You may have heard the term murīd in Sufism, as in someone who is on a tariqa; a disciple of a spiritual master (sheikh or murshid). But what does it actually mean?
In Arabic Lexicon
The term murīd is a form 4 اسم فاعل of the word irāda (إرادة). Its trilateral root is ر و د. It means will, volition, desire.
You can also learn more about a masdar by looking up its verbal meanings. Below are the form 4 meanings from Hans Weir’s dictionary.
You could simply say that irāda is the will to go to God.
In Tasawwuf (Sufism)
For the one who has irāda, their will to go to God comes from the law’ah (لوعة) that God put in their hearts out of His love for them. They are not satisfied with worldly things, with a big house and fancy car. They’re not interested in small talk about sports and the latest basketball scores anymore. They want more than that. They want to know God and be close to Him.
Here is the word law’ah and its verb in Hans Weir. The top is the verb, the bottom part is the noun itself. Lovesickness for God is perhaps a good translation.
Disquieting love that cannot be satiated. That is love for God that He put in their hearts because of His love for them. He wants them to come to Him, therefore he put in their hearts the law’ah. This is where that irāda begins. It is God’s will and God’s love. And that is what gives them the will to obey God and set out on the path for Him. It begins with God and ends with God.
They are actors of free choice who amazingly and miraculously are able to earn all of this, to love Him as He loves them, and to serve Him as He deserves to be served, etc. This ties in with matters of creed (aqida) and the doctrine of acquisition, that He creates actions and we acquire them, which is worth studying and reviewing.
They do not travel on the path seeking sainthood (wilāyah), though they may be saints. The saints desire for their reality to be hidden from the public eye and don’t like to be seen as saints, but as servants of God.