The first step is Religion (Sharîat.) When the disciple has fully paid the demand of Religion, and aspires to go beyond, the Path (Tarîqat) appears before him. It is the way to the Heart. When he has fully observed the conditions of the Path, and aspires to soar higher, the veils of the Heart are rent, and Truth (Haqîqat) shines therein. It is the way to the Soul, and the Goal of the Seeker.

Broadly speaking, there are four stages: Nâsût, Malakût, Jabarût and Lâhût, each leading to the next. Nâsût is the animal nature, and functions through the five senses—e. g., eating, contacting, seeing, hearing and the like. When the disciple controls the senses to the limit of bare necessity, and transcends the animal nature by purification and asceticism, he reaches Malakût —the region of the angels. The duties of this stage are prayers to God. When he is not proud of these, he transcends this stage and reaches Jabarût— the region of the Soul. No one knows the Soul but with the divine help; and Truth, which is its man­sion, baffles description and allusion. The duties of this stage are love, earnestness, joy, seeking, extasy and insensibility. When the pilgrim transcends these by forgetting self altogether, he reaches Lâhût, the unconditioned state. Here words fail.

Religion is for the desire-nature; the Path, for the heart; Truth for the Soul. Religion leads the desire-nature from Nâsût to Malakût, and transmutes it into Heart. The Path leads the Heart from Malakût to Jabarût, and trans­mutes it into Soul. Truth leads the Soul from Jaba­rût to the Divine Sanctuary. The real work is to transmute the desire-nature into Heart, the Heart into Soul, and to unify the three into one. “The Lover, the Beloved and Love are essentially ONE.” This is absolute monotheism . . . .

“The motive of the faithful is superior to their acts.” Acts by themselves are of no value: the importance lies in the heart.

It is said that the traveller on the divine Path has three states: (1) Action.* (2) Knowledge. (3) Love. These three states are not experi­enced unless God wills it so. But one should work and wait. He will do verily what He has willed. He looks neither to the destruction nor to the salvation of any one.

One who wishes to arrive at the Truth must serve a Teacher. No one can transcend the bond­age and darkness of desires unless he, with the help of the Divine Grace, comes under the protec­tion of a perfect and experienced Teacher. As the Teacher knows, He will teach the disciple accord­ing to his capacity, and will prescribe remedies suited to his ailments, so that “There is no God except Allah” be firmly established in his nature, and the ingress of the evil spirits be cut off from his heart. All the world seeks to tread the Divine Path. But each knows according to his inner purity, each seeks and aspires according to his knowledge, and each treads the Path according to his seeking and aspiration.—Letters 56 & 57.

[The following extracts from “A Series of 28 Letters” may throw further light on the subject. The Sûfî Mulk (or Nâsût,) Malakût, Jabarût and Lâhût severally correspond to, if they are not identical with, the physical, astro-mental, causal and spiritual planes of modern Theosophical literature.—Trs.]

It is not permitted to give out the knowledge gained through [supersensuous] vision. This much only can be recorded:—

The objects of the senses constitute this world (Mulk); those cognised by intellect constitute the plane of Malakût; the potentialities of all beings constitute the plane of Jabarût; … In other words, this world is visible, the Mala­kût is supersensuous, the Jabarût is super­supersensuous … The subtlety of this world cannot bear comparison with that of Malakût, the subtlety of Malakût with that of Jabarût, nor the subtlety of Jabarût with that of the Holy Essence Divine. There is not an atom of this world but is permeated by Malakût; not an atom of Malakût but is permeated by Jaba­rût; not an atom of this world, Malakût and Jabarût but is permeated by God, and conscious of Him. Being the most subtile, He must permeate all—for the greater the subtlety, the greater the quality of permeation. Now you may understand the meaning of the verse: “God is with thee wherever thou art, and in thy very being, though thou mayest not see Him; nearer is He to thee than the nerve of thy neck.” Hence is it said that this world, Malakût, Jabarût and God Himself are all with thee, and that the True Man is the focus and mirror of all the Mysteries of the Divine Essence. It is not permitted to go further lest exotericism may censure. “Utter not secrets before the mob if thou art a true devotee Hast thou not seen that Mansûr, intoxicated with devotion, uttered a secret and was put to death?”—Loc. cit., Letter 2.