In the Name of Allah, Most Compassionate, Most Merciful.
"Embark in this [ship]! In the name of God be its run and its riding
at anchor! Behold, my Sustainer is indeed much-forgiving, a dispenser
of grace!" (Hud 11:41)
On one of the most powerful nights in the history of humanity, the
Night Journey and the Ascension, (Laylat al Isra' wal Miraj) the Holy
Prophet Muhammad was taken from Mecca to Jerusalem:
"Glory to (Allah) Who did take His slave for a Journey by night
from the Sacred Mosque to the furthest Mosque, whose surroundings We
did bless,- in order that We might show him some of Our Signs: for surely
He is the One Who is All Hearing, All-Seing". (The Ascension 17:1).
From the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem, he was taken physically and
spiritually through time and space to witness and hear everything. The
verse of the Holy Qur'an says 'in order that We might show him our signs'.
The verse of the Holy Qur'an "We are nearer to you than your jugular
vein" demonstrates that Allah is always near to us, not in any
particular location. And Allah says that 'He is with you wherever you
This night signals the greatest awakening of the human consciousness
ever. The Universal Man, in flesh and blood, travelled through time
and space to enter a state out of time and space. What is truly beautiful
in this is that the precise word of the Holy Qur'an, the final message
to humanity used is 'slave' '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 (fana' fillah), where all duality
vanished and distinctions were erased, he returns to creation (baqa')
with perfect spiritual courtesy (adab) and with the Truth of Certainty
(haqq al yaqin) 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
If we become slaves of Allah and follow in the footsteps of the Holy
Prophet , then
this door of ascension is open until the end of time. This is the pure
love and Mercy from The Merciful. If Allah had said 'Prophet' or 'Messenger',
then the opportunity for this celestial travel would have been limited
to them alone. If we become true slaves to the Oneness of Allah and
nothing else, not slaves to our whims and fancies and ego worshipping
and implement the proper discipline of this higher teaching, we will
surely live our own personal Ascensions.
It was during this great night2 , that the method of
the ritual prayer, whose cycle began with the Prophet Adam and closed
with the Holy Prophet ,
was completed as a gift to all of humanity. When performed properly
and with total awareness, this prayer becomes the vehicle that we travel
in to ascend through the seven heavens to the presence of Allah. It
has been said that prayer cannot be valid without the presence of the
heart. The Holy Prophet Muhammad
said "The prayer is the ascension of the believer". This is
our own, personal 'Vehicle of Light', which has the power to enlighten
us, open our heart and the subtle centres of the heart and bring us
nearer to our Lord. Then we will realise the true meaning of the verse:
"Prostrate yourself and draw near" (The Clot 96:19).
The movement of the sun and the five daily prayer
times. From the "Book of the Shadhiliyya - Orisons"
1.The Language of the Future. Murshid F. A. Ali ElSenossi
2.The mention of night is not to be taken lightly. It is only at night
when our senses and transitory self, our personalities and minds are
quiet that we may start to experience glimpses of this great gift.
The preparation required to embark on the Vehicle of Light
involves many different levels, but, for the moment, we will concern
ourselves with three of them:
What we refer to as the outer is the body, the inner is the mind; and
the innermost is the Source of the body and mind; which is the spirit.
Because of the simplicity and the seriousness of this journey in the
Vehicle of Light, the passenger, his luggage (and his excess baggage),
must be checked very thoroughly by the passenger himself. This is totally
his own responsibility.
The language of the teaching is highly symbolic; everything around us
is a sign to point us towards increased awareness of Allah. Of the symbols
used in the teaching, water is one of the most powerful. Allah says
in the Holy Qur'an:
"And from water We made every living thing" (The Prophets
As water gives life, so too does knowledge give life. Water here, is
a symbol for knowledge - knowledge of our outer self and our inner self.
Water may be used as a means to activate our consciousness - to 'check
our baggage', excess or otherwise. The Holy Prophet
said with regards to this "Whoever purifies himself with water,
his negative actions will drip from his body until he becomes (as pure)
as a newborn child". It will be of great benefit to visualise the
actions that one wishes to cleanse the body of at the time of the ablution.
