(Fana fil Murshid/Shaykh). Fallen man cannot, by his own resources, reach Annihilation in Allah.. He requires a Spiritual Guide, a Murshid, who is a pure receptacle for the Divine Outpouring which emanates from the Holy Prophet Muhammad. This Outpouring comes through his Teaching, and from the Divine Book of Allah, the Qur'an, which contains all the mysteries of life and which was brought to all of creation by the Holy Prophet. Annihilation in the Spiritual Guide occurs when this Teaching of the Prophet Muhammad, which is passed on by the Murshid, enters the murid's heart and becomes firmly established. The murid becomes absorbed by the Teaching, through constant meditation and contemplation of Allah.
What is the meaning of Annihilation in one’s Spiritual Guide? We would have to say that the seeker will be absorbed. This is far beyond the way of respect, honouring the wishes of and following the teaching of the Murshid; which is the normal standard in any field of life when we are learning a trade, regardless of what that trade is. In the higher teaching, Fana fil Murshid is a very serious and powerful experience and is one of the keys to developing the higher stages of awareness. The murid, besides the standard way of feeling the Murshid’s presence and keeping his thoughts on the Murshid - in his contemplations may experience the engulfing of himself by the Murshid through certain powerful conditions. Literally, he feels that he is within the physical body of the Murshid. It is not sentimental thinking or respect or being obedient to the requests of the Murshid, but there is a powerful link – as the saying goes “Ruhi ruhaak ya Ruhi”. The two become one. The murid, in his spiritual practices, will experience that he is within the Murshid to the highest degree, so that even when looking in the mirror, he may experience that he is looking with the eyes of the Murshid.
This is a brief indication to the meaning of fana fil Murshid. This experience opens the door to the realities of the Holy Prophet and the accessibilities to the Universal Man, or you could say, The Reality of Muhammad. This transition is very necessary - if one does not experience this; to a certain degree he will always be alienating himself from a part of the teaching - this overpowering experience of Fana fil Murshid.