By MuslimAnswers.net Team
بِسْمِ اللَّـهِ الرَّحْمَـٰنِ الرَّحِيم
Recently we engaged a Hindu follower of the Advaita Vedanta theological school in a discussion, from which many of his beliefs were presented to us. Below is the presentation of such beliefs, along with our responses:
Hindu statement: It is to say everything has a divine spark in it.
Our response: For the Muslim, whether the Hindu says that the snake or the tree is “God”, or that the tree and the snake “have some divinity or a spark of divinity in them” it is pretty much the same; both are unacceptable and wrong. Thus these two are basically the same statement as far as attributing divinity to that which does not possess it, and attributing to Allah those things which should not be attributed to Him.
Hindu statement: I think I should have been more specific in explaining the ‘divine spark’. But since we were not discussing metaphysics, I did not elaborate upon that. When I say divine spark, I actually meant the Primordial Consciousness being the same in every being – by its existence as One Consciousness – and not as the soul being God.
Our response: Even in this case, we would have to say that this is also a type of concept completely outside of the Islamic truth and unacceptable. However, if one wants to contest this, then one would have to define what “Consciousness” is so that there is no misunderstanding.
Hindu statement: By Consciousness I mean the entity that infers the state of the mind and body as well, by knowing that it exists. It is not the mind/soul itself. But that which exists beneath and exists everywhere as an immanent and transcendent (it is the subject as well as the object).
Our response: Based on what has been said above, “consciousness” is the entity which exists both within us and in fact exists everywhere in the Universe, and yet is an entity that exists beyond the Universe. This would lead to a large number of obvious contradictory positions which no one should be willing to entertain.
If someone asks, “What are these contradictions?” we say:
One of the main contradictions is positing that this entity exists with its Essence within the Universe yet is independent of it. If someone says an entity exists within the confines of the Universe, then that entity is definitely not independent of the Universe. Even if it is said that this entity exists in a dimension of the Universe other than what we can perceive, still this would be a bounded dimension, and all the characteristics of bounded bodies would be applicable to this Entity within this other dimension.
Hindu statement concerning the above: Consciousness is an abstract entity and therefore dimensionless. When we talk of something dimensionless, then there is no need for inquiring its limitations in the dimension bound world.
Our response: One needs to understand that “consciousness” or “awareness” does not arise save with knowledge. So when someone says that there exists a “perfect consciousness” or a “limitless consciousness” permeating in the Universe, one would have to realize this means they are pointing to limitless knowledge. This is something impossible to be achieved, since the Universe as a whole and its constituent parts are by definition bounded.
Another thing is that the understanding above would mean that this limitless knowledge would have to be ingrained within every entity of the Universe since the very beginning of its inception and that anything else would be impossible. However, we know as a fact that such is not the case nor can it ever be the case, since knowledge within the Universe and the Universe itself are constantly changing.
Hindu statement: To give you an example of how this works in the dimension-bound space-time universe, think of a pot which is empty. The space inside the pot is the same as the space outside the pot, which is again same as the space being cut through by the walls of the pot. We cannot say, the pot is confining the space inside it or the walls of the pot have displaced the space they have occupied. As a matter of fact, the walls of the pot are made of molecules, which in turn are made of atoms, which are mostly space, except at the core. As for the core and the electrons, they are made of energy packets and ultimately no matter, but only energy in space. Thereby all are space. The pot exists. It confines none. The space becomes ultimate.
Our response: If the above were correct, it would mean that there is nothing other than the “pot-void” (that space in which the pot does not exist), whereas we have accepted the existence of the pot. But we know that the atoms of the pot have some characteristics, and the atoms of the “pot-void” have some other characteristics, which is the reason why we can differentiate between something called a pot and everything else. Even if we were to call this “energy in space” (which we doubt is really a correct definition, but this can be expounded later on), we would have to concede that it is a quantity or entity other than “space” itself, for otherwise there would be absolutely no objects whatsoever existing in space, and everything would be totally devoid of objects.
Hindu statement: Consciousness by Vedantic definition is what that makes you aware and NOT what you are aware of. The Consciousness enables inference and is not what is being inferred. What is being inferred should be termed wisdom and whether wisdom is limitless or not is a different matter.
Our response: If we go by this definition then we go back to the problem of positing a borderless and limitless entity/being actually existing within the confines of the human being.
Now, it does not matter if we disagree about how many dimensions the human being resides in, whether it is 3, 4, or a million. The issue is that it is being said that there exists an entity within the human being that is actually dimensionless, which is a clear contradiction to the fact that human beings are bound and limited. If this was not the case, then one human being could never be differentiated from another human being, and all of them would be in reality one being, indistinguishable from each other.
It is something like trying to say on the one hand that on the number line there is a finite quantity of discrete integer values between finite numbers “a” and “b”, but on the other hand there is an infinite quantity of such values between numbers “a” and “b”. We know that one of the two propositions has to be wrong even if we are unaware of what number “a” and number “b” actually are.
If it is said that ‘Pure Consciousness’ is something abstract and therefore dimensionless, we can also say that even abstract things have dimensions if they are to exist in the real Universe. Thus a “human” is an abstract concept, but it is not borderless, since we can identify what is a “human” and what is not a human. To say that it is borderless would imply that there is no way to differentiate between a “human” and a “chair”, or between a “human” and a “tree”, etc.
