The Oneness (Tawhid) of Essence & Purity of Sifat (Attributes)

The Blessed and the Highness Allah Almighty has said, Koran [3:18]:
“There is no god but He: That is the witness of Allah, His angels, and those endued with knowledge, standing firm on justice. There is no god but He, the Exalted in Power, the Wise”
The Sufi scholars because of their disassociation with mundane daily affairs of living have found a route to the mines of knowledge wherein souls and hearts stepping at peace with constant continuance and resolute firmness. And the eyes of their spiritual vision wears the effulgent eye-shadow of resplendent beauty, that very beauty which has no cause or beginning (Azal), by means of knowledge of Certainty (Yaqin) and clear reasoning (Borhaan) due to uncovering (of the secrets), (uncovering) of the eyes, the passion and enlightened consciousness (Wajd) [0] they comprehend they behold they find and finally they bear witness that truly no one and nothing deserves deification or worthy of prostration (Sojood).
Except the eternally unique one God the sole deity worthy of worship (Elah), Nonesuch Nonpareil One (Ahad), the Noble One with no needs while satisfying and giving for all needs and all requests (Samad), free from parenthood and childhood, free from employment of assistant, the holy one (Qoddoos) sanctified from similarities duplicates advisors and consultants.
Nothing can withstand opposing Its command.
Nothing likens to Its ever-expanding dominion.
Its timelessly preexistent ancient essence, renowned for characteristics and attributes of Oneness. And Its Sifat (attributes) due to the sanctity of holiness and purity thus separated afar and away from the following: descriptions, shapes/forms/designs, similarities/duplicates/parallels, connectivity & discontinuity, companionship, intermixing, exit & entrance, change, blight, transformation/transition/transmutation and transportation/movement.
No blemish applicable to the paragon perfection of Its beauty or the ideal beauty of Its perfection.
The beauty of Its Oneness (Ahad) purified and cleansed from the shortcomings, errors and malfunctions of comprehensions of thoughts. The glory and majesty of Its everlastingness (Samad) free from the labor of immixed remembrances and memories.
The poetic warriors marching the battlefields of eloquence find but scant phrases describing Its beauty. The experts in arena of psychological cognizance and knowledge, their models and metaphors (Isharat) nothing but lame and limping legs.
The lofty foundation of Its prehension [1]wafting above the endowment of senses and wit of reasoning and logic.
Most Pure is the Lord that the outer-limits of the minds bewildered and scattered while pondering even the very beginning of Its noesis thus (minds) remained with no further reasoning. Because of the splendor of the lustrous rays of Its Mightiness, the eyes of the learned men blinded and lost they are within the darkness of the night with no further to travel.
When you ask where? That place is already found by It. [2]
When you ask when? That time interval is already brought about by It.
When you ask what? That action is already the active doing of It.
When you ask how much? That quality and quantity is already bestowed and measured by It.
Its unbound Essence has no beginning. And Its unnumbered Sifat (attributes) no limits. ‘Azal’: the existence without beginning or cause and ‘Abad’: the eternity with no end, are both under the control and doing of Its affairs. The time-space unrolling alongside Its ever-spreading ever-expansive extensiveness.
The collective of all beginnings, the last in comparison to Its primordial attribute (Awwal), and the collective of all ends just the mere beginnings in comparison to Its ultimate finality (Akhir). 
The presence and manifest of all objects deeply (hidden) within Its presence and manifest (Zahir). The inner mechanisms and processes of the cosmos plainly manifest and surface to Its inner hidden essence (Baaten). [3]
The entire non-causalities and unknown origins that face Its Azal (being without reason, cause or beginning) are mere consequences of events and causes. And all eternities within Its eternality are merely Its inheritance (Warith).
In summary whatsoever may fit within the mind, cognition, imagination, senses and logic, the praiseworthy holy Lord is sanctified and pure—afar and away—from It. Since all things in this world are temporal and denovo consequences therefore our temporal minds prehends no other than short-lived immediate past or obvious consequences. It is the causality and reason for Its own existence and the reason for Its existence is Its own manifest:
And Its face is the moon reflecting the sun of Its own face
And Its eye adorned by the eye-shadow of Its own eye [4]
The transport of Its non-causal (Azali) beauty nothing but Its non-causal (Azali) majesty and might, “their merchandize must be carried except by their own camels”. No matter how much to stretch the cognition there is no way to comprehend this, “Failure to comprehend is a form of prehension[5]. No single individual can ever reach the depth of prehension of the Nonpareil One (Wahed) except the One and Nonesuch Itself. And whomever (fooled) by the thinking that he has reached some comprehension of It, indeed merely reached the boundaries of his own mind [6] and did not reach anyplace close to It wheresoever:
No routes towards whatever is with You
These all limits of prehension and not the Lord
(By Sanaa-ee)
Allah Almighty the Most High (A’laa) resides above this great (human) arrogance and whomever thinking the Nonpareil One is captured within (his mind) truly is fooled and deceived. And “And the Deceiver deceived you in respect of Allah“, Koran [57:14], is a clear hint towards this deception.
