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


(Nafs). The ego or the self or the soul. The nafs is that dimension of man which stands between the spirit which is light, and the physical body which is darkness. The spiritual struggle or combat is waged against the downward-pulling tendencies of the nafs which seduce the heart away from Allah. The nafs is also the domain of imagination. Allah is within our own selves, yet we do not see Allah. The work of the higher teaching is directed towards transforming the 'Lower Self' into the Higher 'Perfect Self' and 'seeing' Allah everywhere. There are seven stages of the self, seven postures in the ritual prayer, seven verses or 'signs' in the opening chapter of The Qur'an, and seven levels of knowledge, all of which are finely interconnected. Shaykh Mahmoud Taha of Sudan writes concerning the self: "This soul is immortal in essence despite the changes that befall it through different forms and at different times and places. At no time does the soul cease its quest for immortality - to be immortal in form as it is in essence. This story is . . . the story of every human being. However, we all have forgotten it. By 'forgetting' it is meant that it settled at the bottom of the unconscious and was then covered by a thick layer of illusions and fears that we inherited from the times of ignorance and superstition. There is no way that we can achieve our happiness unless we break through this thick layer. . . which prevents the forms of the unconscious to be reflected in the mirror of the conscious and hence reveal the greater truth, the truth of truths that is shrouded by the veils of light. This long story that flows from the unconscious is made of the same stuff as that of dreams. The Qur'an is made out of the same stuff. It was brought into existence only to remind us of our extraordinary story. He who remembers it will acquire knowledge beyond which there is no ignorance and an immortality beyond which there is no perishing".

