همان گونه که انسان وقتی خوابی میبیند، این دیدن و شنیدن در خواب، با چشم و گوش ظاهری نیست. فرقی که مکاشفه با خواب دارد این است که، شخص خواب، حواس ظاهری اش چیزی را درک نمیکنند؛ اما در مکاشفه، ضمن این که روح مشغول درک حقایق است، در همان زمان گوش ظاهری، صداهای اطراف را هم میشنود.[نیازمند منبع]
حال اگر روح با قدرت و تمرکز بیشتری عمل کند و در هنگام ادراک مطالب، چشم انسان نیز باز باشد این حالت را مشاهده مینامند.[نیازمند منبع] این حالات غالباً نشان دهنده آن است که، شخص نسبت به چیزی که در مکاشفه یا مشاهده دیده است علاقه زیادی دارد و به خاطر انقطاع از دیگران و اطراف خود، چنین حالتی را به طور موقت یا دائم بدست آورده است.
کشف و مکاشفه دو اصطلاح عرفانی است؛ قیصری میگوید: کشف در لغت رفع حجاب است و در اصطلاح عرفا به معنی اطلاع بر ماوراء حجاب از معانی غیبی و امور خفیه میباشد. کشف یا معنوی است یا صوری، مراد از کشف صوری اموری است که در عالم مثال است و به دو طریق مشاهده یا شنیدن صور ارواح و انوار روحانیه مکاشف میگردد؛ و کشف معنوی کشفی است که عبارت است از حقایق و عبارت است از ظهور معانی غیبی و حقایق عینی است.[نیازمند منبع]
خلاصه مکاشفه عبارت است از سیرکردن روح، به مطالعه در امور غیبی و به عبارت دیگر مکاشفه ظهور شیء است برای قلب به جهت غلبه ذکر یا حصول امر عقلی است که به الهام و بدون فکر در حال بین خواب و بیداری، برای انسان رخ میدهد. برخی مدعی هستند این حالت برای افراد خاص بر اثر ریاضت و قرب به درگاه خداوند دست میدهد.[نیازمند منبع]
Kashf (Arabic: كشف) "unveiling" is a Sufi concept rooted in Gnostic ideals dealing with knowledge of the heart rather than of the intellect. Kashf describes the state of experiencing a personal divine revelation after ascending through spiritual struggles, and uncovering the heart (a spiritual faculty) in order to allow divine truths to pour into it. Kashf is etymologically related to mukashafa “disclosure”/ “divine irradiation of the essence”, which connotes “gain[ing] familiarity with things unseen behind the veils”. For those who have purified their hearts, and who come to know the Divine Names and Attributes to the fullest of their individual capacities, the veils in front of the purely spiritual realms are opened slightly, and they begin to gain familiarity with the unseen. In Sufism, an even further revelatory capacity exists by which the Divine mysteries become readily apparent to the seeker through the light of knowledge of God. This is called tajalli "manifestation".
Veil References in Islamic Literature
Two passages in the Qur'an serve as the most solid basis for elaboration on the Sufi concept of kashf:
Hadith of the Veils
One hadith holds particular significance for the concept of kashf:
2 - إن بين الله عز وجل وبين الخلق سبعين ألف حجاب وأقرب الخلق إلى الله عز وجل جبريل وميكائيل ، وإسرافيل ، وإن بينهم وبينه أربع حجب : حجاب من نار ، وحجاب من ظلمة ، وحجاب من غمام ، وحجاب من الماء الراوي: سهل بن سعد الساعدي المحدث: ابن الجوزي - المصدر: موضوعات ابن الجوزي - الصفحة أو الرقم: 1/166 خلاصة حكم المحدث: لا أصل له
"Between God (mighty and sublime) and creation are 70,000 veils. The nearest of creatures to God (mighty and sublime) are Gabriel, Michael, and Raphael, and between them and Him are four veils: a veil of fire, a veil of darkness, a veil of cloud, and a veil of water." 
