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

Lowest of the low

(Asfala safilin). This is the lowest point on man's descent from inward manifestation within Allah's Knowledge to outward manifestation within the world. It is from here that man starts his ascent, his Return Journey to Allah.

See also: Animality Ascension of decomposition Fixed Entities Greater Holy War Journey Night of the Ascension Self Spirit Traveller Travelling
(Hayawaniyyah). Creation is a hierarchy. Each entity has its own level which indicates its position within that hierarchy. The animals occupy their own level and in so doing they fulfil and complete all the requirements demanded by that level of manifestation. Man was created to become the locus of manifestation for the All-Comprehensive Name 'Allah'. He has been given the choice to return to Allah either as a 'human being' who has fulfilled his 'reason for being' or as a mere human who has the qualities of an animal. In this latter case he may be described by the word hayawaniyah - animality, because he has fallen beneath his own hierarchical level.
(Ayan al Thabita). The immutable entities or fixed prototypes or established essences or potentialities. These are the infinite and immutable Possibilities which are fixed in the Ipseity. The fixed entities are the images of the Divine Names and Qualities and 'things' of the Ipseity in the Presence of Knowledge, with specific individuation. The term signifies the essential character of every individual existing from eternity in the Divine Knowledge. They are established according to non-existence and they are not qualified by existence.
(Jihad al Akbar). This is the constant and vigilant inner warfare against ignorance, the passions and the vices of the lower self which drag man downwards away from Allah. It is the real struggle against the inner enemies, the inner unbelievers and the inner tyrants. The celestial weapon used in the Greater Holy War is the Remembrance of Allah.
Safar, Sayr - see 'Spiritual Journey' and 'Travelling'.
(Laylat al Mi'raj). The Holy Prophet Muhammad (May the Salutations of Allah be upon him and Peace), the slave of Allah ('Abdullah), was 'taken' to the Divine Presence on this 'night'. The word 'night' indicates that moment which is outside of time when Muhammad al Mustapha was blindfolded to everything that is other-than-Allah. In this timeless moment he was in a state of utter Unity . He had realized the Unity of Time, Unity of Place and Unity of Essence. In this state of inner unity he was 'taken' to the Divine Presence. He did not 'go' of his own accord, but was 'chosen' to be 'taken' on this 'night'. The Holy Prophet is the Beautiful Model and his Ascension is the ascension par excellence. By following in his footsteps the yearning lovers and devoted followers and bereft slaves hope to follow him to the Divine Presence. The chosen one (al Mustapha) is the Slave and he is also the Beloved of Allah. No one meets Allah by being a lover, only by being the Beloved. The Night of Ascension, the Night when man ascends to the Divine Presence, corresponds to the Night of Power when the Spirit descends to man.
(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".
(Ruh). The Ruh is that centre within man which is attracted and drawn back to its Source. The spirit endeavours to pull the heart towards Allah, while the lower self exerts a downward pull on the heart. The human spirit is also Allah's Spirit because Allah breathed His Spirit into man. In being both 'uncreated' and 'created' the Ruh makes its descent. On the Night of Power, "Therein descend the angels and the Spirit, by Allah's permission" (Qur'an 97:4). The 'uncreated' spirit is equated with the Reality of Muhammad and the 'created' spirit extends from the Divine Throne down to the Perfect Man. The Ruh cannot be seen except by the man who has outstripped 'both the worlds'. The spirit is neither within nor without the body, neither detached from it or attached to it. It is both within and without, detached and attached. The luminosity which radiates from a man depends upon the degree of activity of his Ruh.
(Musaffir) is the traveller (salik) who understands invisible things through the analogy of visible ones, thereby swimming from the shore of this world to the further shore.
(Suluk) is travelling or Wayfaring. Suluk is journeying along the Spiritual Path of Return to the Source. It is the methodical travelling, through the states and stations, under the direction of a Spiritual Master (Shaykh, Murshid). The one who travels is the salik. The advance of the slave towards Allah is really the advance of Allah towards His slave. "Verily, I desire them more than they desire Me" says the beautiful Hadith Qudsi.

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