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


(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'.

See also: Ablution I am with the one who remembers Me Intimacy Islam (B) Light Lord Means Nearness Prayer, one who performs Self Slave Spiritual Struggle 'Stop, Oh Muhammad, your Lord is praising you'
(Wudhu). This is the ritual ablution that all Muslims perform before entering the prayer and is unique to Islam. The literal meaning of the word ('Wu-dhu') is 'to turn on the light'. This 'turning on the light' is the first step to entering the room. The Holy Prophet said "On the Day of Resurrection, my followers will be known from the traces of ablution and whoever can increase the area of his radiance should do so". By performing the ablution in the proper manner, one increases his radiance and illumination (Dhu'), thus becoming 'light upon light'.
(Uns) is a spiritual state in which the heart becomes permeated by Love and contemplates the Beauty of Allah and His Gentleness, Mercy and Forgiveness. The state of intimacy is ineffably sweet and indescribable. It may descend upon the listener at the 'spiritual concert' causing him to fall into an ecstasy in which he finds Allah. The People of hearing experience this intimacy because they hear only Allah, at all times and in all sounds. During the Journey the traveller may initially experience brief periods of such intimacy. But through the Grace of Allah, after much journeying and purification and after many unveilings and tastings, the lover will always feel close to Allah, even when Allah keeps him at a distance!
The Surrender. The Journey of Return to Allah is from the first Islam which is merely verbal submission, through the levels of ascent to the second and Real Islam, which is total and unconditional surrender with knowledge and love to the Will of Allah. The seven levels of knowledge through which the traveller must pass are Surrender; Faith; Perfection; Knowledge of Certainty; Eye of Certainty; Truth of Certainty and Surrender.
(Nur) is the created light which radiates from the Uncreated Light of Allah. When this light enters the heart it drives away the existent order thereby annihilating the inner eye from witnessing 'other-than-Allah'. For unveiling to take place the Light which comes from Allah must coincide with the light within the heart. If there is darkness within the heart, then it will not be able to match the Light from Allah. In such a case there is no unveiling, and Knowledge of Allah does not arrive in that heart. It is the Remembrance of Allah which polishes the heart and allows it to be filled with light. The Source of this Pure Light is the Absolute Darkness of the Essence Itself. The most complete and penetrating light is the light through which is unveiled what Allah means by the forms seen by the imagination in dreams.
(Maula). The Holy Prophet Muhammad (May the Salutations of Allah be upon him and Peace) said, "Whose lord I am, his lord is Ali".
(Wasila) indicates the means through which man can come close to Allah. "Seek the means of approach to Him" (The Qur'an 5:35). The one and only wasila is the Holy Prophet Muhammad al Mustapha (May the Salutations of Allah be upon him and Peace). There is no other means to ascend from the physical realm to the Divine Presence. The seeker traverses the first stages of the Journey of Return to Allah with the direct aid and under the protection of his Murshid. These are the stages of spiritual struggle, ascetic discipline and abstinence. Through the Grace of Allah the murid may attain to annihilation in the Murshid. But, no one will meet Allah before meeting the Prophet. The murid can advance no further towards Allah Almighty unless he travels with the wasila. The lover does not reach Allah through being a lover. He only reaches Allah through being the Beloved of Allah, and there is only one Beloved of Allah and that is Muhammad al Mustapha. The only way up is within him. Because the Reality of Muhammad has been unveiled to the slaves and true followers of the Master Muhammad, they are drowned and annihilated in him. (The stairs to ascend to the top floor) Using the means - 'by the baraka of. . . '
(Qurb). Proximity or nearness to Allah. Qurb is the reality of the Station of Perfection, 'Two Bows' Length'. It is the limit of the slave's ascent before annihilation in Allah. One of the bewilderments of the Journey is that through having knowledge of his distance from Allah the slave is actually brought near. Slavehood indicates this distance which brings nearness. The slave must cling to perfect courtesy by honouring and respecting the Truth that, 'the slave remains the slave and the Lord remains the Lord'.
(Musalli). He who performs the prayer. Initially it is man himself who performs the prayer. Through spiritual struggle, spiritual resolve, love, yearning and Allah's Infinite Grace, man's lower self is transformed into his Higher Self. Then his prayer becomes the ultimate prayer in which Allah prays to Himself, because 'None worships Allah but Allah'. The Holy Prophet Muhammad said, "The prayer without you is better than seventy".
(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".
('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.
(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.

Islam means peace and the person who follows this peace is called the Muslim. From another root meaning of the word, Islam means complete submission and surrender, and the person who submits and surrenders himself to the will of his Lord is the person who has accepted Allah as his Creator, Sustainer, Lord and the Master of the Day of Judgement.

So from both the definitions Islam means a way of life for people who have opted to follow peace as opposed to chaos, order as opposed to disorder, discipline as opposed to indiscipline, submission as opposed to refusal, surrender as opposed to insolence, obedience as opposed to disobedience etc. All these things combined together to define Islam as away of life by which a person becomes a follower of peace and not a follower of chaos. And the followers of peace are the Muslims whose duty it is: "to establish peace and what is good, and to prevent chaos and what is evil, and they are the best people." (Al-Qur'an 3:110)

Go Back