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Observations placeholder

Shah, Idries - The Sufis - Alif, Ba, Lam



Type of Spiritual Experience


Ba ba black sheep

Part of a Pmpei mural.

A description of the experience

The Sufis – Idries Shah

To the Sufi Builders, three letters symbolized three meditation postures.

  •  Alif - The Kufic letter alif was the kneeling position.  Dhu'l-Nun Misri, one of the greatest Sufi teachers, is believed to have formulated it in this shape. It became powerful in Turkey during the sixteenth century. Western writers say "it is strangely like the Masons." It was illustrated by a set square, a primal symbol of the Masons. In Arabic, again, the word square is RBA – which summarizes meditation very well in its alternative meaning of "waiting, restraint."
  • Ba - The second letter, ba, is written in Arabic letters like a boat with a dot under it. This forms a fairly passable diagram of its symbol - the level- also used in Masonry.  This conveys the emblematic meaning of "prostration and concentration".
  • Lam - The final letter, lam, is likened to a rope. In shape it is very much like a hook or curving piece of rope. It means to the Builder "the rope which binds all in union."

The source of the experience

Shah, Idries

Concepts, symbols and science items


Science Items

Activities and commonsteps