One of the great teachers and followers of the Holy Prophet ,
Imam Abu Hanifa, was a man of great knowledge and unveiling. With his
unveiling, he observed this saying of the Holy Prophet
in action. When the people would make their ablutions, he was able to
witness their bad actions dripping off of them, carried away by the
water which purified their bodies.
With regards to the actions of the body - we know that every action
begins from the inward (intention), moves outwards, then back to the
inward. Because of the way we look at things, we generally judge actions
by way of the second movement. For this reason, we will concentrate
for a while on the actions that are committed by our limbs and how the
water is utilized to awaken the consciousness. When this occurs, then
we are able to visualise and account for the returning aspect of every
action on the scale of improvement. We should look at the action we
have performed, deciding whether the action is positive or negative,
good or bad, whether or not it benefits humanity and whether the action
will bring us closer to God or take us further away from Him.
The scales we use to weigh our actions are not just any scales. We cannot
judge an action as correct just because we think it is right or because
our friends happen to agree with us - or because the majority of society
seems to think it is correct. Certainly these are not the scales we
The Vehicle of Light is a method, which has been introduced and perfected
by 124,000 of the greatest teachers of mankind, the prophets of God.
The scales we will use to measure our actions are the Divine Scales.
"The Most Gracious! It is He who has taught the Qur'an. He has
created man: He has taught him intelligent speech. The sun and the moon
follow courses exactly computed; and the herbs and the trees, both alike
bow in adoration. And the firmament He has raised high, and He has set
up the Balance of Justice, in order that ye may not transgress due balance.
So establish weight with justice and fall not short in the balance"
(The Merciful 55:1-9).
What is mentioned here is the seriousness of the scales and the simplicity
of balancing the scales if we are thinking seriously of using the Vehicle
of Light. The change towards being balanced does not happen instantaneously,
but involves gradual, step-by-step change, starting with the small and
easy things. We have to understand that we cannot turn our lives into
what we desire overnight. Not until our desire becomes a real wish from
the centre of our will, will the total change take place. Then, and
only then, will we experience what Allah referred to when He said:
"Soon will We show them our Signs in the cosmos, and in their
own selves, until it becomes manifest to them that this is the Creative
Truth. Is it not enough that thy Lord does witness all things?"
(Explained in Detail 41:53).
"Just as [there are signs thereof] within your own selves: can
you not, then, see?" (The Winds that Scatter 51:21).
And the Holy Prophet
said, "Whoever knows himself, he will know his Lord". The
real meaning of these verses will open the doors of consciousness. Then,
the meaning of the saying of the great master Junayd "make your
ablution with the water of the Unseen if you are a man of Secrets"3
, will become apparent. When the mind reaches this stage, it will know
its own worth and realise that its place is behind the heart and not
before it (that is, to be led by the heart, rather than leading it).
It will hear and try to obey the saying of Junayd "Follow a leader
whom you used to lead".
The Holy Prophet
said "I am the City of Knowledge and Ali is her gate". When
the great master Ali ibn Abi Talib, may Allah be pleased with him, made
ablutions in preparation for his prayer, his complexion would turn pale
and yellow and he would tremble. When people asked of him the reason
for this, he replied "Do you not know before Whom I am about to
stand?" This great teaching of the final Prophet
is so powerful and unique that every activity starts from its intention,
not random action and habit.
The awareness of our purpose in entering the Vehicle of Light should
always be present within us and that goes for every other action from
the time we wake up from our sleep and slumber to the moment we go back
to rest again. When you are out of prayer, be as if you are in the prayer
- this is remembrance. When you say, 'By Thy Name I live and die', there
is no activity, no matter how small or large, without this awareness.
This is called the Sunnah; in a nutshell, the higher awareness of the
Real which is the practice of the Universal Man.
