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The Reality of Bai’ah (oath of allegiance)
By: Hazrat Allama Professor Muhammad Maqsood Illahi Naqshbandi.

To perform an act of Bai’ah is the Sunnah of the Holy Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم. He accepted Bai’ah on various occasions. He accepted the Bai’ah of Mujhid-e-Islam (the one who fights for the cause of Allah) to lay his life in the way of Allah. The Holy Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم accepted the Bai’ah of non-Muslims to enter them in the folds of Islam. Besides this, he accepted the Bai’ah of Muslims on the repentance of their sins (Bai’ah-e-Tauba). The Holy Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم also accepted the Bai’ah of women for their pledge not to beat chests and rend their hair on the dead.Generally, the Bai’ah accepted by Sufia-e-ikram (spiritual guides) is the one taken on repentance of sins. The importance of this oath can be judged from the fact, that after it one becomes as free and innocent from sins, as a newly born baby. In this Bai’ah , person resolves whole heartedly to obey all the orders and injunctions of Allah and desist from all kind of sins and disobedience.
It is necessary for a Muslim to give up major sins and not insist on small or minor ones. He should act upon all the orders of Allah Almighty and do Zikr-e-Allah excessively, as told and guided by his Murshid. By the grace of Allah, within a few days, his heart will be filled with Divine contentment and satisfaction, and his whole being will soon be animated by the colour of Allah Almighty thoroughly. This person will be successful both in this world and the Hereafter. One should do this act of Bai’ah at the hands of such person, who has been blessed with the company of those Musheikhs (spiritual guides), who are direct spiritual descendants of the Holy Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم , through a continuous chain of Sufia Ikram in Tareeqat. The Sheikh should be well trained in spiritual discipline and reverence and respect, as the Holy Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم said, “my Lord has trained me with the best of manners and respect” Unless Murid (devotee) sees the one who has reached his goal, he can not find the way. When the worldly affairs can not be learnt without a guide, than how it comes, a purpose much higher and nobler can be achieved without a guide.
May Allah Almighty grant us perfect wisdom and discretion to help us tread the way of those who found His Eternal Bliss.

The Reality of a Wali
By: Qazi Muhammad Abid Hussein Naqshbandi Safi.

My dear brother, in order to know the reality of Wali Allah (friends of Allah), we first of all turn to the Holy Quran, so that, we can find the true meanings of Williat. This is important because these days many fake Pirs and so-called Walis have garbed themselves as Aulia-e-Akram, and claim to be possessor of Williat. Now we will co-relate the concept in the light of the Sunnah Mubarak.
The above-mentioned verse evidently shows the existence of Williat. It is to be understood that man has been blessed with some apparent and manifest qualities. These are the good deeds performed in accordance with the Holy Quran, Sunnah Mubarak and the right belief of Al-Sunnah-wal-Jammat. Similarly, man has been bestowed with some hidden or innate qualities: as Hazrat Umar (radiyallahu anhu) narrated in Shahi Bukhari and Muslim that once a stranger came in the company of the Holy Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم and asked about Islam. The Holy Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم replied, “to declare that there is no God but Allah, and Muhammad صلى الله عليه و سلم is His Last Prophet; to offer Salat (prayer) and give Zakat; to observe fast in the month of Ramadan and perform Hajj if one can afford to: this is Islam.”The companions of the Holy Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم were astonished as the stranger first asked and later confirmed, what the Holy Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم had said. Then the stranger asked about Iman. The Holy Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم said, “to believe in Allah, His angels, His Prophets, His revealed Holy Books and the Day of Judgment, and to believe that all good and evil is destined from Allah. This is Iman.” The incomer said, “you have spoken the truth” Then he asked the Holy Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلمabout Ehsan. The Holy Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم said Ehsan means that ‘ you worship Allah in such a manner as if you are seeing Him, or at least think, He is seeing you’
From this Hadith, it is established that besides belief and good deeds, there is another quality called Ehsan, the same is called Williat. Williat is the name of that exclusive nearness which Allah has to His people. Allah Almighty says, ‘We are closer to him than his jugular vein’ and said, ‘ wherever you are, Allah is with you’ This nearness is common to all the believers. Besides this, there is an exclusive closeness, which Allah has to His chosen beings and Angels. In an Haidth Qudhsi Allah Almighty says, ‘ My created being (men) seek My closeness through Nawafal (a kind of optional prayer) till I make him my friend.’ A Momin (believer) gets these early stages of Williat by just believing in one Allah as Almighty Allah Himself says that He is friend of Momineen (believers). But the stages of exclusive Williat come after it, when the believer himself becomes the sought after of Allah. This stage of being beloved of Allah is called the exclusive Williat. Hazrat Mujadid Alf Sani (radiyallahu anhu) writes in his Maktoobat-e-Rabbani about the stages of Williat-e-Muhammadia.
‘ My brother, you should know that unless one crosses the threshold of sensual death, one could not come in communion with the Eternal Being. Instead, one can not even get rid of those false idols of desires and evil self. So long as these idols remain intact, one can not relish the taste of true Iman, then how could one enter those stages already tread by the select. This is the first step (sensual death) one can take toward the exclusive Williat and perfection. Its end could be well surmised from its beginning’
There are many stages of Williat (a kind of exclusive nearness that a Momin has to Allah Almighty). There is a Williat at the step of every prophet that is distinct to him. The best ever stage of Williat is at the step of our Blessed Holy Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم .if you people aspire to get this precious and prized wealth, than hold fast to Shariah of the Holy Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم .So it is evident that one cannot enter the corridors of Williat unless one follows the Holy Shariah of the Holy Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم .No one can have access to it if he does not take prayers and fasts as an integral part of Deen sent by Allah through His Beloved Last Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم.
When a Momin directly steps in to the world of Tasawwuf (spiritualism), he needs a guide who could help him travel to the destination ordained for him by Allah Almighty. This guide, who is commonly known as Sheikh-e-Tareeqat is characterized by certain qualities that make him a perfect choice. If the Sheikh does not have these desired qualities, Bayah of that Sheikh is absolutely prohibited. Murid (devotee) must avoid this person because the object is Almighty Allah not the Sheikh.

