Fakir And Sufi

Generally we use the term Fakir for beggars. In fact Fakir is the highest spiritual status. Here is little effort to bring into light its real meaning and importance of a Faqeer.

Relationship between sharia and Sufism

The Holy Prophet said:

  • Sharia is tree, tariqa (mysticism) is its branches, gnosis (marifa) is leaves and reality (haqiqa) is its fruit and Quran is the collection of all these (It means that all these knowledge are in Holy Quran).

Firstly, sharia deals with exoteric deeds. That is why all its worships and good deeds are related to physical body.


For example, proclamation of Oneness of Allah by tongue, offering salat, fast in the month of Ramadan, zakat and hajj etc.

In fact, mysticism is the essence of sharia. Moreover, sharia is the name of the fulfillment of some acts and obeying some commands with pure intentions and sincere efforts. When a person tries to elevate these results to a level of perfection, then we call it mysticism. Furthermore, mysticism is the basis of Sufism.

Shaykh Ahmad Sirhindi

Shaykh Ahmad Sirhindi writes in one of his letters:

  • Sharia and haqiqa (reality) are exactly the same to each other. In fact, they are not distinct and apart from each other. (Maktubat-e-Imam Rabbani)

Salat in sharia and Sufism

In order to understand the relationship between sharia and Sufism, let’s take an example. If a person offers salat with all its requirements, terms and conditions, then according to sharia he has fulfilled his religious obligation. But he has to fulfill its esoteric requirements. Physically his face is towards the Holy Ka’aba. Likewise, it is necessary that the Qibla of his heart and soul should be the Master of Ka’aba. Hence, his heart and soul as well as his body should be attentive towards the Creator of the world. Moreover, these feelings are spiritual and purely from the core of heart. And these bestow a Divine seeker with spiritual observation.

Origin of Sufism

The origin of Sufism is to manifest the hidden spiritual characteristics of a seeker. Additionally, Sufis have devised some methods for spiritual elevation of Divine seekers. Generally, the Divine seekers use the term mysticism for the collection of these methods. Following terminologies are also used for these methods:

  1. Knowledge of purification
  2. Sufism

Sufi and Fakir

Sufis and Fakir are those saints who, through moral and spiritual training, have blessed the Muslim umma with the methods of purification, reformation and purgation of heart and soul.

General questions arise in mind

  1. What is the difference between Sufi and Fakir?
  2. What spiritual status, rank and role do Islam has granted to a Sufi and a Fakir?


Sufi is the one who remains busy in striving for Divine closeness and proximity. For this purpose he renounces this world and lusts of inner baser self. Moreover, Sufis longed for Divine closeness through purification of innerself and purgation of heart. Hence, all these efforts are limited to the self of Sufi only.

Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri’s research about the sources of Sufism

Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri writes a research about the sources of Sufism in his book Haqeeqat-e-Tasawuf. He says:


  • Sufism is derived from Arabic word As-Safa which means pure i.e. pure from distinctions and differences. According to this meaning Sufism means purify heart from all kinds of things that contaminate it, such as sin, feelings of vengeance, jealousy, and hatred, and suspicion about others etc.


  • Sufism is derived from word suf. Literal meaning of suf is wool. Therefore, Sufi is the one who wears woolen dress out of purity.


  • Al-Sufu means affection, sincerity, friendship. According to these meanings Sufi is a person who has developed a relation of affection, sincerity and friendship with Allah irrespective of the rewards of this world and the world hereafter.


  • Al-Tasawuf means lying on one side, single-mindedness. Hence, Sufism means fully attentive toward Allah.


  • According to one group, the word comes from the term ahl aṣ-ṣuffah(the people of the bench). Hence, they were a group of impoverished companions of Prophet Muhammad and they held regular gatherings of

Data Ganj Bakhsh Ali al-Hujwiri’s words about Sufis

Data Ganj Bakhsh Ali al-Hujwiri writes in Kashf al-Mahjub:

  • A group of learned persons say that Sufi is called a Sufi because he wears suf (wool) dress. Some of them say that they are in the first suf (row) that is why they are Sufis. Another school of thought says that they are the vicegerents of the people of the bench (ahl as-suffah). Whereas some says that this name is derived from safa which means purity.

At another point he says:

  • Sufis hate evils of (human) nature. That is why they excel in enlightening and purifying their morals and conducts.

Ghawth al-Azam Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani’s words about Sufis:

Ghawth al-Azam Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani says:

  • Sufi is free from the creatures and is connected to Allah.

Shibli Nomani says about Sufi

Shibli Nomani says:

  • Sufis are the ones who prefer Allah’s will above all else.

