BAY'AT IN SHARI'AH
Reality of Bay’at in Shariah
The proof of taking the Bay’at is abundantly found in the Aayat of the Holy Qur'aan, and in the noble sayings of our beloved Prophet, Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam.
Two Aayat of the Holy Qur'aan are presented as examples:
Those who are swearing allegiance unto thee (Muhammad) In reality they are swearing allegiance to Allah the Exalted, because the object of this allegiance is to obey the Commandments of Allah the Exalted, and when this is so, then the hand of Allah is above their hands. Then (after allegiance) If anyone who would break his oath or covenant (that will exhibit opposition instead of obedience) then the punishment of breaking the covenant will fall on him, and he who fulfills the covenant which he has made with Allah (in his “Oath of Allegiance”) then Allah will bestow on him an immense reward in near future. (Al-Qur'aan 48:10)
O! Nabi Muhammad Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam when the Muslim women come to you (with the object) of taking the Bay’at (Oath of Allegiance) on the following points that they will not join any partner with Allah the Exalted, will not commit theft, nor commit adultery, nor kill their children, nor will produce any illegitimate child forging falsely (that it Is from the sperm of their husband.) (In the age of ignorance, it was a custom of Arabian women to rear up a child of someone else, and claimed that it was the child from their own husband, or committed fornication and the illegitimate child so born was ascribed to their own husband, which besides the major sin of adultery, the sin of ascribing the child of someone else, to their husband is also involved on which great warning of punishment has been foretold in the sayings of Muhammad Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam as related to in Abu Dawood and Nisaai) and will not disobey you in Islamic Canonical Laws (which include all religious commandments. Then If those women accept all these conditions which form the basis of faith and acting upon them, perfects one's faith) then accept their Bay’at and ask Allah to forgive (the previous sins.) Verily Allah is Forgiving, Merciful. (Al-Qur'aan 60:12).
The Holy Qur'aan and the sayings of Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam are full of such references regarding the Bay’at. Presenting all of them here will make the subject very lengthy. Whilst I was in Madinah, I found a speech, in a cassette recording of the learned scholar, the late Maulana Husain Ahmad Madni Rahmatullah Alayh. I requested my spiritual guide to hear it. After listening to it, he ordered that it be printed, which was subsequently published under the title “Shar'ee status of Bay’at”. This contains many sayings of Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam concerning this subject. In one of the books of my Murshid (spiritual guide) entitled “Inseparability of Islamic Canonical Law with that of spiritual Sufistic Orders~, many sayings of Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam has been mentioned. Those who are interested should read those books.
Definition of Bay’at
Mufti Muhammad Shafi Rahmatullah Alayh writes: The words Bay’at in fact means to take a promise for performing some special deed. Its customary method according to the practical way Sunnah of Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam Is to place the hands of both persons one on top of the other, although placing the hands above one another is not compulsory. If you make a promise to do something, then it becomes religiously incumbent on you to keep it, and breaking your promise is unlawful. (Ma'areful Qur'aan)
Kinds of Bay’at
Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam had taken the Bay’at at different times on different occasions. He had taken such covenants, at the time of accepting Islam, or for performing actions according to all the Commandments of Islam. Some times, Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam had taken the Bay’at for abstaining or avoiding certain sins, or for doing particular deeds.
Thus there are different kinds of Bay’at:
Bay’at for Islam: Is defined as when an infidel or a polytheist discards his previous convictions, seeks repentance and makes a covenant to accept Islam, it is called Bay’at in Islam.
Bay’at for Jihad: This was done at the time of Be'it Ridwan In Hudaibiyah when Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam had taken Bay’at from his Sahaba Radiallahu an hum, that if there would be a need of fighting against the enemies of Islam, then they would not desert the battlefield, but would face the enemy until the end.
Bay’at for Caliphate: This is the Oath of Allegiance accepting a Vying person as the Caliph of the Muslims, who would rule over them. After the death of Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam the Sahaba Radiallahu an hum of Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam unanimously accepted Abu Bakr Siddiq Radiallahu anhu as their Caliph and took the Oath of his Allegiance, and this system continued in this manner.
Bay’at against committing major sins: As has been stated above with reference to Ayah 12 of Surah 6O.
There are many incidents in the Ahadith of Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam that he took an Oath of Allegiance from men and women that they would not make NOHA*.
Taking an Oath for performing Islamic deeds: Auf bin Malik AshJaee Radiallahu anhu relates that there were 8 or 9 persons sitting in the company of Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam when he asked, “Why do you not take an Oath of NOHA.”
