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A fakir, or faqir (
Faqirs are characterized by their attachment to
Historically, the terms
In the 10th century, highly reputed Muslim
In English, faqir or fakir originally meant a mendicant dervish. In mystical usage, the word fakir refers to man's spiritual need for God, who alone is self-sufficient. Although of Muslim origin, the term has come to be applied in India to Hindus as well, largely replacing gosvamin, sadhu, bhikku, and other designations. Fakirs are generally regarded as holy men who are possessed of miraculous powers. Among Muslims, the leading Sufi orders of fakirs are the Shadhiliyyah, Chishtiyah, Qadiriyah, Naqshbandiyah, and Suhrawardiyah.
The Cambridge English Dictionary defines faqir as "a member of an Islamic religious group, or a holy man". Winston Churchill is known to have referred to the peaceful resistance (satyagraha) promoting independence leader of India, Mahatma Gandhi, as a "seditious fakir".