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


(Tama'). As long as self-interest exists there can be no sincerity. Worship through tama' is performed with the expectation of reward. Worship inspired by sincerity is service to Allah.

See also: Intention Self Sincerity Worship
(Niyyah). The Perfect Man is the first in intention and desire through Allah, making him the intended aim and final cause of the creation of the world. From the side of creation all acts of obedience to Allah require purity of intention. Without pure intention there can be no sincerity of word or deed. Regardless of the outcome of the act it is still that initial intention which carries the weight. In reality, both the act and its result are Allah's!
(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".
(Ikhlaas). Sincerity and purity of intention. Without this noble quality man is unable to advance towards his Lord or live in harmony with the creation. With it he is able to traverse great distances and attain to great heights of knowledge. The core of ikhlaas is the purification of the intention to the highest degree. It is the 'eye' of the intention. A man must ensure that his sincerity is only directed towards Allah, since a man may be sincere in his devotion to the Devil as well. Imam al Junayd said that "Ikhlaas is to speak the truth when only a lie will save you". Dhun Nun al Misri said "Truthfulness is the sword of Allah, it is never put on anything but it cuts it through". Abu Ya'qub asSusi said "If they have witnessed the sincerity in their sincere actions, then they need to be sincere in their sincerity". It has been said that the hardest thing for the ego is sincerity because he does not have any part in it. The difference between ikhlaas and truthfulness is that truthfulness is the tree and sincerity is the branch. Sincerity can only be manifested by entering the realm of actions.
('Ibada). Worship and service of Allah with absolute obedience and love. Man was created in order to 'know' Allah. Therefore the essential meaning of worship is Knowledge of Allah. Allah says in The Qur'an, "I created jinn and men only to worship (know) Me" (51:56). The Holy Prophet Muhammad said, "Perfection is to worship (know) Allah like you see Him". Worship should penetrate every aspect of a man's existence. The rites and rituals of Islam are the outer forms containing the inner meanings which will enable the worshipper to become a knower.

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