The Language of the Future
by Murshid F.A. Ali ElSenossi
(Sawa'). This is a dangerous station on the Path. It is faced when the slave becomes manifest in the form of Allah, the Real and leaves his slavehood and ascribes Allah's Attributes to himself, thereby setting up an equality between himself and Allah. This is a place of the Divine deception.
(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.
('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.
(Adab) is spiritual courtesy and gracious behaviour of the Path and perfect refinement of words and deeds. Adab is giving each thing and each moment its proper due. The science of the higher teaching is based upon adab, which encompasses all of human life. It extends from right behaviour with regard to the Sacred Law (Shari'a), right behaviour with one's fellow travellers, proper conduct towards the teaching and one's teacher, and reaches to unceasing spiritual courtesy to Allah Himself. The proper courtesy towards the Law is to stay within its boundaries, the proper conduct with regards to good actions is to complete the action and disconnect from it. Adab with regard to the Real is knowing what belongs to oneself and what belongs to Allah.
Each moment and each situation has it's own adab. It has been said that the higher teaching is all adab and the greater your understanding and implementation of proper conduct is, the higher you are in the teaching.