Ihsan ( Ehsan or Ahsan) is an Arabic term meaning perfection or
excellence. In Islam, Ihsan is the Muslim responsibility to obtain
perfection, or excellence, in worship, such that Muslims try to worship
God (Arabic Allah) as if they see Him, and although they cannot see Him,
they undoubtedly believe he is constantly watching over them. That
definition comes from the hadith in which Muhammed (S.A.W.) states, "[Ihsan
is] to worship God as though you see Him, and if you cannot see Him,
then indeed He sees you." (Al-Bukhari and Al-Muslim).
The concept of Ihsan has been understood differently by various Islamic
scholars. For example, some scholars explain Ihsan as being the
"inner-dimension" of Islam whereas shariah is often described as the
"outer-dimension". Ihsan is excellence in worship, work, and in social
interactions. For example, ihsan includes sincerity during Muslim
prayers and being grateful to parents, family, and God.
Sufis have divided Ihsan into two parts :
i.e. to worship with the thought that God is seeing us.
i.e. to worship God as if we see Him.
Tajalliat (plural of tajalli) or Theophanous in the realm of being are
manifestations of the divine Truth with regard to infinite perfection
and eternal glory. The divine Theophanous are essentially the outpouring
of His Beauty, His Perfection and His Love which are expressed in the
immense theatre of the universe. The Existential Theophanous taken as a
whole comprise three levels which Ibn Arabi calls hadarât (Presences or
1 First level: Pure Essence
2 Second level: The Attributes
3 Third level: Acts
These are called existential Theophanous of the Essence. They are the
determinations of God in Himself, for Himself in His Essence
transcending all manifestation and form. The world from which these
Theophanous and their radiance spring is called Unity alam al-ahadiyya
(Realm of Unity). In this universe, the divine Essence appears as beyond
all description, name or qualification. It is the world of pure Essence
considered as Mystery of Mysteries and Secret of Secrets from which the
Theophanous of the Essence originate, the mirror in which the absolute
existential Reality is reflected.
These are the existential Theophanous of divine qualities. The
existential Theophanous of divine Attributes are the determinations of
God in Himself for Himself under the aspect of His intrinsic Names and
Attributes. The world specified for this type of theophany is alam al-wahda
(Realm of Unicity of the Essence with Its Attributes). God-Truth
manifests both in His Essence and in His intrinsic Perfection after his
concealment as "Hidden Treasure. This appearance arises by the mediation
of what Ibn Arabi calls the most holy emanation (al-fayd al-aqdas). In
this particular world of Theophanous the beings destined to incarnate
appear in the form of immutable realities.
These are the active existential Theophanous since the nature of God or
the divinity as such is Essence, Attributes and Action, personified by
His Divine Names. The existential Theophanous of divine Action are the
extrinsic effects of divine Power in the manifest world. The world where
these Theophanous are exercised and revealed is called a1am
a1-Wahdâniyya ,The Unification in its three aspects:
Essence-Attribute-Action. It appears by the way of the holy emanation
(al-fayd al-Muqaddas): a universe where God manifests Himself in the
form of eternal realities encompassing species and individuals, sensible
forms and abstractions.
Yaqeen is generally translated as "certainty", and is considered the
summit of the many stations by which the path of walaya (sometimes
translated as Sainthood) is fully completed. This is the repository of
liberating experience in Islam. In relation to the exoteric religious
life Certainty is the sister of religious life in its perfection (ehsân),
that is to say the adoration of Allah according to the visionary way;
through this channel it is the pillar of Islam in the accomplishment of
its external practices, as it is the foundation of faith (imân) in its
internal dogma. It is in fact ihsân which gives the external religion
its true meaning and the domain of faith its real values. Certainty (al-yaqîn),
comprises three degrees.
1.1 Ilm al-yaqîn (the knowledge of Certainty)
1.2 Ayn al-yaqîn (the Eye of Certainty)
1.3 Haqq al-yaqîn (the total reality of Certainty)
(the knowledge of Certainty)
The first degree is referred to by the name ‘ilm al-yaqîn (the knowledge
of Certainty), which means that Certainty is the result of knowledge. At
this degree the object of Certainty is knowledge just as the aim of
knowledge is Certainty. Both together are in the soul uniquely, such
that Certainty is the first degree of spiritual life and the last of
speculative experience. This particular degree of mystical yaqîn is the
result of divine Theophanous in Act at the level of existence and also
the result of Theophanous of lights of nature at the Gnostic level.
