As a fakir (from Arabic فقير, DMG faqīr 'poor'; the stress can be on the first as well as on the second syllable) today a follower of Islamic Sufism , i.e. a dervish is called. The term is also used for homeless and dispossessed Hindu ascetics and for sadhus who demonstrate their sometimes bizarre arts in front of an audience. Colloquially, "fakir" refers to a person who, for show reasons, shows how they seem to do things without pain that normally hurt a lot.
The term Faqīr comes from Arabic and has the meaning "poor, needy". It appears with this meaning twelve times in the Koran . Another Arabic word for “poor” is Miskīn . The legal scholar Jabir ibn Zaid suggested that the difference between the two terms is that the Faqīr does not beg while the Miskīn does.
On the one hand, many fakirs are members of religious, especially Islamic, orders who, through long practice , can produce special psychological and physical conditions such as catalepsy . On the other hand, many jugglers use the superstition and the sensationalism of the population to earn a living as a fakir with alleged "miracles" and "magic tricks".
In Europe, fakirs became known for the fakir board or fakir bed, a bed made from large carpenter's nails. The great astonishment of the population when the fakir rose from this "bed" without being injured is due to a simple physical principle, according to which the total weight is distributed relatively evenly over a large number of nails and a wound is therefore almost impossible, if enough There are nails and the weight of the fakir is low enough.
- KA Nizami: Art. "Faḳīr" in The Encyclopaedia of Islam. New Edition . Vol. I, pp. 723b-726a.
- Yaḥyā M. Bakkūš: Fiqh al-imām Ǧābir Ibn-Zaid . Dār al-Ġarb al-Islāmī, Beirut, 1986. p. 251.