Mujadid Alf Thani and Doctrine of Monism

Shaykh Ahmad Sirhandi (1564-1624) popularly known as Mujadid Alf Thani was an Indian Islamic scholar from Punjab and belonged to Naqshbandi Sufi order. He worked in rejuvenating Islam and opposing the heterodoxies prevalent in the time of Emperor Akbar.

The doctrine of monism had great influence upon the minds of people through Bhagti Movement in India. It was accepted by both the mystics and philosophers of that time and some mystics had declared the experience of monism as the summum bonum of their attainment.

Mujadid Alf Thani was the first who attained the experience of monism “Wahdat-ul-Wujud” in which he felt that he existed only in God and had no existence of his own. Then he advanced to a stage, where he felt that his existence was a shadow of the existence of God, separate from His existence, which is called ‘Zilliyat’.

He proceeded further in the development of his consciousness until he felt that his existence was different from the existence of God dependent upon God’s will for its being subservient to God, yet separate. This is state of ‘Ubudiyat’ of subservience to God in separate existence.

According to Mujadid Alf Thani, his first experience was the result of his ‘intoxication’ because of his love for God and his intense longing, he had been so submerged in emotion that he had come to feel that he was not separate from God. The monism was not a reality, it was only feeling and experience. So, he negated the concept of “Wahdat-ul-Wujud” and accepted “Wahdat-ul-Shuhud”.