(Ru'yah) It is within a dream vision that much of the Sufi Teaching may be transmitted, from a higher realm, to the dreamer. Within a dream vision meanings become clothed in forms. The knower is the one who knows what Allah means by the observed image in the vision. He is true to his vision and gives it its due. The learner is the one who does not know what Allah means but he has the aptitude and capacity to advance to the level of knowledge. His ru'yah must be interpreted for him because he deems the vision to be true. In other words, he takes the observed images as veridical and corresponding to the external world, until Allah teaches him and he knows the meaning.
(Awliya). The friends of Allah. These are His Saints. Their knowledge is not derived from reflection. Allah has purified them of that type of knowledge. They possess the opening of unveiling through Allah, the Real, Himself. The awliya are those with unbroken awareness of Allah. These Perfect Men have attained to the highest of all human degrees.
(Waqi'a). This is a true dream or vision which derives from the essence of man. An Incident is identified with heralding visions and the 'beginnings of divine revelation'. An 'incident' may be seen in sleep, in annihilation or in wakefulness.
(Ilham). Divine inspiration or effusion. Ilham is an blowing in of the Holy Spirit into the heart of a Prophet or a Friend of Allah. Ilham is distinct from Revelation which is specific only to the Prophets of Allah. The Divine Ilham is the immense spiritual force through which the Friends of Allah speak their words of Wisdom, write their books of Knowledge, sing their songs of Divine Love. Only the purified heart which has been sanctified through the remembrance of Allah is worthy of this inblowing of ilham. The Verified Shaykh can recognise the one into whom it is blown and the work of creative inspiration which results from that inblowing. The Word of Allah descends firstly as Revelation (wahy), secondly as Inspiration (ilham) and thirdly as Incoming Thoughts (khawatir).
(Nawm). The hadith says, "Man is asleep and when he dies he wakes". The Sufi is the one who has died to self and is awake in the Supreme Self. Once man has awoken there is no more sleep. Within mystical poetry and Sufi songs the lover often complains to the Beloved Who has taken away his sleep and given him no rest for his limbs. In every moment of his existence each cell of the lover's body is restlessly pursuing the Beloved. Or sometimes this wakefulness is inexpressibly sweet "When You are here we stay up all night and when you are away I can't sleep. Praise be to Allah for these two insomnias!"
This term may also refer to the two ordinary kinds of sleep which are experienced by man. One is the type in which there is rest and ease from weariness, and the other is the type in which dreams occur. The second type is a transferral from the manifest side of sense perception to its nonmanifest side.