Allegiance on the hand of Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam?”
“We extended our hands, and asked him what was the issue on which we were to take the Oath of Allegiance; O Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam?”
Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam said: “On these issues: Worship only Allah and do not Join partners with Him, perform 5 daily prayers and hear and obey all commands.” Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam also added some thing in low tones, which was “Do not beg anything from anyone”. The narrator says that he had observed the Companions of Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam to the extent, that if the whip of a horse had dropped from their hands, they would not ask anyone to pick it up for them, but would dismount and would pick up the whip themselves. (Hayatus Sahaba, Tabrani, Abu Nuaim, AlHakim, Al-Baihaqi and lbn Asakr etc.)
In this manner, there are clear proofs that Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam took Bay’at on the occasion of migration, victory, on death and on other deeds and occasions.
Saintly Oath of Allegiance: Regarding this Shah Waliullah Rahmatullah Alayh writes in the book Al-Qaulul Jameel, the Bay’at which is inherited from the Saints (mystics) can be given for many purposes.
1. The Bay’at to avoid committing sins and to make sincere repentance.
2. The Bay’at for blessing or benediction, which means to enter the fold of the righteous people to attain auspiciousness, which is proved by a chain of authoritative sayings of Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam.
3. The Bay’at for leaving overt or covert forbidden things, and making a firm intention to act sincerely on Divine Commands, and attaching your heart to Allah the Exalted and Sublime.
This third kind is most fundamental. In the first two kinds, the aim is to leave all major sins without insisting on minor ones, and to practice all the ways of ordained obedience, such as “Sunnat Muakkadah”.
The breaking of this Oath will involve persisting on committing major or minor infractions against ordained Commandments of obedience. In the third one, fulfilling the Oath means continuous steadfastness for migration, or striving in the path of Allah, or performing spiritual exercises, until one attains a light of satisfaction, and it becomes his instinctive voluntary habit. In such a condition, he is allowed to enjoy certain things which are permitted in the Canonical Law of Islam; or to keep himself busy in certain activities, the completion of which requires a long time, such as courses of religious sciences or judicial matters. The breaking of Oath refers to the condition of making it defective before achieving any enlightenment of the heart. (Shariat-u-Tariqat Ka Talazum Pg. 124)
This type of Bay’at can be continuously traced since the days of Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam. In Quranic terminology it is called TAZKIYAH, and in the tradition of Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam it is called IHSAN which is mentioned in the “Hadith of Jibraeel”. Later, it was entitled as Tasawwuf or Mysticism. The order of spiritual leaders and their disciples is an offshoot of this system. The four major tasks for which Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam was responsible, which are mentioned in 4 places in the Holy Qur'aan. One of them Is Tazkiya (the purification of self) as Allah the Almighty says:
"It is He, who sent a Prophet for the illiterate people (of Arabia) who was from their own (nation), and who recites before them the Aayat of Divine Revelation, and purifies them (from false convictions, and immoral practices) and teaches them the “Book” (Al-Qur'aan) and words of wisdom (which include all internal or external branches of religious sciences)." (Surah 62 Ayah 2)
Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam used to train and purify his Sahaba Radiallahu anhum. If he detected any special (spiritual) disease, he would pay special attention for its reformation, and adopt different methods for its elimination. After the demise of Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam the Sahaba Radiallahu anhum used to take Bay’at and this system was continued by their followers, and the disciples of the followers. These spiritual leaders then give permission to some to take the Bay’at who in turn then can administer this oath to others provided he is granted authority. It is not permissible that everyone should administer the oath. This privilege is reserved for those who have been given permission by a true spiritual leader.
True Nature of Bay’at
Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanvi Rahmatullah Alayh, a great scholar writes that the nature of Bay’at and the relation between Murshid (the spiritual guide) and his disciple is that the Murshid promises to instruct how to perform Zikr or keep alive the remembrance of Allah, and act upon Divine orders. He also tries to diagnose the spiritual diseases of his disciples and prescribes remedies for their treatment. The disciple gives an assurance that he will act upon the advices and instructions of his Murshid. This reformation may be achieved without the customary method of taking Bay’at. But becoming a disciple (Mureed) of a spiritual guide in the customary manner has an advantage that the spiritual teacher pays more attention to his disciple, and In turn the disciple takes special care in obeying his spiritual teacher.
