Glossary

These terms and concepts are already explained in the text, but I have compiled them here for easy reference. Arabic words are in italics.

Al-Ghawth al-Aʿẓam (the Greatest Ghawth): A title that Allah vested on ḥaḍrat Shaikh ʿAbd al-Qādir al-Gaylānī, signifying the fact that he is the greatest of all Ghawths.

Baiʿa (Pledge): The process of taking the pledge of the Ṭarīqa. The dervish-to-be puts his hand in the hand of one of the caliphs and recites after them certain statements in which the person declares their repentance to God and pledges to follow the Shaikhs of the Ṭarīqa.

Caliph (khalīfa): A follower of the Ṭarīqa to whom the Master has given permission to initiate people on his behalf.

Chikungunya: A viral disease transmitted to humans by infected mosquitoes.

Dengue fever: A mosquito-borne disease caused by the dengue virus. It is found in tropical and sub-tropical regions, including India. Symptoms include fever, headache, muscle and joint pains, and skin rash. In a small proportion of cases the disease develops into the life-threatening “severe dengue” fever.

Dervish: A follower of the Ṭarīqa, i.e. a “Sufi.”

Dhikr: A prayer of remembrance of Allah. The term shares the same root with the Arabic words for “remember” and “mention.”

Fakir: In India, a fakir is either a wandering dervish who lives on alms or an itinerant Hindu ascetic. The original and broader use of the term, faqīr, refers to any dervish. This word, which means “poor man,” is derived from the Arabic word “faqr (poverty)” in reference to the fakir’s renunciation of all things to rely only on Allah.

Fanā’ (vanishing): Spiritual development in the Ṭarīqa consists of three consecutive stations of “fanā’” that build on each other. This Sufi concept refers to the disappearance of the distinct self through the extinction of one’s will. The three stations are: fanā’ in the Shaikh, fanā’ in the Prophet (ṣallā Allah ʿalaihi wa sallam), and finally fanā’ in Allah.

Ghawth: A very high-ranking Walī. The word means “helper,” in reference to the fact that a “Ghawth” is someone who has spiritual powers that allow him to paranormally help others.

Jinn: A kind of spiritual being that is made of fire. A jinn may be good or evil.

Karāma: A paranormal feat that is performed or experienced by a Walī.

Kasnazan: A Kurdish term that means “the unseen” or “what no one knows.”

Khidhr: A very high-ranking Walī who has been alive for many centuries. He is believed to be the man whom Allah sent Prophet Moses to meet and learn from and whom Allah described as: “A servant from among Our servants to whom We have given mercy from Us and whom We had taught a special knowledge from Us” (17/65).

Madad (“help” or “support”): In Sufism, it refers to the paranormal help and intervention of the Shaikh of the Ṭarīqa using the spiritual powers that Allah gave the Shaikh. This technical use of the term is of Qur’anic origin: “When you [O you who believe!] asked your Lord for help, so He responded to you [saying]: ‘I am mumiddukum (giving you the madad) of one thousand angels in succession’” (8.9).

Muʿjiza: A paranormal feat that is performed or experienced by a Prophet.

Muṣḥaf: The written Qur’an.

Prophet: Someone that Allah draws near to Him and gives revelation to.

Quṭb (Pole): A very high spiritual station in Sufism.

Quṭb al-Irshād (the Pole of Preaching): A very high spiritual position that is occupied by only one Shaikh at any point in time.

Salafi: The term is supposed to refer to a person who follows the example of the early generations of Muslims, but in reality it denotes someone who advocates an unhistorical, narrow interpretation of Islam.

Sayyid: This honorific title indicates that the person is a descendant of the Prophet Muḥammad (ṣallā Allah ʿalaihi wa sallam).

Shah al-Kasnazān: This Kurdish title means “the Sultan of the unseen.” It is the title of ḥaḍrat Shaikh ʿAbd al-Karīm Shah al-Kasnazān.

Sharīʿa: The legal framework of Islamic law which was revealed in the Qur’an.

Takya: This is the place of worship of the Ṭarīqa. The Kurdish origin of this term is the two words “tak kah” which mean “one” and “place,” respectively. “Takya” then means “the place of practicing the oneness of God.”

Ṭarīqa: This Arabic word means “way.” Technically, it denotes the way to draw near to Allah, which He revealed to the Prophet Muḥammad (ṣallā Allah ʿalaihi wa sallam) in the Qur’an and which the Sunna (Tradition) of the Prophet interpreted. The Ṭarīqa as a technical term occurs in the Qur’an in the following verse: “And if they remain straight on the Ṭarīqa (Way), We will provide them water to drink in abundance” (72.16).

Wahhabism: This religious movement advocates a very narrow interpretation of Islam and a school of thought that accuses many Muslims of polytheism, as it rejects Islamic concepts and practices that are known from the early days of Islam.

Walī: Someone who is close to Allah. This nearness makes the person experience and perform karāmas.

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