Even if we say that “Infinity” is a borderless abstract concept, then in this case we say that it has no true application in the real Universe, and basically does not exist within the human, nor within the Universe. Thus, if someone were to tell us to count all the numbers up to infinity and really reach infinity (not just by drawing its symbol or an arrow, but in the sense of really reaching it), this would be an impossible task, even if we were to gather every single human being to do it until they all died, followed by all the generations that are yet to be born. Even within the human being, it is impossible to say that his body is composed of an infinite amount of particles/atoms, and such an idea has neither application nor manifestation in the real bounded world.
Hindu statement: So before the Universe was formed, if there was nothing else, the Pure Consciousness was there which became aware there was nothing but itself. When the Universe was formed (some of us believe in Multiverses), the Consciousness became aware of what was being created by It. And if it obliterates them, It will know what doesn’t exist anymore. Hence Consciousness is ABLE to know everything whenever they are created or destroyed. It is not a repository of facts and need not be quantified.
Our response: We would like to ask then:
1. At which moment, before the Universe was formed, did ‘Pure Consciousness’ become aware that there was nothing save itself?
2. If we follow the single Universe model, when did it become aware that the Universe had been formed by it?
3. Also, did the ‘Pure Consciousness’ have an express Will to create the Universe, or did it happen inadvertently?
Hindu statement answering the above: We do not know. We like to believe It knew that always. Just as Judeo-Abrahamic traditions believe God knew His existence always. Hindus too don’t believe that God plays dice. Creation was not inadvertent.
Our response: It is being said that it is possible for ‘Pure Consciousness’ to know something after its occurrence, which means that complete and total knowledge of everything independent of time is a mere possibility and not a certainty for the Divine Being, which is an enormous flaw to attribute to God. But we know from the sound mind that this (the fact that the knowledge of the Divine Being is independent of time) is not a possibility but a certainty with respect to the Divine Being, since that whose knowledge is determined by time and events is bounded by the creation, and that which is bounded by the creation is not the Creator.
With respect to the Judeo-Abrahamic traditions, Christianity and Judaism have their own flaws with respect to their concept of God, in that they believe that He has limitations in one way or the other.
Hindu statement: As to the question of limitless knowledge/wisdom, whatever is being changed is a new set of knowledge and only adds up to what was history. So when the things are constantly changing it only adds up to what was there as knowledge in the past. So knowledge is limitless.
The fact that we did not have a consensus over Consciousness is old knowledge and the new fact that we now have a consensus over Consciousness is now (do we?) is new knowledge
Our response: According to this definition (if it was said that agreement has been reached over something that we had no agreement about before), this would mean that ‘Pure Consciousness’ cannot enable us to have all knowledge at once, in spite of the claim that it is borderless and dimensionless. This is because that which was not known before is known now, and new knowledge is added to old knowledge serially. A ‘perfect’ or ‘pure’ consciousness existing within us would enable inference of every thing that was, is, and will be known immediately without any need for knowledge to be added serially.
If it is said that the “human mind” (the creation of the “Pure Consciousness”) is the one disallowing us (the “Pure Consciousness” (i.e. God)), from achieving this infinite perfection of infinite knowledge, we say that this is an impossible proposition: In that case, the Divine Being would be able to create something that in reality holds Him back in some respect, even if it is for a very short time period. This is an intrinsically impossible thing to attribute to the Divine Being, as the being which can “create” something which bounds Him or holds Him back is not the true “Divine Being”. Part of the further conclusions from this proposition would be that this so-called “God’s” knowledge, will, power, etc. are merely possible, but are not absolutely necessary for this “god”. In this case also, we would know that the being they are referring to is not the true Divine Being, but something else. Thus, we would know that the human being is not in reality “God” (or Pure Consciousness as the Hindu calls it).
Our previous statement:
“If we go by this definition then we go back to the problem of positing a borderless and limitless entity/being actually existing within the confines of the human being.
Now, it does not matter if we disagree about how many dimensions the human being resides in, whether it is 3, 4, or a million. The issue is that it is being said that there exists an entity within the human being that is actually dimensionless, which is a clear contradiction to the fact that human beings are bound and limited.”
Hindu statement: I think this is where I brought in the pot-space analogy. The Consciousness does not reside inside a human, as much as the space does not reside in the pot.
Our response: This analogy will be flawed then, since the reason why “space does not reside in the pot” is because the “pot-void” is displaced by the body of the pot. So in the case above, something existing with 3 dimensions is displacing something else which exists within 3 dimensions. This is one of the inescapable characteristics of objects within the three dimensions, in that they need to displace the “object-void” space in order for them to be recognizable.
Hindu statement: The Consciousness exists everywhere – hence the Hindu concept of omnipresence. We cannot say that the universe is limiting something within which it resides. Does pot contains the space or the space contains the pot?
Our response: If it is said that “Consciousness does not reside inside a human”, then saying “Consciousness exists everywhere” is incorrect, since a human is a being that is part of the “everywhere” we are talking about.
Hindu statement: The universe in its entirety has dimensional limitations, imposed by space. Out of the Universe we do not know how the space exists or if it exists. Consciousness exists nevertheless. Just as it exists out of the Universe without the question of spatial limitations, it exists inside the Universe without the need for spatial limitations.
