Esoteric Islam

Lataif-e-sitta: 5 Subtleties of The Heart

There is a video I made about the Power of the Heart.

Although it doesn’t include all the contents on this website post, I would recommend you to watch it as it also contains important knowledge about Lataif:

1. What is Lataif-e-sitta?

In Islam, Lataif (singular: Latifa) are the subtle energy centers of the heart (qalb) whose function is to perceive the Reality. We also find a similar concept of subtleties in many traditions such as the chakra system of Hinduism, Taoism, and Buddhism.

While the number of the main energy centers and their locations may vary, all these esoteric schools agree that we all possess within ourselves these lataifs/chakras/subtleties. Once activated, these Lataif are capable of transforming our human faculties that allow spiritual realization to happen beyond the level of the intellect.

The reason why they are called “subtleties” is because they are so subtle, gentle, and fine that you can hardly feel it. The more level that each Latifa ascends, the subtler it becomes. These subtitles are connected to the subconscious because of the selective and partial concentration of the undeveloped consciousness.

The concept of lataif is different from one of baraka. You receive baraka through God’s grace while you open lataif through practices.

According to Sufism, there are 10 fundamental lataif inside a human being: 5 lataif located below the Divine Throne, representing the World of Creation: Khak (earth), Ma’ (water), Bad (air), Nar (fire), and Nafs (ego/soul); the other 5 located above the Divine Throne, symbolizing the World of God’s Command: Qalb (heart), Ruh (spirit), Sir (secret), Khafi (hidden) and Akhfa (most hidden).

This post will only focus on the 5 lataif of the heart in the World of God’s Command. Moreover, I will talk about how to open lataif subtleties at the end of this post.

2. 5 Lataif of The Heart

  1. Qalb (heart)
  2. Ruh (spirit)
  3. Sir (secret)
  4. Khafi (hidden)
  5. Akhfa (most hidden)

1.  Qalb

  • Planet: Sun
  • State: Knowledge (Ilmiya)
  • Color: Yellow
  • Sense: Spiritual hearing
  • Prophet: Adam
  • Archangel: Gabriel (Jibreel)
  • Dhikr: SubhanAllah (Glory be to Allah)
  • Finger: Little finger
  • Location: 2 fingers below left breast

The lataif of the heart (qalb) is the door between the material world and the spiritual world. The material world is where the nafs (the ego, lower self) lives and the spiritual world is where the ruh (the spirit, higher self) dwells.

According to Sufi teachings, the qalb is your spiritual heart, not your physical heart, which acts like a mirror of your inner world. That is, what you see in the outer world is the reflection of what your inner heart contains. This mirror will be contaminated, blackened, and tarnished if the heart is pulled down to follow the vain desire of the nafs.

The word “qalb” has several meanings in Arabic: “to reverse”, “to turn upside-down”, “to invert” etc. Therefore, to open the lataif of the heart, we need to reverse the order of the nafs to transform its negative qualities into positive ones.

In astrology, the Sun rules over the zodiac sign Leo, which in turn governs the heart. When we activate the power of the heart, we bring in the heavenly light inside ourselves – that which is eternal, illumined, and transcendent. The heavenly light is the source of life itself because God created light before He created other things:

“And God said: Let there be light, and there was light.” (Genesis 1:3)

The color the qalb’s lataif is yellow – the most luminous color that represents the Divine Consciousness and Infinite Intelligence.

The state of the heart is ‘know’ledge, which means ‘to know’. The Sufis teach that the heart already knows our true identity and who God is, but it is so dense by our worldly desire that its true power is not activated. Unless we purify the heart, our fullest human potential will not be realized.

Gabriel is responsible for this station because he is in charge of bringing divine knowledge for any seeker who wants to open the reality of her soul. In other words, every heavenly knowledge we receive must come with the angel Gabriel on this level.

Activation effect: The lataif of the heart is the entrant to a new reality – the reality of our soul. It is said that by awakening these energy centers, we can gain access to the realm of Jinns. You may feel a warm current of energy flowing inside your left chest. Your inner spaciousness is widened and you are in close contact with hope, inspiration, and faith.

