The Language of the Future
by Murshid F.A. Ali ElSenossi
(Lata'if). This term generally refers to the subtle essences (or centres) in the body. The cleansing of the subtle centres forms the spiritual struggle of the Path. The cleansing of each separate latifah marks a stage in the Journey of Return. Lata'if also defines the subtleties within the being of the knower and lover of Allah. The mystical vision during the spiritual concert prepares a thousand of these lata'if within the ecstatic.
(Salat) refers particularly to the ritual prayer. It is a connection between the slave and his Lord. The ritual ablution which precedes the salat symbolizes the separation from the self. The salat itself symbolizes the joining to Allah. The seven bodily postures of the ritual prayer are symbols of the stages on the Spiritual Journey of Return to the Source and also the seven levels of knowledge through which the traveller (salik) passes on his ascent. As 'the one who performs the prayer' (musalli) approaches closer to Allah, the more profound and intense is his salat. The Holy Prophet Muhammad said, "The prayer without you is better than seventy". As his heart is purified through spiritual struggle and the Remembrance of Allah, and as he journeys along the Path of Return, the traveller leaves his lower-self behind. Initially the Divine Light radiates into the heart of the musalli-salik. Gradually this Light increases and spreads, and eventually, through the Infinite Grace of Allah, it infuses and permeates every atom of his being. Then does he pray a prayer which is without himself, because 'None worships Allah but Allah'.
(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".
(Latif). Subtle or delicate or fine, as opposed to dense and thick. For the knower who 'sees things as they are', the dense and solid objects are seen to be very subtle (latif). This knowledge is one of the important unveilings of the Path. Also an indication to any idication of delicate meaning that gives a hint to the understanding that is not contained by the literal expression.