Last updated on 22 September 2017
Bāṭin (Arabic: باطن) literally means "inner", "inward", "hidden", etc. The Quran, for instance, has a hidden meaning in contrast to its exterior or apparent meaning, the Zahir. Sufis believe that every individual has a batin in the world of souls. It is the inward self of the individual; when cleansed with the light of one's spiritual guide, it elevates a person spiritually. This notion is connected to Allah's attribute of the Hidden One, who cannot be seen but exists in every realm.
Muslim groups believe that batin can be fully understood only by a figure with esoteric knowledge. For Shia Muslims, that is the Imam of Time.
In a wider sense, it is the inner meaning or reality behind all existence, the Zahir being the world of form and the apparent meaning.
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