Bayat (Oath of Allegiance)
Islam is the religion of one’s inner isolation and submitting oneself to Allah, while doing all the physical deeds which turn us towards Allah.
Returning to Almighty Allah is the core objective of all exoteric and esoteric deeds and prayers. For the accomplishment of this objective and for the guidance of His mankind, Allah established two sources; The Quran and Sunnah. Who so ever leaves, denies or follows any one of these half way or on his own choice, cannot attain anything from the religion, rather this attitude will entangle him in the unresolved religious and worldly affairs. The sacred self of the Holy Prophet Sall’Allahu Alayhi Wa’alihi Wasallam is the practical explanation of the Quran and the role model of all the religious maters. All his actions, whether exoteric or esoteric, are a beacon in the darkness for the Ummah. Allah said:
Meaning: Certainly! In (the holy being of) Allah’s Messenger (Sall’Allahu Alayhi Wa’alihi Wasallam) there is for (everyone of) you a most perfect and beautiful model (of physical and spiritual life).
Meaning: O Beloved Prophet (Sall’Allahu Alayhi Wa’alihi Wasallam)! Tell them, if you love Allah, then follow me, Allah will also love you. (Surah Al-e-Imran)
Therefore, it is the belief of every true Muslim that obedience to the Prophet Sall’Allahu Alayhi Wa’alihi Wasallam is the only way to the completion of his faith (Iman) and strengthening the bond with Allah.
Every action of Rasool Allah Sall’Allahu Alayhi Wa’alihi Wasallam is referred to as “sunnah”. His ability to perceive, his attitude, thoughts, life, morality and personality have an exemplary and a role model status for the Ummah. In the nut shell, his every act is for the guidance and betterment of the religious and worldly life of Ummah. One who denies or objects his actions is categorized as non believer and will be disgraced in this world and the hereafter. The Holy Prophet Sall’Allahu Alayhi Wa’alihi Wasallam said:
- “Everyone in my Ummah will go to heaven, except those who deny”. The companions Razi Allah Anhum asked “who denied?” The Holy Prophet Sall’Allahu Alayhi Wa’alihi Wasallam said: “Those who obeyed me, will go to heaven and those who disobeyed me, they denied. The act against my sunnah is disobedience.”
He stated again:
- “He who evoked my sunnah, loved me, he will be with me in heaven on the day of judgment”. Hazrat Sohail bin Tastari Razi Allah Anhu said:
- “Love for the Holy Quran, is the sign of love with Almighty Allah, and the love for Allah and the Quran is the sign of love with the Holy Prophet Sall’Allahu Alayhi Wa’alihi Wasallam and this love with the Holy Prophet Sall’Allahu Alayhi Wa’alihi Wasallam is the sign of love for his sunnah.”
Another source of guidance alongwith sunnah is the Holy Book of Allah, the Quran. The Holy Quran is a complete code of life, collection of all do’s and don’ts, it is also a witness and transmitting source of all the acts and sunnahs of the Holy Prophet Sall’Allahu Alayhi Wa’alihi Wasallam for the Ummah. It becomes obligatory for the ummah to follow the sunnah which is corroborated or verified by the Quran. This is because it has been mandated in sunnah as well as in the Quran. Through the Holy Quran, Almighty Allah provides us with only those sunnahs which must be followed. So nobody should object to them and must follow them as per Allah’s injunction.
Fayooz-ul-Bari, the explanation of Sahi Bukhari, categorizes sunnahs of the Holy Prophet Sall’Allahu Alayhi Wa’alihi Wasallam as under:
- 1. Sunnan al Hudda (Sunnahs of guidance)
- 2. Sunnan al Zawaid (Additional Sunnahs)
It is the collection of sunnahs associated with the path of guidance. It’s relinquisher is either excluded from the circle of Islam or he can never reach the highest degree of faith. These sunnahs include the basic pillars of Islam, belief in oneness of Allah (Tauheed), prayers (Salat), Zakat, Hajj, speaking the truth, fulfilling the promise, avoiding all the forbidden acts and practicing all the basic principles of religion etc. The relinquisher of these sunnahs will be questioned on the day of judgment, as, through the Quran and sunnah he was clearly told to follow them, then why did he become a denier. Undoubtedly, its denier is the denier of the Holy Prophet Sall’Allahu Alayhi Wa’alihi Wasallam and his denier is indeed the denier of Allah.
Sunnan-al-Huda include all sunnahs which are related to the Quran in any way.
Sunnan-Al-Zawaid (Additional Sunnahs):
It is the collection of sunnahs which are associated with the daily pattern of life of the Holy Prophet Sall’Allahu Alayhi Wa’alihi Wasallam, for example decorum of the Prophet’s Assembly, his style of conversation, his eating habits, use of miswak, etc. Adopting these sunnahs is appreciated and shows love for the Holy Prophet Sall’Allahu Alayhi Wa’alihi Wasallam but relinquishing these sunnahs is not odious or a sin neither a person will be questioned about them on the day of judgment, provided, he had followed all the Sunnan-al-Huda.
Proof of the oath of Allegiance in the Quran and Sunnah
In the essentials of the religion (Deen), the oath of allegiance has a base line status. The Quran and all the books of hadiths are its witness. Before understanding and following the pillars of Islam (oneness of Allah, prayers, fasting, Hajj, Zakat etc.) and moving up the levels of faith, it was necessary for every Muslim to seek an oath of allegiance from the Holy Prophet Sall’Allahu Alayhi Wa’alihi Wasallam. Inspite of having faith in the Holy Prophet Sall’Allahu Alayhi Wa’alihi Wasallam and Oneness of Allah by tongue, a person was not considered a Muslim until and unless he took an oath of allegiance. Therefore, oath of allegiance was made compulsory with the agreement of the Oneness of Allah and Prophethood. No act of Allah and His Prophet is without wisdom or reason, rather behind every act there is a hidden treasure of guidance for the Ummah. Accordingly, making the oath of allegiance compulsory alongwith the acceptance of Islam by tongue, depicts that the luminous beneficence and guidance from the Holy Prophet Sall’Allahu Alayhi Wa’alihi Wasallam is not possible otherwise. And there is no doubt that the Holy Prophet Sall’Allahu Alayhi Wa’alihi Wasallam made it compulsory solely as per Allah’s order. The Quran bears witness to it in these words:
- Meaning: “He does not speak out of his (own) desire. His speech is nothing but outright revelation, which is sent to him.” (Surah Al-Najam 3-4)
How can any of his act be of his own choice, it would definitely have been according to the revelation of Allah.
In this way, the oath of allegiance is also in accordance to Allah’s order and is definitely compulsory (like belief in Oneness of Allah and Prophethood) for the completion of the religion (Deen). Otherwise, the Holy Prophet Sall’Allahu Alayhi Wa’alihi Wasallam would not have taken the oath of allegiance from the people at the time of their conversion. Moreover, the oath of allegiance is related to the sunnahs of guidance whose relinquisher is the denier of Islam. It is mentioned in the Quran with the clear words of wisdom.
