(Laylat al Mi'raj). The Holy Prophet Muhammad (May the Salutations of Allah be upon him and Peace), the slave of Allah ('Abdullah), was 'taken' to the Divine Presence on this 'night'. The word 'night' indicates that moment which is outside of time when Muhammad al Mustapha was blindfolded to everything that is other-than-Allah. In this timeless moment he was in a state of utter Unity . He had realized the Unity of Time, Unity of Place and Unity of Essence. In this state of inner unity he was 'taken' to the Divine Presence. He did not 'go' of his own accord, but was 'chosen' to be 'taken' on this 'night'. The Holy Prophet is the Beautiful Model and his Ascension is the ascension par excellence. By following in his footsteps the yearning lovers and devoted followers and bereft slaves hope to follow him to the Divine Presence. The chosen one (al Mustapha) is the Slave and he is also the Beloved of Allah. No one meets Allah by being a lover, only by being the Beloved. The Night of Ascension, the Night when man ascends to the Divine Presence, corresponds to the Night of Power when the Spirit descends to man.
('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.
(Sahw) is returning to oneself after having been absent from oneself while intoxicated with the Divine Beloved. The one in the state of sahw is considered to be of greater spiritual maturity than the one in the state of intoxication. The Supreme Fountain is the place of sobriety after intoxication, abiding after annihilation, Divine Knowledge after Divine Love,. but all is One and all are the Beloved. 'None shall drink of Tasnim who has not first drunk from Kafur'. The great Sufi, one of the People of Blame, is inwardly intoxicated and outwardly sober. No one knows his spiritual condition.
(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.
(Wahdat-i-zamaniyyah). The slave returns to the 'timeless' Time. This is the beginingless and endless moment in which he is 'no thing' ('la shay'). Only Allah IS. The slave is merely an entity through which Allah Almighty becomes manifest. The slave is at the bidding of his Lord. Before the perfect slave can attain to the Divine Presence he must be in absolute Unity. Without Unity he will never reach Allah because Allah IS Unity. Unity is the combination of three Unities Unity of Essence, Unity of Place and Unity of Time. Unity of Time is the 'timeless' Time which opens into Eternity. Unified Place, Time and Essence are the Divine Silence.