It is said that you should have only one Murshid at a time, and that you should regard him as the most beneficial of all contemporary guides. This is because in such a situation, mutual relationship are enhanced (which is necessary for reformatory progress). Putting your hand above the hand of the disciple, or allowing the woman to hold the cloth behind the curtain when she is there, it is a tradition of religious divines, which is good and is according to the customary method (Sunnah) of Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam. It strengthens the covenant, which is made between the Murshid and his disciple. The covenant can also be made on both sides even without it. This is why, a person who is far away, but desires to become a disciple of some Murshid can be made to enter the fold of that spiritual teacher without actually placing both the hands above one another. The Ahadith of Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam show that giving your hand in the hand of the Murshid is a good method. It is also proven from the Ahadith that Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam used to take the hand of his followers in his hand whenever he took the Bay’at from them. Giving a cloth in the hand of a woman is regarded as equivalent of giving one's hand. (Tasheel Qasdus-Sabeel Pg. 21).
Really speaking, a man is composed of two things: one is the body, and the other is the soul. There are ways and means of maintaining both of them in a healthy state. As material food is necessary for the maintenance of the body, similarly, the soul requires spiritual sustenance, which is the remembrance of Allah and perfect obedience to Him. As there are physical diseases of the body, similarly, there are spiritual diseases, which are called internal diseases or the diseases of the heart, such as pride, vanity, conceit, hypocrisy, jealousy, hatred, love of wealth, love of fame or glory. If medical treatment is not sought for the diseases of the body it leads to physical death. Similarly, if the spiritual ailments are not cured then the health of the heart and soul can be ruined. The death of the heart is more dangerous than physical death. The Holy Qur'aan and the sayings of Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam emphasize the maintenance and well being of the heart, and great warning has been given about the diseases of the heart and its death. This is why Allah the Almighty says in Surah Al-Baqarah, Ayah 10:
“In their hearts is a disease and Allah increaseth their disease.”
In Surah 22 Ayah 46, Allah, the Almighty says: “For indeed it is not the eyes that grow blind, but it is the hearts, which are within the bosoms that grow blind.”
“The day (when for your salvation) neither wealth will be of any use, nor children, but (that one will achieve salvation) who will bring before Allah, a pure (perfect, sound and flawless) heart.”
In one of the sayings of Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam the following supplication by him is quoted: “O! Allah open the pores of my heart for your remembrance.”
In another Hadith, these words of Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam have been stated: “Truly in the body there is a piece of flesh, when it is sound, the whole body is sound, when it is diseased, the whole body is diseased. Truly it is the heart.” (It was related by Al Bukhari and Muslim).
The main difference between physical diseases and the spiritual disease is that physical diseases can be felt such as a fever, headache, stomach pain, etc., but spiritual diseases go un-noticed. Therefore no attention is paid to their treatment. For those diseases a spiritual physician called a Murshid or spiritual guide is required, so that he may diagnose the disease and may suggest efficacious treatment. The Holy Qur'aan and Ahadith of Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam are filled with the warnings of specific diseases of the heart, and their injurious effects. For example, a man who has pride in his heart equal to a particle of a mustard seed, he would never be able to get the fragrance of Paradise. Some times our actions are not accepted because of hypocrisy, and hypocrisy has been called minor polytheism. Regarding jealousy it has been said that jealousy destroys good deeds in the same manner as fire destroys wood.
It is said that those who are not forgiven, even in the Night of Acquittal (Shab-e-Barat 15th night of the month of Shaabaan), are those people who bear hatred in their heart. Similarly, other diseases have been mentioned. Hence, it is necessary that a person should see a spiritual doctor for effective treatment.
The example of the Bay’at is as if someone has a chronic disease, or many diseases, then postponing other worldly affairs, he would find out which doctor or medical expert is most suitable for getting treatment. He would search out thoroughly. Finally when he would know that such and such a specialist is most suitable, he will go to him, and will promise to act on his medical instructions. The specialist would say: “The treatment of your disease would require a long time. You would have to take medicine according to my prescription, and you would have to act on those precautions which I suggest.” The patient would promise to fulfill those conditions. The specialist would say: “You have to come bi-monthly for a medical checkup.” If the patient accepts all these conditions, then it is a kind of Bay’at. If the patient would act carefully on the advices of the specialist, then lnsha-Allah, Allah the Almighty will provide a cure.
