The Language of the Future
by Murshid F.A. Ali ElSenossi
Unveiling through reason
(Kashf 'aqli). This is the lowest grade of intuitive knowledge. Allah cannot be known and loved through reason (al 'Aql) because it acts as a fetter, holding man back from the final stages of his ascent. Allah is embraced in the heart, not in the mind. "My Heavens and my earth contain Me not, but the heart of My believing slave does contain Me".
(Hayrah). Bewilderment, perplexity or wonderment. Hayrah indicates a moment of utter perplexity, when the mind ceases to function, unable as it is to resolve or find an answer to a particular spiritual impasse. At such a blessed time, for it is by the Grace of Allah that such bewilderment was reached, the murid must attempt not to panic or give up. Out of this knot of bewilderment a spiritual reality is given the opportunity to unravel and reveal itself in shattering clarity. The Ultimate bewilderment is that possessed by the knowers and lovers of Allah. They are utterly bewildered because they have found Allah and in finding Allah they know that He is Unknowable yet in each moment they are opened to a fresh and new Knowledge of Allah! 'So, Glory be to Allah Who is known only through the fact that He is not known!'
(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.
('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.
(Shawq). Intense longing and yearning for the Beloved. Shawq is a yearning to behold the Beloved, and a longing for nearness to the Beloved, and a longing for union with the Beloved, and an intense longing for increase in perpetual longing. It is said that breath is a movement of yearning towards the Beloved and within the breathing enjoyment is experienced. The breathing of the ecstatic who is under the pull of the Divine Attraction bears witness to this.
The Reality of shawq is that the luminous fire takes over the heart and there is no medicine for it except for meeting of the Beloved. The intense fire in the heart comes about because of the separation between the one who desires and the One who is desired. When the meeting takes place, the fire of longing will be extinguished. In the state of secretness, what increases is the witnessing of the Beloved, and shawq has no place there. One of the lovers of Allah said 'Do you desire Allah?' he answered 'No', because you only desire that which is absent from you and my Beloved is always present with me. The unification of this factor is in the unification of the spiritual resolve towards Allah and the continous journeying to Him - that is 'To worship Allah like you see Him, and if you do not see Him, be certain that He sees you'. He is with you in the present moment, for this reason, you do not desire Him, because you are with Him. Shawq is he need of the heart to meet the Beloved.
(Hubb). Love is the motivating force of Allah's Self-disclosure which is His creation of the creation. This is indicated in the Hadith Qudsi "I was a Hidden treasure and I loved to be known and so I created the creation". It is this love (Hubb) which motivates the lover (Muhibb) to turn towards the Beloved (Mahbub) with a total turning.
('Ishq). Intense, overflowing and passionate love of Allah. Some say that 'ishq cannot arise without actual vision of the Beloved. 'Ishq is the highest stage before absorption in Allah. It is as rare as the red sulphur. It burns away everything of the lover ('Ashiq) transforming him into the beloved. After annihilation in Allah and absorption in Allah, where all is blindness and there is no longer any vision, the lover is separated from the Beloved and his 'ishq burns afresh. Passionate love of Allah is without limit.