Dictionary / Arabic - Turkish Terminology

MA’NÂ AL-HARFÎ - معنى الحرفي   -  MA’NÂ AL-ISMÎ - معنى الاسمي


Literally: Ma’nâ is, the thing intended or proposed to one's self. An object. The signification, meaning of a word or expression. A thing of importance. A dream. A vision. A state of things. An occurrence. An indication. The ma’nawî prototype or the idea of a thing. An abstraction. A truth. A reality.

Ism is: A name. Appellation. Designation. A noun. A substantive.

Harf is: A letter of the alphabet. A particle. Any other word than the noun or the verb.

As an Islamic term ma’nâ al-harfî: In a word or a sentence, a letter is a sign and mark that points to the meanings of other things, not itself. The meaning that pertains to the harf (harfî) points to the meanings of other’s.

As an Islamic term ma’nâ al-ismî: A word points to itself in meaning. Considering something from the viewpoint of ma’nâ al-ismî is looking to that thing for the meaning of itself.

For example: Looking to a perfect machine for only understanding its perfect structure is  ma’nâ al-ismî, looking to it for understanding and knowing the skills of its craftsman is ma’nâ al-harfî.

If we love a tree for its shadow, beauty and fruits, which it gives to us, this is love to that tree with ma’nâ al-ismî, if we increase acknowledging the rahmah of Allah, our love and shukr to Allah through looking and knowing that tree, and taking the fruits that it bears, and if we incline to it in the boundaries of His commands, this is love to that tree with ma’nâ al-harfî.


“Love this world and the creatures in it with ma’nâ al-harfî. Do not love them with ma’nâ al-ismî. Say, "How beautifully they have been made." Do not say, "How beautiful they are." Do not give any opportunity to other loves to enter into your inner heart because the inner heart is the mirror of As-Samad and pertains only to Him. Say, اَللّٰهُمَّ ارْزُقْنَا حُبَّكَ وَ حُبَّ مَا يُقَرِّبُنَا اِلَيْكَ   1

Thus, if in this form, all the loves that you have enumerated will give a pain-free pleasure, and, in one respect, an unending union. Moreover, they will increase love of Allah. They are licit loves. And are, furthermore a sort of shukr which is pure pleasure, and thought which is pure love.

For example, if a mighty sultân {Once two tribal chiefs entered the presence of a sultân. They were in exactly the same situation as is described here.} were to bestow an apple on you, there are two loves for that apple and two pleasures in it. The first of these is that the apple would be loved because it is an apple, and there would be a pleasure peculiar to and to the extent of the apple. This love does not concern the sultân. On the contrary, the man who puts the apple to his mouth and eats it in the sultân's presence loves the apple itself and his own nafs rather than the sultân. It sometimes happens that the sultân is not pleased with that love which nourishes the nafs; in fact, he detests it. Moreover, the pleasure that the apple gives is very limited and passes quickly. After the apple is eaten it is gone, only regret remains.

As for the second love, it is for the royal favour in the apple that is demonstrated by means of the apple. One who holds the apple precious as if it were the sample and embodiment of a royal favour shows that he loves his sultân. Moreover, the pleasure in that fruit, which is a sort of container for the favour, is such that it is far greater than the pleasure obtained from a thousand apples. This pleasure, then, is the essence of shukr. This love is a respectful love for the sultân.

In exactly the same way, if all ni’mahs and fruits are loved for themselves, if by ghaflah, they are delighted in only for the material pleasures that they yield, that love is merely love of nafs. Also, those pleasures are transient and bring pain. But, if they are loved as favours proceeding from Janâb-i Haqq's rahmah and as fruits of His munificence, and if pleasure is obtained from them with perfect appetite by appreciating the degree of kindness in that munificence and favour, then it has both the ma’nawî shukr and is a pain-free pleasure.” The Words ( 670-671 )


1 (O Allah, grant us love for You, and love for that which will draw us closer to You.)


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