Meaning: “(O’ Beloved!) indeed those who pledge allegiance to you, infact pledge allegiance to Allah. Allah’s hand is over their hands (in the form of your hand). Then whoever breaks his pledge, breaks it only to his own harm. But he who fulfils what he has promised to Allah, He will bless him with immense reward”. (Surah Fateh-10)
This verse shows the highest status of the exalted self of the Holy Prophet Sall’Allahu Alayhi Wa’alihi Wasallam. It tells that his act is the act of Allah, the relation with him is the relation with Allah, the pledge of allegiance with him is the pledge with Allah. It also tells the significance of the oath of allegiance as it is related both to the Divine Self of Allah and His Prophet Sall’Allahu Alayhi Wa’alihi Wasallam. People who pledge allegiance to the Holy Prophet Sall’Allahu Alayhi Wa’alihi Wasallam infact pledge allegiance to Almighty Allah. Hence, the act of allegiance is not only the sunnah of Prophet Sall’Allahu Alayhi Wa’alihi Wasallam, but is the sunnah of Allah as well. In the whole Quran Allah has not associated any component of worship with him except Darood-e-Pak. He says:
- Meaning: “Surely Allah and (all) His angels invoke Darood and blessings on the Holy Prophet Sall’Allahu Alayhi Wa’alihi Wasallam. O’ Believers! You (also) invoke Darood on him and salute him with a worthy salutation of peace abundantly (and fervently).” (Al-Ahzab-56)
Saying blessings (Darood-e-Pak) to the Holy Prophet Sall’Allahu Alayhi Wa’alihi Wasallam is the way of Allah (Sunnah of Allah), but not of His Prophet Sall’Allahu Alayhi Wa’alihi Wasallam because he does not say blessings (Darood) to himself. Rest of the prayers are the practice of the Holy Prophet Sall’Allahu Alayhi Wa’alihi Wasallam but not of Allah. Therefore, the oath of allegiance is the only component of Islam that is the Sunnah of the Holy Prophet Sall’Allahu Alayhi Wa’alihi Wasallam as well as the Almighty Allah.
According to the verse 10 of Surah Fateh referred above, the oath of allegiance is the source of pledge and promise to Allah. Bayat, the Arabic word for oath of allegiance is derived from the word “Baee” , its literal meaning is ‘give and take’. When two persons settle up their trade matters they pledge to each other that one person will give something like money etc. and in return other person will give some goods or whatever he demands in exchange of his money. This type of pledge is called (baee). The oath of allegiance is also like a trade with Allah. In this trade, one who pledges to Allah promises to give his each and everything to Allah (which is infact granted to him by Allah) and in return demands for the closeness of His Divine Self and His Goodwill. Therefore, one who did not pledge allegiance to Allah through the mediation of the Holy Prophet Sall’Allahu Alayhi Wa’alihi Wasallam or after him through his companions Razi Allahu Anhum or through saints of Allah, how can he make a bond with Him, what will he trade with Allah? It is said in the Quran:
Meaning: And always fulfill the pledge of Allah when you have made it, and do not break oaths after making them firm. (Surah Al-Nakhal-91)
Meaning: And do fulfill your oath, indeed you will be asked about these oaths. (Surah Bani Israel-34)
Almighty Allah says that the oath of allegiance is also a source of achieving Allah’s will and peace and tranquility in the hearts of the believers, because this is the guarantee of their bond with Allah. The Glorious Allah says in Surah Fatah verse no. 18:
Meaning: “Surely Allah was well pleased with the believers when they pledged allegiance to you (O’ Beloved Mohammad Sall’Allahu Alayhi Wa’alihi Wasallam) under the tree (at Al-Hudaibiya). So, Allah knows (the passion of truth and fidelity) that permeated their hearts, and descended an exceptional calmness and tranquility (into their hearts) and awarded them the forthcoming victory (of Khaibar).” (Al-Fatah-18)
In addition to the Quran, a large number of authentic books of Hadiths also state about the oath of allegiance as a splendid sunnah of the Holy Prophet Sall’Allahu Alayhi Wa’alihi Wasallam. At the beginning of Islam when some delegations came from Madina to Makkah, the Holy Prophet Sall’Allahu Alayhi Wa’alihi Wasallam invited them to Islam, the people who said yes to the invitation in the first year, their oath of allegiance was referred to as “Bayat-e-Aqabah Oola” (the first pledge at Aqabah) and the oath of allegiance taken by the newly converted Muslims of Madina in the next year, was named as “Bayat-e-Aqabah Sani” (the second pledge at Aqabah). About this oath, Hazrat Kaeb bin Maalik Razi Allah Anhu said, “When the night about which Holy Prophet Sall’Allahu Alayhi Wa’alihi Wasallam had promised, came, we slept early in the night and when people were deep asleep, we moved out of our beds and gathered in the valley of Uqba, nobody else was over there with the Holy Prophet Sall’Allahu Alayhi Wa’alihi Wasallam. The Holy Prophet Sall’Allahu Alayhi Wa’alihi Wasallam talked to my companions and invited them to Islam. He made their inclination towards Islam and recited the Holy Quran. After hearing this, everyone embraced Islam and requested for allegiance on the hands of the Holy Prophet Sall’Allahu Alayhi Wa’alihi Wasallam. He Sall’Allahu Alayhi Wa’alihi Wasallam said “Take out twelve representatives out of your nation.” We took out one representative from each group, then everyone took oath of allegiance on the hands of the Holy Prophet Sall’Allahu Alayhi Wa’alihi Wasallam.” (Sahi Bukhari)
Types of Oath of Allegiance
At the time of acceptance of Islam, it was necessary for the believers to swear oath of allegiance on the hands of the Holy Prophet Sall’Allahu Alayhi Wa’alihi Wasallam alongwith having faith in Oneness of Allah and Prophethood. This bayat is called the bayat of Islam.
Bayat-e-Tauba-o-Taqwa (Bayat of repentance and piety):
After being remorseful of the previous sins, the pledge of following Islamic law with the intention of attaining Allah’s proximity, is called bayat of repentance and piety. The journey of spiritual elevation starts after this bayat. At the time of the Holy Prophet Sall’Allahu Alayhi Wa’alihi Wasallam, usually the bayat of repentance and piety was sworn alongwith the bayat of Islam. Majority of hadiths state that Momineen (believers) also used to swear this bayat separately after the acceptance of Islam.
In the present era, the oath of allegiance taken by muslims on the hand of a spiritual mentor for spiritual elevation also include the bayat of repentance and piety. This guides them towards the proximity of Allah and the spiritual sense of the religion.
Bayat-e-Khilafat (Bayat of Caliphate):
Bayat which is sworn on the hand of a Muslim Caliph with an intention to accept that particular person as a ruler is called Bayat of Caliphate. This bayat, alongwith the bayat of repentance and piety, were sworn together till the period of Hazrat Imam Hassan Razi Allah Anhu but later on, they were separated.
Bayat-e-Samaa-o-Ta’at (Bayat of listening and following):
The pledge of listening and following the religious Leader (Imam), caliph or a spiritual mentor is called bayat-e-Samma-o-Ta’at. Several Hadiths certify this bayat.
Bayat-e-Tasawuf (The Mystical Bayat):
The bayat of repentance and piety was continued by the sufi saints of Islam, it is now referred to as Bayat-e-Tasawuf. The aim of this bayat is submission of a disciple to the spiritual mentor with the intention of purification of his nafs (baser self) and sanctity of his soul. This leads him to the path of spiritualism. He becomes remorseful of his previous sins, follows Oneness of Allah and steps forward to His proximity.
