Islam






wahdat al-wujud
the unity of the real


Islam Glossary
Tawhid
   Central to Islamic belief is the oneness or unity (in Arabic: tawhid) of Allah, or God. Not only is Allah separate from the material universe which he created and not only is there one and only one God, Allah is perfect and without parts, that is, Allah or God is a unity or singularity and it is this unity that makes up the perfection of Allah.


   Since the material world is Allah's creation, this means that the material world in some way reflects the intention or nature of Allah. The principle quality of God is unity, so it follows that the created world, the real world we live and experience, also comprises a unity. In Islamic thought, this idea is called "wahdat al-wujud," the "unity of the real," and underlies much of the Islamic world view. This unity is expressed in Islamic art and architecture by the symmetrical balance of opposites, of light and dark, of inner and outer, reflecting the idea that the myriad, diverse, and contradictory phenomena of the world are in fact a single pattern or intention of the creator. In political and social theory, this can lead to incredible tolerance of opposing views and religions, but it can also lead to social theories about the perfecting of this unity involving the full islamicization of human society.


Islam Glossary
Dhikr
   Perhaps the three most important terms to remember in order to understand Islam are these three: tawhid, the unity of god, wahdat al-wujud, the unity of the real, and dhikr, the requirement by Allah that humans continually remember their god and creator.

Richard Hooker



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1995, Richard Hooker
Updated 1-16-98