The Language of the Future
by Murshid F.A. Ali ElSenossi
Greater Holy War
(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.
(Dar). House or abode or dwelling. When a murid is engaged in spiritual warfare and struggle his physical body is the 'abode of warfare' (Dar-ul-Harb). Within this abode there reside Allah's enemies; all the infidels, unbelievers and tyrants. They must be subdued. The purified human body (and the sanctified heart which it contains) then becomes the 'abode of Islam' (Dar-ul-Islam) and the 'abode of peace' (Dar-us-Salam). Now it is blessed and worthy of being called Allah's temple. The Sacred City of Medina, the City of the Holy Prophet Muhammad is referred to as 'the Abode' (ad-Dar). And the lover sits and knocks on the door of the Sacred House yearning for a word, a glance or a message from the Beloved. One Great Lover said "For years I thought I was knocking from the outside, but the whole time I was really knocking from the inside!"
(Dhikr). Remembrance, invocation or glorification of Allah, through the repetition of one of His Names or a phrase to His Glory. True dhikr is a spiritual state in which the one who remembers (dhakir) concentrates all of his physical and spiritual powers upon Allah so that his entire being may be united with the Absolute. It is the fundamental practice of the Sufi Path and may be undertaken in solitude or in gatherings. Specific breathing patterns are central to the effectiveness of the dhikr.
(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".
(Safar). This is the Journey from the multiplicity of the periphery to the Unity at the Centre. The safar commences when the heart is turned towards Allah through His Remembrance. Safar is the Spiritual Journey through the various stations, from the self to the Self..
(Mujahadah). The spiritual struggle and endeavour against the passions and downward-pulling tendencies of the lower self. Mujahadah is the ceaseless combat called the Greater Holy War. The war is fought with the celestial weapons of the Remembrance of Allah. The mature ones of the Path, those who 'know Allah', say that mujahadah is child's play! The real work of Men is Divine Knowledge.
(Awrad). This is the spiritual work undertaken by the murid with the direct permission of his Murshid. The awrad consists of units of dhikr, in the form of repetition of Divine Names, Qur'anic verses and sacred litanies. Within tariqa it is the actual doing of the awrad which results in a gradual and beautiful inner transformation. However the degree of spiritual transformation depends, firstly and ultimately upon the Grace of Allah, but also upon the purity of intention and sincerity of the murid. The Murshid distributes the awrad, but it is the murid who is required to do the awrad.
(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.