The bayat of Islam was obsolete at the time of Rashidun Caliphate when Islamic victories began to increase and millions of people accepted Islam. The discrimination of the fact, whether the people were accepting Islam with pure faith or because of the fear of power and granduer of Muslims, was finished. Although, at this time, the bayat of caliphate remained obligated which was taken on the hand of the caliph who was selected as ruler of the Muslims. The respectable representatives of the people from faraway places used to come and swear oath of allegiance on his hand on their behalf. As the Rashidun Caliphs, in their respective reigns, also used to be the religious leaders, mentors and the guardians of Muslims, therefore, bayat of repentance and piety was included in their bayat. The Caliph was also their esoteric beneficent and helped them to cover the spiritual levels of Islam. Just as The Holy Prophet Sall’Allahu Alayhi Wa’alihi Wasallam was a source of exoteric as well as esoteric prosperity for the Muslims. The Rashidun Caliphate had the complete beneficence, potential and authority of the Holy Prophet Sall’Allahu Alayhi Wa’alihi Wasallam, that is why, they fulfilled his exoteric and esoteric duties altogether. Although, the oath of allegiance taken on their hands had discrimination that the people having superficial values swore only the bayat of caliphate while the pious and those fearing from Allah swore the oath of repentance and piety as well. Everyone got benefit depending on the intention with which he had sworn bayat to the caliph. It is mentioned in all the books of hadith that when the Holy Prophet Sall’Allahu Alayhi Wa’alihi Wasallam passed away, all the Muslims swore oath of allegiance on the hands of Hazrat Abu Bakar Siddique Razi Allah Anhu and he was considered as the caliph and vicegerent of the Prophet Sall’Allahu Alayhi Wa’alihi Wasallam. At the time of bayat the words of Hazrat Abu Bakar Siddique Razi Allah Anhu were:
- “Follow me as long as I obey Allah and his Prophet Sall’Allahu Alayhi Wa’alihi Wasallam”.
Therefore, this oath of allegiance was considered as the bayat of caliphate as well as the bayat of obeying the Prophet (Rasool Allah) and the bayat of repentance and piety altogether.
Hazrat Anas Razi Allah Anhu narrated that when Hazrat Abu Bakar Razi Allah Anhu died and Hazrat Umar Farooq Razi Allah Anhu was chosen as the caliph, I said to him, “Please give me your hand so that, as per my capacity of listening and following, I swear oath of allegiance with you, as I swore with the first caliph before you.” Hazrat Saleem bin Abi Amar Razi Allah Anhu also stated that a group from Hamrah attended Hazrat Usman Ghani Razi Allah Anhu and swear oath of allegiance saying that they will believe in the Oneness of Allah, offer prayer and give Zakat, they will also follow the Islamic rules for the month of Ramzan and will leave celebrating the festivals of the fire-worshippers.” (Masnad Imam Ahmad)
Moreover, the spiritual chains of mystic ways and orders, continuing from these four pious Caliphs are the proof of the fact that they were also a source of spiritual beneficence for the Ummah, which is continued till now. Among the chains of spiritual orders reaching the present era, the beneficence of the Sarwari Qadri order, in particular, is not completed until the disciple is benefited from all the four caliphs. Veracity and truthfulness from the sacred attention of Hazrat Abu Bakr Siddique Razi Allah Anhu, justice and accountability of the baser self from Hazrat Umer Razi Allah Anhu, obedience and modesty from Hazrat Usman Ghani Razi Allah Anhu and Faqr from the sacred sight of Hazrat Ali Razi Allah Anhu. The spiritual beneficence from these caliphs is continued since their sacred lives till date.
In the present era, a person who is born in a Muslim family is already a Muslim by birth, so he does not need to swear the bayat of Islam. But, for receiving the benefit from the Holy Prophet Sall’Allahu Alayhi Wa’alihi Wasallam and the caliphs, bayat of repentance and piety upon the hand of the spiritual mentor who is exactly on the footsteps of the Holy Prophet and the four Caliphs, and hence, is their representative and successor in the present era, is necessary. He is the Perfect and Universal Man who is spiritually permitted by the Holy Prophet himself to guide the Muslims of his era, on the right path to Allah. The references about the Bayat-e-Taqwa are given excessively in a large number of hadiths. The reference of verse 10 of surah Fateh, given before, does not refer to the bayat of Islam, but to the bayat sworn by the Muslims on the hand of the Holy Prophet Sall’Allahu Alayhi Wa’alihi Wasallam, after accepting Islam. Different references about bayat of repentance and piety given in Hadith are mentioned as under:
- Hazrat Abada Bin Saamat narrates:
Meaning: When a group of companions of the Holy Prophet Sall’Allahu Alayhi Wa’alihi Wasallam was present, he Sall’Allahu Alayhi Wa’alihi Wasallam said, “Swear oath of allegiance with me that you will:
- Believe in Oneness of Allah
- Not steal
- Not keep extra-marital relations
- Not kill your children
- Not put false accusations on anyone
- Not disobey in any good affair
Amongst you, one who will be loyal in his pledge, his reward is due on Allah, and whoever does any unlawful act, its upto Allah whether He hides his act, forgives or punishes him.” (Hazrat Abada bin Saamat Razi Allah Anhu says), so we took oath of allegiance with the Holy Prophet Sall’Allahu Alayhi Wa’alihi Wasallam upon all these matters. (Bukhari Sharif-Vol:1 pg 7-Vol:2 page 1112, Mishkawat Sharif-pg13, Nisai-Vol:2 pg 80, Kanzul-Amal hadith no. 1521, Tibrani Vol:8-pg-70)
- Hazrat Abada bin Samat Razi Allah Anhu narrates more:
Meaning: “We promised the Holy Prophet Sall’Allahu Alayhi Wa’alihi Wasallam to obey him in all conditions, convenience and hardship, happiness and sorrow and even in the state when someone else is made superior to us. We also promised that we will not fight over the matter of government of the deserving person and will speak the truth and shall not fear from harm of the person speaking against Allah’s affairs.” (Ibn-e-Maja Pg 211, Bukhari Sharif vol:2 pg 1069, Nisai vol:2 pg 179)
Both the above hadiths are the proof of the oath of allegiance of repentance and piety, after embracing Islam, and this is the base of the oath to the saints and the great mashaikhs who are spiritual successors of the Holy Prophet Sall’Allahu Alayhi Wa’alihi Wasallam. The objective of such oath to the Men of Islam (saints) is that a Muslim who has already entered Islam should be repentant on his sins, spiritually resolved in Zikr-e-Elahi (invoke Allah’s Name) and praying Allah while renouncing the worldly lusts, to return towards Allah and to cover the spiritual waystations with patience and perseverance under the guidance of that wali (friend of Allah). The oath of repentance and piety (Bayat-e-Tauba-o-Taqwa) has always been continued among the faithfuls (momineen) for the enhancement of the faith. It has never been disconnected from the time of Holy Prophet Sall’Allahu Alayhi Wa’alihi Wasallam till today. Although, its forms have been changing according to the demands of the time. Its first and foremost form is the same which had been the Sunnah of the Holy Prophet Sall’Allahu Alayhi Wa’alihi Wasallam i.e. to swear oath at the sacred hands of the Imam or Khalifah (the possessor of Allah’s Trust). This form of oath had been continued during the Rashidun Caliphate. After Hazrat Ali Karam Allah Wajhu, when Hazrat Imam Hassan Razi Allah Anhu took the responsibility of caliphate for a few months, he also took the oath of repentance and piety alongwith that of Khilafat.
Since Yazid had raised an uproar on the matter of oath of caliphate of Hazrat Imam Hussain Razi Allah Anhu to such an extent that he had gone through blasphemy, oppression and tyranny against the Holy Grandson of Rasool Sall’Allahu Alayhi Wa’alihi Wasallam and his Ahl-e-Bait (the sacred family), so the great Mashaikhs (the spiritual mentors) wisely adopted the policy of segregating the oath of allegiance of repentance and piety from the oath of caliphate at all. This decision was taken by the spiritual mentors also because the physical caliphate went into the hands of such rulers who were incapable to give spiritual beneficence to the ummah in any way, rather they were harmful for their religion.
