(Ma'rifa) is a light which Allah casts into the heart of whomsoever He Wills. This is the true knowledge which comes through unveiling, witnessing and tasting. This knowledge is from Allah, it is not Allah Himself, because He Is Unknowable in His Essence. The triad on the Sufi Path of Return is comprised of Fear, Knowledge and Love. Fear leads to Knowledge which leads to Unconditional Love of Allah. It is said that spiritual struggle is child's play while ma'rifa is men's work.
(Basirah). Insight. The basirah is the inner eye which perceives the World of the Unseen. Man's basirah is veiled and covered with a rust which can only be removed through the sincere practising of the Remembrance of Allah. Insight is one of the forms of direct knowledge of Reality.
('Aql). The intellect or the faculty of reason. The word 'aql derives from 'iqal which means fetter. The intellect fetters man and it also puts its hooks into him, preventing him from making the final stages of the ascent. On the ascension to Allah (mi'raj) there is a point which is indicated by the term 'The Lote tree of the Uttermost Boundary'. It marks the 'place' where reason (the fetter) must be left behind. From this point onwards the traveller journeys with passionate love, yearning and bewilderment. On the Ascension of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (May the Salutations of Allah be upon him and Peace) it was at the Lote tree of the Uttermost Boundary that his companion, the Archangel Gabriel (Peace be upon him) stopped through fear of being annihilated. This station of fear is the highest point to which the intellect can attain.
(Al 'Arifin/'Urufa). They see and recognize Allah wherever they look. The knowers are bewildered. But this is not the bewilderment of being lost, rather it is the bewilderment of having found Allah. They know that He cannot be known. The knowers are nothing because they are everything.
(Muhibb) This Name may be applied to Allah Himself when considering His slave to be His beloved, or it may be applied to the slave himself whose Beloved is Allah. In reality there is only one Beloved of Allah and that is the Holy Prophet Muhammad (May the Salutations of Allah be upon him and Peace) and it is only through being annihilated in him that the lover of Allah may be transformed into the beloved of Allah. The lover (Muhibb) is the one who is enraptured by Allah's Beauty in contrast to the knower ('Arif) who remains in sobriety in the face of all of Allah's Self-disclosures (Tajalli). The knower who is also a lover is in a state of Perfection (Kamal) being inwardly intoxicated and outwardly sober. Such a friend (Wali) has attained perfect balance and harmony. He is the Perfect Man.
(Fath). This is one of the forms of direct knowledge by which Allah 'opens the door' to the Unseen World. It is the direct knowledge of Allah disclosing Himself to the heart. This 'opening through tasting' is a knowledge which belongs exclusively to the People and the Elect of Allah.
('Ubada). Servitude and bondage. This is the fulfilment and consummation of slavehood ('ubudiyya) when the slave loses himself in the Will of his Lord. 'Ubada is 'the Nearness of obligatory works' which is one of the four stations of Perfection. To realize 'ubuda is to be gifted with a very high degree of Knowledge of Allah. To know that 'the slave is the slave and the Lord is the Lord' is the supreme form of spiritual courtesy towards Allah. The Holy Prophet Muhammad al Mustapha (May the Salutations of Allah be upon him and Peace) is the Beloved of Allah and His Chosen One. No one is more perfect than him. No one can attain to his Knowledge. Yet Allah says in The Qur'an, "Glory be to Him Who carried His slave by night" (17:1). The slave is in bondage ('ubuda). Bondage is Perfection. Bondage is Knowledge.
(Dhawq). Taste or direct spiritual experience. This is the first stage of the experience of Allah's Self-disclosure. It is followed by 'drinking' and 'quenching' and sometimes by the final stage 'intoxication'. Those who have tasted know. Those who have not tasted do not know. Without direct tasting there can be no Knowledge of Allah.
(Kashf). Unveiling or revelation is one of the types of direct experience through which Knowledge of Reality is unveiled to the heart of the slave and lover. In His Infinite Grace Allah gives His slave and lover a Divine Self-disclosure which not only increases his Knowledge of Allah but also increases his yearning and intense love of Allah. The great Sufis are called The People of Unveiling and Finding. Within the unveiling they find Allah. This unveiling and finding frequently occurs during the spiritual concert. In a moment, when it is perceived through unveiling that 'Allah is the singer and Allah is the hearer', the singer and the hearer become One, disappearing into Allah.
(Al Muhaqqiqun). These great ones form the highest category of friends of Allah. They follow no one's authority because in themselves they have verified and realized [through unveiling and finding], the truth and reality of all things which is Allah, the Real. They are also known as'The People of Unveiling and Finding'.
(Mushahadah). Witnessing or vision. Mushahadah is one kind of direct knowledge of Reality. This witnessing occurs in various ways. Some of the travellers and Men of the Path witness Allah in the things. Some witness Allah before or after or with the things. And some witness Allah Himself. And, because Allah never discloses Himself in the same form in two successive moments to any thing, the witnessing (mushahadah) is infinite and endless. This is one of the kinds of bliss experienced by the people of the garden.