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

man'arafa nafsahu 'arafa rabbah
He who knows his own Self, knows his Lord

(Man' arafa nafsahu 'arafa Rabbah). This hadith contains the very essence of the Sufi Teaching and is therefore one of the strongest supports of the higher teaching. In knowing one's own self one attains to Knowledge of Allah. But this is not Knowledge of Allah as the Essence, because such knowledge is impossible for the slave. None knows Allah but Allah. None sees Allah but Allah. None worships Allah but Allah. The Spiritual Journey is from the lower self to the Higher Self and on reaching knowledge of the Higher Self one reaches knowledge of one's Lord.

See also: Abiding Annihilation Ascension of decomposition Ascent of composition Knowers of Allah Lord Self Servitude Slave Spiritual Realities Traveler Travelling
(Fana'). Self-annihilation or self-effacement or dissolution or passing away from self. Through being joined to Allah, the Real; man is annihilated from himself - the 'limited existence' of the traveller is overpowered by the 'absolute existence' of Allah, so that the traveller becomes unaware of his own self and the creation. Fana' is the last stage on the ascent to Allah. When travelling to the Source, the seeker passes through different levels of fana', each of which brings him closer to his Goal. There are hundreds, even thousands, of fana's. Every time a form of ignorance is removed to be replaced by knowledge, the murid has experienced fana'. He has tasted the annihilation of an ignorance. And, every moment of existence is in fact a moment which is pregnant with its own particular knowledge. So, for the aware one, each moment can be a fana'. However, within the higher teaching of Tasawwuf  there are three major types of fana', through which the murid must travel if he is to reach the Absolute. These are Annihilation in the Murshid/Spiritual Guide, Annihilation in the Messenger and Annihilation in Allah.
('Uruj at tarkib).The supra-formal spiritual ascent of composition (which is actually a descent), during which man journeys from inward non-manifestation within the Knowledge of Allah to outward manifestation within the world. Man's Return Journey to Allah is the spiritual ascent of decomposition.
(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.
(Maula). The Holy Prophet Muhammad (May the Salutations of Allah be upon him and Peace) said, "Whose lord I am, his lord is Ali".
(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".
('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.
('Abd). The slave (and worshipper) is the one who is in a state of total and utter submission to the Will of Allah. After having been annihilated in Allah where all duality vanished and distinctions were erased, he returns to creation with perfect courtesy and with the Truth of Certainty that 'the Lord is the Lord and the slave is the slave'. When 'abd is translated as 'servant' it carries the implication that the servant can leave the service of his Master, if he so desires. However, the 'slave' is in total bondage, being utterly dependent upon his Master. All buying and selling transactions have been terminated. The slave belongs to Allah, completely, perfectly and unconditionally.
(Haqaiq). Each existent entity has its own specific spiritual reality which is its relationship with the Real (al Haqq).
(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.

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