Effective for: Lust, sexual desire.

Challenge: To follow the guidance of the ruh instead of the nafs.

2.  Ruh

  • Planet: Mars
  • State: Prophetic vision
  • Color: Red
  • Sense: Spiritual seeing
  • Prophet: Noah (Nuh)
  • Archangel: Michael (Mikhail)
  • Dhikr: Alhamdulellah (Praise be to Allah)
  • Finger: Ring finger
  • Location: 2 fingers below right chest

Ruh is the divine nature of man, the higher self or the divine spirit. According to Sufism, the ruh is in constant battlefield with the nafs to help the heart (qalb) to ascend to a new level of consciousness. The ruh’s planet is Mars because it represents the effort, struggle, and war (jihad) against the nafs.

If the ruh wins the battle, prophetic vision will be activated as you now start to divert your gaze from the material world to the inner world for contemplation. Thereby, these lataif activate the power to see beyond the physical senses.

The concept of ruh is similar to the Christian ideas of ‘Imago Dei’ (Image of God), the Vedanta notion of ‘Jiva’ (individual soul), and the Taoism concept of ‘Shen’ (spirit).

The color of the ruh’s lataif is red, which is the symbol of the fire of essence. The illumination of the ruh leads to increased spiritual strength, freedom from opinions, transformation of personality, and enhanced spiritual concentration.

In Islam, it is also reported that Faith – believe in the Unseen – is developed on this level just as Noah has to struggle with his people and build his ark of faith.

Archangel Michael is the ruler of this station, who is responsible for spiritual sustenance as every physical sustenance corresponds to equivalent spiritual substance in the Unseen world.

Activation effect: When the lataif of ruh are opened, our egoistic nature dissipates, and we now begin to see the relationship between God spirit and human spirit. We will come to realization that the heart is the link to the infinite dimension of the Spirit, and the heart is now more willing to listen to the ruh instead of the nafs. On this level, we purify our mental distractions and projections.

Effective for: Anger.

Challenge: To affirm spiritual strength and strong influence on the heart (qalb).

3.  Sir (Secret)

  • Planet: Moon
  • State: Spiritual Perfection (Mithaliya Arwah)
  • Color: White
  • Sense: Spiritual touch
  • Prophet: Moses (Musa)
  • Archangel: Azrael (Izrail)
  • Dhikr: La ilaha ilallah (There is no God but Allah)
  • Finger: Middle finger
  • Location: Solar plexus/Middle of the chest

Sir is translated as ‘secret’, ‘mystery’, and ‘hidden’. In some Sufism traditions, this level is also called “Sir e Sir”, which means “secrets of secrets”. The lataif of Sir represent the hidden mystical consciousness of our beings or the depth of our soul.

In astrology, the moon is a symbol of the subconsciousness, dream, and hidden nature of man, which is the ruling power over these subtleties.

Its color is white as it indicates the purity of consciousness, where God manifests His magical power to Himself.

According to Sufi teachings, Sir is the station of annihilation – the realm of renunciation of all bad characteristics and worldly desire. When we are able to abandon our lowly characteristics, spiritual world starts to open and we can contact spiritual beings

Archangel Azrael is the governor of this station as he will teach you how to “die before death“. When you enter the realm of sir, you enter the world of nothingness. That is, you move into the state of death where there is no attachment to worldly things.

Activation effect: When we activate the lataif of sir, we significantly expand our consciousness that enable us to discern between reality and illusion. We are able to enter the realm of essence, which is the innermost center of the heart. These lataif increase our capacity for faith and trust, allowing us to see the Reality more clearly in multiple forms.

Effective for: Greed.

Challenge: Renunciation of worldly desire.

