These terms denote the fruits of ‘theophany’ (tajalli), the results of unveilings (kushufat), and the appearances of inrushes (waridat) that they [meaning the Sufis] experience. The first of these is ‘tasting,’ then, ‘drinking,’ and then ‘being quenched.’ One who is characterized by dhawq (tasting) tries to be intoxicated (mutasakir). One who is characterized by shurb (drinking) is intoxicated (sakran). And one who is characterized by riyy (being quenched) is sober (sah).
The sense of the term “taste” in the poem “What is Tasawwuf ?” seems to have both the general meaning and the more specifically Sufi sense as noted by Qushayri. The general meaning is conveyed in the expressions the “taste for religion,” where the sense is that the Sufis’ “appreciation” for religion is the basis for their ecstasy. The more specific meaning of which Qushayri speaks is alluded to in the poet’s linking together these two hierarchical states of consciousness (“taste” and ecstasy”). The poet states that “ecstasy” is derived from “taste,” implying that Sufi ecstasy only comes about after a firm foundation in the appreciation of and commitment to following the religion (namely Islam). Hence the poet says, “I have heard that the ecstasy of the wearers of wool (suf) comes from finding the taste for religion.