Our response: The quote “it exists inside the Universe without the need for spatial limitations” is the problematic phrase, since anything that exists inside the Universe has spatial limitations. If one says that the Divine Being exists “inside the Universe” then automatically they are attributing spatial limitations to the Divine Being. It is very straightforward, since the definition of that which is “inside the Universe” incorporates within it the dimension of space. In the same way that if someone were to say “The set of even numbers incorporates within it all numbers divisible by 6”, then “inside the Universe” incorporates within it the dimension of space for everything that is said to exist inside it. If someone were to deny that any of the numbers divisible by 6 is even, we would say he is denying an obvious thing.
Hindu statement: I have been emphasizing time and again that Consciousness does not need a substrate on which it needs to exist. To say that, will imply limitations on Consciousness and essentially mean God is bound.
Our response: If one sṣays on the one hand that Consciousness does not need a substrate on which it needs to exist, but then they say that Consciousness in its Essence (i.e. Consciousness itself) does exist “inside the Universe”, they are saying that its independence from this substrate is a merely possible attribute of “Consciousness”.
Hindu statement: Only when we bring in a substrate we face the problems of limitations. Only when we say, every individual human has individual Consciousness in him we see it to be limited. Just as saying among ten pots, the space inside each pot is its own and cannot be part of the entire space.
Our response: The fact that the humans are different and they have different consciousness is something that is quite obvious. To say that there is a way for humans to become one with Consciousness after the limitations are broken means that Consciousness itself allows for additions to be made to it, meaning that it can become “more perfect” depending on the “enlightenment” any given human may be able to achieve. And this is in contradiction to the fact that the Divine Being is already perfect and nothing can add to its perfection, nor is it possible for “more perfection” to be attributed to it.
With respect to the ten pots analogy, if we picture these pots filling up the “pot-void” space we would know that space (or let us say the molecules that fill up the “pot-void” space) has indeed been displaced by the existence of these pots, since otherwise the pots would not even exist and we would see nothing but “pot-void” space. And this is where the analogy breaks down, since there is a portion of space occupied by the pots, and a portion of it occupied by the “pot-void”.
Our previous statement:
“If this was not the case, then one human being could never be differentiated from another human being, and all of them would be in reality one being, indistinguishable from each other.”
Hindu statement: Another Hindu concept which I would like to remind you of is the Oneness of Consciousness. That Consciousness is the same for every person and being, because there is only one Consciousness.
Our response: The only manner in which the above can be acceptable is if it said that the Divine Being creates our thoughts and that this Creator is different from the created, so that for every person and being, their thoughts and actions originate from the same Creator.
Hindu statement: The humans as you say are bound and limited. But from what? Vedanta says, the human mind is restrained by ignorance (Avidya) from realizing the Oneness of Consciousness, as the body is limited by space. This ignorance is actually the inability of the mind to see Consciousness as One and eternal and itself being fragile and mortal. The human mind itself is operated by Consciousness. The mind has its own limitations, but not the operating Consciousness.
Our response: If the human is bound and limited, then it cannot ever achieve this realization. And the fact is that no matter what happens, the human will always have something or the other it does not know, or it remembered and then forgot. This is the characteristic of the human being- which is not bad in and of itself- but it should be noted down when someone tries to say that the human can achieve a state of real unlimitedness.
If it is said that the human mind can somehow achieve this realization after a set of meditations or rituals (or anything, but it can reach this realization somehow and free the mind and body from itself and become a “Pure Self” or “Pure Consciousness”) then it is being said that the actual finite becomes an actual infinite, which brings up a host of logical contradictions in its own right.
If it is said that we are wrong in claiming that the human “mind” is the one that achieves this realization, but it is rather the human “Self” (i.e. the “Pure Consciousness”) who comes to know about this once the mind is “eliminated”, we say that if the human “Self” were really God (“Pure Consciousness”) there would be no need for this temporary phase where the “Self” is relegated to the background, as all the perfect attributes of the Divine Being cannot be either demoted nor put to the side in any way. In fact, we would say that such a “relegation of God” is absolutely impossible even for an instant, as the Supreme Being is not to be attributed with flaws and weaknesses, such as the possibility of being relegated or put into the background until some conditions are met.
Our previous statement:
” ‘Pure Consciousness’ cannot enable us to have all knowledge at once, in spite of the claim that it is borderless and dimensionless. This is because that which was not known before is known now, and new knowledge is added to old knowledge serially. A ‘perfect’ or ‘pure’ consciousness existing within us would enable inference of every thing that was, is, and will be known immediately without any need for knowledge to be added serially.”
Hindu statement: Pure Consciousness can enable us. Mind has its limitations from knowing.
Our response: If the human being has limitations, then Pure Consciousness cannot enable it to know and reach that which is impossible for it to achieve. It is like telling someone to reach the real number that exists at infinity, a request which is logically incongruent.
Our previous statement:
“The only manner in which the above can be acceptable is if it said that the Divine Being creates our thoughts and that this Creator is different from the created, so that for every person and being, their thoughts and actions originate from the same Creator.”
Hindu statement: Mind is the originator of thoughts. The Consciousness is an operator. If there are 5 kaleidoscopes and I rotate all of them, do all of them produce the same patterns? If one of the kaleidoscope produces a beautiful image and another produces something sub-par, do I assume responsibility for the success and failure?
