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Sakinah (Arabic: سكينة sakīna) is a word derived from sukun (Arabic: سـكـن, "peace", "serenity" or "tranquility"). It appears in the Qur'an.[1][2]

Usage in the Qur’an[edit]

Sakina is the spirit of tranquility, or peace of reassurance. It is a derivative of the original word "Sakina" which is mentioned in the Qur'an as having descended upon the Islamic Prophet (Arabic: نَـبِي, nabi) Muhammad and the believers as they made an unarmed pilgrimage to Mecca, and were faced with an opposing military force of the Quraysh, with whom Muhammad struck the Treaty of Hudaybiyah. "He it is Who sent down the sakina into the hearts of the believers that they might add faith unto their faith" (48:4).[3]

Another Qur'anic association with the concord of dwellings in peace coincides with the attribution of the Shekhinah to matrimonial concord under the tent of Sarah: "And God gave you your houses as a quiescent place (Arabic: سَـكَـنًـا, sakanan) (16:80).[1]

Sakinah is further mentioned in the following verse: "While the Unbelievers got up in their hearts heat and cant - the heat and cant of ignorance,- Allah sent down Sakīnaṫahu (Arabic: سـكـيـنـتـه, His Tranquility) to his Messenger and to the Believers, and made them stick close to the command of self-restraint; and well were they entitled to it and worthy of it. And Allah has full knowledge of all things" (48:26).[4]

Sakinah and Shekhinah[edit]

Karen Armstrong notes: "The sakinah it will also be recalled, seems to be related to the Hebrew Shekhinah (Biblical Hebrew: שכינה), the term for God's presence in the world."[5]

Another Qur'anic verse portrays sakinah as reassurance: "Allah's Good Pleasure was on the Believers when they swore Fealty to thee under the Tree: He knew what was in their hearts, and He sent down Sakina - tranquillity (alssakeenata) to them; and He rewarded them with a speedy Victory" (48:18).[6]

The root of the word is sa-ka-nah which means "dwelled" or "remained in place". This further supports the association with the Shekhinah as "indwelling". The fact that the word is preceded by "al" (the) shows that it does not denote a name, but has an abstract meaning.

Sufi writings,[7] in expounding the inner peace of Sufi contemplation, which dwells in a sanctuary or in the heart, confirm the association with both Sakinah and the Shekhinah. Sufi reference to sa-ka-na as meaning both stillness and habitation adds to the identity with Shekhinah's indwelling nature.


  1. ^ a b Quran 16:80
  2. ^ Quran 48:4-26
  3. ^ Quran 48:4
  4. ^ Quran 48:26
  5. ^ Armstrong, Karen. (April 1992) Muhammad: A Biography of the Prophet. Page 224. Publisher: HarperOne ISBN 0-06-250014-7
  6. ^ Quran 48:18
  7. ^ The Sufi Paradigm of Peace-Making Archived 2007-07-08 at the Wayback Machine