The Spiritual Message of Hazrat Inayat Khan

updated 6-July-2023   

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A -

ab - Farsi آب   āb: water, river; sparkle, luster, elegance; dignity. (in some texts as aab)  (fjs1, jtp1)

ab-i hayat - Farsi/Arabic  اب حیاة  āb-i ḥayāt: water of life, immortality, fountain of life, spiritual discourse, inspired knowledge.  (fjs1,jtp1)

Abul Ala - Arabic: Syrian-born poet and philosopher Abū al-'Alā Ma'ārī (927-1057).

acharya - Sanskrit आचार्य ācārya: 'knowing the rules', spiritual guide; a title suffixed to the name of a learned person, such as Shankaracharya.  (mw131)

adhikar - Sanskrit अधिकार adhi-kāra: authority, privilege, right. (mw20)

advaita - Sanskrit अद्वैत advaita: 'no duality', without duality; sole, unique; oneness of spirit and matter, oneness of the supreme soul (paramātman) with the human soul (jivātman). The philosophy that everything is God, that there is nothing other than God.  (mw19)

The aim of all religions and philosophies is the understanding and the realization of unity. The Vedanta philosophy teaches advaita: there is no such thing as 'two'; the whole is one and the same being. In the Bible it is said, 'I and my Father are one,' which means unity...

          from The Sufi Message, Volume VII, Self-Realization

- Sanskrit अहङ्कार ahaṃ-kāra:  self-consciousness, sense of self, concept of individuality, ego-attachment; pride, egotism; arrogance, haughtiness; conceit. (in some texts as ahankar)  (mw124, rsm71)

ahriman - Farsi اهرمن ahriman: seducer, demon, devil; the principle of evil; that which is opposed to the principle of good. (fjs124)

Ahura Mazda - Avestan (ancient Persian) ahura-mazda: ' Lord Wisdom', Wise Lord. The supreme God in the ancient Persian monotheistic religious system taught by Zoroaster (Zarathushtra) sometime around 1000 BC.  Ahura Mazda is said to be the beginning and the end, the creator of everything which can and cannot be seen, the Eternal, the Pure and the only Truth. Also referred to as Ormuzd.  (see also ahriman)   (the Farsi term yazdān also refers to God)  

akasha - Sanskrit आकाश ākāśa: free or open space, openness; sky, atmosphere. Esoterically referred to as 'accommodation'  or 'capacity'  (a place for something to exist),  and the word 'scope' is often used to describe the vast opportunity provided by the akasha.   (mw126)

To make a place is to make an Akasha ... When you make yourself an Akasha for God to be enshrined in, that is the only purpose for which this body was made. It was made that God might take charge of it, might be awakened in this body. By doing this one fulfills that purpose, one opens this place for God, one makes it the places for God, and says, 'Now You be enshrined in this place; it belongs to You, You made it.'

            from Sangatha II, by Hazrat Inayat Khan (unpublished)

The word capacity refers to the unconfined basis for experience, as in the moment just before something takes place. ... The analogy for this is a bright mirror, a readiness for experience to unfold without any preconception whatsoever.

       from Samten Gyatso, as recalled by Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche, Buddhadharma Fall 2005

akbar - Arabic ﺍﻛﺒﺮ akbar: greater, greatest in estimation, rank or dignity; older, senior-ranking. (see also Allahu Akbar) Also, Akbar was a great Mogul emperor of India (1542-1605 AD). From the Arabic root k-b-r meaning to be great, large, famous; to gain in significance, become important;  to exceed in age, be older; to become too great, burdensome. (hw948, ao476, ewl2587) 

akhlaq - Arabic ﺍﺧﻼﻖ akhlāq (plural of khulq): manners, disposition; morals, ethics, virtues. (hw299, fjs26, jtp30)

akhlaq-i Allah -  Arabic/Farsi  Akhlāq-i Allāh means the manner of God, or Divine Manner. 

aladdin, alauddin - Arabic علاء الدين  alā'-ud-din :  nobility of faith. alā' = noble, high standing, high ranking; u = genitive suffix, often translated as of; din = faith, religion, duty (also written as alaoddin, alauddin)  (hw749)

al-hamdulillah - Arabic al-ḥamdulillāh: Common translations include: All praise is for Allāh,  All praise is to Allāh. This phrase is made of five parts: al = the; ḥamd = praise, commendation, or extolling the virtues of; u = genitive suffix denoting that the previous word (hamd) is the subject of the phrase; li = to, for, unto, on account of; and llāh = Allāh. (also see the Arabic Devotional Terms web page for more phrases)  (hw238, jtp481)

al-kimia - Arabic al-kīmiyā': chemistry; alchemy; the philosopher's stone. (possibly from Greek xhmia)  (hw997, fjs1070, jtp890)

alam-i mithal - Arabic 'ālam-i mithāl:  the world of visions, world of dreams, world of ideals.  (fjs1172)

Allah - Arabic allāh: the Arabic proper name for the Supreme Deity. The exact derivation of this word is unclear, but it is likely related to the Aramaic Alaha and to the ancient Hebrew El. (hw30)

Note: For those who may be uncomfortable with the word Allah, it may be helpful to note that in the Semitic language of Aramaic which Jesus most likely spoke, the Aramaic word which is translated as God in the European bible was actually Alaha. According to some linguists, the word Alaha which Jesus spoke would have had the ending "a" softened or not pronounced at all, leading to the pronunciation "alah". Since the Arabic language was largely derived from the earlier Aramaic (much the same as Aramaic was derived from the earlier Hebrew), the modern Arabic word Allah is likely derived from the earlier Aramaic pronunciation "alah". Indeed, Allah of the Qur'an and Alaha of Jesus refer to the same One. In contrast, the word "God" is a relatively new, and perhaps unfortunate, European invention which has been the source of much misunderstanding and conflict.


Allahumma - Arabic اللَّهُمَّ allāhumma:  O' Allah (often used rather than yā Allāh). (hw30)

Allahu akbar - Arabic allāhu akbar:  Commonly translated as: Allāh is Greater, Allāh is Great, or Allāh is Most Great.  This phrase is made of three parts: Allāh = the Supreme Deity; u = a suffix denoting that Allāh is the subject of the phrase; and akbar = greater, greatest in estimation, rank or dignity; older, senior-ranking. This phrase is called Takbīr. (hw948, ao476, ewl2587)

ammara - Arabic امارة ammāra (feminine of ammār): commanding, ordering,  domineering, headstrong. This term is often used to describe the carnal, sensuous aspect of the nafs. (used in the Qur'an 12:53)  (fjs97, jtp79, hw34)

amin - Arabic آمين āmīn: in this we trust, in this we have faith; amen; be it so. From the Arabic root a-m-n meaning to be faithful, reliable, trustworthy; to reassure, safeguard, guarantee. (hw36, ao34)

amr - Arabic امر amr: command, order, decree; power, authority; affair, concern, transaction; event, occurrence, act; fact, circumstance. The phrase Amr-i Allah could be translated as command of Allah, or act of Allah.  (hw33, fjs99, jtp81)

anfas - Arabic انفاس anfās (plural of nafas): breaths, respirations; voices, words. (hw1156, jtp93)

anvar -  Arabic انوار anwār (plural of nūr), Farsi anvār : lights, gleamings, rays of light.   (hw1183, fjs116, jtp99)

anzar - Arabic انظار anār (plural of naar): visions, sightings; glances; perceptions, insights. (hw1144, fjs111)

apsara - Sanskrit अप्सरस् apsaras or apsarā: 'between the waters and the clouds', a class of female divinities who inhabit the sky, heavenly nymphs, fond of water, the wives of the Gandharvas. They change their shape at will, and are said to dance (and/or sing) for Indra. (in some texts as Upsara)  (mw59)

aqibat - Arabic ءاقبة 'āqibah, Farsi 'āqibat: end, termination, conclusion, outcome, consequence; coming after, recompense, reward, future life.     (hw733, fjs830, jtp757)

arsh - Arabic عرش 'arsh: throne, throne of God; a place of abiding; palace, citadel; buttress, support. (hw704, fjs842)

artha - Hindi/Sanskrit  अर्थ  artha: advantage, profit, benefit, use, utility; concern, business, affair, matter; substance, property, wealth, opulence; worldly prosperity. (incorrectly spelled ardh in some papers) (mw90, mcm27, jtp39)

ashiq - Arabic عاشق 'āshiq ( from the root 'ishq):  lover, fancier, fan, sweet-heart; one filled with divine love.    (hw719, fjs830)

ashraf - Arabic اشراف ashrāf (plural of sharīf): distinguished, eminent, noble, high-bred, honorable, honest.  (hw545)

asman - Farsi آسمان āsmān: heaven; sky, the celestial orb, the canopy of heaven. In esoteric terms, this is often used much the same as the Sanskrit akasha, to describe capacity or accommodation (see akasha). (fjs60, jtp53)

asrar - Arabic اسر asrār (plural of sirr): secrets, mysteries, something concealed; secret thoughts, innermost thoughts, or, as E. W. Lane variously put it: private knowledge; something inserted in the interior; a pleasure, or delight, and dilation of the heart, of which there is no external sign.  (hw471, fjs57, ewl1337)

asrar ul-anasir - Arabic اسرار العناصر  asrār ul-'anāṣir: from asrār (plural of sirr) meaning secrets, mysteries, u indicating that asrār is the subject of the phrase, al meaning the, 'anāṣir (plural of 'unṣur) meaning elements, constituents:  secrets of the elements.  (hw471,760, fjs57, 868)

asura - Sanskrit आसुर asura: spiritual, divine; supreme spirit; evil spirit, demon.  (mw121,  rsm69)

asvara - Sanskrit अस्वर asvara: not loud, indistinct; in a low tone. (in some texts as Asura) (mw124)

atish - Farsi آتش ātish: fire, light; fire of love, passion; splendor  (in some texts as atesh)  (fjs13, jtp16)

atman, atma - Sanskrit आत्मन्  ātman: singular masculine ātmā: the breath; essence, nature, character; understanding, intellect; the soul, individual soul; the highest personal principle of existence. Prefixes are often used to help clarify the meaning, such as jīvātman (living, personal soul), mahātman (great soul), paramātman (supreme spirit).    (hw135)

In the Vedanta the soul is called by three names which denote its three aspects, Atma, Mahatma, Paramatma. Atma is the soul conscious of the life on the surface, Mahatma is the soul conscious as well of the life within, Paramatma is the consciousness that is the soul of souls, conscious of the Absolute within and without, the God of the knower, the Lord of the seer.

         from The Sufi Message, Volume V, Manifestation

Avicenna -  Avicenna: a Latinized version of the name ibn Sīnā (980-1037 AD), a great Persian mystic, physician, philosopher and scientist.

Avicenna, the great physician of ancient times, on whose discoveries medieval science was based, was a Sufi who used to sit in meditation, and by intuition he used to write prescriptions.

         from The Sufi Message, Volume IV, Health

avatar - Sanskrit अवतार avatāra:  incarnation, appearance of a deity on earth, any new unexpected appearance; descent, descent of a higher consciousness, descent of a deity from heaven.   (mw99, jtp102)

avidya - Sanskrit अविद्य a-vidyā: 'not-knowing', ignorance, false understanding, spiritual ignorance. (mw108, rsm64)

azam - Arabic ﺍﻋﻈﻢ a'ẓam: greater, bigger, paramount, supreme, most important. (see also ism-i azam)  (hw729, fjs75, jtp60)

B -

bad - Farsi باد bād (from Sanskrit vāta) : air, wind, breeze; breath, name of an angel presiding over the winds.  (in some texts as baad)  (fjs137, jtp118)

bad - Farsi بد bad: naughty, bad; wicked, evil.    (fjs160, jtp138)

banda - Farsi بنده banda (from Sanskrit bandha): bound, fastened, restrained; servant, slave.    (fjs202, jtp170)

bandagi - Farsi bandagī: slavery, bondage, servitude; service; devotion, adoration, worship, praise; compliment, salutation; humility, lowliness; or, as an intj. My service to you! good-bye! thank you!   (fjs202, jtp169)

baqa - Arabic بقاء baqā': remaining, staying, lingering, abiding; continuation of existence; immortality, permanence. (hw84)

The ideal perfection, called Baqa by Sufis, is termed 'Najat' in Islam, 'Nirvana' in Buddhism, 'Salvation' in Christianity, and 'Mukhti' in Hinduism. This is the highest condition attainable, and all ancient prophets and sages experienced it, and taught it to the world.

         from The Sufi Message, Volume V, Spiritual Liberty

baqi bi-Allah - Arabic bāqī bi allāh:  bāqī = everlasting, eternal, immortal; bi= by means of, through, from; pemanence from Allah, eternal existence in Allah. (ao60)

basarat - Arabic بصارة baṣāra, Farsi baṣārat: perception, discernment.  (hw75, fjs190)

basir - Arabic بصير baṣīr: seeing, having eyesight; discerning, knowledgeable; having insight; acutely aware. The name al-Basir refers to Allah as the All-Knowing, All-Seeing, All-Perceiving. (also see baṣīr in  99 Names of Allah)  (hw75)

bast - Arabic basṭ: spreading, extending, expanding, unfolding. (the opposite of kabs)   (hw72)

batin - Arabic bāṭin: inner, interior; secret, hidden, concealed.  (Bāṭin is pronounced baatin, while a similar word baṭīn, pronounced bateen, means fat, corpulent, gluttonous.... quite a difference!)   (also see bātin in  99 Names of Allah)  (hw79)

ba-yaki - Farsi ba-yakī: ba=with, by, through, yaki=oneness, unity.  (fjs135, 1535)

bayat - Arabic bai'at: profession of loyalty, oath of allegiance; initiation as a disciple of a religious guide.   (hw105, jtp210)

Devotion requires an ideal, and the ideal of the Sufis is the God-ideal. They attain to this ideal by a gradual process. They first take bayat, initiation, from the hand of one whose presence gives them confidence that he will be a worthy counselor in life and a guide on the path as yet untrodden...

         from The Sufi Message, Volume X, The Different Steps

Bayazid - Bayazid: Bayazid Bastami (777-874 AD) Sufi saint and mystic from Bastam in eastern Persia (Iran). A prayer from Bayazid:

Oh, Allah, how long will this 'you' and 'I' remain between You and I,
        Take this 'I' from me so all that remains is 'You'.

baz - Arabic bāz: hawk, falcon, eagle. In esoteric terms, one who soars above, a wayfarer of the heavens.  (hw100, fjs144, jtp121)

Bhagavad-Gita - Sanskrit  bhagavad-gītā;  Song of the Blessed One, Song of Krishna, Celestial Song. A mystical poem (part of the Mahabharata) in which Lord Krishna summarizes the great Vedic teachings for Arjuna. Often simply referred to as the Gītā.  (mw744)

bhakti - Sanskrit  bhakti: attachment, trust; homage, devotion, worship. (mw743)

bhandara - Hindi भण्डारा bhanḍārā: a meal for the holy ones; a feast of the sanyāsīs.  (jtp192, rsm755)

bhavasagara - Sanskrit  bhava-sāgara: 'ocean of worldly existence', sea of worldly life.   (mw749)

bi-charagi - Farsi بیچارگی  bī-chāragī; bī = without, chāra = remedy; helplessness, inability, incapacity  (in some texts as vecharagi, becharagi, becharegi)  (fjs216)

bismillah - Arabic bismillāh: Commonly translated as: In the name of Allah. A phrase made of the following: bi = with, to for, in, through; ism = a distinguishing mark, name, light, vibration, essence; llāh = Allāh.  (also see the bismillah web page for more insights)                 

bodhi - Sanskrit  bodhi: perfect knowledge, wisdom; enlightened intellect, learned, wise. (mw734)

bodhisattva - Sanskrit  bodhisattva: one who is on the way to perfect knowledge, a Buddha-to-be, one whose essence is perfect knowledge. Derived from bodhi meaning perfect knowledge or enlightened; and sattva meaning essence or true essence. The Spirit of Guidance. (in some texts as Bodhisatva or Buddhi Sattwa)   (mw734)

Brahma - Sanskrit  brahma: the personal creator; one the triad of personal gods (Brahma the Creator, Vishnu the Maintainer, Shiva the Destroyer). (see also Vishnu and Shiva below)  (mw738)

Brahmachari - Sanskrit brahma-cari: student of sacred study; one who observes the vows of sense-control; the first of the four stages of spiritual life.