See also: Animality Deception of the ego Divine Physician Fear Frivolities of the ego Heart He who knows himself knows his Lord Hypocrite Incoming Thoughts Journey towards Allah People of blame Perfect Man Physical body Prayer Pretender Satan Slave Spirit Spiritual Guide Spiritual Struggle Subtle Centres
(Hayawaniyyah). Creation is a hierarchy. Each entity has its own level which indicates its position within that hierarchy. The animals occupy their own level and in so doing they fulfil and complete all the requirements demanded by that level of manifestation. Man was created to become the locus of manifestation for the All-Comprehensive Name 'Allah'. He has been given the choice to return to Allah either as a 'human being' who has fulfilled his 'reason for being' or as a mere human who has the qualities of an animal. In this latter case he may be described by the word hayawaniyah - animality, because he has fallen beneath his own hierarchical level.
(Makr Nafsi). The deception of the ego. This deception is one of the greatest of barriers on the Path to Perfection. The downward-pulling tendencies of the lower-self (nafs) ceaselessly endeavour to exercise their power over the slave. The self is man's greatest enemy. It is a venomous snake and a cunning and treacherous adversary which will stoop to lying, deception, cajolery and flattery to coax the slave away from his Lord.
(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.
(Khawf). Fear acts as a warning of something terrifying in the future. In the initial stages of the Spiritual Journey the murid experiences great fear of the treachery of his own self, and also the fear of falling short of his Murshid's directions. However, when this fear is complimented with hope the murid finds the courage and the strength with which to attack the inner enemies. Fear of Allah leads to Knowledge of Allah which opens into Love of Allah. The lover who has found Allah fears losing Allah. Such a fear may overcome the lover who has found Allah in ecstasy during the sama'.
(Ru'unat al Nafsiyya). It is said that the murids of a Murshid who is a Malamatiyya undergo constant fluctuations within the stations of Manliness, whereas all other murids undergo constant fluctuations within the frivolities of the ego (al Ru'unat al Nafsiyya).
(Qalb). The human heart is the place of constant change and fluctuation. It is the supra-rational organ of intuition where the Transcendent Realities enter into contact with man. The heart is the isthmus between this world and the next. The battlefield of the Greater Holy War is the heart. This is where the downward-pulling lower self is confronted by the yearning spirit. The battle is fought between these two adversaries in order for one to take possession of the precious heart of man. Under the misguidance of the Misguider, the lower self wants the heart to plummet to the depths of ignorance. However, the spirit, which is from Allah, exerts a powerful attraction upon the heart, as it endeavours to guide it towards Knowledge of Allah. The greater the purification of the heart the more receptive it is to this irresistible attraction of the celestial spirit. The heart is the sanctified centre of man because it is the place which contains Allah. Keeping watch over the heart is part of the spiritual struggle of the Journey of Return. Those well-advanced along the Path never allow any intruders to enter their sanctified hearts. The heart of the Perfect Man is the Divine Throne around which circle the spiritual realities.
(Munafiq). The hypocrite manifests the form of a man of faith in his outward practice, but his inner dimension is devoid of belief and faith. Hypocrisy is making the form manifest without the meaning. It is the work of the lower self. The Murshid distributes spiritual work to his murids in accordance with each one's aptitude to receive. Without the Wisdom of such distribution the murid would run the risk of becoming a hypocrite. The murid may receive good news through a dream-vision, but due to the state of the murid's lower self, the Murshid does not yet reveal the meaning by interpreting the dream. The good news is kept back till such a time when the murid is able to receive it with gratitude, honour and respect, his ego no longer having the aptitude to become inflated by it.
(Khawatir). Incoming thoughts, which are either praiseworthy or blameworthy, i.e. divine, spiritual, egocentric or satanic. The Spiritual Master possesses the science of khawatir, and therefore knows the source of his murid's incoming thoughts. He supplies the correct spiritual medicine which will restore his murid's health. The Word of Allah descends firstly as Revelation, secondly as inspiration and thirdly as incoming thoughts. Khawatir come to the heart from the World of Dominion. The generality of mankind, both believers and unbelievers, will be questioned on the Day of Judgement and asked to account for their words and actions in this life. But, the people of the Spiritual Path will also be questioned and called to account for each and every incoming thought.
(Sayr il Allah). The Journey of the traveller (salik) towards Allah, from the lower self to the heart. It is a Journey through the unveiling of the Names.
(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.
(Al Insan al Kamil). He is the viceregent of Allah, through whom Allah contemplates His Own Name-derived Perfection. The Perfect Man has actualized the divine form and in carrying the Trust has fulfilled his reason for being. It is through the Perfect Man that Allah enters the world. Al Insan al Kamil is also one of the names given to the Supreme Isthmus. Man consists of a body and a spirit which governs it. The cosmos also consists of a body and a spirit which governs it. Its spirit is the Perfect Man. Without him the cosmos is likened to a discarded body.
(Jism). Man consists of a body and a spirit which governs that body. In being referred to as 'the great man' the cosmos is also a body containing a spirit which governs it. The spirit of the cosmos is the Perfect Man. The bodies of the Prophets of Allah (Peace be upon them) and His friends are not material bodies, but spiritual bodies. Their physical bodies are encased within their spiritual bodies, yet, this reality is not perceived by those who are spiritually blind, those whose inner eye has not been opened. It is said, 'If the reality of the Sufi was to be unveiled he would be worshipped'.
(Salat) refers particularly to the ritual prayer. It is a connection between the slave and his Lord. The ritual ablution which precedes the salat symbolizes the separation from the self. The salat itself symbolizes the joining to Allah. The seven bodily postures of the ritual prayer are symbols of the stages on the Spiritual Journey of Return to the Source and also the seven levels of knowledge through which the traveller (salik) passes on his ascent. As 'the one who performs the prayer' (musalli) approaches closer to Allah, the more profound and intense is his salat. The Holy Prophet Muhammad said, "The prayer without you is better than seventy". As his heart is purified through spiritual struggle and the Remembrance of Allah, and as he journeys along the Path of Return, the traveller leaves his lower-self behind. Initially the Divine Light radiates into the heart of the musalli-salik. Gradually this Light increases and spreads, and eventually, through the Infinite Grace of Allah, it infuses and permeates every atom of his being. Then does he pray a prayer which is without himself, because 'None worships Allah but Allah'.
(Mutsawwif). The one who pretends to have mystic knowledge. Through such pretence the mutsawwif becomes a danger to himself and others. While being held firmly in the grip of his own lower self, this pretender alleges that he can guide others to their Higher Self. The seeker must be on the alert when searching for an authentic Spiritual Guide. When the actions and words of the mutsawwif are weighed in the Scale of the Sacred Law and when his conduct is measured against the 'beautiful model' of the Holy Prophet Muhammad it is easy to discern that he is a fraud.
(Iblis). This is the personal name of Satan (shaytan). Symbolically Iblis is the fancy of 'otherness' from 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.
(Ruh). The Ruh is that centre within man which is attracted and drawn back to its Source. The spirit endeavours to pull the heart towards Allah, while the lower self exerts a downward pull on the heart. The human spirit is also Allah's Spirit because Allah breathed His Spirit into man. In being both 'uncreated' and 'created' the Ruh makes its descent. On the Night of Power, "Therein descend the angels and the Spirit, by Allah's permission" (Qur'an 97:4). The 'uncreated' spirit is equated with the Reality of Muhammad and the 'created' spirit extends from the Divine Throne down to the Perfect Man. The Ruh cannot be seen except by the man who has outstripped 'both the worlds'. The spirit is neither within nor without the body, neither detached from it or attached to it. It is both within and without, detached and attached. The luminosity which radiates from a man depends upon the degree of activity of his Ruh.
(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.
(Mujahadah). The spiritual struggle and endeavour against the passions and downward-pulling tendencies of the lower self. Mujahadah is the ceaseless combat called the Greater Holy War. The war is fought with the celestial weapons of the Remembrance of Allah. The mature ones of the Path, those who 'know Allah', say that mujahadah is child's play! The real work of Men is Divine Knowledge.
(Lata'if). This term generally refers to the subtle essences (or centres) in the body. The cleansing of the subtle centres forms the spiritual struggle of the Path. The cleansing of each separate latifah marks a stage in the Journey of Return. Lata'if also defines the subtleties within the being of the knower and lover of Allah. The mystical vision during the spiritual concert prepares a thousand of these lata'if within the ecstatic.

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