Ansari Qadiri Rifai Sufi Order

Glossary of Sufi Terms and Phrases


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A

‘abd, abid
devotee; dependent; servant; one who is conscious of his/her dependence on Allah
abdal
substitute; one who has traded his own self for Allah
abraar
best of believers; goodness; righteous; virtuous
Abu Bakr As-Siddiq
first Khalifa after the Prophet (peace be upon him)
Abul Alemeyin
Father of Two Banners, a title of Hz. Ahmed er Rifai
Abul Arca (or Beynennas)
Father of the Lame, a title of Hz. Ahmed er Rifai
adab
etiquette; manners
adhan (azan)
call to prayer
afidah
plural of fuad
Ahl al Kitab, Ahle Kitab
People of the Book or Scripture
Ahl al Tariqa, Ahle Tariqa
People of the path; Sufis
Ahlullah
People of Allah
Ahl al Suffa, Ahle Suffa
Sufis during the time of Muhammad (pbuh)
ahwal
lit. "states," pl. of hal, a transitory mystical state.
Akbar
Greatest or Greater than great (Allah)
akhfa
very deeply hidden; the deepest part of the heart; sirr ‘ul-asrar
akhir
last; latter
‘alam-i jabbarut
the world or realm of the archangels
‘alam-i kasrat
the world or realm of multiplicity (kinetic energy)
‘alam-i lahut
the world or realm of the essence of Allah
‘alam-i mulk
the world or realm of creation
‘alamin
worlds; realms
‘alam-i ruh
the world or realm of the spirit
‘alam-i wahdat
the world or realm of oneness (potential energy)
Alayhi salaam
"Peace be upon him" (abbr., pbuh)
Alayhis-salat was-salaam
"Upon Him be blessing and peace"
Alhamdulillah
"All praise and gratitude be to Allah"
Ali Ibn Abu Talib
fourth and last of the righteous Khalifas after Prophet Muhammad (pbuh)
Allahu Akbar
"Allah is Greater than great"
alim
knower, in a scholarly sense
amaana
object given for safekeeping; trust
anfus
plural of nafs
ansar
helpers
Aqim al salat
"Establish a system of connection and devotion to Allah" (command)
'aql
the rational mind; intellect
aqtab
plural of qutb
aqtab-i erbaa
qutbs of all time, a very high spiritual station reached by only four human beings, among whom are Hz. Abdul Qadir Geylani and Hz. Ahmed er Rifai
arhul
plural of ruh
arif
spiritual knower; gnostic
arsh
throne; the place of origin; stage from which Allah makes decisions; command post
Asma ul Husna
The 99 Names (Attributes) of Allah, which are used individually or together in zikr
asr
passing time; declining day; isha in the afternoon
As-salaamu alaykum (var. salaam alaykum, salaamun alaykum)
"Peace be upon you"
As-salaamu alaykum wa rahmatullah wa barakatuhu
“Peace be upon you, and Allah’s mercy and blessings”
Astaghfirullah, tubtu illallah, we na’aytu qalbi an masiwa’llah
“Allah forgive me, please cleanse my heart of everything but You.”
A’uzu billahi minashaitan al rajim, bismillah Al Rahman Al Rahim
"I seek refuge in Allah from Satan, who is cast out. In the name of Allah, The Source of Mercy, The One Who Acts with Mercy."
awliya
protecting friends of Allah; saints; guardians (pl. of wali)
awwal
first; former
‘awwam
common people; the masses
ayat
sign; portent; lesson; message; proof; revelation; verse; evidence
‘ayn al yaqin
sure knowledge gained through observation and experience

B

bala
adversity in the form of a trial or test
baqa
the state of "subsistence"; continuing awareness through Allah.
baraka
blessing; grace
bast
expansion
batin
inner
bayat, biat
pledge; promise; initiation into a Sufi order
bayt
house; sanctuary
Baz al-Ashab, Al, Bazul Eshep
The White Falcon; title of Hz. Abdul Qadir Geylani (Arabic, Turkish)
biat
see bayat
bid’a
harmful religious innovation
Bismillah Al Rahman Al Rahim
"In the name of Allah, The One Who Acts with Mercy, The Source of Mercy"

D

dede
lit., grandfather; an elder dervish with spiritual standing within the order
dergah
Sufi center
dervish
lit., poor one; formal member of an order; murid who has attained a certain level of maturity
dhawq
lit., taste; perceptivity gained through divine grace.
din
way of doing righteous deeds; way of life; religion; path of righteousness to Allah
dua
prayer; supplication; invocation of Allah’s favors
dunya
material world
dzan
assumption; good dzan is to assume the best or to give the benefit of the doubt

F

fajr
dawn; salat just before dawn
fana
annihilation; spiritual cessation of ego-awareness
fanafullah
dissolving in Allah
fardz
compulsory religious rule
Fatiha, Al
Opening sura of the Qur'an
Fi'il-i Muhammad
the example Muhammad (pbuh) projected in living according to Allah's wishes; Muhammad’s (pbuh) implementation of sharia
firdaws
paradise
fitna
corruption; dissension between parties; trouble; disharmony; mischief-making; disorder; rebellion; planting the seeds of trouble
fuad
spiritual heart as perception point within a human being
Furqan
Criterion of Right and Wrong

G

Gavsul Azam, Ghawth-i Azam
lit., The Greatest Help(er), a title of Hz. Abdul Qadir Geylani
ghafla
heedlessness; mindlessness; ignorance
ghaib
unseen
ghayba
backbiting
Ghawth
Helper; very high station in spiritual hierarchy

H

Habibullah
Beloved of Allah; Muhammad (pbuh)
hadith
tradition; saying attributed to, or anecdote regarding Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), according to traditional eyewitness accounts
hadith qudsi
holy hadith
hadrah
lit., presence; a gathering for the practice of zikr often accompanied with movement
haidar
The ornamental vest worn by a dervish
Haj
Pilgrimage to Mecca
haji
pilgrim
halal
permissible by Islamic law
Hal-i Muhammad
the spiritual state of Muhammad (pbuh); Muhammad’s direct knowledge of Allah
halka
lit., circle; a group which gathers to practice or study Sufism, usually a shaykh and murids.
halvet
spiritual retreat
haqiqa
the state of knowing absolute truth
haqq
truth
haqq al yaqin
truth received directly from Allah; sure knowledge
haram
unlawful
hawa
lust; desire; whim
Hazrat, Hazreti (abbr., Hz.)
honorific title
hidaya
guidance
hikma
wisdom
himmah
force of heart; decisiveness
Hu
third-person pronoun (without gender) used in reference to Allah and in invocation to Allah during zikr

I

‘ibad
plural of ‘abd
ibada
act of worship; devotion
ijaza
permission; license to teach tasawwuf (Sufism)
ijtihad
deduction; the process of reasoning through which one draws conclusions about a subject
ilah
god; deity; a revered higher power to whom one adheres and appeals for help
ilm
knowledge
ilm al ladun
divine knowledge received directly from Allah
ilm al yaqin
knowledge through research, written or verbal communication
iman
faith; belief; that which you accept to be the truth
indallah
nearness to or being in the presence of Allah
insan
human being
insan-i kamil
mature human being
Insha Allah, inshallah
God willing
iqam al salat
the establishment of prayer and connection to Allah
irada
the quality of spiritual aspiration
irfan
gnosis; direct perception of Reality
irshad
guidance; direction
isha
evening; salat in the evening
ishq
love; passion; ardent desire
Islam
surrender; submission
ittiqa
watching for Allah’s good pleasure with one’s deeds; guarding oneself from evil or harm; not offending Allah in one’s actions

J

jalal
wrath; power
jamal
mercy; beauty
jahri
in a hearable voice; loud
jihad
struggle; effort; holy war
jihadul-akbar
the greater struggle, i.e., the fight against one’s nafs
jinn
unseen being with consciousness and abilities similar to humans

K

Ka'aba
The Sanctuary; Inviolable Place of Worship; Mosque in Mecca
kalima
word; speech; saying; command; science
Kalima Tawhid
Utterance of Oneness (“La ilaha illa Hu” [“There is no god but Him”])
kamil
mature
Kanz-i Makhfi
Secret Treasure (Allah)
kashf
observation; spiritual understanding
khafi
hidden; subtle
khalifa
representative; deputy; murid licensed by his/her shaykh to teach tasawwuf; designated successor of a particular shaykh
khas
special; designated; destined
khawas
people of rare distinction
Kitab
Book; Scripture; established and applied knowledge; laws and regulations
Kitabin Mubin, Kitabi al Mubin
Clear Book (of references); Book that Makes Everything Clear; established knowledge; scientific fact
kursi
throne

L

La ilaha illallah
"There is no god but God"
La maqsudu illallah
"There is no goal other than Allah."
lataif
spiritual perception point within a human being
Laylat Al Qadr
Night of Power, a holy night of special prayer during the month of Ramadan
Laylatul Mi’raj
Prophet Muhammad’s (pbuh) mystical Night Journey
liqa
joining

M

maasiwa
other than Allah
Ma’bud
Object of devotion (Allah)
maghfira
pardon
maghrib
west; sunset; salat just after sunset
mahabba
love; attraction
maqam
station; place; position; state of spiritual development
maqam mahmud
praised station
ma'rifa
direct knowledge of Allah
mashallah
what Allah wants (and happens)
masjid
lit., place of prostration; mosque; place of worship
Masjid Al Aqsa, Al
The Farthest Mosque; mosque in Jerusalem
mawla
protector; guardian; master; lord
mawlana, mevlana
spiritual teacher; our lord
meydan
lit., "field" or "meeting place"; place where zikr is held
meydan-ji
elder dervish who helps other students learn the proper customs and procedures in a meydan
Mi'raj
Night Journey of the Prophet (pbuh); the type of "ascension" that may be experienced by advanced Sufis
M’iraj ul Ma’nawiy
Spiritual Journey
mihdi
one who is guided
mihrab
niche in the wall which shows the direction of prayer
mu'adh dhin, muezzin
one who calls people to prayer
muhabbest
lit., attracted one; someone attracted to an order
muhib
one who loves
muhasibi
lit., rendering account; taking stock of one's actions
Muhyiddin
Reviver of the Way of Doing Righteous Deeds (Religion); a title of Hz. Abdul Qadir Geylani
mukhlas
sincere and dedicated one who chooses Allah as his/her goal
mulk
sovereignty; domain; realm
mu’min
accepter of the truth; believer; acknowledger
muraqaba
meditation practiced in solitude; watching over carefully
murid
lit., directed one; a person who has accepted a spiritual teacher; Sufi student
murshid
teacher of the Sufi path, a title usually reserved for the head of an order
musbaha
string of prayer beads; rosary; also known as tasbih
Muslim
one who surrenders; submitter; one who is willing to accept and make peace with Allah’s laws and regulations

N

naas
humanity
nabi
prophet
nafs
lit., breath; self; person; egoistic or animalistic nature
Nafs-i Ammara
Dominant Nafs; the first of seven main levels of nafs attained in the process of Sufi purification
Nafs-i Lawwama
Blaming Nafs; the second of seven main levels of nafs attained in the process of Sufi purification
Nafs-i Mardziyya
Satisfying Nafs; the sixth of seven main levels of nafs attained in the process of Sufi purification
Nafs-i Mulhama
Inspired Nafs; the third of seven main levels of nafs attained in the process of Sufi purification
Nafs-i Mutmaina
Tranquil Nafs; the fourth of seven main levels of nafs attained in the process of Sufi purification
Nafs-i Radziyya
Satisfied Nafs; the fifth of seven main levels of nafs attained in the process of Sufi purification
Nafs-i Safiyya
Purified Nafs; the seventh of seven main levels of nafs attained in the process of Sufi purification
na’im
bliss; delight
namaz
formal Islamic worship that is observed five times daily
ni'ma
favor; blessing; grace; kindness; benefit; comfort; pleasure; delight
niyyah
intention
nur
light

P

pir
spiritual ancestor; founder of a Sufi tariqa; living principal of a Sufi tariqa
Pir-i Dastgir
lit., "Who Takes by the Hand," a title of Hz. Abdul Qadir Geylani
postaki, post
sheepskin used as the seat of the shaykh in the traditional Sufi zikr ceremony

Q

qabd, qabz
contraction; deflation
Qaddasa Allahu sirrahu
"May Allah sanctify his secret"
qahr
wrath
qalb
heart
Qalu Balaa
covenant at the beginning of creation between the souls and Allah
qana’at
contentment
Qawl-i Muhammad
what Allah said through Prophet Muhammad (pbuh); sharia
qiblah
direction turned to during prayer, which is geographically towards the Ka’aba in Mecca
Qur'an, Koran
lit., lecture or recitation; revelation from Allah to Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) over a period of 23 years and compiled into a volume of 114 suras, or chapters
Qur’an-i Karim, Qur’an al Karim
Generous Qur'an
qurb
nearness; closeness
qutb
lit., pole; a person of extremely high spiritual level who acts as administrator in the spiritual hierarchy of the world; human conduit of spiritual power from Allah, through whom it is distributed in the world.
Qutbul Azam
Greatest Qutb, a title of Hz. Abdul Qadir Geylani
Qutbul Rabbani
Divine or Devout Qutb, a title of Hz. Abdul Qadir Geylani

R

Rab
Lord; Master; Allah
Rabbi
My Lord
rabita
purposeful spiritual connection; heartfelt connection
Rabbil ‘alamin
Lord of the worlds, realms, generations
rahbar
lit., conductor; spiritual guide
rahma
mercy; grace
rakat
A unit of ritual prayer including standing, bowing, sitting, and prostrating
raqsh
dancing
rashid
maturity; wisdom
rasul
messenger
rida
contentment; good pleasure; satisfaction; approval
rijal
person who is faithful to his or her vows under all circumstances
rijal al ghaib
saint who can see remotely or travel through time and space in the service of Allah
rizq
sustenance
ruh
soul; spirit
ruhsat
concession or permission given by a shaykh to perform a certain practice or organizational function
ruhul aminu
trusted spirit
ruhul jismani:
corporeal soul
ruhul quds
holy spirit
ruhul seyrani
moving soul
ruhul sultani
kingly soul
ru'yah
lit., vision, esp. of a spiritual nature