(the Eye of Certainty)
The second degree of yaqîn is what one calls in Sufi terms ayn al-yaqîn
(the Eye of Certainty), that is, Certainty as a consequence of
contemplation and vision. At this level, the object of Certainty is
present in front of the Gnostic and is not only a speculative concept.
Here knowledge becomes what one calls 'ilm-e-huzuri’’ (Presence of
knowledge), and that is the second aspect of Certainty in the spiritual
way and in liberating experience. By this kind of knowledge, the man of
the Way is distinguished from philosophers and learned men. This
particular degree of spiritual Certainty is the result of divine
Theophanous of Attributes at the level of existence, just as it is the
result of Theophanous of lights of the intellect at the level of gnosis.
(the total reality of Certainty)
Finally, the last degree of yaqîn is called haqq a1-yaqîn (the total
reality of Certainty), that is, Certainty as supreme truth. Here,
Certainty has a particular coloring: it is the fruit of an all-embracing
experience because the object of Certainty is identical to the one who
is experiencing it, knowledge being transformed into actual experience
and actual experience into knowledge. At this stage, in fact, knowledge
is not limited to the intellect, nor to the vision of the one who is
contemplating it, it becomes one with the human being. This is the final
phase of yaqîn, the apotheosis of the spiritual and intellectual
journey. This high degree of Sufi Certainty is the effect of the
Emanation of the divine The ophanies in Essence at its existential level
and that of the diffusion of the Light of lights (Dazzling Irradiations)
at the level of the the ophanies of the Gnostic.
Fanaa is the Sufi term for extinction. It means to annihilate the self,
while remaining physically alive. Persons having entered this state are
said to have no existence outside of, and be in complete unity with,
Allah. Fanaa may be attained by constant meditation and by contemplation
on the attributes of God, coupled with the denunciation of human
attributes. It is a sort of mental, yet real, death. The man of the
"Way" experiences it freely; it is the final passage which leads to the
summit of the Stages. It liberates man from all contingency outside of
his spiritual quest; his ultimate aim is the Truth. Three degrees may be
distinguished here: fanâ' of acts, attributes and essence.
The Sufi fanâ in its triple manifestation does not have an exclusively
negative effect or action; it is the annihilation of everything
contingent, whether this be in the form of action, attribute or essence;
more precisely, it is the annihilation of everything that is not God,
and God is the supreme object of all good, all beauty. Fanâ' thus
conceived is an internal state which requires from the Sufi a sustained
and permanent effort of concentration to break his fetters and take on
the demands and calls of truth, by his acts, his moral virtues, his
whole being. That implies perfect control of himself: in words, deeds
and thoughts. It is at this price that he attains an interior spiritual
state where he becomes the pure and clear mirror in which the lights of
Truth are reflected in all their splendor.
There are three ways in man's journey towards God.
The first is the way of ignorance, through which each must travel. It
is like a person walking for miles in the sun while carrying a heavy
load on his shoulder, who, when fatigued, throws away the load and falls
asleep under the shade of a tree. Such is the condition of the average
person, who spends his life blindly under the influence of his senses
and gathers the load of his evil actions; the agonies of his earthly
longings creating a hell through which he must pass to reach the
destination of his journey. With regard to him the Qur'an says, 'He who
is blind in life, shall also be blind in the hereafter.'
The next way is that of devotion, which is for true lovers. Rumi says,
'Man may be the lover of man or the lover of God; after his perfection
in either he is taken before the King of love.' Devotion is the heavenly
wine, which intoxicates the devotee until his heart becomes purified
from all infirmities and there remains the happy vision of the Beloved,
which lasts to the end of the journey. 'Death is a bridge, which unites
friend to friend' (Sayings of Mohammed).
The third is the way of wisdom,
accomplished only by the few. The
disciple disregards life's momentary comforts, unties himself from all
earthly bondages and turns his eyes toward God, inspired with divine
wisdom. He gains command over his body, his thoughts and feelings, and
is thereby enabled to create his own heaven within himself, that he may
rejoice until merged into the eternal goal. 'We have stripped the veil
from thine eyes, and thy sight today is keen', says the Qur'an. All must
journey along one of these three paths, but in the end they arrive at
one and the same goal. As it is said in the Qur'an, 'It is He who
multiplied you on the earth, and to Him you shall be gathered.'