Brahman - Sanskrit  brahman; literally, growth, evolution, swelling of the spirit; the Self-Existent, Absolute, Eternal.  (mw737)

brahmin - Sanskrit  brahmin: belonging to Brahma; knower of Brahma, possessing sacred knowledge; a member of the Hindu priestly caste.  (mw741)

buddhi - Hindi  budh: Sanskrit  buddhi: reason, discernment, the power of forming and retaining conceptions; perception, comprehension, understanding, thought, opinion, reflection. (in some texts as Buddh)  (mw733, jtp141)

buddha - Sanskrit  buddha: awake, awakened, conscious, enlightened one. Generally used to refer to Siddhārtha Gautama (c. 560 BC), who is also known as Shakya Muni (sage of the Shakya clan) or Buddha. (mw733)

Bullah Shah - Abdullah Shah (1680-1758 AD) Sufi poet and Qawwali, born near Bahawalpur, Pakistan. His message was one of truth, love and compassion. His guide was Hazrat Shah Inayat, a well-known Qadiri Sufi and gardener by profession. Bullah asked his guide, "I wish to know how to realize God." Inayat Shah replied, "What is the problem in finding God? One only needs to be uprooted from here and replanted there." The tomb of Bullah Shah is in Qasur, Pakistan.  (often written as Bulleh Shah)

You alone exist; I do not, O Beloved!
You alone exist, I do not! Like the shadow of a house in ruins,
I revolve in my own mind.
If I speak, you speak with me:
If I am silent, you are in my mind.
If I sleep, you sleep with me:
If I walk, you are along my path.
Oh Bulleh, the spouse has come to my house:
My life is a sacrifice unto Him.
You alone exist; I do not, O Beloved!


buraq - Arabic burāq: the donkey-like creature upon which Muḥammad is said to have ascended one night from Jerusalem to heaven and then returned to Mecca. (see also miraj)  (hw67, fjs168, jtp144)

buzurg - Farsi buzurg:  great, venerable, noble; elder, aged; wise man, holy man, saint, sage.    (jtp153)


C -

chaitanya - Sanskrit  caitanya: consciousness, intelligence; soul, spirit; the Soul.   (mw402)

chakra - Sanskrit  cakra: wheel; discus or sharp circular weapon; circle, ring; mystical circle or diagram; circular energy centers of the body.  (mw380, jtp435)

chela - Hindi  celā: (feminine celī): servant, attendant; pupil, disciple, follower. (possibly derived from Sanskrit ceṭa, meaning servant, slave)   (jtp471, rsm329)

cherag - Farsi  chirāgh, charāgh:  lamp, light; guide, director. The term cherag is also used to refer to one who is ordained in the work of the Universal Worship of the Sufi Movement. (also see  sirāj below, and see Universal Worship below)   (fjs389, jtp428)

The work of a cherag is to help a person to live...  

             from Addresses to Cherags, by Hazrat Inayat Khan (unpublished)

Chishti -  The Chishti Sufi Order was founded (c 900 AD) in the city of Chisht (a small town near Herat, Afghanistan) by Abu Ishaq Shami whose teacher sent him from Syria to spread the Sufi message. The Chishti Order is one of the oldest Sufi orders currently existing, and often makes great use of sound and music in its practices.

After receiving instruction in the five different grades of Sufism, the physical, intellectual, mental, moral, and spiritual, I went through a course of training in the four schools: the Chishti, Naqshibandi, Qadiri, and Suhrawardi. I still recall this period, under the guidance of so great and merciful a Murshid, as the most beautiful time of my life.

         from The Sufi Message, Volume XII, My Initiation in Sufism  

D -

dakhl dar maqulat - Farsi/Urdu dakhl dar ma'qūlāt: 'intrusion into intellectual matters', interference, interruption. (in some texts as dakhl dar makulat)  (jtp507)

darood - see durood

daya - Sanskrit  dayā: sympathy, compassion, pity; mercy, clemency; kindness.  (mw469, rsm479)

dervish - Farsi درويش darvesh: poor, indigent, beggar, religious mendicant. (in some texts as  darwish)  (fjs516, jtp514)

deva - Sanskrit  deva: (female devī)  heavenly, divine; a deity, god; a god on earth, divine being. From the Sanskrit root div which means light; brightness; sky, heaven.  (mw492, jtp558, mw478)

dharma - Sanskrit  dharma: duty; that which is held fast; conduct; established decree; virtue, morality, good works; religion; ethical precepts, sacred duty. From the ancient root dhṛi meaning to bring forth; hold, carry, bear, support. It is said that the ultimate meaning of dharma is to be in total harmony with Life, allowing the Divine Essence and Divine Will to flow through one's thoughts and actions, and consciously allowing one's own dharma to be in full accord with the Divine Dharma (rta-dharma). (dharma is written as dhamma in Pali.)  (mw510, mw519, jtp542)

In Sanskrit religion is called Dharma, which literally means duty. To give a definition of what religion is one can say that it is an unswerving progress towards the ideal.

from The Sufi Message, Volume XI, Ideal

The divine life has a certain capability to give life, and it gives this life as teaching to the children of earth, and this teaching is called Dharma, religion. Religions are many and different from one another, but only in form, for water is one and the same element, and formless, only it takes the shape of the channel which holds it and which it uses for its accommodation; and so the name water is changed into river, lake, sea, stream, pond, etc. So it is with religion; the essential truth is one.

from Religious Gatheka 3, Religion,  by Hazrat Inayat Khan (unpublished)

When man has risen to the stage of development where he can be the perfect instrument of God, when nothing of his own being stands in the way of the direct impulse that comes from within -- that spirit may be called perfect. That which is most precious, that which is the purpose of man's life is to arrive at that state of perfection when he can be the perfect instrument of God.

from The Sufi Message, Volume XIV, Divine Impulse   

dhikr - please see zikr   (hw358)

dholak - Hindi ढोलक ḍholak:  a small drum.     (jtp573, rsm430)

dil - Farsi ﺩﻞ dil: heart, soul; mind; valor; the center.  (see also qalbi)  (fjs530, jtp522)

din (deen) - Arabic ﺩﻳﻦ dīn: creed, belief, religion. It is said that there is only one dīn; that which is the natural, intended, proper manner of life, acting in harmony with the will of the Creator and thereby in harmony with all of creation. The classical Arabic root d-y-n signifies that which is obedient, abased, submissive; doing service for; acting well towards; and also signifies receiving a loan, being indebted, repaying a debt. Thus dīn signifies repaying our debt to our Creator through humble submission and loving service. To do so, it is a common Sufi practice to strive to be like a perfect mirror, reflecting all of the magnificence and glory back to the Beloved and into this world, illuminating any darkness. Hazrat 'Ali said 'The love of the wise is a religion (dīn) with which Allah is served.' (Note that Arabic dīn is essentially identical in meaning to the Sanskrit dharma)  (hw353,  jtp558, ewl942)

dipak - Sanskrit  दीपक dīpaka: kindling, inflaming; illuminating, lighting. (mw481)

dua - Arabic ﺩﻋﺎء du'ā':  prayer, request, plea; supplication (to God); an invocation of good, a blessing, benediction; wish; congratulation, salutation.  (in some texts as do'a)   (hw327, fjs527, jtp518)

dunya - Arabic ﺩﻨﻳﺎ dunyā:  literally 'nearest', the present world, the present life or state of existence; the people of this world, people; a whole world, a multitude; worldly enjoyments, temporal possessions.   (hw340, fjs539, jtp529)

durood - Farsi درود durūd:  benediction, blessing, mercy; prayer; praise (esp. of Muhammad); thanksgiving; congratulation; salutation. (in some texts as darood or darud)   (fjs515, jtp514)

dvija - Sanskrit  dvi-jā:  twice born.     (in some texts as duija)   (mw504)


E -

etekad - Arabic اعتقاد i'tiqād: trust, dependence, faith, confidence, belief. (verbal noun from root '-q-d: to put together, join) (hw735, fjs73)

F -

fana - Arabic ﻓﻨاء fanā': passing away, cessation; destruction, annihilation; vanishing, extinction; nonexistence; obliteration of the self (ego). (hw854, ewl2451, fjs939)

fana-fi-Shaikh, fana-fi-Rasul, fana-fi-Allah - Arabic: fanā'= passing away, cessation; destruction, annihilation; fī = in, into, among, together with.

[The Sufi's] aim in life is to release the captive soul from the bondage of limitations, which he accomplishes by the repetition of the sacred names of God, and by constant thought of his divine ideal, and an ever-increasing love for the divine Beloved until the beloved God with His perfection becomes manifest to his vision, and his imperfect self vanishes from his sight.

This he calls Fanā, the merging in the ideal. In order to attain the final goal he gradually raises his ideal, first to Fanā-fī-Shaikh, the ideal seen in a mortal walking on the earth, and he drills himself as a soldier before battle in devotion to his ideal.

Then comes Fanā-fī-Rasūl, when he sees his ideal in spirit, and pictures Him in all sublimity, and fashions Him with beautiful qualities, which he wishes to obtain himself. And after this he raises it to Fanā-fī-Allāh, the love and devotion for that ideal which is beyond qualities and in which is the perfection of all qualities.

           from The Sufi Message, Volume V, Sufism 

faqir - Arabic فقير faqīr: poor, needy; beggar; ascetic, dervish, itinerant monk, one living on whatever is given.  (in some texts as Fakir)  (hw846, fjs935)

fazl - Arabic فضل faẓl, v.n.: remaining over and above, exceeding, being redundant; excelling; excess; a remnant, remainder; excellence, virtue, accomplishment; learning, wisdom, science; a gift, present, favor, grace, bounty. Inayat Khan described fazl as "the word of illumination". From the Arabic root f-ẓ-l meaning to have a remainder, have over-abundance; to exceed, surpass; to be excellent, superior, exquisite; to ascend beyond.  (hw840, fjs932, jtp782, ewl2411)

fikr - Arabic فکر fikr: thinking, cognition, reflection, meditation, contemplation. Inayat Kan used this term to describe silent repetition, such as a wazifa. (in contrast to zikr, which he used to describe spoken repetition) (hw848)

firishta - Farsi  فرشته firishta: an angel, a messenger, an apostle. The phrase Firishta Khaslat means angelic character.  (in some texts as Farishta)  (fjs919)

Firdausi - Persian poet Abu al Kasim Mansur used the pen name Firdausī (934-1020). After Persia had been under Arab control for many years, Sultan Mahmud of Ghazna was concerned that the Persian history would be lost, so he commissioned Firdausī  to write the 60,000 verse epic poem Shāh nāma (Book of Kings) recording the deeds of legendary Persian kings and heroes, which is considered to be the first modern Persian literature. (Also written as Firdawsi or Firdousi)

G -

gandharva - Sanskrit  gandharva: heavenly guardian of the Soma. The Gandharvas are the husbands of the Apsarasas in Indra's heaven; they make known the divine secrets, and are responsible for ecstatic states. Gandharvas are known as the heavenly singers or celestial musicians.  (mw346)

Ganga -   Sanskrit  gangā: literally swift-mover; the sacred river Ganges (India). In Hindu mythology it is said that the Goddess Gangā descended to the Earth in the form of a River to help alleviate the suffering of humanity. (mw341, jtp919)

gardish - Farsi کردش  gardish: turning round, revolving, conversion, motion; turn, change; a bend; vicissitude; reversion; adverse fortune; wandering about, vagrancy.  (fjs1080, jtp903) 

garm - Farsi garm: hot, glowing, burning; ardent, zealous, excited, active, lively. (fjs1084, jtp904)

gatha - Sanskrit  gātha: a song; a verse, stanza.  (mw352)

Gautama -  Siddhārtha Gautama, known as Buddha. Siddhārtha's mother died shortly after his birth, and her younger sister, Gautami, raised the young prince, who was then called Siddhārtha Gautama.  (see Buddha)

gayan - Sanskrit   gāyana: a singer, a praiser, a talker. The name of a volume of aphorisms and poetry written by Hazrat Inayat Khan. (mw352)

gayatri - Sanskrit  gāyatr: song, hymn; a hymn composed in the gāyatrī meter. The Gayatri mantra from the Rig Veda is perhaps the most well known, yet there are also Gayatri mantras to many other deities such as Shiva, Durga, Agni, etc. (also see the Gayatri page)  (mw352, jtp894)

ghaib - Arabic ghaib: hidden, unseen, concealed, invisible. (in some texts as ghayb) (hw806)

ghairat - Arabic غيرة ghaira, Farsi ghairat:  jealousy, to guard jealously; care of what is sacred or inviolable; a sense of honor; courage.  (hw807, fjs901, jtp774)

Ghalib - Arabic ghālib: dominant, overpowering; triumphant, victorious. Famous poet Mizra Asadullah Beg Khan Ghalib (1797-1869 AD) who wrote in Urdu and Farsi, a master of the ghazal form, court poet for Bahadur Shah Zafar.   (hw796, fjs879)

ghar-i hira - Arabic ghār-i ḥirā': literally 'cave of inquiry'. The name of the mountain cave northeast of Mecca where the angel Gabriel first began to recite the Qur'ān to Muḥammad. From ghār meaning cave, cavern, den; and ḥirā' meaning seeking, inquiry, investigation.  (in some texts as Gar-i Hira)  (hw804 and 202, jtp768, fjs414)

There is a still greater and deeper experience: when a person is in a wilderness, near rocks in the desert, where there is no sound even of birds or beasts, when there is absolute silence. In the East, did not all the prophets from the time of Abraham, Moses, David, and in the time of Christ and Muhammad, all the prophets of the Old Testament and the New, and of the Qur'an, receive their inspiration from the same source? The history of Moses on Mount Sinai, the Prophet of Nazareth in the wilderness, the Prophet Muhammad on Ghar-i Hira, did they not all drink from the silent life?

            from The Sufi Message, Volume VII, Silent Life

ghaus - Arabic غوث ghauth, Farsi/Urdu ghaus: call for help; helper; one who aids, delivers from difficulty, removes trouble or affliction. (in some texts as ghous) (hw804, ewl2306)

Ghazali - Arabic غزال ghazāl: gazelle; rising sun; the name of a Persian village in Tūs (where al-Ghazālī was born). Persian mystic, writer, jurist, theologian Abu Ḥamīd Muḥammad ibn Muḥammad al-Ghazālī  (1058 - 1111 AD).  (sometimes written al-Ghazzali)   (hw788, fjs887)

ghilman - Arabic غلمان ghilmān (plural of ghulām): servants, pages, waiters; lads, youths.   (hw798, fjs893)

ghiza - Arabic ﻏﺬﺎ  ghidha': Farsi/Urdu ghiza: food, diet, provision, victuals; aliment, nutriment.        (hw781, fjs882, jtp769)

Music is called Ghiza-i-ruh, the food of the soul, by Sufis. Music being the most divine art elevates the soul to the higher spirit; music itself being unseen soon reaches the unseen; just as only the diamond can break the diamond, so musical vibrations are used to make the physical and mental vibrations inactive, in order that the Sufi may be elevated to the spiritual spheres.

from The Sufi Message, Volume V, Spiritual Liberty

gita - Sanskrit  gītā: song, sacred song or poem, sacred doctrines in metrical form. (see also Bhagavad-Gita)    (mw356, jtp942)

githa - Sanskrit  gīthā: a song. The name given to a series of privately circulated esoteric papers by Hazrat Inayat Khan (which are generally given by a teacher when the student is ready)

gopi - Sanskrit  go-pī:  female cowherd, cowherdess (especially applied to the companions of the playful juvenile Krishna); wife of a cowherd; milk-maid, dairy-maid; protectress, female guardian.  (mw368, jtp922)

grihasta - Sanskrit  gṛha-stha: living in a house, householder. The second of four phases of life, in which one is a householder, raising a family.  (in some texts as gruhasta)

guna - Sanskrit  guņa:  a quality, attribute or characteristic. The character of each being is described by three gunas: sattva (purity), rajas (passion) and tamas (lack of understanding). (mw357, jtp915)

gunbad - Farsi gunbad, gunbaz: arch, vault, cupola, dome, tower; an arched gateway; a triumphal arch; bud of a flower; a cup. (in some texts as gunbad)  (fjs1098, jtp916) 

guru - Sanskrit  guru: heavy, weighty, large, great; important, serious; valuable, prized; venerable, honorable, respected; honorific appellation of a spiritual guide; a spiritual guide. (mw359, jtp905)

H -

habib - Arabic حبيب  habīb: friend; beloved, sweetheart, lover; darling; dear one. From the Arabic root ḥ-b-b meaning to evoke love or liking; to endear; to make lovable, dear, attractive; to show affection. (hw179)

Note: The phrase "habībī Allāh" could be translated as "my beloved Allāh", while the phrase "habīb allāh" or "habībullāh" could be translated as "beloved of Allāh" or "loved by Allāh".

