The universe has a collective consciousness. Every piece of sand, stars, satellites, animals, birds, insects, humans, ginns and angels receive the feedback of life from a consciousness that contains the absolute knowledge of the whole universe. In modern times we can use the analogy of a computer that has all the information loaded into it.
Through Muraqaba we are able to access that consciousness. One of the sources of communication with that consciousness is sound. This sound is known in Sufism as Haatif e Gaybi, which simply means the voice of the unseen world. This voice runs through the universe all the time. Anyone who can achieve higher mental concentration and is free of negative thoughts can not only hear it but can even get answers to questions.
In the universe, sound is what first and foremost emerges. In the human senses, the hearing is first to register. When hearing is activated then the sight is able to focus on any given point. After that, the senses of touch and taste develop. At this level, the circle is completed. In other words, whatever man sees and feels are the extended features of sound.
According to the Qur’an (Koran), in the beginning the sound of “KUN”(to be) emerged and the universe with its intricate detail came into being. However, at that moment the creatures had not come into their senses. The Creator addressed the created,
“Am I not your Lord?”
This voice gave the created ones the vision and the visionary senses were activated. With that, other senses followed. The created recognized the Divine after witnessing and realizing.
All religions stress the importance of sound. It is stated in the Gospel (Injeel),
“God said, let there be light and there was light.”
In Hinduism, the sound of “Om” is considered the holiest of the holy. Hindu mystics believe that whatever exists between the cosmos (akaush) and the world (dhartiy) is the resonance of Om. According to them, a single voice runs in the entire universe continuously. They called it Akaash Waany (cosmic sound). Sufis also mention a hidden sound, which is referred to as Saute Sarmadi (Divine Voice). Through this voice, the Sufi Saints receive intuitive guidance.
The correct method for listening to the Haatif e Gaybi is as follows:
1. Sit in the meditation style and put cotton balls in your ear. Then turn the focus to your inner self and imagine a sound of one of the following:
Sweet melody of ringing bells.
The humming of honeybees.
The sound of the waterfalls. As when the water hits the ground.
Sound of flute.
When the student is able to maintain his or her focus, then eventually that sound becomes gradually audible. In the beginning, it comes in many forms and styles. Gradually words and sentences are audible in that sound as well. Through that voice, mysteries and secrets are revealed to the muraqib (student). Hidden events are foreseen and the line of communication is established from above. When the student has achieved excellence in this Muraqaba, he or she is able to converse with that voice and ask questions.
The correct method of asking questions with the Haatif Ghaybi: When someone achieves the level where they can hear the Haatif e Gaybi, then involuntarily they receive the skill to ask questions and get answers. However, the correct method is as follows:
Repeat your question once or twice, then sit in a Muraqaba position, and turn your focus towards Haatif e Gaybi and maintain that focus. Now stop repeating your question and focus only on the Haatif e Gaybi.
Relative to mental focus and strength, the students get their answers shortly in their minds.
The Divine Name of Al-Aleem is significant. Aleem means one who possesses the knowledge and through its source, all branches of knowledge are transferred to humans. The base of all branches of knowledge is the knowledge of the Divine Names (isma elahiya). Its first and foremost display is called Tadjalli (Divine Light). Tadjalli is in fact a mark, which contains within itself form and figure as well as movement. All the tadjallis of these Divine Names (isma husna) or attributes (Sifaat elahiya) are marked inside the human spirit (ruh). These marks are in fact a record or file. Just like any microfiche, human spirit contains all the marks of the Divine Names (isma elahiya).
When a person is able to activate the link of the Divine Name, alAleem, then they are able to watch the Tadjalli of all the Divine Names (isma husna). This nisbat serves as a memory. Anyone trying to read that link during Muraqaba can do so during the stages of idraak, wrood or shahood.
The way the Prophets of God and His saints have access to that memory or stored information is known in Sufism as Tarze Tafheem (Cognitive Mode). It is also referred as Sayr or Fatah. The literal meaning of tafheem is to gain understanding through awareness or to awaken it. From here through its Muraqaba, the knowledge of Divine Names (ibn Ladani) and those creative formulas are revealed which is the basis of the creation of this universe.
