Lets Get Back to Basics
Reaching the Destination
The objective of Muslim’s life is to acquire the pleasure of Allah ta’ala. The acquisition of the pleasure of Allah is a Muslim’s true destination. In order to travel to the destination the traveller will need to tread a fixed path. This path is known as the Sirat-e-Mustaqeem.
If a person veers from this path then he will stray onto a side street and thus ultimately lose his way. The one who desires to reach Allah ta’ala is known as a Mureed. This is an Arabic term which means the one who desires.
In order to reach his destination the Mureed will need a guide who is familiar with the way. The guide aids the traveller by providing directions and instructions on how to avoid pitfalls and dangers during the journey. Such a guide is known as a Shaykh.
The similitude of the Mureed is like a person wanting to travel from Madeenah to Makkah. In order to reach Makkah he will have to take a taxi driven by an experienced guide.
The driver is the Shaykh. He knows the route well, and he is well aware of where to stop, and where to continue. He knows where the traveller will be able to acquire refreshment and he has knowledge of where the traveller can attain rest.
Finding a GuideThis is where, many people, unfortunately make mistakes. Firstly they don’t know how to choose a Shaykh and secondly they are not familiar with what Bay’at means. As with all things in life, we must first and foremost understand what we are undertaking and then adopt the correct method of accomplishing it.
One should think rationally when selecting someone as a guide. It is imperative that a person does not select someone as a Shaykh due to someone else’s influence or as a result of an upheaval of emotions.
An individual should only select someone as their guide once they have a basic understanding of what a Shaykh is and what the relationship with a Shaykh entails.
After acquiring this basic knowledge, one should endeavour to utilise the following criteria, highlighted by our pious predecessors, in order to find a guide who is authentic and reliable:
• The Shaykh should be from the masha’ikh haqqah. Thus he should be from amongst those who possess the right aqeedah and the necessary knowledge of the Shariah.
• The Shaykh should have received khilaafat (a recognition of expertise) by a Shaykh superior to him.
• His company should direct your attention towards Allah ta’ala and the hereafter whilst simultaneously decreasing your love for this world.
• The contemporary mashaaikh (plural of Shaykh) should hold the Shaykh in high esteem.
• The majority of people around the Shaykh should be those who are striving to reform their lives and practice Islam in totality.
But as with any journey it is important that a person ensures that the guide they select is the best for them personally. In order to ascertain this a person should consider three things.
1. You should have confidence in and admiration for the person whom you wish to select as your Shaykh.
2. The Shaykh should be a professional in the field.
3. There should be a good degree of compatibility between yourself and the Shaykh. This is extremely necessary. If this is not present then the Shaykh may not be able to understand your difficulties or you may not be able to understand the Shaykh’s advices and guidance.
It is important to remember that the Shaykh does not have to be the most renowned in the world. What matters is that the Shaykh needs to be the most beneficial for a person in that person’s particular situation.
What is Bay’at?Bay’at is defined as an allegiance and agreement between two parties. In the agreement with the Shaykh the Mureed makes a promise of repentance to Allah ta’ala and resolves that he will tread the straight path to reach Him.
The Shaykh acts as a witness to this oath. The Mureed agrees that he will, to the best of his ability, follow the guidance of the Shaykh. The Shaykh also agrees that he will guide the Mureed to the best of his ability.
The Shaykh will then, from time to time, issue instructions aimed at helping the Mureed progress spiritually. The guidance given by the Shaykh will be in light of the Shariah, and tailored to meet the Mureed’s personal circumstances. Thus the Shaykh will treat each Mureed differently.
After Bay’atFollowing Bay’at the Mureed should maintain constant contact with the Shaykh and inform the Shaykh of his spiritual condition either verbally or by letter/email. This is done so that the Shaykh can provide appropriate and comprehensive guidance. The Mureed should endeavour to follow fully any advice that the Shaykh gives.
The one who desires Allah will only be able to reach his destination if he strives to complete the journey. Only then will the Shaykh be able to aid the Mureed in purifying his inner self and acquiring the pleasure of Allah ta’ala.
Courtesy in Shaykh Company.