Pir (Sufism)

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Pir Dastgir, from the Mughal era

Pir (Persian: پیر, lit.'elder')[1] or Peer is a title for a Sufi spiritual guide. They are also referred to as a Hazrat (from Arabic: حضرة, romanizedHaḍra) and Sheikh or Shaykh, which is literally the Arabic equivalent. The title is often translated into English as "saint". 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, lit.'guide, mentor') and Sarkar (Persian: سرکار, lit.'master, lord').

The title Peer Baba (from Persian: بابا, lit.'father') is common in the Indian subcontinent used as a salutation to Sufi masters or similarly honored persons. After their death, people visit their tombs or mausolea, referred to as dargah or maqbara.

This title is mostly used by sayyids (descendants of Muhammad).[citation needed]

An alternative title is Pirzada or Peerzada. The people having this title are also called Shah. The title is most used by Pirs of Sindh. The title is common in Iran, India and Afghanistan.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Newby, Gordon (2002). A Concise Encyclopedia of Islam (1st ed.). Oxford: One World. p. 173. ISBN 1-85168-295-3.

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