Similarly. We have to consult a spiritual doctor for the spiritual diseases, and we have to act upon his recommended prescription, and the precautions which he would ask to take (against unlawful, forbidden, or permitted things) we would have to guard against them. And off and on we would have to see the spiritual doctor to inform him about our condition. This is called Bay’at “Oath of Allegiance” or becoming a disciple. If the patient suffering from the spiritual diseases (or the disciple) will act on his promise of following the instructions of his spiritual doctor, then Allah, the Exalted, will cure the diseases by divine grace and he would be included in the list of popular, accepted and revered servants. As in physical diseases one has to remain in the hospital, similarly, for the treatment of spiritual diseases, a necessary element is to spend a considerable time in the company of the Murshid.
This treatment has no fixed time. The more you pay due attention to the rules of honour and obedience to your spiritual guide, the quicker you will achieve your aim. The more you are negligent in carrying out the instructions, the more it will be delayed. Most of the people think that becoming a friend of Allah, and achieving close proximity to him is not so easy. This is an idea put into their mind by satan, who does not want them to go on this path, although getting the treatment of the spiritual diseases is necessary for every Muslim. Hence a thing, which is so incumbent, cannot be regarded as something, which is impossible to achieve. In ancient times the people were stalwart: they were asked to perform difficult spiritual exercises and they used to reach their destination after hard labour. These days mankind has become feeble, so Allah the Exalted has made this path easy.
Sufi Muhammad lqbal Muhajir Madani writes in his journal “Achievements of Love”, “Because our organs have become weak, our calibre of courage has waned, the Day of Judgement is near, hence a little labour is accepted, and even if one strives a little without vigorous effort, he is regarded as successful. It has been said about the last days of this world, that if one acts upon one-tenth of what is required by Islam he is rewarded equal to the deeds of 50 Sahaba (Radiallahu anhum) of Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam. (Vide Mishkat- pg. 437). Similarly traversing the spiritual path towards Allah has become easy today, just like going to the Ka'aba has become easy. In earlier times people had to travel on camel's back for months or for years to reach Makkah. At present, the distance of thousands of miles in reaching Makkah has been reduced to that of a few hours. But the condition is that a person should be capable of going on a Journey, should have a valid passport, a ticket and his vehicle Is fit for the passage and must be moving towards the direction of Ka'aba. If any of these conditions is not fulfilled, then even if a person makes his voice hoarse by crying Makkah, Makkah all the time to show his love of the House of Allah (Ka'aba) he can never reach there. Having this ease means, that in this path, no such work will be taken which Is beyond the toleration quotient of a person. As the ages of the people are becoming shorter, hence the period required to traverse the spiritual path towards Allah has also been reduced. For example, instead of many years, only four months are required and regarded as sufficient. Some times only 40 days or less than that are sufficient.”
The Need of a Spiritual Guide
Maulana Ashraf All Thanvi Rahmatullah Alayh says that one needs a teacher even for learning how to perform outward religious requirements with their accompanying problems. Religious actions can go wrong without the direction of a teacher. But there is a greater need for a teacher for acquiring the knowledge of and acting upon spiritual and hearty actions some of which are compulsory injunctions, some semi-compulsory ones. Technically the teacher of these spiritual branches of knowledge is called MURSHID (spiritual guide).
Understanding your inner baser motives, and treating yourself of libidinal disease is not possible without a Murshid. Hence, anyone, who steps on this path, needs to search for a Murshid. When he has found him, then he should follow his teachings and should act on his orders with full submission. He would realize that even making repentance requires guidance of a spiritual teacher; otherwise he would not know how to make repentance properly. (Tasheel Qasdus-Sabeel pg. 15)
Advantages of Bay’at
Shaikhul Islam Husain Ahmad Madni Rahmatullah Alayh says that Sayyid Ahmed Shaheed states that when a person takes a Bay’at at the hands of a chosen servant of Allah or saint then the honour and dignity which is accorded to him in the majestic Court of Allah the Exalted, supports the man who becomes his disciple, and Allah's blessings begin to shower on the disciple, and guards him in one of the two ways.
(1) If the spiritual guide has achieved a high station or rank in the eyes of Allah the Exalted, then if the disciple of the spiritual guide is going to fall in a pit of sinful activities, then Allah the Exalted informs the spiritual teacher of the condition of his disciple, and the teacher is ordered to pull him out from the pit of degradation, then the teacher adopts ways and means to save his disciple from the situation.