Hafiz - Arabic حافظ ḥāfiẓ: keeper, guardian, preserver, caretaker.  The great Sufi poet, Shamsuddin Muḥammad Ḥāfiẓ, born in the early 1300's in Shiraz (Iran).   (hw222, fjs408)

hairat - Arabic ḥaira, Farsi hairat: amazement, astonishment; bewilderment, confusion, perplexity; wavering (between two things).  (hw258, fjs435, jtp483)

hajj - Arabic حخ ḥajj: setting out, going towards, pilgrimage, the Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca. (hw184)

hal - Arabic حال ḥāl: (plural aḥwāl) state, mood, attitude, circumstances, condition. Mystics often use the term ḥāl, or al-ḥāl, to refer to the state of ecstasy.  From the Arabic root h-w-l meaning to change, undergo a transformation; to shift, grow, pass by.  (hw252, fjs408)

halal - Arabic حلال ḥalāl: being legal, a lawful thing; the opposite of haram;  sanctioned by Islamic law; suitable for food, lawful to eat   (hw232, fjs427, jtp480)

halqa - Arabic ḥalqa: a circle, a ring, hoop; assembly of people; a fraternity.   (in some texts as halka) (hw235, fjs428, jtp481)

hama man am - Farsi hama man am: literally "all I am"; everything is me. The esoteric meaning is that God is all, and all is God. (in some texts as humamanarn)   (fjs1512, fjs1316, fjs96)

Christ said, 'I and the Father are one'. That does not mean that Christ laid claim to Godhood for His own person. It is what the dervishes call 'Hama man am', which means all is He and He is all. There is not an atom in the universe that He is not. We must recognize Him, we must respect Him in every face, even in the face of our enemy...

from The Sufi Message, Volume VI, Struggle of Life

hamd - Arabic ḥamd:  praise, commendation.  (see also al-Hamdulillah above)  (hw238)

hamin ost - Farsi ham-īn ost: literally "even this He is" or "likewise this He is". The esoteric meaning is that God is all, and all is God. The same idea is also commonly written as hama ost, meaning everything is He, each is He, or all is He. (in some texts as naminaust)  (also see hama man am )  (fjs1507, fjs132, fjs120, jtp1236)

hamsa - Sanskrit  haṃsa: swan, flamingo, goose, a bird of passage; a person of exceptional qualities; spiritual preceptor; soul or spirit.  (also transliterated hansa)  (mw1286)

haqiqat - Arabic ḥaqīqat: (plural ḥaqā'iq) true state of affairs, true nature, essential quality, essence; spiritual truth (which is unchangeable and unchanging).  (also see Marifat)   (hw224, fjs426)

haqq - Arabic  ḥaqq: truth, rightness, correctness; authentic, real, right; due share, what ought to be; al-Ḥaqq is one of the beautiful names of Allāh: The Truth, The Reality. (also see al-Ḥaqq in  99 names of Allah)  (in some texts as haq or hakk)  (hw224, jtp479)

haram - Arabic ḥarām: unlawful, forbidden, prohibited; wrong-doing; illegitimate.  (hw210, fjs414)

Hashimi  Arabic هاشم hāshim: one who breaks bread into broth; surname of an ancestor of Muhammad, on account of his breaking bread for the benefit of the poor at the time of a great famine. Sayyed Muhammad Hashimi, a Sufi mystic, was Inayat Khan's friend and academic teacher in Sufi literature.

Maulana Hashimi was his great friend and ustad, who taught him the Persian and Arabic literature of the ancient Sufis and being a great mystic, recognized in Inayat what other friends of his (Ramyar and Hafiz Khan) though his great friends and admirers, were at a loss to understand. But Hashimi knew that something was being prepared in Inayat for the years that were in store for him, which was beyond words or imagination.

            from   Biography of Pir-o-Murshid Inayat Khan, Part I, Youth, p72

                          Maulana Mohammad Hashimi     

hatha - Sanskrit haṭha: force, effort; obstinacy, persistence; inevitable necessity. (pronounced hot-ha)  (mw1287)

hauz-ul kausar - Arabic haud-u al kauthar, Farsi/Urdu hauz-u al kausar:  ocean of abundance, fountain of wine. (see also Kauthar)  (in some texts as Hauzu 'l Kausar)   (hw249, ao479)

haya - Arabic ḥayā': modesty, bashfulness; timidity, shyness; avoiding that which is distasteful or improper.   ( hw256, fjs434, jtp482)

Haya is the finest feeling in human nature,  which is called modesty.... Modesty is life itself; a life which is conscious of its beauty yet inclined to veil it in all its forms is modesty. At the same time modesty is the proof of sincerity and of prudence. The immodest man cries aloud, 'I am the light' and is finished in a moment. The diamond, shining in its light constantly, never says a word about its light... a modest person very often will not raise his voice, out of dignity; or say things, out of consideration and respect.

            from The Sufi Message, Volume XIII, Modesty

hayvanat - Arabic ḥaiwān, plural haiwānāt, Farsi hayvānāt: living, life,: brutes: animal nature,  (As opposed to insānīyat which means human nature, humanness.)   (hw257, fjs436)

hayy - Arabic  ḥayy: living, lively, animated, energetic; al-Ḥayy is one of the beautiful names of Allāh: The Ever-Living, The Everlasting. (also see al-Ḥayy in the 99 Names of Allah)  (hw256)

hazrat - Arabic  ḥaḍrat, Farsi hazrat: presence, dignity, majesty; a title applied to a great person, similar to titles such as your Excellence, your Majesty, your Highness. (Hazrat is the typical Farsi/Urdu pronunciation of the Arabic ḥaḍrat.)  (fjs422, jtp478, hw215)

hijrat - Arabic hijrat: departure, exit, emigration, separation.  Hijrat Day: Inayat Khan departed from India, headed for America, on September 13, 1910.  (hw1194, fjs1490,  jtp1221)

hosh bar dam - Farsi  hosh bar dam:  thinking of breath, attention upon breath.  (hosh = understanding, mind, attention, thinking; bar = with, upon, into; dam = breath, vitality, life-force)  (in some texts as hosh ba dam, or hosh bar dum)   (fjs1518,166,534,  jtp1241,143,525)

hu - Arabic  (formal) huwa or (common) hū:  he, it; the Arabic third person personal pronoun; often used to refer to Allāh; also considered to be a mystical sound, often used in chants such as Hū Allāh or simply Hū.  (hw1215, ao596, jtp1239)

This sound Hu is the beginning and the end of all sounds, be they from man, bird, beast, or thing...

The Supreme Being has been called by various names in different languages, but the mystics have known him as Hu, the natural name, not man-made, the only name of the Nameless, which all nature constantly proclaims. The sound Hu is most sacred; the mystics call Ism-i Azam, the name of the Most High, for it is the origin and end of every sound as well as the background of each word. The word Hu is the spirit of all sounds and of all words, and is hidden within them all, as the spirit in the body. It does not belong to any language, but no language can help belonging to it. This alone is the true name of God, a name that no people and no religion can claim as their own.

            from The Sufi Message, Volume II, Abstract Sound

hu - Sanskrit  hu: to worship, honor, make a sacrifice to (especially to pour butter into the fire); to offer oblation.  (mw1300)

hu - Sanskrit  hū: to call upon, invoke, summon; call by name. (The Sanskrit hu is thought to be the root of the modern word 'God')  (mw1301, jtp1239)

hur - Arabic حور ḥūr, ḥūrīya, Farsi ḥūrī:  houri, nymph, virgin of paradise. (hw247, fjs433, jtp482)

I --

ilm - Arabic  'ilm: knowledge, learning; information; perception, cognition. The Arabic root '-l-m means to know, have knowledge, be informed, be acquainted with, find out about.  (hw743)

ilham - Arabic ilhām: inspiration, divine revelation  From the Arabic root l-h-m meaning to devour, swallow up; to inspire.   (hw1033, fjs96, jtp78)

Inspiration is the inner light which reflects itself upon the heart of man; the purer the heart is from rust, like a clean mirror, the more clearly inspiration can be reflected in it. To receive inspirations clearly the heart should be prepared by proper training. A heart soiled with rust is never capable of receiving them. There are five kinds of inspiration:

          1. Ilhāmi 'Ilm -- inspiration of an artist and scientist
          2. Ilhāmi Ḥusn -- inspiration of a musician and poet
          3. Ilhāmi 'Ishq -- inspiration of a devotee
          4. Ilhāmi Rūh -- inspiration of a mystic
          5. Ilhāmi Ghaib -- inspiration of a prophet

            from The Sufi Message, Volume V, Spiritual Liberty

iman - Arabic īmān: faith, belief; sincerity and firmness of belief. From the Arabic root a-m-n meaning to be faithful, reliable, trustworthy; to reassure, safeguard, guarantee. (hw36)

In an Eastern language there is a word which is very difficult to translate: iman. It is not exactly faith or belief; the nearest word one can find for it is conviction, a conviction that cannot be changed by anything, a conviction that does not come from outside. One always seeks for conviction, one asks, 'Will anybody convince me, will this thing convince me?' Nothing convinces, nobody convinces. Conviction is something that comes from one's own heart and it stands above faith and belief...

            from The Sufi Message, Volume XIV, Heart Quality

imam - Arabic imām: prayer leader; model, standard, criterion; that which is followed. From the Arabic root a-m-m meaning to go, to go see, to go to a place; to follow an example. (hw32)

inayat - Arabic  ﻋﻨﺎﻳﺔ 'ināyat: concern, care; grace; assistance, aid; guarding, preserving; careful, painstaking, meticulous; a gift, present, favor, bounty. From the Arabic root '-n-y meaning to be concerned; feel concern; take care of, tend to, look after, to devote one's attention.  (hw762, fjs869, jtp766)

inkisar - Arabic inkisār: being broken, shattered, broken open; repentant. In esoteric terms: the breaking of the ego; humility, selflessness.  (in some texts as enkesar or enkessar)  (hw968, fjs113, jtp94)

insan - Arabic insān: man, mankind, human being. From the Arabic root a-n-s meaning to be tame, companionable, friendly, sociable.  (hw39, fjs110, jtp92)

ishq - Arabic عشق  'ishq: love; passionate love; unconditional love that is oblivious to any shortcomings.  (also written as Ishq)  (in some texts as Ishk)  (hw719,  fjs850)

ishq Allah mabud Allah - Arabic عشق ﷲ معبود ﷲ 'ishq allāh ma'būd allāh: 'ishq = unconditional love; ma'būd = beloved, worshiped, adored. Literally, Allāh is Love, Allāh is Beloved. (also written as ishq Allah mabud Allah)   (hw719, hw686)


The Sufi in the East says to himself, 'Ishq Allah, Ma'bud Allah, which means 'God is Love, God is the Beloved', in other words it is God who is Love, Lover, and Beloved.

           from The Sufi Message, Volume XI, Love

ism - Arabic ism: (plural asmā') name, appellation, attribute. Based on the Arabic root (variously reported to be s-m-w or  a-s-m) which indicates the means by which something is distinguished, whether by use of an identifying mark, or by being raised up high so that it may be distinguished, and would include a word, name, reputation, light or vibration; all of which point toward the very essence of something, the inherent qualities and signs of the existence of something, the underlying reality of something.  (hw498, fjs59, jtp52)

ism-i azam - Farsi/Arabic ism-i a'ẓam: greatest name, ultimate word. (also see ism and azam)

There are also words, which no language can claim for its own. This is true of the word Ism-i Azam, which means the word of power. No one can claim this word as belonging to his language; it is a word, which belongs to no language... All other words have been derived from it, for Ism-i Azam is the spirit of all words; it is the root of all other words.

         from The Sufi Message, Volume XII, The Word

ism ur-rasm - Arabic ism u al-rasm: the philosophy of the word, the manner of the word, the doctrine of the word.  (also see ism and see rasm)

All down the ages the Yogis and seers of India have worshipped the Word-God, or Sound-God, and around that idea is centered all the mysticism of sound or utterance. Not alone among Hindus, but among the seers of the Semitic, the Hebraic, races the great importance of the word was recognized. The sacred Name, the sacred Word, were always esteemed in the Jewish religion. Also in Islam, that great religion whose mysticism the West is only beginning to discover, one finds the doctrine of Ism ur-rasm which translated is the 'doctrine of the mystical word'.

         from The Sufi Message, Volume II, Power of the Word

Islam - Arabic اسلام  islām: submission, resignation, reconciliation (to the will of Allah). From the Arabic root s-l-m meaning to be flawless, unimpaired, intact, sound, whole, complete; to have well-being; success. The Arabic word salam and the Hebrew shalom have arisen from the same ancient Semitic root. (hw497)

ittifaq - Arabic اتفاق ittifāq: agreeing, consenting; concord, harmony, congruence, accord; meeting one another. (in some texts as ettefaq)   (hw1272, fjs15)


J -

Jain - Jainism is an ancient religion, deeply rooted in India, that teaches that every living thing has an eternal soul, and thus the Jains practice harmlessness to avoid harm to any living creature. The Jains believe in religious tolerance, saying that no one view can fully express reality.

Jabril - Arabic jabrīl or jabra'īl: The angel Gabriel, archangel of the messengers. A compound word based on Arabic versions of the ancient Hebrew roots, variously interpreted as signifying: God is my Strength, God's Warrior, God's Might; the Arabic root j-b-r is based on the Hebrew g-b-r meaning mighty, strong, powerful, proud, warrior; and the Arabic 'īl is based on the Hebrew 'el, meaning the One God.  (in some texts as Jebrail or Jibra'il)  ( hw133)

jafr - Arabic jafr: parchment for writing; fortunetelling, the art of divination from written characters.  (hw151, fjs365, jtp382)

jalal - Arabic jalāl:  majesty, sublimity, splendor, glory, loftiness. (in some texts as jelal)  (hw152, ao100)

jam - Farsi jām: cup, chalice, goblet, drinking vessel; mirror.  (fjs350)

jam-i Jamshed - Farsi jām-i jamshīd: the cup of Jamshīd. The mirror-like reflecting cup of the mythical Persian king Jamshīd in which he saw the reflection of the events of the whole world, past, present or future.  (Also called jām-i jamshed or simply jām-i jam)  (in some texts as Yami Jamshed)   (jtp372)

jamal - Arabic جمال jamāl: beauty, handsomeness, grace, elegance. (The Prophet Muhammad said: Truly, God is beautiful, and God loves beauty.... inna allāha jamīlun yuḥibbu al-jamāl)  (in some texts as jemal)  (hw163, ao102, fjs370)

jamil - Arabic جميل jamīl: beautiful, elegant, comely, pleasing; good, fair; becoming; courtesy.   (The Prophet Muhammad said: Truly, God is beautiful, and God loves beauty.... inna allāha jamīlun yuḥibbu al-jamāl)  (hw163, jtp390, fjs372)

Jamna - Sanskrit jamnā: a river in India, also called the Yamuna. (see also sangam)

japa - Sanskrit  japa: whispering, muttering; softly reciting scriptures or prayers. (mw412)

jata nada - Sanskrit jāta-nāda: jāta means 'brought into existence by', and nāda means sound. In esoteric terms sound existed first, and sound brought light into existence; thus jāta-nāda refers to light.  (also written as Jatanada)   (mw417, mw534)

Jilani - Farsi jīlāni:  Abdul Qādir Jīlāni (1077-1166), the great Islamic scholar and mystic, born in Jīlān (Iran). The Qadiriyya Sufi order was founded upon his teachings.

jinn - Arabic jinn: invisible beings, either helpful or harmful, that affect the lives of human beings. From the Arabic root j-n-n meaning to cover, hide, conceal, veil. (in some texts as djinn)  (hw164)

jivan - Sanskrit jivan: to be alive, to live. The phrase jivan mukta means: one who is liberated in this life: jivan = living,  mukta = let loose, set free.

jnana - Sanskrit  jñāna: knowing; knowledge; especially transcendent knowledge. (mw426)

K -

Kaba - Arabic كعبة ka'ba, ka'bah, Farsi/Urdu ka'bat: cube, cubic structure. Often used to refer to al-ka'ba, which is also called kabatullāh. The sacred al-ka'ba in Makkah (Mecca, Saudi Arabia) is a 15 meter high cubic structure made of granite, covered with black silk and gold embroidery, and around which the great Masjid al-Haram was constructed. At the time of Muḥammad, the Quraish used the al-ka'ba as a shrine to their various tribal gods. After years of conflict with the Arab tribes, Muḥammad was eventually able to dedicate al-ka'ba as an Islamic house of worship.   (in some texts as Kaaba or Ka'aba)  (hw973)