Our response: In here we are discussing about how an object such as a mirror reflects light; the shapes will obviously be different since the mirrors and the photons are all different entities in each case, so there is always a possibility of some difference in the mirror, etc., to be present in each case.
In here what the Hindu is trying to say is that the “light from the Sun” is one (just as the Consciousness is one according to his ideology) but the kaleidoscopes are different (just as the human minds are different). So he is trying to say that in the same way that the kaleidoscopes give different patterns from the same sunlight, then it is possible for the human mind to have different thoughts even though the Consciousness is one.
The problem with this train of thought is that the “sunlight” is not “one” but is a collection of particles that is interacting with the kaleidoscope in different ways based on the fact that such rays can be manipulated. We conventionally call the rays coming from the sun “Sunlight” but it does not mean each particle is exactly the same as the next particle.
Our previous statement:
“because the “pot-void” is displaced by the body of the pot. So in the case above, something existing with 3 dimensions is displacing something else which exists within 3 dimensions. This is one of the inescapable characteristics of objects within the three dimensions, in that they need to displace the “object-void” space in order for them to be recognizable.”
Hindu statement: Have I displaced the space that I am occupying now? Has the displaced space displaced further space which in turn causes a chain reaction which has effectively stopped me from touching my laptop, since the series of displaced spaces by my arm movements have been keeping on moving the laptop away? Or have they traveled around the objects I see and are actually pushing out the walls of the Universe?
Our response: The displacing being referred to is with respect to identifying that whenever there is an object “A”, it has a certain width, length, and height, or let us say some dimensions in three-dimensional space. Thus if we consider the totality of space, we would have total space= “A” + “A-void”. Whether this “A-void” contains objects such as B, C, D,… is immaterial for our discussion. What we are dealing with then is not a continuous chain of displacement described as an action, but just making the observation that any point in space does not contain both object “A” and its antithesis, the “A-void”.
Our previous statement:
“If it is said that “Consciousness does not reside inside a human”, then saying “Consciousness exists everywhere” is incorrect, since a human is a being that is part of the “everywhere” we are talking about.”
Hindu statement: Consciousness does not reside exclusively inside a human, but is present everywhere.
Our response: It is said that it resides everywhere. All I wanted to know was whether “consciousness resides inside the human” is correct or not according to the other side’s understanding. Since you have mentioned that it is not exclusive to humans, then this means it does reside in the human plus in everything else. That is all I wanted to know, since the previous statement in this respect had cast doubt upon this position of yours.
Hindu statement: Mind is the originator of thoughts.
Our response: I would like to be clear on one point: Is it being said that the mind actually creates and originates our thoughts, or is “Pure Consciousness” the one who creates and originates them?
Our previous statement:
“To say that there is a way for humans to become one with Consciousness after the limitations are broken means that Consciousness itself allows for additions to be made to it, meaning that it can become “more perfect” depending on the “enlightenment” any given human may be able to achieve.”
Hindu statement: The Consciousness exists always. It is the human mind that does not realise [sic] the Oneness of Consciousness. When there is the realization, the mind becomes non-existent (by the grace of the Pure Consciousness Itself) and Pure Consciousness takes over. So there is no addition/deletion. Simple as that.
Our response: It is then being said that within one entity there exist both “absolutely necessary” and “merely possible” characteristics. Whether the limitation is temporary or eternal, whether it can be removed or not is immaterial, since the contradiction does exist, even if it is for a limited amount of time. So this is one of the main matters we need to highlight in this respect.
Our previous statement:
“The displacing being referred to is with respect to identifying that whenever there is an object “A”, it has a certain width, length, and height, or let us say some dimensions in 3-D space. Thus if we consider the totality of space, we would have total space= “A” + “A-void”. Whether this “A-void” contains objects such as B, C, D,… is immaterial for our discussion. What we are dealing with then is not a continuous chain of displacement described as an action, but just making the observation that any point in space does not contain both object “A” and its antiothesis, the “A-void”.”
Hindu statement: the antithesis of A is not A-void. If there exists a proton in a space, is the space occupied (or in your words “displaced”) by the proton it’s antithesis or, is it the proton’s antimatter, antiproton it’s antithesis?
Our response: If there is an object “A” in space we are able to tell that object “A” apart from things that are “not A”. We would not call it antimatter, but everything that is “not A”.
Our previous statement:
“It is then being said that within one entity there exist both “absolutely necessary” and “merely possible” characteristics . Whether the limitation is temporary or eternal, whether it can be removed or not is immaterial, since the contradiction does exist, even if it is for a limited amount of time.”
Hindu statement: Again, I must remind you that, the Consciousness does not exist within the mind or the body, if those are what you mean by the entity. The mind is veiled by the ignorance created by the Consciousness like an illusionist’s illusion deceiving the audience.
Our response: It is being said that the Consciousness resides within the human. Since it is being said that it does not exist within the mind nor the body, you are saying that the human is composed of these three parts (mind, body, consciousness). This means that according to you, “pure consciousness” -which has “absolutely necessary” characteristic- subsists within one entity (the human being) with the mind and body- which have “merely possible” traits.
