Abudhar and Salman, the two companions of the Holy Prophet. After the Prophet’s death, they became two of the loyal followers of ‘Ali ibn Abitalib. The Holy Prophet has said about Salman: “Salman is of our Household,” P.36.
‘ahd-I azali, the “eternal covenant,” the “primal covenant”; referring to the Covenant made between God and human souls in eternity before man’s coming to this world, when God addressed human souls and asked them, “Am I not your Lord?’ They said: ‘Yes, we testify’” (Qur’an 7:172), P.27. See also ‘ahd-I taklifi and bay’at.
‘ahd-I taklifi, the “prescriptive covenant.” It refers to the covenant which a believer makes with the spiritual Master. This covenant between the believer and the Master which brings about spiritual attachment to the Master, gives the believer the means of advancing along the Path. Thus, it is considered as the renewal of the ‘ahd-I azali and is identified with bay’at, P.27.
amr-I takwini, the “ontological command.” It refers to the laws of creation which all must obey by the very nature of things. It is referred to in several verses in Qur’an such as: “His command (amr), when He desires a thing, is to say it ‘Be,’ and it is” (36:81), P. 45 Cf. amr-I taklifi.
baqa, subsistance; gaining existence in the Reality of God after total extinction (fana) of one’s deeds and qualities. It is one of the Stations (maqamat) of the “Travelling along the Path to God” (suluk) which is achieved after fana, P. 40.
bay’at, literally, selling; giving one’s allegiance. In Islam and particularly in Sufism, it denotes the believer’s taking the oath of allegiance to the Holy Prophet, the Imams or their rightful successors (awsiya). Thus, it is the rite of initiation. There are several Qur’anic verses which point to this, such as: “Verily those who swear allegiance unto you, swear allegiance unto Allah. The Hand of Allah is above their hands” (48:10), PP.27, 66.
dhikr, remembrance. In Sufism, the remembrance of God in the heart and invoction of one of His Names as instructed by the Master. Dhikr is one of the pillars of the “Travelling along the Path” (suluk) and should be accompanied with fikr, PP. 26, 29, 38, 66.
fana, extinction, annihilation; extinction of one’s deeds and attributes in the deeds and attributes of God. It is one of the stations (maqamat) of the “Travelling along the Path to God” (suluk), P.40.
literally, poverty; spiritual poverty.
dervishhood, and Sufism are different terms which
are used for the same reality. The true meaning of Faqr
(Sufism) and its reality is to “die to oneself” (fana)
and to “become resurrected in God” (baqa),
an eternal life which is not followed by death. Without attaining such death and
life, one shall not be called
or Sufi. Thus, Jesus (peace be upon him) said: “He who is not born twice shall
not penetrate the kingdom of the heavens and the earth” (cf.
fata, a youth, a knight. Fata is used particularly with reference to a person who has kindness, forgiveness, bravery, and other praiseworthy qualities. It is said that ‘Ali ibn Abitalib (peace be upon him) was the true fata. He, in the Battle of Uhud, helped the Holy Prophet while most of the Muslims had left him alone. ‘Ali, in this battle, fighting with his two-edged sword, Dhulfaqar, gained a glorious victory and saved the life of the Prophet. At that time, on the battlefield, an angel called from Heaven: “There is no fata but ‘Ali and no sword but Dhulfaqar,” P. 38.
fikr, meditation. In Sufism, it designates directing one’s attention to God’s Name invoked in the heart of the Traveller (salik) by the spiritual guide at the time of initiation (bay’at). Fikr is one of the pillars of the “Travelling along the Path” (suluk) and is accompanied with the remembrance (dhikr) of God, PP. 26, 31, 38, 66.
fuqara, plural of faqir (darvish in Persian). Faqir is an Arabic word, derived from faqr (poverty), meaning a “poor man.” In Sufi terminology, it refers to the poor in spirit and designates the followers of the Sufi path. According to Qur’an (35:15) “O men, you are the poor in relation to Allah, and Allah is the Rich, worthy of all praise.” And also when Moses says: “O my lord, surely I have need of whatever good you send down for me” (28:24), PP. 1, 2, 7, 11, 16, 17, 18, 63, 88.