Shebly was asked, “What is Tawhid (Oneness)?” He replied:
“Whoever phrases words about It is a disbeliever, whoever makes a metaphor about It is a polytheistic and whoever claims uncovering of a secret about It is an idolater, whoever talks about It is ignorant, whoever is silent about It is imbecile, whoever imagines It gains nothing, whoever points at It near indeed is afar, whoever claims finding It has already lost It. Whatever is imagined or thought by you are temporal meanings manufactured by yourself. (and have nothing to do with It)” [7] 
This statement points to the fact that Tawhid (Oneness) is both invalidation of disunion and observing the limits of union [8]. This is the characteristic and disposition of the human state in the beginning of the Tawhid (Oneness).
However approaching the extremes of Tawhid (Oneness), a person viewed by the eyes (of others) is in disunion but in essence in union (with the Beloved). Indeed neither union nor the disunion (viewed by the physical eyes) discriminate against each other (they coexist), hence the perfection of the Tawhid (Oneness).
Tawhid has four ranks:
  1. Oneness due to Faith
  2. Oneness due to Knowledge
  3. Oneness due to Propensity
  4. Oneness due to Divinity
“Oneness due to Faith” is when the slave because of uniqueness of divine attributes and exclusivity of the deification of the praiseworthy Lord which have come to his attention by means of revelations and other such narrations, believes in Oneness within his heart and upon his tongue. This Tawhid (Oneness) is the result of verification and validation of the narrations and narrators (Prophets, messengers, sages…) obtained by the surface-knowledge and prehending the Oneness shall polish to a terrific shine—away with the rust of idolatry—which benefits the individual on the path/voyage of Islam. The Sufism obliged by the requirements of faith share this form of Tawhid (Oneness) with most believers, but on the other forms (items 2-3) differ and is unique in its approach.
“Oneness due to Knowledge” comes from the innate inner knowledge that is called the Knowledge of Certainty (Yaqin). This is when the slave knows from the beginning of the path of Sufism that there is no true absolute and potent existence other than the glorious Lord of the universe. The ensemble of all (other) essences attributes and actions belittled and ethereal within Its essence and attributes and actions. Each essence is merely the flash of a ray from Its absolute essence, each attribute a shaft of light from Its absolute attribute. In other words anywhere some knowledge, some power, some deliberate will, hearing and vision found, he attributes these as traces from divine knowledge, power, deliberate will, hearing and vision, and the same for all actions and attributes. This is an early rank of Tawhid (Oneness) specialized for Sufism though an offshoot from the general branch of Tawhid believed by the general public.
There is a fake version of this rank, which the dimwit calls with the same name. Indeed it is not Tawhid (Oneness) due to Knowledge but better be called “Formal Tawhid”, which has almost no credibility. The person by means of intelligence or studying or attending lecturs imagines some concepts about Tawhid within. And from time to time in discussions or gatherings utters hollow expressions of Tawhid (Oneness) which none of it found in his nature and inclination.
Although “Tawhid (Oneness) due to Knowledge” is a lower notch of the “Tawhid due to Propensity”, however it may have some mixture of the latter. And this is the description of this Tawhid, “With it will be (given) a mixture of Tasnim: A spring, from (the waters) whereof drink those Nearest to Allah.” Koran [83:27-28]. Thus the owner of this Tawhid is filled with passion and happiness, because tasting this wine mixture impacts him by shedding some of his dark customs and habits. However, he may act upon this knowledge and fail to see the divine interventions, instruments and causalities (give himself or his knowledge credit instead). But in most cases underneath the dark shade of his own existence and knowledge he may be veiled (concealed from God) thus from this some minor form of polytheism (Shirk) may arise.
“Tawhid (Oneness) due to Propensity” is when Oneness becomes a must for propensity/nature/inclination of the Mowah-hid (person in the state of Tawhid) and much of the darkness of customs/habits of his existence—except a little—succumbs to the terrific luminosity of Tawhid (Oneness), shattered and dissolved. And the light of (human) knowledge of Oneness fades within the light of his propensity/nature like the light of stars vanishes within the light of the sun.
In this state of being, Mowah-hid (the person in the state of Tawhid) staring upon the beauty of the Nonpareil Nonesuch One shall drown and dissolve/immix with such intensity that nothing other than the essence and attributes of the Wahid (Unique One God) perceptible for him. Until pioneers such extreme boundaries, where he sees this Tawhid ‘solely in and of the Nonpareil One (Wahid)’ and not due to anything of his Self’s attributes. And even this act of viewing he attributes to Its attributes, his existence is a mere droplet fallen into the tumultuous ocean of Tawhid (Oneness), drowned into a vast reunion!
Because of this Jonaid (may rest within Allah’s mercy) said, “The meaning of Tawhid (Oneness) is when the customs/habits and all knowledge dissolves and disappears and persists Allah as It was and is (and will be)”. And Ibn Ataa said, “Tawhid (Oneness) is when Tawhid is forgotten because of perceptions of Allah’s majestic manifest until the slave subsists entirely upon the Nonpareil Nonesuch One and not upon the knowledge about Its Oneness (Tawhid)”.

