Lataif-e-sitta, the chakras according to Sufism

Lataif-e-sitta, the chakras according to Sufism

Few can say they know Sufism as much as we know yoga in the West. For this reason we might be amazed to learn that even in this Islamic mystical tradition we find elements extremely similar to the chakras, with esoteric and religious connotations linked to a growth of conscience.


Knowledge of the subtle energy centers

Widely known in the West as ” chakras “, their general and specific knowledge does not belong exclusively to the Hindu wisdom tradition.

The knowledge of the chakras as centers of subtle energy came to us through yoga only because  in India the occult and esoteric aspect of religion has never been questioned  but has indeed assumed the validity of science or art.

In the past, also in other cultures reference was made to such energy centers: in China in Taoist alchemy then completely repressed by communism, in Christianity with Hermetism, in Judaism with Kabbalah and finally in the Islamic world with Sufism, the most mystical branch of this Semitic religion.

Between Persia and India

Sufism is pure mysticism of an extremely refined level, which also integrates philosophy and aesthetics, especially as regards music, dance and poetry.

Despite a strong repression by orthodox Islam , the ancient Sufi texts still speak to us of many concepts and theories that are not at all distant from those of yoga.

It is not surprising in the light of the centuries-old contacts between Persia and India. We therefore do not know exactly whether the Sufis spoke of lataif-e-sitta as energy centers after contact with the ancient yogis, or vice versa, or whether the two schools had come to quite similar conclusions independently.

Subtle body and perfect creature

Lataif-e-sitta literally means “the six subtleties  or “the six subtle objects” , although according to the Sufis these centers would be five or six or seven, depending on the schools, and would constitute the subtle body or jism latif .

The opening or hatching of all lataif-e-sitta would correspond to the transformation of man from an imperfect creature to a perfect or ideal , also called “opening” or tajalli .

So let’s see some interpretations of the lataif-e-sitta .

The 7 Lataif

According to the ascending scale described by Ibn Al-Arabi the centers are 7:

  1. The first lataif would be Qalabiya or “mold center”. It is the initial, embryonic center, linked to the black color and therefore to the alchemical nigredo, that is a subtractive purification . Other interpreters locate it under the abdomen, where the individual energy (symbolized by the figure of Adam) begins its journey.
  2. Nafsiya or primordial soul center follows . It vibrates blue and, according to the Semitic esoteric psychology, corresponds to the first of the three souls supplied to living beings, that is the animal soul made up of instincts and desires . Therefore, the inner vibrations still linked to a sense of separation from the rest of creation gather here. It is also the center of fortitude.
  3. The third is the lataif of the heart , called Qalbiya . The blue vibrations of Nafsiya change to the red of Qalbiya and the animal soul evolves into a higher human soul , with a religious sense symbolically represented by the passage from Noah to Abraham.
  4. The red then evolves into white light in the Sirryia center , or secret center  as it is unspeakable. It represents a state of conscience out of the ordinary , superior to the mere religious man and in all respects spiritual because in direct contact with the Divine.
  5. Then we have Ruhiya , somehow corresponding to the yogic visuddha and yellow in color. It is the lataif of the spirit , thanks to which the human being is not only in contact with the Divine but even manages to express it in some way .
  6. In the same area of ​​the gorge but located on the right we find the Lataif linked to the “prophet” Jesus, called Khafyia or “inspiration”. It is dark in color, recalling the first embryonic lataif as a new birth , in which contact with the Divine and his expression cease to be intermittent.
  7. In the center, between the latter two mentioned, or between David and Jesus, we find the lataif of Mohammed , green in color (symbol of Islam). His name is Haqqiya or  “seal “, The highest spiritual condition that closes the round-trip cycles and also overcomes the power of time , making the soul free from causes and effects.

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