ghaybat, occultation; referring to the occultation of the twelfth Imam (the Promise Mahdi) who was born in 256/858. He is the son of the eleventh Imam. After the martyrdom of his father, he became Imam and, by divine command, went into the “minor occultation” which lasted about seventy years. Then, in the year 329/939, his “major occultation” began and will continue as long as God wills it. According to the Holy Prophet: “he will appear and will fill the earth with equity and justice when it is filled with oppression and tyranny”. He is usually mentioned by the titles of the “Support (Qa’im) of the Descendants of the Prophet,” the “Imam of the Period,” and the “Lord of the Time,” P. 63.
haqiqat-i Muhammadiyah, the “Muhammadan Truth.” It signifies the supreme spritual reality of the Holy Prophet which is identified with the subtle essence of walayat. It is also called alawiyyat-i ‘Ali; because after the Prophet, Imam ‘Ali was the inheritor of this reality and after him, his successors (awsiya) inherited it. By virtue of accepting walayat and through initiation (bay’at), it will be placed as a seed in the heart of the beliver, P. 32.
himmat, literally, aspiration; the spiritual will; directing the heart with all its power towards God in order to obtain a certain purpose for oneself or another. Thus, it is a concentrated spiritual force in the Master, PP. 34, 66.
Hu, (or Huwa) He; the third person masculine singular pronoun in Arabic. In Sufi terminology, it refers to the Almighty God. It should also be noted that the number 121 below Hu means “ya ‘Ali (O ‘Ali). In a certain Arabic alphabet, abjad, the letter are arranged according to their numerical values. Thus, ya ‘Ali (O ‘Ali) comprises letters the numerical values of which are 10, 1, 70, 30, 10, which add up to 121, P. 15.
Imam, the leader. In its Shi’te sense, Imam is the one who is chosen from on high by divine decree (nass) through the Prophet. Hence he is “free from error and sin” (ma’sum). The Imams (peace by upon them) are the only completely legitimate successors to the Prophet. The first Imam, ‘Ali, was appointed by the Prophet himself, and each of the others in turn was appointed by his predecessor according to divine decree. The last one, the twelfth Imam, is the hidden Imam who is appear again one day as the promised Mahdi, PP. 65, 67.
inaba, returning, returning to God; one of the Sufi spiritual states (halat). It is necessary for the Traveller (salik) who seeks nearness to God to repent (tawba) of his evil deeds, return to Him, and ask for forgiveness, P. 40.
istikhara, asking favors or guidance. In Islam, it refers to a man’s invocation to God when he is undecided as to whether to do something or not, and seeks guidance for a salutary decision. Istikhara is usually done through consulting the Holy Qur’an or by using a rosary, P. 85.
Khal’ and Lubs, khal’ literally means “to take off” or “to remove” and lubs means “to put on” or “to wear.” The Almighty God has put the “ontological taking off and putting on” in the progression of things. This khal’ and lubs is clearly seen in plants, animals, and man. God takes the imperfect form off them and puts the perfect form on them. This is called the “ontological taking off and putting on.” Similarly, He has also put taking off and putting on in “prescriptive duties” – both in the duties pertaining to the bodily frame (qalib) and in the duties pertaining to the heart (qalb) – that one’s duty (taklif) may be in accordance with one’s creation (takwin), P. 40.
Khidr (or Khadir), literally, the green (or the green one). A mysterious prophet whose figure is a very important one in the spiritual hierarchy of Islam and is closely similar to that of Elias. According to Qur’an (18:60-82), Moses asks a servant of God (i.e. Khidr) unto whom God had given His mercy and who had been taught knowledge from His presence: “Shall I follow you so that you may teach me, of what you have been taught, right conduct, “ P.26.
kibrit-i ahmar, red sulphur; another name for elixir, the substance that makes possible the transmutation of base metals into gold. According to a saying (hadith) by the sixth Imam: “The believer is rarer and more precious than red sulphur,” P. 91.
muhasaba, self-examination; the Traveller’s accounting of his thoughts and deeds on the Path to God. The Holy Prophet has said: “take account of your actions before they take account of you, and weigh yourself before you are weighed, and die before you are dead,” P. 39.