Therefore, after the martyrdom of Hazrat Imam Hussain Razi Allah Anhu, Khawaja Hassan Basri Razi Allah Anhu changed the form of the oath of repentance and piety as well. So that, the rulers might not think it as an oath of caliphate which had been a danger to them. Thus, he started granting his followers a Khirqa (a patched cloak, symbol of the spiritual traveller) or an Amama (a turban) which was a symbol for the disciple to be obedient to his mentor and having the right of getting spiritual beneficence from him. To grant a Khirqa was a prudently adopted form of Bayat-e-tauba-o-taqwa, but its aims and objectives were the same as those of the oath mentioned above. Or to say, return to Allah being repentant on sins.
The sufis and saints called this act of granting Khirqa as the replacement of oath of allegiance (qaeem muqam bayat). But after a long period, when the rulers, kings and sultans left the custom of oath taking and all their fears from the spiritual leaders faded away, then the sufis and saints revived this dead sunnah and restarted the bayat-e-taqwa in the same was and form as was in the time of The Holy Prophet.
So the oath of repentance and piety is such a great and sacred sunnah which has been perpetuated in every era in one way or the other, and the Holy Prophet’s caliphs and successor saints are the only ones to keep this sacred sunnah alive forever.
The credit goes to Hazrat Shaikh Mohiyyuddin Abdul Qadir Jilani Razi Allah Anhu, the revitalizer of the true faith (deen), for reinitiating the Bayat of tauba and taqwa. He got his khirqa, while swearing oath of allegiance, from his spiritual mentor Hazrat Abu Saeed Mubarak Makhzoomi Rehmat-ul-Allah Alayh. On presenting this Khirqa, he said to him, “O’ Abdul Qadir, it was presented to Hazrat Ali Karam Allah Wajhu by the Lord of the Universe Sall’Allahu Alayhi Wa’alihi Wasallam. Then he granted it to Hazrat Khawaja Hassan Basri and then it reached me hand to hand”.
Shaikh Nadvi writes in his book “Rijal-ul-Fikr fil Dawat fil-Islam” that Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani opened the door of oath taking and repentance through which the people from every nook and corner of the world entered Islam and they renewed their promise with Allah that they would never involve in infidelity, oppression, committing crimes and would renounce the worldliness. They would never forget their religious obligations and the hereafter. Neither would they involve in falsehood nor the wrong innovations (bidat) in the religion. The door opened by Allah through him let infinite number of people enter it. Their deeds and spiritual states improved and they became best Muslims. Hazoor Ghaus-ul-Azam arranged for their spiritual training, safe guard and self accountability. His disciples became responsible members of the society after Bayat-e-Tauba and renovation of their faith. This proves that the Bayat and oath taking with the sufi saints plays a very important role in individual sanctity and collective betterment.
From the above mentioned references it is proved that the Bayat-e-tauba-o-taqwa not only is the highly significant sunnah according to the Quran and hadith but is also included in the sunnah of the sacred companions and the saints. So like all the basic accessories of the religion like tauheed, prayers, zakat, fasting, Hajj and Jihad (religious fight), it is also perpetuated even today. Although, the fake critics who have incomplete and superficial knowledge of religion, neglecting its importance, raise objections against it and call it infidelity and polytheism. They do not realize that an act proved by the Quran and Sunnah and the actions of the great people of the Ummah, if proclaimed as infidelity, is a great infidelity in itself. Allah says:
Meaning: Do you believe in some of the parts of the Quran and deny the others.
The scholars (Ulma) have agreed upon it that the denier of a part of the Quran is the denier of the whole Quran. These people act upon those orders of the Quran which they feel easy and according to their wishes and object the ones which are unpleasant for their pride. Not only they reject them and do not obey them rather they forbid others too. It is written in “Fayooz-ul-Bari”, the exegesis of Bukhari Sharif, that when you see someone forbidding something or declaring anything unlawful or prohibited in Islam, then he is also responsible for providing the proof for his claim. If he fails to prove his claim on the basis of authentic laws of Islam, he is a reprobate. Since the deniers have no argument against bayat according to the Islamic law, so are included among the damned ones. These people try to mislead the commoners by this hollow argument that there is no need to take oath in the presence of the Quran and Sunnah. This argument is as illogical as is their intellect. The need of Bayat was vital even in the life of the Holy Prophet Sall’Allahu Alayhi Wa’alihi Wasallam. The Quran, revealed upon him, cannot be more powerful than his holy self; it did not have the power to guide the people without a leader who would practically teach them what is written theoretically in Quran. Even during the presence of Hazoor Alayhi Salat-o-Salam there was a need of oath taking. Thus, in his absence its need increased far more. These people consider Quran and Sunnah as the replacement of oath taking and admit them as their guide, but negate their own opinion by denying the importance of Bayat approved by the same guide.
Oath taking of Women
The critics object and humiliate the oath taking of women even more vigorously than that of men. Though, in the Quran and Hadith the description about the women’s oath taking is found separately. It is especially mentioned, so that these objectors may be countered.
In the Surah Al-Mumtehna Allah says:
Meaning: Oh Nabi (Sall’Allahu Alayhi Wa’alihi Wasallam) when the faithful (momin) women come to you for oath taking that they will never make partners with Allah and will not steal nor will they commit adultery, or kill their children and slander anybody with their hand and foot (or never accuse anybody falsely) neither would they make false witness nor disobey the Holy Prophet Sall’Allahu Alayhi Wa’alihi Wasallam pertaining to the orders of the Islamic law, then, accept their oath and pray for their salvation, no doubt, Allah is The Merciful and Beneficent.
This verse about the Bayat of women is such an explicit argument which can be rejected only by an envious, proud and the denier of the Quran. From this holy verse, it is also obvious that it was not the oath of Islam rather it was an oath of repentance and piety because, at the beginning of the verse, there is the description of “faithful” ladies (mominat) who came to Hazoor Alayhi Salat-o-Salam for oath taking. It is quite clear that the ladies had already embraced Islam and were swearing oath of repentance and piety being Muslims. The description of the oath taking of mominat is also found in the holy hadiths abundantly. Hazrat Salma Bint-e-Qais Razi Allah Anha says, “I was present in the court of the Holy Prophet Sall’Allahu Alayhi Wa’alihi Wasallam and swore my oath with the other ladies of Ansaar. The Holy Prophet Sall’Allahu Alayhi Wa’alihi Wasallam took our oath on the condition that we must not involve in polytheism, neither steal nor involve in adultery, neither murder our offsprings nor slander anyone and neither we will disobey the orders about virtuous deeds, and then he forbade us to deceive our husbands. We swore our oath and returned.” (Musnad Ahmad, Abu Ya’ala, Tibrani)
Hazrat Umaima Bint-e-Zuqaiqa Razi Allah Anha says that I was present alongwith the other women at Holy Prophet’s court and said, “Ya Rasool Allah Sall’Allahu Alayhi Wa’alihi Wasallam we swear oath at the condition that we would neither make partners with Allah nor steal or involve in adultery. Neither would kill our offsprings nor accuse anybody, nor disobey in the matters of good deeds. Then the Holy Prophet Sall’Allahu Alayhi Wa’alihi Wasallam inquired, “Among these, upon which things do you have power and authority?” We replied, “Allah and His Rasool Sall’Allahu Alayhi Wa’alihi Wasallam are more merciful upon us than ourselves. Please! honour us with your sacred presence so that, we could swear oath on your sacred hand”. On it, Hazoor Sall’Allahu Alayhi Wa’alihi Wasallam explained, “I do not shake hands with women. My saying for one woman is equal to my address to hundred ladies”. (Ibn-e-Maja, Hadith No. 2874, Masnad Ahmad volume 2 page 357, Kanzul Amal Hadith no. 475-476, Dur-e-Manshoor volume 8 page 138)
The Holy Prophet Sall’Allahu Alayhi Wa’alihi Wasallam used to take hands of the men in his own sacred hands while oath taking but for the ladies’ bayat, he adopted different methods at different times. Initially, he took oral oath, then he started the method of oath taking that he used to put his sacred hand in one side of a big pot full of water and in the other side, the ladies would put their hands and swear oath. Afterwards, he adopted the method that the ladies held one end of a piece of cloth and he used to hold the other end. He never ever took oath of the ladies by holding their hands. After him, his successors (Khulfa) and the sufis continued the same method. Now a days also, the Murshid Kamil Akmal uses the method of cloth holding while taking the oath of the ladies.
