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According to the accredited Islamic Scholars of Holy Sunnah, Mystics and the Sufi Saints of Islam, it is a highly important aspect to take the Bayt-e-Tareqah (Oath of the Allegiance) from someone. His Greatness the universally revered Baba Ji2 (R.A) used to take Bayt on his hands according to the Sunnah3 of Rasool Allah (SAW), of every person desirous of becoming his Mureed (disciple4), since it was the practice of the Holy Prophet to take oath on His hands from those to whom he embraced Islam.
Traditionally, a teacher is must for worldly teachings and same is the practice for Religious knowledge (Ilm). Similarly, an authentic Spiritual Guide is necessary for the ‘Purification of self’ (Tazkiya-e-Nafs), heart diseases and training of the soul. Provided such spiritual guide is aware of such diseases and has himself been imparted the training of self-purification and latent affinity by an acclaimed and accomplished Shaykh.
Sultan-ul-Arifeen (The Emperor of Mystics) Hazrat Sultan Bahoo has commanded:-
You rehearsed Allah, became a Hafiz8, yet this could not uncover the hidden mystery.
Despite gaining scholarly knowledge your lust for worldy gains remained intact.
The study of lacs of books did not get you out of the tyrant ‘Nafs’ (ego).
Oh Bahu! There is none, other than the Faqeer (Mendicant) who could eradicate the thief of the inner-self.
Grand Shaykh Yusuf Ali Nagina said that whosoever desires to seek closeness of Allah and His Messenger Hazrat Muhammad should hasten to take the Oath of Allegiance at the hands of a righteous Spiritual Guide because no one can find the path of truthfulness without any Murshid. It is further narrated at page-29 of the book entitled “Kashkole Zamzamae Nagina” (The Poetry of GrandShaykh):
Oh Saalik! (The follower of mysticism) beware of adopting the Discipline of ‘ISHQ’; without a Spiritual Guide.
Since, this discipline is also hampered by the Shytan and the like.
The ‘Nafs’ (ego) is a dog. It should be dog-collared to ward off its onslaught. The Golden Chain of Auliyah (Sufi Saints) is a chain of this collar. The first rung of this chain is in the neck of a disciple and the last rung is in the blessed hands of Holy Prophet, and if this chain remains intact then the Nafs (ego) would not go astray (Shan-E-Habib ur Rehman).
Hazrat Mian Mohammad Baksh has enjoined:
Guide me! Guide me! Says everyone and me too!
Without the guidance of your Shaykh,you would die in search of Destination.
The love and the Sohbat16 of my Shaykh is better than Supererogatory Prayers. (Nawafil)
Indeed, His each and every utterance unveils secrets to me.
Hazrat Sultan Bahu’s (RA), communicated in one of his verses:
Alif Allah! A fragrant jasmine bud, which my Shaykh has planted in me.
The one watered with both `Negation`and `Affirmation`18.
The bud has infused extreme fragrance in me to flourish myself.
May my `Perfect Shaykh` live long! The one who blessed me with this flower.
At another place he says:
As per my Murshid an unmindful breathing leads to an infidelity.
His injunction has opened my eyes to drag me to Allah.
Surrendering myself to Allah has rewarded me with this ‘Ishq’.
Bahoo died before his physical death to conceive its true meaning.
Maulana Rum has said that the Shariah is a beacon to lead to a Path and to tread upon it is Mystic Way Order (Tariqah). Reaching at the destination is a reality (Haqiqah and Marifah). The Prayer, therefore, could only be learnt through a Disciplinary Shaykh (‘Aashna-e-Tareqah’).
Hadhrat Imdadullah Mahajar Makki says that the existence of a Shaykh is ‘sine qua non’ to rectify one’s belief in Theism(Tauheed), Prophethood(Risalat), Tenets(Aqaed), Piety(Zohd), Seclusion(Taqwa),Revelation(Maka’ashfat) and Commemoration(Zikar-Azkar) etc and to qualify for the Sufi Order is not possible without a Shaykh. He further elaborates that one would not get rid of the clutches of Shaytan whatsoever pious and worshipper he might be. Allah has enjoined:
(Surah Yusaf (Joseph): verse: 53)“Indeed! The (human) soul enjoins unto evil, save that whereon my Allah has mercy. Indeed my Allah is forgiving, merciful.” (Al-Quran): (Surah Yousaf/Joseph) verse: 5
“Indeed Shaytan is for a man an open enemy”
His Spiritual Highness, the Respected Hadhrat Imam Ahmed Raza Khan Barelvi as quoted by Hadhrat Imam Ajal Abi-al-qasim Qasheri that it is compulsory upon a disciple to seek Allegiance of any Murshid. Hadhrat Ba-Yazeed Bastami enjoins that a man without a Murshid will be dominated by Shaytan as his guide. Allama Kharpoti has also endorsed the same feelings.
Therefore, there is no way out without taking the Oath of Allegiance at the hand of a Spiritual Guide (Shaykh).Other Saints have also stated that this is the easiest passage to seek access to God. The law of Almighty Allah is based on the same pattern. When a person attempts to gain technical knowledge and other formal know-how with the cooperation of his colleagues and similarly a student has to learn through a teacher, the informal spiritual attributes could not be achieved without the Bayt e Tareekah of a Spiritual Guide (Shaykh). As a world traveller feels the necessity of a guide otherwise he may get stranded in foreign places, so is the requirement of Spiritual Guide for the passenger of ‘Hereafter’.
