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(fäkēr`, fā`kər), [Arab.,=poverty], in Islam, usually an initiate in a Sufi order. The title fakir is borne with the understanding that poverty is the need to be in relation to God. This term, along with its Persian equivalent, dervish, was extended in Western usage to Indian ascetics and yogis, and incorrectly used generally for itinerant magicians and wonder-workers. Each Sufi order (tariqa) traces its ancestry to a mystic teacher and, beyond him, through a chain of transmission (silsila) to the Prophet Muhammad and ultimately, to God. Sufi orders began to organize in the tumultuous 12th cent. although their histories claim to emanate from the formative period of Islam, with its ecstatic and literary Sufi figures. The oldest attested extant order is probably the Qadiriyya, founded by Abd al-Qadir al-Jilani (d. 1166) in Baghdad; it is currently one of the most geographically widespread. Other important orders include the Ahmadiyya (notably in Egypt); Naqshbandiyya (central and S Asia); Nimatullahiyya (Iran); Rifaiyya (Egypt, SW Asia); Shadhiliyya (N Africa, Arabia); Suhrawardiyya Chishtiyya (Asia); and Tijaniyya (Maghreb). A disciple (murid) is typically introduced to the order through an ahd, a covenant binding him to his individual teacher (shaykh, murshid, or pir) and follows an extensive regimen of initiation that might include seclusion, sleep deprivation, and fasting, with possible dispensations from the basic obligations of Islam. The religious service common to all orders is the dhikr, the "remembering" or "invocation" of God. Dhikr services vary in form: some involve heightened religious exaltations, such as the whirling of the Mawlawiyya (Mevlevis), often leading to criticism from scholastic religious leaders. The Sufi orders, by tolerating syncretisms, were instrumental in the dissemination of Islam through trans-Saharan Africa, S Asia, and SE Asia. See SufismSufism
, an umbrella term for the ascetic and mystical movements within Islam. While Sufism is said to have incorporated elements of Christian monasticism, gnosticism, and Indian mysticism, its origins are traced to forms of devotion and groups of penitents (zuhhad
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See J. S. Trimingham, The Sufi Orders in Islam (1971).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved. www.cc.columbia.edu/cu/cup/
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



(1) A Muslim mendicant dervish.

(2) In India, in addition to the word’s basic meaning, a servant in an agricultural commune who performs Muslim rituals associated with the agricultural cycle.

(3) In certain contexts, a magician, animal trainer, mindreader, or soothsayer; it is in this sense that the word became common in Europe.

(4) In the circus and on the variety stage, one who demonstrates his body’s insensitivity to physical pain—achieved through prolonged training—or performs acts of prestidigitation.


Vadimov, A. A., and M. A. Trivas. Ot magov drevnosti do illiuzio-nistov nashikh dnei. Moscow, 1966.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


, faqir, fakeer
1. a Muslim ascetic who rejects wordly possessions
2. a Hindu ascetic mendicant or holy man
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
On his new role, Dr Al Faqeer said: "I am excited by this opportunity to lead Sadara as the company enters into the full operations phase."
The explosive device had detonated upon security forces' arrival, and killed Abdulwahid Sayid Mohammed Faqeer and injured several others.
Police officer Abdul Wahid Sayid Mohammad Faqeer was killed on February 14 last year in the Dair area, in the northern part of Muharraq island.
When Ran- jha was expelled from job, the pathetic condition of cattle was ex- tremely beautifully portrayed by Faqeer Masroor that the readers hardly control their tears and feel the things are before their own sights.
Faqeer, who is presently playing as a striker for Bahrain's second division club Al Ittifaq, was named the player of the match for the third time in the tournament.
Ismail Udhejo, Jagdesh Malani and Faqeer Mohammad Lashari had devoted their lives for the people of their region and restoration of the democracy in Pakistan
According to media, Waryam Faqeer MPA talking to media here said that Sindh will witness an in-house change.
According to the police officials, Police team on the intel info busted two accused near main hawksbay road identified as Shahvaiz s/o Asif Khan and Rashid Hussain s/o Ali Faqeer of lyari gang war (Arshad pappu group).
Secretary Sports Punjab Nadeem Mehboob, Director Sports Hafeez Bhatti, Director Special Initiative Anees Sheikh, Secretary PMPF Zahoor Ahmed, Tournament Director Shahid Faqeer Virk and others were also present on the occasion.
KARACHI: At least 18 suspects were taken into custody late Saturday night following a combing operation carried out by police in Orangi Town's Tori Bangash and Faqeer Colony locales, Korangi's Superintendent of Police (SP) Abid Baloch said.Baloch added that the operation, during which the entry and exit points to Faqeer Colony were sealed off, was conducted under the leadership of the Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) for Orangi.
According to details Nazim Javed Khan, Yaqoob Khan, Faqeer Mohammad, Syed Faqeer, Anwarullah, Rehman Jan and other elders of the area said that it was injustice towards the area that 16 hours load shedding was continuing in the area in this hit weather of Ramzan month.
Addressing the media at the Hyderabad Press Club, representatives of a newly formed organisation for eunuchs 'Bedar Aman Faqeer', Yasmeen Faqeer and Ashraf Sayan, said that they were not treated as human beings.