Inspite of the clear proofs of the oath taking of women present in the Quran and Hadith, the people who object it are narrow minded and malicious, who think of woman as a trivial thing of use only, having low value. They think that a woman has no right to progress in the world and the religion. Her only job is to serve man. They are frightened of the awareness of the woman. They fear that if she gets the education of the world and the religion, then she will become aware of the rights which Allah has fixed for her as a person of Allah. What would happen of the men’s authority who think themselves better than the women regarding their wisdom and sensibility. Although, Allah has not discriminated man and woman while conferring them with wisdom and sensibility, rather He granted the blessing of intelligence and wisdom to whom He wished, without the difference of sex. These fools do not know that if the woman progresses in religion, not only she will become aware of her own rights, but will also get the awareness of the rights of the man and her own duties. Then she will perform her duties and serve her family better than before, according to the commands of Allah for His consent and pleasure.
Another problem of these men is that their own minds are full of lust and filth. Therefore, just as they have their lustful eyes on other women, similarly, they think that the men of Allah (Auliya Allah) who have been allowed by the Holy Prophet Sall’Allahu Alayhi Wa’alihi Wasallam to take oath of tariqat (spiritual path) ‘God forbid’ are the men like them, whom women should not visit to get spiritual beneficence. Their own mirror of inner self is so dirty that the purity and the Divine Light of the sacred faces of men of Allah seem to them as dirt. Obviously, the wali (saint), who is appointed at the throne of Divine persuasion and guidance, by the Holy Prophet Sall’Allahu Alayhi Wa’alihi Wasallam, cannot be an ordinary person like them. Rather, his highest status is beyond the thoughts and perceptions of these irrational people. Therefore it is unlawful to stop the women who want to have the spiritual beneficence and the marifat of Allah (true knowledge) through oath taking of a perfect mystic (wali-e-Kamil). Although, it is essential to be careful of the deceit and fraud of this era, as it is widely common these days. Before oath taking, it should be confirmed whether the oath taker is actually designated at willayat (sainthood) and a follower of Islamic law (shariat) or not. But to consider the perfect Auliya Allah similar to the fake pirs and to forbid others from getting their spiritual beneficence is unfair.
It is promised by Allah that the men and women who are His true seekers and are really set out to find out a perfect wali for the sake of getting marifat of Allah, Allah will help them Himself and never let them be entangled into the trap of the deceivers. Allah says:
Meaning: And those who toil hard for My closeness, I certainly guide them Myself in My way.
The woman possesses the same right as the man, to seek Allah and His Love, the Prophet Sall’Allahu Alayhi Wa’alihi Wasallam and his love, the Islamic faith and to get education about it. Allah has made woman equal to man and kept His spiritual relation with her at the same basis. The souls appeared in the world, in the bodily covers of man and woman because they had to perform their respective duties to run the system of this world. Otherwise, infact the soul is neither a man nor a woman and every soul has the relation of Ishq (an ardent love) with Allah, be it a man or a woman. The right to progress spiritually and to have the vision of Allah reaching at the status of Meraj i.e. ascension to the Divine Self, is equal for a man and a woman. Hence, it is totally unfair and cruelty to stop the ladies from receiving the spiritual beneficence of a perfect Murshid. So, the true women seeking for the Truth (Haq) must not pay heed to such devils who create hurdles between Allah and themselves, rather such people should be ignored thinking them as the dogs of the path, and the spiritual journey to Allah should be continued with steadfastness. No doubt! Allah will soon remove these hurdles due to their patience and steadfastness. (Inshallah)
The need of Bayat and its importance
The one and only purpose of the creation of man in the Quranic language is that
Meaning: And we created Jins and Human beings merely for our worship (Ibadat). (Al-Zariat-56)
If the purpose of the creation of human being is only to worship Allah then the purpose of every action, work and thought of a person should also be only the worship of Allah because the purpose for which anything is made for, only that purpose is fulfilled by that thing. But the human being, lost in the needs and luxuries of this material and immortal world, forgets the purpose of his creation and turns the direction of all his actions, deeds, thoughts and even prayers towards the world or the Heaven, deviating from his Rab (Allah). Undoubtedly, he does this being a man (Bashar), a combination of good and evil. Until he does not receive the righteousness (hidayat) from Allah, he cannot be blamed because he has forgotten his pre-eternal relation with Allah on coming to this world, so his body and self are inclined towards the world and the worldly needs. Therefore, Allah has been creating the sources and waseelas (means) of righteousness, from the very beginning of this world. The sources and the waseelas have always been in the form of the same ‘human being’ who is a man like the other humans in his appearance, lives like them among them, but inwardly his relation with Allah is stronger and deeper than all the others. Because of this strong relation, he finds righteousness directly from Allah and becomes the waseela and the source of transferring it to others. It has been the principle of Allah that He sends righteousness to man always through the source and means of a man. Even he says:
Meaning: If (for the righteousness of people) we would have sent an angel, it must have been in the form of a man.
Thus Allah is explaining very clearly about the source and waseela of the righteousness that it can only be a male man. So, the source and waseela of the righteousness have always been the “Perfect Men” in every era, who have been honouring this world in the form of the Prophets before Hazoor Alayhi Salat-o-Salam and after the Holy Prophet Sall’Allahu Alayhi Wa’alihi Wasallam in the form of his Khulfa (successors). How can it be possible that Allah has been arranging for the righteousness of His men continually since the very outset of life but He has ended this succession for the last fourteen hundred years. According to some people the only source of righteousness now is the Quran but in the beginning of the Quran Allah Himself says about the Quran:
Meaning: Several people have gone astray by this Quran and many find righteousness from it, but (only) those people go astray who (whose soul and inward) are polluted with sinfulness.
