Sufi Terminology

Links to articles on this website explaining sufi-terminology and explanations of Muslim terminology. Most of the terminology is from the glossary to The Seals of Wisdom: The Essence of Islamic Mysticism, By Ibn Al-`Arabi.
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al'Abd

Servant; symbolically, a mystic devotee of the Divine

Adab (article by Robert Frager)

'Adam

Immutably unmanifest; the Void

Adh-dhat

The essence or quiddity; that to which all qualities of a thing are referred

Adh-dhawq

Men of spiritual inclination; the faculty of intuition

al-'Adl

The Just, a Divine Name

al-'Afuw

Approving; the Pardoner, a Divine Name

al-Ahad

The One, a Divine Name; in Sufi thought, al-ahadiyah is Supreme Unity and the state of uttermost absorption in the Divine

Ahl-al-haqaq

The Divine Realities

al-Akhir

The Last, a Divine Name

'Alem al-khayal

Realm of the creative imagination

'Alem al-mithal

World of analogies, which corresponds to 'alem al-khayal

al-Ali

The Elevated, the Most High, a Divine Name

Allah

Literally, God; the primary of the Divine Names

Amr

Divine Order; the Divine Command, symbolized by the word of creation, kun, 'Be!'

al-Asma al-husna

Infinite in number; the Names of Beauty or the Divine Names

al-Awwal

The First, a Divine Name

al-A'yan

Eternal essences; the unchanging archetypes

al-'Ayn

Latent essence; the source

al-Azal

The One without Beginning; eternity

Baqa

Immortality in Deity

Barzakh

Bridge; symbolically, the link between two degrees of existence

Bashar

Mortal man

al-Batin

Inner, unmanifest, hidden, a Divine Name

Fana

The passing of the individual self into universal Being; renunciation of all desires

al-Fayd

Inexhaustible afflatus; the overflowing of Infinite Being

Fikr (Fikar) (article by Hazrat Inayat Khan)

al-Furqan

Discrimination; revelation in general as shari'a, law

Fusus

Seals; settings for gems; bezels

al-Ghaffar

The Forgiver, a Divine Name

al-Ghafur

All-Forgiving, a Divine Name

Hadarat al-ghayb al-mudafi

The Divine Presence in the Unmanifest

Hadarat al-ghayb al-mutlaq

The Divine Presence in the Absolute and Unknowable

al-Hadarat al-jam'iyah

Divine Presence in its impartite integrity; see hadarat

Hadarat al-khayal

The Divine Presence in the realm of imagination

Hadarat ash-shabadat al-mutlaqah

The Divine Presence in the manifest

Hadith

Traditional saying of Muhammad handed down outside the Qur'an through known intermediaries

al-Hakam

The Judge, a Divine Name

al-Hamid

The Adored, the Praiseworthy, a Divine Name

Haqiqat al-baqaq

The Reality of Realities; the highest Logos; the intangible barzakh between Divinity and manifestation

al-Haqq

The One Reality; the Truth; the Real, a Divine Name

al-Haybah

Reverent awe; the contrary of al-uns

al-Hikam

Wisdom

al-Himmah

Conscious power of impressing ideas on the cosmos; spiritual will; the ardent turning of the soul towards the Divine

al-Huwiyah

The Supreme Self

al-Ihsan

Spiritual vision; spiritual virtue

Ijtihad

Individual judgement

Ilah

Divinity; hence Allah ( al-Ilah )

Imam

Leader, especially in prayer

Insan

Man

al-Insan al-kabir

The Great Man, the macrocosm;

al-lnsan al-kamil

The Universal Man; the archetypal human being and the perfected man who has realized all degrees of being

al-lradah

Wish

Islam

Surrender; submission

Isti'dad

Predisposition, receptivity

al-Jabbar

Establisher of Order; the Omnipotent, a Divine Name

al-Jam 'iyat al-ilahiyah

Divine synthesis

Jasad

Subtle form

al-Jawhar al-hayulani

Primordial substance

Jihad

Holy war ; Jihad (article by Robert Frager)

al-Kamal

The infinitude in which all realities are immersed; Divine plenitude

Kashf

Vision; instinctual intuition; the withdrawing of a veil

Kathif

Gross; corporeal; cf., latif

al-Kawmu khayal

'The world is Imagination'

