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


(Istilah). Each science has its own unique terminology through which the people of that science communicate with each other. The newcomer to that science must be taught the terminology which is relevant to his field of study. Tasawwuf, the Science of the Self, also has its own exclusive terminology (istilah), however, the fresh murid who sits with the Masters of the Path to learn, cannot be taught their terminology. Initially all of the words are merely forms and he cannot penetrate into the meanings, no matter how much verbal expression is given to each term. For those on the path of disentanglement, this is similar to when we are young - the words that we hear from our parents and others around us don't quite sink in until we grow up and experience life. Gradually, and after sincere spiritual struggle and endeavour, the maturing murid comes to realize that he now understands many of the terms which his Master uses. He has come to this understanding, this 'knowing', through his heart. Such direct knowledge is the result of 'tasting', and 'tasting' has to be experienced, it cannot be described. Yet, it is nonetheless of paramount importance, for both the seeker of Truth and the murid in a tariqa, to become acquainted with the terminology of this Language of the Future. Religious terminology is for the affairs of the physical body, for our existence on earth. As for 'istilah', the terminology of the higher teaching or 'Language of the Future', it is for the before, for the here and now, and for the hereafter. In other words, it is the language of the Real. One could live quite comfortably on this planet Earth without ever speaking to anyone else and still have his needs met. The language of the future, however, is always required - until you enter into the Deep Silence.

See also: Dictionary Higher teaching Silence Speech with words Speech without words
(Qamus). A qamus is a book full of definitions and meanings. Each human is a qamus. When man looks within his own self and contemplates the inner signs and meanings he may come to know Allah. To make the Journey into the self, and through the levels of the Self, is the most serious task to which a man can turn. However, he cannot travel without a guide. Not only is he unable to read the words of the dictionary but he is also unable to understand the definitions of those words. An authentic Spiritual Guide (Murshid) will take him safely to the Sacred Centre. Through verbal expression and symbolic allusion or indications, the Murshid will assist the murid and explain to him the words within his qamus. Whenever a man speaks or writes down what is within himself he is opening up his own qamus for others to read.
(Tasawwuf). Also known as the science of the self, tasawwuf is based upon the Teachings of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (May the Salutations of Allah be upon him and Peace). It is known in the West as Sufism or Islamic mysticism. Tasawwuf is the acquisition of the noble character traits through purification of the heart, and is based on four foundations - Returning to Allah, asking forgiveness, developing spiritual consciousness and good actions (tauba, istighfaar, taqwa and amal salih). The one who aspires to Knowledge of Allah is called a mutasawwif. The Purified One who has made the Journey of Return, from his lower self to his Higher Self, is a Sufi. The Perfect Sufi, who is unknown to others, is from the People of Blame. The Master of the People of Blame, the sufis, the ones who aspire, the believers and the non-believers is the Holy Prophet Muhammad (May the Salutations of Allah be upon him and Peace). Tasawwuf is the Science which takes the traveller through the unending degrees of knowing Allah. Our Master Muhammad the Chosen One is the means by which his followers, lovers and slaves, may attain to Allah Almighty. Tasawwuf is Spiritual and moral Courtesy. To every time, there are manners and to every state there are manners. Whoever holds fast to the higher ethics of all of his times, will reach the higher place of the People of Allah. The one who sees the generosity of Allah upon him in every state, has the glad tidings that he will not follow the path of destruction.The manifestation of good manners outwardly is an indication to good manners inwardly as the Holy Prophet said: “If his heart is in a state of submission then his limbs will follow suit”. Whoever loses his good manners, is far away even though he may think he is near. He has been turned back from the same way that he thinks acceptance is taking place.
(Sukun) is silence or stillness. This is the great silent stillness of the Essence to which the hearts of the lovers of Allah yearn to return.
(Kalam-i-tafsili). To attain to the Great Silence one must travel the Path laid down by the Prophets of Allah. In the early stages of the Spiritual Journey the traveller's tongue is in lively motion, full of words and questions and opinions. As he traverses the states and stations, ascending from the book, through the sentences, the words and the letters, his Kalam-i-tafsili lessens and his silence increases. Ultimately, awe and love and bewilderment make him speechless. From circumference to Centre. From multiplicity to Unity. From noise to Silence. From self to Self. Kalam-i-tafsili is the stage of separation.
(Kalam-i -dhati). This Speech is Allah's Speech. It is the Speech of the Essence Itself. Kalam-i-dhati is the Speech of the Source and the Source is the Great Silence. The People of the Essence, Allah's perfect slaves who are drowned in the Source Itself, speak in a silent and wordless language. Their spiritual affinity is total because each one of them drinks directly from the Fountain of Camphor in Paradise and has become one with the camphor. When the drop enters the Ocean there is no necessity for words to be spoken. The Holy Prophet Muhammad (May the Salutations of Allah be upon him and Peace) said, 'He who knows Allah, his tongue becomes silent'. Kalam-i-dhati is the stage of union. Speech without words (kalam-i-dhati) becomes manifest through Speech with words (kalam-i-tafsili).

Go Back