Kabatullah - Arabic ka'bat-u-allāh: literally 'cube of Allāh'. (see kaba above)



Kabbala - Hebrew  קַבָּלָה  qabbala, qabbālāh: received, accepted; received doctrine, tradition; mystical teachings of rabbinical origin, often based on an esoteric interpretation of the Hebrew Scriptures, largely developed after the 7th century AD.  (also written as Kabala, Kabbalah, Qabala, Qabalah, Caballah)

kabs - Arabic kabs: pressure, pressing, squeezing, compressing. (the opposite of bast)  (hw949)

kafi - Arabic kāfin, kafīy; Farsi kāfī: sufficient, enough; suitable, fit; capable, able, qualified; adequate, all that is needed. (see also Additional Wazaif)  (jtp802, hw977)

kafir - Arabic كافر  kāfir: irreligious, unbelieving, atheist; ungrateful.  (hw975)

kalgi - Farsi/Hindi kalgī; an ornament attached to a turban, plume, crest, jewel; comb (of a cock)   (in some texts as kalaggai, kalagai)  (fjs1043, rsm177)

kala - Sanskrit काल  kāla: a fixed or right point of time; proper season, time of departure; time, epcoh, season, age; a small measure of something; fate, destiny; Time personified; one of the names of Yama, the king of death. (mw278, jtp802)

kalam - Arabic kalām: talking, speaking, addressing; statement, remark, words, speech, talk, conversation; a salutation. (hw982, fjs1040)

Kali - Sanskrit  kālī:  black, dark colored; epithet of the goddess Durga (invincible one), wife of Shiva (the destroyer), goddess of destruction, the power (shakti) with which Shiva acts.  (mw278, jtp804)

Kalidasa -  Sanskrit  कालिदास kālidāsa:  Kālidāsa is generally considered as India's finest poet and dramatist, and is often referred to as Kavikulaguru (Preceptor of All Poets). Many estimates of the date of his work place it in the 4th or 5th century AD.

kalima - Arabic kalima: word, speech, address; utterance, remark; saying; announcement. The Arabic phrase variously written as lā ilāha illā Allāh Muammad ur rasūlu Allāh or lā ilāha illā Allāh Muammadun rasūlu Allāh is often called the First Kalima or Kalima Tayyib (pure words, noble saying), shown below as inscribed on Saudi Arabia's national flag.   (hw981, ao348)

                                         kalima on saudi flag 

kalpa-vriksha - Sanskrit  kalpa-vrikśa, kalpa-taru:  the wishing tree, tree of plenty, one of the trees of Indra's paradise (svarga) capable of fulfilling all wishes; a productive or bountiful source.  (in some texts as kalpa-vraksha)   (mw262)

kama - Sanskrit  kāma: wish, desire, longing, attachment; love, affection; pleasure, enjoyment.  (mw271)

kamal - Arabic kamāl: perfection; completeness, completion, consummation, maturity, ripeness. (in some texts as kemal)   (hw985)

kamala -   Sanskrit  kamala, Hindi kamal: lotus, lotus flower.   (mw252, jtp849, rsm169)

Kamsa - Sanskrit  kaṃsa: king of Mathurā who murdered six of Devakī's sons, became a foe of Krishna, and was ultimately slain by Krishna.  (mw241)

karma - Sanskrit  karman: act, action; obligation, occupation; work, labor, activity. In Hindu philosophy, the law of cause and effect (that one reaps what one has sown) is often called karma. From the root kṛi meaning to do, accomplish; create, make; bring to completion. (mw258)

kauthar - Arabic kauthar: (intensive form of kathar), Farsi/Urdu kauṣar; literally means copiousness, multitude or abundance.  (in some texts as kouthar, or kausar)  (hw 954, ao479)

In spiritual terms, kauthar refers to the abundance of good, or abundant blessings, that Allah has promised to those who pray sincerely and devote their lives selflessly to the good of humanity. Esoterically, this is the Divine wine. Also, the name of Chapter 108 of the Qur'an. In the hadith, al-kauthar is variously likened, to a river, a lake, or a fountain, while also saying that these attributes are just a portion of the great goodness of al-kauthar. One of the sayings of Muḥammad (hadith), as narrated by Sahl bin Sad, says: I heard the Prophet saying, "I am your predecessor at al-kauthar, and whoever will come to it, will drink from it, and whoever will drink from it, will never become thirsty after that."

kavi - Sanskrit कवि  kavi: sage; gifted with insight, enlightened, wise, prudent, seer, prophet; singer, poet.  (mw264, jtp857)

Khadija - Arabic khadīja: The name of the first wife of the Prophet Muhammad. Also the name of Inayat Khan's mother (in 1896 photo below). (in some texts as Khatija or Khatidja)

                                             mother of Inayat Khan

khak - Farsi khāk: earth, dust, soil, ground; little, precious little; peaceful; low, humble.  (in some texts as khaak)    (fjs 440, jtp484)

khalif - Arabic khalīfa: deputy, representative; successor, vicegerent, caliph. (hw298, fjs473, jtp493)

khalwat - Arabic khalwah, Farsi khalwat:  privacy, loneliness, solitude, seclusion  (in some texts as khilwat or khilvat)  (hw301, fjs472, jtp493)

khalwat dar anjuman - Farsi khalwat dar anjuman:  solitude within the crowd.   (khalwat = solitude, seclusion;  dar = in, within, among;  anjuman = multitude, assembly, congregation)    (in some texts as khilwat or khilvat)   (fjs472,506,106)

khanda peshani - Farsi khanda peshānī; (khanda = laughing, smiling;  peshānī = forehead) Literally: laughing forehead, or smiling forehead.  (fjs 477,266, jtp 494,300)

khamosh - Farsi khāmosh: silent, dumb; discreet; tame; extinguished; as an interjection: Hush!, Be quiet!   (in some texts as khamush)    (fjs443, jtp485)

khaslat - Arabic khaṣlat: quality, characteristic, trait, (natural) disposition, talent. (hw282, jtp490)

khatm -  Arabic ختم khātm, khātam: seal; end, close, conclusion. The name of one of the prayers given by Inayat Khan.  (also see prayers in the Gayan)  Notes: 1) The "kh" at the beginning of the word is pronounced much like the ch in the Scottish word loch. 2) Three similar sounding Arabic words are: khatm (end, conclusion, finish, seal),  khātm (concluding, finishing, sealing) and  khātam (the best, the most perfect, the last, the conclusion, the final portion). Since these words all sound essentially the same to those who are not proficient in Arabic (such as Murshid Inayat Khan's students who transcribed his words), we do not know for certain which of these words Murshid actually intended. However, the transliteration khātm is now being used in some newer publications. My own belief is that the intended form was likely khātam.  (previously in some texts as khatum)    (hw264, jtp487, fjs447, ewl 702)

khatir -  Arabic خاطر khāṭir: "what occurs in the mind", thought, inclination, choice; regard, consideration, favor. (fjs484, hw287)

khayal - Arabic khayāl: thought, idea; vision, apparition; fantasy, imagination. (in some texts as Khyal)   (hw310,  fjs491)

khayali - Arabic khayālī: imaginary, ideal; visionary, conceptual; fanciful, unreal, chimerical.  (hw310, fjs491, jtp498)

Khayyam - Umar ibn Ibrahim al-Khayyami  (Omar the son of Abraham the tent-maker) Omar Khayyam (1048-1131 AD) was an astronomer, mathematician, philosopher and poet who lived in Nishapur Persia (now Iran) and wrote many mystical verses in the quatrain style called rubā'ī, the collection of which are called rubā'īyāt.

Khizr - Arabic al-khiḍr, Farsi/Urdu al-khizr:  legendary saint, prophet and teacher, often said to have been a companion of Moses (see Qur'an 18:65-82), considered to be a fountain of life and of spiritual understanding. Sometimes called the 'green man' because barren lands turned verdant in his presence.  (hw283,  jtp490, jtp494)

Khuda - Farsi  ﺧ ﺪﺎ khudā: 'self-created', Supreme Being, God; lord, master, ruler. (also written as Khoda)  (fjs448, jtp487)

Khulq - Arabic khulq: nature, disposition, character, temperament; noble character, morality.  (hw299, fjs472)

Khusrau - Abul Hasan Yaminuddin Khusrau (1253-1325 AD), also known as Amir Khusrau,  a Sufi mystic and a spiritual disciple of Nizamuddin Auliya of Delhi,. Amir Khusrau was not only one of India's greatest poets, he is also credited with being the founder of both Hindustani classical music and Qawwali.  (also written as Khusro or Khusraw)

Khusru - Shah Khusru (531-579 AD), king of Persia, widely respected for both his extensive knowledge and his profound wisdom.

The history of Khusru, the old king of Persia, who was both Prophet and king shows this. His feeling was, 'My subjects are my children; more than my children, nearer and closer than my children; their interest is my interest, for them I live, for them I was born. My whole life is for them.' The whole life of the country was based on that example, that king's ideal.

             from The Sufi Message, Volume VII, Democracy

khwaja - Farsi خواجه khwāja:  lord, master, owner; honorific title of distinction; venerable elder; teacher, preceptor.  (fjs479, jtp494)

kibriya - Arabic kibriyā': grandeur, glory, magnificence, supremacy, majesty; pride, haughtiness, arrogance. From the Arabic root k-b-r meaning to be great, famous; to gain in significance, become important; to become too great, too burdensome; to exceed in age, be older.  (in some texts as kibria or kibriyya) (hw948))

kimia - (see al-Kimia)

kismet - Arabic قسة qisma, Farsi qismat: allotment, portion, lot; fate, destiny  (fjs970, hw893)

kosha - Sanskrit  kośa: a cask, bucket, a vessel for holding something; store-house; case, covering; dictionary, lexicon; a sheath, one of three bodily sheaths. (mw314)

Krishna - Sanskrit  kŗşņa: dark, black; the eighth incarnation of Vishnu, often represented as a young and amorous cowherd with flowing hair and flute. (see also Vishnu)  (mw306, jtp825)

The life of Krishna is an ideal. It gives the picture of the life of a perfect man. The real meaning of the word Krishna is God. The man who was identified with that name was the God-conscious one who fulfilled his message in the period in which he was destined to give it.

             from The Sufi Message, Volume IX, Krishna

kshatriya - Sanskrit  kşatriya: a member of military or reigning order, which forms the basis of the second caste. (mw325)

kun bi ismi allah - Arabic kun:  let there be, let it be, be!  The phrase kun bi ismi Allah  means Be! In the name of God. (erroneously in some texts as kun ba ismi allah or kum ba ismi allah)  (hw994, fjs1052, jtp850)

kun fa yakun - Arabic kun:  let there be, let it be, be!  The phrase kun fa yakūn means (Allah says) Be! And it is.  (see Qur'an 36:82)  (hw994, fjs1052, jtp850)

kursi - Arabic kursī: chair, seat, bench, arm-chair; the base of a pillar, pedestal. From the root k-r-s meaning to lay a foundation; to connect together.  (hw962,  fjs1023)

kushad - Farsi ﻛﺸﺎﺩ kushād: opening, uncovering, disclosure, revelation, expansion.  (fjs1031, jtp 835)

Inspirations are reflected upon mankind in five ways:

          1. Kushād dar Khayāl - in the wave of thought  - (disclosure by thought)
          2. Kushād dar Hāl - in emotions and feelings -  (disclosure by mood)
          3. Kushād dar Jamāl - in the sufferings of the heart - (disclosure by beauty)
          4. Kushād dar Jalāl - in the flow of wisdom  - (disclosure by majesty)
          5. Kushād dar Kamāl - in the divine voice and vision - (disclosure by perfection)

         from The Sufi Message, Volume V, Spiritual Liberty

kushi - Farsi kushī: killing, slaying. (used as the last member of a compound term such as nafs-kushi, which means ego-killing)   (jtp838, fjs1035)


L -

lahut - Arabic lāhūt: godhead, divinity, divine nature, deity.  (hw1002, fjs1114)

la ilaha illa-llah - Arabic lā ilāha illā Allāh: The four individual words in the phrase lā ilāha ill allāh have the following meanings: lā = no, not, none, neither; ilāha = a god, deity, object of worship; illā = but, except; allāh = Allāh. Typical translations include: There is no god but Allāh; There is nothing to worship or adore except Allāh. This phrase is often called tahlīl (acclaim, cry out with with joy), and is used in the Qur'an in sūrah Muḥammad (47:19). (also see the tahlil web page)

                         arabic script

lauh - Arabic lauḥ: rising, appearing, shining; being manifest; tablet, signboard. (in some texts as louh)  (hw1035, fjs1131)

lawwama - Arabic lawwāma: stern critic, severe censurer, one who is constantly blaming others or accusing himself, vindictive. This term is often used to describe the self-reproaching aspect of the nafs as it begins to resist carnal desires. (used in the Qur'an 75:2)  From the Arabic root l-w-m meaning to blame, censure, rebuke, reprimand.  (in some texts as lauwama)   (hw 1037, ao521)

layam - Sanskrit  layaṃ: to disappear, be dissolved, perish, be destroyed; be absorbed; be concealed. One of the three states: Srishti (creation), Sthiti (abiding), and Layam (dissolution)  (mw903)

Laila - Arabic lailā, Farsi laile, Urdu lailī; a woman's name. Lailā and Majnūn are lovers in a classical Middle-Eastern love story.  (this love story was the inspiration of an Eric Clapton love song called Layla)  (hw1041, fjs1135, jtp975)

M -

mabud - Arabic معبود ma'būd: worshiped, served, adored; the deity. From the Arabic root '-b-d meaning to serve, worship, adore, venerate, idolize, deify.  (see also mahbub)   (hw686)

Madani -  Arabic madanī: literally 'from Medina': Sayyid Muḥammad Abū Hāshim Madanī was the murshid of 'Ināyat Khān. Madanī was from Medina (Saudi Arabia), lived in the Purānā Pul (old bridge) quarter of Hyderabad (India), and was the murīd and khalīfa of Sayyid Muḥammad Ḥasan Jīlī Kalīmi. Hazrat Madanī died in October 1907, and was buried in his neighborhood, near the dargāh of Qādiri saint Miyān Paysā.

When asked how to recognize a godly person Hazrat Madanī  replied: "'It is not what he says and it is not what he seems to be, but it is the atmosphere that his presence creates. That is the proof. For no one can create an atmosphere which does not belong to his spirit.'"

Hazrat Madanī  reminded his murīd 'Ināyat: "There is only one virtue and one sin for a soul on this path; virtue when he is conscious of God, and sin when he is not."

mahatma - Sanskrit  mahātman, singular masculine mahātmā: great soul, high-minded, noble. Also used as a title for great beings, such as Mahatma Mohandas Gandhi. The prefix mahā means great, large, abundant, important, high, eminent. (also see atman)   (hw796)

mahbub - Arabic محبوب maḥbūb: beloved, dear, lovable, desirable; favorite; beloved one, lover. From the Arabic root ḥ-b-b meaning to evoke love or liking; to endear; to make lovable, dear, attractive; to show affection. (also written as Mahboob or Maheboob)  (hw179, ewl497)

mahesh -  Sanskrit  maheśa: great lord, great god; Shiva. (in some texts as maheish) (mw802)

mahtab - Farsi mah-tāb: the moon, splendor of the moon, moonlight, full moon.  (fjs1352, jtp1098)

majzub - Arabic  ﻣ ﺠﺬﻭﺏ   majdhūb, Farsi majzūb:  attracted; possessed, lunatic; carried away, absorbed in, lost in; one who is attracted by Divine grace and has lost all worldly concerns. From the Arabic root j-dh-b meaning to attract, captivate, win over.  (in some texts as madzub)  (hw138, fjs1176, jtp1002)

Majnun - Arabic majnūn: possessed by jinn, mad, fanatic; madly in love; Lailā and Majnūn are lovers in a classical Middle-Eastern love story.  (hw164, fjs1179, jtp1004)

makhluqat - Arabic makhlūq, plural is makhlūqat: creatures, created beings. From the Arabic root kh-l-q meaning to create, make, originate; shape, form, mold; invent.  (hw300)

malak - Arabic مﻷك  mal'ak, malak: messenger, envoy: angel  (from the root l-'-k meaning to send as a messenger)  (hw1000, jtp1065) 

Manavi - Arabic معنوی ma'nawī, Farsi ma'navī:  important, ideals, spiritual, profound spiritual meaning. Rumi's great mystical work is often referred to as Masnavi-i Ma'navi which means couplets of profound spiritual meaning. (see also Masnavi and Rumi)  (hw762)

mantiq - Arabic manṭiq: speaking, manner of speaking, articulating; an oration; eloquence; logic, reasoning. The great Persian poet Fariduddin Attar wrote Mantiq-ul-tair, The Conference of the Birds.  (hw1143,  fjs1329)

mantra, mantram- Sanskrit  mantra: 'instrument of thought', sacred text, song of praise, Vedic hymn or chant; spiritual instructions; mystical verse or incantation. (the word mantra is a noun that depicts an 'instrument of thought' in general, while the word mantram is a specific declination of the noun (singular accusative) that refers to one specific thing that is being used.)  (mw785, jtp1071)

manushya - Sanskrit  manuşya: human, man, human being. (in some texts as manusha)  (mw784)

marifat - Arabi ma'rifat: knowledge, knowing, learning; gnosis; perception, cognition; art, skill, craft; means, cause, reason. (in some texts as marefat)   (hw709, jtp1048)

Shariat means the law which is necessary for the generality to observe, in order to harmonize with one's surroundings and one's self within. ..