1 Grades _ Perfection is reached by the regular practice of concentration, passing
through three grades of development:
1.1 Fanaa fis sheikh _ Faná -fi-Shaikh, annihilation in
the astral plane,
1.2 Fanaa fir rasool _ Faná-fi-Rasul, annihilation in the
1.3 Fanaa fillah _ and Faná-fi-Allah, annihilation in the abstract.
Baqaa, with literal meaning of permanency, is a term which describes a
particular state of life with God, through God, in God, and for God. It
is the summit of the mystical manazil, that is, the destination or the
abode. Baqaa comprises three degrees, each one referring to a particular
aspect of the divine Theophanous as principle of existence and its
qualitative evolution, comprising of faith, knowledge, and grace.
1.1 First aspect: the level of acts
1.2 Second aspect: the level of qualities and attributes
1.3 Third aspect: the level of the essence
First aspect: the level of acts
The first aspect of the Sufi permanency is situated at the level of
acts. The action of the Sufi is here united with the divine action
acquiring its order, harmony and durability. This specific degree of
Sufi ‘’baqâ'’’ is the result of the shooting forth of the divine
thespian as existential principle and the lights of nature as source of
Second aspect: the level of qualities and attributes
The second aspect of permanency is situated at the level of qualities
and attributes. Here human virtues are raised to the level of the divine
Attributes, acquiring their perfection, dignity and durability: such
that the man's heart attains to a spiritual abode where it is the pure
and clear mirror on which the characteristics of the supreme Creator are
engraved. In its turn, the power of acts in the abode of permanence
becomes a docile instrument by which the divine plans in the world and
within the living person are realized. This particular form of ‘’baqâ'’’
is a reflection of the divine existential Theophanous at the level of
the Attributes and Qualities, and the effect of the lights of the
intellect as principle of knowledge.
Third aspect: the level of the essence
The last degree of baqâ' is permanency of the essence. In this domain
the essence of the servant is raised to the height of the divine Essence
in its Unity, Sublimity and Universality. He is totally absorbed by the
divine Life. It is through God that he sees, through Him that he hears,
through Him that he expresses his will, through Him that he
contemplates. This is the most perfect form of Sufi ‘’baqâ'’’, the final
stage of the hero's quest. This particular abode is in its turn acquired
by the effect of the Theophanous of the Essence on the existential plane
and by the effect of the Theophanous of Light at the Gnostic level.
A Tarīqah is a school of Sufism. A Tarīqah has a Murshid, or Guide, who
plays the role of leader or spiritual director of the organization.
A Sufi Tarīqah is a group of Murīd (pl.: Murīdīn), Arabic for desirous,
desiring the knowledge of knowing God and loving God (a Murīd is also
called a 'Faqīr' or 'Fakir' , another Arabic word that means poor or
needy, usually used as al-Faqīr 'ilá Allāh, English: The needy to God's
Nearly every Tarīqah is named after its founder, and when the order is
referred to as a noun -yah is usually added to a part of the founder's
name. For example the "Rifai order," named after Shaykh `Ahmed er Rifai,
is called the "Rifaiyyah", the "Qādirī order," named after Shaykh `Abd
al-Qādir al-Jīlānī, is called the"Qādiriyyah", and the "Chishiyyah
order" by Hazrat Abu Ishaq Shami Chishty.
In most cases the shaykh nominates his 'khalīfah' or successor during
his lifetime, who will take over the order. In rare cases, where the
shaykh dies without naming a khalīfah, the Murīds of the Tarīqah elect
another spiritual leader through a vote. In some orders, it is
recommended to take a khalīfah from the same order as their Murshid. In
some groups it is customary for the khalīfah to be the son of the shaykh,
although in other groups the khalīfah and the shaykh are not normally
relatives. In yet other orders, a successor may be identified through
the spiritual dreams of its members.
Tarīqahs have a Silsilah (meaning chain or, more idiomatically, a
lineage of various Shaykhs that eventually leads back to Muhammed (S.A.W.)
Every Murid on entering the Tarīqah gets his 'awrād, or daily
recitations, authorized by his Murshid (usually to be recited before or
after the pre-dawn prayer, after the afternoon prayer and after the
evening prayer). Usually, these recitations are extensive and
time-consuming (for example the Murid's awrād may consist of reciting a
certain formula 99, 500 or even 1000 times). One must also be in a state
of ritual purity (as one is for the obligatory prayers to perform them
while facing Mecca). The recitations change as a student (murid) moves
from a mere initiate to other Sufi degrees (usually requiring additional
Being mostly followers of the spiritual traditions of Islam loosely
referred to as Sufism, these groups were sometimes distinct from the
ulema or officially mandated scholars, and often acted as informal
missionaries of Islam. They provided accepted avenues for emotional
expressions of faith, and the Tarīqahs spread to all corners of the
Muslim world, and often exercised a degree of political influence
inordinate to their size.