Sayyida Nafisah, the granddaughter of the Holy Prophet ,
was once asked what she thought of Imam Shafi'i, who, according to the
Saints of Allah, was the Qutb (Pole) of his time. She replied "I
think he is a man who knows how to make ablutions (wudhu)". This
is a great statement from one of the great women of Islam. She is the
one who read the entire Holy Qur'an 170,000 times in her grave before
she died. When she was asked about this practice, she replied "I
would like to put some light in my house before I enter it". In
our time, people live and die without reading the whole Qur'an even
once and the highly religious may spare a bit of time in the Holy month
of Ramadhan for reading. We should make reading a certain measure of
the Holy Qur'an part of our daily practice and to read what we know
inside the Vehicle of Light to transport ourselves and to connect with
3. The Subtle Centres of the Heart (Lata'if) are known as The Heart,
Spirit, Secret, The Hidden, and The Innermost.
Regarding, the ablution, the Holy Prophet
once asked his companions whether a man who washed himself five times
a day in a running stream would have any dirt left on him. They answered
that surely he would not. The Holy Prophet
then added that performing the prayer (salat) five times each day removes
all negative thoughts and bad actions from a person and removes all
There are three levels from which we perceive knowledge. These are the
physical realm (Nasut), the angelic realm (Malakut), which is the level
of the pure intellect; and the Divine realm (Lahut). Performing the
ablution (wudhu) with consciousness and awareness of every limb will
increase the sensitivity of our being so that we will be able to experience
the primordial self (Ayan ul Thabita) in the presence of Allah.
For this reason the Beloved of Allah, The Holy Prophet Muhammad
said "It is better to wait 40 years and turn to ashes than to pass
in front of a person in prayer".
The one in prayer is in direct communication with his or her Lord. To
interrupt the energy flow by carelessly passing in front of such a person
is very serious indeed as this blocks the mirror of the heart from reflecting
the Divine. The eye of the heart has the same sensitivity as the eye
of the head. Even something as small as an eyelash or grain of sand
can make us feel uncomfortable and irritated.
Allah has said, "Neither My Heavens or My Earth contain Me, but
the heart of My true believer contains Me". This 'containment'
does not refer to space, because Allah is beyond space and time. This
is containment of knowledge in the heart (ma'arifa).
"He it is Who created the heavens and the earth in six Days -
and His Throne was over the waters, that He might try you, which of
you is best in conduct" (Hud 11:7).
"Do not those that are veiled and blind to the Truth see that
the heavens and the earth were joined together (as one unit of creation),
before We clove them asunder? We made from water every living thing.
Will they not then believe?" (The Prophets 21:30).
The Ablution and the Secrets of the Human Body
The method of physical purification
There are many types of physical purification in the teachings. The
first is known as ghusl, and involves washing of the entire body. The
second is the wudhu, or ablution and the third method we will touch
on is called tayammum, which is to use natural rock or pure earth to
obtain purification for worship and prayer.
First, we must understand that our aim is to enter the presence of Allah,
and the purification required is the transformation of the inner self
from such base qualities as envy, greed, hatred, etc. To perform the
physical purification with this awareness will be of great benefit to
our spiritual development and this is called 'taking account' (muhasaba).
This is to be performed before you proceed further in the preparations
for your spiritual journey.
The most powerful energies contained within us as human beings are the
spiritual energy and the physical energy, which manifests in the form
of sexual energy. When we utilise this energy, we enter into a creative
state, forgetting our selves. If this available energy is used for a
spiritual purpose, great benefit is brought to our spiritual development.
When this energy is dispersed, then one is required to wash the entire
body to bring about the state of awareness and equilibrium that was
lost during the physical act, which momentarily brought about a state
of forgetfulness. It is compulsory to wash the entire body (ghusl) after
marital relations, wet dreams, after the woman's monthly cycle, and
after the time of childbirth. Any activity that causes the loss of energies
relating to the reproductive system requires us to wash the entire body,
thus restoring us to a state of awareness. So it becomes necessary to
use water, the symbol of knowledge, to restore us to our awakened state.
