This section has been used to clarify terms used on the site.

Adab: Spiritual courtesy or manners, Manners,
in this case, the manners of the dervish. It is said that the whole art
of being a dervish is in one’s manners, not only how one treats God, but
even more, in how one treats one’s fellow humans. The traditional dervishes
have many beautiful rituals entwined with every aspect of daily life, especially
in greeting and being with each other, which help to maintain awareness
of the Divine Presence

Adhan [ah-zaan]: Call to prayer

Abu Bakr As-siddiq: First Khalifa after the Prophet

Arif: Mystic knower, gnostic

Akbar: Greatest or greater

Alayhi salam: On him be peace

Ali ibn Abu Talib: The Fourth and last of the righteous Khalifas
after the holy Prophet Muhammad (saw).

Ashadu an la ilaha ill’Allah: I bear witness that there is no
god but Allah.

Assalamu alaykum: Peace be upon you

Astaghfirullah: I ask forgiveness of Allah

Awliya: The saints and friends of God (plural)

Ayat [ah-yat]: Sign, indication, verse

Batin: Hidden

Bai’ah: A pledge, promise, initiation into a sufi order

Bismillah: In the name of Allah

Darvish [dar-veesh] (also darwish and dervish): A poor person,
a follower of a shaykh (literally means “threshold”); plural is daravish

Du’a [du-ah]: Prayer or invocation

Dunya: Material world

Fana [fa-nah]: Stage of annihilation in the journey to God

Fatiha [faht-e-ha]: Opening verse of the Qur ‘an.

Ghawth : Helper, very high station in hierarchy

Hadith: Sayings of the Prophet Muhammad

Hajj: Pilgrimage to Mecca

Hajji: Pilgrim

Halal: Permissible by Islamic law

Halka: A circle of people, usually a shaykh and murids.

Haqq: Truth

Haram: Forbidden

Hu [hoo]: “He” or “him”, used in invocation, zikr

‘Ilm: Knowledge of science.

Iman: True faith.

‘Ibadat: Spiritual service.

Irshad: Guidance or direction.

Insha’Allah: If Allah wills.

Islam: Submission.

Jihad: Struggle or fight or effort.

Jinn: Beings of the spirit world.

Kalima: The Islamic Creed.

La ilaha ill’Allah: There is no god but Allah. (There is no Reality
but God.)

Maqam: A station or stage of spiritual development.

Majlis: Gathering

Masjid [mass-jed]: “Mosque” in the West, literally “place of

Mehdi [meh-dee]: One who is guided.

Mihrab [meh-rob]: The niche in the wall which shows the direction
of prayer.

Mi’raj [meh-rawj]: Night Journey of the Prophet.

Murshid: Teacher of the Sufi Path.

Murid: Student of a Murshid (spiritual teacher).

Mu’ adh dhin [moo-az-zeen): One who calls people to prayer.

Muslim [moss-lemm]: One who submits to Cod.

Nafs: Literally “breathe”; personality/ego clusters which control
people and keep them from seeing Truth.

Qiblah [Qib-lah]: Masjid in Mecca to which Muslims turn in prayer.

Qur’an [Qur-aan]: Also Koran, Revelation from Allah.

Rabb: Lord, Sustainer.

Rabbi: My Lord.

Rak’at [ra-kaat]: A unit of ritual prayer including
standing, bowing, sitting, and prostrating.

Rasul: An exalted messenger.

Rehbar: A guide.

Ruh: Spirit, which contains divine secret.

Salams: The greeting of peace.

Salaat: Islamic ritual Prayer.

Salawat: Asking Allah for peace and blessings upon the Prophet

Shaykh: Master/Superior spiritual leader in a sufi order

Sheikh: Master/Superior spiritual leader in a sufi order

Shirk: sin, associating partners with Allah.

Silsilah: Chain, of succession.

Tariqat: Spiritual Path.

Tafsir: Greater deoth of explanation.

Tassawuf: The Islamic mystic path.

Tasbih: String of beads used in counting prayers also called
subah (literally “glorification”).

Tawhid: Unity and oneness of God.

Tekke: A dervish gathering place (literally “corner”).

Wakil: A guardian, subordinate of a shaykh.

Zikr [zeck-r]: Remembrance, invocation of God


Tassawuf: “Contemplative tradition,” exact equivalent for Sufism
as a whole.

Silsilah: Lit. “chain,” the lineage of a tariqat descending
from the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), through his Companion, Ah Ibn Abu Talib
or (in some cases) Abu Bakr, or both. The chain of transmission includes
all Murshids or the order up to the present.

Tariqat: Lit. “way to,” order of Sufism founded by a recognized
member of a silsillah.

Ta’ifa: Lit. “group,” may designate a branch of an order

Halka: Lit. “circle,” a group which gathers to practice or study

Dergah : “Royal court,” the tomb of a saint and also the center
which serves as the headquarters of a particular branch of an order.

