, such as the color of their skin, the shape of their eyes, the uniqueness of their fingerprint, and so on.

Again, the former (designing the human population) is the Wahidiyyah aspect of the name Al-Musawwir, while the latter (designing every particular individual) is the Ahadiyyah aspect.

As seen in the given examples, the Wahidiyyah aspect of a name or attribute of God is the manifestation of that name or attribute in a whole. In the first example, the “whole” is the universe; in the second it is the human population. The Ahadiyyah aspect of that name or attribute, on the other hand is the manifestation in a particular within that whole, such as the beings in the universe or an individual human within the human population.

Note that the above are just two examples out of countlessly many. In the first example, we could have instead chosen the whole to be the earth and the particulars to be the beings living there. In the second, we could have chosen a single human as the whole and the body parts of that human to be the particulars of that whole.

Finally, let’s go back to the original passage. Who are the “we” in “It is You we worship”? In Signs of Miraculousness (İşaratül –İcaz)[4], while discussing the verse إِيَّاكَ نَعۡبُدُ وَإِيَّاكَ نَسۡتَعِينُ “It is You we worship; it is You we ask for help”, the author mentions three groups implied by “we”,

  • Atoms and organs of the human body
  • Community of monotheists[5]
  • All beings encompassed by the universe

In the passage above, the author states “The manifestation of divine unity (Al-Wahidiyyah) within a boundless abundance is not sufficient for everybody [while] uttering the address إِيَّاكَ نَعۡبُدُ “It is You we worship”. The mind drifts away.” Thinking of each atom or organ in the human body, the unique roles they play in maintaining our health, and their unique way of worshiping God is utterly difficult for the human mind. It is certainly not easy to envision each and every one of these atoms or organs while reciting the “we” in this verse.

Most names of God manifested in a whole, such as the universe, are manifested in its particulars as well, say an individual flower. Yet we may as well contemplate the whole community of flowers within the universe instead of only considering an individual one. In other words, not only does the Merciful Creator manifest most of His names within each particular of a whole, but also within “every type of a thing” (or every group of a thing), thus making it easier for us to contemplate His Oneness and the manifested names while reciting the verse.

[1] Meaning Owner, Nourisher, One Who is worshiped, etc

[2] Rububiyyah means the state or condition of being a Rabb just as lordship is the state or condition of being a lord.

[3] Eleventh Ray, Tenth Topic

[4] Signs of Miraculousness, Sura al-Fatiha

[5] Note that monotheism, in its true sense, exists only in Islam.

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