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For other uses, see Fakir (disambiguation). "Faqir" redirects here. For the given name, see Faqir (given name). This article needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding reliable references. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (July 2009) Herbert Ponting's 1907 photograph of "a fakir in Benares" (Varanasi), India. However, it is far more likely this depicts a Hindu sannyasi particularly since Benares is the holiest city in Hinduism where large numbers of ascetics gather. A fakir or faqir (Arabic: فقیر‎ (noun of faqr); English pronunciation: /fəˈkɪər/) Derived from faqr (Arabic: فقر‎, "poverty") is a Muslim Sufi ascetic in Middle East and South Asia. The Faqirs were wandering Dervishes teaching Islam and living on alms.[1] The term has become a common Urdu, Bengali, and Hindi word for "beggar". The term has also been used to refer to Hindu and Buddhist ascetics (e.g., sadhus, gurus, swamis and yogis). These broader idiomatic usages developed primarily in the Mughal era in India. There is also a now a distinct caste of Faqir found in North India, descended from communities of faqirs who took up residence at Sufi shrines. Contents 1 History 2 Attributes 3 Gurdjieff 4 In Bangladesh and India 5 In popular culture 6 See also 7 References 8 External links History Historically, the terms tasawwuf, Sufism, faqr, faqer (noun of faqr) were first used (with full definition) by Husayn ibn Ali who was the grand son of Muhammad. He wrote a book "Mirat ul Arfeen" on this topic, which is said to be first book on Sufism and tasawwuf. However, under Ummayad rule, neither could this book be published nor was it allowed to discuss tasawwuf, Sufism or 'Faqr' openly. For a long time, after Husayn ibn Ali, the information and teachings of 'faqr', tasawwuf or Sufism kept on transferring from heart to heart.[2] In the 10th century, highly reputed Muslim saint Abdul-Qadir Gilani who is founder of Qadiriyya silsila which has the most followers in Muslim Sufism elaborated Sufism, tasawwuf and faqr. Then in the 13th century Ibn Arabi was the first vibrant Muslim Scholar who not only started this discussion publicly but also wrote hundreds of books about Sufism, tasawwuf and faqr. With the passage of time the doctrine of Sufism had been fading as well as that of tasawwuf and faqr. During some Mughal Emperors time, in the Indian continent, improper terminology were inserted in Sufism and Islam and "faqir" was quoted for street beggars and Hindu monks. The term then came to India where the term was injected into the local idiom through the Persian-speaking courts of Muslim rulers. The fakirs are called syed, shah or sai since they belong to the decents of sufi orders. photograph of shrine of a Muslim Sufi faqir Sultan Bahoo Punjab, Pakistan During the 17th century another noble and spirited Muslim scholar and saint Sultan Bahoo revolutionized Sufism and reinstated (with fresh properties) the definition of faqr and faqir. In the modern era, there is a Muslim Saint, Najeeb Sultan from Pakistan who is said to have extra ordinary spiritual powers and contends new dimensions in Sufism. In English, faqir or fakir is originally, a mendicant dervish. In mystical usage, the word fakir refers to man's spiritual need for God, who alone is self-sufficient. Although of Muslim origin, the term has come to be applied in India to Hindus as well, largely replacing gosvamin, sadhu, bhikku, and other designations. Fakirs are generally regarded as holy men who are possessed of miraculous powers. Among Muslims the leading Sufi orders of fakirs are the Chishtiyah, Qadiriyah, Naqshbandiyah, and Suhrawardiyah.[3] The Cambridge English dictionary refers to a faqir 'as a member of an Islamic religious group, or a holy man'.