In Sufism and Alevism, ma'rifa (Arabic: معرفة, romanized: ma‘rifah, lit. 'knowledge') describes the mystical intuitive knowledge of spiritual truth reached through ecstatic experiences, rather than revealed or rationally acquired.
A seeker of ma'rifa is called 'arif, "the one who knows".
In one of the earliest accounts of the Maqamat-l arba'in ("forty stations") in Sufism, Sufi master Abu Said ibn Abi'l-Khayr lists ma'rifa 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."
Marifat is one of the "Four Doors" of Sufism:
- Sharia (Arabic: شريعة) : legal path.
- Tariqa (Arabic: طريقة) : methodico‑esoteric path.
- Haqiqa (Arabic: حقيقة) : mystical truth / verity.
- Ma'rifa (Arabic: معرفة) : mystical knowledge & awareness, mysticism.
While in Alevism Ma'rifa precedes Haqiqa for Haqiqa is the Fourth door in Alevism not the third door as in Sufism .
A metaphor to explain the meaning of ma'rifa involves pearl gathering. Shari'a is the boat; tariqa is represented by the pearl gatherer's rowing and diving; haqiqa is the pearl; and ma'rifa is the gift to see the true pearl perpetually.
The main motivation of Ma'rifa comes from a history of Moses and Khidr in Quran, where Khidr has some mysterious knowledge from the creator. An individual with the knowledge of Ma'rifa knows things which can not be taught, only the creator blesses that person with that kind of knowledge.
- Damadi, M. (April 1971). Maqamat-l arba'in.
- Gulen, M. Fethullah (2004). Key Concepts in the Practice of Sufism, Emerald hills of the heart. 2. p. 135.
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