The Muraqaba of Tafheem is done past midnight. The student tries to concentrate on the Divine Name al-Aleem after emptying all the thoughts and imagining that he or she has the connective link of the Divine Name al-Aleem. During the learning period of al-Aleem, the duration of wakefulness is increased besides practicing the Muraqaba. During Tarze Tafheem, the maximum time allowed for sleeping should not exceed two and a half hours in any twenty-four-hour period. By being awake most of the time the Divine Name al-Aleem is fully activated with all of its energy. In the beginning, most of the observation is witnessed when the eyes are closed during Muraqaba. However, later it happens while the eyes are open. When the vision appears with eyes closed it is referred to as Warood, but when it happens with open eyes, it is called Shahood.
With continued Muraqaba and through the attentive care of the spiritual master, the Divine light stored inside the student is raised. This results in clearing the mirror of consciousness. When this stage arrives the student embarks on a never-ending spiritual journey. This journey has two stages. In the first stage, he or she witnesses the events as if they were distant. Until he or she reaches the Divine Throne (arsh elahii) and receives the Tadjalli of the Divine Characteristic (sifaat elahiya). This style of observation is known in Sufism as Sayr Afaaq(Heaven’s Journey).
When this journey is completed and the student receives God’s enlightenment, then the journey of Inner (nafs) starts. At this stage the observation and revelation reveal in such a way that the student sees the entire cosmos in his or her Point of Essence (nuqta dhat) and the outward appears within. Sufis called this style of observation Sayr Anafs (Journey of Self). At the height of this level, the Gnostic (arif) sees God beyond the Divine Throne in the form of Tadjalli. The following two verses of the Qur’an (Koran) points to the Sayr Anfas:
“And He lives in your nafs, couldn’t you see?” “Soon We will show them our signs in Anfas and in Afaaq, until the Truth is revealed to them.”
(Chapter 25 verses)
When someone reaches the level where his or her inner vision is activated then they are given the Muraqaba to imagine the entire cosmos is a mirror in which the Divine Lights are being reflected. Through this imagination, SayrAfaaqi begins. In the later stage, the student is given the Muraqaba to imagine that they themselves are mirrors in which the Divine Light and attributes are shining. This imagination begins the Sayr Anfas. At the height of this journey or stage, the mirror within is also negated so as to access the Divine Essence (dhat elahii).
There is another method in which the student imagines a bond and connection existing between his or her heart and the Divine Throne. From here, the student gradually reaches the Divine Throne. In the next stage he or she during Muraqaba and otherwise imagines these verses of the Qur’an (Koran) covering them:
“He liveth with thee, wherever thou art” “He is closer to your vein.”
“He is inside your Nafs, Can’t you see?”
MURAQABA OF HEART (qalb)
According to Sufism, the universe is like a circle (chakra) in a dimension, meaning that everything that exists in this universe is contained in a circle (chakra). This enclosure of the cosmos in a single circle (chakra) is like microfiche that contains all the pictures and facts in a small space. In the same sense, in this cosmic circle (chakra) all that exists is marked or contained. When this circle (chakra) activates, it extends into the outward universe. The other analogy would be that of it seed of a tree. That tiny seed, which is nothing but a circle, contains its entire history, leaves, flowers, fruits, branches, and the future generation of that tree. That same seed eventually becomes the tree. In Sufism, that circle that contains the entire cosmos is referred to as qalb (heart), Fawwad, or Nafs Wahida.
The method of entering the depth of that circle (chakra) through Muraqaba of Heart is as follows:
By following the directions of your spiritual master (murshid) close your eyes and look inside your heart and through the imaginative vision, see that there is a black circle (chakra) in your heart. After some time the image will form. At that point, let your mind enter the depth of that circle (chakra). What you see inside the realm of that circle (chakra) is proportional to the depth that occurs.
MURAQABA OF UNITY (tawheed)
When we study any movement occurring in the universe, we find they all have rhythm, a certain discipline. Because of that cosmic discipline, all relative functions are well organized also. For example, a child is born in a fixed proportion and structure and then with a fixed timetable grows into an adolescent, then an adult, and then into old age. Plants and other creatures are also living with fixed formulas. Every movement of stars and satellites is dependent on the specific system of gravity. The number of stars that are destroyed is almost the same as the new ones that are created. Nature takes care of all the needs of the creatures before and after their birth. Water converts into vapors that form clouds in the atmosphere and the same clouds unload all that moisture in the form of rain. This water is essential for preserving life. The extra water that falls during rainfall is either absorbed by the land or is added to the bayous and river and eventually flows into the ocean.
