Haqiqa is a stage in Sufism, a mystical branch of Islam. Sufism is an ancient form of Islam that emphasizes extreme asceticism, obedience of God’s will in the form of the Shari’a, and purification of the body and soul by prayer and repentance. The followers of Sufism strive to perfect themselves and come into the presence of God while still living. They recognize four stages in their pursuit of this: shari’a, tariqa, haqiqa, and marifa.
1. Shari’a: Shari’a is Islamic law as revealed in the Qur’an and Sunna]. The first step in Sufism is following every aspect of the law perfectly. The purpose of this is to prove their love for God, by rigorous self-discipline and constant attention to their conduct. When the Sufi fully lives his or her life according to the Shari’a he or she is ready to progress to the second stage. This conformity to earthly rules is important because it recognizes that the spirit of a man or woman is affected by the actions of the body. In this way, bringing the body under the will of God also purifies the spirit and a pure spirit is essential for the second step.
2. Tariqa Tariqa in Arabic means “path” and it denotes a Sufi brotherhood or order The orders are governed by shaykhs, spiritual leaders that mentor Sufis. Shaykhs are identified by the signs of God’s grace that are evident, such as the ability to perform miracles. They take on people, usually male, that are committed to the Sufi lifestyle and want to progress further in their spiritual education. It is common for the shaykh to test a new disciple by ignoring them, assigning humiliating tasks or being rude to them[, When the disciple has passed these tests, he is introduced to the awrad, a series of prayers particular to that order. These prayers must be studied before they are recited, because mistakes made in the prayer are sins. When the disciple has studied and recited the awrad for an undeterminable amount of time, he is expected to experience visions and revelation from God. The Sufis believe that at this point, the disciple is able to see spiritual things that are veiled from most people. This is the third stage, haqiqa.
3. Haqiqa Haqiqa is a difficult concept to translate. The book Islamic Philosophical Theology defines it as “what is real, genuine, authentic, what is true in and of itself by dint of metaphysical or cosmic status”, which is a valid definition but one that does not explain haqiqa’s role in Sufism. Haqiqa may be best defined as the knowledge that comes from communion with God, knowledge gained only after the tariqa is undertaken. For instance, a shaykh that has advanced through tariqa has haqiqa and can see into the lives of his disciples in a spiritual sense. He has knowledge of pregnancies and sicknesses before his disciples tell him. He can see beyond the physical world because of his proximity to God and possession of haqiqa. Haqiqa is less a stage in itself and more the marker of a higher level of consciousness, which precedes the next and final stage, marifa.
4. Marifa Marifa has been defined as “knowledge” but this again falls short and does not address marifa’s place in Sufism. Marifa is “gnosis”, knowledge obtained in God’s presence that has no relation to earthly knowledge and which can only be obtained by personal experience. Marifa is gained from direct illumination from God and thus is only available to those who have progressed through the stages of Sufism and have entered into God’s presence[.
Marifa (Arabic: المعرفة) literally means knowledge. The term is used by Sufi Muslims to describe mystical intuitive knowledge, knowledge of spiritual truth as reached through ecstaticexperiences rather than revealed or rationally acquired. M. Fethullah Gulen in his book on Sufism describes Marifa ("knowledge of God") as a special knowledge that is acquired through reflection, sincere endeavor, using one's conscience and inquiring into one's inner world. It is different from scientific knowledge or "ilm" based on study, investigation, analysis, and synthesis. The opposite of knowledge (scientific) is ignorance, while the opposite of marifa is denial. Marifa is the substance of knowledge attained through reflection, intuition, and inner perception. A person realizing marifa (divine being) is imperceptible to others, who are without such knowledge. The following words are narrated in books concerning Sufism as a hadith qudsi-saying inspired by and received from God.
In one of the earliest and finest accounts of the maqamat (stations) in Sufism, the Forty Stations (Maqamat-l arba'in), Sufi master Abu Said ibn Abi'l-Khayr lists marifa as the 25th station: "Through all the creatures of the two worlds and through all the people they perceive Allah, and there is no accusation to be made of their perception."
It is preceded by the truth of certainty (haqq al-yaqin)and followed by effort (jahd), where the traveller worships Allah in their hearts and souls with no doubt in their obedience.
The stage of Ma'rifat is a station unperceivable by minds and hearts, and therefore, this situation can not be communicated to anyone, or through anything and not even through any corporeal means. It can be attained by a person with normal order of life or anybody for that matter. However, it's a privilege of one in a million who attains it. If what the sufis are saying that men can only attain ma'rifat through their way of doing it, this world must not have changed its civilization and development, but it will just stock up in a mountainous ranges as it was during the time of Adam.
But to define ma'rifat in order to suit its implication to all that strives for, let it be this way. Let the subject be in a form of a divine oath, "There is no God but Allah".
SHARI'AT : There is no God but Allah (you are affirming that Allah is the only one God. What does God means? meaning the only one and whose command of to be followed, not even of your own desire)
TARIQAT : The application of such oath is to follow all what God said in the Holy Qur'an. What is the result when one follows the Qur'an, definitely a man will become a law abiding citizen of this universe and becomes harmless.
HAQIQA : The stage of haqiqa is the station of men whereby all his affairs in life has been in consistent with all what God commanded in the Holy Qur'an. Meaning all his movements are in accordance with what God requires of him. And that is the time that all his person reflects nothing but the truth.
MA'RIFAT : Ma'rifat is not a station of excellence in men, but it is a destination. This destination is the ultimate objective of men's existence. This is the goal wherein God wants men to reach and reach their true potential.