As was said before, whether the “merely possible” characteristics of the mind are due to veils of ignorance or something else is irrelevant, since the combining of contradictions within one entity is still being presented as truth.
Our previous statement:
“I would like to be clear on one point: Is it being said that the mind actually creates and originates our thoughts, or is “Pure Consciousness” the one who creates and originates them?”
Hindu statement: Before I answer this, I need to know your definition of Mind and Consciousness.
Our response: Here we are discussing who is the originator and creator of our thoughts. For the Muslims, the mind and the consciousness which reside in the human are both creations of Allah. The physical place where our thoughts come to fruition, our thoughts themselves and our ability to reach enlightenment and realization are all created by Allah, but they are other than Him. Allah does not subsist nor reside in any of the creation.
Hindu statement: Brahman’s creation theory in Advaita is more akin to the illusion of an illusionist. The Maya is an instrument that causes the illusion, which is the space and time and our existence. That is not to say, we do not exist. We exist as much as the audience of the illusionist. But what is real to us, is only an illusion of It’s own doing to Brahman.
Our response: It is true that the creation does not restrict its creator. But this is because the creation and creator do not have any points of convergence at all. The Creator is absolutely distinct from the creation.
With respect to illusions, one has to remember that space, time, and the dimensions of the Universe are indeed true and real. They do not affect the Creator as He is beyond change, but to say that everything is an illusion means that reality (which I believe you would say is pure consciousness) can never ever be achieved by the human, since that which exists in an illusion and is an illusion itself can never reach any truth whatsoever.
And in such a case the “creation theories of Brahman” could never be ascertained with any certainty, since we would be illusions and could never know whether what is being told to us about such creation theories is true or is simply another illusion.
Not only this, but even the most obvious of statements such as “5+5=10″ could never be said to be true nor false, since they may be statements of reality or simply statements of falsehood under the guise of truth.
Our previous statement:
“It is being said by you that the Consciousness resides within the human. Since you are saying that it does not exist within the mind nor the body, you are saying that the human is composed of these three parts (mind, body, consciousness). This means that according to you, “pure consciousness” -which has “absolutely necessary” characteristic- subsists within one entity (the human being) with the mind and body- which have “merely possible” traits.”
Hindu statement: If I had said, every human has an individual consciousness, then your contention is right. But I said that Consciousness is single and omnipresent (not in the dimensional sense of space, for It creates the space) and It causes the Space,Time and Mind, which are illusions to Itself, but real to a human.
The mind thinks that it is the human. But then the mind itself is a volatile matter. I can know if my body is obese or slim. I also know if my mind is tranquil or turbulent. So who is this I? If it is my mind then how come it identifies the mind’s state? We term this Consciousness. The awareness beyond the mind which in reality senses the state of the body/mind. Yet the mind believes it is the real person. While the mind along with the body is what that makes humans different, in reality, the Consciousness is universal and to It the mind confined by ignorance and the body confined by space are Its own doings, just as the ignorance(Maya) and space themselves.
Our response: It could be said that one part of the mind is responsible for forming ideas about the ‘I’ so that it gives rise to statements such as “my mind is tranquil” or the like. Sometimes the ‘I’ may be wrong as well, such as when it thinks that an amputated limb is still part of the body, or if it fails to recognize that a body part indeed belongs to itself. Granted these are rare conditions and diseases, but they are documented and do exist. For this discussion, there is no reason to deny that something other than the mind can know the state of the mind, but the problem arises when it is said that this “something else” is the “Divine Self”.
Now, it was understood that the consciousness being referred to was a “single divine source” and not “individual consciousness”, which is why the objection came up in the first place. So as was said before, if the human is in reality consciousness, then he would be aware and knowing of all there is to be aware and knowing of, since spatial limitations or “illusions” are inapplicable to him (since this is what he is in reality and “illusions” cannot overcome reality, in the same way that writing 2+2=6 a million times will not change the fact that it is wrong).
Off course, the meaning of “illusions” also has to be carefully considered. Does it mean a type of intrinsically impossible statement (such as 2+2=6) or is it like a dream, which is real but confined within certain parameters?
If it is the first then it can never exist in any cases since such an “illusion” has no possibility of having an external manifestation. If it is like dreams, then we cannot call it an illusion, but it is rather a reality which exists just like other realities, but is confined within certain parameters. Note that even in a dream, if you have 2 apples plus 2 more apples you will never have 6 apples but they will always add up to 4, so dreams will at most be an expression of strange things (such things are still possible though improbable), but even dreams are within the rules of reality.
Our previous statement:
“The physical place where our thoughts come to fruition, our thoughts themselves and our ability to reach enlightenment and realization are all created by Allah, but they are other than Him.”
Hindu statement: Does Allah have consciousness? Does Allah have thoughts?
Our response: Allah the Exalted is the one with the best of abilities and awareness. His “thoughts” are unlike our thoughts since His Knowledge is not increased nor decreased, so he does not “think” serially in the way we would.
But it would be incorrect to say that the Attributes of Allah, His Knowledge or His Power or any other one of His Attributes subsists in anything other than His Being, since joining of a perfect attribute such as being All-Knowing is impossible with an entity that is limited such as the human or any other creature from among the Creation. So Allah’s perfect attributes do not exist in anything other than Himself.
