(Rusukh). A station is every attribute which has become deeply rooted (rusukh) within the wayfarer and therefore cannot be left behind. These include the attributes such as repentance, patience, trust, etc. This 'deep rootedness' of the noble character traits results from sincere spiritual struggle, sincerity, preparedness and ultimately Allah's Grace. But the most exalted type of 'deep rootedness' is that possessed by 'those deeply rooted in knowledge'.
(Muktasab). That which is earned. When a man sincerely endeavours to put the noble character traits into practice the traits are earned through that endeavour. The spiritual stations are acquired through endeavour and struggle. They are earned, in contrast to the spiritual states which are bestowals.
(Makarim al Akhlaq). The Holy Prophet Muhammad (May the Salutations of Allah be upon him and Peace) was sent to mankind with the noble character traits in their complete and perfect form. The spiritual work of the higher teaching involves the alchemical transformation of man's base character traits into the noble ones. This transformation results from meticulously following the Holy Prophet Muhammad and the inner and outer aspects of his Teaching. It is only through acquiring the noble character traits that man can return to Felicity and Bliss.
(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".