Tariqat means the understanding of law besides the following of it. It means that we must understand the cause behind everything we should do or not do, instead of obeying the law without understanding it. ...

Haqiqat means knowing the truth of our being and the inner laws of nature. This knowledge widens man's heart. ...

Marifat means the actual realization of God, the one Being, when there is no doubt anywhere.

          from The Sufi Message, Volume IX, Muhammad

Masnavi - Arabic مثنوی mathnawī, Farsi maṣnavī:  a specific rhyming poetic form which uses pairs of rhymes; often used to refer to the great mystical work of Jalāluddīn Rūmī.  Derived from the Arabic root th-n-y  meaning double.  (see Ma'navi and Rumi below)  (hw128, fjs1173, jtp1001)

Maula Bakhsh - Farsi mawlābakhsh: ('God-gifted'; mawlā means lord, master; bakhsh means bestower, giver)  Inayat Khan's maternal grandfather, Sho'le Khān Mawlābakhsh (1833-1896 AD), was one of India's greatest musicians, founded the first Academy of Music in India, invented the music notation system bearing his name and worked to restore the fundamentals of traditional Indian classical music.  (also written Moula Bakhsh, Moula Bux or Mawla Bakhsh)

mawla - Arabic mawlan, Farsi mawlā: lord, master, ruler; patron; judge, magistrate; the Supreme Lord. (also written as maula)   (hw1289, fjs1347, jtp1093)

mawlana - Farsi mawlā-nā: ( mawlā means lord, master; nā indicates a place where something is found)  'where mastery is found', my master, our master, our lord (title given to judges, heads of religious orders, esp. to Jalāluddīn Rūmī ).  (also commonly written as maulana, molana or mevlana)  (fjs1348, jtp1092)

maya - Sanskrit  māyā: deception, illusion; illusory image; the wondrous power by which One appears as many.  (mw811)

Mecca - Arabic Makkah: Mecca. An ancient sacred city where Abraham lived, Makkah was the birthplace and early home of the Prophet Muhammad. Considered as the holiest site for Muslims, Makkah is the site of the sacred Ka'ba and is the annual destination for several million Muslims on the pilgrimage called Hajj. Usually written as Makkah al-Mukarramah, Mecca the Revered, Mecca the Most Honored. (hw1075)

mihrab - Arabic miḥrāb: the archway or niche in a mosque which indicates the direction to Mecca (Saudi Arabia), the direction in which one should face during prayers. From the Arabic root h-r-b meaning battle or combat. Thus the term miḥrāb indicates the place of doing battle. (in some texts as mehrab) (hw195)

                                mihrab photo

miraj - Arabic al-mi'rāj: the ascension. Refers to the Night Journey of Muḥammad from Mecca to Jerusalem and then ascending through the realms of the seven heavens, beyond the limit of forms, the Sidrat al-Muntahā, to within a bow-span's length or nearer to the presence of Allāh. From the Arabic root '-r-j meaning to ascend, rise, mount. (in some texts as Meraj) (hw704, ao365)

miskin - Arabic مسکين miskīn: Lowly, humble, submissive; meek; poor, needy, indigent; beggar, humble; a dervish (in some texts as mequin or meskin)   (hw1067, jtp1035)

mithal - Arabic مثال mithāl: resembling, similitude; example, standard; image, picture, vision; parable, allegory. (see also alam-i mithal)   (hw1074, fjs1172)

moksha - Sanskrit  mokśa: emancipation, liberation, freedom from; deliverance; release; relinquishment, abandonment. (mw835)

Muhammad - Arabic محمد  muḥammad: praiseworthy, much praised, commendable, laudable. The Prophet Muḥammad who received the Qur'an from the angel Gabriel (Jibrīl). (in some texts as Mohammad or Muhammed)  (hw238)

Muinuddin - Arabic mu'īn-u-al-dīn:  The name Mu'īnuddīn literally means 'helper of the religion'. Mu'īnuddīn Ḥasan Chishtī, the Sufi mystic who established the Chishti Order in Ajmer (India) around 1190 AD.    (see also Sayings of Muinuddin Chishti)   (in some texts as Moinuddin)

Among the Sufis there was a great saint,  Muinuddin Chishti of Ajmer. At his grave music is played, the Hindus and Muslims go their on pilgrimage. This shows that the religion of the knowers of truth is the religion of God.

           from The Sufi Message, Volume II, Music

mukta - Sanskrit mukta: let loose, set free; liberated, emancipated, gone, vanished. (mw820)

mukti - Sanskrit  mukti: setting free, liberation, deliverance; throwing off, casting off; abandonment. (mw821)

muni - Sanskrit  muni: One who is moved by inner impulse; an inspired or ecstatic person; sage, seer, acetic, monk. (mw823)

Munkar - Arabic منكر munkar;  one of the angels of death who interview the dead in their graves (along with Nakir); denied, not recognized, disavowed. (hw1171, fjs1334)

muntaha - Arabic منتهي muntahā: end, conclusion; boundary, extremity. From the Arabic root n-h-y meaning to prevent, forbid, stop, hinder, prohibit, restrain. Also see Sidrat al-Muntahā. (in some texts as manteha) (ao580, fjs1323)

mureed - Arabic مريد murīd:  aspirant, disciple, follower, seeker, adherent. From the Arabic root r-w-d meaning to walk about, look for, search for. (hw425)

murshid - Arabic مرشد murshid: advisor; leader; spiritual guide, guide to the right way; master of a spiritual brotherhood. From the Arabic root r-sh-d, to be on the right way, be well guided, follow the right course. (hw395)

muruwwat - Arabic murā'āt, Farsi/Urdu muruwwat: consideration, regard, politeness; benevolence, kindness, generosity;  etiquette, respect, virtue.  (hw401, fjs1219, jtp1026)

mutmainna - Arabic muṭma'inna:  at rest, calm, peaceful. This term is often used to describe the tranquil aspect of the nafs that begins when one rises above the lower states of ammara and lawwama. (used in the Qur'an 89:27)  From the Arabic root ṭ-m-'-n meaning to calm, pacify, be tranquil, be still, quiet; to rest from.  (ao343, hw664)

mutrib khush - Farsi muṭrib khush:  muṭrib meaning musician, minstrel; a singer; who or what causes one to dance and skip about for joy;  khush meaning sweet, delightful, pleasing. Beginning words of a widely known and highly revered ghazal, generally attributed to Hafiz, which contains the oft quoted refrain tāza ba tāza naw ba naw. (see The Hafez Poems of Gertrude Bell, pg 81)   (fjs1260, jtp496)

O, singer of delightful voices, sing a song every moment new, new, fresh, fresh.

    from Sangatha II, Saluk, The Good Nature Against Life in the World

mutu - Arabic mūtū: die! (imperative) This word is used in the traditional saying mūtū qabla an tamūtū, which means die before you die. (mutu qabla an tamutu was in some texts as mutu kabla anta mutu)

muwakkal - Arabic muwakkal:  to whom power is delegated, or trust is committed;  agent, vicegerent, deputy. In esoteric terminology, muwakkals are agents, elemental beings, who are charged with the power and authority to carry out one's thoughts and accomplish the desired results.   (hw1284, jtp1092)

As in the physical being of an individual many small germs are born and nourished which are also living beings, so in his mental plane there are many beings, termed Muwakkals, or elementals. These are still finer entities born of man's own thoughts, and as the germs live in his physical body so the elementals dwell in his mental sphere. Man often imagines that thoughts are without life; he does not see that they are more alive than the physical germs and that they have a birth, childhood, youth, age and death. They work for man's advantage or disadvantage according to their nature. The Sufi creates, fashions and controls them.

          from The Sufi Message, Volume II, Vibrations


N -

nabi - Arabic  nabī: a prophet; one who informs; one who is informed; a clear and evident way.  From the root n-b-a' meaning to utter in a low voice; to be exalted, elevated.  (also see  Nabi and Rasul web page)  (ewl2752,  fjs1386,  hw1100/1105)

nada - Sanskrit  nāda: any sound or tone. (mw534)

There is a phrase in the Sanskrit language which says 'Nada Brahma,' which means, 'the mystery of creation was in Nada,' which means, 'in the word.'

      from Social Gatheka II, 43, The Power of the Word, by Hazrat Inayat Khan (unpublished)

nafas - Arabic nafas: (plural anfās) breath, respiration; voice. (see also pasi anfas below)  (hw1156, jtp1144, )

nafas-i garm - Farsi nafas-i garm: from nafas meaning breath, i meaning of, garm meaning fiery, lively. (see also nafas and garm)  (in some texts as nafs-i-garm)   (fjs1415,1084, jtp1144,904)

nafs - Arabic nafs: (plural nufūs) the individual, the petty self, personal identity, ego; mind; human being; soul, breath (of life). (used in compound terms such as nafs-kushi, which means ego-killing)  (hw1155, jtp1144)

The Sufi's base the whole of their teaching on the crushing of the ego which they term Nafs-kushi, for therein lies all magnetism and power.

        from The Sufi Message, Volume V, Blessed are the Poor


nafsaniyat - Arabic نفسانية nafsānīyah, Farsi nafsānīyat:  animalism, carnality, sensuality; passion, anger; egotism. In contemporary Arabic, this term is also used to describe psychology.   (hw1156, fjs1416, jtp1144)

najat - Arabic نجاة  najāh, Farsi najāt:  escape, liberation, deliverance, rescue, salvation. (similar to Sanskrit mukti)  (hw1110, fjs1387, jtp1124)

Nakir - Arabic نكير nakīr: one of the angels of death who interview the dead in their graves (along with Munkar); disavowal, rejection; loathsome, disgusting.  (hw1170, fjs1423)

namaz - Farsi namāz: prayers (especially the Muslim prayers said five times a day), adoration, worship, devotion, service, obedience.  (in some texts as nimaz)   (fjs1425, jtp1153)

Nanak - Guru Nanak Dev (1469-1539 AD) founder of the monotheistic Sikh religion. (see Sikh below)

naqshi - Farsi naqshī, from Arabic naqsh: painted, ornamented; done attentively; exposed, divulged; planned, characterized.  (hw1162, fjs1419, jtp1146)

Naqshbandi - Farsi نقشبندی  naqsh-bandhī, naqsh-bandiyyā: one of the four earliest Sufi orders; followers of the Sufi path of Bahauddin Naqshband Bukhari.

nar - Farsi/Hindi nar (from Sanskrit nara): male, masculine; mankind. (fjs1394, jtp1128, mw528)

nar - Arabic nār: conflagration, fire; gunfire. (from the same n-w-r root as nūr)  (hw1183)

nari - Sanskrit nārī: woman, female; wife. (jtp1113, mw537)

nari - Arabic nārī: fiery, full of fire, blazing, hellish. (from the same n-w-r root as nūr)  (hw1183)

nasihat - Arabic naṣīḥat: counsel, sincere advice, admonition, moral, precept, friendly reminder.  (hw1137, fjs1407, jtp1142)

nautch - anglicized version of Hindi nāc (nāch), from Sanskrit nṛtya:  dancing.  (jtp1112, rsm551)

nazr - Arabic نذر  nadhr, Farsi nazr:  vow, offering, dedication, gift (from an inferior to a superior), consecration, dedication to God, promise to God.  (hw1118, fjs1394, jtp1128)

nazar bar qadam - Farsi  naẓar bar qadam:  watch every step, see where you're going.  (naẓar = looking at, turning the gaze toward, attending to, observing; bar = with, upon, into; qadam = foot, step)    (hw1144,877,  fjs1410,166,958, jtp1143,143,789)

nazar-i bad - Farsi  naẓar-i bad:  the evil-eye.  (naẓar = looking at, turning the gaze toward, attending to, observing;  bad = bad, wicked, naughty)  (fjs1410,160, jtp1143,138)

nirvah - Sanskrit  nir-vah: (nir = out, away, away from; vah = lead, guide, conduct ) to lead out of, save from; to flow out of; to bring about, accomplish; to be successful, overcome obstacles.   (mw557)

nirvana - Sanskrit  nir-vāṇa: (nir = out, away, away from; vāṇa =  going, moving; as a blowing breeze or rolling waters)  put out, vanished; calmed, quieted, tamed; blown out, extinguished, perfect calm, highest bliss; annihilation of desires and passions. (in some texts as Nirwana)  (mw557)

nritya - Sanskrit  nrtya: dancing; gesturing, acting.  (mw568, jtp1130)

nur - Arabic  نور nūr: (plural anwār) light, ray of light, illumination, gleam, glow. From the Arabic root n-w-r meaning to light, to fill with light, illuminate, clarify, enlighten.  (hw1183)

nuzul - Arabic نزول nuzūl: descending, going down; dismounting, climbing down; stopover, sojourning. In esoteric terms, 'urūj and nuzūl are two complementary conditions which represent the natural ebb and flow, with 'urūj being responsive, and nuzūl being expansive, expressive; for example with the breath 'urūj is inhaling and is nuzūl exhaling.   (hw1123, fjs1398, jtp1136)

O -

Om - Sanskrit   om:    aum;  Om appears first in the Upanishads as a mystic monosyllable used as the object of profound religious meditation, the highest spiritual effects being attributed not only to the whole word but also to the three sounds a, u, m of which it consists. In later times is used as the mystic name for the Hindu triad, the union of the three gods Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. Also considered as a divine affirmation of respectful assent sometimes translated by 'yes, verily, so be it' (in this sense compared with Amen), and also regarded as a divine salutation as 'hail!'.      (hw235)

                  OM symbol      

Oh Lord, dweller within;
You are the light
In the heart's lotus,
Om is your very self,
Om holiest word,
Seed and source of the scriptures.

