Fanaa (فناء) Context, origin: The concept of fanā was originally coined by the Sufi Abū Sa’id Karrāz, and is often attributed to Abū L-Qāsim al-Junayd. Fanā comes from a doctrine that has been developed since the execution of Mansur Al-Hallaj in 922 A.D. The terms fanā and baqa are drawn from the Koranic passage (55:26-27): “All that dwells upon the earth is perishing (faāen), yet still abides (yabqā) the Face of thy Lord, majestic, splendid”
Definition: Fanā is a Sufi term meaning passing away that refers to a stage of mystical development in the path of gnosis. Since this is an experiential concept, there is no one perfect definition of fanā. Two allied definition have been offered of fanā the passing away from the consciousness of the mystic of all things, including himself, and even the absence of the consciousness of this passing away and its replacement by a pure consciousness of God, and the annihilation of the imperfect attributes (as distinguished from the substance) of the creature and their replacement by the perfect attributes bestowed by God
Connection to Sufism: After the death of its founder, Islam (like other religions) crystallized into differentiated exoteric and esoteric institutional forms: the exoteric “religious” or “outer” practice and the esoteric “spiritual” or “inner” practice. The exoteric crystallization within Islam became popularly known as the Sharia, Divine Law or Canon, and the esoteric crystallization as the Tariqa, the Way. The Tariqa’s focus and praxis became known as tasawwuf, or Sufism in English .
It means to annihilate the self, while remaining physically alive. Persons having entered this state are said to have no existence outside of, and be in complete unity with, Allah.
It is a sort of mental, yet real, death. The person of the "Way" experiences it freely; it is the final passage which leads to the summit of the Stages. It liberates one from all contingency outside of their spiritual quest; the ultimate aim is the Truth. Three degrees may be distinguished here: fanâ' of acts, attributes and essence.
The Sufi fanâ in its triple manifestation does not have an exclusively negative effect or action; it is the annihilation of everything contingent, whether this be in the form of action, attribute or essence; more precisely, it is the annihilation of everything that is not God, and God is the supreme object of all good, all beauty.
Fanâ' thus conceived is an internal state which requires from the Sufi a sustained and permanent effort of concentration to break ones fetters and take on the demands and calls of truth, by ones acts, ones moral virtues, ones whole being. That implies perfect control of oneself: in words, deeds and thoughts.
It is at this price that one attains an interior spiritual state where one becomes the pure and clear mirror in which the lights of Truth are reflected in all their splendour.
There are three ways in ones journey towards God.
The first is the way of ignorance, through which each must travel. It is like a person walking for miles in the sun while carrying a heavy load on your shoulder, who, when fatigued, throws away the load and falls asleep under the shade of a tree. Such is the condition of the average person, who spends ones life blindly under the influence of ones senses and gathers the load of their evil actions; the agonies of their earthly longings creating a hell through which one must pass to reach the destination of ones journey. With regard to this person the Qur'an says, 'One who is blind in life, shall also be blind in the hereafter.'
The next way is that of devotion, which is for true lovers. Rumi says, 'one may be the lover of people or the lover of God; after perfection one is taken before the Majesty of love.' Devotion is the heavenly wine, which intoxicates the devotee until the heart becomes purified from all infirmities and there remains the happy vision of the Beloved, which lasts to the end of the journey. 'Death is a bridge, which unites friend to friend' (Sayings of Mohammed).
The third is the way of wisdom, accomplished only by the few. The disciple disregards life's momentary comforts, unties oneself from all earthly bondages and turns their eyes toward God, inspired with divine wisdom. One gains command over ones body, thoughts and feelings, and is thereby enabled to create ones own heaven within oneself, that one may rejoice until they merged into the eternal goal. 'We have stripped the veil from thine eyes, and thy sight today is keen', says the Qur'an.
All must journey along one of these three paths, but in the end they arrive at one and the same goal. As it is said in the Qur'an, 'It is God who multiplied you on the earth, and to God you shall be gathered.'==Grades==Perfection is reached by the regular practice of concentration, passing through three grades of development: *Faná -fi-Shaikh, annihilation in the astral plane, **Faná-fi-Rasul, annihilation in the spiritual plane, and ***Faná-fi-Allah, annihilation in the abstract. After passing through these three grades, the highest state is attained of Baqaa-bi-Allah, annihilation in the eternal consciousness.