Abu al-Hassan al-Nuri says about Sufis

Abu al-Hassan al-Nuri says:

  • The Sufis are those whose existence has been freed from humanly evil feelings and their innerselves have been purified. Hence they became heedless from desires and wishes.

Abu Ali Rudbari’s words about Sufi

Abu Ali Rudbari says:

  • Sufi is the one who always belongs to the one, whom he is a servant.

Amr ibn Uthman al-Makki’s words about Sufi

Amr ibn Uthman al-Makki says:

  • Sufi is heedless about all things in the world due to his calm body, contented heart, enchanting face, wide chest, awakening inward and relationship with Allah.

Spiritual training is must to become a Fakir and Sufi

All the Fakir and Saints have described some characteristics and traits of a Sufi. Furthermore, to acquire those traits one must pledge allegiance to a perfect spiritual guide and adopt his company. Moreover, Khanqah, Dargah (shrine of a Saint), Tekije or Zawiyah is the place where he acquires spiritual training. In other words, Sufi requires a perfect spiritual guide for spiritual beneficence. And the spiritual guide must be stationed at level of annihilation in Hoo and there should be nothing in his outward and outward besides Hoo.

Fakir in the words of Sultan-ul-Ashiqeen

Sultan-ul-Ashiqeen says:

In the Sarwari Qadri order, when a seeker reaches the station of annihilation in Hoo ( ھُو ) and nothing remains in his outward and inward besides Hoo ( ھُو ), it depicts that he is at the station of ‘complete submersion in Divinity’. Moreover, he is the master of the universe Fakir or the Universal Divine Man (al-Insan al-kamil). Similarly, he is the perfect spiritual guide who possesses the light of Divine guidance.

Sultan Bahoo called himself the Master of Universe Fakir

Referring to himself, Sultan Bahoo has used the term ‘the complete, perfect, accomplished, light of Guidance and comprehensive spiritual guide! Rather, he also calls himself ‘the master of universe Fakir’. In Nur-ul-Huda Kalan, he says:

  • I am the complete, perfect, accomplished and comprehensive spiritual guide possessing the Divine light of guidance. Moreover, I am the Fakir who is the master of universe and this is the highest rank of Universal Divine Man.


Fakir is the person who attains the highest spiritual level of Faqr. In fact, Fuqara is the plural of Faqeer. Literal meaning of Faqr is destitution and hard times. But in spiritual and esoteric world Faqr is the sovereignty over both the worlds.

Hadiths showing the importance of Faqr and Fakir

Following are some Hadiths of beloved of Allah Almighty about Faqr and Fakir.

He says:

  • اَلْفَقْرُ فَخْرِیْ وَالْفَقْرُ مِنِّیْ

Meaning: Faqr is my pride and Faqr is from me. (Ain-ul-Faqr)

  • اَلْفَقْرُ فَخْرِیْ وَالْفَقْرُ مِنِّیْ فَافْتَخِرُّ بِہ ٖ عَلیٰ سَائِرِ الْاَنْبِیَآءِ وَالْمُرْسَلِیْنَ

Meaning: Faqr is my pride and Faqr is from me and Faqr is the reason of my superiority over all the Prophets and Messengers. (Ain-ul-Faqr)

Love of Fakir is key to Paradise

  • There is a key for everything. Likewise, the key to paradise is the love of Fakir and Miskeens. Moreover, on the Doomsday, there will be no sin upon them and they will be seated with Allah. (Mohkim-ul-Fuqara)
  • The Holy Prophet said to Abu Dharr al-Ghifari, “O Abu Dharr! Fakir are those whose smile is prayer; whose humour is like glorification and whose sleep is charity. Moreover, Allah looks towards them three hundred times a day. If one takes seventy steps to visit a Fakir, Allah grants him reward of seventy accepted hajj for each step. Moreover, If one gives food to a Fakir in the time of need, that food will be added in his reward on the Doomsday in the form of Divine light. (Mohkim-ul-Fuqara)

The words of Fakir are the words of Allah

  • The words of Fakir are the words of Allah. Whoever rejected (or insulted) their words, in fact rejected Allah’s words. Moreover, if anyone would keep enmity against them, Allah would save them from his enmity. (Mohkim-ul-Fuqara)

Al-Ghawth al-Azam’s words about Fakir

Al-Ghawth al-Azam says:

  • Fakir is not the one who has nothing. Instead, Fakir is the one who commands to be (Kun), so that it is (fa-yakunu). (Risala al-Ghausia)

Sultan Bahoo’s words about Fakir

Sultan Bahoo says:

