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Ikhlas (Sincerity or Purity of Intention)

Ikhlas (Sincerity or Purity of Intention) Ikhlas (Sincerity or Purity of Intention) has been interpreted as being upright, sincere, and pure; being distant from show and ostentation in one’s intention and conduct; and being closed to whatever clouds or fouls the heart. Purity of intention, straightforwardness in thought, pursuit of no worldly...

Istiqama (Straightforwardness)

Istiqama (Straightforwardness) People of truth have interpreted straightforwardness as avoiding all deviation and extremes, and as following in the footsteps of the Prophets, the faithful, the witnesses (of truth), and the righteous (in belief) in their religious deeds and daily lives. The verse: Those who declare: “Our Lord is God,”...

Tawakkul, Taslim, Tafwiz, and Thiqa (Reliance, Surrender, Commitment, and Confidence)

Tawakkul, Taslim, Tafwiz, and Thiqa (Reliance, Surrender, Commitment, and Confidence) Tawakkul (Reliance), Taslim (Surrender), Tafwiz (Commitment), and Thiqa (Confidence) are the four steps or stations of a spiritual journey beginning with reliance on (or trust in) God, continuing in full awareness of one’s helplessness and destitution before God, and ending...

Khuluq (Good Nature)

Khuluq (Good Nature) Khuluq (Good Nature), in addition to meaning temperament, disposition, and character, is a goal to which a traveler aspires, for it is the most important dimension of creation. In brief, this station means that one is characterized (equipped) with God’s qualities or way of acting. For example,...

Muraqaba (Self-Supervision)

Muraqaba (Self-Supervision) Muraqaba (Self-Supervision) has been defined as watching, supervising, controlling, and living in the consciousness of being controlled (by God). Sufis take this further, by defining it as setting one’s heart solely on God, abandoning any attachment to that which is other than Him, denying to one’s carnal self all that...

alone reflection Huzn (Sadness or Sorrow)

Wara’ (Abstinence)

Wara’ (Abstinence) Wara’ (Abstinence) is defined as holding oneself back from unbecoming, unnecessary things; as strictly refraining from what is unlawful and forbidden; or abstaining from all doubtful things lest one should commit a forbidden act. The Islamic principle: Abandon what you doubt and prefer what you have no doubt about, and...

Taqwa (Piety)

Taqwa (Piety) Taqwa (Piety) is derived from wiqaya, which means self-defense and avoidance. Sufis define it as protecting oneself from God’s punishment by performing His commands and observing His prohibitions. Besides its literal and technical meanings, in religious books we find the meanings of piety and fear used interchangeably. In fact, taqwa...

Zuhd (Asceticism)

Zuhd (Asceticism) Zuhd (Asceticism), which literally means renouncing worldly pleasures and resisting carnal desires, is defined by Sufis as indifference to worldly appetites, living an austere life, choosing to refrain from sin in fear of God, and despising the world’s carnal and material aspects. Asceticism is also described as renouncing...

Raja (Hope or Expectation)

Raja (Hope or Expectation) For a Sufi, Raja (hope) means waiting for that which he or she wholeheartedly desires to come into existence, acceptance of good deeds, and forgiveness of sins. Hope or expectation, both based on the fact that the individual is solely responsible for his or her errors...

Khawf and Khashya (Fear and Reverence)

Khawf and Khashya (Fear and Reverence) In Sufism, khawf (fear) denotes abstaining not only from all that is forbidden, but also from those deeds from which it is advisable to refrain. It also signifies, as the opposite of hope or expectation, that a traveler on the path to Truth does...

Huzn (Sadness or Sorrow)

Huzn (Sadness or Sorrow) Sufis use the word huzn (sadness) as the opposite of rejoicing and joy, and to express the pain one suffers while fulfilling his or her duties and realizing his or her ideals. Every perfected believer will continue to suffer this pain according to the degree of...

Qalb (Heart)

Qalb (Heart) In the words of Ibrahim Haqqi of Erzurum: The heart is the home of God, purify it of whatever is there other than Him, so that the All-Merciful may descend into His palace at nights. The word qalb “heart” has two meanings. One denotes the body’s most vital...

Hal and Maqam (State and Station)

Hal and Maqam (State and Station) Hal (State) denotes experiencing in one’s inner world the “breaths” blowing from the realms beyond the world, and feeling the difference between “night” and “day,” as well as “evening” and “morning,” that occur to the heart. Those who understand them as alternate waves of...

Halwat and ‘Uzlat (Privacy and Seclusion)

Halwat and ‘Uzlat (Privacy and Seclusion) Literally meaning solitude and living alone, halwat and ‘uzlat (privacy and seclusion) within the context of Sufism denote an initiate’s going into retreat to dedicate all of his or her time to worshipping God under the guidance and supervision of a spiritual master. He...

Firar and I’tisam (Fleeing and Taking Shelter)

Firar and I’tisam (Fleeing and Taking Shelter) Firar, which literally means to run away from something, is used in Sufism to denote the journey from the created to the Creator, sheltering from the “shadow” in the “original,”[1] and renouncing the “drop” to plunge into the “ocean.”[2] Further, it means discontent...

Sayr u Suluk (Journeying and Initiation)

Sayr u Suluk (Journeying and Initiation) In the language of Sufism, when used together, sayr u suluk (journeying and initiation) denotes becoming free of bodily and animal appetites to a certain extent within the framework of certain principles, searching for ways to reach God and traveling toward Him by the...

Qal­aq (Passion)

Qal­aq (Passion) Literally meaning boredom with the place where one is and with the surrounding conditions, feeling discomfort as if in imprisonment or captivity, qalaq (passion) is intense love, deeper than the desire for Paradise that the ordinary worshipper feels, more profound than the feelings aroused by a Sufi leader’s...

Tafakkur (Reflection)

Tafakkur (Reflection) Tafakkur literally means to think on a subject deeply, systematically, and in great detail. In this context, it signifies reflection, which is the heart’s lamp, the spirit’s food, the spirit of knowledge, and the essence and light of the Islamic way of life. Reflection is the light in...

Muhasaba (Self-Criticism or Self-Interrogation)

Muhasaba (Self-Criticism or Self-Interrogation) Muhasaba literally means reckoning, settling accounts, and self-interrogation. In a spiritual context, however, it takes on the additional meaning of the self-criticism of a believer who constantly analyzes his or her deeds and thoughts in the hope that correcting them will bring him or her closer...

God and the Truth of Divinity

God and the Truth of Divinity The sacred term Allah (God), which is also referred to as the Word of Majesty or the All-Supreme Name in the sense that it is the Chief Divine Name comprising all other Names, is the proper Name of the All-Majestic, All-Exalted Divine Being, Who...

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