Some times, Allah the Almighty Himself saves that disciple from falling into the abyss of sins, or either orders some angel or some spiritual, invisible force to guard the disciple from going astray, but these forces assume the shape of disciple's spiritual guide. An example of this is the situation, which has confronted Prophet Yusuf Alayhis Salaam. Zulaikha tried to seduce Yusuf Alayhis Salaam, closed all doors, and took him in a private room, to satisfy her carnal desires. Yusuf Alayhis Salaam avoided her but she continued to insist and asked Yusuf Alayhis Salaam to comply with her wishes, so much so that there was a possibility of Yusuf Alayhis Salaam committing some mistake, at that juncture, Allah the Exalted appointed the angel Jibraeel Alayhis Salaam to guard Yusuf Alayhis Salaam. Jibraeel Alayhis Salaam came to Yusuf Alayhis Salaam assuming the form of his father Yaqoob Alayhis Salaam and standing before him, pressed his finger with his teeth, and warned him not to make such a mistake. Actually, Yusuf Alayhis Salaam's father Yaqoob Alayhis Salaam, had no knowledge of it, but it appeared so to Yusuf Alayhis Salaam, who was stopped and saved from a critical crisis. This is why Sayyid Ahmed Shaheed says that some time when a disciple of a spiritual guide is ready to fall towards a sinful path, then Allah the Almighty guards him by means of an angel or invisible forces. (Vide Shari status of Bay’at pg. 25). Numerous incidents of this type are stated in the books of Saints. For example, I relate an incident from “Tazkeratur Rasheed” Maulana Aashiq Elahi Rahmatullah Alayh writes:
A man, Zakir Shaghil (devoted in remembrance of Allah) used to remain in the service of Maulana Rasheed Ahmad Gangohi Rahmatullah Alayh. His meals were taken care of by a man who was a resident of Gangoh. He used to lead prayers in a Mosque. We know full well that satan is always on the look out to seduce a Muslim. That man fell in love with a woman and the mutual relation reached such a point that a time was fixed for meeting together. There was no possibility of acquainting anyone with this satanic engagement. So no one knew how the satan was ruining the character of that person. On the night of the appointment with that lady, the man after Ishaa served his master (Maulana Gangohi Rahmatullah Alayh) and thinking that the master had fallen asleep, he quietly walked out, the sky was quite clear, but after a few steps, he found the sky was suddenly overcast with dark clouds. He went ahead and the clouds continued to move with him, till he reached the wall of that house where the woman was standing according to her promise. Before he could talk to her, there was such great thunder and lightning, that both of them were terrified. That woman ran to her house thinking that if the family members of her house were awakened by the thunder, and did not find her there, it would be very detrimental for her character. On the other hand, the man ran back fast, knowing that the bed of his master was outside, and that he slept near the bed and if his master was to call him, and would find him absent, his service will be at stake. So he ran as fast as he could to the Khanqah, without fulfilling his desire of meeting the woman. When he entered the Khanqah, the sky became quite clear. He went towards his master, peeped and found that his spiritual master was sitting near the bed, head downcast, hands resting on the bamboos of the bed in a position as if he was in deep meditation like a spiritual Sheikh. He quietly reached his own bed, which was a little away from his master's bed under a tree. When he reached there, then his master raised his head and lay down.
In the morning, his spiritual master gave him advices indirectly, and described the excellences of controlling one self from baser desires, which are a test of a man's moral character. After hearing his master's advices, his heart was so much overwhelmed by shame and remorse, that he used to weep over that incident when ever he recollected it, and used to repent whole heartedly. After a few months, Allah the Exalted strengthened his spiritual relation with his master, who invested him with the honour of making him his deputy (Khalifa). Then he returned to his native place. (Vide: Tazkeratur-Rasheed Vol.11 pg. 149)
Incidents of this type have been written in connection with the Ahadith of Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam and from the biographies of Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam's, Sahaba Radiallahu anhum, and other notable spiritual leaders and guides. But such type of unusual occurrence and miraculous performance is not necessary for every Murshid or spiritual guide and for every disciple all the time. Some spiritual guides never display any miraculous performance. But, the Bay’at at the hands of a Sheikh and his companionship is always fruitful to a greater or to a lesser degree. It is not necessary for a Sheikh to show miracles. The thing, which is necessary for a Sheikh, is following Islamic Canonical Law and valid practices of Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam. Then he is a true spiritual leader, even if he does not show miracles. On the other hand, if a person does not follow Islamic Canonical Law, and opposes the Sunnah of Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam even if he performs unusual or supernatural jugglery, he is himself lost and is misleading others.
This is why Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanvi Rahmatullah Alayh writes:
(1) When a true spiritual guide is available, and one tries to become his disciple, he should first understand the object of discipleship, as people become disciples because of various personal ends.”
