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

ahl'l-Tariqa (ahl'l-Tasawwuf)
People of the Path

(Ahl al Tariqa/Ahl al Tasawwuf). The people of the higher teachings of Islam. They follow the path (tariqa) which was set down by the Prophets of Allah and perfected by the Holy Prophet Muhammad. They are the ones who have turned towards Allah through the Remembrance of His Most Holy Name 'Allah'. Their efforts and struggles are directed inwards to purification and transformation of the self. They are the travellers from the lower self to the Higher Self.

See also: Ascension of decomposition Higher teaching Pledge of Initiation Presence Remembrance Self Travelling
(Tasawwuf). Also known as the science of the self, tasawwuf is based upon the Teachings of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (May the Salutations of Allah be upon him and Peace). It is known in the West as Sufism or Islamic mysticism. Tasawwuf is the acquisition of the noble character traits through purification of the heart, and is based on four foundations - Returning to Allah, asking forgiveness, developing spiritual consciousness and good actions (tauba, istighfaar, taqwa and amal salih). The one who aspires to Knowledge of Allah is called a mutasawwif. The Purified One who has made the Journey of Return, from his lower self to his Higher Self, is a Sufi. The Perfect Sufi, who is unknown to others, is from the People of Blame. The Master of the People of Blame, the sufis, the ones who aspire, the believers and the non-believers is the Holy Prophet Muhammad (May the Salutations of Allah be upon him and Peace). Tasawwuf is the Science which takes the traveller through the unending degrees of knowing Allah. Our Master Muhammad the Chosen One is the means by which his followers, lovers and slaves, may attain to Allah Almighty. Tasawwuf is Spiritual and moral Courtesy. To every time, there are manners and to every state there are manners. Whoever holds fast to the higher ethics of all of his times, will reach the higher place of the People of Allah. The one who sees the generosity of Allah upon him in every state, has the glad tidings that he will not follow the path of destruction.The manifestation of good manners outwardly is an indication to good manners inwardly as the Holy Prophet said: “If his heart is in a state of submission then his limbs will follow suit”. Whoever loses his good manners, is far away even though he may think he is near. He has been turned back from the same way that he thinks acceptance is taking place.
(Hadra). Presence or world or plane or level. Hadra also refers to the gathering where the collective remembrance of Allah is performed.
(Dhikr). Remembrance, invocation or glorification of Allah, through the repetition of one of His Names or a phrase to His Glory. True dhikr is a spiritual state in which the one who remembers (dhakir) concentrates all of his physical and spiritual powers upon Allah so that his entire being may be united with the Absolute. It is the fundamental practice of the Sufi Path and may be undertaken in solitude or in gatherings. Specific breathing patterns are central to the effectiveness of the dhikr.
(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".
(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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