Pir (Sufism)

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Pir Dastgir, from the Mughal era

Pir or Peer (Persian: پیر‎, literally "old [person]") is a title for a Sufi master equally used in the nath tradition. They are also referred to as a Hazrat or Shaikh, which is Arabic for Old Man. The title is often translated into English as "saint" and could be interpreted as "Elder". In Sufism a Pir's role is to guide and instruct his disciples on the Sufi path. This is often done by general lessons (called Suhbas) and individual guidance. Other words that refer to a Pir include, Murshid (Arabic: مرشد‎, meaning "guide" or "teacher"), Sheikh and Sarkar (Persian/Hindi/Urdu word meaning Master, Lord).

The title Peer Baba (पीर बाबा) is common in hindustani used to give a salutation to Sufi masters or similarly honored persons. After their death people bow their head on their tombs (dargah) (मकबरा).

The path of Sufism starts when a student takes an oath of allegiance with a teacher called Bai'ath or Bay'ah[citation needed] (Arabic word meaning Transaction). After that, the student is called a Murid (Arabic word meaning committed one).

A Pir usually has authorizations to be a teacher for one (or more) Tariqahs (paths). A Tariqah may have more than one Pir at a time. A Pir is accorded that status by his Shaikh by way of Khilafat or Khilafah (Arabic word meaning succession). Khilafat is the process in which a Shaikh identifies one of his disciples as his successor (khalifah). A Pir can have more than one khalifah.

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