In the Spirits of humans there exists a light, which as far as its boundary is concerned, is limitless. If we were to attempt to put a boundary on it then virtually the entire universe has he included as well. This particular light covers every piece of existence. No thought, whim or imagination can escape from it. In this circle of light any event that has already happened or is in the process of happening or is going to happen, everything is right across the vision of the Man.
One of the rays of this light is vision. This ray travels from the far corners of the universe. In other words, the entire universe is a circle and this light is a lamp. The rays of this lamp are vision. Wherever this ray falls, it beholds the surroundings near and far. The rays of the lamp have different levels. Sometimes the rays that fall vary from being very low, to intense and very intense.
Objects on which very low ray falls create a whim in our mind about those things. A whim is actually the most subtle thought, which can only he felt in the depth of perception.
Objects on which a low ray falls create a thought in our mind about those things. Objects on which an intense ray falls cause imagination of those things to appear in our mind. And when a very intense ray falls then our vision reaches it and beholds it.
Anything that remains in the stages of whim, thought, or imagination remains unclear for the human vision and it is unable to comprehend its details. But when the circle of vision keeps increasing then those things become visible which the vision is already familiar with, such as whim, thought and imagination.
When vision reaches the rays, whether very low or very intense, it is called shahood. It is an ability that brings even the very low beam of rays into the vision so that those objects that were at this point merely whims could now be seen as holding form and figure, color and shape.
Shahood is that power of the Spirit that brings the whim, thought or imagination towards the vision and downloads its details into it. In it, the electrical system of the Spirit intensifies and the senses are able to store more and more lights, to a point where the unseen (ghaib) features becomes visible. This stage is the first step of shahood. In this stage all functions are related to vision, meaning the person with shahood (sahib shahood) witnesses the affairs of the unseen, literally.
After the vision, the second stage of shahood pertains to hearing. In this stage, thought of any living being (human or otherwise) reaches the hearing of the person with shahood (sahib shahood) in the form of sound. The third and fourth stages of shahood deals with the ability of the person with shahood (sahib shahood) of touching and smelling things even if the distance is in the thousands of years.
A companion of the Prophet Muhammad once told him. “0 Prophet of God, I used to see angels walking all over the sky” (during his night vigils, which he later discontinued).
Prophet Muhammad replied, “If you had kept the night vigils, you would have been able to shake hands with angels as well.”
In the event above that occurred in the time of Prophet Muhammad the stages of shahood are mentioned. Seeing angels has to do with spiritual vision and shaking hands points to the ability of touch, that are awakened after the vision and hearing.
Among the stages of shahood, one of its states is when the physical and spiritual transpires summed up into one point and the body becomes obedient (submissive) to the spirit.
There are many anecdotes available from the life of Spiritual Masters that refer to this. For example one of the close acquaintances of Sufi Master Shaykh Maroof Karkhi, saw a mark on the body of the master, which was not there a day before and inquired him about that.
Shaykh Maroof Karkhi replied, “last night during the evening prayers my focus went towards the Kaaba. And after circling when I went near the fountain of zam-zam, I slipped and fell, I got this mark from that.”
A similar incident happened to me [the author]. One day I saw an injury on the body of my Spiritual Master Qalander Baba Awliya (18961979) and inquired about it. He replied that in the previous night during Muraqaba he was flying between two hills and his body got hit by one of the hills during that spiritual flight.
When the conditions of shahood are fully developed then the spiritual student travels the unseen realm as if he were living in it. He travels, eats, drinks, and engages in all those works that can be labeled as his spiritual pastimes (hobby). This condition is only achieved when along with practicing Muraqaba the student is full detached from worldly affairs. He becomes free of any boundaries of Time and Space. He ventures from the beginning of Time to the end of it, as well.
When the Point of Essence (nuyta dhat) in man becomes fully knowledgeable about the activities of Muraqaba then it expands to such an extent then he is able to access Time from its beginning to the end and is able to use his new-found spiritual powers at will. He is able to witness events that occurred thousands of years ago or are going to occur thousands of years from today. From the beginning to the end of time, whatever existed before or will happen exists at this moment.
In his book Loh-o-Qalam , Qalander Baba Awliya wrote, when the spiritual journey of the Gnostic (aarif) begins, he never enters the universe from an outward source; instead through his inner Point of Essence (nuqta dhat). This point is where the Unity of Being (wandat ul wajud) begins. When the Gnostic lets his vision observe that point, then an opening of light occurs. Through that door of light, he enters a highway through which he goes to any dimension in the entire cosmic systems, stays in various satellites and stars and comes across as many creatures in these places. He is then able to get acquainted with the outward and the inward side of existence. Later on he becomes aware of the realities and the truth of the universe. The mysteries of creation open up to him. He then becomes aware of the Divine Laws of Nature. He then gets acquainted with his own Soul. Then his cognition accepts spiritual ways. He gets awareness of the Divine Light and Divine Attributes.
He then fully understands that when God commanded kun (to be) how the Universe came into being and how stage after stage of being is still evolving. He understands that he, too, is part of that being.
It must be noted that the above-mentioned journey does not open up in the outward dimension. Its mark exists in the depth of the center of the heart. No one should mistakenly think that that realm is merely an unreal world of thoughts and imagination. On the contrary, all those realities that exist as forms and figures exist in this world as well.”
Qalander Baba Awliva further explains the details of shahood: The spiritual student gets acquainted with angels and becomes aware of things hidden in his own reality. He recognizes those qualities that he possesses. The realities of the world are revealed on him, He sees with his own eyes the kinds of light that are a part of the structure of this universe and what other pure lights (noor) are controlling those lights. Then he gets awareness of the Divine Light (tadjafli) that is the source of all those pure lights (noor).