Marifa (or alternatively 'marifah') literally means knowledge. The term
is used by Sufi Muslims to describe mystical intuitive knowledge,
knowledge of spiritual truth as reached through ecstatic experiences
rather than revealed or rationally acquired. M. Fethullah Gulen in his
book on Sufism describes Marifa (knowledge of God) as a special knowledge
that is acquired through reflection, sincere endeavor, using one's
conscience and inquiring into one's inner world. It is different from
scientific knowledge or "ilm" based on study, investigation, analysis,
and synthesis. The opposite of knowledge (scientific) is ignorance,
while the opposite of marifa is denial. Marifa is the substance of
knowledge attained through reflection, intuition, and inner perception.
A person realizing marifa (divine being) is imperceptible to others, who
are without such knowledge. The following words are narrated in books
concerning Sufism as a hadith qudsi-saying in spited by and received from
Oh humankind! One who knows his self also knows Me; one who knows Me
seeks Me, and one who seeks Me certainly finds Me; one who finds me
attains all his aspirations and expectations, and prefers none over Me.
Oh humankind! Be humble that you can have knowledge of Me. One who
renounces his self finds me. In order to know Me, renounce your own
self. A heart which has not flourished and been perfected is blind.
In one of the earliest and finest accounts of the maqamat (stations) in
Sufism, the Forty Stations (Maqamat-l arba'in), Sufi master Abu Said ibn
Abi'l-Khayr lists marifa as the 25th station: "Through all the creatures
of the two worlds and through all the people they perceive Allah, and
there is no accusation to be made of their perception."
It is preceded by the truth of certainty (haqq al-yaqin)and followed by
effort (jahd), where the traveler worships Allah in their hearts and
souls with no doubt in their obedience.
Haqīqat (Arabic: is literally translated as essence, or truth (derived
from one of the 99 names of Allah, Al-Haqq , means The Truth). In Sufi
thought, it refers to the inward vision of divine power achieved through
mystical union with God, or alternatively "the ultimate way". Approached
by Sufis through the use of intuitive and emotional spiritual
faculties trained under the guidance of a sheikh, it is considered one
station in the way towards God. Sufis believe haqiqa can be reached
through adherence to shariah and the principle of tawhid, although
specific methods differ. For Sufis, when an individual has gone through
haqiqa and reached the station of marifa he or she is able to see the
true nature of God, and he or she becomes The True Human Being, as God
intended when He created the person. He or she will fully understand the
very reason of one's existence.
Wajad by Sufis: it is especially cultivated among the Chishtis. This
bliss is the sign of spiritual development and also the opening for all
inspirations and powers. This is the state of eternal peace, which
purifies from all sins. Only the most advanced Sufis can experience
Wajad. Although it is the most blissful and fascinating state, those who
give themselves entirely to it become unbalanced, for too much of
anything is undesirable; as the day's labor is a necessary precursor of
the night's rest, so it is better to enjoy this spiritual bliss only
after the due performance of worldly duties. Sufis generally enjoy Wajad
while listening to music called Qawwali, special music producing
emotions of love, fear, desire, repentance, etc.
Aspects of Wajad
There are five aspects of Wajad:
Wajad of dervishes, which produces a rhythmic motion of the body.
Wajad of idealists, expressed by a thrilling sensation of the body,
tears and sighs.
Wajad of devotees, which creates an exalted state in the physical and
Wajad of saints, which creates perfect calm and peace.
Wajad of prophets, the realization of the highest consciousness
called Sidrat al-Muntaha.
One who by the favor of the murshid arrives at the state of Wajad is
undoubtedly the most blessed soul and deserves all adoration.
Noor is the link which binds being to knowledge in Sufism. The word
itself means light. Each particle of light that is reflected of the
"mirror of the heart" projects spiritual knowledge according to
distinctive types of colors. A Sufi can differentiate between the
Noor is the spiritual light of a person. It emanates primarily from the
forehead, but can bloom from the whole body. A person's spirituality can
be judged by the noor emanating from him. Noor is descended from the
heavens, reaching the Kabatulallah in Makkah. From there it is
distributed to all the Masjid. There it manifests in those that are spiritually