The Language of the Future
by Murshid F.A. Ali ElSenossi
(Nawm). The hadith says, "Man is asleep and when he dies he wakes". The Sufi is the one who has died to self and is awake in the Supreme Self. Once man has awoken there is no more sleep. Within mystical poetry and Sufi songs the lover often complains to the Beloved Who has taken away his sleep and given him no rest for his limbs. In every moment of his existence each cell of the lover's body is restlessly pursuing the Beloved. Or sometimes this wakefulness is inexpressibly sweet "When You are here we stay up all night and when you are away I can't sleep. Praise be to Allah for these two insomnias!"
This term may also refer to the two ordinary kinds of sleep which are experienced by man. One is the type in which there is rest and ease from weariness, and the other is the type in which dreams occur. The second type is a transferral from the manifest side of sense perception to its nonmanifest side.
(Ru'yah) It is within a dream vision that much of the Sufi Teaching may be transmitted, from a higher realm, to the dreamer. Within a dream vision meanings become clothed in forms. The knower is the one who knows what Allah means by the observed image in the vision. He is true to his vision and gives it its due. The learner is the one who does not know what Allah means but he has the aptitude and capacity to advance to the level of knowledge. His ru'yah must be interpreted for him because he deems the vision to be true. In other words, he takes the observed images as veridical and corresponding to the external world, until Allah teaches him and he knows the meaning.
(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.
(Shawq). Intense longing and yearning for the Beloved. Shawq is a yearning to behold the Beloved, and a longing for nearness to the Beloved, and a longing for union with the Beloved, and an intense longing for increase in perpetual longing. It is said that breath is a movement of yearning towards the Beloved and within the breathing enjoyment is experienced. The breathing of the ecstatic who is under the pull of the Divine Attraction bears witness to this.
The Reality of shawq is that the luminous fire takes over the heart and there is no medicine for it except for meeting of the Beloved. The intense fire in the heart comes about because of the separation between the one who desires and the One who is desired. When the meeting takes place, the fire of longing will be extinguished. In the state of secretness, what increases is the witnessing of the Beloved, and shawq has no place there. One of the lovers of Allah said 'Do you desire Allah?' he answered 'No', because you only desire that which is absent from you and my Beloved is always present with me. The unification of this factor is in the unification of the spiritual resolve towards Allah and the continous journeying to Him - that is 'To worship Allah like you see Him, and if you do not see Him, be certain that He sees you'. He is with you in the present moment, for this reason, you do not desire Him, because you are with Him. Shawq is he need of the heart to meet the Beloved.
('Ishq). Intense, overflowing and passionate love of Allah. Some say that 'ishq cannot arise without actual vision of the Beloved. 'Ishq is the highest stage before absorption in Allah. It is as rare as the red sulphur. It burns away everything of the lover ('Ashiq) transforming him into the beloved. After annihilation in Allah and absorption in Allah, where all is blindness and there is no longer any vision, the lover is separated from the Beloved and his 'ishq burns afresh. Passionate love of Allah is without limit.
(Qawwal). During the 'spiritual concert' (sama') the qawwal may be the means through which the hearer finds Allah in ecstasy. When this occurs it is true sama' because sama' is a bird which flies from Allah to Allah - Allah is the singer and Allah is the hearer. The barakah surrounding and emanating from the qawwal and his musicians is extremely potent. Its effect upon an audience can be profound even when the members of that audience are ignorant of, and oblivious to, the reality within the singer and the music. For the one who has been prepared and purified, through spiritual struggle and the Remembrance of Allah, the speech of the qawwal can send his heart soaring towards the spiritual realm, where a thousand subtleties and delicacies are opened to him.
(Qawwali). A Sufi song and music. Through the rhythms of qawwali the listener may be opened to inrushes of knowledge and awareness through which he reaches ecstasy. If he 'finds' Allah within this ecstasy then he has experienced the true 'spiritual concert'.