Fakir or faqir is a Punjabi word used to refer to a religious person belonging especially to the Sufi faith or a person who performs feats of endurance or apparent magic. The word is derived from faqr in Arabic which literally means "poverty".
The word is usually used to refer to either the spiritual recluse, eremite, or the common street beggar who chants holy names, scriptures, or verses. Its current idiomatic usage developed primarily in Mughal era India, where the term was injected into the local idiom through the Persian-speaking courts of Muslim rulers. When used referring to somber spiritual miracle-makers, fakir is applied primarily to Sufi, but also Hindu ascetics.
Many stereotypes of the great fakir exist which include the picture of a near-naked man effortlessly walking barefoot on burning coals, sleeping on a bed of nails, levitating during bouts of meditation, or "living on air" (refusing all food). It is also used, usually sarcastically, for a common street beggar who chants holy names, scriptures, or verses without ostensibly having any spiritual advancement.