(2) Some want to discover things, which are not known to others. It has been already emphasized that it is not necessary for a Shaikh himself to show miracles or to get the power of disclosure of unrevealed things, then how can a disciple get such power.
(3) Someone thinks that by becoming a disciple of a spiritual leader, his Murshid will be responsible for his forgiveness. And on the Day of Judgement, he would not go to hell inspite of all his sins. This is completely incorrect, Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam warned his daughter Fatimah (Radiallahu anha) by saying: "O! Fatimah save yourself from hell fire (by doing virtuous actions)."
(4) Some think that one glance from a spiritual leader will change him altogether without any labour or struggle against bad tendencies. If this had been the case, then the sacrifices which the Sahaba Radiallahu anhum of Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam made for upholding Islam would not have been necessary. No one can be more perfect than Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam, but Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam laboured hard to establish Islam. In exceptional cases, someone might have been changed by a miraculous glance of a spiritual guide. But miracles do not occur all the time, nor does every spiritual leader necessarily display miracles. It is a great mistake to become a disciple Just for this reason.
(5) Someone says a discipleship should create a great fervour and enthusiasm, uttering loud spiritual slogans. This will curb sinful tendencies, and will eliminate and minimize the desire to commit sin, and doing good deeds may become involuntary acts. The heart would then be free from all bad thoughts and we would be immersed in a spiritual-unconsciousness. Outwardly this idea looks better than others, but this is based on ignorance. Such conditions are Sufistic spiritual stages, which are not under the control of a human being. Such thoughts and states are no doubt good, but they are not the be-all and the end-all. The real object is to achieve something, which is under your control. On thinking seriously you would realize that such desires are a hidden deceit of your ego. Your ego loves rest, comfort and renown. These conditions are based on these things. A person who is dedicated to please Allah, he has nothing to do with such desires. His condition will show that he is saying: "Separation or union is not important, the main thing is to earn the pleasure of the beloved, because one cuts a sorry figure by asking his beloved to fulfill a desire which is not according to the pleasure of the beloved."
In other words, separation and union are only the phases; the main thing is to earn the pleasure of the beloved. Asking the Almighty for a thing which is other than Allah is regrettable:
“Passing of the days is of no value. The remembrance of Allah should remain with us, because there is none other Holier that Allah.”
In other words, there is of no importance if different spiritual states come and go. Our relation with Allah should be strengthened because nothing is Holier than Allah:
“O! My heart you are still under delusion if you differentiate between good luck and misfortune. In other words, the heart is still dominated by vicious thoughts, if it distinguishes between comfort and calamity.”
Such a person suffers double anguish, because either he will undergo these phases or not. If he has undergone these phases and has achieved some spiritual insight, he regards himself a perfect sufi, ends up there and neglects piety and worship of Allah, leaves Salaat and does not regard it necessary for himself and does not attach any value to them.
On the other hand, if he is unable to achieve any spiritual insight, then he pines away in sorrow. And this is not only the characteristic of such a person, but any one who would desire such things which are beyond his control will always suffer from sorrow and grief.
(6) Someone says that the spiritual leader knows many efficacious spiritual practices, an amulet may be requested from him whenever needed, or the Sheikh's supplications are always granted, in worldly affairs and court matters. A request may be made to the Shaikh for a special invocation and every problem will be solved accordingly, as if the spiritual guide or Shaikh or the saint is controlling the whole universe. Or we will learn such a thing from him, as to become a holy, blessed person, and our touch or breath will cure all patients suffering from different ailments. Such people regard such performances as the sign of being a saint. But such actions have nothing to do with sainthood. Such intentions are based on worldly desires hence it is a compound mistake.
