The Language of the Future
by Murshid F.A. Ali ElSenossi
(Wara'). During the initial stages on the Journey of Return there is an increase in abstinence which is brought about through fear of Allah. Abstinence, ascetic discipline and spiritual struggle are indispensable when the murid is struggling to achieve inner harmony and balance. The greater the purity of the traveller's heart the less need there is for abstinence. Having subdued his lower self he now holds the reins of his passions and desires.
(Riyada). Throughout the initial stages of the Journey of Return to Allah, when the traveller is in a condition of disequilibrium, he is required to exert himself in spiritual struggle and ascetic discipline (riyada). By applying himself to the discipline of his ego and opposing its desires, he may come to a greater understanding of his purpose in life. With Allah's Grace this will bring him to a state of greater harmony and balance. As with all of the methods of the higher teaching, ascetic discipline is a 'means' and not an 'end in itself'. When perfect balance is attained the knower of Allah replaces his asceticism with moderation. The greatest riyada of the knowledgeable slave is to refrain from denying Allah in any form and from delimiting Allah by Incomparability. Allah is absolutely incomparable with any declaration of His Incomparability, because such a declaration delimits Allah!
(Al Tabib al Ilahi). The divine physician. Al tabib al ilahi is one of the Sufi Masters, an Inheritor of the Holy Prophet Muhammad. Through possessing insight into his murids' spiritual conditions he is able to dispense the correct medicine, in the correct dosage, which will bring about inner balance and harmony to each unique murid.
(I'tidal). Equilibrium and balance. Spiritual equilibrium is attained through assuming the noble character traits which were perfected in the Holy Prophet Muhammad (May the Salutations of Allah be upon him and Peace). Under the direction of the Murshid, who is a divine physican, the murid's constitution may be brought into harmony and (I'tidal); equilibrium and balance. Perfection is an equilibrium in which all of the Divine Names are in balance. No one Name predominates over another. This is the perfect balance of the Perfect Man, who is a locus of manifestation for the All-Comprehensive Name 'Allah'. The Name 'Allah' contains all the Divine Names.
(Khawf). Fear acts as a warning of something terrifying in the future. In the initial stages of the Spiritual Journey the murid experiences great fear of the treachery of his own self, and also the fear of falling short of his Murshid's directions. However, when this fear is complimented with hope the murid finds the courage and the strength with which to attack the inner enemies. Fear of Allah leads to Knowledge of Allah which opens into Love of Allah. The lover who has found Allah fears losing Allah. Such a fear may overcome the lover who has found Allah in ecstasy during the sama'.
(Shahwa). Passion or desire or appetite. This is a basic power of the animal self which is opposed to the Sacred Law. The traveller must subdue the passions by exerting himself through ascetic discipline and spiritual struggle. Passion (shahwa) is closely linked to caprice (hawa) and is one of the layers which cover the heart.
(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".