In the Sufi Tradition, the disciple is guided in the activation of the Internal Organs of Perception, so that with them more and more active, he can dedicate himself to the study, memorization and spiritual use of the Attributes of Reality and reflect them more and more faithfully.
The inner work that is accomplished with the Attributes of Reality is carried out with ninety-nine Names that belong to a context of inner study in the Sufi Tradition. This is done with maturity, with respect, and with the knowledge that the Names or Sounds have an inner effect and create a very clear and marked atmosphere, depending on the maturity and capacity of the disciple.
It is considered of great importance in working with these Attributes that the Spiritual Guide gives them to the student to be used in very diverse ways. Here I mention some:
1.– As repetitions that are accomplished by the mind.
2.– As repetitions which are used with specific breathing.
3.– As frequencies that are placed by the student in his or her Heart.
Disciples use these and other methods in order to know the Attributes and learn to reflect them in the most faithful way possible.
Of the ninety-nine Names that are used for this study there are four that are considered the Base or central nucleus of all of them. These are: The First (Al-Awwal), The Last (Al-Akhir), The Apparent (Al-Zahir) and The Hidden (Al- Batin). These are so important because the disciple will be able understand and know himself much more deeply with the aid of these four Attributes of Reality. For example, if the student observes himself and sees that his tendency is to always want to be one of these Attributes, he can use the others in order to harmonize, balance and enable himself more and more. If he only wanted to be the First in everything, he would lose the enormous contents that are to be found in being the Last. If he always wants to be the Apparent, he loses the content of being the Hidden. Thus it happens that with the use of these four Names he will be able to know himself more and more and will be able to use the rest of the Attributes to simultaneously go deeper into the Reality of his Being and that of The Totality.
A human being will be very inflexible, static, repetitive and boring if he only wants to reflect some of the Attributes of Reality. The Reality of a human Being is quite varied, extensive and complete if he deliberately dedicates himself to be in accord with the great variety which “The Totality” signifies.
When the disciple is helped by his Guide to embody in his Heart one of the Ninety-Nine Attributes or Names, this is in order that he can begin the Path of polishing and perfecting his Being and thus gradually to reflect them all.
The Names are in Arabic in order to function not only as names, attributes or adjectives but as sounds that in that language connect with specific Energies. For example, it is very different to say “Ahad” than to say “One”. The difference is in the sound that is obtained with the use of the Arabic letters and also in the effect of that sound in the Heart and the Being of the disciple.
The disciple, according to his progress, can use more of his time in attuning himself to the sounds or frequencies or Names, by means of which he will be able to perfect himself. If at first he uses only a few minutes a day, later he will use several hours and eventually will be able to be in tune while doing any of his activities.