These examples show there is an order in the Universe. The true reason for that is the single mind or unit that is behind this control. Through this mind, all the units of the universe are functioning. This reality is called the Unity of Works (tawheed ifa’ali). This means there is a unity that exists in all the roles.
On whomever the Unity of Works is revealed, he or she is able to watch that behind the luminary world there exists a being, which is the controlling authority of the hidden world. The shadow of that hidden world is this universe. That person is able to see the relativity of one movement with the other. Meaning the person becomes aware of the relationship of two different movements. He or she can relate the source of any movement with the mind that is controlling the universe.
During the Muraqaba of Unity, the student imagines there is unity in the cosmos. That unity is in fact a Light that is enveloping the entire universe.
MURAQABA OF NEGATION (La)
“La” in Arabic means no or negative. La is also the name of the lights emitting from one of the Divine Characteristics, a characteristic that we can analyze in humans. This characteristic is the unconscious. Usually, the unconscious is referred to as the basis of those actions the human consciousness is unaware of. If we pay all of our attention to any on that basis with all of the mental strength that we could not understand or even when we grasp it, its meaning appears in our brain merely as a negative (la). Meaning we only regard it as negative.
Every rule of origin is the same, that is when we discuss or in our mind try to understand the origin of anything, the first thing that appears in the depth of our imagination is negation. In other words, in the beginning we are only aware of the void or nothingness.
When we get aware of anything even if it is the awareness of ignorance, it is awareness nevertheless. Every awareness is a reality. Therefore, we are bound to call the awareness of ignorance knowledge as well. In Sufism the awareness of ignorance is known as knowledge of “la” and the awareness of knowledge is referred to as the knowledge of “ilia”.
The Divine lights of “la” are those Attributes of God that introduce us to the Oneness. After recognizing the Divine Lights of La the Gnostic’s mind becomes fully aware of the concept of Oneness or Unity (Tawheed). This is the first point through which a Sufi or Gnostic takes a step into God-consciousness.
At the beginning of that step, he or she gets acquainted with his or her own self. Though after searching for themselves they could not get hold of it; which brings them to the correct awareness and realization of God-consciousness. This is the station that is commonly referred to in Sufi text as fana (annihilation).
Through the Muraqaba of La the mind becomes aware of the workings of the Saints, Khidr, and Angels and is able to communicate with them. One ability of La is that it translates the meaning of the cryptic messages of Khidr, Saints of Takween, and Angels into the language of the Gnostic into his or her hearing. Gradually a full line of communication is developed and with the help of Angels, numerous hidden affairs are revealed.
During the Muraqaba of “La” the eyes must be closed as much as possible. That is why a soft handkerchief or small towel is wrapped over the eyes to apply a little pressure to eyes. During the Muraqaba the Gnostic puts the mind into the depth of his or her own self by moving away from all thoughts and imaginations. The aim is to achieve thoughtlessness by recognizing ignorance in their thought.
MURAQABA OF VOID
The Muraqaba of Void is the subbranch of the above-mentioned Muraqaba. During this Muraqaba, the student imagines those conditions that reflect void or nothingness. His or her focus is the realm where there is nothing. No humankind, no trees, no animals, and no sound. With no time and no space, they even feel nonexistent. In the beginning, it is quite difficult to imagine. Because under normal circumstances no one goes through a condition in which there is a negation. Keeping this in mind, the Muraqaba of Void is given systematically. The idea is to familiarize the student first with the reflection of the void instead of the total void.
The student imagines a desert or empty plateau where there is total silence and everything is motionless. In Sufism, this Muraqaba is also known as Muraqaba Barri (land).
The student imagines that in a wide ocean whose water is still, the student is immersed in it. This Muraqaba is known as Muraqaba Bahr(ocean). The student imagines that he or she no longer exists, only God is present.
These imaginations are not difficult to form and when these levels are passed then the Muraqaba of Void is given to practice.
Through the Muraqaba of Void, the student goes through the states which are contrary to the consciousness state of mind. When consciousness state becomes dormant then the subconscious state takes over. It is imperative to note that void does not mean a world where nothing exists; it simply means a world which can only be explored through the subconscious.
MURAQABA OF `fana (ANNIHILATION):
When someone starts writing an essay the first thing that usually comes to his or her mind is the topic. At this point, the mind does not have the contents and details of that topic. However, when that person takes the pen (or keyboard) and activates the mind then the details of that essay start to form. Whatever he or she writes exists in their subconscious before. From that store, the contents take the form of words. In that essay, there is nothing that does not exist in that person’s subconscious in the form of the content and meaning of the subject matter.