This Hadith is quoted somewhat differently by Ibn Majah as follows:
“God has seventy thousand veils of light and darkness; if He were to remove them, the radiant splendors of His Face would burn up whoever (or ‘whatever creature’) was reached by His Gaze.” 
My Lord, grant me complete severance of my relations with everything else and total submission to You. Enlighten the eyes of our hearts with the light of their looking at You to the extent that they penetrate the veils of light and reach the Source of Grandeur, and let our souls get suspended by the glory of Your sanctity.
Sufi Scholars on Kashf
Al-Kushayri expands on al-Kalabadhi’s proposal that tajalli (manifestation) of “the essence” of the Divine is called mukashafa. He then illustrates three stages in progression towards understanding the Real:
Al-Ghazali—This Sufi scholar discusses the concept of kashf, not purely in its mystical sense, but also with respect to theology in general. In conjunction with Al-Kushayri, Al-Ghazali links kashf with intuition. For Al-Ghazali, mukashafa has a dual sense:
Since, for Al-Ghazali, kashf is linked to intuition, he describes mukashafa as the certain knowledge of the unseen discovered by the “science of the saints”. Thus, kashf is considered “a light,” that is freely bestowed upon the purified worshipper through the grace of God, yet also yields sure intuitive knowledge for the worshipper upon whom it is bestowed.
Ibn Arabi—This Sufi mystic indicates the necessity for “divine unveiling” (kashf) as the means by which to understand the universality of the reality of realities (i.e. the universality of God’s oneness). In fana (self-annihilation), the individual ego passes away and divine self-manifestation occurs. This self-manifestation is eternal (as it comes from God), but it must be continually reenacted by the human in time. Therefore, the human becomes a pure receptor required for pure consciousness to be realized. The human is a sort of barzakh or intermediary between divinity and elementality, between spirit and matter, and open to the experience of kashf.
Ali Hujwiri—The author of the Persian Sufi text Kashf ul Mahjoob (Revelation of the Veiled) Hujwiri argues, along with Al-Kushayri that very few real Sufis exist anymore in his time; rather, there are a large number of “false pretenders” which he calls mustaswif—“the would-be Sufi”. In his text, Hujwiri describes the “veils which should be lifted” in order to purify one's heart and really pursue Sufism. Hujwiri argues for the importance of “morals” over “formal practice” in Sufism. He was the first to directly address the problematic diversity in Muslim belief during his time. In Kashf ul Mahjoob, he describes various Sufi approaches to theoretical ideas, linking them to particular key Sufi figures.
Kashf and Shi’ism
In Shi’ism, the spiritual experience of kashf is treated as a theological rather than purely mystical dimension.
Controversy in the Muslim World
The concept of kashf remains controversial in the Muslim world because it indicates the ability to “know” the unknowable. According to the Qur'an, Muslims are required to believe in the unseen (namely Allah), but knowledge of the unseen is a power that should belong solely to God. But it does not contradict the quran because only God has knowledge of the unseen and if someone else other than God has that knowledge, then it's only because it was given to them by God.
Sufis further would argue that “the only guide to God is God Himself”. They do believe that every genuine worshipper has the capability to experience unveiling (personal revelation), but that this personal revelation occurs by the grace of God. If a worshipper fails to experience unveiling, it indicates that that person is pursuing Sufism for a reason other than the love of God alone. God is in fact the one who does the unveiling once a person has given up on all worldly forms of knowledge and his/her heart is pure and open for God. Ibn ‘Arabi calls this “inner receptivity”  to the manifestation (tajalli) of the Divine Mysteries, the essence of which is mukashafa.
Peripatetic Scholars vs. Sufis
Sufis such as Bayazid Bastami, Rumi, and Ibn al-Arabi, contrarily argue that the limited human intellect is insufficient and misleading as a means of understanding ultimate truth. This kind of understanding requires intimate, personal, direct knowledge resulting from the removal of the veils separating man from God as given to man by God himself. This is kashf.
Other Types of Kashf
Later mystics[who?], relying upon the traditional terminology, classified the revelations as follows: