sufism glossary




Ahid: promise, commitment. (Turkish: Ahid)
Ahirat: the afterlife, the realm beyond the visible world (Turkish: Ahiret)
Ahl: people, adepts, members of a particular group (Turkish: Ehil)
Ahl al-Bayt: the “family of the house” or “household” of Hz. Muhammad (saws). Includes Hz. Ali, Hz. Fatima, Hz. Hasan, Hz. Husseyn. (Turkish: Ehl-i Beyt)
Alim: a scholar of ilm, of scientific knowledge. (Turkish: Alim)
Arif: a Sufi on the maqam of marifat (Turkish: Arif)
Asfiya: the pure servants of Allah (Turkish: Asfiya)
Ashab al-Qiram: Sahabah; the companions, disciples, scribes and family of Hz Muhammad (saws). (Turkish: Eshab-i Kiram )
Awliya: (plural) the saints and friends of Allah. The singular form is wali. (Turkish: Evliya)


Barakat: grace and abundance, the grace of Allah (Turkish: Bereket)
Beitullah: a mosque, literally “house of God”; specifically means the Kaaba at Mecca. (Turkish: Beytullah)
Biath: Bay’ah; an oath of allegiance to a leader, specifically to a Sufi teacher. (Turkish: Biyat)


Caliph: successor for a position and/or responsibility. (Turkish: Halife)


Dhikr: ‘remembrance’; individual or collective meditation reciting the names of Allah. (Turkish: Zikir)


Ehl-i Beyt: (see ‘Ahl al-Bayt’)


Fana: a stage of mystical development in the journey to Allah; a cessation of the attachment to the personality which can be experienced in various degrees or depths. (Turkish: Fena)
Faqir: a dervish; a Sufi on the path of faqr. (Turkish: Fakir)
Faqr: having no being, no existence, no possession of self but Allah; giving up everything but Allah; seeing no existence in self and submitting all to Him, having realized this self is forever poor, empty, at mercy in the Presence of Allah. (Turkish: Fakr)
Fazilat: great virtue (Turkish: Fazilet)
Ferdaniyyat: individuality, specifically the indivisible individuality of Allah. (Turkish: Ferdaniyet)


Ghaws: Ghaws al-Azam; a great wali recognized as the great helper (Turkish: Gavs-ül Azam)


Halk: the crowd of people (Turkish: Halk)
Hadith: Hadith al-Sharif; the words and statements of Hz. Muhammad(saws) recorded by his companions. (Turkish: Hadis-i Şerif).
Hajj: the pilgrimage to Mecca.
Haqiqah: the truth of Allah (Turkish: Hakikat)
Haqq: divine truth, reality. Al-Haqq is one of the names of Allah. (Turkish: El Hakk)
Hirka: the symbol of the graduation of the murid given by his murshid. (Turkish: Hırka)
Hz.: the abbreviation of Hazrat: literally ‘Great Presence’, an honorific title used before the name of a person. (Turkish: Hz.; Hazret)


Ibadat: worship for Allah (Turkish: İbadet)
Ihlas: sincerety (Turkish: İhlas)
Ihsan: the kindness, favor, benevolence of Allah (Turkish: İhsan)
Ilm: scientific knowledge (Turkish: İlim)
Imam: a leader of a community of Muslims (Turkish: İmam)
Iman: belief without doubt (Turkish: İman)
Irfan: knowledge acquired through experience (Turkish: İrfan)
Irshad: guidance on the path of maturity (Turkish: İrşad)


Jabarrut: the realm between the visible world and the realm of ‘malaqut’. (Turkish: Ceberut)


Kafeer: a person denying the oneness and the existence of Allah. (Turkish: Kafir)
Keramat: the extraordinary manifestations performed by the awliya. Keramat only occurs by the will of Allah and the ‘wali‘ is not in control of them. (Miracles occur through the prophets while the keramat happens through the awliya.) (Turkish: Keramet)


La ilaha ill’Allah: a phrase which can be translated as ‘There is no god but Allah’, ‘There is no truth but Allah’ or ‘None has the right to be worshipped but Allah’


Maqam: a spiritual station which marks the long path followed by Sufis leading to communion with Allah. (Turkish: Makam)
Malaqut: the invisible realm of angels and divine souls. (Turkish: Melekut)
Marifat: the term used by Sufis to describe the mystical intuitive knowledge of spiritual truth attained through ecstatic experience (rather than rationally acquired). A level on the Sufi path. (Turkish: Marifet)
Massiva: The crowd of worldly concerns and occupations veiling one’s consciousness from the presence of Allah. (Turkish: Masiva)
Muezzin: the person on the duty of reciting the adhan, the call to prayer. (Turkish: Müezzin)
Muhabbat: the love and intimacy of Allah. (Turkish: Muhabbet)
Mumin: believer, specifically a believer of Allah (Turkish: Mümin)
Murid: a disciple committed to a murshid in a tariqah of Sufism. (Turkish: Mürid)
Murshid: a Sufi teacher fully ordained by the lineage of a tariqah to guide and instruct the murids on the Sufi path. (Turkish: Mürşid)


Nafs: the ‘false self’ or the individual personality which must be purified, refined and transcended on one’s path to Allah. (Turkish: Nefs)


Qiblah: the direction Muslims face during prayer and salat. (Turkish: Kıble)
(qs): the abbreviation of ‘quddesa sirruhu’, which literally means: ‘May his resting place remain pure’. (Turkish:(ks))
Qull: a servant of Allah (Turkish: Kul)
Qutub: the perfect human being who leads the divine
hierarchy as an infallible and trusted spiritual leader. (Turkish: Kutub)


(ra): the abbreviation of ‘radiallahu anhum’, which literally means: ‘May Allah be pleased with him’. (Turkish:(ra))
Rabb: Lord, Sustainer. Al-Rabb is one of the names of Allah.
Ramadan: the month of fasting, coinciding with the date on which the Qur’an was first revealed. (Turkish: Ramazan)


Safa: purity, sincerety, clarity (Turkish: Safa)
Sahaba: the companions of Hz. Muhammad (sa).
Salaamat: the safety and protection of Allah (Turkish: Selamet)
Salat: the ritual prayer of Islam which is performed five times a day, also known as namaz. (Turkish: Namaz)
(saws), (sa): an abbreviation of ‘salla Allahu alaihi wa-sal-lam’, invoked whenever the name of the Prophet Hz. Muhammad is spoken or read. The translation is ‘May Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him.’ An alternative English form is (pbuh).
Sayyid (male), Sayyide (female): a descendant of a relative of Hz. Muhammad (saws). (Turkish: Seyyid, Seyyide)
Sema: dhikr accompanied by music and sometimes whirling.
Seyr-u Süluk: the Sufi path followed by a murid, with the guidance of a murshid, leading to communion with Allah. (Turkish: Seyrü Süluk)
Shariah: the ethical and moral code based on the Qur’an and the Sunnah. The first level on the Sufi path. (Turkish: Şeriat)
Sheikh: (see ‘Murshid’ for the meaning in Sufism) (Turkish: Şeyh)
Sırr: secret, precious knowledge (Turkish: sır)
Sirat: as-Sirat; the bridge which one passes through upon his or her death. (Turkish: Sırat)
Sohbat: conversation, specifically as a practice of exchange and guidance among the Sufis (Turkish: Sohbet)
Sunnah: the ‘path’ or ‘example’ of Hz. Muhammad (saws), i.e., what he did or said or agreed to during his life. (Turkish: Sünnet)


Taqwa: abstinence; piety: avoiding anything which does not lead one to Allah. (Turkish: Takva)
Tariqah: literally ‘way’ or ‘path’; a school of Sufism. Examples of the tariqah include the Rifa’i, the Qadiri and the Mevlevi. (Turkish: Tarikat)
Tasawwuf: Sufism; a way of life in which a deeper identity is discovered and experienced. This deeper identity, or the essential self, has abilities of awareness, action, creativity and love that are far beyond the abilities of the superficial personality. (Turkish: Tasavvuf)
Tawaqqul: the conscious state of surrendering to Allah (Turkish: Tevekkül))
Tawhid: the Oneness of Allah, or the belief in Divine Unity, one of the fundamental tenets of Islam. (Turkish: Tevhid)


Ummah: community, people; specifically the followers of Hz. Muhammad (sa). (Turkish: Ümmet)


Walayat: guardianship, friendship of Allah (Turkish: Velayet)
Wali: a saint and a friend of Allah. The plural form is awliya. (Turkish: veli)
Wird: daily practice of worship (Turkish: Vird)


Zahid: a person who practices ‘zuhd’. (Turkish: Zahid, Zahit)
Zhikr: (see ‘Dhikr’)
Zuhd: asceticism for the sake of keeping the mind-body-soul clear for the presence of Allah. (Turkish: Zühd)