glossary of terms used in the book Murshid

 Glossary of Terms Mentioned

Abdal: people who fulfill a function far transcendent to ordinary or even extraordinary human roles. Murshid was an Abdal, and the sense he gave of this function was “chameleon.”

Abdul: slave of.

Advaita: the doctrine of nondualism.

Ahankara: self-consciousness.

Ahmadiyya movement: established in 1889 by Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (1835-1908). Hadhrat Ahmad claimed to be the expected reformer of the latter days, the Awaited One, the Mahdi, the Messiah; has over 200 million adherents in 178 countries.

Ajna: the third eye or sixth chakra.

Akasha: ether.

Akhlak Allah: the manner of God.

Alaya: a place.

Alaya-vijnana: a storehouse of consciousness.

Alhamdu Lillah: all praise is due to God.

Allah Mansur: God is victorious.

Allaho Akbar: God is great.

Amal: one of eight parts of the Sufi method of realization; means the same as

Samadhi; see also Kalama, Nimaz, Wazifa, Ziker, Fikar, Kasab, Shagal.

Ananda: bliss.

Anandavada: a state of bliss.

Anatta: no self.

Artha Sastra: an ancient Indian treatise on economics and politics written by

Chanakya (350-275 B.C.). The term is made up of artha, material prosperity

and sastra (or, shastra), knowledge.

As-salaam aleikhum: peace be upon you.

Asura: a demon.

Auliya: the plural of Wali, friend.

Azan: the Muslim call to prayer.

Baraka: blessing.

Bayat: an initiation.

Bhumis: stages on the way, in Buddhism.

Bismillah: in the name of God.

Bodhi: awakening.

Bodhisattva: someone who vows to work for the awakening of all humanity.

Buraq: the winged animal that was Mohammed’s means of conveyance during the Miraj; esoterically, it symbolizes the breath.

Buzurg: a grade in the spiritual hierarchy described by Hazrat Inayat Khan. “The work of the Buzurg…is to help by the power of his soul those who wish to advance spiritually.” (The Sufi Message of Hazrat Inayat Khan, vol.9, p.129); see also Pir, Wali, Ghauth, Qutb, Nabi, Rasul.

Cherag: (lit. light) the title of one appointed to lead the Universal Worship Service of Hazrat Inayat Khan.

Dargah: a shrine or tomb.

Daroods: affirmations.

Darshan: a blessing through the eyes; see Tawajjeh.

Deva: an angel-man.

Dharana: concentration.

Dharma: (lit. that which supports or holds together) the teachings of Buddha.

Dharma Dhrishthi: right views.

Dhikr: see Ziker.

Dhyana: meditation or concentrated awareness.

Dorian Gray: the protagonist who does not age, in Oscar Wilde’s eponymous novel.

Ekayana: the clear, bright, shining light from which all manifestation comes.

Elhami: a dream in which a divine message is given either in letters or a divine voice.

Enceinte: pregnant.

Er-rahim: the merciful.

Er-rahman: the compassionate.

Fakir: one who practices fikar.

Fana: assimilation or effacement; annihilation, as it is defined by R. A. Nicholson translating al-Hujwiri.

Fana-fi-lillah: assimilation in God.

Fana-fi-rassul: assimilation in the world teacher.

Fana-fi-Sheikh: assimilation in the teacher.

Farishtakhaslat: angel-man.

Feringhi: a foreigner.

Fikar: (a transliteration of the Arabic fikr) to repeat a sacred phrase mentally.

Fudo: (lit. immoveable one) a guardian of the Buddhist faith.

Futa: a waist-cloth.

Gatha(s): in Sufi studies, teachings for the first three grades.

Ghauth: the fourth degree in the spiritual hierarchy of seven degrees. “The influence of the Ghauth is wider than Wali. He gives up his personality wholly to the divine guidance… [and creates] an atmosphere of protection from natural disasters.” (The Sufi Message of Hazrat Inayat Khan, v. 9, p. 130); see also Pir, Buzurg, Wali, Qutb, Nabi, Rassul.

Githa(s) in Sufi studies, teachings for grades four, five and six.

Githeka: advanced teachings for the generality.

Hadiths: recorded teaching tales derived from the life example of Prophet Mohammed.

Hajj: the required pilgrimage to Mecca for Muslims.

Hakim: physician.

Hal: a state of consciousness; see also Makam.

Halim Taba’: poorness of spirit.

Hara: the solar plexis.

Hejira: (lit. flight or migration) for Western Sufis Hejirat Day is the anniversary of Hazrat Inayat Khan’s departure from Bombay for the west on September 13, 1910. Hejira for Muslims signifies the flight of Mohammed from Mecca to 482 Medina in 622 A.D. and marks the beginning of the Islamic calendar.

Hridaya: heart.