A Sheikh Tareeqat must possess the following distinctive attributes:
1-He should be Muslim with right belief. Allah Almighty says that never follow the sinful and the disbeliever.
2-Almighty Allah says: follow the one who remembers Me.
3-His heart should not be forgetful of Allah: as Allah says: do not follow the one whose heart has been made forgetful of our Zikr.
4-Murshid should be a man of deep insight and knows the way that leads to Allah. Allah Almighty says: ‘ Say O prophet, my way is that I call to Allah’
5-Murshid should be a direct descendant (spiritual) of the Holy Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم in his spiritual lineage, and his Sheikh must have permitted him to take Bayt. If this connection is missing anywhere, then his Bayt is not allowed.
6-His company should increase remembrance of Allah; rather his very sight enhances love of Allah.
7-The Sheikh must be in possession of Jazab and Salook.
8-He should be follower of Sunnah and avoid innovation in Deen. He ought not to have wrong beliefs like Wahabi, Rafzi, Qadri or Ahmadi etc. He should be the follower of Al-Sunnat- Al-Jammat.
May Allah Almighty grant us ability to follow these attributes and conditions. Those who do not follow no matter they claim Williat, Karamat and Mahrafat, their Bayah is strictly forbidden. May Allah save us from these imposters.

Tareeqat and Bai’ah
By: Hazrat Allama Ahmad Ali Saeedi.

Tareeqat is deduced from ‘Tareeq’ means narrow and intricate way. Shariah is that way of Islam on which everyone can travel while Tareeqat is the name of that enigmatic and mysterious way that can not be traversed unless one knows its secret avenues. Shariah represents manifest facet of Islam while Tareeqat stands for hidden and concealed.
Difference between Shariah and Tareeqat.
Shariah is the name of all that concerns the body of the Holy Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم while Tareeqat all that which concerns the heart of the Holy Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم. Similarly, Haqeeqat (Reality) refers to all what went in the mind of him, and Marafat is all that which went on with the spirit of the Holy Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم. In other words, the personhood of the Holy Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم is centre of these four attributes.
Shariah and Tareeqat are interdependent. Shariah is the husk while Tareeqat is kernel. Husk without kernel is worthless and later is insecure without the former. Satan was a worshipper but his worship was without kernel. In the same way, an ignorant Sufi and his self-disciplined exercises are likened to seed without covering, ever exposed to external dangers. Tareeqat is a reality and truth while Shariah is unreal and intangible. The one who says there is no Wali in the world is a liar. How is it possible that shadow exists when real departs.
In the Dictionary the word ‘Bai’ah’ means contract or a commitment. In terms of Sufia Akram ‘ Bai’ah ‘ means to declare, at the hands of a Sheikh, that we will be faithful to Allah and it is a kind of a pledge to accept Sheikh as a guide and guarantor.

