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 Baiah 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: “0! 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:
“0! 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 Baiah
Maulana Muhammad Rafi Usman Rahmatullah Alayh describes another advantage of the Baiah 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 Baiah 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 Baiah 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 Baiah 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 Baiah, as mentioned above, out of which three types are mentioned here:
- Baiah for repentance
- Baiah for blessing or benediction
- Baiah 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 Baiah 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 benefitted 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 Baiah, 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 Baiah 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 Baiah 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 Baiah.
Praise be to Allah that by His grace most of the necessary things connected with the Baiah 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.