Edited and Slides by Omar K Neusser
07 Achieving ‘The Heart’s Life With God: maʿrifa
In Samʿānī’s terms, achieving ‘the heart’s life with God’ – an achievement that I take as the goal of the intellectual tradition – demands maʿrifa, ‘recognition.’
Scholars like myself typically waffle when translating this word. In verbal form we use ‘know’ or ‘recognize,’ and as a noun we translate it as knowledge, science, and, particularly in the context of Sufism, gnosis.
The active participle of the word, ʿārif, is typically translated as ‘gnostic.’ Another noun from the same root, ʿirfān, which in classical texts means exactly the same thing as maʿrifa, has come to be used in recent centuries to designate Sufism in its more theoretical forms.
But English has no verb for gnosis, so the specific characteristics of maʿrifa get lost in translation.
Muhyiddin Ibn `Arabi; Presentation of Some 29 Texts
 To waffle:
- speak or write at length in a vague or trivial manner
- fail to make up one's mind (Apple Engl. Dict.)