This ‘school’ has two phases, fanã’ (‘annihilation’) and baqã’ (‘subsistence’), the reaching of fanã’ being equivalent to entering the kharãbãt. We have already seen that when the disciple reaches the end of the Tariqa, he arrives first at the contemplation of Divinity. This is the stage of fanã’, or death to self, of which there are two kinds, outward and inward.
Outward fanã’ is the annihilation of the acts of the disciple by the manifestation of the Divine Will. The disciple reaches a stage in which he is drowned in the sea of the Divine Acts, to the extent that he sees the Divine Will in everything that happens and not his own will or that of others. At this stage he is deprived completely of free-will.
Inward fanã’ is the annihilation of the attributes and the being of the Sufi. At this stage at times he contemplates the Divine Attributes, in which his own attributes have become annihilated, and at times he contemplates the Being of the Divinity, thus annihilating his own being. At the beginning of inward fanã’, the disciple is deprived of all sensation; but gradually, according to his capacities, he becomes aware of the outer world, even though his being has ceased to exist. His inward state is annihilation in God, while outwardly he is present in the external environment and completely aware of what is happening around him.
Baqã’ consists of subsistence in God and is realized when God gives a new will to the disciple directly from himself, in order to replace that which had become annihilated in the course of the path. This subsistence, or ‘permanence’, is obtained in exchange for inward annihilation, which consists of the disappearance of the being and the mortal attributes of the disciple, which are like a veil separating him from the Real. At this very advanced stage God does not veil the world from the Sufi nor does the world veil God; no sort of separation exists any longer and duality is transformed into Unity.
– Dr. Javad Nurbakhsh
“You see, Wally, the trouble with always being active and doing things is that it’s quite possible to do all sorts of things and at the same time be completely dead inside. I mean, you’re doing all these things, but are you doing them because you really feel an impulse to do them, or are you doing them mechanically, as we were saying before? Because I do believe that if you’re just living mechanically, then you have to change your life.”