(7) Someone thinks that by continuous spiritual exercises he will be able to discern some kind of divine light, or an angelic sound. This is also incorrect and an illusion. Because It is not necessary that by spiritual exercises one may perceive some illumination, or hear some thing unusual, as this is not the main object. More over, if during spiritual practices, any light or sound or colour is perceived then it might be a reaction of the mind of the disciple. It has nothing to do with Invisible forces. If for this sake of the argument, let us say that one saw something or heard an unusual voice, what purpose was served by it? No one can achieve the nearness to Allah by such things. One can only achieve nearness to Allah by obeying and worshipping Allah sincerely. Even the accomplices of satan also see angels sometimes, but they remain as satans. And it is clear that after death even the disbelievers would see invisible realities. Hence, a thing, which can be known to a disbeliever, is not miraculous achievement. It becomes obvious that according to what has been stated above, none of it is the primary aim of becoming a saint or a spiritual personality. Therefore, all such thoughts should be discarded, and for a Mureed the real aim should be to earn the pleasure of Allah, which can only be achieved by obeying all the Divine Commandments and to keep His remembrance always alive in the heart. This is what is taught by a spiritual guide and the disciple acts upon it, whether one discerns one spiritual state from another or not or whether one achieves a miraculous power or not, even then, the real advantage of remembering Allah, and obeying His Commands, which results in achieving the pleasure of Allah, will accrue in the life hereafter, and he will enter Paradise as Allah is well pleased with him, and he will have a beatific Divine vision of Allah the Exalted, and will be saved from Hell.
(Vide: Tasheel Qasdus-Sabeel pg. 17)
Another advantage of Bay’at
Maulana Muhammad Rafi Usman Rahmatullah Alayh describes another advantage of the Bay’at which he had heard from Dr. Abdul Hai Aarefi who said: "An authorized transmitter of Prophetic Ahadith is he who has learnt the Ahadith of Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam from an authorized professor of Ahadith, and that professor had given him the permission of narrating Hadith." This is the way in which we have received Ahadith from Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam. When a professor relates a Hadith, he describes the uninterrupted chain of authorities on which that Hadith is based, that I have received it from that professor, and he had received it from such and such, until the chain of narrators reaches up to Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam. Then that Hadith is also regarded as reliable. In this manner, that student or pupil is also included in the chain of transmitters of that Hadith which is a great blessing, because in transmission of Hadith his relation with Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam is properly inter-linked and becomes authoritative. This is why the famous leading personalities of Ahadith used to travel far and wide to make their narrated Hadith highly authoritative.
The same is true for the system for the Bay’at that it is interlinked with all the famous personalities, and finally reaches the greatest benefactor of humanity, Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam. Thus, we are also included in this system of the Bay’at and our relations is established with all religious divines up to the greatest Prophet, Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam. All the stages of a saintly path are traversed smoothly with spiritual illumination, and one achieves his object with a little labour and attention.
You can understand it by means of an example. Look at the bulb in front of us, which is directly related with the powerhouse by means of continuous electrical poles, which are interlinked by means of electrical wires. The electricity starting from the powerhouse is being transmitted to this bulb through all those wires and electrical poles. Similarly, Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam who is the treasure house or source of all gnosis and spiritual blessings, we receive Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam's spiritual emanation through the chain of these religious divines. By taking a Bay’at properly in any Saintly order, the affinity one establishes with its famous personalities, in fact, becomes a source of receiving blessing and spiritual emanation from Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam provided one ~s a true adherent, and he continuously informs his spiritual master about his various states of inner consciousness, and carefully acts on the advices of his spiritual master.
(Vide: “Al-Balagh” Aarefi pg. 154)
After the death of the Murshid: Some people have not been able to reform themselves completely and the treatment of their spiritual diseases has not been completed when the death of their Murshid occurs. Among them, some continue their spiritual journey by attaching themselves to some other remaining spiritual guide. But some do not attach themselves to anyone, and thus remain deprived of the spiritual progress. Shah Waliullah Rahmatullah Alayh has described many kinds of the Bay’at, as mentioned above, out of which three types are mentioned here: Bay’at for repentance Bay’at for blessing or benediction Bay’at with a firm determination to traverse the spiritual path. Reforming one's inner self, to achieve nearness of Allah, is called traversing the spiritual path towards Allah. The one who traverses the path is called “Salik”. A Salik can fall into three categories, the beginner, the intermediate and the one who has reached the highest degree. It is written in the book “lmdadus Suluk”, “a person who has no spiritual guide, his guide is satan.”
During the treatment of physical diseases, if your medical doctor dies, then you refer your case to some other doctor. The same is true for the diseases of the heart or spiritual ailments, that until you are cured, or reach such a point where you do not need the help of spiritual doctor, up to that time, you must attach yourself to some living spiritual guide. Some people think that the emanation of their Shaikh continues even after his death hence we do not need to go to another Shaikh. This idea is based on a misunderstanding. This can be true only for those who have completed the spiritual training and because of the strength of their relation with the previous Shaikh can continue to derive benefit from it, but those who have not completed their spiritual training, for them a living spiritual, guide is very necessary. The treatment and reformation can only be provided by the living.
