(570 words)

(a.), an important technical term of Ṣūfism, meaning, “annihilation, dissolution”. The Ṣūfī who attains perfection must be in a kind of state of annihilation.

The authors of treatises on Muslim mysticism have often compared the “annihilation” of Ṣūfism with the Buddhist nirvāna; but this comparison is not a particularly fitting one. We now know that the Muslim writers had only a very slight knowledge of Indian philosophy and could not comprehend the notion of nirvāna which presumes a fairly intimate acquaintance with t…

Cite this page
Carra de Vaux, B., “Fanāʾ”, in: Encyclopaedia of Islam, First Edition (1913-1936), Edited by M. Th. Houtsma, T.W. Arnold, R. Basset, R. Hartmann. Consulted online on 15 November 2018 <>
First published online: 2012
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004082656, 1913-1936

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