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Dhū al-Nūn al-Miṣrī

(5,163 words)

Author(s): Alireza Ebrahim
Dhū al-Nūn al-Miṣrī, Abū al-Fayḍ Thawbān b. Ibrāhīm al-Akhmīmī al-Nūbī, known as Dhū al-Nūn al-Miṣrī (ca. 155–ca. 245/ca. 772–ca. 860), was a sage, preacher and well-known Sufi, revered for his scrupulous piety ( warāʿ ), eloquence and spiritual wisdom, and credited by some modern scholars as being the founder of theosophical Sufism. He was also known as Fayḍ or Fayyāḍ b. Ibrāhīm as well as by the kunya Abū al-Fayḍ. He was born in Nubia or Akhmīm (Hellenistic Panopolis) in Upper Egypt to a family of Christians who were taken as slaves by Muslims, and his fathe…
Date: 2018-09-19


(2,090 words)

Author(s): Alireza Ebrahim
Faqr (literally, ‘poverty’) is a term denoting different modalities and stages of material, psychological and spiritual want and neediness which a wayfarer on the Sufi path may adopt as a means to progress in earning God’s love and compassion and of acquiring purity and mystical knowledge.The term  faqr is derived from the Arabic root  f-q-r, literally meaning ‘to hollow out’, ‘to perforate’, ‘to make/become poor’, ‘to be in need’ or ‘to be/become needy’. Hence  faqr carries a general sense of being in a state of penury or destitution. This and other derivatives of …
Date: 2018-09-19

Darwīsh (Dervish)

(6,601 words)

Author(s): Alireza Ebrahim | Stephen Hirtenstein
Darwīsh (Dervish) is a Sufi term meaning poor ( faqīr) and indigent ( nādār). In certain historical periods, especially in the east of Iran and among the Sufis of Khurāsān, it was applied to all Sufis, while at other times it was regarded as an expression for a particular stage on the spiritual path. Many different types of individuals have been referred to as ‘dervish’, ranging from those who interpreted poverty as the radical asceticism of mendicancy, itinerancy, celibacy and antinomian behaviour to those …
Date: 2018-09-19


(4,597 words)

Author(s): Alireza Ebrahim | Stephen Hirtenstein
Darqāwiyya, or Darqāwa, is a branch of the Shādhiliyya Sufi ṭarīqa established in Morocco by Mawlāy Abū ʿAbd Allāh Muḥammad al-ʿArabī b. Aḥmad al-Darqāwī (d. 1239/1823). Given the contemporary account that he died at the age of 87 (Michon, ‘Témoignage’, 390), al-Darqāwī must have been born ca. 1152/1739 in the vicinity of Fez (Fās) into the tribe of the Banū Zarwāl. He claimed descent from the Ḥasanid sharīfs and the Idrīsids, a dynasty that had ruled swathes of North Africa for some 200 years (172–375/789–985). This physical connection clearly played an import…
Date: 2018-09-19

Dārā Shukūh

(10,258 words)

Author(s): Alireza Ebrahim | Shahram Khodaverdian
Dārā Shukūh, Muḥammad (1024–1069/1615–1658), Mughal Tīmūrid prince, prominent Sufi of the Qādiriyya order, and scholar of comparative religion. The name Dārā Shukūh is a Persian compound adjective and means ‘possessing the grandeur of a Darius’. Dārā translated several classic Hindu texts from Sanskrit into Persian; he also wrote a number of treatises, in some of which he outlined and explained the principal doctrines of Hinduism and compared them with the teachings of Sufism. He thus played an i…
Date: 2018-09-19

Fanāʾ and Baqāʾ

(3,544 words)

Author(s): Alireza Ebrahim | M.I. Waley
Fanāʾ and baqāʾ (annihilation and subsistence) are two terms, often found together, pertaining to the terminology of the Sufi path ( sayr wa sulūk). Their origin and basis being metaphysical and cosmological, it is appropriate to discuss this latter aspect before examining the usage and significance of fanāʾ and baqāʾ in relation to the theories and lived experience of authorities on Sufism. Lexically, fanāʾ means to die, perish, or cease to be; baqāʾ means to remain alive, exist, and subsist. Fanāʾ, a verbal  noun, means the effacement of the apparent manifestation of a thing; fānī, the…
Date: 2018-09-19