Detailed Section - Information about Tasawwuf
Once a mureed develop trust on a person to request him to guide him through tareeqat and sheikh accepts his request, then doing a formal contract called bai'at is very useful. Bai'at is a contract between the sheikh (mentor) and the mureed (follower/student) that the sheikh will teach and train the murid the procedures of batini deeds (spiritual acts) through which good (shariah compliant) manners are developed and bad traits are eliminated and mureed will follow them by heart. The mureed will consider sheikh his mentor for the manifested and hidden deeds and act upon his advices and sheikh will train him with sincerity to help him overcome the spiritual ailments. This is also called the bai'at-e-tareeqat and its shariah status is sunnan-e-mustahiba (if someone does it, he will be rewarded with ajar and there is no harm if he doesn’t do it). With its Baraka (divine but unseen help), the compliance with shariah principles be it faraiz, wajibaat, and sunnun becomes easier and above all, few lucky ones even get nisbut through it. Nisbut is by far the best thing that could happen to anybody in this universe and there is no comparison of this in the whole universe because it is the ultimate purpose of human beings to establish this spiritual affiliation with the creator to enable one to live his/her life as a true subject of his creator.
Hazrat Muhammad صلئ الله عليه وآ له وسلم have done bai'at for jihad, bai'at for acceptance of islam, as well as for adhering to shariah commandments and performing right deeds. One of the popular hadith of Hazrat Uaf bin malik RAH signifies towards bai'at as Hazrat Uof says that about seven, eight, and / or nine people were present in the majlis of Hazrat Muhammad صلئ الله عليه وآ له وسلم, when Hazrat صلئ الله عليه وآ له وسلم said, would you like to do bai'at with me? We put our hands forward and respectfully asked the purpose of bai'at. Hazrat صلئ الله عليه وآ له وسلمsaid to fulfill your duties to worship Allah سبحا ن ؤ تعا لئ only, perform salah five times a day, learn Allah’s commandments and act upon them. This hadith signifies that bai'at by mashaik from their disciples for tareeqat can be linked to this hadith. There are four silsilas in fiqh, namely; Hanafi, Shafi, Maliki, and Hunbali and likewise we have four silsilas in Tassawuf including Chishtia, Qadiria, Nukshbundia, and Suhrwardia. A person can chooses any of the tassawuf silsila as per his liking, it will help him attain nisbut. Normally, it is sufficient to do bai'at in one silsila only but our elders prefer to have their disciples do bai'at in all four silsilas so that the salik respect all four silsilas and do not become disrespectful to any silsila as compared to his/her own silsila because all silsilas have great sufi saints attached to them and disrespect of any is indirectly disrespect of our great heritage sufi saints. Please note that progress in tassawuf is directly linked with being respectful.
Spirit of Bai'at
The word bai'at is a related word of Bau, which means to sell oneself to his sheikh so that sheikh can make him to comply with manifested and hidden shariah deeds. It can only happen if salik has complete trust on sheikh that whatever is advised by him is for his own benefit. The mureed should consider his sheikh as the most useful guide in the whole world and this concept is very helpful in Tassawuf and is called “Wahdat-e-Mutalub” and bai'at without this in mind is of no use. Bai'at is useful for normal public because after bai'at, they keep their sheikh in high esteem and cannot ignore his advice. However, the religious scholars and other people enjoying status in society be it worldly or religious should go for bai'at after a while to make it useful. Bai'at helps create mutual respect among both sides.
How to do Bai'at?
Sheikh take mureed’s hand in his own. Bai'at of big crowd is done through holding a big piece of cloth by all and the sheikh. The bai'at of females is done through piece of cloth from behind the curtain in the presence of her mahrum [in front of whom female is not required to keep hijab (covered)]. A Hadith tells us that Hazrat sul ila alsi wasalam used to bai'at females through the above mentioned procedure and therefore it is still prevalent in the mashaik. Bai'at can also be done through telephone, letter or any other such means, which is called bai'at-e-usmani. Please note that Hazrat Muhammad صلئ الله عليه وآ له وسلمput his right hand over left hand in place of Hazrat Usman RAH in his absence by keeping during bai'at-e-rizwan.
Highlighting necessary instructions at Bai'at
Things that mureeds should be told:
- Always consider Allah سبحا ن ؤ تعا لئ as the supreme power and one should not look for anything from anyone except Allah سبحا ن ؤ تعا لئ.
- One should always fulfill one’s duties to Allah سبحا ن ؤ تعا لئ.
- One should follow Sunnah in all aspects of life and during all times. If one is unable follow any sunnah, then, he should consider it as his weakness, and should give preference to sunnah over his own choice and spread the word to other people to adopt sunnah.
- One should do all worships as per sunnah and to keep his /her dealings fair with other people. He should not get indulged in social rituals but adhere to shariah principles in day-to-day life. He should get rid of hidden (batini) character weaknesses and try to acquire character strengths. He should always strive to improve his hidden (batini) condition and never loses his focus from Allah سبحا ن ؤ تعا لئ.
- Shariah and tareeqat is no different. One should always seek sheikh’s guidance if temporarily he is facing difficulties in complying with shariah and for that reason if he has to re-arrange the priority of different aspects of importance for effecting shariah compliance.
- One should always abide by the zikr given by sheikh and should tell sheikh if temporarily facing difficulties in completing the zikr.
- All qaza prayers (prayers not performed at ther scheduled timings), qaza fastings, zakat not given when it was due, Hajj not performed when it first became due are to be performed / paid in first leisure.
- If the salik owes someone anything and he is financially capable, then he should return it back at first leisure.
- One should refrain from eyeing females who are ghar mahram (all females apart from mother, sisters, wife, grand mothers, wife’s mother, father’s and mother’s sisters are ghar mahram) and keep away from listening to any kind of music, be it qawalli or musical naats.
- One should not accumulate haram wealth or indulge in means of earning that is haram (not allowed by shariah). One should not keep an eye on anyone else’s pocket to fulfill his material or physical needs, do not indulge in show-off, biduat (ways of doing things that cannot be traced back to Hazrat صلئ الله عليه وآ له وسلمor his sahaba), shirk, unpatience, unthankfulness, back-biting. One should read books that are written for the purpose of refraining everyone from these things.
- One should abide by the parents within the bounds of shariah. One should follow the teachings of his sheikh, keep his sheikh abreast of his condition up until he spiritually becomes healthy, and act on sheikh’s advice accordingly.
As already told that a silsila (continuous stream) of suhbut and confidence from the present sheikh that goes right upto Hazrat Muhammad صلئ الله عليه وآ له وسلم. The purpose of all these silsilas is to purify the soul of the salik through training in tareeqat but the training modules are varying in all silsilas. In chishtia, the bad manners are corrected first and then good traits are imparted in the person. In nukshbundia, the person is guided to adopt good traits and simultaneously bad manners are taken out of the person. It is important that a person respect all silsilas like he respects his own silsila because any one from out of all silsilas could be useful for him but that doesn’t mean that the other silsilas (except for the one that is useful) are useless as we have already told that all silsilas are represented by very big saints of their times.