If this did not exist then the essay would not have been able to take the form of words. Therefore, there are three stages in this writing process. The first stage is the one where the content of the essay exists in unwritten form; the second, where it is transformed into words; and the third, where the pen writes down those words on the paper and therefore gives it a material form.
Just as the essay has three forms and it takes three stages to reach its final stage, all outward phenomena exist in three spheres. Any existence or movement whether it belongs to the past, present, or future is not outside these three spheres. This could further be explained by the example of an artist. This artist makes a painting of an eagle on a canvas. If he wants to paint another painting of the same bird, he can. The reason is that the forms and figures of an eagle are stored in his mind. What displays on the canvas is merely a reflection of that. The picture does not. He can make as many paintings as he wants; however, the knowledge of that bird never leaves his mind.
Any knowledge, any movement, any phenomenon wherever it exists in the meaningful form is called the Realm of Allegory (a’lam mithaal). In this realm, every display consists of form and figure, which is visible to the spiritual eye. When a man tries to learn these figures through Muraqaba then his consciousness is able to gain knowledge of these figures. In these figures lies the event of the future, which shows according to their schedule.
To learn the Realm of Allegory, Muraqaba of Fana is given:
The student after closing his or her eyes imagines that all the signs of their life are wiped out and there exists only in the form of a point of light. They try to force the idea into their mind that they are free from themself and are now connected only with the world whose boundary contains the events from the beginning of the time (a’zal) to the end time(abad).
The more a person practices the Muraqaba the deeper the reflection of the Realm of Allegory is revealed to his or her mind. Gradually its meaning is also transferred into their consciousness.
MURAQABA OF DIVINE NAMES
When we discuss something or someone, we describe its characteristics. Without describing the attributes, it is not possible to explain anything that exists. The collection of certain characteristics is what we call a thing. When we describe the material forms, we say whether it is solid or liquid, or gas. A certain color is dominant in it. So-and-so chemicals are part of it, whether that thing is round or square or of any other shape.
Everything is given a name and it is the name alone that represents a particular characteristic of any given thing. For example, when we say water, we mean that liquid that is used to quench thirst. However, we know that it can be used for other purposes as well.
When we say water then the person hearing that word recognizes the characteristic or the meaning of water. Therefore when we say pen, we mean the thing that is used for writing.
This suggests a collection of attributes (sifaat) is usually shown as a symbol. This symbol can be given a name. According to Sufism the Universe is the collection of attributes. The common organization of the attributes is responsible for creation. Spiritualists have viewed the attributes in the depth of creation and have given them various names.
Prophets of God received the knowledge of attributes through revelation (vahi). According to them the characteristics that are functional in this universe are the Divine Attributes (sifaat e’lahiya). The difference is that these characteristics exist in the Divine Essence (dhat) in their entirety and the created forms have only gotten part of it. For example, God has sight, meaning that vision is characteristic of God and the creation also has vision. God can hear and so does the creation. God has said that among the creators He is the best creator. On the other hand, that God is more merciful than any other. is. In other words, any characteristic that God has is not only supreme in quality but also limitless, whereas creatures have that same characteristic in a limited fashion.
NAME OF DIVINE ESSENCE (dhat)
The Divine name of Essence (dhat) meaning Allah has a special significance. That is why Sufis recommend Muraqaba of the Name of Essence in order to create a link and to watch the divine Light of that name. “
This whole universe is based on the fact that it belongs to a single Being, meaning He is the only Lord of all the creatures. Due to this Reality, all creatures are aware of one another and are in the service to one another. If this universe had not belonged to a single Being, then there would not have been any link between the creatures. This Lord of the Universe is called Allah and in the Divine Names, this is the Name of Essence. Other names show the Divine Attributes. In the name of Allah, a certain Light is hidden which reveals the creativeness and the sovereignty. Through this Light, a person is able to see the foundation of the Universe, because creativity and sovereignty are extended to all the creatures.
In the Muraqaba the students imagine that in their heart the Name of Essence Allah is written in luminary letters and its rays are all over the body of that student. Therefore the deeper the imagination is formed, the higher the Gnostic sees the entire cosmos immersed in the light of the Divine Name of Essence. At its height, God’s characteristic of Creation and Sovereignty is revealed in his heart.