  • Fakir is the one who is desired by Allah, he always remains present in the Mohammadan Assembly and is not, for a single breath, absent from here. Exoterically, he lives among the people of this world but esoterically he always stays in the Mohammadan Assembly. (Kaleed-ul-Tauheed Kalan)

True Faqeer is Annihilated in Allah & Immortal with Allah

  • True Fakir is the one who desires nothing, if someone gives him anything he does not refuse and if he gets something he does not hoard it. Moreover, Faqr is the knowledge of spiritual meeting while the knowledge gained through other mystic ways is about the miracles by Sufis. What is the difference between the two? Miracles of Sufis are related with the realm of physical bodies while the spiritual meeting is related with the realm of Divinity. Moreover, showing miracles is just like showing feats to people while the spiritual meeting means having the honour of presence before the Holy Prophet and being drowned in the Divine Oneness and Divine union which is the level of Lordship adorned by a Mystic who is annihilated in Allah and immortal with Allah. (Ain-ul-Faqr)

Fakir is O’ulil Amar

  • Fakir is O’ulil Amare. the one whose words and orders are never rejected. As said:

لِسَانُ الْفُقَرَآءِ سَیْفُ الرَّحْمٰنِ

Meaning: Tongue of Fakir is sword of the most Compassionate (Rehman).

Moreover, his words are the order of ‘Be’ (Kun). Whatever he says is done by the command of Allah, whether sooner or later. (Ameer-ul-Kaunain)

This world is one step for a Fakir

  • This world is one step for a Fakir. He takes first step from the world and puts into the hereafter with trust upon Allah. Then half a step is to move ahead from hereafter towards gnosis of Divine Oneness and in the next half step reach the ultimacy of Faqr by approaching the level of;

اِذَا تَمَّ الْفَقْرُ فَھُوَ اللّٰہ

Meaning: When Faqr is accomplished that is Allah. (Nur-ul-Huda Kalan)

Faqeer Holds Perfect Totality

  • The perfect, accomplished and comprehensive Fakir possessing the light of guidance is the beloved of Allah and lover of the Holy Prophet. Hence, the Fakir possessing all these levels collectively holds perfect totality as all the levels of perfection, accomplishment, comprehensiveness, light of guidance, lover and beloved are encompassed in totality. (Nur-ul-Huda Kalan)

Sultan-ul-Ashiqeen’s words about Fakir

Sultan-ul-Ashiqeen says:

  • The extreme level of Faqris known as the station of annihilation in Hoo (ھُو), unification with Allah, annihilation in Allah, becoming immortal with Allah or union with Allah. This level also states Oneness of Allah. Moreover, when the seeker of Allah reaches here, he becomes ‘the embodiment of Oneness of Allah’. This is the ultimate station in the exaltation of man. In common terminology, the person who reaches this station is called ‘the Universal Divine Man’ or ‘the Perfect Fakir’.

Fakir is Imam-e-Mubeen

  • In the Holy Quran, Allah says:

وَكُلَّ شَيْءٍ اَحْصَيْنٰهُ فِيْٓ اِمَامٍ مُّبِیْنٍ

Meaning: And We have encompassed everything in Imam-e-Mubeen. (Yasin 12)

In this verse ‘Imam-e-Mubeen’ (the enlightened leader) refers to the Universal Divine Man. Moreover Allah has kept His wills, commands and created universe in Guarded Tablet which is, in fact, inward of the Universal Divine Man. Thus inward of Universal Divine Man is the place where light of the Divine Essence reveals. One can neither explain nor imagine its vastness.

The company of the perfect Fakir is the sustenance for the soul

  • The perfect Fakir with his spiritual glance illuminates the rusty inward of the seeker with the Divine light. Thus, he purifies the innerself and takes the seeker to the Divine nearness. Moreover, the company and proximity of the perfect Fakir is the sustenance for the soul of the seeker and traveller of the spiritual path.
  • The Faqeer is indifferent towards the respect conferred or disgrace brought by this material world unto him. He does not care if someone believes him or not.
  • In the view of Fakir, none is important but Allah.

Ethics of the Company of a Fakir

If Allah blessed a seeker with the company of a perfect spiritual guide then he must hand over his volition and all the assets to his spiritual guide; it means that do everything by the consent of his spiritual guide and remain humble and modest in his holy court. He should try his level best to abstain from opposition of perfect Fakir. Because, his opposition and enmity will be a cause of humiliation and disgrace of a Divine seeker in both the worlds.

