The Language of the Future
Sufi Terminology
by Murshid F.A. Ali ElSenossi

murshid (shaykh, pir)
Spiritual Guide

(Murshid/Shaykh/Pir). The Murshid is a True Inheritor of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (May the Salutations of Allah be upon him and Peace). After having been taken to the Divine Presence during his ascension the slave has been returned, by Allah, to the creation to guide and perfect the still imperfect ones. He was taken up as a slave and returned as a slave and Murshid. The qualities of an authentic Murshid are those of his own Master and Teacher, the Holy Prophet himself. The sacred connection between a Murshid and his murids was established in Pre-Eternity and continues into Eternity. Because of the Murshid's own spiritual attainments his murids have the possibility of becoming travellers. The perfect Murshid is of The People of Blame and his murids sometimes also attain Perfection. For the murid, the Murshid is one of the 'signs on the horizons', the outward of his own inward. What he sees in the mirror of his Murshid is a reflection of what is within his own self. He may also see within the Murshid the good qualities and excellent character traits which are yet latent in himself.

See also: Affinity Annihilation in the Spiritual Guide Beautiful Model Breath Companionship Divine Physician Permission People of blame Seeker Slave Spiritual courtesy of companionship Turn the face towards Traveller Spiritual Chain Pledge of Inititation
(Munasaba) is the mutual attraction, affection and love which exists between Allah and His lover. Of necessity this affinity must be reflected in the sacred relationship between the Murshid and his murid. Without a strong affinity, the progress on the Spiritual Path will be impeded.
(Fana fil Murshid/Shaykh). Fallen man cannot, by his own resources, reach Annihilation in Allah.. He requires a Spiritual Guide, a Murshid, who is a pure receptacle for the Divine Outpouring which emanates from the Holy Prophet Muhammad. This Outpouring comes through his Teaching, and from the Divine Book of Allah, the Qur'an, which contains all the mysteries of life and which was brought to all of creation by the Holy Prophet. Annihilation in the Spiritual Guide occurs when this Teaching of the Prophet Muhammad, which is passed on by the Murshid, enters the murid's heart and becomes firmly established. The murid becomes absorbed by the Teaching, through constant meditation and contemplation of Allah. What is the meaning of Annihilation in one’s Spiritual Guide? We would have to say that the seeker will be absorbed. This is far beyond the way of respect, honouring the wishes of and following the teaching of the Murshid; which is the normal standard in any field of life when we are learning a trade, regardless of what that trade is. In the higher teaching, Fana fil Murshid is a very serious and powerful experience and is one of the keys to developing the higher stages of awareness. The murid, besides the standard way of feeling the Murshid’s presence and keeping his thoughts on the Murshid - in his contemplations may experience the engulfing of himself by the Murshid through certain powerful conditions. Literally, he feels that he is within the physical body of the Murshid. It is not sentimental thinking or respect or being obedient to the requests of the Murshid, but there is a powerful link – as the saying goes “Ruhi ruhaak ya Ruhi”. The two become one. The murid, in his spiritual practices, will experience that he is within the Murshid to the highest degree, so that even when looking in the mirror, he may experience that he is looking with the eyes of the Murshid. This is a brief indication to the meaning of fana fil Murshid. This experience opens the door to the realities of the Holy Prophet and the accessibilities to the Universal Man, or you could say, The Reality of Muhammad. This transition is very necessary - if one does not experience this; to a certain degree he will always be alienating himself from a part of the teaching - this overpowering experience of Fana fil Murshid.
(Uswa hasana). The Holy Prophet Muhammad al Mustapha (May the Salutations of Allah be upon him and Peace) is the beautiful model. Through his perfect example man is given the means of drawing closer, and yet closer, to Allah. The degrees of such nearness depend upon the manner and attitude in which one follows the beautiful model. Those who love Allah and His Messenger more than anything, more than life itself, are the slaves who follow Muhammad al Mustapha in their outer lives and in their inner realities. To approach Allah, the slave must first meet the Holy Prophet Muhammad. This meeting is a Mystery. The Holy Prophet Muhammad, the beautiful model, becomes the slave's inner reality through the unveiling of the Reality of Muhammad. The hadith says, "Who has seen me has seen Allah".
(Nafas). Breath or instant. Nafas is the indivisible moment in which every existent in the cosmos undergoes a new creation. The spiritual energy (barakah) of the Sufi Path is transmitted on the breath of the Murshid. It is only through receiving the bay'ah, the Pledge of Initiation, face-to-face from the Murshid that the full power of this Divine Breath can start working within the murid. The Murshid, who himself has received this transmission of the breath from his own Murshid, then passes the breath to his murids. Contemplation upon his own breath can bring the murid to knowledge of 'the renewal of creation in each instant'.