                  - Shankara


P -

padishah - Farsi pād-shāh: protecting lord; a prestigious title applied, often applied to an emperor, monarch or king.  (also written as padshah, in some texts as badishah )    (fjs229, jtp216)

pari - Farsi پری parī: winged; a good genie, jinn, fairy.  (in some texts as peri)  (fjs246, jtp258, rsm610)

paramatma - Sanskrit  paramātman, masculine singular paramātmā: supreme soul . The prefix parama means highest, most excellent, last, final, supreme, ultimate.  (see also atman)  (hw588)

Parsi - Middle Persian pārsī: meaning 'from Persia'. Parsi is the name given to the Zoroastrian community in India who originally fled the religious persecution of eighth century Persia as Islam when being imposed as the religion of the state. Interestingly, the Arabs, who lacked a "p" sound in their alphabet, used the letter "f" instead, and thus created the word Farsi. (jtp217)

parwana - Farsi parvāna or parwāna: a moth, particularly such as fly about a candle at night; a royal patent or diploma; a grant or letter under the great seal from any man in power; a license, permit,  warrant, written order or commission.  (in some texts as parvana or parveneh)  (fjs245, jtp255)

pas-i anfas - Farsi  pās-i anfās:  consideration of breaths. This expression is made from: pās meaning watch, guard, observer, respect for, consideration of; i meaning of; and anfās (plural of nafas) meaning breaths, respirations.  (fjs230 and 112, jtp217 and 93)

payghambar - Farsi ﭘﻴﻐﺎﻣﺒﺮ paighām-bar: message-bearer, envoy, messenger, prophet. From Farsi paighām meaning message, report; news; advice; and bar meaning carrier, porter, bearer.  (fjs268, jtp300)

pir - Farsi  pīr: an old man; a founder or chief of a religious group or sect. (fjs264)

prakriti - Sanskrit  prakṛiti: literally "making first"; the original or natural form of anything; the original producer of the material world, which consists of the three gunas.  (mw654)

prana - Sanskrit  prāṇa: the breath of life, spirit; vitality; vigor, energy.  (mw705)

propkar - Sanskrit  paropakāra: assisting others, benevolence, charity; action for the benefit of others, selfless service.   (mw588, jtp256)

puja - Sanskrit  pūjā: honor, worship, respect, reverence, veneration, homage (to superiors), adoration (of the gods).  (mw641)

Puja is the name of the Hindu form of worship, which is from the beginning to the end a symbolical expression of what the seeker has to perform in the path of spiritual attainment.

        from The Sufi Message, Volume XIII, Symbology

pul-sirat - Farsi pul-ṣirāṭ: a bridge over which the righteous will pass to heaven and the wicked will enter hell on judgment day. From Farsi pul meaning bridge, and Arabic ṣirāṭ meaning way or path. (in some texts as Pulserat)  (jtp266, rsm638)

Punjab - Punjabi punj-āb: punj meaning five, and āb meaning water; a reference to the five rivers flowing through the area in northwest India known as the Punjab.

purana - Sanskrit पुराण purāṇa: ancient; a class of scriptures. The 18 major purāṇas, probably written around 300 to 1000 AD, are divided into three groups, each exalting one member of the Hindu Trinity.  (mw635)  

purusha - Sanskrit    puruṣa: human being, mankind; a person; the personal and animating principle in beings; soul, spirit; the Supreme Soul; spirit as passive spectator of the creative force of prakriti.  (mw637)

Q -

qadr - Arabic ﻗﺪﺮ qadr:  measuring, determining; deciding, choosing, comparing one thing with another; measuring out; portion, part. Although qadr is considered by some to indicate destiny or pre-determination, Inayat Khan uses qadr to describe the limited, measured-out, part of life called free-will.  (in some texts as kadr)   ( hw873   fjs957, jtp788)

There are two forces in the universe, Qazā, the divine force that is working through all things and beings, and Qadr, the free will of the individual.

        from The Sufi Message, Volume V, Qaza and Qadr

qalam - Arabic qalam: cut reed (for writing), pen; pencil; painter's brush. Esoterically, the pen with which God writes upon the heart, providing the source of inspiration.  (in some texts as kalam)    (hw922, jtp794)

qalbi - Arabic qalbī: of or pertaining to the heart; cordial, warm, sincere; heart- (when used in compounds). From the root q-l-b meaning to turn over, turn about; fluctuate, change, transform, transmute; heart, core, essence.  (see also dil)   (hw918, fjs983, ewl2552)

qayamat - Arabic قيامة qiyāmah, Farsi qiyāmat: resurrection, last day; calamity, turmoil, upheaval.  (hw936, fjs997)

qaza - Arabic ﻗﻀﺎء  qaḍā', Farsi/Urdu qazā':  divine decree, predestination; fate, destiny; fatality; death; decree, mandate, judgment. In esoteric usage, qazā is often used to describe the unlimited, Divine aspect of life.  (see also Qadr)   (in some texts as Kaza or Qadha)     (hw904, fjs974, jtp792)

Quran - Arabic al-qur'ān: guidance for mankind as given to the Prophet Muḥammad. From the Arabic root q-r-' meaning to read, recite; deliver, transmit, convey, proclaim. (in some texts as Koran or Qur'an)   (ao448)

qutb - Arabic قطب quṭb: axle, axis; pole; lord, chief; the center around which something revolves. From the Arabic root q-ṭ-b meaning to concentrate, or pull together, into one point.  (hw905, fjs976, jtp792, ewl2541)

qutbiyat - Arabic قطبية quṭbīya, Farsi quṭbīyat (inf noun from quṭb):  the state of poleship, being the cardinal pole, being the center around which something revolves.   (in some texts as kutubiyat)  (hw905)

R -

Radha - Sanskrit  rādhā: prosperity, success; the name of Krishna's favorite gopī.   (mw876, jtp581)

raga - Sanskrit  rāga: color, passion, joy; loveliness, beauty; musical melody. (mw872)

rahm - Arabic raḥma:  pity, compassion, forgiveness; sympathy, understanding; divine mercy. The root r-ḥ-m also indicates womb; that which provides protection and nourishment, and that from which all of creation is brought into being.  (hw384)

Rahmat - Arabic rahmat:  The name of Inayat Khan's father: Raḥmat Khān Paṭhān (in photo below).

                             father of Inayat Khan

rakhs - see raqs

rakshasa - Sanskrit  rākşasa: evil being, demon; something to be warded off, or guarded from. (mw871)

Rama, Ram - Sanskrit  rāma, Hindi rām: causing rest; dark-colored; pleasing, charming, lovely; the name of several Hindu deities considered to be incarnations of Vishnu; often indicating the seventh incarnation of Vishnu as described in the famous epic poem, the Ramayana, as the ideal of dharma and virtues. Frequently called Lord Rama or Shri Rama, his wife is Sita. (mw877, jtp583)

Rama, the great prophet and ideal of the Hindus, was at the same time an example of the incarnation of a godhead. The character and history of Rama is described by Valmiki in the great epic Ramayana. The training, which was given to Rama by a great Rishi named Vashishta, was in order to bring forth that kingdom of God which is hidden in the heart of man. In this respect Rama was not only an ideal for the Hindus of that particular age, but a model to mold the character of those who tread the spiritual path in any age.

             from The Sufi Message, Volume IX, Rama

Ram Das - Śri Samarth Rāmdāś, (1608-1681 AD) Marathi saint, poet and religious leader. His works include Manache Shlok (Verses to the Mind),  Dasbodh and Aatma Ram.

raqs - Arabic    raqṣ: movement, dancing. From the Arabic root r-q-ṣ meaning to dance, to dance with joy, to set to a swinging motion, to move. (in some texts as rakhs)  (hw410)

rasa - Sanskrit  rasa: the essence, essential nature, best part; a mixture, potion, essential fluid; mercury. The term Rasa Shastra means the science of the essential nature, the teachings of the essence. (see also Shastra)  (mw869)

rasm - Arabic رسم rasm:  plan, pattern; law, canon, rule, doctrine, regulation, precept; habit, custom, manner. (hw392, fjs576, jtp592)

rasul - Arabic  rasūl: messenger, envoy, emissary, delegate.  In esoteric terms, rasūl is generally considered to be the highest grade of world-wide messenger, a step above nabī. From the Arabic root r-s-l meaning  to contact, to get in touch; to transmit, to send word; to pour forth; freely flowing. Often phrased as al-Rasūl or Rasūl Allah when used to refer specifically to Muḥammad. (also see  Nabi and Rasul web page)   (hw391)

ravaj - Arabic رواج rawāj, Farsi/Urdu  ravāj: custom, practice, that which is current; in great demand, easy to sell; in circulation. (hw422, fjs590)

rind - Farsi rind: skeptic, rogue, libertine.  In esoteric terms, there are two general types of Sufis, the Rind and the Salik; the Rind follow a path of disregarding worldly matters, while the Salik are engaged in worldly matters.  (jtp600)

Those who are called fakirs all belong to the Rind. Their life consists in learning to disregard all worldly things. A person fears most being without such things.. so this is the first thing to learn to disregard.

     from The Sufi Message, Volume XII, The Life of a Sage

risalat - Arabic risālāt:  mission; high goal, noble task, divine mission.  (hw391)

riyazat - Arabic riyāḍa, plural riyāḍāt, Farsi riyāẓāt: practices, exercises; religious exercises, austerities, devotions.  (hw426, jtp610)

roza - Farsi roza: daily allowance, a day's worth; a fast; fast-day. In Arabic, fasting is called saum.   (fjs594, jtp605)

rubaiyat - Arabic rubā', Farsi rubā'ī, plural rubā'īyāt: The singular form rubā'ī denotes being in groups of four, a quatrain, a stanza of four lines; while the plural rub'īyāt denotes a volume of, or collection of rubā'ī.   (fjs567, jtp586)

ruh - Arabic  rūḥ: breath, wind, inspiration; breath of life; spirit; soul; human life; essence; divine inspiration, revelation. The ancient Semitic roots (which also led to the Hebrew Ruach and Aramaic Ruha) point toward the ideas of expansion and dilation; something that comes and goes; movement from the center to the circumference; wind, breath, soul, spirit; that which moves, stirs, animates, inspires, transports. (See also Spirit.)  (hw423, ao225,  fdo450)

Rumi - Arabic rūmī: literally meaning from Rum, Byzantine. Commonly used as the name of the great mystical poet Jalāluddīn Muḥammad Rūmī (1207-1273 AD). He was born in Balkh ( now northern Afghanistan), so many Persians and Afghans refer to him as Jalāluddīn Muḥammad Balkhī.


ryazat - see riyazat

S - -

sadhana - Sanskrit  sādhana: leading straight to the goal, guiding well; effective; accomplishment, performance; summoning; adoration, worship; winning over, mastery.  (mw1201, jtp623)

sadhu - Sanskrit  sādhu: going straight to the goal, hitting the mark; peaceful, secure; correct, pure; virtuous, honorable, righteous; kind, gentle; saint, sage, seer.    (mw1201, jtp623)

Sadi -  from Arabic sa'd: prosperity, being auspicious, a fortunate aspect of the stars. The Persian Sufi poet Muṣliḥuddīn Mushrif ibn Abdullāh, often called Sa'dī, was born in Shīrāz (Iran) around 1175 AD. A student of Sufi master Shahābuddīn Suhrawardī, Sa'dī produced many great works including Bustān and Gulistān. (the pseudonym Sa'di is said to be in honor of his patrons, the ruler of Iran Sa'd bin Zangī and the ruler's son Abū Bakr bin Sa'd)    (in some texts as sa'adi)  (fjs682, jtp661)

Saddiq -  see Siddiq

saf -  Arabic ṣāfin, Farsi ṣāf :  clear, pure; untroubled, undisturbed, serene.  Some say that ṣāf may have been the root from which the word Ṣūfī has arisen. (see Suf and Sufism)   (hw606, jtp742)

sahib - Arabic ṣāḥib:  associate, companion, friend; owner, possessor; lord, master; often used in India as a title of courtesy, equivalent to Mr. and Sir. (in some texts as saheb) (hw588, fjs778, jtp741)

sahib-i dil - Farsi ṣāḥib-i dil: literally 'master of the heart'; a godly person, one having great piety; courageous. The awakened heart, the master-mind.  (see also sahib and dil above)  ( fjs778, jtp741)

sajada - Arabic سجد sajada: to bow, prostrate, bow in worship, worship. (hw463)

saki - see saqi

salat - Arabic  ṣalāt:  prayer, praying.  (hw612, fjs792)

salik - Arabic سالك sālik: going, traveling; traveler, devotee; open not obstructed.  From the Arabic root s-l-k meaning to travel, to follow (a path), to enter upon a course or road; to behave; to proceed, to set foot (on); to clarify, disentangle. In esoteric terms, there are two general types of Sufis, the Rind and the Salik; the Rind follow a path of disregarding worldly matters, while the Salik are engaged in worldly matters.  (hw495)

The Salik is a person who believes that he can be a sage and at the same time follow his worldly occupation. His work is making his life amidst the responsibilities of everyday affairs, and at the same time he does this for higher purpose; his mind is fixed on higher aspirations even while in the world. Every act in all the affairs of life is directed towards higher purpose; His mind is fixed on higher aspirations even while in the world.

     from The Sufi Message, Volume XII, The Life of a Sage

sama - Arabic samā': listening, hearing, receiving. Often used to refer to the musical portion of a Sufi gathering. From the Arabic root s-m-' meaning to hear; learn, be told, listen, pay attention to. (in some texts as suma; also written as sema)  (hw501)

sami - Arabic samī': hearing, listening; hearer, listener. (see also as-samī', one of the 99 beautiful names at  sami(hw501)

samadhi - Sanskrit  sam-ādhi: connection, alliance; completion; joining, putting together, union with; bringing into harmony; contemplation, profound meditation, intense absorption.   (mw1159,  jtp672)

samsara - Sanskrit  saṃ-sāra: wandering through; passage, course; worldly existence, worldly life, worldly illusion.  (mw1119)

Sangam -  Sanskrit  sam-gama: 'coming together', confluence. The confluence of the three holiest rivers in India: the Ganges (Gañgā), Yamunā (Jamnā) and the mythical Sarasvati. Located near Allahabad (Prayag), this site is also known as also called tri-veṇī, and is often called King of Pilgrimages (Tirth Rāj), where the great sacred festival Maha Kumbh Mela is held every 12 years.

                          photo at sangam

sangita - Sanskrit  saṃ-gīta: (sam=together, gita=sung) sung together; sung in harmony; a song sung by many voices; a concert.  (mw1129)

sanyasa - Sanskrit   saṃ-nyāsa: laying aside, putting down, abandonment, renunciation. The ultimate phase of life. One who is on this path is called a sanyasi. (in some texts as sannyasa)

saqi - Arabic sāqin, Farsi ساقی sāqī:  cup-bearer; wine-server or wine-pourer. Frequently used in Persian poetry to describe the glorious Server who continually pours out the wine everlasting to all of mankind. (in some texts as saki)  (also see the Bowl of Saki web page)  (hw485, fjs642, jtp625)

In the imagery of the Sufi poets, this tavern is the world, and the sāqī is God. In whatever form the wine-giver comes and gives a wine, it is God who comes. In this way, by recognizing the sāqī, the wine-giver, in all forms, the Sufi worships God. He recognizes God in friend and foe as the wine-giver.

    from The Sufi Message, Volume X, Sufi Poetry

sat - Sanskrit  sat: being, existing, occurring, happening; being present; belonging to; abiding, lasting; real, actual, right true; the truly existent. (mw1134)

sati - Sanskrit  satī:  your ladyship; virtuous and faithful wife; female ascetic; the goddess Durgā or Umā, Truth personified. (mw1135)

sattva - Sanskrit  sat-tva: 'true essence'; the abode of goodness; purity. One of the three gunas. Derived from sat meaning real, true, good; and tva meaning state of being, or abode of. (in some texts as  satva or sattwa)  (mw1136)

saum - Arabic ṣaum: fasting, abstaining; ceasing work, keeping silence. Also the name of a prayer given by Inayat Khan. (also see prayers in the Gayan)  (hw621)

saut-i sarmad - Arabic ṣaut-i sarmad: literally 'eternal sound'. From ṣaut meaning sound, voice, shout; and sarmad meaning everlasting, eternity.

