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


(Zuhd). This is the renunciation of all things connected to this world. It is a useful approach in the early stages of the Spiritual Path, but not desirable for the one who strives for perfection. Such asceticism implies renouncing the secondary causes which, in fact, are the means through which man gains knowledge of Allah.

See also: Abstinence Ascetic Ascetic discipline Equilibrium Perfection Secondary Causes Spiritual Struggle
(Wara'). During the initial stages on the Journey of Return there is an increase in abstinence which is brought about through fear of Allah. Abstinence, ascetic discipline and spiritual struggle are indispensable when the murid is struggling to achieve inner harmony and balance. The greater the purity of the traveller's heart the less need there is for abstinence. Having subdued his lower self he now holds the reins of his passions and desires.
(Zahid). An ascetic or pious renouncer. In the initial stages of Self-purification the murid, whose condition is one of imbalance, is required to develop an ascetic approach to his spiritual work and his daily existence. He is required to take up asceticism as a means with which to travel the Path to purity and higher knowledge. The danger lies in looking upon both the ascetic and his asceticism as the goal of spiritual endeavour. The one who clings to his own asceticism and renunciation has lost his way. The Goal is Allah therefore the sincere seeker of Allah must use every means available to take him to his precious goal. There are certain practices and disciplines and states which can be discarded and left behind once they have done their job and achieved the desired result. Asceticism and the ascetic himself fall into this category. The zahid who is under the Divine deception is the one who continually practises asceticism and renounces the secondary causes, without reflecting upon the meanings contained within the forms.
(Riyada). Throughout the initial stages of the Journey of Return to Allah, when the traveller is in a condition of disequilibrium, he is required to exert himself in spiritual struggle and ascetic discipline (riyada). By applying himself to the discipline of his ego and opposing its desires, he may come to a greater understanding of his purpose in life. With Allah's Grace this will bring him to a state of greater harmony and balance. As with all of the methods of the higher teaching, ascetic discipline is a 'means' and not an 'end in itself'. When perfect balance is attained the knower of Allah replaces his asceticism with moderation. The greatest riyada of the knowledgeable slave is to refrain from denying Allah in any form and from delimiting Allah by Incomparability. Allah is absolutely incomparable with any declaration of His Incomparability, because such a declaration delimits Allah!
(I'tidal). Equilibrium and balance. Spiritual equilibrium is attained through assuming the noble character traits which were perfected in the Holy Prophet Muhammad (May the Salutations of Allah be upon him and Peace). Under the direction of the Murshid, who is a divine physican, the murid's constitution may be brought into harmony and (I'tidal); equilibrium and balance. Perfection is an equilibrium in which all of the Divine Names are in balance. No one Name predominates over another. This is the perfect balance of the Perfect Man, who is a locus of manifestation for the All-Comprehensive Name 'Allah'. The Name 'Allah' contains all the Divine Names.
(Ihsan). Excellence or perfection or sanctifying virtue or spiritual beauty. Ihsan has three degrees: 1).To do the good that should be done with one's property, words, acts and states. 2). To worship with total presence like one was actually seeing one's Lord. 3). To contemplate Allah in all things, at all times and always. Perfection is the third rung on the seven-runged ladder of Knowledge. These seven levels are Islam, Iman; Ihsan; 'Ilm al yaqin; 'Ayn al yaqin; Haqq al yaqin; Islam. (Surrender, Faith, Perfection, Knowledge of Certainty, The Eye of Certainty, The Truth of Certainty and Total Surrender and Submission).
(Asbab). These were established as a means by which man can come to know Allah, yet for the majority of mankind the secondary causes act as veils over Reality.
(Mujahadah). The spiritual struggle and endeavour against the passions and downward-pulling tendencies of the lower self. Mujahadah is the ceaseless combat called the Greater Holy War. The war is fought with the celestial weapons of the Remembrance of Allah. The mature ones of the Path, those who 'know Allah', say that mujahadah is child's play! The real work of Men is Divine Knowledge.

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