There are four types of Bai’ah:

1- Bai’ah -e-Islam: a kind of Bai’ah taken by the Holy Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم from the people who entered the folds of Islam.
2- Bai’ah -e-Jihad: the one taken in Hudibya.
3-Sometimes the Holy Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم took Bai’ah from some people that they would not ask for anything from anybody. (Do not spread hands before people)
4- Bai’ah -e-Tauba: The kind of Bai’ah which is common these days is Bai’ah-e-Tauba’, and this is Sunnah of the Holy Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم. After the Holy Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم, the four blessed caliphs also accepted Bai’ah . These were both Bai’ah-e-Iradith and Bai’ah to accept them as caliph and ruler of the Muslim caliphate. Besides being caliph, they were Sheikh also. So they accepted the Bai’ah of Tauba. When the time of caliphate went past, and it turned to Sultanate; later people took Bai’ah of Sultans and Kings of Muslim government, not of Tareeqat. If someone wants to have Bai’ah of any Sheikh-e-Tareeqat,

the Sheikh must possess following five qualities:

1- The Sheikh must possess adequate knowledge of the Holy Quran and Sunnah. As for as the Quran is concerned, he must have read Tafseer-Mudarak or Jalalain or Tafseer Waseet etc. As for Hadith, it is enough that he must have read Mishkaat Sharif.
2- He must be pious and just.
3- He should be abnegator and renouncer of the world, and disposed to the Hereafter.
4- He should command his Murid what is right and permissible and forbid what is against Shariah, and hold fast to his opinion.
5- He must have been trained in the company of a Murshid-e-Kamil.
These terms are equally applicable to the successor (sijada nasheen) of the Murshid. This is absolutely wrong to assume that every son of a Pir should become Pir. It is equally possible that he may not have the ability for it. The interpreter of Qaseeda Burdah Sharif has strongly refuted this notion of Sajida Nashineeni. He writes that Sijada Nasheeni (heir to Khilafat) has become a child’s play these days. Pir’s immature and incapable sons are being made Pirs without fulfilling these conditions. The sons of Pirs also think that Piri (Khilafat) is legacy of their own house. If Khilafat had been inheritance and legacy, the sons of Khulfa-e-Rashdeen (the four great caliphs) must have been made Khalifa (caliphs) after them.

The Reality and Importance of Bai’ah in Islam
By: Major Muhammad Tahir Mahmood

In Arabic the word Bai’ah means to sell and selling is a two way process in which there is a seller and a buyer. It was customary in Arabs to shake hand by the two parties after the completion of any deal. It used to be a kind of a pledge and undertaking not to go back on what had been agreed upon. They called it Mobahbat. This very thing later became the basis of Bai’ah.
Evidence of Bai’ah from the Holy Quran
This is in fact a pledge between Allah Almighty and a Momin (Muslim). But since Allah Almighty does not take this convenant directly, so there is a need of a third party to perform it. During the time of the Holy Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم Allah Almighty took this pledge in the form of promise on the part of Muslims to obey the Holy Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم. Allah Almighty says in the Holy Quran:

“Verily, those who give Bai’ah (pledge) to Allah. The hand of Allah is over their hands. Then whosoever breaks it, only to his own harm; and whosoever fulfils what he has covenanted with Allah. He will bestow on him a great reward.” (48:10)
Similarly, the Bai’ah accepted by the Holy Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم from women is clearly mentioned in the Holy Quran:
“O, Prophet! When believing women come to you to give you the Bai’ah that they will not associate anything in worship with Allah, that they will not steal, that they will not commit illegal sexual intercourse, that they will not kill their children, that they will not utter slander, intentionally forging falsehood, and that they will not disobey you in Ma’ruf, then accept their Bai’ah (Bait) and ask Allah to forgive them, verily Allah is Oft-Forgiving.” (60:12)

Evidence of Bai’ah in Sunnah
The whole Islamic order is organized on the concept of Bai’ah. If we study the life history of the Holy Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم, we come to know that whenever a strong need arose for getting promise, the Holy Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم adopted the mode of Bai’ah. Imam Ghazali (may Allah bless his soul) says that Hazrat Umar bin Khatab (radiyallahu anhu) narrated that the Holy Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم said:

“Its obligatory upon you to live as a Jamaat (group); and that you never live alone as Satan becomes companion of a single person, but if two Muslims live together it gets away from them.”