The origin of this Tawhid (Oneness due to Propensity) is the light of perception and origin of the “Oneness due to Knowledge” is the light of intimacy and closeness (to Beloved). By means of this Tawhid (Oneness due to Propensity) much of one’s humanity is pushed away like the sunlight wipes out most of the darkness upon the earth. But the light of the “Tawhid (Oneness) due to Knowledge” is likened to the light of the moon illuminating the earth where some of the darkness is wiped off but mostly remains unlit. What remains of the Mowah-hid during the “Tawhid (Oneness) due to Propensity” is the bare necessities of actions and attributes required for his minimalist physical existence.
In conclusion, during the life of this world the true Tawhid is not given the just attention and devotion. Because of this observation Abu Ali Daq-qaq said, “Tawhid  (Oneness) asked for loans and declined, a stranger not given full rights/citizenship in any land”.
Therefore from this Tawhid (Oneness) shall always arise a minor possibility of polytheism (Shirk). Although within the Mowah-hid (person in the state of Tawhid) shattered are the customs and habits, somehow sometimes a sudden flash of customs and habits may lid his life (lead away from Tawhid). But beyond this rank of “Tawhid (Oneness) due to Propensity” not other ranks available to human beings.
However the “Tawhid (Oneness) due to Divinity” is when Allah bears the Azal (existence without cause or reason to be or beginning) for Itself not subsisting upon any other creature’s Tawhid, maintaining the attribute of Oneness and Nonesuch, “Indeed it was Allah and none else”. At present such Azali attribute continuing everlastingly “It is as It was” and eternally for all eternities shall be as such, “Everything (that exists) will perish (Haaleko) except His own Face” (Koran [28:88]) but It did not say “It will destroy (yohleko)” so it will be known that the existence of all objects within Its own Being this very moment are subject to future and imminent destruction (Haaleko), thus this observation transmitted from today to tomorrow in order for veiled subjects (Mankind) to have a fair respite to observe(potential for prehension). With the exception of masters of visions and companions of perception who have been relieved from the constrained of time-space, whom this promise (of impending destruction) is a precious treasure: “They see the (Day) indeed as a far-off (event), But We see it (quite) near.” (Koran [70:7-8]), the mightiness of Nonpareil and subjugation of Oneness other than to Itself forbade for others.
This is how to do justice for Tawhid (Oneness) and this Tawhid is pure and cleansed from all shortcomings, problems, errors and malfunctions. Therefore the Tawhid by Angels and Mankind, because of the shortcomings of their beings, suffers from much problems and thus imperfect. And finally Sheikh Abdollah Al-Ansari about this concept said:
No one ever did justice for Oneness
Because every attempt subject to negation or rejection
The one boldly lecturing about Oneness
Like a trade canceled by the Nonpareil One
True Oneness solely by the Nonesuch One
Disbelief and blasphemy any other narration
Background: The spectrum of the light from the outer space shows that the atoms and molecules have identical structure to the compounds on this earth!? Given the vastness of the time-space continuum why that has to the case? Why the carbon atoms should have the same structures billions of light years away? This cosmological observation is a prehension for Tawhid (Oneness). Picture: Detection of carbon II in interstellar cirrus. Infrared spectral studies have shown that organic molecules are prevalent in many regions of the Universe.
[0] ‘Wajd’ is an Arabic word and a Sufi terminology for inner consciousness when it goes through EXPERIENCES of uncovering secrets and hidden findings (prehensions see [1]) about the Beloved. Closest in English is enlightenment but in Sufism the word encompasses much. ‘Wajd’ either is followed by jubilee or sorrow. More on this word in a later chapter specially dedicated for its definition INSHALLAH.
 [1] What is Prehension? I borrowed this word from “Process and Reality” by Alfred North Whitehead who developed a philosophy similar to the Schrodinger’s Quantum mechanics. I believe Whitehead’s languages is more suitable for Sufi translations:
  1. The word "prehension" is created by dropping the first syllable from "apprehension." Prehension is a part or aspect of the more or less complex whole which is an act of awareness. It is the element of pure givenness in this act; experience as the having of an object. An experience for Whitehead is a unitary event or process termed an "actual entity" or "occasion [of experience]." Every concrete thing which is given to or prehended by an entity is a prior event or actual entity, or a group of such entities. Contemporary events are not, strictly speaking, prehended, nor are occasions subsequent to the act of prehending. Thus memory and perception are alike in that the object of both is in the past. This assimilation of perception to memory is a highly original element in the doctrine.
  2. In his An Interpretation of Whitehead's Metaphysics, p. 12, William A. Christian writes: A prehension is an operation in which an actual entity "grasps" some other entity (actual or nonfactual) and makes that entity an object of its experience. . . . A prehension is a "concrete fact of relatedness." It has a subject (the prehending actual entity), an object or datum that is prehended , and a subjective form. The subjective form of a prehension is the particular manner in which that subject prehends that object. Subjective forms are forms of emotion, consciousness, purpose, etc. A prehension need not be conscious--indeed, most prehensions are not. 
  3. Peter Farleigh, in his "Whitehead's Even More Dangerous Idea", says: Consider the act of perception. It is by perception, and this involves cognition, intentionality and affective tone, that we take account of our environment. I look at a pencil in front of me, for example. I have an immediate sense of its overall look-its shape, its length, its color. The pencil is set against a background of my desk and other things in my field of vision, but not things I am at that moment acutely aware of. Also I am only vaguely aware of my body and its relation to the desk and pen. In seeing the pencil, too, whole streams of associative memories are stirred. All of these perceptions and memories are gathered together into the unity, which is this single percipient event-a 'specious present'. The focal point or center of this event being my body. The pencil and the background, as well as the memories, are all internal constituents of my experience, and are therefore causally efficacious of that experiential event. They are said to be internally related to this event. Those objects at that moment are unaffected by my act of perception and so are said to be externally related to the event. The act of perception then, establishes the causal relation of a subject to the external world at that moment. Perception and memory recall for Whitehead are high level instances of a more general concept, which he calls prehension. Most simply, for a subject to prehend an object, it is to experience it, perceive it, feel it, or 'take it into account,' though not necessarily in a conscious or reflective way. An object can be a physical object, like a pencil, or a conceptual object like a memory. Prehension is also a feature at lower levels of nature. Single cells 'feel' or take account of their environment (which is often other cells). Within a series of sub-atomic events, each event prehends its antecedent event, and is almost entirely determined by it.
[2] When you say, “Where is the coffee shop?” you prehend the concept of a building filled with customers drinking coffee but this prehension’s appropriation is delivered from a space unseen to your eyes, seen and created by the Creator. The very fact that your mind is able to comprehend and prehend the concept of space and a question about its address requires a preexistent space wherein your mind prehends the concepts and data from. In the consequent questions Kashani asked the same applied to time and actions and measurements…