Murtadawi, related to Murtida, the spiritual title of the first Imam ‘Ali ibn Abitalib (peace be upon him). He was the cousin, son-in-low, and the legitimate successor of the Prophet. The Sunnis consider him the fourth caliph but in the Shi’te view, he is the successor (wasi) of the Prophet and his immediate caliph, P. 16.
musafaha, derived from the word “safh” meaning “joining one’s hand with another’s.” Musafaha is also called safa (purity) for its inciting of love, friendship, and intimacy (uns). According to a saying (hadith) of the Prophet: “If two Muslims meet and perform musafaha, their sins will be forgiven before they separate.” Musafaha takes place between two believers with their right hands by joining thumbs, fastening their other fingers, and consecutively kissing each other’s hand, PP. 34, 43, 49, 50, 64, 79.
namzz-i ayat, the “ritual prayer of the Signs.” Ayat (plural of ayat) literally means “signs,” and this ritual prayer (namaz) is performed on unusual occasions such as when there is occurrence of earthquake, severe storm, eclipse of the sun or the moon or thunder and lightning, P. 59.
the “ritual prayer on the two Festivals.”
literally means two festivals and refers to the two great religious festivals of
Islam: the festival of
and the festival of
The festival of
is the festival of the breaking off the fast and is celebrated on the 1st
of the month Shawwal, after the ending of the month of Ramadan. The festival of
(meaning sacrifice) is celebrated on the 10th of the
namaz-i wauta, the “middle prayer:” It is a prayer referred to in Qur’an as follows: “Be you watchful over the prayer, and the middle prayer” (2:238). Muslim authorities differ as to which of the prayers it is. According to gnostics (‘urafa), the essence of the middle prayer is in remembering God in one’s heart which, as it is said in Qur’an (29:45), is greater than the ritual prayer (namaz): “And perform the prayer; prayer forbids indecency and dishonour, but verily remembrance of Allah is greater,” P. 57.
Ni’matullahi, related to His Highness Nur al-Din Shah Ni’matullah Wali born in 731 A.H.L. (1331 A.D.) and died in 831 A.H.L. (1428 A.D.). He was one of the greatest Sufi qutbs, PP. 1, 3, 4, 9, 16, 54, 56, 88.
‘Ali Shah II,
His highness Hajj Mulla ‘Ali
Nour ‘Ali Shah II, the eldest son and the successor of his
honourable father His Holiness Sultan ‘Ali Shah. He
was in Bayducht (in Khurasan)
on 17th Rabi’ ath-thani 1284 A.H.L.(1867
A.D.) and martyred on 15th Rabi’ al-awwal
1337 A.H.L. (1918 A.D.) and was buried in Rayy (near
Pand-i Salih, “Salih’s Advice.” Salih is originally and Arabic work meaning righteous of pious. But in this text, it refers to the spiritual title of the honorable author in tariqat, i.e. Salih ‘Ali Shah, PP. 1, 3, 19.
Pir, literally, elder. In Sufism, it denotes the spiritual master without the assistance of whom the Traveller (salik) cannot gain union with God. He is also called shaykh (English, sheikh) and qutb, PP. 26, 35, 66.
qalb, heart (Persian, dil). The Arabic root from which qalb is derived has the sense of “turning, revolving, and inverting.” The heart is called qalb, because it has two faces. One face of the human heart is turned to the world of spirituality (malakut) and the other face to the world of materiality (mulk). Thus, it constantly turns from one world to the other, PP. 29, 35, 60.
qutb, literally, pole, axis. In Sufism, it designates the Guide or the Master. Thus, he is the axis (qutb) around which the spiritual hierachy (silsila) revolves. He is also the “axis of his period” on whom the order of the world depends and by whom it is preserved, PP. 3, 4, 5.
