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A fakir, faqeer or faqir (, Arabic: (noun of faqr)), derived from faqr (Arabic: , 'poverty') is an Islamic term traditionally used for a Sufi Muslim whose contingency and utter dependence upon God is manifest in everything they do and every breath they take. They do not necessarily renounce all relationships and take a vow of poverty, some may be poor and some may even be wealthy, but the adornments of the temporal worldly life are kept in perspective and do not detract from their constant neediness of God. The connotations of poverty associated with the term relate to their spiritual neediness, not necessarily their physical neediness. The faqir seeks to attain the condition of the perfect slave of Allah, who 'delivers his trust (existence) back to its Owner. ' They are said to be 'faqir ila Allah' or impoverished in comparison to Allah, which is the most exalted state to attain. The term has taken on a more recent and colloquial usage for an ascetic who renounces worldly possessions, and has even been applied to non-Muslims. Faqeers are prevalent in the Middle East and South Asia. A faqeer is thought to be self-sufficient and possesses only the spiritual need for God. Faqeers are characterized by their reverence for dhikr (a practice of repeating the names of God, often performed after prayers). Sufism gained adherents among a number of Muslims as a reaction against the worldliness of the early Umayyad Caliphate (661750 CE). Though, Sufis have spanned several continents and cultures over a millennium, originally expressing their beliefs in Arabic, before spreading into Persian, Turkish, Indian languages and a dozen other languages. The term is also applied to Hindu ascetics (e. g., sadhus, gurus, swamis and yogis). These usages developed primarily in the Mughal era in the Indian subcontinent. There is also a distinct clan of faqeers found in North India, descended from communities of faqeers who took up residence at Sufi shrines.
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