Enemy of Fakir is Enemy of Allah

Sultan Bahoo says about the enemies and opponents of the Universal Divine Man:

  • Enemy of Fakir is the enemy of Allah. (Mohabbat-ul-Asrar)
  • Fakir has three enemies: the hypocrite, envious and the disbelievers. All of them consider the world their friend. (Asrar-e-Qadri)
  • Enemy of Fakir is not free from three attributes. Either he is dead-hearted or an envious scholar who just talks but his inward is ignorant of verification of truth. Or he is liar, hypocrite or disbeliever. Or he belongs to the people of world who would not get any place in paradise. (Aqal-e-Baydar)

Titles of Fakir

There are different titles of Fakir or perfect spiritual guide. Sultan-ul-Ashiqeen writes in his book “Shams-ul-Fuqara”:

In his literary work, Sultan Bahoo uses following different names and titles for the Universal Divine Man, such as;

  1. Fakir Maalik-al-Mulki(Master of universe)
  2. Ameer-ul-Kaunain(Lord of worlds)
  3. Sultan-ul-Arifeen(Sultan of Mystics)
  4. Arif Kamil Qadri(Perfect Mystic of Qadri order)
  5. Sultan-ul-Tarikeen(Sultan of those who renounce the world for Allah)
  6. Sahib-e-Amaror Fakir Sahib-e-Amar (Fakir having commanding authority)
  7. O’ulil-Amar(Who has absolute authority)
  8. Fakir
  9. Fakir-e-Kamil (Perfect Fakir)
  10. Arif Billah orArif Fakir(Mystic immortal with Allah or the Mystic as well as the Fakir)
  11. Mast Fakir Kamil(Perfect Fakir who is engrossed in Allah)
  12. Fakir Sahib-e-Qalb(Man of soul)
  13. Sahib-e-Raaz Fakir(Fakir who is the secret holder)
  14. Sahib-e-Ain-al-Ayan, Sahib-e-Ayan Fakiror Ain-al-Ayan Fakir(Fakir whose inner eyes can see everything of every world, concealed or unconcealed)
  15. Ghaus-o-Qutb-e-Wahdat orGhaus-o-Qutb, Sahib-e-Tehqeeq orAhl-e-Wahdat Wahid Ghaus-o-Qutb (The unique and One with Allah, Saint of highest rank)
  16. Fana Fillah Fakir(Fakir who is annihilated and immortal with Allah)
  17. Haqeeqi Fakir(True and real Fakir)
  18. Arif Khatm-ul-Fuqara(Mystic who is the seal of all Fakirs)
  19. Khatm-ul-Faqr Fakir(Seal of Faqr, ultimate Fakir)
  20. La-yauhtaj FakirorSahib-e-Jamiyat La-yauhtaj Fakir (Fakir indifferent to all needs, who has got all Divine powers and treasures)
  21. Aashiq Fakir(Fakir who is Divine lover)
  22. Fakir Dervish/ Dervish Fakir
  23. Ghani Fakir (Possessor of all treasures)
  24. Kamil Kul Fakir(Perfect in totality)


In short, the extreme of Sufism is the beginning of Faqr. A number of Sufis have defined Sufism whereas only Fakirs have explained the reality of Faqr. According to Sufis, Sufism is related to the purgation of innerself and purification of soul. In Sufism, a seeker gets rid of evils of inner baser self. Moreover, it is related to purification and Divine observation. Similarly, Sufi is the one who has a pure heart and whose matter with Allah is also beyond doubts. Moreover, he holds special beneficence of Allah Almighty.

On the other hand, Fakir is the vicegerent of Allah in this world. And nothing remains in his outward and inward besides Hoo (ھُو). The spiritual status of a Fakir is much greater than Sufis. Faqr is a way of Divine closeness and marifa. It is the path of spiritual taste, passion, submission and the Divine consent. Moreover, it takes the slave of Allah to Allah.

Concluding Words

Sultan Bahoo says:

راہِ فقر فیض است فیض عام

راہِ دنیا شرک است مطلق تمام

Explanation: The way of Faqr is the ultimate bounty for everyone. While the ways of the material world are absolute infidelity. (Mehak-ul-Faqr Kalan)

May Allah grant us steadfastness on the path of Faqr. Amen


This article was published in Mahnama Sultan-ul-Faqr Lahore (monthly Urdu magazine of Tehreek Dawat-e-Faqr) titled as فقرا اور صوفیا Fuqara aur Sufia in the issue of April 2020. It was originally written by Noreen Abdul Ghafoor Sarwari Qadri and translated in English by Faiza Fahad Sarwari Qadri. If you wish to read it in Urdu then please visit the link:


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