The whole combination of the teachings imposed by Islam is known as the Shariat. Both sets of acts, viz., A'maal -e Zaahiri and A'maal-e Baatini, are included. In the terminology of the Mutaqaddimeen (the early authorities of the Shariat) the term Fiqh was synonymous with the word Shariat. Thus Imaam A'zam Abu Hanifah (Rahmatullah Alayh) defined Fiqh as follows:
"The recognition of that which is beneficial and harmful to the nafs."Later, in the terminology of the Muta-akh-khireen (the later authorities of the Shariat) the word Fiqh was used for that branch of Islam which related to A'maal-e Zaahiri while the branch which dealt with A’maal-e Baatini became known as Tasawwuf. The ways or methods of acquiring the A’maal-e Baatini are called Tareeqat.
The reformation of the A’maal-e Baatin brings about spiritual lustre and glitter of the heart to which is revealed, in consequence, certain realities (haqa-iq-e-kauniyah) pertaining to tangible and intangible occurrences especially virtue and vice; as well as certain realities (Haqaa’iq-e Ilahiyyah) pertaining to Divine Attributes and Acts especially related to affairs between Allah and servants. These revelations (makshoofaat) are known as Haqeeqat. The process of these revelations (i.e. inkishaaf) is called Ma'rifat while the Saint of Inkishaaf is known as a Muhaqqiq and Aarif.
All the aforementioned relates to the Shariat. The notion that the Shariat and Tareeqat are entities apart - this notion has gained prominence in the public - is totally false and baseless. Now that the nature and reality of Tasawwuf and Sulook have become clear, it will be understood that:
- Kashf (inspiration and revelation) and karaamat (miracles) are not necessary.
- It does not promise success in the worldly affairs.
- It does not assert that one's work will be achieved by means of ta'weez and potions; nor does it claim that one will be successful in court cases by means of du’a.
- It does not promise increase in one's earnings nor does it promise one cure from physical ailments.
- It does not foretell future events.
- It does not contend that the disciple's (mureed) reformation will be achieved by the spiritual focusing of the Shaikh. Extra-normal operation is not necessary to Tasawwuf.
- It does not contend that the one who trods this Path will not be afflicted by even the thought of sin nor does it claim that the mureed will automatically (without effort) engage in Ibaadat.
- It does not promise total self-annihilation so that one is not aware even of one's presence.' It does not promise the experiencing of states of ecstasy and spiritual effulgence in Zikr and Shaghl (spiritual exercise) nor does it claim that one will see beautiful dreams and wonderful visions. All these are not the aims of Tasawwuf. The purpose is the Pleasure of Allah Ta'ala. This then, should be kept in sight.
Marifa (or alternatively 'marifah') literally means knowledge. The term is used by Sufi Muslims to describe mystical intuitive knowledge, knowledge of spiritual truth as reached through ecstatic experiences rather than revealed or rationally acquired. M. Fethullah Gulen in his book on Sufism describes Marifa (knowledge of God) as a special knowledge that is acquired through reflection, sincere endeavor, using one's conscience and inquiring into one's inner world. It is different from scientific knowledge or "ilm" based on study, investigation, analysis, and synthesis. The opposite of knowledge (scientific) is ignorance, while the opposite of marifa is denial. Marifa is the substance of knowledge attained through reflection, intuition, and inner perception. A person realizing marifa (divine being) is imperceptible to others, who are without such knowledge. The following words are narrated in books concerning Sufism as a hadith qudsi-saying in spited by and received from God.
Oh humankind! One who knows his self also knows Me; one who knows Me seeks Me, and one who seeks Me certainly finds Me; one who finds me attains all his aspirations and expectations, and prefers none over Me. Oh humankind! Be humble that you can have knowledge of Me. One who renounces his self finds me. In order to know Me, renounce your own self. A heart which has not flourished and been perfected is blind.
In one of the earliest and finest accounts of the maqamat (stations) in Sufism, the Forty Stations (Maqamat-l arba'in), Sufi master Abu Said ibn Abi'l-Khayr lists marifa as the 25th station: "Through all the creatures of the two worlds and through all the people they perceive Allah, and there is no accusation to be made of their perception."
It is preceded by the truth of certainty (haqq al-yaqin)and followed by effort (jahd), where the traveler worships Allah in their hearts and souls with no doubt in their obedience.
Haqīqat (Arabic: is literally translated as essence, or truth (derived from one of the 99 names of Allah, Al-Haqq , means The Truth). In Sufi thought, it refers to the inward vision of divine power achieved through mystical union with God, or alternatively "the ultimate way". Approached by Sufis through the use of intuitive and emotional spiritual faculties trained under the guidance of a sheikh, it is considered one station in the way towards God. Sufis believe haqiqa can be reached through adherence to shariah and the principle of tawhid, although specific methods differ. For Sufis, when an individual has gone through haqiqa and reached the station of marifa he or she is able to see the true nature of God, and he or she becomes The True Human Being, as God intended when He created the person. He or she will fully understand the very reason of one's existence.
Noor is the link which binds being to knowledge in Sufism. The word itself means light. Each particle of light that is reflected of the "mirror of the heart" projects spiritual knowledge according to distinctive types of colors. A Sufi can differentiate between the following:
Noor is the spiritual light of a person. It emanates primarily from the forehead, but can bloom from the whole body. A person's spirituality can be judged by the noor emanating from him. Noor is descended from the heavens, reaching the Kabatulallah in Makkah. From there it is distributed to all the Masjid. There it manifests in those that are spiritually inclined.
A Tarīqah is a school of Sufism. A Tarīqah has a Murshid, or Guide, who plays the role of leader or spiritual director of the organization.
A Sufi Tarīqah is a group of Murīd (pl.: Murīdīn), Arabic for desirous, desiring the knowledge of knowing God and loving God (a Murīd is also called a 'Faqīr' or 'Fakir' , another Arabic word that means poor or needy, usually used as al-Faqīr 'ilá Allāh, English: The needy to God's knowledge.
Nearly every Tarīqah is named after its founder, and when the order is referred to as a noun -yah is usually added to a part of the founder's name. For example the "Rifai order," named after Shaykh `Ahmed er Rifai, is called the "Rifaiyyah", the "Qādirī order," named after Shaykh `Abd al-Qādir al-Jīlānī, is called the"Qādiriyyah", and the "Chishiyyah order" by Hazrat Abu Ishaq Shami Chishty.