It means, unless, his inward (batin) or to say, his soul is not cleansed and purified with the spiritually effective sight of a Perfect Man, his sinfulness will never be removed, even he cannot get righteousness by the Quran rather, he will find only depravity. “” (sinfulness) is a vast term which includes all the spiritual and inner diseases like pride, arrogance, vanity, greed, envy, malice, avarice, self conceit, lust etc. due to which man diverts from the path of Islamic law. Except the Prophets nobody is free from these diseases, or those men of perfection (Mardan-e-Kamileen) are free from these spiritual diseases who have been absolved from them by the beneficence of a Perfect saint. These men of perfection possess the spiritual power that removes “” present within the souls of others, making them capable of gaining righteousness from the Quran as Allah says about the Quran that:
Meaning: No one can touch this (Quran) but the pure people. (Al-Waqia-79)
The word “Mutahharoon” in the above verse does not refer only to the physically clean people but the inwardly and the spiritually pure ones. “Touch” means to reach to its reality and the true essence. Whose soul is pure, only he can reach the sacred soul of the Quran and its true Divine message hidden under the veil of apparent words. Otherwise, who learns only the Arabic grammar and thinks the outer words as the true message, his depravity is certain because unless “” is not removed from his inner self (batin), he cannot get to the true soul of Quran. The Quran is a prescription for the cure of inner diseases but merely through a prescription nobody can get recovery from illness, unless there is a doctor to tell the correct method of using this prescription. The person who will try to cure himself only by reading the words written on the prescription without the guidance of a doctor would be harmed only, by this prescription.
Just like in the physical world, it is not possible to learn any skill without a teacher or to walk on any path without the guidance of somebody, even if the destination is known still if somebody does not inform which turns will lead to the destination, nobody can reach the destination, surely he will go astray. Similarly, it is essential to have a guide on the spiritual and the internal (batni) path of closeness to Allah, as a layman is entirely unfamiliar to this path. The satan is also ambushed at every point to make the people go astray.
This path, can never be travelled through without a guide. When there is no option without a guide in the world of senses, then how can the spiritualism, which is beyond the boundary of the five senses, be gone through without a guide! That is why, Allah Himself says in the Quran:
Meaning: Ask the people of invocation (Ahl-e-Zikr) if you do not know.
Ahl-e-Zikr means the same Men of perfection whose souls have reached at the Divine station of Fana Fillah (annihilation in Allah) by being absolutely cleansed and purified with the invocation of Allah (Zikr-e-Elahi). Now, they have become familiar to the Divine Path and are capable of guiding others by granting them spiritual purity with their spiritual powers. Allah orders as below:
Meaning: Adopt the company of the truthfuls.
Every command of Allah has the status of an obligation. Hence, to adopt the company of the Sadiqeen (truthfuls) or Auliya Allah, who are the true comrades of Allah, is compulsory. If Allah is ordering to ask the “Ahl-e-Zikr” and adopt the companionship of the Sadiqeen, then it is quite obvious that He must have also kept these “Ahl-e-Zikr” and “Sadiqeen” existing in every age for the guidance of people. If these people have not existed, then, why would the order to have their company be delivered. Every command of the Quran is for every age, as it is universal. The Quran was revealed in the sacred life of the Holy Prophet Sall’Allahu Alayhi Wa’alihi Wasalam and on its very completion he passed away, it means, the command is more important for the people after him, and Sadiqeen means his Khulfa and successors coming after him. These people are the source and means (waseela) of the righteousness after the physical death of Hazoor Alayhi Salat-o-Salam and Allah is ordering to find out these very persons, in the following verse (ayat):
Meaning: O’ faithfuls, adopt piety and search waseela towards Allah and do jihad (religious combat) in His path, so that, you would find betterment (Falah).
In the book “Qaul-ul-Jamil” Shah Wali ul Allah Muhaddas Dehlvi writes in the explanation of this verse, “Here waseela neither means the faith because the faithfuls are already being addressed (in the words of ) nor the pious deeds like the prayer, fasting, zakat (charity) etc. because the physical worships are included in piety (taqwa). Thus, here waseela refers to iradat (devotion), bayat and the Murshid (mentor) of spiritual path (tareeqat).”
Similarly, Maulvi Ismael Dehlvi, who is the leader of deniers of bayat and the perfect murshids, defines waseela in these words, meaning: “Waseela refers to that person who is very close to Allah in His nearness and sainthood”. When Allah ordered to ‘search’ waseela, obviously, it did not refer to an invisible thing, for example, faith, taqwa, devotion etc. because these cannot be searched, the search could be possible only for a Perfect and Universal Man (Mard-e-Kamil) whose reality is unknown among the people. This ayat also clarifies that the false and fraud pirs found everywhere are not capable enough to be called or become “waseela”, because they are not needed to be searched for. They are publicizing themselves by commercials. Waseela can only be that person who is with Allah regarding his inner self but not famous and popular apparently in the world and does not reveal his spiritual status with his own tongue among the people. In surah Bani Israeel verse 57, Allah Himself defines wasila as:
Meaning: “They look for waseela towards their Rab that who is the man among them who is near and beloved to Allah.”
In Surah Luqman too, Allah commands to obey His special Men of perfection, which is also a form of the order of taking oath and following such auliya (saints):
Meaning: Follow the path of him who returned to Me. (Surah Luqman-15)
Allah says more:
Meaning: Obey Allah and obey His Rasool (Sall’Allahu Alayhi Wa’alihi Wasallam) and him who is Oulil Amr (chosen in authority) among you.
The order to obey and follow Allah and His Rasool Sall’Allahu Alayhi Wa’alihi Wasallam is being delivered alongwith another Human being’s obedience. Surely, this Oulil Amr man can be such a perfect Wali whose command is the same as that of Allah and His Rasool Sall’Allahu Alayhi Wa’alihi Wasallam and whose path and ways are the same as Rasool Sall’Allahu Alayhi Wa’alihi Wasallam. Who is also the vice and the Khalifah of Allah and His Prophet. Certainly, there must be at least one such individual ever present in the world, that is why, the Quran is ordering to follow him. No doubt, Oulil Amr cannot refer to the worldly rulers, as their path and deeds are usually against the commandments of Allah and His Prophet Sall’Allahu Alayhi Wa’alihi Wasallam. Following them would make it impossible to follow and obey Allah and His Prophet. Hence, to follow and obey Allah and His Prophet Sall’Allahu Alayhi Wa’alihi Wasallam it is essential to find out an Oulil Amr, the Perfect Man, who has reached at the highest station of the Divine nearness by following Allah and His Prophet perfectly.
- In Surah Bani Israel Allah says:
Meaning: “Whoever follows the righteous path, he does it for his own success and whoever gets astray, bears the burden of his depravity himself and the bearer of the burden would never share the burden (sins) of any other and We absolutely do not punish, so long as, We send a messenger (the guide to show the path of righteousness)”. (Suran Bani Israel-15)
This ayat proves that Allah always keeps sending His special Men for guiding people towards righteousness in every age, either in the form of Prophets or in the form of Auliya and He will not punish anyone as long as He does not arrange for his righteousness, if he follows the one who already possesses righteousness, then there is salvation for him and if not, then the punishment is for him.
We pray in Surah Fatiha during our five times prayers daily:
Meaning: “O Allah! Make us follow the straight path. The path of those whom you rewarded”.
But do not take pain to search such rewarded people and to follow them. We think that rewarded people are only the Prophets who have passed away from this world and so the group of the rewarded people of Allah ended from this world. Only the punished and wrath stricken group is left back. God forbid! If such had happened, the doomsday would have befallen so far. This is the blessing of the existence of this rewarded group that the sky still rains, the earth grows crops, the sun rises and life goes on. Every soul is taking birth in this world with a hope to receive righteousness from them. Allah Himself explains about the rewarded ones in surah Al Nisa ayat 29:
Meaning: The person who obeys Allah and His Rasool Sall’Allahu Alayhi Wa’alihi Wasallam, he will be alongwith those people upon whom Allah bestows His reward on the doomsday and they are the Prophets, Sidiqeen (people of truth), Saliheen (the pious ones) and the martyrs who are very nice companions.
