The Language of the Future
by Murshid F.A. Ali ElSenossi
(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.
(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!'
(Khawf). Fear acts as a warning of something terrifying in the future. In the initial stages of the Spiritual Journey the murid experiences great fear of the treachery of his own self, and also the fear of falling short of his Murshid's directions. However, when this fear is complimented with hope the murid finds the courage and the strength with which to attack the inner enemies. Fear of Allah leads to Knowledge of Allah which opens into Love of Allah. The lover who has found Allah fears losing Allah. Such a fear may overcome the lover who has found Allah in ecstasy during the sama'.
('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.
(Dhawq). Taste or direct spiritual experience. This is the first stage of the experience of Allah's Self-disclosure. It is followed by 'drinking' and 'quenching' and sometimes by the final stage 'intoxication'. Those who have tasted know. Those who have not tasted do not know. Without direct tasting there can be no Knowledge of Allah.
(Mushahadah). Witnessing or vision. Mushahadah is one kind of direct knowledge of Reality. This witnessing occurs in various ways. Some of the travellers and Men of the Path witness Allah in the things. Some witness Allah before or after or with the things. And some witness Allah Himself. And, because Allah never discloses Himself in the same form in two successive moments to any thing, the witnessing (mushahadah) is infinite and endless. This is one of the kinds of bliss experienced by the people of the garden.