The Journey of Sulook comprises two sojourns:
1. Ser Ilallaah (Journey towards Allah).
2. Ser Fil-laah (Journey in Allah).
This journey consists of two fundamental aspects, viz.,
a. Purification of the nafs from nafsaani ailments known as Akhlaaq-e-Razielah. Reference to this is made in the Qur’aanic Aayat :
“Verily, he has attained success, who has purified his nafs.”
b. Adornment of the heart with Akhlaaq-e-Hameedah. This is called Tahliyah and also Tajalliyah. In Sulook this acquisition is described as Maqaamaat (stages).
When the Mureed becomes grounded in the acquisition of Maqaamaat, in the purification of the nafs and when he has achieved proficiency in the ways and means of acquiring lofty attributes and eradicating lower qualities, then upon him reaching the stage of Ser Ilal-laah the Shaikh confers on him the Mantle of Khilaafat and grants him ijaazat (permission) to initiate others into the Path of Sulook.
Upon having attained the stage of Ser Ilal-laah, a special celestial glitter (jalaa) and light (noor) permeate the heart. The heart then is at all times dissociated from all things other than, Allah. The heart is now truly engrossed with Allah Ta’ala. In this high stage of spiritual development, matters pertaining to Thaat (The Being of Allah), Sifaat (Attributes of Allah), Af’aal (Acts of Allah), Haqaaiq (Realities) as well as relationships between Allah and His servants become manifest. This then is termed Ser Fil-laah.
In the realm of Ser Fil-Laah are no limits. Progress is infinite. Progress is proportional and continuous in relation to one’s ability, engrossment with Allah Ta’ala and casting aside all motives irrespective of such motives pertaining to this world or the hereafter. When one has attained this rank, one attributes nothing to oneself.
The Shaikh appoints the Mureed as Majaaz-e-Bai’t (authorizes him to initiate mureeds and to attend to their spiritual affairs) after he (the Mureed) has attained the stage of Ser Ilal-laah. Sometimes the Shaikh delays this appointment until the Mureed has reached the stage of Ser Fil-laah. This appointment by the Shaikh of the Mureed at different stages of development is a matter confined entirely to the condition of the Mureed and the inclination (thauq) of the Shaikh.