Ilham: divine inspiration.

Ilm: knowledge.

Imam: a prayer leader in Islam.

Inshallah: God willing.

Ishk: love.

Ishk Allah: God is love.

Ishk Allah mahbud Lillah: God is love, lover and beloved.

Jabrut: in Sufi terms, the world of the angels, love; “power” in the Lord’s prayer.

Jagat: the body.

Jelal: strength.

Jemal: beauty.

Jhanas: meditations.

Jinn: (lit.genius) for Murshid, a type of soul, rather than an invisible order of powerful beings.

Kaaba Allah: a building fifteen meters square in Mecca; the point toward which Muslims worldwide direct their prayers.

Kalama: the declaration of faith, “There is no God but God”; see also La illa ha el il Allah.

Kasab: a breath practice.

Kashf: insight.

Kemal: perfection.

Khalif: representative.

Khankah: a place of Sufi prayers.

Khatimal-Mursaleen: the seal of the divine messengers.

Khatum: closing.

Khayali: a dream in which the actions and thoughts of the day are reproduced; see also Naqshi.

Khilvat: seclusion.

Kundalini: energy.

Kurukshetra: the battleground in the Bhagavad-Gita.

La illa ha el il Allah: the Sufi Ziker as given by Sufi Murshid Samuel L. Lewis (“There is no God but God”).

Lahut: in Sufi terms, the source, luminosity; “glory” in the Lord’s prayer.

Madzub: a God-intoxicated being.

Mahabbat: divine love.

Makam: station; a lasting state of consciousness; see also Hal, Wujud.

Malakut: in Sufi terms, the world of the jinn, inspiration; “kingdom” in the Lord’s prayer.

Manas: mind.

Manusha: man or rational being.

Mast: a God-intoxicated being.

Ma’sum: to be without sin.

Miraj: (lit. ascent) Mohammed’s night journey to heaven; see also Buraq.

Mudra: a gesture.

Mujahada: self-mastery.

Mujahadat: to live a purgative life.

Mullah: a religious cleric in Islam.

Mureed: a transliteration of the Arabic word murid; means disciple.


Murshid: spiritual guide.

Mushahadat: the contemplative life.

Mushahida: contemplation.

Nabi: a prophet of God. “His work is mainly the giving of the message in the form of warning, awakening, preaching, teaching, and inspiring those to whom he may be sent.” (The Sufi Message of Hazrat Inayat Khan, v.9, p. 130); see also Pir, Buzurg, Wali, Ghauth, Qutb, Rasul.

Nada Brahma: the sound of God.

Nafs: ego; also, breath.

Nafs-i-selima: a refined ego.

Nafs-kushi: crushing the ego.

Nakib: a spokesman for the esoteric community.

Nakshibandi: symbology.

Naqshi: a dream in which the real meaning is disguised by a symbolic representation; see also Khayali.

Nimaz: prayer.

Nirtya: a type of yoga involving dance.

Pancha sila: refers to the five precepts, in Buddhism.

Paramitas: perfections, in Buddhism.

Pir: the leader of a religious group or sect; also, a grade in the spiritual hierarchy of Hazrat Inayat Khan. “The work of the Pir is helping individuals toward the unfoldment of their soul.” (The Sufi Message of Hazrat Inayat Khan, vol.9, p.129); see also Buzurg, Wali, Ghauth, Qutb, Nabi, Rasul.

Pir Dahan: the voice of the prophet.

Prajna: insight.

Prajnaparamita Hridaya Sutra: (the Heart Sutra) regarded as the summation of the wisdom of Buddha, i.e. non-attachment and the doctrine of emptiness; ends like this: Gate, Gate, Paragate, Parasamgate, Bodhi Swaha (Going, coming, having gone completely beyond, gone altogether to the totality, O what an awakening, all hail)!

Pranayama: from prana (breath) and ayama (stopping) a breath practice.

Prasad: blessed food.

Prema: divine love.

Puja: a devotional ritual.

Qalbi: a dream showing the opposite of the real happening; see also Ruhi.

Qutb: In the spiritual hierarchy above Ghauth, “[a Qutb] has, to a lesser or greater extent, power over all elements as well as influence upon life. Under him there is a dominion in which he is responsible for the order and peace of souls. He governs a country or nation spiritually.” (The Sufi Message of Hazrat Inayat Khan, v.9, p.130); see also Pir, Buzurg, Wali, Ghauth, Nabi, Rasul.

Rahmat: divine compassion.

Rajas: activity.

Rasul: (or Rassul) a world messenger. “[a Rasul] comes for all people at the time of the world’s need, and brings with him that inspiration, influence, and power which will harmonize humanity.” (The Sufi Message of Hazrat Inayat Khan, v.9, p.130); see also Pir, Buzurg, Wali, Ghauth, Qutb, Nabi.

