Fana (Sufism)

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Fanaa (Arabic: فناءfanāʾ ) in Sufism is the "passing away" or "annihilation" (of the self).[1] Fana means "to die before one dies", a concept highlighted by famous notable Muslim saints such as Rumi and later by Sultan Bahoo.[2] Fana represents a breaking down of the individual ego and a recognition of the fundamental unity of God, creation, and the individual self.[1] Persons having entered this enlightened state obtain awareness of the intrinsic unity (Tawhid) between Allah and all that exists, including the individual's mind. It is coupled conceptually with baqaa, subsistence, which is the state of pure consciousness of and abidance in God.[3]

Early SourcesEdit

Muslim scholars insist, that similar to other Sufi doctrines, Fana also based purely on the Islamic teachings. The Quran says:

"All things in creation suffer annihilation and there remains the face of the Lord in its majesty and bounty." Surat-L-Rehman 26-27 [4]

The state of Fana is represented by Rumi in Book Six of the Mathnawi where he writes:

When the Shaykh (Halláj) said ‘I am God’ and carried it through (to the end), he throttled (vanquished) all the blind (sceptics).

When a man's ‘I’ is negated (and eliminated) from existence, then what remains? Consider, O denier.[5]

In his book, Ain-ul-Faqr, Sultan Bahoo talks about spiritual levels of which Fana is one:

"Initially I was four, then became three, afterwards two and when I got out of Doi (being two), I became one with Allah."

The words reveal the journey of Oneness where 'four' means he, his Murshid, Rasool and Allah. When he annihilates in his Murshid, he remains 'three'. Then he annihilates in Rasool and he remains 'two'. Finally when he annihilates in Allah, he becomes 'One'. Hence, his journey of Fana(annihilation) completes and he becomes the Universal Man.[6]

Stages of FanaEdit

This explains that there are in fact three basic stages of Fana.[7]

Fana fi ShaikhEdit

This is the first level of Fana where the seeker annihilates in the being of his Murshid. This is only possible through Ishq-e-Murshid.

by an aid authority a trusted Murshid / Spiritual Guid, the heart will be tied to HIS magnificence on a path of truth By taking (Bayyah) or pledging allegiance one becomes tied to the rope of spirituality that will show you the path. Allowing the inner journey to begin and witnessing the ocean of knowledge, the knowledge that you start acquiring is that of inner spirituality and the outer existence is mirrored from what you have perceived. through the trusted representative that the heart's light has identified through HIS grace. a true spiritual guide that one's heart desires to be in the company of, as the heart has yearning for. the Murshid has touched your heart and started purifying it bringing light into the heart and allowing your soul to traverse.

The love and respect for the Murshid here becomes a state of Fana, Your actions, Your Seeing, your Speaking are not your owns but that of your Peer / Murshid.

Fana fi RasoolEdit

This is the second level of Fana where the seeker annihilates in the being of Rasool. This is only possible through Ishq-e-Rasool.

Fana FillahEdit

This is the third and final stage of Fana where the seeker annihilates in the essence of Allah attained only through Ishq-e-Haqeeqi.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b Harmless, William. Mystics. New York: Oxford University Press, 2008
  2. ^ Sult̤ān Bāhū (1998). Death Before Dying: The Sufi Poems of Sultan Bahu. University of California Press. ISBN 978-0-520-92046-0.
  3. ^ "Fana in Sufism". Britannica.
  4. ^ 7 Renowned Translations, Arabic to English Translation. "Surat-L-Rehman 165".
  5. ^ NICHOLSON, REYNOLD ALLEYNE, ed. The Mathnawí of Jalálu’ddín Rúmí. Poetry Soup. p.132, verses 2095-2096.
  6. ^ Hazrat Sakhi Sultan, Mohammad Najib-ur-Rehman. The Universal Man (Insan-e-Kamil). Sultan-ul-Faqr Publications Regd. p. 277. ISBN 9789699795183.
  7. ^ Hazrat Sakhi Sultan, Mohammad Najib-ur-Rehman. Stages of Annhilation. Sultan-ul-Faqr Publications Regd. p. 288. ISBN 9789699795183.