As a term, it was used by Sufi authors like Abu Abd al–Rahman al–Sulami to mean "a gnostic, mystic; a seeker of marifa", similar in meaning to the terms salik, zahid or faqir.
In his work "Waystations of the Gnostics" (Maqamat al–‘arifin), Ibn Sina defines several stages along a mystical path, where the ‘arif occupies an intermediate stage. Mahmoud Shabestari remarks that the true ‘arif sees the inward light of the divine being everywhere. The Tayyibi author al–Khattab b. al–Hasan, delineating the difference between ordinary knowledge (‘ilm) and ma‘rifa, explains that every ‘arif is a knower, but not every knower is an ‘arif. Some Twelver Shi'a authors like Rajab Bursi define an ‘arif as a believer whose love and knowledge (ma‘rifa) of the imams draw him nearer to spiritual perfection.
Read more about this topic: Aref
Other articles related to "sufi philosophy, philosophy, sufi":
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“At the very moment when someone is beginning to take philosophy seriously, the whole world believes the opposite.”
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