Abstract sound is called Saut-i Sarmad by the Sufis; all space is filled with it. The vibrations of this sound are too fine to be either audible or visible to the material ears or eyes, since it is even difficult for the eyes to see the form and color of he ethereal vibrations on the external plane. It was the Saut-i Sarmad, the sound of the abstract plane, which Muhammad heard in the cave of Ghar-i Hira when he became lost in his divine ideal.

     from The Sufi Message, Volume II, Abstract Sound

shabda - Sanskrit  śabda: sound, tone, music, note; to utter a sound, cry out; a word; speech, language.  (mw1052)

shafi - Arabic shāfin, shafīy, Persian shāfī   : health-giving, healing; restoring to health; distinct, clear; relieving from doubt; a restorer, a healer.  (see also Additional Wazaif)   (jtp718, hw560, ewl1575)

shaghl - Arabic shaghl: work, occupation, employment, business; study; occupying, filling up; keeping employed at. Inayat Khan uses this term to describe certain mystical concentration exercises. (in some texts as shaghal or shagal)   (hw556, fjs748)

shah - Farsi shāh: king, sovereign, emperor, monarch, ruler.  (fjs726, jtp719)

shahbaz - Farsi شاهباز shāh-bāz:  royal falcon; generous, noble; a mythical bird.  (fjs726, jtp719)

Shahnama - Farsi shāh-nāma: The Book of Kings, an epic poem by Firdausī depicting the legendary kings and heroes of Persia.  (in some texts as  shah-nameh)  (fjs728)

                             image from shahnama

shaikh - Arabic شيخ shaikh: venerable, elderly; chief, elder; title of honor, title of religious dignitaries; master; saint; master of a Sufi order. (also transliterated as shaykh or sheikh)   (hw580, ewl1629)

shakti - Sanskrit  śakti: power, ability, strength, might, energy, capability; faculty, skill; power over; the energy or active power of a deity (often personified as the power of the wife).  (mw1044, jtp729)

Shankaracharya - Adi Śankara (788-820 AD), a great philosopher of India, a proponent of advaita (see advaita). Often called Shankaracharya as a title of respect (see acharya).

shariat - Arabic sharī'at: law, justice; statute, ordinance. And more specifically, al-sharī'at refers to the prescribed laws of Islam; the laws of Allah. (also see Marifat)  (hw544, fjs743, jtp727)

sharif - Arabic شريف sharīf: (plural ashrāf) distinguished, eminent, noble, high-bred, honorable, honest.  (hw545)

shastra - Sanskrit  śāstra: order, command; precept, rule; teaching, instruction, good counsel; sacred book, a body of teaching, science. ((mw1069)

shighra - Sanskrit शीघ्र śīghra: quick, speedy, swift. The term shighra-kavi means witty poet, impromptu poet, improviser. (mw1077, jtp740)

Shiva - Sanskrit  śiva: the destroyer, assimilator; in whom all things lie; one of the principle Hindu deities (Brahma the creator, Vishnu the preserver, Shiva the destroyer); personification of time.  (see also Brahma and Vishnu)  (mw1074, jtp735)

shri - (see sri)

shuhud - Arabic شهود shuhūd, plural of shāhid: eye-witness; witnessing, being present. In esoteric terms: beyond the witnessing of mankind; God's vision.  (hw572, fjs771)

Out of Himself, God produced His manifestation, His means of becoming conscious; and now each manifestation of Himself calls out, "I," not knowing its True Self. But when the individual intelligence frees itself from this delusion, and recognizes its immortal existence, then it becomes master of all states of being; it becomes that ideal being whose bliss cannot be equaled on earth nor surpassed in Heaven. This state in the experience of Intelligence, when the knower becomes known to Himself is called Shuhud; and in this the aim of life is accomplished.

     from The Sufi Message, Sangatha I, Tasawwuf (unpublished)

siddiq - Arabic siddīq: honorable, righteous, upright. An epithet referring to Abu Bakr (573-643 AD), the first khalif following the death of the prophet Muhammad. (in some texts as sadik)  (fjs785, hw594)

sidrat ul-muntaha - Arabic sidrat-u al-muntahā: sidrat meaning lote-tree, a shade tree; muntahā describing the furthest boundary beyond which human knowledge cannot go, and no one knows what is beyond that boundary. In sura al-najm this phrase is used to describe a tree in the seventh heaven, near the abode of paradise, beyond which no human can venture. (fjs663)

sifat - Arabic ṣifa, plural ṣifāt: qualities, properties, attributes, features. From the Arabic root w-ṣ-f meaning to describe, depict, characterize. The phrase Ṣifāt-i Allāh refers to the attributes of Allāh.  (hw1256)

Sikh (Sikhism) - Punjabi, from Sanskrit shishya meaning disciple or student. A monotheistic religion that originated during the 15th century AD in the Punjab of India, founded by Guru Nanak Dev who taught a life of simplicity and honesty. The One God is called Ek Onkar, and is often referred to as Wahe Guru (wonderful lord). By tradition, a Sikh man takes the surname Singh (lion), and a Sikh woman takes the name Kaur (princess).

siraj - Arabic  sirāj: candle, lamp, lantern, light; candle wick; luminary; the sun. A title given to one who officiates and takes care of the preservation of the Universal Worship service.   (Used in Qur'an 71:16, 25.61, 78:13, 33.46; quite similar to Farsi chirāgh)  (ewl1344, hw472, ao254, fjs667)

sirr - Arabic سر sirr (plural asrar): secret, mystery, something concealed; secret thought; innermost being, inner essence or, as E. W. Lane variously described it: private knowledge; something inserted in the interior; a pleasure, or delight, and dilation of the heart, of which there is no external sign.  (hw471, fjs57, ewl1337)

spirit - The word spirit is derived from the Latin spritus, meaning breath. (see also Ruh)

sri, shri - Sanskrit  śrī: light, radiance; splendor, glory; used as a respectful title much like reverend; used as an honorific prefix denoting holy or sacred.  (mw1098)

subhan Allah - Arabic subḥāna allāh: subḥāna = praised, glory be to. Commonly translated as: Praise the Lord!, May Allah be praised!, All glory is to Allah! This phrase is called tasbīh. (also see the subhana allah web page for more insights)  (hw472)

sufi - Arabic صوفي  sūfī: The exact etymology of the term ṣūfī is unproven, but is generally thought to be related to the Arabic ṣūf which means wool, in reference to the simple wool cloaks worn by early ascetics; another theory is that it is may related to sāf which means purity. However, scholars have generally discarded the idea that ṣūfī could have been derived from the Greek Sophia (wisdom).  (hw620)

sufism - Arabic    taṣawwuf: (تصوف taṣawwuf) mysticism; the Sufi way of life.  (hw620)

I will say that there is one principle mission of Sufism, that is, to dig the ground under which the light of the soul becomes buried. The same is the teaching of Christ, who has said, that no one shall cover his light under a bushel, also. 'Raise your light on high.' ...

Sufism has as its object the uniting of life and religion, which so far seem to have been kept apart... Therefore the teaching of Sufis is to make everyday life into a religion, that every action in life may have some spiritual fruit.

          from Social Gatheka 1, Sufism not Passivism,  by Hazrat Inayat Khan (unpublished)

Sufism, therefore, is the process of making life natural... By this process of Sufism one realizes one's own nature, one's true nature...  Sufism means to know one's true being, to know the purpose of one's life and to know how to accomplish that purpose.

           from Social Gatheka 7, Sufism,  by Hazrat Inayat Khan (unpublished)

suluk - Arabic سلوك sulūk: road, journey; behavior, demeanor, manner, conduct, attitude. From the Arabic root s-l-k meaning to travel, to follow (a path), to enter upon a course or road; to behave; to proceed, to set foot (on); to clarify, disentangle. (hw495, fjs694)

... the essence of morals and of religion and of education is one, and that one essence is the manner of friendship. Sufis of all ages have named it Suluk, which means divine manner, beneficence.

       from  In an Eastern Rose Garden, by Hazrat Inayat Khan

... the Sufis have learned the lesson of love, of devotion, of sympathy, and have called it the cultivation of the heart. It is known by the word suluk, which means the loving manner.

       from  The Smiling Forehead, by Hazrat Inayat Khan

The method of attainment is to endeavor always to make others happy and by experiencing happiness in the happiness of others. In the terms of the Sufi it is "Suluk".

        from Constancy, an unpublished paper, by Hazrat Inayat Khan 

surah - Arabic  sūrah, plural suwar: chapter, especially of the Qur'an. Literally, a container. From the Arabic root s-w-r which means to enclose, surround, contain. (hw514)

sura - Sanskrit  sura: god, deity, divinity; goddess, angel; sun; sage.  (mw1243, jtp649)

svara - Sanskrit  svara: sound, noise; voice; tone; a musical note; air breathed thru the nostrils; epithet of Vishnu; epithet of wife of Brahmā. (in some texts as Sura)  (mw1285, rsm1050, jtp696)

T -

Taj Mahal - Urdu taj maḥall: crown palace. From taj meaning crown, tiara, high-crowned cap;  and mahall meaning palace, mansion. A marble mausoleum completed in 1649 AD at Agra, India, by the Mogul Emperor Shah Jahan, in memory of his favorite wife. (jtp304, jtp1010)

                              taj mahal

tala - Sanskrit  tāla, Hindi/Urdu tāl:  musical time, meter, rhythm.  (mw444, jtp306)

Tisra,  the rhythm of three beats
Caturasra (  catur-aśra ),  the rhythm of four beats
Khanda (   khanda ), the rhythm of five beats
Mishra (  miśra ), the rhythm of seven beats
Sankirna  ( sankīrṇa ), the rhythm of nine beats

talib - Arabic  طالب  ṭālib: seeker, pursuer; applicant; student; studious, curious; a beggar; an inquisitor. (also called murīd or mureed)   (hw659, fjs807, jtp750)

ta'lim - Arabic  تعليم  ta'līm: information, advice; teaching, instructing, informing, schooling; apprenticeship.   (hw744, fjs310)

tamas - Sanskrit  tamas:  darkness, gloom; ignorance, illusion, error; one of the three guṇas, or qualities of being, which results in lust, pride, sorrow, dullness.  (in some texts as tammas)  (mw438)

tanasukh - Arabic تناسخ  tanāsukh:  the succession of generation, transformation; transmigration, reincarnation. (from the root n-s-kh meaning to transform, transmute) (hw1065, fjs326, jtp338)

Tansen - (1506-1598 AD) A highly acclaimed singer and musician of India, who developed the classical style of Indian music, and was court musician for the Mogul Emperor Akbar who gave him the honorary title of Mian.

taran - Sanskrit  tāraṇ: causing or enabling to cross; helping over a difficulty; liberating, saving; who or what causes or enables to cross, one who delivers, deliverer, savior; a raft, float;  crossing, passing over, reaching the opposite shore; salvation, deliverance.   (jtp304)

tariqat - Arabic tarīqat: manner, means, way; system, creed, faith, religion. Plural tarīqāt denotes a religious brotherhood, dervish order. (also see Marifat)  (hw654, jtp752)

tasawwuf - Arabic  taṣawwuf: Sufism; the Sufi way of life; mysticism. (also see Sufism above) (hw620)

tasawwur - Arabic تصور taṣawwur: imagination, visualization, fancy, fantasy, idea. (see also tasawwuri below)  (hw619, jtp326)

tasawwuri - Arabic taṣawwurī: of the imagination, existing in the imagination, pictured in the mind; idealized. Often used to describe a Sufi practice of focusing the attention upon a certain ideal (such as a spiritual teacher), visualizing the nature of that ideal, embodying that essence, and allowing the essence of that ideal to flow freely through one's own life. From the Arabic root ṣ-w-r meaning to shape, fashion, create; represent, portray, depict.  (hw619, jtp326)

tattwa - Sanskrit  tat-tva: true or real state; true principle, first principle; an element or elemental property; essential nature, true essence. In esoteric terms, the word is considered to be 'tat-tvam' meaning 'that (is) thou'. (mw432, jtp310)

tawajjuh - Arabic tawajjuh: directing the steps (towards), turning (towards or to); attending (to); regard; attention, consideration, countenance, favor, kindness.  (in some texts as Tawajoh.)   (fjs333, jtp342)

tawakkul - Arabic tawakkul: trust in, confidence in, depending upon; trust in God, resignation to the Divine Will.  (hw1284, fjs337, jtp343)

tawazu - Arabic ﺗﻮﺍﺿﻊ tawāḍu', Farsi/Urdu tawāẓu': humbleness, modesty, humility, civility, courtesy, attention, kind reception.  (in some texts as tawazeh)   (hw1263, fjs332, jtp341)

taviz -  Arabic ta'wīz:  protective charm, amulet; magic square; talisman; uttering the words of a charm. (fjs310, jtp328)

trimurti - Sanskrit  tri-mūrti: having three forms or shapes (such as Brahma (creator), Vishnu (maintainer) and Shiva (destroyer); or Srishti (creation), Sthiti (abiding), and Layam (dissolution) ).    (mw460, jtp320)

trishul - Sanskrit  tri-śūla: three pointed spear, trident; a three pointed spear used by Shiva.  (mw461, jtp318))

                                     trishul image

Tulsidas - Sanskrit tulasidas, Hindi तुलसीदास tulsidas: Indian poet and philosopher Goswami Tulsidas (1532-1623 AD), whose Ramacharitamanasa (Tulsi-krita Ramayana) is often considered to be the Ramayana in Hindi, and thus he is often regarded as an incarnation of Valmiki.

tyaga - Sanskrit त्याग tyāga: leaving, abandoning , forsaking; quitting; giving up, resigning; sacrificing one's life. (in some papers as thiaga) (see also vairagya) (mw456)


U -

ummi - Arabic ummī: uneducated, illiterate, not knowing how to read or write. (hw32, fjs101, jtp83)

Universal Worship -

The religious activity of the Sufi Movement is called the Universal Worship, or the Church of All. Why is it so named? Because it contains all different ways of worship and all Churches...

This Universal Worship which has been organized in the Sufi Movement was the hope of all prophets. The prayer and the desire of all great souls was that the light given in all the different forms such as the Buddhist scriptures, the Qur'an, the Bible or the teachings of Krishna or Zarathushtra, should be known by everyone. The work of the Sufi message is to spread the unity of religion. It is not a mission to promote a particular creed or any Church or religion. It is a work to unite the followers of different religions and faiths in wisdom, so that without having to give up their own religion they may strengthen their own faith and focus the true light upon it.

The Universal Worship is not another Church to be included among the variety of existing Churches. It is a Church, which gives an opportunity to those belonging to different religions to worship together. Also it gives practice in paying respect to the great ones who have come from time to time to serve humanity.

     from The Sufi Message, Volume IX, Universal Worship

urs - Arabic  عرس  'urs : marriage, wedding, wedding-feast; union, coupling, joining. Used metaphorically to refer to a death anniversary, especially of a Sufi saint. From a root which points toward cleaving, being kept together.     (ewl1998, hw704, fjs842, jtp760)

uruj - Arabic  عروج 'urūj: ascending, climbing up, becoming high; ascent, ascension, rising, exaltation. In esoteric terms, 'urūj and nuzūl are two complementary conditions which represent the natural rhythm, with 'urūj being responsive, and nuzūl being expressive; for example with the breath 'urūj is inhaling and is nuzūl exhaling.    (hw704, fjs845, jtp760)

V -

vairagi - Sanskrit  vairāgī: a religious devotee who has freed himself from worldly desires.  (rsm936,  mw1025)   (vairāgin is vocative case, vairāgī is nominative case)

Vairagi means a person who has become indifferent; and yet indifference is not the word for it. It describes a person who has lost the value in his eyes of all that attracts the human being. It is no more attractive to him; it no more enslaves him.

        from The Sufi Message, Volume I, The Angel-Man

vairagya - Sanskrit  vairāgya: aversion, loathing; indifference to worldly objects and worldly life, freedom from worldly desires. (in some texts as vairagia)  (mw1025)

Vairagya means satisfaction, the feeling that no desire is to be satisfied any more, that nothing on earth is desired.
      from The Sufi Message, Volume VIII, Indifference-Vairagya

The Hindus call it Vairagya ... It is God's satisfaction in the manifestation which He wanted to create.
       from The Sufi Message, Volume VI, Development of Personality

Vaishya - Sanskrit वैश्य vaiśya:  one who settles on the soil; working man, business man; the third of the four castes.  (mw1026)

Valmiki - Sanskrit  vālmīki:  Writer of the sacred Rāmāyaṇa of India, a 24,000 verse epic written in Sanskrit around 300 BC, which tells the story of Rāma and his wife Sītā who was abducted by the demon Rāvaṇa. It is said that Vālmīki had been a highway robber who, under the guidance of Maharshi Nārada, became a holy-man.

vanaprastha - Sanskrit  vana-prastha: vana = forest, prastha = abiding, dwelling; retired life. The third of four phases of life, in which one rises above one's worldly goals, and aspires to greater goals. One who is on this path is called vanaprasthi.  (in some texts as wanaprastha or wanaprashta)

varna - Sanskrit वर्ण varņa: appearance, color, kind, nature; class of people, the caste system.

