dictionary.com has where you can sign up for e-mail updates for words of the day. and i'm reading The Watkin's Dictionary of Religions and Secular Faiths by Gerald Benedict and theres so many interesting concepts, philosophies, beliefs, as well as basic history lessons he offers in just the definition of one word that i thought i'd share them in the same manner. and i don't know how often i'll do these, or find one interesting, so thats why it's "of the moment".
Fakir- Islam. Arab. fakir. 'poor'. someone who has adopted a mendicant lifestyle or who is in need of God. it is also a general, alternative term for a Dervish, or anyone living as a Sufi and practicing Sufi rituals. Originally, the name was accorded to a Muslim who has carried out missionary work, thus aiding the spread of Islam. the tradition is based on a saying of Muhammad's 'Al-fakr fakhri', 'poverty is my pride'. in Islamic tradition there are two kinds of fakir, the ba shiar, those within the law and the be shiar, those without the law. the difference is simply one of Muslim orthodoxy, the former practicing within the terms of Islamic Doctrine, the latter, although claiming to be Muslims, freer and more open in their associations. the two groups founded fraternities from c.770 CE. frequently these fraternities were formed from secular occupations, like fisher-men and camel drivers. the be shiar fraternities practiced extreme asceticism, even self-mortification. the concept and practices are by no means limited to Islam and have parallels, both with the medieval Christian friars, and with Indians who practice extravagant forms of asceticism, like walking on red hot coals, lying on a bed of nails or remaining immersed in water for long periods of time. others reputedly remain in one place until birds nest in their hair or creepers grow around their limbs. as with all such groups the object is to gain spiritual merit by a renunciation of the world.
the photos at the top were the results of googling the word.