Adab (Mannerliness)

Adab (Mannerliness) Its meaning covers being sensible and reasonable, well behaved, well-mannered, treating people kindly. (Adap) Mannerliness is used in the terminology of Sufism to defend against errors and to distinguish the factors leading to errors, It is dealt with under the categories of ‘mannerliness in Shari’a’, ‘mannerliness in services’,...

‘Ilm (Knowledge)

‘Ilm (Knowledge) Knowledge (‘ilm) means information obtained through the human senses or through the Revelations or inspiration of God. It is also used to denote information that is in agreement with facts or realities, and to denote understanding something with its real, whole meaning and content. In addition, we come...

Hikma (Wisdom)

Hikma (Wisdom) Wisdom (hikma), meaning knowledge, the understanding of Divine commandments, of philosophy, of the real reasons for the existence of events and of things, and grasping the goals and benefits in religion, has been interpreted by the exacting scholars of truth as being able to combine useful knowledge and...

Firasa (Discernment)

Firasa (Discernment) Firasa (discernment) can be defined as profundity, productivity and coherence in thought and the forming of opinions, the ability to penetrate the meaning of existence, and acting on conscious insight. It is a light that God puts into a person when they have purified their heart of spiritual...

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Wajd and Tawajud (Ecstasy and Willful Rapture)

Wajd and Tawajud (Ecstasy and Willful Rapture) Wajd (ecstasy) is overflowing with spiritual joy and enthusiasm, and rather than using reason, logic, or will, one follows the spiritual state in which one is. It consists of God’s surprising visit to the heart of one of His servants with special favor....

Dahsha and Hayman (Amazement and Stupor)

Dahsha and Hayman (Amazement and Stupor) While discussing ecstasy and willful rapture, we have mentioned the states of dahsha (amazement) and hayman (stupor). Although amazement and astonishment were written about in the first volume of this book, a few more words will be said here concerning amazement alongside stupor; this...

Barq (Lightning)

Barq (Lightning) Barq (lightning) is a light that flashes in an initiate during the first steps of the journey toward sainthood. This is the first invitation to those seeking nearness to God. The scholars of truth have related the emergence of lightning to the verse (20:9-10), Has there come to...

Zawq and ‘Atash (Pleasure and Thirst)

Zawq and ‘Atash (Pleasure and Thirst) Meaning the feeling of happiness and satisfaction, and enjoyment and amusement, zawq (pleasure) in Sufi terminology is one of the first breezes of Divine manifestation and one of the first gifts that appear from time to time on the horizon of witnessing the signs...

Faqr and Ghina (Poverty and Richness)

Faqr and Ghina (Poverty and Richness) For Sufis, poverty means that an initiate claims possession of nothing and is freed from all kinds of attachment toward worldly things, and that one feels total neediness and destitution before God in one’s relationship with Him, which is based on servanthood and God...

A Partial Glossary of Sufi Terms

A Partial Glossary of Sufi Terms Annihilation in God: A saint’s seeing himself or herself as engulfed in the lights of God’s Existence and as directed by God’s Will; a saint’s setting his or her heart wholly on God and never disobeying Him. The Book: The Qur’an. The Book of...

Riyada (Austerity)

Riyada (Austerity) Riyada (austerity), which we can describe as disciplining life, appetite and thirst, and sleeping and waking only in order to develop the feelings of praise for and thankfulness to God and balancing these by keeping them within the limits of needs, has been used in the terminology of...

Qurb and Bu’d (Nearness and Remoteness)

Qurb and Bu’d (Nearness and Remoteness) Nearness (qurb) means that one transcends corporeality in order to acquire perfect spirituality and proximity to God. Some interpret it as God’s proximity to His servants; however, this is not accurate. God is near to His servants, but not in terms of quantity or...

Ma’rifa (Spiritual Knowledge of God)

Ma’rifa (Spiritual Knowledge of God) Ma’rifa literally denotes skill or talent, a special capacity belonging to certain people, means and knowing by means of something. According to travelers on the path of God, it is the station where knowing is united with the one who knows, where knowing becomes second...

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Mahabba (Love)

Mahabba (Love) Mahabba means fondness, tender and kind feelings, inclination, and love. Love that affects and invades one’s feelings is called passion; love that is so deep and irresistible that it burns for union[1] is called fervor and enthusiasm. Sufis have defined love as the relation of the heart with...

‘Ashq (Passion or Intense, Ecstatic Love)

‘Ashq (Passion or Intense, Ecstatic Love) ‘Ashq means intense love of and fondness for perfection, beauty, or physical charm. Sufis usually call this sort of love figurative or metaphorical love, such as love for the opposite sex. Real love, the love of the Eternal Monarch, is felt for His Grace...

Shawq and Ishtiyaq (Joyful Zeal and Yearning)

Shawq and Ishtiyaq (Joyful Zeal and Yearning) Literally meaning strong desire, excessive wishing, joy issuing from knowing, delight, and longing, shawq (joyful zeal) is used by Sufis to express the heart’s overwhelming desire to meet with the Beloved, Who cannot be comprehended and “vanishes” after being “observed”. Some have described...

Jadhb and Injidhab (Attraction and the Feeling of Being Attracted Toward God)

Jadhb and Injidhab (Attraction and the Feeling of Being Attracted Toward God) In the language of Sufism, jadhba (attraction) means that a servant is attracted toward God by God Himself, purified thereby of human imperfection in spiritual elevation, and equipped with Divine Attributes or exalted morals as specified in the...

Dahsha and Hayra (Utmost Astonishment and Amazement)

Dahsha and Hayra (Utmost Astonishment and Amazement) Every traveler journeying in valleys of love and zeal sometimes burns with the fire of love, and sometimes overflows with joy owing to the “wine of immortality” offered by the Beloved. While burning, the lover sighs: O Cup bearer, I have burned away....

Qabd and Bast (Contraction and Openness)

Qabd and Bast (Contraction and Openness) Qabd (contraction) and bast (openness), felt by almost every-one during their lives, relate especially to those who live their lives consciously. Literally meaning being caught, being in straits or distressed, and being grasped by hand, Sufis use qabd to mean that the link between...

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Qast and ‘Azm (Decision and Resolution)

Qast and ‘Azm (Decision and Resolution) Qast means confidence, determination, choosing, and advancing straight toward a destination, thinking and reasoning moderately and deliberately, and living a moderate and balanced life. For Sufis, this term represents an initiate’s pursuit of love and the pleasure of God, the Truly Beloved One, and...

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