It is commonly believed that Allah made Hazrat Adam’s body and then blew His Ruh/Soul in him; in other words, what is human soul is Allah’s ‘Ruh’. This concept serves as a corner stone on which whole edifice of ideology of ‘wahdatul wajood’ has been erected. In the succeeding lines we would analyze this concept in the light of Quran and Sunnah. First we would see what concept of human soul is reflected out of Quran and then we will analyze concept of human soul as transpired out of ‘ahadith’.
Allah has created everything in pairs. This reality has been described in Quran which states: “And of all things We created two mates; perhaps you will remember” (al-dhariat-49). “And He Who created pairs (azwaj) of all things, …………….” (al-zhkhruf-12).
From these verses, it is evident that Allah has created everything in pairs. (for details plz see my article “ Reality of Creation- existence in pairs”).
Human being exists in the form of a pair of body and soul. Quran states: “He created you from one soul. Then He appointed from it(soul) its mate/pair (al-zumar-6).
From this verse it is clear that human body is created from its soul, and then that body is appointed mate/pair of that soul. (it may be noted that man does have sexual pair but that is mentioned in other verses, not in this verse). In this verse, Allah is addressing whole mankind, and saying that every person of this mankind has been created out of a single ‘nafs/soul’; that single ‘nafs’ must not be taken as Hazrat Adam. The sequence of verse is that first Allah created us out of single ‘nafs’, and then made a pair/mate of that single ‘nafs’; if that single ‘nafs’ is Hazrat Adam, it would mean that first Allah created us out of Hazrat Adam and then made a pair/mate of him. It would means we have been created out of Hazrat Adam before his having a wife/mate. Therefore logically we can’t take the words ‘single nafs’ as referring to Hazrat Adam. Moreover, the addressee of this verse is whole mankind including Hazrat Adam; in other words, Allah is telling, in this verse, about the creation of whole mankind including Hazrat Adam, and Allah is saying everyone of mankind has been created out of a single ‘nafs’; that single ‘nafs’ is human soul. In this verse word ‘nafs’ has been used with meaning of ‘human soul’. In Quran, at other places too, this word ‘nafs’ has been used in the meaning of ‘human soul’. For instance sura al-naziat-40 states: “But as for he who feared the position of his Lord and prevented the soul (nafs) from [unlawful] inclination” (al-naziat-40).
Similarly sura qaf states: “And every soul (nafs) will come, with it a driver and a witness” (qaf-21). In this verse too, word ‘nafs’ means soul; the driver is human body through which soul acts obediently or disobediently, and in this way human body carries human soul to its destination/ station- good or bad station.
Similarly al-anam states: “And it is He who produced you from one soul (nafs) and [gave you] a place of dwelling and repository. We have detailed the signs for a people who understand” (al-anam-98).
The place of dwelling for soul, mentioned in this verse, is human body; and repository will be the final station of soul; in other words, soul rests in human body for doing deeds, and those deeds determine soul’s final destination.
From all these verses quoted above, it is clear that human being is created out of a single nafs; that ‘single nafs’ can’t be taken as Hazrat Adam; that ‘single nafs’ is human soul. (it does not mean that human beings have not been created out of Hazrat Adam; surely they have been, but that fact is mentioned in other Quranic verses, not in these verses quoted above).
In fact, every human body is created out of its soul and then is appointed mate/ pair of such soul. We can find example of this phenomenon in rays striking against screen and making picture on the screen; that picture is actually within the rays already. Just like picture on the screen, human body is created out of rays of human soul. Every human body is a true reflection of its soul; human body contains all the characteristics which are embedded in dormant form in its soul. The greater a human body actualizes these characteristics, the more it functions like a soul. Depending upon the level of actualization, a human body can be weightless like a soul; it can fly in the air like a soul (as our Aulia Allah do); it can travel with immeasurable speed like a soul; it can see beyond the limits of ordinary human sight as a soul can do; it can be so refined like soul that no shadow of it can be formed (Hazrat Muhammad’s (saw) body had no shadow). Human body always acts according to dictation of its soul; if the soul gives good direction, the human body acts in good way; if the soul gives bad direction, the human body acts accordingly. That is why when a human body expires, its soul is rewarded or punished according to human body’s actions. It is a misconception that soul always leads towards Allah; if it were so, why it should be punished for bad deeds of human body?
After death, but before Judgment Day, human soul is rewarded for certain good deeds or punished for some of his bad deeds done by it through the human body; this intervening time period includes reward or punishment of grave. When the Judgment Day would come, human body will be resurrected and its soul will be combined to it as it is combined in this worldly life. This fact is described in sura al-takveer-7 which states about Judgment Day: “And when the souls are paired”. In this verse too, word ‘nafoos’ means souls; this verse tells us about the union of souls with their respective bodies.
From the above discussion it is evident that human soul is a true reflection of human body; human being exists as a pair of human body and its soul. Everything done by human body is done on dictation of its soul; that is why human soul is rewarded or punished for the good or bad deeds done by the human body. In other words, the soul contained by a human body belongs to that human body; it is not Allah’s Soul.
The concept that soul contained by human body is Allah’s Soul is mainly based on sura hijr-29 which states:
"So, when I have fashioned him completely and breathed into him (Adam) the soul created (or owned) by me, then fall (you) down prostrating yourselves unto him." The same statement has been repeated in sura sad-72. In these verses, the word ‘ruhi’ is wrongly interpreted as Allah’s Soul/Spirit; in fact this word ‘ruhi’ means the soul which was created and owned by Allah. This fact is further proven by sura al-sajda-9 which states: “ Then He fashioned him (Adam) in due proportion, and breathed into him his soul and He gave you hearing (ears), sight (eyes) and hearts. Little is the thanks you give”. From these verses, it becomes evident that the soul blown into Adam (as) and blown into every human being is not Allah’s Soul, rather it is the soul created/owned by Allah for the concerned human body; in other words, the soul blown into human body is not Allah's Soul rather it is soul of that concerned human body. Every human being exists as a pair of human body and its soul. Human body is a true reflection of its soul; it contains potentially all the qualities contained by its soul.
According to various ‘ahadith’, clusters of souls have been created much before the birth of human beings and live in the world called ‘world of arwah’; the souls who are acquainted to one another before coming into this world also get acquainted to one another after coming into this world; in other words the human beings acquainted to one another in this world have such acquaintance because they were acquainted before coming into this world. From this hadith, it is clear that qualities shown by a soul are also shown by his paired human body; that is why human bodies recognize each other in this world and get acquainted accordingly on the basis of acquaintance obtained before coming in this world. In other words, human body is a true reflection of its soul, and contains potentially all the qualities contained by its soul.
We can conclude that every human body has a soul of which he is a pair, and it is this soul which is blown into that human body; human soul is not Allah’s Soul. Allah is creator and everything else is created. This fact further weakens “Theory of wahdatul wajood”.