Ruhi: a dream showing the real happening; see also Qalbi.

Ryazat: esotericism.

Sadhu: a renunciate.

Sahasrara: the crown center or seventh chakra.


Salat: prayer.

Saluk: a sober person, or Apollonian in the Greek sense where Apollo and Dionysius represent the mental and the emotional. In Islam, Abu Bakr is a saluk (who has sahw, sobriety) and Ali has sukr (intoxication).

Samadhi: a state of oneness.

Samma Dhrishti: right sight.

Samsara: the cycle of life and death.

Samskara: subtle impression created by one’s thought or action.

Sangatha(s): in Sufi studies, teachings for grades seven, eight, and nine.

Sangha: community.

Sangitha(s): in Sufi studies, teachings for grades ten, eleven, and twelve.

Satori: a Zen Buddhist term for enlightenment, sudden awakening.

Sattvic: refined.

Satyagraha: (lit. holding to truth) reliance on God.

Shagal: the practice of being one with the inner sound.

Shahud: bearing witness that God alone exists.

Sheikh: (or Shaikh) elder or teacher; it is the tenth grade initiation for the Western Sufis.

Shifayat: a conductor of healing ceremonies.

Shirk: polytheism.

Silsila: (lit. a chain) a spiritual lineage or chain of transmission.

Skandhas: in Buddhism, the five principle components of personality—form, feeling, thought, intention (samskara), and consciousness (vijnana). Soma: an hallucinogenic creeper from the succulent family; mentioned in the Vedas.

The Sorcerer’s Apprentice: a fable that begins with an old sorcerer giving his apprentice chores to perform while he is away from their workshop. The apprentice soon grows tired of filling a tub with water so he enchants a broomstick to do it for him, but uses a form of magic in which he is not fully trained. The workshop floor is quickly awash in water and the novice does not know the magic word that will stop the broom. In despair, he splits the broom in two with an axe, but each piece then takes up a pail and continues fetching water at an even faster rate. Just when a disasterous flood seems most immanent, the old sorcerer returns to break the spell and save the day.

Spiritual hierarchy: “According to the Sufi conception, there are seven degrees in the spiritual hierarchy, which can be distinguished as different stages of responsiveness; in other words, of higher initiation.” (The Sufi Message of Hazrat Inayat Khan, v.9, p.128); see also Pir, Buzurg, Wali, Ghauth, Qutb, Nabi, Rasul.

Sushumna: the center of the spinal column.

Talib: a disciple.

Tamas: sloth.

Tamasic: slothful.

Tapas: heat.

Tashbih: a string of prayer beads.

Tassawuf: Sufism.

Tassawuri: an expression of outward attunement and effacement.

Tat Twam Asi: thou art that.

Tattvas: elements.

Tauba: repentance.


Tawajjeh: a blessing through the eyes; see Darshan.

Tawbat al-inabat: to repent for fear of God’s greatness.

Tawbat al-istihya: to repent for shame of God’s beauty.

Thummim: perfections.

Tumo: heat, in Tibetan.

Urim: lights.

Urs: a commemoration observing the anniversary of the death of a holy one; promotes the belief, “Verily death is the bridge which unites friend to friend.” (Sayings of Mohammed)

Vairagi: a renunciate.

Vairagya: indifference.

Vedas: the most ancient Indian expression of divine wisdom.

Vijnana consciousness.

Vajrayana: (lit. “indestructible vehicle”) esoteric, as in Vajrayana Buddhism.

Vijnanavada: a state of consciousness.

Wali: (lit. one who is very near) a friend; also, a grade in the spiritual hierarchy of Hazrat Inayat Khan. “[T]he initiate whose will has come close to the divine will and he shows it in the harmony which reigns in his own life…with his friends…with an adversary…with the changing weather…with all that he eats and drinks…the place he lives…with all atmospheres. And so his will becomes the will of God; the will of God becomes his will.” (The Sufi Message of Hazrat Inayat Khan, v.9, pp.129-30); see also Pir, Buzurg, Ghauth, Qutb, Nabi, Rasul.

Waswas: suggestions of the devil.

Wazifa: a sacred phrase.

Wujud: a state of consciousness; interchangeable with Hal.

Ya Azim: the highest.

Ya Haqq: O Truth.

Ya Hayy: O Life.

Ya Kafee: God is the remedy.

Ya Shafee: God is the healer.

Ya Wahabo: O Inspiration.

Yantra: in art, an interlocking matrix of geometric figures, circles, triangles and floral patterns.

Zavaliat: relates to the downward cycle; expiration as opposed to inspiration.

Zen-shi: a Zen master.

Ziker: (a transliteration of the Arabic zikr or dikr) remembrance; for Sufis, to remember God by repeating his name, Allah, in some form.