To draw one nearer to the requirement of Oath of the Allegiance in the ways of God, the Saints have narrated an interesting episode:
An ant got the yearning to reach the Holy Ka’abah. But the Holy Ka’abah was quite at a long distance. The ant lamented that how can I reach that Centre of Pious illumination and rewards (Markaze Tajalliyat-o-Inamat) when I have no feathers nor the strength. While she was in that mute then all of a sudden a crowd of pigeons started picking up food at a nearby corny heap. One pigeon warned them to hurry up as they were to reach the Holy Ka’abah soon to take care of their children. It is quite distant and the time at our disposal is short. We ought to double up our speed to reach there in time. The ant hastened to avail this chance to reach there in their company as they have feathers to support my paw. She, therefore, got stuck with the feathers of a pigeon. On reaching there one pigeon suggested the other to perform circumambulation (Tawaf) of the Holy Ka’abah first. The ant got the hint that God Almighty has fulfilled her ambition. She abruptly left the pigeon’s feather. Her long awaited destination was there to witness the illumination of God.
Since the ant got realized her goal by getting hold of the support of a pigeon, a searcher of God can succeed in finding his destination through a tight spiritual connection with a Murshid. If the grip is loose, he is destined to fall down to go into the Hell.
Allah has commanded:-
“Ask the followers of the Reminder if you know not.” Al-Quran: Surah Al-Ambia (The Prophet) verse: 7
Similarly, Surah Toba (Repentance) verse: 119: Says as under:
“O you who believed! Be careful of your duty to Allah and be with the Truthful” Al – Quran
It is a unanimous judgement of the Spiritual Guides (Shayookh e Tareekah) that by ‘Truthful’ means the sacred friends (Ashaab) of Holy Prophet and the practising religious scholars, virtuous people and other pious leaders arriving from time to time till Dooms Day.
Surah Al-Ma`iadh (The Table Spread) verse 35 has explicitly ordained regarding ‘Oath of Allegiance’ as under:
“O you who believe! Be mindful to your duty to Allah. And seek the Way of Approach unto Him, and strive in His way in order that you may succeed.” Al-Quran
Since this verse has been addressed to the faithful, so the ‘Way of approach’ (Waseela) means something else than Faith (Iman). This verse also underlines the order of Abstinence (`Taqwa`) and Holy Crusade (`Jehad`). The Way of Approach is, therefore, other than Faith (`Iman`), Abstinence (Taqwa) and Holy Crusade (Jehad). This is the collective verdict of the Saints that the Way of Approach precisely tends to mean nothing but a Spiritual Guide (‘Shaykh-e-Tariqat’). But the opponents ascribe it to Good Acts (Naik Aemaal) whereas Shah Wali Allah Mohaddaus Dehlvi in his book “Al-Qolal Jamil”,and Khurram Wahabi in the translation of this very book entitled “Shifa-al-Aleel” and Ismail Dehlvi in his book “Sirat-e-Mustaqeem” have termed the Way of Approach as a Spiritual Guide i.e. Murshid.
Shah Abdul Aziz Mohaddus Dehlvi by rejecting their contention has said that if good acts serve as the source of Way of Approach even then the Sheikh stands qualified for it because all the good acts of a disciple are ensued due to his Shaykh.
“On the day when We shall summon all men with their Imam” (Surah Bani Israel (Children of Israel) verse: 71)
Thereby expounding that “on that Day We will call the people as per their attachment with their respective school of thought like: You the Chisties! The Qadris!,the Soharwardis!, the Naqshbandis!, the Hanfies!,the Shafies!, Malikies! And the Humblies! Etc. etc. But those unlucky people having no adherence with any Imam and Shaykh will be named as the followers of Satan (devil) as We have already mentioned that if a person has no Peer (Shaykh) at all , his Peer would be Satan.” (Rooh-al-Bayan).
Hadith Mishkat Sharif with reference to Muslim Sharif narrates that:
“If a person dies without bearing the rope of Oath of Allegiance in his neck meets the death of a barbarous/ignorant person.”
Grand Shaykh Yusuf Ali Nagina Said,
“Call Hadhrat Ghousal Azam (RA) to save you from drowning.”
“You are destined to die in ignorance if the bondage of ‘BAYT’ (Allegiance) is not put on your neck.”
To put your hand in the hands of your Murshid is the Sunnah because Hand-shaking (Musafah) strengthens one’s vow with his Murshid.
Besides, giving and taking is customarily done with hands. The hands are, therefore, lifted for Supplication to beg something from Allah. Grand Shaykh Yusuf Ali Nagina commands that the procedure of Oath of Allegiance (‘Bayt’) is that the Murid (Disciple) surrenders his hands in the hands of his Murshid.
The Holy Quran says:
“The hand of Allah is above their hands”. (Surah Al-fatah (victory) verse: 10 Pg.58)
Now it goes crystal clear that the Holy Prophet administered the oath of allegiance with men by hands. But with ladies via oral words and statement, not touching their hands. The Holy Prophet would take devotees hands in His hands while administering the oath of allegiance like handshaking. But the administering with ladies by verbal quotations only. Because Hadhrat Ayesha Saddiqua (May Allah be pleased with Her) has narrated that Holy Prophet used to administer the Oath of Allegiance with faithful ladies orally without taking their hands into his own. (Mishkat Sharif).(Surah Al-fatah (victory) verse: 10 Pg.58)
His Holyness Grand Shaykh used to take an undertaking from the new disciple at the time of oath of allegiance that he would perform all of the prescribed duties, especially five timed prayers. Besides taking the vow of“Tehajjud” (Prayer to be said after midnight), “Ishraq” (The Day-break prayer),” Awabeen” (After-Magrib prayer), “to recite Darood Sharif (Salawaat) on Prophet Muhammad” permanently as well as to strictly abide by the Sunnah and Shriah. He was so strict in connection with Shariah that he would not administer the oath of allegiance with a person devoid of principles of Shariah. The disciple was asked to put on the beard as per Sunnah first before coming to him for the Oath of Allegiance.