According to Sufīs, there are three levels of effacement and annihilation, which are: fanā’ fi’sh-shaykh (annihilation in the Shaykh), fanā’ fi’r-rasūl (annihilation in the Prophet) and fanā’ fi’llāh (annihilation in God). This concept is very pleasing according to the people of haqīqat also. However, there is a fundamental difference that the pure Shaykh in whom the mu’min should annihilate himself is only and only the Imām of the time, as the verse of obedience (4:59) commands: “O you who believe! Obey God and obey the Messenger and the ulu’l-amr from among you.” In this command of obedience there is a clear logical indication to love them and to annihilate in them step by step, because annihilation is the corollary of love and love that of obedience.
This excerpt has been taken from page 22