The Spiritual System
The spirit or Ruh of every person is a created reflection of the Divine Attributes and it originates in Alam-e Amar (Realm of Command). Its food is the Light of Allah or the Divine Refulgence, which it acquires from the Realm of Command through the holy Prophet Muhammad (may Allah’s choicest favours and peace be upon him), whose status in the spiritual world is like that of the sun in the solar system. The Quran refers to him as the ‘bright lamp’. Indeed, he is the divinely selected channel of all Barakah. All Exalted Messengers themselves receive these Barakah from him.
The human Ruh also possesses vital organs like the physical body; through which it acquires its knowledge, food and energy. These are called Lataif (singular Latifah: subtlety). Scholars of various Sufi Orders have associated them with specific areas of the human body. The Naqshbandiah Owaisiah Order identifies these Lataif as follows.
First - Qalb:
This spiritual faculty is located within the physical heart. Its function is Zikr. Its strength increases one’s capacity for Allah’s Zikr.
Second – Ruh:
The site of this Latifah, which is a distinct faculty of the human Ruh, is on the right side of the chest at the level of Qalb. Its primary function is concentration towards Allah.
Third – Sirri:
This is located above the Qalb and functions to make possible Kashf.
Forth – Khaffi:
This is located above the Ruh and functions to perceive the omnipresence of Allah.
Fifth – Akhfa:
This is located in the middle of chest, at the centre of the first four Lataif and makes it possible for the Ruh to perceive the closeness of Allah, Who is closer to us than our own selves.
Sixth – Nafs:
This Latifah is located at the forehead and functions to purify the human soul.
Seventh – Sultan al-Azkar:
This Latifah is located at the top centre of the head and serves to absorb the Barakah of Allah into the entire body, so that every cell resonates with Zikr.
There are five Exalted Messengers among the many known and unknown Messengers of Allah. They are Hadhrat Muhammad, Hadhrat Nuh (Noah), Hadhrat Ibrahim (Abraham), Hadhrat Musa (Moses), and Hadhrat Esa (Jesus), peace be upon them all. Hadhrat Adam is the first Prophet of Allah and the father of mankind. Each Latifah is associated with a particular Prophet. The Barakah and lights from Hadhrat Adam (peace be upon him), descend on the first Latifah Qalb; its lights are reflected from the first heaven and are yellowish. The second Latifah is associated with Hadhrat Nuh and Hadhrat Ibrahim (peace be upon them). Its lights descend from the second heaven and appear as golden red. The lights descending upon the third Latifah are from Hadhrat Musa (peace be upon him) and are white. One the fourth Latifah, the lights of Hadhrat Esa (peace be upon him) descend from the fourth heaven and are deep blue. The fifth Latifah receives its Barakah directly from the holy Prophet Muhammad (may Allah’s choicest favours and peace be upon him). The lights associated with this Latifah are green, descend from the fifth heaven, and overwhelm all the first four Lataif. The Lights descending upon the sixth and seventh Lataif are the Divine Lights, whose colour and condition cannot be determined. These are like flashes of lightening that defy comprehension. If Allah blesses a seeker with Kashf, he can observe all of this. The vision is slightly diffused in the beginning, but gradually the clarity improves.
Stages of the Path
After all seven Lataif of a seeker have been illuminated with Divine Lights through Tawajjuh of the Shaikh and his Ruh has acquired the ability to fly, the Shaikh initiates its journey on the sublime Path of Divine nearness. The Path is known as Sulook, and its stages are not hypothetical imaginations but real and actually existing stations on the spiritual Path. These are also referred to as Meditations, because a seeker mentally meditates about a station while his/her Ruh actually ascends towards it. The first three stations that form the base of whole Sulook are described below:
Ahadiyyat. This is the station of Absolute Unity of Divinity. It is above and beyond the seven heavens. It is so vast a station that the seven heavens and all that they encompass are lost within Ahadiyyat as a ring is lost in a vast desert. Its lights are white in colour.
M‘aiyyat. This station denotes Divine Company, ‘He is with you, wherever you might be.’ This station is so vast that Ahadiyyat alongwith the seven heavens beneath are lost within it as a ring is lost in a desert. Its lights are green in colour.
Aqrabiyyat. This station denotes Divine Nearness, ‘He is nearer to you than your life-vein.’ Again, Aqrabiyyat is vast as compared to M‘aiyyat in the same proportion. Its lights are golden red and are reflected from the Divine Throne.
It is indeed the greatest favour of Almighty Allah that He blesses a seeker with an accomplished Shaikh, who takes him to these sublime stations. The final station that a seeker attains to during his/her lifetime becomes his/her Iliyyin (blessed abode) in Barzakh and his/her Ruh stays at this station after death.
Nafs (The Human Soul)
The human soul takes its existence from the instant the Ruh is joined with the body. It is a subtle embodiment of physical requirements, instincts and desires. At the base level, its attributes are common with souls of all animals. According to holy Quran the human soul has five levels:
1. Nafs-e Ammarah (The Soul at Evil) - At this level, the soul is constantly inclined to commit evil deeds; this is the soul of every non-believer.
2. Nafs-e Lawwamah (The Accusing Soul) - At this level, if a person commits a sin, it is condemned by the soul from within. This is a soul of a believer because as a result of light of the faith the sin is not tolerated.
3. Nafs-e-Mutmainnah (The Satisfied Soul) - At this level, the soul is satisfied with its relationship with Allah, it is absolutely calm, cool, and collected. The soul hates evil and always seeks virtue and the Pleasure of Allah.
4. Nafs-e Radhiyah (The Soul Resigned to Divine Will) - At this level, the soul is pleased, under all circumstances, with whatever is ordained for it by Allah.
5. Nafs-e Mardhiah (The Pleased Soul) - At this level, the soul is completely pleased with the Will and Purpose of Allah. This was the level achieved by the Companions of Prophet Muhammad-saws as a result of direct exposure to his sacred heart.