[3] When we see the objects around us, their manifest presence drowned within the presence of Its manifest i.e. Its manifest is so overwhelming and obvious that no eyes can see it! And what we see lost and drowned within Its presence. On the other hand, the hard to see inner workings of objects are indeed obviously present and manifest upon the perimeters of Its deep hidden essence.

[4] Eye-shadow, which is the Arabic word ‘Kohol’ or ‘kahal’, is a Sufi term used as something the Beloved adds to eyes, for them, to see. Without this eye-shadow one may see all things but never be able to see It.

[5] In most cases failure to understand is the end of it all, but in Sufism it is a peculiar form of prehension i.e. though the mind failed to grasp some meaning still the human being as a whole managed to grasp/prehend something of surprisingly immense value. A rare experience, which a good Sufi writer manages to help the reader fail the same manner but do prehend the same experience.

[6] The person who says, “I do not believe in God” and the person who says, “I believe in God” both roaming the outer-limits of their minds. The former prehends that there is no way any form and definition of God possible within the human cognitive faculties, the latter prehends facing a sublime existence beyond doubt. Both experience the same but prehend and describe differently. Both prehensions are in some form of relations i.e. tangled, thus all the religious problems. Their prehensions cause them to face each other, converse with each other and possibly oppose each other.

[7] This saying partly or in whole is attributed to Imam Ali May Allah Be Pleased With Him.

[8] ‘Union’ to mean to rejoin with the Beloved Creator and ‘Disunion’ means this life where we are separated from the Beloved.

© 2003-2002,  Dara Shayda