Introduction to the Types of Fana’

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

There are three types of fana’.  Each person's experience differs from another.  A salik may achieve nothing from the world of baqa’ if he does not successfully complete all three stages of fana’.  The subject of fana’ and baqa’ are very intense and intricate and it will not be possible to fully explain it.

Fana’ is necessary for spiritual progress since it is only when the Self is absent, that the Divine is Present.  It is important because one cannot achieve spiritual tranquility without it.  It is necessary for the accomplishment of the stations of suluk.  The first step to this is rabithah.  The shaykh of my shaykh said that one has not found the Path until he has experienced the first fana’.

Please note that the language is loose since we are speaking of states and stations that cannot be easily described.  Fana’ is not achieved.  It is not something that is worked for.  It simply is as a result of Divine Openings, as the nafs is subdued and the ruh is purified.  It is a waypoint to the Divine Presence.

1st Fana’

This is known as Fana’ fi ash-Shaykh.  A murid engrosses himself so deeply in the thought of his murshid that he completely forgets his own existence.  It is the first step to spiritual extinction.  When he looks at himself, he sees his shaykh.  Thus, he is at all times in the presence of his shaykh.  The murid has totally forgotten his existence and regards the existence of his murshid as his own.  The reality of this stage is that the murshid is in total control of the existence of the murid.

2nd Fana’

This is the station of Fana’ fi ar-Rasul.  Here, the salik does not see himself, but as the Noble Prophet (s.a.w.).  This is when the sunnah is a reality and not affected grace.  He has become Allah’s (s.w.t.) Shadow on earth, where not a move is done without Divine Permission.  The salik does not see the Prophet (s.a.w.); he is the Prophet (s.a.w.).  The station of Fana’-fi ar-Rasul is achieved by the virtues of Fana’ fi ash-Shaykh.  Fana’ fi ash-Shaykh, however, is not a prerequisite of Fana’-fi ar-Rasul.  In this case, the shaykh is the wasilah for Fana’-fi ar-Rasul.

3rd Fana’

The final fana’ is called Fana’ fi Allah.  The last stages of Fana’ fi Allah, is the beginning of baqa’.  It is here that one has left the Realm of ‘Ubudiyyah.  It is the Reality of Reality.  When Shaykh Junayd al-Baghdadi (q.s.) was at the station of Fana’ fi Allah, he said, “For forty years I was speaking to Almighty Allah and the people thought that I was speaking to them”.  It is only at this stage that the understanding of the Divine Book is Manifest:

To Allah Belongs the East and the West; whithersoever ye turn, there is Allah's Countenance.  For Allah is All-Embracing All-Knowing. (Surah al-Baqarah:115)

It is written that there are many ways to reach fana’.  In reality, there is only one.  Even if a man were to purify his worship and worship a thousand, thousand years, he is still short of the qualities of it.  But, a Glance from the Divine Presence, and suddenly, all the Qualities are Inherent.


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