In this Hadith Mubarak the Holy Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم has clearly warned the Muslims that if a person does not associate himself with a group or Jamaat, he becomes an easy prey to Satan and the later strays him from the right path.
In an another Tradition Hazrat Abdullah bin Umar (radiyallahu anhu) narrated that the Holy Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم said:
“The Hand of Allah is over Jamaat (group), the one who breaks off from the group will be thrown in Fire”

Types of Bai’ah
There are three types of Bai’ah :
1- The first kind of Bai’ah is the one that a non-believer takes to enter the folds of Islam. This kind of Bai’ah was accepted by the Holy Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم.
2-The second kind of Bai’ah was taken on some special occasions. For example, during peace contract at Hudibya Bai’ah -e-Rizwan was taken. Similarly, there are many incidents in history when the companions of the Holy Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم took Bai’ah of the Holy Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم to lay their lives in the way of Allah Almighty during Jihad.
3-The third kid of Bai’ah is taken to repent sins. This kind of Bai’ah is also called Bai’ah -e-Tauba. The companions of the Holy Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم used to take this kind of Bai’ah at the hands of the Holy Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم for repentance of their sins. According to a Tradition of the Holy Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم.
“After Bai’ah -e-Tauba a man is purified from sins as he was after given birth by his mother.” This mode of Bai’ah is still in vogue at the hands of Aulia Allah.

Importance of Bai’ah in Islam
In Islamic code of life the existence and role of Imam or Amir is paramount. It takes in its fold the whole population as family or group, where Governor or Amir is detailed. Hazrat Farooq (radiyallahu anhu) said, “This is a fact that without Jamaat (group) there is no Islam, and no rulership without Jamaat; and the rulership is useless when there is no one to obey. There is a saying of the Holy Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم:

“Anyone who died without having a chain of Bai’ah around his neck, he died a death of ignorance.”
Whatever the kind and nature of Bai’ah may be, it helps forming a group or a Jamaat that can be named as an organization, a mission or a movement that has only one leader, and all the rest obey him. It is a kind of movement in which there is one ruler and all the other are the ruled. There is one buyer and all others are the sellers of their lives, property, every word and deed. On the whole, both the parties are subordinate to Law of Allah and are connected in the bond of Muslim brotherhood.
In our daily life, there is a best example of the prayer. If Imam makes any mistake during the prayer, the followers do have the right to draw his attention towards it, but if he goes on with it and they are perfectly sure that he is making a mistake, even then they are strictly forbidden to leave the prayer but to follow him. Followers are not allowed to perform any act of prayer before Imam does, otherwise they would harm their prayer.
In order to highlight the spirit of congregation (Jamaat) the example of a building can well be cited. In making a building, the builder or engineer acts as an Amir or Imam, and he is responsible to erect a structure (building). He is to see that the walls of that building are straight, the foundations are strong, and that the building provides protection against rain, storm and thieves. He is to make sure that the structure is beautiful and comfortable. Besides the need of a skilled builder and durable cement, important roles is that of group of people who are similar to bricks that strictly sticks together and give the shape of a building. It is utmost important that when engineer intends to pick up one brick, all other bricks present themselves whole-heartedly to be used first. And when a brick is picked up the second must not even think why the first was selected. And when the engineer picks up the brick, it is necessary that it leaves itself up to the free will of the builder. He is free to use it at either place or make it round or breaks it into small pieces and bits and fills it in between the bricks. The brick shouldn’t think to be part of some prominent front place. It is up to the builder either to place it at the top or to bury it under tons of earth’s weight. It is the duty of the brick to provide strength irrespective of its place.
May Allah Almighty help us understand the true path, and grant us Guidance through the march of this life.