Sayyid Ahmad Shaheed says: “It should be known that death is a bridge which takes the intimate and close friends of Allah, the Exalted, up to their Beloved, and such spiritual rewards are bestowed on them, which the living one can rarely get. For this reason, they can be called living, but according to the material condition of this world, undoubtedly they are dead. They cannot have that power and capability which the living ones of this world possess. If such power and ability could be achieved by remaining in proximity of the graves, then all the people would have gone to the grave of Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam, which is in Madinah, and the whole system of spiritual training would have become useless and meaningless. Hence, it is clear that in the spiritual training of the people, the Divine procedure is that inner spiritual Insight should be achieved by remaining in the company of the living Saints.”
Hence, those people whose Shaikh has died, without giving them permission of administering the Bay’at or if the permission was given~ on the condition that the disciple should establish his relation with such a person, such disciples should go to a living saint. If their late Shaikh had assigned someone as their next teacher after his death, then they should go to him. If no one was assigned, then the disciple should select someone from the Deputies (Khalifahs) of his late Shaikh or any other true Saint compatible to him, who possesses all the requisites, which are required for a spiritual guide, and should traverse the spiritual path with his guidance and supervision.
Some people commit this mistake, that they want to attach themselves to another Shaikh, but they search for the same qualities, which were in their previous Shaikh, and when they do not find those qualities in others, they do not become their disciple, hence their spiritual journey is stopped. It is clear that a man does not always remain in one condition, either he will make some progress or recede, but as their progress is stopped such people show marked decline without even feeling it.
My Shaikh and spiritual guide, Maulana Mohammad Zakariyya Rahmatullah Alayh writes: “There is a necessary warning that those who were being benefited by the company of great Saints, fall in extreme deprivation after their death, because they try to compare other living Sheikhs with the personalities of those who have passed away. This is a great mistake; hence they cannot be benefitted by the blessed company of the then, living Saints. Thus, the most Important warning, advice, or testament is that my friend should not compare the living spiritual guides with those who passed away, but should look at the living ones with the perspective that if they die, even their equal will be difficult to find. It is evident that even other Prophets had no comparison with Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam, then how can it be in Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam's Sahaba Radiallahu anhum, or the followers of the Sahaba Radiallahu anhum and so on. It is unjustified to seek the qualities of the by-gone Saints, in those who are living. It is a famous saying of Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam: "That none of the coming, year will be such that it would not be more deteriorating than the previous one."
(Vide: Aap Beti (Autobiography) Vol.Vl pg. 435)
One more important advice: If you are selecting someone for taking Bay’at, that person should have all requisites of becoming a spiritual guide, as well as be compatible with your nature, and it should be easy to avail of his company and be benefitted from him, even if he is not a very great Saint. Some people always search for a great Saint, whether they have compatibility with him or not, whether they can avail his company nor can be benefited by him with out undergoing difficulties. Maulana Abdul Qadar Raepuri Rahmatullah Alayh had become a disciple of Maulana Gangohi's deputy, Maulana Abdul Raheem Raepuri Rahmatullah Alayh, while Maulana Gangohi was still alive. Similarly, during the lifetime of Haji Imdadullah Muhajir Makki, Maulana Khaleel Ahmad Saharanpuri, and Shaikhul Hind Mahmoodul Hasan Rahmatullahi Alayhi, and others had become the disciple of Haji Imdadullah's deputy Maulana Rasheed Ahmad Gangohi Rahmatullah Alayh. Such examples abound in the lifetime of great Saints. Many people became disciples of Saints of lower grade, and Allah the Exalted bestowed on them high degrees of spiritual blessings. As a matter of fact, the Absolute Divine Guide is only Allah the Almighty, all others are ways and means to receive Divine blessing from Allah Ta'ala.
Some ignorant people mistakenly take Bay’at from more than one Saint at a time. This is unlawful and harmful for them. There should be only one spiritual guide at a time and one must not take Bay’at from any other Saint, as long as the previous one is alive, provided that, that Saint is the real and authentic one and has all the qualifications to perform the Bay’at.
Praise be to Allah that by His grace most of the necessary things connected with the Bay’at have been recorded. The readers are requested to inform me about those errors which may have crept in these pages, so that they may be rectified in the next revision. I will be greatly indebted to them for this kindness. I conclude with the call and close with the words “Praise be to Allah, the Cherisher and Sustainer of the universe, and peace and blessings of Allah be on Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam, the best of creation and on his descendants and on all his Companions Radiallahu anhum.