Contents > Chapter 3: Pantheism, Wahdat al-Wajood or Moksha > The Stages of Wahdat al-Wujood


The Stages of Wahdat al-Wujood

The Sufis in their circles exaggerated greatly upon the concept of fearing Allah, and subjected themselves to constant and excessive mental anxiety. They express their fear in ways that are far from the Sunnah like in the story mentioned in Fazaail-e-Aamaal of a man who never lifted his face towards the sky and when asked the reason, he said, “I am ashamed! How can I lift up this sinful face to such a Great Benefactor.”[1]


The effect of this anxiety was that they would enter a state of ecstasy or fall down unconscious or dead when hearing the Qur’aan, or music or even the singing of birds.


1. ‘One saint relates: ‘I saw Hazrat Shaikh Samnoon once swinging side from side in ecstasy while performing Tawaaf. I took his hand and asked him: “By the truth that you shall stand before Allah one day, I ask you, how did you reach Allah?” As soon as he heard the words, ‘stand before Allah’, he fell down unconscious…”[2]


2. Another incident mentioned in Irshaadul-Mulook states, “Hazrat Hafiz (Dhaamin) Sahib was fond of doves. One day when he approached the cage to feed the birds, one of the doves sang such a rapturous rhapsody that Hazrat Hafiz Sahib fell unconscious into an ecstatic swoon”[3]


The effects of Qur’aan on those who listen with understanding have been mentioned in the Qur’aan. Listening to the Qur’aan causes the hearts to fear Allah, the faith to increase, the heart to soften and the eyes to shed tears.[4] But falling unconscious or dead, as a result of imposed anxiety is not the true fear that stems from the understanding of the Qur’aan and the Sunnah and such was never reported from the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) or his Companions.[5]


Another good example of misunderstanding the proper way to love and fear Allah, and subjecting oneself to extreme anxiety can be seen in the following incident mentioned in Fazaail-e-Aamaal.


It is said that Malik Ibn Deenar met a young man on his way to Hajj, walking on foot, with no provision or water. Malik Ibn Deenar offered him his shirt, but he refused saying: “…It is better to remain naked, than to acquire worldly shirts.” Later, when the Hajis (the pilgrims) put on the Ihram, read the Talbiyah, this young man kept silent and said, ‘I fear that on reciting ‘Labbaik’, a reply may be heard, “La Labbaik, La Sadaik” (Your cry is not heard and we do not return to you in Pleasure.) The young man justified his acts that were apparently opposed to the Sharee’ah by saying, “And blame me not for this love for Him, for if thou knowest the thing I see then surely will you never speak.” Later, when the pilgrims sacrificed the sheep, this young man asked Allah to accept his life as a sacrifice and then died shortly afterwards. This story also claims that a voice from the Unseen said: “This is Allah’s friend, and Allah’s martyr.” Later that night, Malik Ibn Deenar asked the young man in his dream, ‘What did Allah do to you?’ He said: ‘I have gained a reward like that of the martyrs of the battle of Badr – Nay, even more… They died at the swing of the swords of the infidels, while I died by the sword of Allah’s love.”[6]


We see gross ignorance in this story on part of the young man - he does not truly love Allah by performing righteous deeds prescribed by Him, nor does he truly fear Allah as is clear from his actions, because fearing Allah implies refraining from openly committing sins. Rather, he shows lack of hope in Allah’s Mercy by saying that Allah will reject his call of Talbiyah and subjects himself to false anxiety. Allah knows best whether this person died in the way mentioned in this story but books of Sufis, including Fazaail-e-Aamaal, are full of such claims.



[1] Fazaail-e-Aamaal (Hindi Trans.) Virtues of Hajj, p.256. story no.3 (First Edition 1984 - Published by Idara Ishaat-e-Diniyaat).

Fazaail-e-Aamaal (Eng. Trans.), Virtues of Hajj, Conclusion, p.233, story no. 3, (New Edition 1982, Published by Dini Book Depot - Delhi).

[2] Virtues of Charity and Hajj story no: 40, p.270 (New Edition 1982, Published by Dini Book Depot).

[3] Irshaadul-Mulook (Eng. Trans.), p.22.

[4] See Soorah al-Anfaal (8): 2, Soorah az-Zumar (39): 23, and Soorah Maryam (19): 58.

[5] For more information refer to, “The Dispraise of al-Hawaa” by Dr. Saleh as-Saleh, p.74-75.

[6] See Fazaail-e-Aamaal (Eng. Trans.) Virtues of Charity and Hajj story no: 4, p.234 (New Edition 1982, Published by Dini Book Depot - Delhi).