The Tughra

Each of the different Sufi Orders have an emblematic calligraphy called a "tughra" formed out of the name of their founding patron saint and often done up in the shape of something with which they identify. The words in a tughra follow the formula Ya Hazrat-i, the saint's name, and the eulogistic phrase Qadusa Allah Sirrahu.

The winged heart is an old Sufi symbol from India and was chosen by Pir-o-Murshid Inayat Khan as the seal of the Sufi Order of the West at its founding in 1910. This winged-heart tughra features "Ya Hazrat-i Inayat" in the wings in mirror image (right-side-out is on the left) and "Qadusa Allah Sirrahu" making up the heart.

Hazrat ("The Presence") is an honorific referring to the still-living Presence of great saints who have passed from the earth. Qadusa Allah Sirrahu means "God sanctify his Secret." There is a tradition within the Sufi way that a teacher's barakat (blessing) does not become fully available until after they have become unburdened of their physical bodies. We could say that the whole phrase might poetically be translated: "Behold: the Presence of Inayat. May his message be spread."

(Calligraphy and Commentary © Hafiz'u'llah Chishti)