4.  Khafi

  • Planet: Green pulsar star
  • State: Physical perfection (Jismiya)
  • Color: Green
  • Sense: Spiritual smell
  • Prophet: Jesus (Isa)
  • Archangel: Raphael (Israfil)
  • Dhikr: Allahu Akbar (God is Great)
  • Finger: Index
  • Location: Middle of forehead, between your 2 physical eyes just above the eyebrow

The lataif of Khafi induces the state of peace, intuition, and stillness whose function is the perceive the magnificence of God. In this state, you will receive the overflowing love from God in an intense way.

In Islam tradition, the green pulsar star represents the reality of the Perfect Man, where you are able to feel the angelic world.

Its color is green because it represents renewal, balance, and rebirth (green is in the middle of color spectrum).

That’s why Jesus is also associated with this level because he is the symbol of rebirth, revival, and resurrection. In Sufism, Jesus is the archetype of a person “dying before death”, which is the death of the ego that allows us to become who we truly are.

This station indicates the state of spiritual perfection, and the one who attains this level is endowed with hidden knowledge of the unseen. You can smell things before things happen when you activate the lataif of khafi.

The ruler of this subtlety is archangel Raphael, who will help us to enter the presence of God and teach us how to ascend to heavenly realm.

Activation effect: When lataif of Khafi are activated, your sensitivity increases, and you are able to “smell” people around you. It is said that before spreading out to other stations, light must enter through Khafi. Once activated the power of Khafi’s subtleties, we gain access to infinite possibilities through the power of the heart.

Effective for: Jealousy.

Challenge: Learn to annihilate character and to “die before death“.

5.  Akhfa

  • Planet: Black Hole
  • State: Spiritual essence (Dhatiya)
  • Color: Black
  • Sense: Spiritual taste
  • Prophet: Muhammad
  • Archangel: Malik
  • Dhikr:  La Hawla wa la Quwwata illa billahil ‘Ali ul ‘Azeem (I seek support and power only in Allah)
  • Finger: Thumb
  • Location: Crown of the head

The term “Akhfa” means “most obscure”, “complicated” and “deeply mysterious”. This is the state when you truly enter the presence of God and is able to see Him.

The color of these lataif is black because it is the color that reflects any light projected upon it. Through black that everything is reflected because it has no quality itself. Black stands for “wisdom” and “understanding” in Sufism, which do not mean something related to the dark forces.

In Sufi school, the teachers (sheikhs) assert that this last stage is “only accessible to those who have developed the others and belongs to the real sage.”

Under authority of Archangel Malik, you are under divine protection from all evilness as Malik is known as the guardian of Paradise in Islam.

Activation effect: When you activate lataif of Akhfa, you gain the knowledge of Divine Being. Love, beauty, and compassion abundantly manifest themselves on this level. Love at this stage is not romantic love, but it is selfless and universal love. You will feel a sense of unity, presence, and wholeness with others, with the universe, and with God.

Effective for: Self-righteousness.

Challenge: To be absolutely nothing.

3. How to open Lataif?

Although each stage of lataif is different in characteristics, the practice is essentially the same. For example, you will practice Dhikr for every level of lataif, but you will recite different phrases on each level because they stimulate your subtleties with different vibrations.

In Sufi teachings, the awakening of lataif are also associated with the 7 stages of nafs (soul) development and the 4 stages of Sufism so we can become an al-insan al-kamil (the Perfect Human Being).

Down here are just 7 examples of how to open the subtle centers of Lataif:

  1. Dhikr: There is a specific Dhikr for each level. Simply repeat the phrase daily from around 50-200 times, your energy level will raise and start to vibrate faster.
  2. Purification: physical (righteous deeds, prayer) and mental (positive thoughts).
  3. Muraqabah: observation through meditation.
  4. Vigil: Stay awake at night to develop Taqwa (God-consciousness).
  5. One-point concentration: Each center has its relative location. Focus your attention on this center during meditation because where you put your attention is where your energy concentrates.
  6. Detachment: worldly desires, impression, personality, etc.
  7. Contemplation: on ourselves, on the universe, on God’s signs, etc.

A Seeker Of Truth - A Student Of Life - A Master Of Self

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