Sujjawal Ahmad: The Idea of Monorealism



The idea of Monorealism implies that there is only a single Absolute Reality – everything else only a relative reality. This view implies that the Absolute Reality cannot be considered as a cause, while any reality other than God appears to be dependent on other realities, that is to say, they can never be termed as Absolute. This concept of the nature of the Ultimate Reality can be called mono-realism since it considers that there is only one Absolute Reality. It also differs from monotheism in that it considers the Ultimate Reality as an impersonal Reality void of any attributes. This Reality does not act in the world and cannot be said to possess those features that are typical of theism, such as intervening in the world or being pleased with certain human beings and angry with others.

During history of religion, concept of God has been expressed in different means and senses. One of the theologians in the Christian world of 13th century, Thomas Aquinas, for example, who attempted to synthesize Aristotelian philosophy with the principles of Christianity, has extended the idea of God as an Unknowable Reality. For him knowledge is proportional to the existence thing. But God is above all existence. Therefore, He is above knowledge;  In Chapter 1 of ‘On the Divine Names’, while referring Isaiah 40:18 ‘With whom, then, will you compare God? To what image will you liken him?‘, he concludes that God cannot be known by the human intellect. He considers God as a self-evident and self existing Reality that need not any demonstration to be proved.

Seemingly, like many philosophers of the Muslim world, he identifies God as the First Mover or what would Avicenna call Wajib ul Wajood (existence of which is necessary), the Cause of  all causes. According to this view, God holds position of a cause, instead of being an Independent Reality.

It is essential to note that Ismaili position on what is the First Cause is different from this demonstration. For Ismaili philosophers, this kind of notion no longer preserves the absolute transcendence of God. In Ismaili metaphysics, the Cause of all causes is His Divine Will, not God Himself. So God is a Reality that is independent of being cause of any existence, yet His Will encompasses every thing that exists.

There is another point where Aquinas’ demonstration would differ from Ismaili philosophy.  Since for him God is the ‘uncaused cause’ so He, from whom everything else is created, “contains within Himself the whole perfection of being”. For Ismaili thinkers, on the other hand, the whole perfection of being is in the first originated Being, called Universal Intellect.

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Sujjawal Ahmad holds a Masters degree in Molecular Biology from Quaid-i Azam University, Pakistan, where his work and research focused on targeted molecular therapeutics. He has a passion for philosophy, and has written several articles on classical philosophy and comparative religions.

Author: Sujjawal Ahmad

Sujjawal is an invited blog author at Ismailimail. In his professional life, with his true passion for molecular medicine, he has realized how efforts to make a positive impact at multiple scales, personal, local, and global, are all intertwined. Sujjawal finds it extremely exciting to develop a deep love of cultures around the world. The stories that are about humanity, emotion, that compel us as individuals, connect our hearts and minds are the kinds of stories Sujjawal has always gravitated to, and the kinds he tells. Reach out to him via email:

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