Also, it is incorrect to deny one or some of Allah’s Attributes, such as to acknowledge that He has a Will but be hesitant to accept His Power as being perfect, or to say that His Knowledge is perfect but doubt that He has Life.
Hindu statement: If there are no points of convergence, how did the space-less void accommodate the newly created Universe in it?
I do not contend that the dimensions are unreal. But they are only as real as we are. To the Primordial Consciousness, what is real and what is not real is out of our cognizance. We believe, to It there is no other Reality but Itself.
Our response: There was Allah and nothing else. Allah created the Universe and all of its dimensions. There was no issue of a void needing to “accommodate” a Universe. So the Universe, Space, Time, and any other dimensions are creations, and they are totally distinct from the Creator.
When it is said “To the Primordial Consciousness, what is real and what is not real is out of our cognizance.” we come back to the question of whether what “Consciousness” creates is merely possible or intrinsically impossible. We also come back to the problem that if the human is in reality this consciousness, then saying that such knowledge is out of our cognizance is contradictory, since the human should very well be able to immediately known about this. Saying that there is a barrier for this knowledge to be attained by ‘us’ due to illusions or ignorance is incorrect, since if a Being can cause Himself to be ignorant, then His knowledge is not necessary but only merely possible, and He was never “All-Knowing” to begin with.
Our previous statement:
“They do not affect the Creator as He is beyond change, but to say that everything is an illusion means that reality (which I believe you would say is pure consciousness) can never ever be achieved by the human, since that which exists in an illusion and is an illusion itself can never reach any truth whatsoever.
And in such a case the “creation theories of Brahman” could never be ascertained with any certainty, since we would be illusions and could never know whether what is being told to us about such creation theories is true or is simply another illusion.”
Hindu statement: But that would require a clear explanation of who is a human? Is it the mind that thinks it is the person or is it the Consciousness that is aware of the existence of the mind and body, but silently feeds the awareness to the mind and deludes itself (mind) into thinking it is the person?
Our response: Here we come back to the problem of presenting an entity who is joining within himself mutually exclusive characteristics. Because it is being said that the Consciousness is the human, but yet the Consciousness deludes “Itself” (or the mind aspect of itself) into believing something other than the truth.
Hindu statement: A human, or for that matter any living being, in reality is the Consciousness. But the human mind thinks it is the human and hence the Consciousness takes the backstage. This does not mean that the Consciousness is being superseded by the mind. The Consciousness creates the mind and the ignorance to prevent the mind from realizing the truth. Thus, in the “real” world (actually material world), the mind thinks it is the human, but when the mind is obliterated, the Consciousness takes control. It is not a question of what the human is capable of since “the human in reality is consciousness”. It is actually about, what the definition of human is, in the material world, which is actually the mind’s turf. So as long as the mind is in control, the human is his mind and not the Consciousness. Then again, we also say that the mind is transient and volatile and belongs only to the material world, thereby reconciling seemingly contradictory statements.
Our response: If we want to go by the definition of what a human being is, then according to what has been presented by the opponent, we would have to say that he in reality is the Consciousness. When we say this, it means that anything other than this, any “illusion” or whatever it may be called, (basically anything created) cannot be in control of the Creator, for otherwise an impossible proposition is brought up, the created and the Creator are made equal, and the Creator can be limited by his own creation, even if this limitation is temporary or transient.
With respect to saying that the human being is his mind in one sphere or “turf”, and that he is the “Pure Consciousness” in another realm when the mind is eliminated, we would be forced to say that “what the human is capable of” is a very relevant question, since when it is claimed that he is “Primordial Consciousness (God)” there are certain attributes and qualities that are intrinsically associated with Divinity, and they cannot be masked in any realm, dimension, or “turf” whatsoever.
Also, the ideology presented by the Hindu would imply that the Supreme Being can delude Himself. This is the height of incongruence, because that which can delude Himself needs different constituent parts, one that knows what the truth actually is, and another one that is capable of being fooled. In such a case, we would know that the part capable of being fooled is not the “Divine Being” at all, since imperfections in knowledge cannot be attributed to the Divine Being. If it is said that what is being fooled is the “creation” not the “Creator”, we say that they have excluded this line of argumentation when they said that the human and everything in the Universe is in “reality the Pure Consciousness”. So why can they not say this? Because (according to them) the fact that the delusion is taking place is true, but they are also saying that this delusion does not affect the human, which we know is against everything else they have brought up to this point in the discussion.
Moreover, for delusion to take place there has to be an original cause other than the deluded one making this illusion come into effect, since the exact parameters wherein this delusion will come into effect have to be specified. Thus, whatever is composed of parts has to be created and specified by something other than itself, thus proving that the human cannot be the “Pure Consciousness” (i.e. the Divine Being).
Hindu statement: The meaning of illusions is not in the same context as an illusion in the material world. Your question stems from your expectation that Primordial Consciousness(God) has to perceive the “reality” in the same way as you and I and everyone else does, while you are simply ignoring the fact that, it is this same God that creates this reality(material world) and the minds (us beings) and our bodies. So what is real to our perception need not exist in the same way to God’s Reality. It does not mean 2+2 has to be 4 to God too. It also does not mean that 2+2 can be 6. It simply means 2s and 6s do not carry any weight in God’s Reality.