Among these rewarded people, the series of Prophets was sealed upon the last Prophet Sall’Allahu Alayhi Wa’alihi Wasallam, but the chain of Sidiqeen and Saliheen will be continued till the doomsday. Therefore, Allah ordered to keep the company of Sidiqeen and Saliheen instead of Prophets in
Their physical as well as spiritual company can be adopted only after bayat with these perfect auliya. Thus, all the verses containing Allah’s commandment of acquiring company of His beloved men, obeying them and following their path are infact included in the order of oath taking to these auliya. So the order of oath taking (bayat) is included in the religious obligations as it is clear that every command of Allah given in the Quran has the status of obligation for the true Muslims. According to the ayat 85 of surah Al Baqra referred before, which means “you believe in some of the Quranic parts and deny some of them”, the denier of one context or a command is the denier of its totality. The denier of the commands of Allah is the denier of Allah, the denier of bayat is the denier of the Quran, the denier of Sunnah and the denier of Allah and His Rasool Sall’Allahu Alayhi Wa’alihi Wasallam.
- Allah says in Surah Bani Israel:
Meaning: On the doomsday, every person will be called alongwith his Imam (the followed one, Murshid). (Surah Bani Israel-17)
He who had not found out his Imam or Murshid, he would be alone on the day of judgment or his Imam would be satan because it would be easier for the devil to get him depraved in the absence of a true guide. It should be clarified that some interpreters derive meaning “the Prophets” from the word in the above mentioned ayat, though Allah used the word “imam” instead of Nabi. If it was meant Nabi (Prophet) of every nation (Ummah), then Allah would have used the word ‘Nabi’. Moreover, the relation with the Nabi is also developed through the oath taking with the Murshid Kamil. As, according to the ayat 10 of Surah Fatah, Allah set the principle that the bayat with Nabi is the bayat with Allah by calling the oath taking with Rasool Sall’Allahu Alayhi Wa’alihi Wasallam as that of with Allah Himself. Similarly the bayat with the Khalifah of the Nabi is the bayat with the Nabi and so the chain reaches to the Wali-e-Kamil (perfect Mentor) of the present era. Hence, who will take oath with the perfect wali today, his bayat will approach Hazoor Alayhi Salat-o-Salam and Allah through several means and waseelas and the relation will be developed with them.
The explicit orders of searching the perfect wali i.e. the Murshid Kamil of the concerned era and of acquiring his company are found in the hadiths.
- Hazoor Sall’Allahu Alayhi Wa’alihi Wasallam says:Meaning: First find the guide then set on journey.Meaning: He is faithless who has no shaikh (murshid).
Meaning: Who possesses no murshid, his murshid is Satan.
Meaning: Who died in a state that he had not taken bayat of a murshid Kamil (Perfect Mentor), he died in ignorance.
Meaning: A Shaikh (Murshid Kamil) among his community (followers) is like a Prophet among his Ummah.
Meaning: Who does not discover the Imam of his time with his insight, will die in ignorance.
The auliya kamileen (perfect saints) who have been designated at the highest levels of spiritual purity, gained these levels by acting upon these orders of the Quran and Hadith. A mystic of the highest level also had sworn oath to certain perfect mystic and trained by him. If the leader of all the saints Hazrat Ghaus-ul-Azam Razi Allah Anhu had to swear oath to Hazrat Abu Saeed Makhzoomi to cover the spiritual waystations, then how can we, the commoners and imperfect muslims be so spiritually pure to have contact with Allah without a medium of some perfect friend of Allah!
- Maulana Rome says:Meaning: Nobody can gain anything without a specialist, just like, no piece of an iron can become a dagger unless it is handled by a black smith and a confectioner cannot by himself becomes an expert of his job until he learn this skill from an expert confectioner. Then, Maulana Rome tells that even he could not have become Maulana Rome from a mere maulvi by himself until he had not adopted the slavery of his Murshid Shah Shams Tabrez.
- He says:Meaning: A moment’s company of sacred auliya is better than the sincere worship of hundred years.
- Ghaus-ul-Azam Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani Razi Allah Anhu expresses in these words.
- O’ people of Allah! You are in a material world of ways and means, so you need a mediam (waseela). Ask for a doctor (Murshid) from your Rab who would cure the diseases of your souls. Ask for a curer who prescribes you the medicine, seek such a guide who really guides you towards the true path of salvation. Get the nearness of the beloveds of Allah who are also very near and respectful to Him and are the custodians of the doors of the Divine path. (Al Fatah-ul-Rabbani-Malfozat-e-Ghausia)
- Find such a man (Murshid) who is the mirror to the face of your religion (deen). You would look into it as you look into a mirror and correct your face, turban and hair in a proper form. Be a wise man, renounce the lust and appetites of the world. You proclaim (out of your pride) that you do not need anyone to train and educate you. Though, the lord of both the worlds Sall’Allahu Alayhi Wa’alihi Wasallam tells, “Momin (faithful) is the mirror for a momin”. When the faith of a Perfect Muslim is rectified, he becomes a mirror for all the creature. As, they see the faces of their religion in the mirror of his conversation during his meeting and nearness (and improve it). (Al-Fatah-ul-Rabbani Majlis-61)
- O’ the traveller of the path of the world! do not be separated from the caravan, guide and the companions. Otherwise, your life and wealth and everything will be lost. O’ traveller of the path of the hereafter! you must ever remain alongwith the Murshid Kamil (Perfect Mentor), he will let you reach the destination. Serve him with devotion on this path, regard him and never be indifferent to his opinion. He will teach you the true knowledge and let you close to Allah. (Al-Fatah-ul-Rabbani Majlis-50)
- In this regard, Sultan-ul-Arifeen Hazrat Sakhi Sultan Bahoo Rehmat-ul-Allah Alayh expresses:
- The union with Allah is impossible without the guidance of an accomplished Perfect Murshid. The path of marifat (mystic knowledge of Allah) and the nearness and union with Allah goes through the door of Shariat (Islamic Law). Therefore, on both sides of the door of the Islamic Law the devil is ambushed with all of his army against the seeker of Allah. Firstly, he does not let any son of Adam come at the door of Shariat. Anyways, if a courageous man arrives at the door of Shariat (Prayer, Fast, Zakat, Hajj), then the satanic group tries to stop him at the threshold of Shariat and involves him in the superficial scenes of the adornment of Shariat. He does not let anybody approach the soul of Shariat. If a lucky seeker of Allah dares to step ahead, the devil endeavours to stop him or try to let him go astray with much more force and uses every tactic to stop him. When the seeker of Allah, passing through the door of Shariat, enters the kingdom of his inward (batin), he has to wade through the vast and difficult jungle of inclination of the people (the creation seek his help for the solution of difficulties of the world). If at this point the seeker does not possess the company and guidance of a perfect Murshid, he goes astray in the jungle of the inclination of the creation and is killed. Just like, the knowledge of the Shariat cannot be learnt without a teacher, similarly, the esoteric knowledge (of the soul) is impossible to learn without the help of a perfect Murshid. As, the sight of the Murshid is such an alchemy which removes the impurities from the being of the seeker and makes him capable of having bright insight and conscience. (Ain-ul-Faqr)
- The Perfect Mentor is familiar with every path and every waystation of the inward (Batin) and is a problem solver of every difficulty of the inner self. The Murshid Kamil is the name of the Divine favour (taufeeq-e-Elahi). Unless, the Divine favour is not involved in the affairs, nothing can be done. Without the Murshid Kamil, if you devote your whole life to ascetic discipline and hard mystic exercises, it is useless, as the mentorless or the guideless person can never find Allah. Murshid Kamil Akmal is like a sensible captain of a ship who knows every skill of sailing and saves the ship from wreckage taking it out of every calamity and hurricane. The mentor himself is a ship and himself is a captain. (Those who can, will understand). (Ain-ul-Faqr)
- Waseelat (Murshid) is better than the Fazeelat (knowledge). While committing sin, knowledge (Fazeelat) cannot prevent a man from it, rather waseelat prevents him from committing a sin. (Ain-ul-Faqr)
- In this regard, Sultan-ul-Arifeen Hazrat Sakhi Sultan Bahoo Rehmat-ul-Allah Alayh expresses:
- Hazrat Abu Hamid Imam Ghazali says:
“To enter the class of the sacred sufis (oath taking to Murshid Kamil) is an important obligation. As, nobody is exempted from faults and the diseases of the soul, except the Prophets”. He says, “Initially, I was a denier of the spiritual states of the Saliheen (the pures) and the stations of Arifeen (the knowers of Allah), unless I was benefitted by the slavery and the company of my Mentor Hazrat Yousaf Nisaj. He had been cleansing my soul with mujahida (religious endeavour) till I was honoured with the Divine experiences and the Vision (deedar) of Allah.”
