Below are my sketchy notes on wahdatul sifat (oneness of attributes) and wahdatul zat (oneness of essence) taken from a lecture given by a mu'aleem last weekend. Bismillah.
Each and every attribute that the creation has e.g. speaking, walking, sitting down etc. is drawn from the attributes of the Lord - this pertains to wahdatul sifat. Wahdatul zat means that you understand and believe in your heart that the essence of everything which your eyes fall upon, all go back to the One Essence of God. So if you found someone to be having attractive attributes e.g. good looking, intelligent, rich etc. you must not stop at appreciating or adoring him/her alone. You must be able to see in your mind and heart that his/her attributes and essence as originating from the One Essence of the Creator. He/she is merely a receptacle of God's attributes of beauty, intelligence and richness. If you understood this to be the correct attitude that you should have in regards to people's attributes and essence, you will not miss, love, fear or hope for anyone because you know it is not him/her who has all those attributes. Instead, you see the real source of the person's attributes and essence which is the Lord, so that, the person becomes transparent to you. Try to get rid of the aghyar from your heart and keep a right aqidah (religious stand) by seeing His attributes and essence only.
You must learn to have the right aqidah as the sufis and the ahlillah (People of Allah). If you truly understood this, you would not be bickering and arguing with people due to differences amongst you because you are able to recognize the real doer of all actions and the owner of all attributes. The attributes that the creations possess are borrowed (majazi). Their attributes (all attributes) belong with the Essence, whose name is Allah.
If you understood the oneness of actions (wahdatul af'al) it would be easy for you to understand the oneness of attributes (wahdatul sifat) and consequently, the oneness of essence (wahdatul zat). God's actions are related to His Attributes and accordingly His attributes are derived from His Essence. His essence is 'eternally eternal' (qadim azali).
You must strive hard so as not to be blinded by the beauty of the creations' attributes. You must nullify the essences of the creations completely until what is left in your witnessing and understanding is His Essence. This is tawhid (unity).
Know that the evidence (dalil) for wahdatul zat is:
Know that the evidence (dalil) for wahdatul zat is:
Qul Hu Allahu Ahad
"Say He is Allah, the One and Only." (Qur'an 112:1)
The evidence for wahdatul sifat is:
Wallahu kholaqakum wama taqmalun
"Allah created you and your deeds" (Qur'an 37:96)
Once you have a firm aqidah on this tawhid, your shariat will naturally be firm too. How will you know if your shariat is strong? There are some 165 sunnah practised by Rasulullah s.a.w. You must strive to do at least 40.
Additionally, there are 5 things you must do in order to get to the presence of the Lord.
1. Leave your wishes and attraction towards the world.
2. Leave all that your lower nafs desire.
3. Always be in remembrance of Allah in your heart and say it with your tongue.
4. Be quick in repenting (tawba) each and everytime you err.
5. Stop fantasizing. Forget the past and don't dwell on the future either, even on matters of the akhira, but just make full use of the present moment.
You should be amazed at how focused and determined the ahlillah are in walking towards the Lord. Allah loves you. He loves all of us but how can He grant you anything if your heart is full of dunya? He will not accept deeds that are motivated by your nafs. As imam of prayer you purposely recite with your best voice so that people would praise you. You must get rid of such nafs amarah bissu. Fight it. Do not succumb to it. Strive (mujahadah) and then leave the rest to Allah. But how do you fight this nafs? You can only combat it by becoming a salik and by performing your ibadah (religious duties). These are like 'armies of the Lord' that would help you battle with nafs amarah bissu. God's armies are the only force that could defeat God's enemies. Know that! And don't blame other people. Blame yourself for lacking in ibadah.
We all made that pledge in alam ruh when the Lord asked us Alastu birabbikum ("Am I not your Lord?"). We made a vow to Him that He was our first and only beloved. But when we come to this world, we forgot all about it. We 'marry' the world instead. You should know that a promise is a promise. We must fulfill our promise to Him. Our aim is to win His redha (mercy). If you got married to someone else (dunya), how can you ever go back to your first lover? You must keep sailing towards your goal even if your ship's mast is broken. He is your goal.
Kaifa? How could (you) enter the Lord's presence when you are not cleaned from janabah (impure state). Cleanse yourself zahir and bathin with continuous istighfar or else you will not be able to be steadfast (istiqamah) in your ibadah. Oh when will the believers fear Allah?
Learn tasawwuf, it will take you back to the Lord. It will train you to be obedient to your guru, obedient towards Rasulullah s.a.w and obedient towards Allah. This is tariqa. It is not about the amount of knowledge you amass but it is about the test of obediency. And you must be sincere. If you want to go back to loving Allah truthfully, you must be sincere. You must not have any other hidden motives. A wife may claim that she loves her husband sincerely and likewise a husband claims to love his wife - but deep down, they all have their own agenda in loving each other. Know that sincerity is a secret that lies with Allah. Only He knows!