Our response: If the above statement were correct, we would be forced to say that there can never be a realization of enlightenment, since there is no standard of real truth against which we can judge any statement at all. If we say that “2s and 6s do not carry any weight in God’s Reality” this means that a true proposition and a false one are the same for God, and the Universe could have been created falsely in the same way it could have been created by truth. If we cannot say that the pious man and the evil one are the same for God (and this is the extension of saying “It does not mean 2+2 has to be 4 to God too”), then there is no use for any message or religion to be sent and revealed for humanity, since at the end there is no certainty that God will judge the believers and the disbelievers differently. As an extension of this, there would be no surety even that what has been certified by God to be true is actually true, or whether it is a falsehood we have been tricked into believing to be true.
Additionally, there would be no way to know whether a person trying to reach enlightenment has indeed achieved enlightenment and realization or not, if it cannot be known whether what they have achieved is true realization or a figment of the mind’s veil of ignorance.
Hindu statement: If there is nothing else outside of this Universe, other than Allah and that the Universe does not converge with Allah, then Universe has to be finite (which is scientifically acceptable too. that the Universe has a definite boundary that is growing). So out of this shall we say, we have space? If this space is finite, what exists out of it? I believe you’d say Allah alone. So is Allah infinitely present out of this space, but still restricted by this space he created? Where was this space accommodated needs to be discussed upon, because there cannot be a space outside space. If there was nothing else but Allah, then this space has to converge with Allah. But then again, please answer, is Allah a Supernatural Being?
Our response: We do not say that Allah exists inside the Universe nor do we say that Allah exists outside of the Universe, because both of them carry the connotation that Allah is bounded by something He has created, or it would mean that “space” is also a Divine Being, both of which are incorrect. The directions, locations, and dimensions, do not apply to Him whatsoever, since it is impossible to attribute any of the created characteristics to Him such as space, time, or any other dimension that may be discovered in the future. So for the question above, the correct thing to say is that Allah is the Necessary Being who exists without a location.
Hindu statement: I understand the Islamic view on Consciousness and how Allah’s Consciousness is different from ours. But for the time being, let us confine ourselves to the discussion of Allah having Consciousness alone and not delve into the subsistence of the Consciousness or its lack thereof.
Please answer this question, although it might seem unrelated. What makes a person? Is it his body or is it his thoughts and awareness? Can a person in coma, be considered a person?
Our response: With respect to the question of what makes a person, it is a combination of created things. Sometimes some of these created things may be missing from human to human (like for example the one who does not have a hand or a leg), sometimes they may be detached or incomplete (such as when the created soul of the human is detached from the body). Whether the person is still a person when something of him is missing or not, we will say that in all cases the human is a created being and all of his parts are created. His thoughts, his body, his awareness are all created. When he is in a coma and his different parts are in a state other than what he is normally in, these are still all created.
The discussion was discontinued at this point. However, we will hopefully have more comments on the issues that were touched upon in this discussion in future works, since the incorrect aspects of the Hindu belief system need to be made known to all. Finally, we pray that Allah may guide all those who are sincerely looking for the truth to the light of Islam, and that He may keep all of the Muslims on the right path.
 We do know that there are different strands of Hinduism and each one has different beliefs than the other ones, but it is our job to refute the wrong notions based on how they are presented to us. However, it must be noted that the Advaita school is currently the largest philosophical school of Hinduism, and no person can realistically tackle this religion without considering this school.
 A part of the responses (in this article the discussion/responses may be modified or rearranged at times) are available at the link: http://www.sunniforum.com/forum/showthread.php?63059-A-Hindu-s-Question.
Other parts have been added by us depending on the appropriateness of the situation and a second reading of this discussion. These are mostly in the footnotes following the main text of the exchanges.
 This is said because the first objection from part of the Hindu was that the well-known propagator Dr. Zakir Naik had made a serious mistake in attributing pantheism as being the Hindu belief, while the true belief of the Hindu is monistic.
 We can rephrase the objection in another way by saying that if subject and object are ontologically equal, and “Pure Consciousness” is perfect awareness of all that exists, it is impossible that we as human beings could ever be ignorant of any thing whatsoever, since this “Divine Spark” or “Pure Consciousness” would immediately provide us with infallible and total knowledge about every single thing in the Universe- and beyond. However, we know this to be false, and therefore the claims concerning “Pure Consciousness” are in error.
 Even if we were to (erroneously) suppose that the Universe is eternal, this condition would still have to be met, while we know that such comprehensive “limitless knowledge” does not exist within any entity in the Universe.
If someone were to say that they are referring to “knowing” and “inferring” while we are talking about “knowledge” (which by necessity is confined and limited while we are in the Universe), then we say that the supposed permeation of “Consciousness” beneath the Universe and everywhere within the Universe would have never allowed any false information to have been held by us – since this “Consciousness” would have had qualities that when joined to those who necessarily possess it would have led to necessary knowledge without the chance for any ignorance or weakness in knowledge.
Whichever way one wishes to look at it, the substitution of the verb “knowing” to the object(s) pointed by this knowing does not really affect the reality of our argument.
 We have to admit that our response above went on a tangent when compared to the original statement of the Hindu, even though the point is relevant.