[4] Attributes The attributes of faqir and faqr have been defined by many Muslim saints and scholars, however, some significant definitions from distinguished personalities of Islam are quoted here. Muhammad defined faqr as "Reaching at peak, faqr is merged in Allah and his unity" One of the most respected and beloved early Muslim saints Abdul-Qadir Gilani also elaborated Sufism, tasawwuf and faqr in a conclusive manner. Explaining attributes of faqir, he says, "faqir is not who can not do anything and is nothing in his self-being. But faqir has all the commanding powers (gifted from Allah) and his orders can not be revoked."[5][6] Then Ibn Arabi explained Sufism, including faqr in more details. He wrote more than 500 books on topics relating to Sufism, tasawwuf and faqr. He was the first Muslim scholar who introduced (first time openly) the idea of Wahdat al-wujud which remained the talk of the town for many centuries.[7][8][9][10] Another dignified Muslim saint Sultan Bahoo describes a faqir as one, "who has been entrusted with full authority from Allah (God)". [11] [12] At another place, in the same book Sultan Bahoo says,"Faqir attains eternity by dissolving himself in oneness of Allah. He, when, eliminates his-self from other than Allah, his soul reaches to divinity."[13] He further says in his other book, "faqir has three steps (stages). First step he takes from eternity (without beginning) to this mortal world, second step from this finite world to hereafter and last step he takes from hereafter to manifestation of Allah".[14] Gurdjieff In the Fourth Way teaching of G. I. Gurdjieff the word "fakir" is used to denote the specifically physical path of development, compared with the word "yogi" (which Gurdjieff used for a path of mental development) and "monk" (which he used for the path of emotional development).[15] In Bangladesh and India The Fakir and Goshai was with the stronger religious influence, and there are even Bauls who would shave off their heads as in their past and kept on practicing and believing in many of the basic creeds of Vaishnava-Sahajiya Buddhism. So all followers of different religions and religious practices came under the nomenclature Baul, which has its etymological origin in the Sanskrit words "Vatula" (madcap), or "Vyakula" (restless) and used for someone who is "possessed" or "crazy". They were known as performers 'mad' in a worshiping trance of joy - transcending above both good and bad. Though fond of both Hinduism and Islam, the Baul evolved into a religion focused on the individual and centered on a spiritual quest for God from within. They believe the soul that lives in all human bodies is God. In popular culture Lists of miscellaneous information should be avoided. Please relocate any relevant information into appropriate sections or articles. (April 2011) Fakirs are referenced in the song Prince Ali from the 1992 Disney motion picture Aladdin. The line is "With his forty fakirs, his cooks, his bakers",[16] which is played over a scene of 40 apparent fakirs levitating. In the long running Off-Off-Broadway musical, The Fantasticks (Original 1960 Off-Off Broadway Cast), there is a song in Act II called "Round and Round" where the female lead Luisa sings, "I don’t believe he’s a real fakir. They never complain. He’s a fake fakir."[17] In the Broadway musical Cats, the song "Macavity the Mystery Cat" contains the lines "He breaks the law of gravity / His powers of levitation would make a fakir stare." (It is interesting to note, however, that Macavity does not actually levitate during the musical; rather, the line is in reference to the fact that he breaks all laws, even the laws of nature.) In The Secret Garden on Broadway, Fakir is the name of a dreamer, or a ghost who haunts the main character, Mary. Fakir casts magical charms and helps another main protagonist, Colin, get better from an ongoing illness. After Mahatma Gandhi met with the Viceroy of India, Lord Irwin in 1931, Winston Churchill said, "It is alarming and nauseating to see Mr. Gandhi, a seditious Middle Temple lawyer, now posing as a fakir of a type well known in the east, striding half naked up the steps of the viceregal palace ... to parlay on equal terms with the representative of the Emperor-King."