Maʿrifa (Arabic: “interior knowledge”) is the mystical knowledge of God or the “higher realities” that is the ultimate goal of followers of Sufism. Sufi mystics came to maʿrifa by following a spiritual path that later Sufi thinkers categorized into a series of “stations” that were followed by another series of steps, the “states,” through which the Sufi would come to union with God. The acquisition of maʿrifa was not the result of learnedness but was a type of gnosis in which the mystic received illumination through the grace of God. The finest expressions of maʿrifa can be found in the poetry of the Sufis Jalāl al-Dīn al-Rūmī (1207–73) and Ibn al-ʿArabī (1165–1240). The term arif'', "gnostic" has been used to designate advanced mystics who have attained the spiritual station of ''ma'rifa''.


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:

Four Doors

Marifat is one of the "
Four Doors Four Doors is the concept in ''tasawwuf,'' and to a lesser extent in other branches of Islam such as Ismailism and Alevism. In this system, there are four paths to Allah, starting with Sharia, then to Tariqa, then to Marifa, and then final ...
" of Sufism: *
Sharia Sharia (; ar, شريعة, sharīʿa ) is a body of religious law that forms a part of the Islamic tradition. It is derived from the religious precepts of Islam and is based on the sacred scriptures of Islam, particularly the Quran and th ...
( ar, شريعة): legal path. *
Tariqa A tariqa (or ''tariqah''; ar, طريقة ') is a school or order of Sufism, or specifically a concept for the mystical teaching and spiritual practices of such an order with the aim of seeking ''haqiqa'', which translates as "ultimate truth". ...
( ar, طريقة): methodico‑esoteric path. *
Haqiqa Haqiqa (Arabic "truth") is one of "the four stages" in Sufism, '' shari’a'' (exoteric path), '' tariqa'' (esoteric path), ''haqiqa'' (mystical truth) and '' marifa'' (final mystical knowledge, ''unio mystica''). The four stages Shariat Sha ...
( ar, حقيقة): mystical truth/verity. * Ma'rifa ( ar, معرفة): mystical knowledge & awareness, mysticism. While in Alevism Ma'rifa precedes Haqiqa for Haqiqa is the Fourth door in
Alevism Alevism or Anatolian Alevism (; tr, Alevilik, ''Anadolu Aleviliği'' or ''Kızılbaşlık''; ; az, Ələvilik) is a local Islamic tradition, whose adherents follow the mystical Alevi Islamic ( ''bāṭenī'') teachings of Haji Bektash Veli, wh ...
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.

See also

Hikmah ''Hikmah'' (also ''Hikmat'', ar, حكمة, ', literally wisdom, philosophy; rationale, underlying reason, from Semitic root ) is a concept in Islamic philosophy and law. Mulla Sadra defined ''hikmah'' as "coming to know the essence of beings ...
* Hikmat al-Muta’aliyah *
Irfan In Islam, ‘Irfan (Arabic/ Persian/Urdu: ; tr, İrfan), literally ‘knowledge, awareness, wisdom’, is gnosis. Islamic mysticism can be considered as a vast range that engulfs theoretical and practical and conventional mysticism, but the c ...



* Britannica, The Editors of Encyclopaedia. "maʿrifa". Encyclopædia Britannica, 24 Aug. 2011, https://www.britannica.com/topic/marifa. Accessed 20 April 2022. * * * Sufi philosophy Islamic terminology Alevism {{sufism-stub