However, closer to the issue at hand, what is happening is that there is a shift in the Hindu’s statements between “Consciousness” basically having a “personal existence” (i.e. its existence as a “Being”) and its existence as an abstract concept. As we will see throughout this discussion, there are a number of times when there is a switching back and forth between these two positions, and we are forced to handle the matter as it is presented before us.
This lack of precision does bring up certain difficulties but hopefully, we can be reasonably certain that the “abstract concept” angle was being highlighted by the Hindu above. If such is the case, then we have to go back and wonder how it is said that there is a combination of an abstract concept (however perfect it may be) and concrete existents, without this concept subsisting as an attribute of the concrete existents. For example, if someone says that “Everything in the Universe is permeated by length”, this would not be a very useful statement until we consider “length” to be an attribute of the existents within the Universe.
 This is basically a rhetorical stratagem to try to illustrate that everything is literally the same as everything else. But our response is that while there is general similitude between the existents in the Universe, exact equality cannot be attributed to every single one of these existents.
We understand that this was meant to be taken as a general example, but we have to say that it is these types of rhetorical imprecisions or misdirections which lead to most of the wrong beliefs of our opponents.
 Of course, we know that between these two finite numbers there can only be a finite number of discrete integer values, but in here we are highlighting that we know this because we have eliminated with certainty the possibility of an “infinite number of discrete values”. If we had not eliminated this possibility before moving on to determine how many discrete integer values were present between these two numbers, we would be thoroughly confused about how to proceed to solve this problem.
 There was another tangent in our reply, but as before the implication from the Hindu side is that the “enabler of inference” is limitless. We had previously discussed this issue in footnote number 5, so there is no need to repeat this matter in here.
 By these questions, we wished for the Hindu and for everyone to realize that the thought of the Divine Being “becoming aware” of things and states at different points of its existence based on what it creates or destroys carries with it the meaning that the knowledge of the Divine Being (they call it “Primordial Consciousness”) being bounded, and that its knowledge would be comprised of adding information serially one after the other. This is of course a very incorrect idea to have about the Divine Being, and should be rejected by all people who think deeply about it with a sound mind.
 This is because the Hindu statement was that they do not know for sure when “Pure Consciousness” became aware of its having created the Universe, but they would like to believe this was a timeless knowledge/awareness.
 Perhaps it was better to have said that there is something other than the “pot-void” in existence, that other thing being the “body of the pot”. And concrete bodies cannot exist in a Universe where there is a literally absolute “body-void”, as we had mentioned above and in footnote #7.
 Because there is a possibility of it literally interacting directly with the Universe and whatever this implies of substrates and bound dimensions. Basically, if one says that a being they call “God” may or may not be bounded, then this being is under the influence of another being to make the decision of when it will or will not be bounded. This is the basis of every single theological disagreement Islam has with other religions in this respect.
 Thus, it is not a matter of “change the way you look at humans and their consciousness and the differences will disappear, as you will see the truth”, but the fact that these differences are ingrained within the make-up of what it means to be a human.
 If it is claimed that we are really already “One with Consciousness” but we need to discover this truth, then we come back to the contradiction between the claim of “Perfect Consciousness” subsisting in the person’s inner psyche versus the tangible ignorance we observe among humans in various ways.
 Refer to footnote #12 for a possible inaccuracy in our statement above.
 Moving straight to the point, what is being suggested by the Hindu (as per the statement above) is that “Consciousness” is an entity composed of parts, which is something that Islam vehemently denies can be attributed to the Divine Entity.
 The problem in this and similar statements arises because there is imprecision about whether the human is only the “Self” (i.e. Pure Consciousness) or whether his “mind” is also really connected to the “Self”. Of course, the two positions are mutually exclusive and irreconcilable with each other.
 The fact that sunlight is not one homogeneous entity is one aspect of the matter. Another is that the rays and the kaleidoscope both exist within space-time and their interaction (in order to produce images and so forth) is possible only due to this fact. This is obviously self-evident, but when brought up to supposedly substantiate “Consciousness-mind” interaction, such a flaw in the presentation of this analogy must be considered.
 We could be taken to task for using the word “resides”. If this raises objections, we could substitute this for “subsists with” or “exists with” the human.
 That is, literal, real, or ontologically qualitative convergence.
 Such as in Phantom limb cases, http://www.medterms.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=9111, accessed 1st of March 2013
 Such as in Alien Hand syndrome cases, http://www.medterms.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=12655, accessed 1st of March 2013
 Between Allah and His Creation.
 That is, ignorance posing as enlightenment.
 We actually agree that God’s “Perceiving” of something has definitely no similarity with the way that the Creation perceives things, but we disagree that “realities” or “truths” do not exist in this bounded world. They are definitely “bounded” or “temporal” realities, but they are true within those parameters set for them.
 This is in fact a more important matter to touch upon than what we had perceived at the time. What happens is that since a human is a composite of created parts, a few or many of these parts may be missing from any given human, yet he will be considered a “human”. That is why if a person loses some or many of his memories or even his ability to think properly (due to an accident, for example), he is still considered to be that person. The same goes if he loses one or more of his limbs.
But note that in both cases (the loss of body parts or the loss of thinking ability), the human in question is still identified as such. If the “human” was really “Perfect” or “Pure” “Consciousness”, the loss of even one thought or memory (let alone the loss of thinking ability or his awareness of things) would disqualify him from still being referred to as a human being, while we know that such an assertion is untrue.