(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.
(Rububiyya). The cosmos has two basic levels which are expressed in various ways - that of the Real and the creation, Independence and poverty, Lordship and slavehood. It is the existence of Lordship which demands slavehood. Lordship is the most exalted level and slavehood is the lowest level. There is nothing more lowly than to be subject to the locus of nothingness and to stand in need of another for one's own existence.
('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.
(Ubudiyya). What is slavehood? To leave that which is yours and to be steadfast upon that which you have been commanded. Slavehood is the state of the one who is drawing near to Allah through acts of devotion. 'Ubudiyya is 'the Nearness of supererogatory works' which is the lowest of the four stations of Perfection. The lover-knower-slave of Allah becomes adorned with the attributes of slavehood ('Ubudiyya) and servitude ('Ubuda) after having lost himself in annihilation in Allah. In becoming 'no thing' the slave is returned to the creation with the Perfection of Servitude ('ubuda).