Salihiya, a gnostic book written, upon the request of His Highness Hajj Muhammad Hassan Salih Ali Shah, by his father His Highness Hajj Mulla ‘Ali Nour ‘Ali Shah II (may their graves be sanctified), P. 20
Shab-i Qadr, “the Night of Power.” Qadr means power, divine decree, measure, worth, and majesty. Hence Shab-i Qadr is, according to Qur’an, the night of the descent of the Holy Qur’an and it is “better than a thousand months; in it the angels and the Spirit descend” (97:4), P.62.
Shari’at (shar’), literally, road, the public road to the watering-place. But in Islam, it refers to the sacred revealed Law, i.e.. the totality of God’s Commandments relating to the outer dimension (zahir) of Islam, PP. 47, 55, 56, 60, 64, 73. Cf. tariqat
Sirr, secret, mystery. In Sufi terminology, it also denotes one of the seven subtle essences of the heart (qalb). Thus, it is a subtle essence between the spirit (ruh) and the acrance (khafi). There are different descriptions for it, such as: the source of the mysteries of spiritually or that which is inaccessible to the enticements of the soul (nafs), P. 35.
Sultan ‘Ali Shahi, relating to His Holiness Hajj Mulla Sultan Muhammad, called “Sultan ‘Ali Shah” (may his grave be sanctified), the grandfather of the honorable author. He was born in Baydukht (near Gunabad in Khurasan) on 28th Jumadi al-ula 1251 A.H.L. (1835 A.D.) and martyred on 27th Rabi’ al-awwal 1327 A.H.L. (1909 A.D.) and was buried there. He became the qutb of the Nimatullahi Order after the death of His Highness Saadat ‘Ali Shah by his decree. His Holiness wrote several books, the most important of which is Bayan Assa’ada. After the branching of the Order, the Ni’matullahi Sultan ‘Ali Shahi Order became distinguished. Today the Ni’matullahi Sultan ‘Ali Shahi Order is one of the largest Sufi Orders, PP. 3, 4, 5, 9, 12, 16, 20, 58.
Taqiya, dissimulation. It is the dissimulation of one’s religion and the hiding of particular religious practices from the opponents in case of danger. It is also the hiding of words which are not advisable to be said to others. The sources through which taqiya is practiced by the Shi’ites are the Holy Qur’an and the sayings (Ahadith) of the Imams (peace be upon them). According to the Holy Qur’an: “Let not the believers take the unbelievers for their friends, rather than the believers. Whose does that has no connection with Allah unless [it be] that you but guard yourselves against them, taking [as it were] security. Allah warns you that you beware [only] of Him. Unto Allah is the journeying’ (3:28). And it is related from one of the Imams (peace be upon them): “Practising taqiya is my religion and it is the religion of my fathers”. Besides, it seems to be natural for a wise man to practice it, P.36.
Tariqat, literally, road, private road. In Islamic and particularly in Sufi terminology, it refers to the inner (batin) dimension of Islam, i.e. to the deeds which concern the heart. Thus, it is identified with Sufism, Faqr (Dervishhood), PP. 16, 18, 35, 55, 56, Cf. Shariat.
‘Urafa, plural of ‘arif meaning the knower, the gnostic. In Sufism, the term signifies he who is possessed of direct knowledge (gnosis or ma’rifat) of God, has attained the spiritual stations, and possesses spiritual perfection, PP. 3, 4, 18, 78.
Walayat, literally, proximity, sainthood, friendship, power, and dominion. Thus, it means proximity to God and friendship with Him. In Qur’an and Qur’anic commentary (tafsir) and Sufi terminology, it refers to the power of spiritual guidance and the function of initiation (bay’at). The Prophet of Islam, like other prophets before him, had this power which His Holiness transmitted to his legitimate successors (awsiya), PP. 16, 35, 38, 39.
Wali, (pl. awliya) friend; friend of God; saint. Derived from the word walayat, wali means one who has attained proximity to God and thus has “spiritual dominion and power” (walayat). Hence in Islam and particularly in Sufism, he is the spiritual Guide, PP. 34, 35.
Zakat, literally, purification, cleaning and progress. It denotes, according to religious scholars, purification of and increase in one’s property by the giving of a portion of it to the needy, P. 65.