Inspite of knowing the importance of bayat with reference to Quran and Sunnah and accepting it as an obligation (farz) and wajib, if people are still hesitant from bayat, then its reason is the widespread fraud and deceit and the abundance of fake pirs these days. Though, it is decided that whose own intention (neeyat) is correct and whose demand is not this deceitful world but only Allah, he can never be trapped by these deceivers. Every person receives what he desires and seeks. If he seeks this deceptive world then he will find the fraud pirs (guides). If he is seeking paradise and its blessings, he will find such mentors who will get him tired of excessive prayers, forty days seclusions and specific spiritual exercises because these are required to fulfill the desire of heaven.
Although, one who sets out to search a perfect mentor with the desire of reaching close to Allah, Allah Himself is his supporter and protector. As He has said, “The people who try and struggle to come towards Me, I Myself show them the ways towards Me” (Al Ankaboot-69). Whose demand and intention is true, if initially he goes at some wrong place, Allah soon guides him towards the right place automatically. Hence, it is necessary to rectify your own intention and demand first, instead of blaming the fraud mentors.
- Sultan-ul-Faqr Hazrat Sakhi Sultan Mohammad Asghar Ali Rehmat-ul-Allah Alayh says:
I have heard from the people that now a days, the perfect Murshids are rare and the fake, fraud, deceitful pirs are available in the disguise of Murshids everywhere. Brother! If you would go for the sake of the immortal world and the pleasures of heaven, then you must face the same type of people. A true seeker who is desirous of the closeness of Allah sincerely, will never fall into the hands of wrong people because Allah, in whose search he has come out, is his protector. Rectify your desire before you look for your Murshid, you will find the destination. As the people seeking Allah and His recognition are no more, hence, the Murshid Kamil Akmal has also hidden himself from the worldly people. Once again, I assure you, search out Murshid for reaching Allah with sincerity and true heart removing all the prejudices from your mind, you will find your destination.
- Hazrat Shah Syed Mohammad Zauqi tells some important things to recognize the true Murshid:
- Visit that sheikh and notice that as long as you were sitting there, whether you felt less worldly dangers, satanic suggestions and perceptions in your heart or not. Whether, the passion for Allah and Rasool Sall’Allahu Alayh Wa’alihi Wasallam was also created in your heart or not. After getting out of that place, may the state of your heart return to usual, but the time you stayed there, did you feel any change within yourself or not?
- Did the disciples or followers of that shaikh feel any spiritual change within themselves after becoming his followers, or not. What was their plight before becoming his disciples and what kind of change they felt afterwards.
- As long as, you remained in his company, did he utter such words which were according to your spiritual states, and did you feel any satisfaction with those words? Did his words solve any of your problems or unveil any secret upon you?
If you get a good opinion about these three matters then blindly swear oath on the hands of that shaikh because then you would not find a shaikh better than him as for as your betterment and righteousness are concerned.
Renewal and revival of bayat
Now a days, another problem which has been created due to the abundance of imperfect mentors, is that people swear oath at any available Murshid’s hand, without verifying his authenticity, even if he is imperfect or fake. This is so, because they do not want to take the pain of searching for a true and perfect Murshid. After bayat, they imagine themselves free from fulfilling this sunnah whether they gain spiritual beneficence from it or not. This attitude is entirely wrong, one must know that if the mentor is imperfect and is not capable of benefitting his disciples then the bayat has not occurred at all. If the disciple does not feel any positive spiritual change after passing some time and could not feel himself free from the diseases of his soul, like pride, malice, vanity, conceit and greed etc. inspite of acting upon his mentor’s prescribed spiritual exercises and could not feel the love of Allah and Rasool Sall’Allahu Alayhi Wa’alihi Wasallam awakening in his heart, then, he must not hesitate even a little bit to leave that imperfect Murshid and find out a perfect Murshid and swear oath on his hands. Because, the orders of bayat are similar to those of Nikkah, as both create a sacred and deep bond. Just like nikkah (marital bond) with an eunuch (she male) cannot happen, similarly, the bayat with an imperfect murshid cannot happen as well. Therefore, the soon one get rid of such murshid and return to a perfect Murshid, the better.
- After bayat, if it is known that the murshid is imperfect or does not belong to any spiritual chain and does not follow Shariat, then, the bayat has not happened. Even there is no need to break it, one must look for a perfect one.
- The descendants of a saint are often imperfect murshids who earn money and enjoy political status through the inheritance of the saint’s seat. They have no concern with spirituality. From their bayat, may Allah save everybody! They infact defame all the murshids. The insensible people, following their ancestor’s footsteps, swear oath with these inheritors of the saint’s physical seat, generation after generation. This is not spiritualism instead a devilishness. Hence, this bayat has not happened, so without breaking it one should return to the perfect Murshid for covering the true spiritual levels.
- If the Murshid has died and the disciple could not cover the spiritual waystations and his journey ended half way, even he has not become capable enough to be benefited from his murshid’s shrine, then the renewal of bayat is lawful, rather is must.
- If during the childhood, one takes oath under somebody’s influence without any understanding and now being grown up he finds himself inclined towards another murshid, he has the right to repeat oath.
- If a murshid does not pay any attention, at a stretch, to his disciple and does not train him spiritually, then the disciple can go to another shaikh, and it is lawful for the perfect murshid to take his oath and train him.
- If the murshid is lost and the disciple could not contact him physically and spiritually, and does not have any information about his whereabouts, then, in this situation bayat can be repeated with some perfect Murshid.
- According to Sultan-ul-Arifeen Hazrat Sakhi Sultan Bahoo, the most prominent sign for recognizing a true murshid is that a Murshid Kamil Akmal is the one who grants the seeker Sultan-ul-Azkar (the crown invocation Hoo) for invocation (zikr) and contemplation (tasawur) of Ism-e-Allah Zaat (the Personal Name of Allah) and orders him to do the exercise of inscribing the Name ‘Allah’ and ‘Hoo’ on his body (Mushq Murqoom-e-Wajudia). The murshid who cannot grant all this, is not capable of Divine guidance and instruction, so by breaking his bayat oath can be sworn on the hands of the Murshid Kamil Akmal who possesses all these qualities.