By Sulthon Fathoni
Mysticisms has big thing to do with union or more strictly, oneness. It is a perspective that sees all existing being as one. So, this implies that there is no subject-object dualism or relation asking two things or separateness. From this point, we can see that theistic view about God and creators is not compatible with union or oneness mysticism.
Every religion tried to solve and overcome the problem of unity while remaining the identities of God and creatures. In Islam, it is Ibn Arabi as the prominent figure in this area. He is known with his theory of wahdat al-wujud and the notion that God only can be understood well by contradictions. Though, according to me, his solving problem is not really clear, because it still takes unknowing or Gnostic or bila kaifa as its core concept.
Ibn Arabi taught that there is nothing but God, manifested in countless forms. The word manifest, if it means ‘become’, so there no personal God but thus being everythings. If this is understood as such, it will give us a pantheistic view, that is, all is God that now becomes infinite forms after being one.
But, many of his followers described an analogy that the universe or countless forms are just as a mirror reflection; one reality that is reflected in many mirrors. This is description tried to run from pantheistic views by giving a differentiation between god and his creature, thus, making a distance for the unity.
Or maybe we can consider Sadrian interpretation of Ibn Arabi’s wahdat al-wujud, by saying that it’s one but in gradation way that causes a differentiation and plurality while remaining in one essence or substance. But, there is still a differentiation causing non union/oneness, even in other side.
As the result, pure oneness or union in religion world is just a combination between unity and identity; between regarding God as personal and pantheistic. So it makes the union or oneness impure or mere rhetoric.
After all, we know that the first premise or tendency in theistic mysticism is Plato’s ideas. Furthermore, what is called neo-Platonism extended by Plotinus that he himself made an idea about an existent as the source of Platonic ideas and the way of contemplation to be united with Him. This understanding can help us why it is more difficult for Ibn Rusd’s –the Islamic Aristotelian par excellence- views than Ibn Taimiyah’s, to be fused with mysticism.