Veda - Sanskrit  veda: knowledge, true or sacred knowledge; knowledge of sacred ritual; sacred scriptures of the Hindus (Rig-Veda, Yajur-Veda, Sama-Veda and Atharva-Veda). (mw1015, jtp1208)

Vedanta - Sanskrit  vedānta: complete knowledge on the veda; end of the veda; the Upanishads which are at the end of the veda; that which teaches the full scope of the veda; .  (mw1017)

viladat - Arabic wilāda: birth, childbearing, childbirth. Viladat is the Farsi/Urdu pronunciation; Viladat Day means birth day. In Arabic, the general term for birthday, based on the same w-l-d root,  is maulid.  (hw1286, fjs1479))

vilayat - Arabic wilāyah, Farsi/Urdu wilāyat, vilāyat: sovereign power, authority, rule, guardianship; friendship, mystical union (esp. with God); realm, province.  From the Arabic root w-l-y which means to be near, be close, be adjacent, to border on.  (hw1289, fjs1479, jtp1200)

vina - Sanskrit  vīṇā:  a variety of  lute, the vīṇā is one of the most important musical instruments of India, often considered as sacred. Contemporary designs have four playing strings and three drone strings. The body is generally carved from wood, and the upper removable resonator is either carved or made from a gourd. (see photo below of Inayat Khan with vina)  (mw1005, jtp1211)

                                  photo of Inayat Khan with vina

Vishnu - Sanskrit  viṣṇu: the preserver; one of the principle Hindu deities (Brahma the creator, Vishnu the preserver, Shiva the destroyer); personification of light and the sun. (see also Brahma, Krishna and Shiva above))  (mw999)

Deep thinkers in all ages have recognized the three-fold aspect of nature. Teachers have called these three aspects by different names according to their religious terminology, and they gave them an interpretation that suited the time and the place. Tracing back this idea, we find that it already existed among the Hindus in very ancient times; they called it Trimutri, and they personified these three aspects by giving them characters such as Brahma, the Creator, Vishnu the Sustainer, and Mahesh or Shiva the Destroyer or Assimilator.

      from The Sufi Message, Volume XI, Threefold...Aspects of Nature


W -

wahhab - Arabic وهاب wahhāb: a giver, one who bestows; liberal, munificent; an epithet of God. From the Arabic root w-h-b meaning to give, donate, grant, present, endow. (also see al-Wahhāb in 99 Names of Allah)  (hw1291, fjs1482)

 Ya Wahhabo, to make things go on which have stopped in their movement, to cause movement in affairs. ... Ya Wahhab, to develop in a person's nature activity in movement. ... Ya Wahhabo, which is the word of progress. ...  One must picture sometimes with Ya Wahhabo the flowing life or running water, because that symbolizes progress in life.

    from the Sangita, and Sangatha papers, by Hazrat Inayat Khan (unpublished)

wajd - Arabic وجد wajd: strong emotion, passion, ardor, ecstasy of love; ecstatic state of rapture. (in some texts as Wajad)  (hw1231)

wali - Arabic ولي walīy: one who is near, nearby; helper, benefactor, guardian, defender; sincere friend, friend of God; saint, holy man.   (hw1289, fjs1480)

wazifa - Arabic waẓīfa: (plural waẓā'if) daily ration; task, duty; assignment, lesson; job. An esoteric practice of concentrating on certain Divine Attributes or Qualities in order to more effectively express those qualities in every moment. (also see the Wazifa Practice web page)   (hw1266)

wazir - Arabic wazīr : minister of state, vizier, counselor. From the Arabic root w-z-r meaning to take upon oneself, carry a burden, support, help, assist, strengthen. (fjs1466, hw1247)

wudu - Arabic wuḍū': purity, cleanliness; ritual ablution before prayers. (hw1260)

X -


Y -

yad-i baiza - Arabic yad-i baiḍā,  Farsi yad-i baiẓā:  hand of purity, hand of brightness. Often used to allude to the white hand of Moses  (Exodus 4:6, Qur'an 7:108 and 27:12).    (fjs221, jtp210)

yaj - Sanskrit  yaj: to worship, adore, honor; to consecrate, hallow; to offer, bestow; to sacrifice.  (mw838)

yajna - Sanskrit  yajña: worship, devotion, prayer, praise; act of worship or devotion, offering, oblation, sacrifice; fire.   (mw839)

yaki - Farsi يكي yakī: unity, oneness, unanimity.  (fjs1535)

yaqin - Arabic يقين yaqīn: belief, conviction; certainty, certitude; true faith. (hw1298, fjs1532)

yoga - Sanskrit  yoga: the task of yoking, connecting together; joining, junction, union; concentration, meditation; spiritual practices as a means by which the human spirit may attain union with the Supreme Spirit; the union of the individual soul with the universal soul.  (mw856, jtp1253)

yuga - Sanskrit  yuga: an age, a time period; yoke, team; one of four epochs of time called Kṛita  Yuga (Satya Yuga), Tretā  Yuga, Dvāpara  Yuga, and Kali  Yuga.  (mw854)

Z -

zabani shirin mulki girin - Farsi: zabān-i = of the tongue; shīrīn = sweet, gentle;  mulk-i = one's country, region; The word 'girin' is of uncertain origin; perhaps it is a poetic form of gir which means 'to take'. Literally: A sweet tongue is a friend of the world.

zabh - Arabic dhabbāhh, Farsi/Urdu zabḥ: slaughtering, killing, butchering; slaughter by slitting the throat. (in some texts as zebah)  (hw355, fjs557, jtp577)

zafar - Arabic ظفر ẓafar: successful, victorious. Bahadur Shah Zafar (1775-1862 AD) the last of the Mogul emperors in India, who presided over Delhi, and was a great Urdu poet. The term zafar is also used in connection with the Zoroastrian talismanic device 'ilm-i zafar, the victorious knowledge, also called Jam-i Zarathushtra, which is said to mystically reveal all past and future through the use of a special book.

zakir - Araibc dhākir, Farsi zākir: a rememberer; a grateful person, a praiser of God.   (fjs557, jtp)

zamzam - Arabic zamzam: plenteous, copious, abundant. The name of a celebrated well at Mecca (Saudi Arabia), also called Hagar's well. (also written zemzem)   (hw443, fjs621, jtp617)

There is a tank in Mecca called 'Zamzam,' from which the prophets of all ages have drunk. They did not only drink water, they received from it what had been put into it, and then they charged it with what they had to give to it. Even now, pilgrims go there and receive that water as a blessing.

      from The Sufi Message, Volume II, Voices

Zarathushtra - Persian prophet, called Zoroaster by the Greeks, who founded a monotheistic religion, probably sometime around 1000 BC. The Zoroastrian religion prevailed across the Persian empire until the empire was conquered by the Arabs who brought the religion of Islam. (see also Ahura Mazda above)  (in some texts as Zarathustra)  

zaval - Arabic زوال zawāl, Farsi zavāl: end, passage; disappearance, cessation; departure, leaving one place for another; declining, waning; perishing.   (in some texts as zeval)   (hw450, fjs627)

zat - Arabic ذات dhāt, Farsi zāt: essence, being, nature; possessor, owner; soul; personality, self. From the Arabic root dh-w meaning endowed with, embodying, comprising; master of. (zāt is the typical Farsi/Urdu pronunciation, while thāt is the classical Arabic pronunciation ).  (hw363, fjs556, jtp576)

Zebunnisa - Arabic/Farsi zeb u al nisā, pronounced zeb-un-nisā: a compound made of the words zeb = elegance, grace, beauty; u = of, al = the, and nisā = females, women.  The poetess, philosopher and mystic Zebunnisā (d 1689), daughter of Mogal Emperor Aurangzeb.

Zend - see Zend-Avesta

Zend-Avesta -  A collection of  ancient sacred Zoroastrian texts. As the priests added commentaries (zend) to the original Avesta, they created what is known as Zend-Avesta. The oldest portion of the Avesta, the Gathas, are the hymns said to have been composed by Zarathushtra himself.   (also written as Zand-Avesta or Zend Avesta)

zikr - Arabic  ذكر dhikr, Farsi zikr: recollection, remembrance, reminiscence, commemoration; mentioning, speaking of; mention of the Lord's name; invocation of Allah. Inayat Khan used this term to describe spoken repetition, such as a wazifa. (in contrast to fikr, which he used to describe silent repetition) (zikr is the typical Farsi/Urdu pronunciation of the Arabic dhikr, while thikr is the classical Arabic pronunciation ). (hw358, jtp577, fjs558)

Zoroaster - (see Zarathushtra)

zuhur - Arabic ظهور ẓuhūr: appearing, arising, springing up; coming to pass, manifestation.  (hw683, fjs828, jtp756)

Zulaikha - Farsi Zulaikhā:  the wife of Potiphar, her passion for Joseph is much celebrated in the East, particularly in the Persian poetry of Nazāmī and Jāmī. (also written as Zuleikhā)   (fjs620, jtp617)

zunnar - Arabic زنار zunnār: belt, sash; band or rope worn around the waist.  (hw445, fjs623)

Search Engine:

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Standardization of Spelling:

The printed volumes of the Sufi Message were prepared by a variety of editors over the years, and contained some inconsistent spelling. For example, some editions used the British spelling colour while some used color, some used Koran while others used Qur'an, and so on.

Since searching the text is very difficult with multiple spellings of various words, such inconsistencies have been generally standardized using contemporary American English in this on-line edition, except in scripture and poetry:

  printed publications: 
  on-line edition:
Abulallah Abul Ala
ahankar ahamkara
aluk al-haqq
al hamdolillah al-hamdulillah
Allah ho Akbar Allahu akbar
analyse   analyze
armour armor
ansar anzar
ardh artha
asrar ul-ansar asrar ul-'anasir
ashik ashiq
atonement   at-one-ment
Baghavat Gita Bhagavad Gita
becharagi, becharegi bi-charagi
buddh buddhi
centre   center
colour   color
co-operation cooperation
defence   defense
dhakir zakir
dhikr zikr
divers diverse
djinn   jinn
do'a du'a
duija dvija
dunia dunya
ecstacy   ecstasy
enkesar, enkessar inkisar
ettefaq ittifaq
fakir faqir
Farid-ud-Din Fariduddin
Farishta, Farishteh Firishta
favour   favor
fulfil   fulfill
Gar-i Hira Ghar-i Hira
gheirat ghairat
Ghazzali Ghazali
gratefullness   gratefulness
gruhastha grihastha
hakk or haq haqq
halka halqa
hayya haya
honour   honor
humamanarn hama man am
ishk   ishq
ismahism ism ur-rasm
Jalal-ud-Din Jalaluddin
Jalani Jilani
jelal   jalal
jemal   jamal
Jibra'il Jabril
judgement judgment
Jumna Yamuna
Kaaba Kaba
kalaggai kalgi
kalpa-vraksha kalpa-vriksha
khamush khamosh
khatum khatm
khulk khulq
kemal   kamal
khuanda pishani khanda peshani
kibria kibriya
Koran  Qur'an
kutubiyat qutbiyat
madzub majzub
Maheish Mahesh
Manteha Muntaha
marefat marifat
marvellous   marvelous
Moghul Mogul
Mohammed or Muhammed   Muhammad
Moin-ud-Din Muinuddin
Moslim Muslim
mould   mold
murid mureed
muruat or murawwat muruwwat
Mussulman or Muhammadan Muslim
muwakkul muwakkal
nafs-i garm nafas-i garm
naminaust hamin ost
neighbour   neighbor
nimaz namaz
nirwana nirvana
odour   odor
offence   offense
parvana or parveneh parwana
pasi anfas pas-i anfas
peri pari
practise   practice
pretence pretense
programme program
qayamat qiyamat
quarrelled quarreled
Qur'an Quran
realisation   realization
Rubayat Rubaiyat
Sa'adi   Sa'di
Sadik Siddiq
saheb sahib
saki saqi
sansara   samsara
sannyasa sanyasa
satva or sattwa sattva
Shams-e Tabrez Shams-i Tabriz
shaghal shaghl
sulphur sulfur
suma sama
sympathise sympathize
tammas   tamas
tawajoh tawajjuh
tawazeh tawazu
to-day today
to-morrow tomorrow
tranquillity tranquility
traveller   traveler
vairagria vairagya
valour   valor
vecharagi bi-charagi
vigour vigor
vizier vizir
wanaprastha vanaprastha
wazir vizir
Zarathustra Zarathushtra
zebah zabh
Zeb-un-nissa Zebunnisa
zemzem zamzam
Zendavesta Zend-Avesta
zeval zaval
zikar zikr
Zuleikha Zulaikha


The Farsi eẓāfe (relative, or linking) form sometimes transliterated as xxx-e xxx has been standardized with the form xxx-i xxx. For example: Minqar-e Musiqar is now Minqar-i Musiqar, and Iman-e Muhmil is now Iman-i Muhmil.

Specific references to the book called "The Bowl of Saki" remain as "saki", while all other uses of the word have been changed to saqi (sāqī).

References (primary resources consulted while preparing this glossary):

Note: At the end of  many of the glossary entries there is a code that cites a reference text and page number where a definition may be found.

MCM = Short Dictionary of the Foreign Words in Hazrat Inayat Khan's Teachings, Dr. M.C. Monna  (Rubab Monna) ... a rare and long out of print volume which has been extremely valuable in decoding many of the unusual or incorrect words in the works of Hazrat Inayat Khan.

HW - Hans Wehr Dictionary of Modern Written Arabic, edited by J.M. Cowan.

AO - Dictionary of the Holy Qur'ān, Abdul Mannān Omar... truly a precious gift to those who speak English, this magnificent dictionary translates every Arabic word used used in the Qur'ān into English, giving the Arabic root word followed by English translations of every form of that root which appears in the Qur'ān. This dictionary is easy to use, is relatively inexpensive and is based on classical Arabic as used in the Qur'ān.

EWL - An Arabic-English Lexicon, Edward W. Lane... an eight volume masterpiece of classical Arabic which includes plentiful examples of classical usage and the meanings of the words during the time period that the Qur'ān was revealed. Indexed by Arabic roots, with definitions in English.

MW - Sanskrit-English Dictionary, M.Monier-Williams

FJS - A Comprehensive Persian-English Dictionary, Francis Joseph Steingass

JTP - A Dictionary of Urdu, Classical Hindi and English, Part 1 and Part 2, John T. Platts

FDO - Hebraic Tongue Restored, Fabre D'Olivet

RSM - Oxford Hindi-English Dictionary, R.S. McGregor


On-Line Dictionaries (additional helpful resources):


Cologne Digital Sanskrit Lexicon (Monier-Williams)

Capeller Sanskrit-English Dictionary

Monier-Williams software for your own computer

Scanned images of Monier-Williams

Sanskrit Heritage Dictionary


Persian-English Dictionary (Steingass)


Urdu-Classical Hindi-English Dictionary (Platts)

Hindustani-English Dictionary (Shakespeare)


Notes on Transliteration of Arabic, Farsi (Persian) and Urdu:

As the Arabs conquered surrounding lands, they carried with them both their religion and their language. Thus, as the Persian empire fell under Arab domination, Arabic words began to be included in the local language, although the pronunciation of certain characters was changed (much the same as the pronunciation of words from French or German are often altered when being adapted into English). As the Arabic alphabet was adapted for use in the Persian territories, four new characters were added to depict the native Persian sounds which were not in the original Arabic.

As a further step from the original Arabic, Urdu is an amalgamation of Hindi and Farsi which generally retains the Farsi pronunciation of the Arabic words. Urdu also relies upon the Arabic alphabet, and adds a number of new characters to depict the sounds needed for the Hindi words.

Using Arabic script, the spelling of Arabic words is exactly the same in Arabic, Farsi and Urdu, but the Farsi and Urdu pronunciation of some of the Arabic alphabet characters is considerably different from the original Arabic pronunciation. For example, the Arabic word  (dhikr: remembrance) is written exactly the same in Arabic, Farsi and Urdu, but is pronounced like 'thikr' in Arabic, while it is pronounced like 'zikr' in Farsi and Urdu.

So, the problem of standardizing the spelling (and pronunciation) of non-English words becomes quite difficult. For example, if an Arabic word is spoken by someone who speaks Urdu, should we use Urdu transliteration or Arabic transliteration? and then which of the many transliteration schemes for the chosen language should be used? or should it be a phonetic transliteration?

Because Hazrat Inayat Khan spoke Urdu, the Farsi/Urdu spelling used in this glossary and in these on-line volumes of The Sufi Message is employed to help to preserve the oral tradition of these teachings as they would likely have been spoken by Inayat Khan. Thus, for example, the Farsi transliteration zikr is used, rather than the Arabic transliteration dhikr.

Unfortunately, many people incorrectly assume that transliterations are phonetic pronunciation guides, but alas they are not; transliterations are simply the substitution of the characters from one alphabet for characters of another alphabet. In some cases there may be a pleasant correspondence between the transliteration character and the phonetic pronunciation, but not necessarily.

There are many different transliteration schemes for converting foreign characters to Roman characters. For this web site I have generally employed the ALA-LC Romanization Tables used by the Library of Congress.

The following chart depicts the classical Arabic pronunciation, and the Arabic transliteration scheme generally used on this web site:

Arabic Transliteration:

1) This is only a simple and somewhat incomplete transliteration guide, for a more complete set of transliteration rules, see, for example,  the ALA-LC Romanization Tables used by the Library of Congress, available at  Library of Congress Romanization

2) The pronunciation of vowels, diphthongs and some consonants varies considerably from region to region

3) See also:   Wikipedia: Arabic Transliteration