As we know, each of us creates with his imagination before it becomes
manifest in the physical realm. An example of this creation would be
art. Even though the inspiration for works of art comes from a higher
realm, we ascribe that inspiration to ourselves and this is where we
lose the Reality of the art itself. The highest form of creation is
the human being because he has the capability to know Divinity, even
though the Divine Essence of Allah is beyond knowing. Anyone who claims
that they have reached the Divine Essence has indeed severed his connection
with Divinity and the Divine because of the arrogance of the ego. 'Man
qaala qad wasl, faqad infasl' (Who said, 'I have reached', surely he
has been disconnected). That is the beauty of travelling within the
Vehicle of Light - it is a never ending journey. Because of this ability
to know Divinity, we have been placed as the viceregent of God upon
'Arsh al Haya' - The Throne of Life
The 'Throne of Life' is the Divine force which made it possible for
every thing to exist. This is water as in the above verse of the Holy
Qur'an 'We made from water every living thing'. We do not want to go
too deep into explanations of this particular verse - it is enough that
God Himself has stated that His Throne is above the waters, which is
a powerful symbol and a truth. We are made of water and without water
we perish. In the 21st century, the thinkers of the world and the researchers,
the white coated priests of the labs, are telling us that the 3rd World
War will happen because of the scarceness of resources, particularly
water. We do agree with such conclusions, but from a different perspective.
The Merciful and Loving Allah, in His final revelation to humanity,
told us that every created thing is guaranteed its sustenance from its
"There is no moving creature on earth but its sustenance depends
on Allah. He knows the time and place of its definite abode and its
temporary deposit: All is in a clear Record" (Hud 11:6).
With all the modern technology available to mankind, there is plenty
to go around - the problem is not with God, the problem is with humans.
They are greedy, stingy, selfish, self-serving, manipulative, and power-hungry.
We can see it on our colour televisions day in and day out. Cyclones,
tornadoes, earthquakes, tidal waves - these are caused by the condensation
of evil and negative actions and a severe disconnection from the Creative
Truth. You could say that we have abandoned Allah, Almighty God, so
we are now living in an asylum without doctors. The driving force is
the 'me, me, me' concept with everybody falling in love suddenly and
with an extreme rush to embrace their ugly self, that horrible child
within, that which we call the 'ego self'. 'The terrible twos' of modern
man have brought down on us the temper tantrums of two millenniums.
This is the Dajjal, or the Antichrist. The self that is blind to the
truth only sees with one eye - the material eye. We hoard everything
and we have poisoned everything. We destroyed our environment and only
attempted to 'close the gate after the horse had bolted'. The horse
of our self is out of control and running wild. As one of the great
Sufi Saints has said "Never in the history of humanity has civilization
been built purely on material foundations, and this is very dangerous".
The water that the scientists have mistaken for the H2O that they are
familiar with is in reality, true knowledge - knowledge of God, knowledge
of the sacred and knowledge of our own selves. This is the 'Water of
life'. If we don't find it, then, indeed, we will be in a cataclysmic
situation. As the saying goes, "man cannot live by bread alone".
The Merciful and Loving Allah has said in the Furqan, the Criterion:
"For each (such person) there are (angels) in succession, before
and behind him: They guard him by command of Allah. Verily never will
Allah change the condition of a people until they change it themselves
(with their own souls). But when (once) Allah wills a people's punishment,
there can be no turning it back, nor will they find, besides Him, any
to protect" (The Thunder 13:11).
This word of Allah has many interpretations by the people of knowledge
and the people of higher understanding tell us that every human being
is born pure and clean with Divine protection; with all of the creation
to assist and help him to attain to felicity. But if they change from
their original nature and counterfeit themselves, grafting onto a false
reality; you could say then that 'all Hell breaks loose'. Then people
cry out 'Where is God?' 'Why doesn't He help?' They have severed their
own communication wires, they never built their spiritual house on solid
foundations, and then they are surprised to find that when they finally
pick up the spiritual phone to make a call, there's no dial tone. Everyone
understands quite well what happens when we don't pay our bill to the
phone company. First, you get a reminder, then a warning, and then your
service is disconnected. It is the same with God. He has sent humanity
124,000 reminders and warnings, in the form of Prophets and Messengers,
and millions of Saints and teachers of God, yet we still pay no heed.