(Suhba). This term applies most specifically to the spiritual relationship which exists between the Murshid and his murid. The basis of such companionship is mystical conversation and communion, both of which intensify as the murid's heart becomes purified under the Murshid's guidance. It is a profound mutual love based on the Pure Love of Allah.
(Al Tabib al Ilahi). The divine physician. Al tabib al ilahi is one of the Sufi Masters, an Inheritor of the Holy Prophet Muhammad. Through possessing insight into his murids' spiritual conditions he is able to dispense the correct medicine, in the correct dosage, which will bring about inner balance and harmony to each unique murid.
(Idhn). Permission of one in authority. It is always the higher authority that gives permission to that which is lower. Therefore within the Spiritual Path this permission always comes from The Highest Authority - Allah. Permission (idhn) for the murid to undertake spiritual practices is given by his Murshid. In reality this permission descends from Allah Almighty through His Holy Prophet Muhammad (May the Salutations of Allah be upon him and Peace) and then into the hearts of the Noble Mashayekh of the Spiritual Paths. It is this Supreme Permission that permeates the spiritual practices and infuses them with their powerful barakah.
(Al Malamatiyya). These are the Perfect Ones. Their exteriors never disclose the reality of their interiors. They are those who know and are not known. Al malamatiyya are Allah's perfect slaves, Allah's perfect lovers, Allah's perfect knowers. They manifest His All-Comprehensive Name 'Allah', without a trace of Lordship. Allah has placed their 'blaming self' over them as a protection against self-conceit or satisfaction. They are the greatest of the Sufis. They are in constant submission and surrender to the Will of Allah. A Murshid (Spiritual Guide) who is one of the malamatiyya is the perfect Murshid and his murids often attain to Manliness. The Master of the cosmos, the Best of Creation, Muhammad al Mustapha (May the Salutations of Allah be upon him and Peace), who is a Malamatiyya, is their Master.
(Murid). The one who desires Allah. The murid is the seeker of Reality who is under the direction of a Spiritual Guide (Murshid). He has entered the company of those who concentrate upon Allah through the Remembrance of His Most Holy Name 'Allah'.
('Abd). The slave (and worshipper) is the one who is in a state of total and utter submission to the Will of Allah. After having been annihilated in Allah where all duality vanished and distinctions were erased, he returns to creation with perfect courtesy and with the Truth of Certainty that 'the Lord is the Lord and the slave is the slave'. When 'abd is translated as 'servant' it carries the implication that the servant can leave the service of his Master, if he so desires. However, the 'slave' is in total bondage, being utterly dependent upon his Master. All buying and selling transactions have been terminated. The slave belongs to Allah, completely, perfectly and unconditionally.
(Adab al suhba). This is the mutual respect and gracious behaviour which exists between the Murshid and his murid. The murid needs the Murshid who needs the murid! The Murshid's adab towards the murid springs from his own intrinsic need of Allah. The Murshid's awareness and knowledge of his own need of Allah continually increases. This awareness is strengthened when he regards the murid's need of Allah (through the Murshid.) The murid's adab towards the Murshid becomes more refined as he travels the Path. With the opening of his inner-eye he is able to see the reality of his Murshid and such a 'seeing' necessarily brings with it a beautiful adab.
(Tawajjuh). Alignment, concentration or attentiveness, or 'to turn the face towards something'. Tawajjuh can refer to the spiritual concentration exercised between the Murshid and his murid. On a higher level of meaning it is Allah's Attentiveness towards the possible thing which brings that thing into existence. Also, through the attentiveness of a Divine Name, the traveller is drawn towards Allah.
(Musaffir) is the traveller (salik) who understands invisible things through the analogy of visible ones, thereby swimming from the shore of this world to the further shore.
(Silsilat). The Spiritual Chain of each tariqa descends from the Holy Prophet Muhammad himself (May the Salutations of Allah be upon him and Peace) down to the present-day Shaykh. It is through his attachment to the silsilat that the newly initiated murid has the means to travel to Allah under Divine Protection.
(Bay'ah). The pledge or rite of initiation into a Sufi Tariqa. This pledge, which in truth is a pledge between Allah and His slave, eternally bonds together the Murshid and his murid. Within the bay'ah there is a sacred moment in which the spiritual energy of the spiritual chain is transmitted from the Murshid to the murid. This enables the murid to travel in safety under Divine Protection and with Divine Aid.

Go Back