[18] See also Ghous-e-Azam Dervish Qalandar Mirin Dajo Shramana Sultan Bahoo Ibn Arabi References ^ God Speaks, Meher Baba, Dodd Meade, 1955, 2nd Ed. p. 305 ^ A brief history of Islam‎ by Tamara Sonn, 2004, p60 ^ Online Dictionary / Reference ^ Dictionary of Cambridge ^ Biographical encyclopaedia of Sufis: Central Asia and Middle East by N. Hanif, 2002 ^ The Sultan of the saints: mystical life and teaching of Shaikh Syed Abdul Qadir Jilani, Muhammad Riyāz Qādrī, 2000, p24 ^ Fusus al-hikam (The Bezels of Wisdom), ed. A. Affifi,Cairo, 1946;trans. R.W.J. Austin, The Bezels of Wisdom, New York: Paulist Press,1980 ^ al-Futuhat al-makkiyya (The Meccan Illuminations),Cairo, 1911;partial trans. M. Chodkiewicz et al.,Les Illuminations de la Mecque: The Meccan Illuminations, Textes choisis/Selected Texts, Paris: Sindbad,1988. ^ The Sufi Path of Knowledge: Ibn al-'Arabi's Metaphysics of Imagination,Albany, NY: State University of New York Press.1981 ^ Sufis of Andalusia, London, George Allen & Unwin.1971 ^ Bahu, Sultan, List of Books of Sultan Bahoo, retrieved 28 April 2010  ^ Sultan Bahoo's book Ameer ul Konain ^ Reference from Sultan Bahoo's book ^ Noor ul Khuda book of Sultan Bahoo ^ The Fourth Way: Teachings of G.I. Gurdjieff, P.D. Ouspensky, Random House USA, 2000 ^ ^ ^ Roy, Amit (2006-01-02). "Churchill was willing to let Gandhi starve". The Telegraph of India. Retrieved 2010-12-04.  External links List of Books of Sultan Bahoo Ibn Arabi Books Faqr-i-Qalandar Faqr is a Language of God (Reference book Resala Ghosal-Azam v · d · eSufism تصوّف‎ and Islamic mysticism Ideas Ihsan • Noor • Muqaam • Haal • Manzil • Yaqeen • Fanaa • Baqaa • Haqiqa • Marifa • Nafs • Sulook • Lataif • Cosmology • Kashf • Metaphysics • Psychology • Philosophy Practices Dhikr • Haḍra • Muraqaba • Qawwali • Sema • Whirling Sufi orders Ba 'Alawi • Bektashi • Chishti • Dar ul Ehsan • Mevlevi • Murīdiyya • Naqshbandi • Qadiri • Rifa'i • Shadhili • Suhrawardi • Tijani • Ni'matullāhī • Azeemia  • List of Sufi orders • Notable early Sufi saints and mystics Uwais Qarni • Hasan of Basra • Rabia of Basra • Rudbari • Nuri • Bastami • Junayd • Maruf Karkhi • Farqad Sabakhi • Zul-Nun • Shibli • Hallaj • Abolkheir • Ghazali • Ahmad Ghazali • Kharaqani • Gilani • Ganj Bakhsh • Gharib Nawaz • Bakhtiar Kaki • Fariduddin Ganjshakar • Nizamuddin Auliya • Hansvi • Sabir Kaliyari • Sanai • Chiragh Dehlvi • Khusro • Banda Nawaz • Najib Suhrawardi • Rifa'i • Suhrawardi • Zakariya • Lal Shahbaz • Ibn Arabi • Rukn-e-Alam • Musa Pak • Shams Tabrizi • Rumi • Saadi • Attar • Bu Ali Shah • Shabistari • Bahauddin • Safi • Nimatullah • Kubra • Jami • Jazouli • Mazhar Jan-i Janan • Shah Waliullah • Ata Allah • Zarruq • Yesevi • Bektash • Emre • Semnani • Sirhindi • Bhittai • Sarmast • Haddad • Ghulam Farid • Shah Inayat • Bulleh Shah • Waris Pak • Zar Baksh • Burhanuddin • Salim Chishti  • Zainuddin Shirazi • Notable modern Sufi saints Tajuddin Nagpuri • Meher Ali • Qadeer Piya • Muhammad Maliki • Gohar Shahi • Tahir ul-Qadri • Tahir Allauddin • Abdal Hakim Murad • Nazim Al-Haqqani • Hisham Kabbani • Nuh Keller • Abdullah Nooruddeen Durkee • Abdalqadir as-Sufi • Qalander Ba Ba • Azeemi • Zaheen • Ghulam Mustafa • Reshad Feild • Ahmad al-Alawi • Bawa Muhaiyaddeen • Abd al-Rahman al-Shaghouri • Omar Shah • Haeri • Raza Khan • Ashraf Ali Thanvi  • Syed Shujaat • Pir Zulfiqar • Abdullah Naqshbandi  • Sufi Barkat Ali • Idries Shah • Sufi studies Aguéli • Almqvist • Burckhardt • Chittick • Corbin • Ernst • Frager • Guénon • Hixon • Lindbom • Lings • Nasr • Schimmel • Sells • Shah • Schuon Topics in Sufism Art • Fiction • History • Music • Poetry • Shrines • Texts