For Allah's sake people, let's take stock of ourselves and renew our
relationship with the One who created us, gave us life and provided
us with heaven and earth, so that we may become the true viceregent
of the Most Merciful. So let's clean and purify our selves, both inward
and outward, and return back to the Straight Path (al Sirat al Mustaqeem)
by washing our hearts with the tears of repentance and putting on the
clean garment of love of Allah and His Messenger .
Let's keep our selves and our homes clean and free from rubbish and
filth so that we may quench our thirst with the celestial waters of
real knowledge and put the light in our hearts so that the inner eye
will see clearly the way of success. No one arrived in this world of
his own accord, with the family, location and arrival time of his choosing.
We all arrived without any pockets (or bank cards to put in them) and
we leave the same way. That is something that no one will ever be able
to change. The only change is that when you return, all of the years
that you have stayed on earth, wining and dining as they say, without
any concern for other human beings or their well being, those activities,
those deeds, that account will travel inward with you and will have
to be settled. From an observer's point of view, the moment that we
die is very similar to sleep in the way that we can look at someone
sleeping without being aware of his inner condition. If he is having
a nightmare - it is his own private nightmare. It is the same with death.
For those who accumulate within themselves heedless actions and do not
make any attempt to awaken their consciousness during their stay on
earth, when their last breath is exhaled, the account becomes due. No
one gets off scot-free - you have to pay - it's the cosmic, Divine law.
Things have not been going so well lately for our Mother Earth and that
is all because of the mischievous children running upon her without
any proper direction or teaching to pull themselves from darkness to
light, from nightmares to beautiful dreams and visions, from stinginess
to generosity and kindness, from hatred to respect and love, from sickness
to blooming health and strength, from stupidity to knowledge and understanding,
from 'me, me, me', to 'we, we, we'. The greatest communities and societies
and nations give birth to wonderful human beings who care for one another
and love one another because they understand that the life of this world
As the Holy Prophet
has said 'When a man dies, his activities will cease in the earthly
realm except for three things, knowledge that brings benefit, charitable
works that continue to bring benefit to mankind, and a pious child who
does spiritual work and makes supplications for him'. And may Allah,
the Loving, the Merciful protect us from our selves and may He keep
our hearts connected to the great teaching of His Holy Prophet
and luminate our lives as the Chosen One has said:
"Oh, Allah, place light in my heart, light in my tongue, light
in my hearing, light in my sight; light above me and light below me,
light on my right, light on my left, light in front of me, light behind
me, place light in my soul; magnify for me light and amplify for me
light; make for me light and make me light. Oh Allah, grant me light
and place light in my nerves, in my body light; in my hair light and
in my skin [Oh Allah, make for me a light in my grave and a light in
my bones][Increase me in light, increase me in light, increase me in
light]. [Grant me light upon light]".
And may all the most beautiful and fragrant salutations and peace and
blessings be upon our beloved of the Beloved, Muhammad, al Mustapha,
his family, his wives his children and his companions and the companions
of the companions and all of those who follow his way from the beginning
of time to the end of time and beyond time.
Wa ma tawfiq illa billah. (And there is no success except through Allah).
Murshid F. A. Ali ElSenossi
For further reading:
1. The Treasure Magazine - Issue 8, Almiraj Sufi & Islamic Study
2. The Treasure Magazine - Issue 9
3. The Treasure Magazine - Issue 10
4. The Treasure Magazine - Issue 14
5. Audio CD - Ablution and Prayer, Murshid F. A. Ali ElSenossi, Almiraj
Sufi & Islamic Study Centre
6. Fortress of the Muslim - invocations from the Qur'an and Sunnah,
Darussalam publishing. $6.00