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


(Qurban). The Day of the Great Festival, the Festival of the Sacrifice (Eid al adha), is that timeless moment when the slave stands in the Presence of Oneness having naughted, annihilated, slaughtered and sacrificed his own self. If only an atom of his own self remains, he cannot stand in this Presence. Unity of Place, Unity of Time and Unity of Essence have been realized. The slave has gone, departed, left his own self. Now he has no direction (qibla). "Withersoever ye turn, there is the Face of Allah" and "Allah is and there is nothing with Him".

See also: Annihilation Arafat Direction Festival of Sacrifice Intellect Lote Tree of the Uttermost Boundary 'Or Nearer' Pilgrimage Sacred Servitude Slave 'Stop, Oh Muhammad, your Lord is praising you' Union of Union
(Fana'). Self-annihilation or self-effacement or dissolution or passing away from self. Through being joined to Allah, the Real; man is annihilated from himself - the 'limited existence' of the traveller is overpowered by the 'absolute existence' of Allah, so that the traveller becomes unaware of his own self and the creation. Fana' is the last stage on the ascent to Allah. When travelling to the Source, the seeker passes through different levels of fana', each of which brings him closer to his Goal. There are hundreds, even thousands, of fana's. Every time a form of ignorance is removed to be replaced by knowledge, the murid has experienced fana'. He has tasted the annihilation of an ignorance. And, every moment of existence is in fact a moment which is pregnant with its own particular knowledge. So, for the aware one, each moment can be a fana'. However, within the higher teaching of Tasawwuf  there are three major types of fana', through which the murid must travel if he is to reach the Absolute. These are Annihilation in the Murshid/Spiritual Guide, Annihilation in the Messenger and Annihilation in Allah.
The plain outside Mecca where all pilgrims observe the Day of Standing. "Arafat is Hajj". Arafat represents the time of Divine knowledge and nearness to Allah when the slave stands in the Presence of the Unity of Allah, associating no partner with Allah. At Arafat there is the moment of, "This day have I perfected your religion for you, completed My favour upon you and chosen for you Islam as your religion" (The Qur'an 5:3).
(Qibla). The ritual orientation or the direction in which one prays. Ultimately the qibla is in every direction because "Wherever you turn, there is the Face of Allah" (The Qur'an 2:115). To attain to knowledge of this directionless direction, the traveller firstly directs his prayer towards the Holy City of Mecca. Secondly his Murshid becomes his qibla. Thirdly he turns towards his own purified heart. Then, when Allah the Truth, is unveiled to his heart he faces Allah. He has attained to the Truth of Certainty that only Allah IS. Allah surrounds him and Allah is within him. To which place can he now turn?
('Aql). The intellect or the faculty of reason. The word 'aql derives from 'iqal which means fetter. The intellect fetters man and it also puts its hooks into him, preventing him from making the final stages of the ascent. On the ascension to Allah (mi'raj) there is a point which is indicated by the term 'The Lote tree of the Uttermost Boundary'. It marks the 'place' where reason (the fetter) must be left behind. From this point onwards the traveller journeys with passionate love, yearning and bewilderment. On the Ascension of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (May the Salutations of Allah be upon him and Peace) it was at the Lote tree of the Uttermost Boundary that his companion, the Archangel Gabriel (Peace be upon him) stopped through fear of being annihilated. This station of fear is the highest point to which the intellect can attain.
(Al Sidrat al Muntaha). This tree marks the boundary of the intellect. It is located at the extreme verge of the created universe. Beyond it is nothing but the Pure Selfhood.
(Hajj). Pilgrimage to the Sacred Mosque, the House of Allah, at the Centre of Mecca. Hajj is the Ultimate Journey to Knowledge of Allah Who dwells in the secret centre of the human heart. Here the treasury of spiritual realities is to be discovered. The pilgrim travels to the Sacred Centre mounted on his spiritual resolve, his overwhelming love and his yearning for the Beloved. Mecca is the place of the House of Allah, where the slave stands alone before his Lord. Mecca is total inwardness and bewilderment. Mecca is Reality. After performing the hajj go to the grave of the Chosen One (Mustapha). After realising The Unity of Allah, after being annihilated in Oneness, return to the Muhammadan Presence, because, once you know Allah, then you will know who Rasulullah is! Visit Holy Mecca and then visit Holy Medina. The Islamic pilgrimage is one of the ethics of the Sufis. It is the goal that they try to achieve. The pilgrimage of the Sufi is in a whole other category from that of the ordinary Muslim. As far as the pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia, most perform it once in a lifetime, following the method of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). Of those who perform the pilgrimage numerous times, many choose to live in the neighbourhood of Mecca and maintain the highest adab and spiritual practices in order to remain there. The real pilgrimage in Sufi terminology is the continuation of seeking nearness to Allah.
('Ubada). Servitude and bondage. This is the fulfilment and consummation of slavehood ('ubudiyya) when the slave loses himself in the Will of his Lord. 'Ubada is 'the Nearness of obligatory works' which is one of the four stations of Perfection. To realize 'ubuda is to be gifted with a very high degree of Knowledge of Allah. To know that 'the slave is the slave and the Lord is the Lord' is the supreme form of spiritual courtesy towards Allah. The Holy Prophet Muhammad al Mustapha (May the Salutations of Allah be upon him and Peace) is the Beloved of Allah and His Chosen One. No one is more perfect than him. No one can attain to his Knowledge. Yet Allah says in The Qur'an, "Glory be to Him Who carried His slave by night" (17:1). The slave is in bondage ('ubuda). Bondage is Perfection. Bondage is Knowledge.
('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.
(Jam' al Jam'). Gathering of the gathering. Jam' al jam' is the experience of union devoid of all distinctions, even of the idea of being one with Allah. This is the station of 'Two Bows' Length', the station of Perfection which is attained only by the greatest Perfect Men, who are the Prophets and the great saints. The Gathering of the gathering is also known as 'The Station of Great Glory'. This is also Unity in Multiplicity. Annihilation in totality in Allah – in the Presence of the Divine Beauty. This is the opposite of farq (separation). This is Unity without separation. To gather that which belongs to Allah within you and surrender all of it to Him is real surrender. In the cosmos, there is nothing but Allah, His Names and His attributes. In short, this is called jama’. When we say jam’, it is the centre of multiplicity.

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