The Language of the Future
by Murshid F.A. Ali ElSenossi
(Bala). The friends of Allah are visited by many sicknesses and tribulations. Affliction refers to bodily illnesses and diverse troubles. It is Allah's favour to His friends. They love only Allah and see only Allah, so whatever comes from Allah is good. On the Day of Alast when the sons of Adam answered "Yes" to the Divine Address of "Am I not your Lord?", the Lovers of Allah answered 'Bala', which means both 'Yes' and 'Affliction'.
(Alastu bi Rabbikum?) (The Qur'an 7:171). These words were spoken in Pre-Eternity when Allah addressed the as yet 'non-existent' sons of Adam. This Primordial Covenant is called by the Sufis 'The Day of Alast'.
(Imtinaan). A free gift or a gratuitous kindness. The Divine Mercy is an essential mercy in that it is a free gift to every existent thing. Nothing is excluded from this gift of His Infinite Mercy.This comes under the Name Al Manaan (The Giver of all Good).
(Shukr). Gratitude or thankfulness. The station of gratitude indicates an all-pervading awareness of the immensity of Allah's Grace upon His slave. The man who combines gratitude with patience is the man of wisdom.
(Sabr). Perfect patience is to surrender unconditionally, to the Will of Allah, accepting whatever becomes manifest in each indivisible moment. Sabr is a supreme virtue because it requires total and knowing surrender. The man who combines patience (sabr) with gratitude is the man of wisdom.
(Ubudiyya). What is slavehood? To leave that which is yours and to be steadfast upon that which you have been commanded. Slavehood is the state of the one who is drawing near to Allah through acts of devotion. 'Ubudiyya is 'the Nearness of supererogatory works' which is the lowest of the four stations of Perfection. The lover-knower-slave of Allah becomes adorned with the attributes of slavehood ('Ubudiyya) and servitude ('Ubuda) after having lost himself in annihilation in Allah. In becoming 'no thing' the slave is returned to the creation with the Perfection of Servitude ('ubuda).
(Ibtila). In being subjected to trial and affliction (Bala') the Sufi gains more Knowledge of Allah, Who is the First Cause. When hard times come the Sufi has a feast day, because he sees beyond the trial to Allah Himself. He sees beyond the contraction to The One Who Contracts. For ordinary man there can be a negative side to his assuming the traits of the Divine Names. In manifesting such Names as the Slayer, the Avenger or the Terrible-in-Punishment, man faces a trial (ibtila).