Khalifah

The Representative of the Divine

Khalil Allah

Intimate Friend of Allah

al'Khaliq

The Creator, a Divine Name

Khatim al-awliya

Seal of the saints

Khatim ar-rasul

Seal of the messengers

al-Khayal

Creative imagination

al-Lahut

The Divine Nature inherent in humanity

Latif

Subtle; fine; cf,, kathif

Majmu

The Totality

al-Makan

Cosmic locus

Maqamat

Divine Stations or Names through which the Divine Essence is manifest

al-Mashi'ah

Will

al-Mishkat

Niche, tabernacle

Mubasbarah

Direct connection; that which makes one happy

Mumkinat

Possibilities, distinguished from necessities and contingencies

al-Muntaqim

Wrathful; the Avenger, a Divine Name

Nabi

Prophet

an-Nabi

The Prophet

an-Nafas ar-rahmani

Compassionate Breath; the manifesting principle of the Divine

an-Nafs

The individual soul; in contrast to ruh, spirit, it is the separative self

Nafs (article by Shaikh Sharfuddin Maneri)

an-Nafs al wahidah

Single spiritual essence, the source of individual souls

al-Nasut

The corporeal form in which Spirit inheres; human nature

an-Nur

The Light, a Divine Name

al-Qabid

The Restrictor, a Divine Name

Qabil

Pure receptacle; passive substance

Qada'

Decree

Qadar

Destiny

Qadasa

Holiness

al-Qahhar

The Victorious, a Divine Name

al-Qalb

The Heart; the faculty of pure intuition

Qiblah

Appropriate direction; ritual orientation

al-Qidam

The Ancient of Days; eternity

al-Qur'an

Literally, recitation; in Sufi symbolism, immediate illumination, revelation as knowledge; the Self as a united totality; the name of the sacred scripture of Islam

Quth al-arifin

The axis of true knowledge

Rabb

Lord; Deity in respect to man

Rahbur ul-'alam

Guide of the world

Rahmah

Compassion; pure mercy

al-Rahman

The Compassionate, the Beneficent, a Divine Name

Ramadan

Ninth month of the lunar year, requiring total abstinence from food and drink during the daylight and only light refreshment after dark

ar-Ruh al-amin

Trustworthy spirit; a name of the archangel Gabriel

al-Ruh al-ma'nawi

The Intellectual Spirit

Ru'ya

Vision

Shahada

The word of witness, the Muslim profession of faith; 'There is no God but Allah; Muhammad is his prophet'

Shari'a

Traditional law

Sijjin

Prison; in the Qur'an, sijjin refers to the inferior worlds

Sirr

Mystery, secret; in Sufi symbolism, the centre of consciousness

Suluk (article by Shaikh 'Abd al-Qadir as-Sufi ad-Darqawi)

at-Tabi'ah

Universal Nature

at-Tajalli

Self-unveiling; Divine irradiation

Tanfis

To give relief

al-Tanzih

Transcendental understanding; withdrawal

Taqlih

Turning

Tasha'ub

Innumerable ramifications

al-Tashbih

Understanding mediated by analogy; affirmation

'Ubudiyah

Unwavering servitude; quality of the perfect servant

Uluhiyah

Divinity; the Divine Nature as a quality of Deity

al-Umar al-kulliyah

Universal ideas; archetypal realities

Umma

Community

al-Uns

Confiding intimacy; the contrary of al-haybah

Wahdat al-wujud

The Oneness of Being

al-Wahhab

The Bestower, the Giver, a Divine Name

al-Wahi

Divine inspiration

al-Wahid

The Unique, a Divine Name

al-Wahm

Illusion; conjecture; opinion

Wali

Saint

al-Wali

The Friend; the Ruler, a Divine Name

al-Wasi'

The All-Encompassing, the Vast, a Divine Name

al-Wujud

Beyond the aroma of manifest existence; the One

al-Zahir

The Manifest, the Apparent, a Divine Name; contrasted with al-batin, the Hidden