The Quran and countless enlightened scholars and saints, from Hadhrat Ali (ra) to Abdulqadir al-Jilani, Muhyiddin Ibn Arabi and the Perfect Man, Abdulkareem al-Jili, disclosed and proved the truth that the essence of existence is Allah and that nothing exists besides Allah.
In our present modern world, science teaches the importance of the unity underlying existence and the fact that existence is essentially a “unified field” as early as high school. This knowledge is no secret. The tendency to want to hide this as some super-secret stems from being stuck in an imaginary world of the past centuries.
However… there is a very important point to take heed of…
The fundamental laws of existence will never change. The common laws, regulations, the system and order that governs existence are not alterable. These laws that were in effect in the past, are still in effect today, and will continue to be in the future. Remember the verse:
You will not find an alteration in Our Sunnah.
Despite the fact that your being is the One in essence, your body cannot function optimally when you stop eating and drinking. Similarly, your after-life body will also be subject to certain laws to which you must comply.
If you don’t engage in the obligatory practices, commonly referred to as worship, no matter who you are and what your status is, you will inescapably be subject to the conditions of the domain of life that you go to.
As much as the internal aspect of the UNITY of existence is true and valid, so is the external aspect entailing the laws and regulations…!
No matter what degree you feel yourself to be at, just as you are living inside a body today, you will also continue your life after death with a body.
Just as water drowns and fire burns you in this world, so too in the hereafter they will have the same effect. This is unavoidable!
Just as the Rasul of Allah (saw) has warned us regarding the precautions we must take regarding the health of our body in this world, he has also made recommendations under the label “worship” as precautions for the life awaiting us after death.
And just like someone who claims to be the “ONE” but doesn’t take heed of these precautions was to be thrown into fire in this world, he will inevitably burn, in the same way he will helplessly burn and suffer in the fire of the hereafter. His knowledge will be of no avail to him!
As for the verse:
And serve your Rabb (engage in the practices of prayer and servitude to your Rabb – the Names comprising your essential reality – while your ego self still exists) until there comes to you the certainty (until you realize the inexistence of your ego self, which is the realization of the reality of death; the experience of the Wahid’ul Qahhar. After this certainty, servitude to one’s Rabb will continue as the natural outcome of this process).
It means continue to worship and perform the obligatory practices until you reach the state of “certainty” and the experience of the reality!
But it does not, in anyway suggest that you can abandon these practices once you reach certainty!
It simply means, one must continue to engage in these practices until they reach the state of certainty, and after that, they must continue to engage in these practices, not as the “person” but as one who has annihilated his ‘self’ i.e. as the manifestation of the acts of Allah taking place!
Enlightened beings in the past referred to this as “Ubudiyyah” (servitude).
In Sufism, there are two important concepts, fanabillah and baqabillah.
In the first, one reaches the essence of existence, in the second, he begins to observe existence from the point of that essence.
The first observation is “internal” observation (batin) and the latter is external (zahir).
Most Sufi aspirants can’t go further than this second observation. Thus, they remain in the first station of unity and become deprived of experiencing and giving the due of many, much higher states of reality. If they could move on to the next phase and realize that just as the inner realities are the One so are the external realities, their actions would be different.
Unity is a reality that is observed and experienced at the level of consciousness. Its external aspect manifests within the parameters of certain laws. Hence just as we are subject to certain laws of nature in regards to our bodily life we are also inevitably subject to the laws of the life after, and must therefore be prepared for it. Those who don’t perform the obligatory practices will inescapably suffer its consequence.