Tekke (Turk.): Lit. “corner,” lodge, synonymous with Khanqah
(Pers.) and Zawiyya (At).



Murshid: “Spiritual Director,” title usually reserved for the
head of an order.

Shaykh: Lit. “elder,” appointed director

Khalifa: Lit. “vice-regent” a deputized teacher or (sometimes)
the designated successor of a particular Shaykh.

Rahbar: Lit. “conductor,” a spiritual guide.

Meydan-ji: Meydan is literally the “field” or “meeting-place;”
meydan-ji is an elder dervish who helps other students learn the proper
customs and procedures of the tariqat.

Wakil: A guardian, subordinate of a shaykh.

Zakir: One who remembers Allah (swt) constantly within the heart.


Salik: A general term, lit. “traveler,” a seeker of spiritual

Muhabbest: Lit. “attracted one,” someone attracted to an order,
also called muhibb (“lover”).

Talib: A candidate or aspirant to formal membership in a Sufi

Murid: Lit. “directed one,” a person who has accepted a spiritual

Sufi: Lit. “wearer of wool.” (in one meaning) In some orders,
one who has entered an order as a novice.

Dervish: “Poor one,” synonymous with faqir (Ar.), a formal member
of an order. In some orders, a salik who has attained maturity on the path.

Dede: Lit. “Grandfather,” an elder dervish with spiritual standing
within the order, usually the same level as a Khalifa.

Wali: Lit. “protecting friend,” a saint or someone who has attained
a high degree of realization.


Baraka: All practices are accomplished through the spiritual
energy or “grace” emanating from Allah through the silsillah of the tariqat.

Wazifa: Repetition of a name of God, given as practices prescribed
to the murid.

Subhat: Lit. “association,” spiritual affiliation.

Rabita: From the root “rab,” ‘binding,” to keep inward contact
with one’s guide through tawajjuh, concentrating one’s being upon another.

Talqin: Private spiritual instruction, transmitted orally or
through other, spiritual means.

Ruksa: Concession or permission given by a Shaykh to perform
a certain practice or organizational function.

Salat: Islamic prayer, synonymous with namaz (Pers.)

Asma ul Husna: The 99 Names of God which are used individually
or together in zikr

Wird: A set prayer done in addition to the required 5 daily prayers

Zikr: Lit. “remembrance,” individual or collective meditation
employing the names of God.

Hadrah: Lit. “presence,” a gathering for the practice of zikr
often accompanied with movement.

Muraqaba. Meditation practiced in solitude,

Muhasibi: Lit. “rendering account,” taking stock of one’s actions.

Haiwet: Spiritual retreat; the chille (Turk.) is often 40 days.

Sema: Lit. “audition,” a spiritual concert or zikr accompanied
by music and sometimes turning (whirling).

Raqs: Dancing.


Ahwal: Lit. “states,” pl. of hal, a transitory mystical state.

Maqqamat: Lit. “station,” pl. of maqqam a more permanent condition
of having refined one’s nafs.

Nafs: The “self” or individual personality, which must be purified,
refined, and transcended.

Irada: The quality of spiritual aspiration.

Himmah: Force of heart, decisiveness.

Dhawq: Lit. “taste,” perceptivity gained through divine grace.

Kashf: Intuition, occasionally experienced in lawami (flashes),
sudden intuitions.

Ru’yah: Lit. “vision,” esp. of a spiritual nature.

Mahabba: Love or attraction.

Ishq: Passion or ardent desire.

Wajd: Ecstasy.

Burhan (Turk.): Spiritual possession.

Bast: Expansion or elation.

Qabz: Contraction or deflation.

Tajalli: Irridation, epiphany, or theophany.

Mi’raj: The night journey of the Prophet (pbuh), lit. the type
of “ascendsion”which may be paralleled by advanced Sufis.

Mahabbat: Effacement.

Fana: Temporary “annihilation,” cessation of ego-awareness which
may be

accomplished in various degrees or at various levels or depths

Sukr: Mystical intoxication, often accompanying wajd or fana.

Sahv: LIt. “sobriety,” the condition of the mature practitioner
who has returned to normative consciousness after sukr.

Yaqin: Lit. “certainty,” usually connoting conviction (of various
degrees) concerning the goal of the path.

Tawwakul: Complete trust in and reliance upon God Alone.


Ma’rifah: Mystical knowledge of all types held to be valid.

Irfan: Gnosis, direct perception of Reality.

Tawhid: Unity, also direct perception of the central tenet ofIslam,
Allah’s absolute singularity.

Wahdat al Wujud: “Oneness of Being” (ibn al Arabi), the absolute
non-duality of existence.

Wahdat ash Shuhud: “Unity of Vision” (Sirhindi), the absolute
unity of the Creator in indissoluable relation to the unity of the individual
existent who remains separate.

Baqa: “Subsistence,” continuing awareness through Allah.