S

sabr
patience
sadaqa
charity; alms
sadr
chest; heart; innermost self
sadr latifa
place in chest area equivalent to the heart chakra of Indian tradition
sahaba
companions of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh)
sahv
lit., sobriety; the condition of the mature practitioner who has returned to normative consciousness after sukr
sajda
prostration
sajjada
prayer rug
salaam
peace
Salaam alaykum
"Peace be upon you"
salat
worship; prayer; formal Islamic worship that is observed five times daily; making connection to Allah; namaz
salat al asr
afternoon prayer
salat al fajr
morning prayer
salat al isha
night prayer
salat al maghrib
sunset prayer
salat al zuhr
noontime prayer
salawat
invocation of peace and blessings upon Prophet Muhammad (pbuh)
salik
lit., traveler; spiritual seeker
Salla Allahu 'alayhi wa salaam
"May Allah's peace and blessings be upon him," spoken or written after Muhammad's name
sama, sema
turning; revolving; a spiritual concert or zikr accompanied by music and sometimes turning (whirling)
samawat
heavens
shafi
intercessor
sharia
the body of Islamic religious canons; injunctions attributed to Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) regarding proper behavior for Muslims
shaykh
lit., elder; appointed master in a Sufi order or tariqa
shirk
attributing partners to Allah
shirk-e khafi
hidden shirk
siddiq
truthful and loyal one
sifat
attribute
silm
peace; submission
silsila
lit., chain; the lineage of a Sufi tariqa descending from Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), through Ali Ibn Abu Talib or Abu Bakr (may Allah be pleased with them). The chain of transmission includes all murshids of the order up to the present.
Silsiletil Zehep
Golden Chain (Turkish), the spiritual lineage of Hz. Abdul Qadir Geylani
sirr
secret; mystery
Sirr-i Muhammad
Secret of Muhammad; haqiqa
sirr ‘ul-asrar
secret of secrets; akhfa
soffreh
cloth spread on the floor used for meals
Subhan Allah
"Exalted is Allah" (Free from all defects)
Subhana Rabbi Al A’la
"Glory to my Lord The Most High"
subhat
lit., association; spiritual affiliation
Sufi
lit., wearer of wool or person of the bench; member of a tariqa
Sufism
process of attaining closeness to the Creator through love, which is attained by purification of the nafs; tasawwuf
sultan
king
Sultanul Awliya
King of the Saints, a title of Hz. Abdul Qadir Geylani
suluk
journey; the life-path of a spiritual seeker
sukr
mystical intoxication, often accompanying wajd or fana
sunna
the observed behavior of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh)

T

tafakkur
reflection; contemplation
tafakkarun
those who contemplate
tafsir
scholarly interpretation; explanation
tahajjud
special prayer during the night
taj
lit., crown; hat worn by a dervish
tajalli
The state of irridation, epiphany, or theophany
takbir
great word (Allahu Akbar [God is Greater than great])
taqwa
self-vigilance; following the guidelines of Allah; devotion
talib
candidate or aspirant to formal membership in a Sufi order
talqin
inculcation; the practice of deliberate mental self-conditioning
tariqa
lit., way to; path; order of Sufism founded by a recognized member of a silsila
tasarruf
Allah’s executive power
tasawwuf
system of spiritual cleansing known in the West as Sufism
tasbih
glorification; repeating the Names of Allah with the help of prayer beads; prayer beads
taslim
surrender
tawba
repentance
tawhid
unity and oneness of God, the direct perception of central tenet of Islam, Allah's absolute singularity
ta’wil
deep, authoritative interpretation
tawakkul
complete trust in and reliance upon God alone
tekke (Turk.)
lit., corner; dervish gathering place, synonymous with khaniqah (Pers.) and zawiyya (Ar.)

U

Ummul Kitab
The Mother or Totality of Knowledge of our universe
urs
anniversary of the death of a Sufi saint, which is celebrated as their day of union with Allah
Uzkurullah
"Remember (make zikr of) Allah"

V

verd
litany of praises; incantation prior to zikr

W

wahdat
unity
Wahdat al Wujud
Oneness of Being; the absolute non-duality of existence
wahy
divine revelation; inspiration; suggestion; indication; saying something in a whisper
wajd
state of ecstasy
wajh
countenance; face; essence; attention
wakil
trustee; representative; guardian; advocate; keeper; representative of a shaykh, lower in rank than a khalifa
wali
protecting friend of Allah; guardian; saint; also wali ul Allah; Sufi of a high spiritual level
waliyyan-murshid
teacher who guides and protects
Watan Asli
lit., Our Motherland; the face of Muhammad (pbuh)
wazifa
repetition of names or attributes of Allah given as a practice prescribed to the murid; personal zikr
wudu
ritual ablution, or washing, performed before salat

Y

yaqin
certainty

Z

Zabur
Psalms
zakir
one who chants in the liturgy, also known as qawwal
zahir
outer
zakat
poor due; alms
zat
essence; person
zikr
lit., remembrance; reminder; the Sufi practice of repeating the Names of Allah
zuhr
noon; salat around noontime
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