Answered by Shaykh Abdurragmaan Khan
I was listening to one scholar’s lecture in which he said that the universe and all creation exist within Allah (Most High). He reasons that since Allah (Most High) is “La Mahdud”, it necessities that all existence is within him. For if the universe existed outside or separate from Allah (SWT), this would mean that He (Most High) is limited. Your clarification in the light of Islamic aqida would be greatly appreciated.
Thank you for your question.
He (scholar) is referring to the doctrine of the Oneness of being (Wahdat al-Wujud). This doctrine is not among those doctrines that are necessary for a believer to accept or reject. Rather, it is a discussion best avoided as it may lead to heresy or disbelief.
What I will suffice myself within this answer is a description of the beliefs of the majority of scholars. Mufti Taqi Usmani writes, “The majority of the ‘ulama have taken the view that the existence of possible entities and creatures is a real acquired existence, in the sense that Allah Most High is the One that created its existence. However, real existence is different from the existence of Allah Most High. Moreover, the existence and existent are both complete and separate. Real existence is divided into two types: the beginningless independent existence by Itself, and this existence belongs to none besides Allah Most High; and an acquired temporal existence, and this is a quality of all possible entities.”
He gave the example of a glass standing in the sun. The heat and warmth in the glass is an existence different from the existence of the heat and warmth of the sun. If the glass were to be removed from the sun, it would maintain its heat and warmth albeit for a short while. The existence of heat and warmth in the glass is a real acquired temporal existence.
And Allah knows best.
[Shaykh] Abdurragmaan Khan
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Shaykh Abdurragmaan Khan received ijaza ‘amma from various luminaries, including but not restricted to: Habib ‘Umar ibn Hafiz—a personality who affected him greatly and who has changed his relationship with Allah, Maulana Yusuf Karaan—the former Mufti of Cape Town; Habib ‘Ali al-Mashhur—the current Mufti of Tarim; Habib ‘Umar al-Jaylani—the Shafi‘i Mufti of Makkah; Sayyid Ahmad bin Abi Bakr al-Hibshi; Habib Kadhim as-Saqqaf; Shaykh Mahmud Sa’id Mamduh; Maulana Abdul Hafiz al-Makki; Shaykh Ala ad-Din al-Afghani; Maulana Fazlur Rahman al-Azami and Shaykh Yahya al-Gawthani amongst others.