Islam is the religion of seeking Allah esoterically. In addition, Islam has several physical deeds that is expression of seeking Allah esoterically.
Different Forms of guidance
Most importantly, returning to Almighty Allah is the core objective of all exoteric and esoteric deeds and prayers. For the accomplishment of this objective, Allah has guided human being. He blessed us two sources of guidance:
Therefore, whosoever denies or follows half-heartedly cannot attain anything from the religion. Rather this attitude will entangle him in the unresolved religious and worldly affairs. Holy Prophet is the practical explanation of the Quran and the role model of all the religious maters. Therefore, his esoteric and exoteric deeds are beacon in the darkness for the umma. Allah says:
لَقَدۡ كَانَ لَكُمۡ فِىۡ رَسُوۡلِ اللّٰهِ اُسۡوَةٌ حَسَنَةٌ لِّمَنۡ كَانَ يَرۡجُوا اللّٰهَ وَالۡيَوۡمَ الۡاٰخِرَ وَذَكَرَ اللّٰهَ كَثِيۡرًا ؕ
Meaning: Certainly! In Allah’s Messenger there is for you a most perfect and beautiful model (of physical and spiritual life. (Al-Ahzab: 33)
Moreover, Allah says in Quran:
قُلۡ اِنۡ كُنۡتُمۡ تُحِبُّوۡنَ اللّٰهَ فَاتَّبِعُوۡنِىۡ يُحۡبِبۡكُمُ اللّٰهُ وَيَغۡفِرۡ لَـكُمۡ ذُنُوۡبَكُمۡؕ وَاللّٰهُ غَفُوۡرٌ رَّحِيۡمٌ
Meaning: O Beloved Prophet! Tell them, if you love Allah, then follow me, Allah will also love you. (Al-e-Imran: 31)
Therefore, it is the belief of every Muslim that obedience to the Prophet is the faith. Such obedience guarantees closeness of Allah.
Sunna is the every action of Prophet Mohammad. His ability to perceive, behaviour, thoughts, morality and personality is a role model status for the umma. In the nutshell, his every act is for the guidance and betterment of the religious and worldly life of umma. Moreover, one who denies or objects his actions is a as non-believer. Thus, he will be disgraced in this world and the hereafter.
Denier will not go to Heaven
The Holy Prophet said:
- Everyone in my umma will go to heaven, except those who deny.
The Companions asked: Who denied?
The Holy Prophet said: Those who obeyed me will go to heaven and those who disobeyed me, they had denied. The act against my Sunna is disobedience.”
On another occasion, Prophet Mohammad said:
- He who evoked my Sunna, in fact he loved me. Therefore, he will be with me in heaven on the day of judgment
Love of Sunna is in fact love of Prophet Mohammad
Sahl al-Tustari said:
- Love for the Holy Quran, is the sign of love with Almighty Allah. Moreover, the love for Holy Prophet is sign of love for Quran and Allah. In addition, the love of Sunna is the indication of love for Prophet Mohammad.
Another source of guidance alongwith Sunna is the Quran. In fact, the Holy Quran is a complete code of life, collection of all do’s and don’ts. Basically, it is a witness of Sunna, thus, conveys them to the umma. Therefore, it becomes obligatory for the umma to follow the Sunna verified by the Quran. As, on the one hand, Allah instructs to do something and on other hand, it is Sunna. Moreover, Allah has instructed to follow those Sunna in Quran, which He considered umma must follow them. Moreover, nobody should object to them and must follow them as Allah’s instructions.
Catergories of Sunna
Fath al-Bari, the exegesis of Sahi Bukhari, categorizes Sunna as under:
- Sunnan al Hudda (Essential Sunna)
- Sunnan al Zawaid (Additional Sunna)
It is the collection of Sunna associated with the straight path. Moreover, either its relinquisher excludes from Islam or he can never reach the exalted stations of faith. In fact, these Sunna include the basic pillars of Islam, belief in Oneness and prayers (Salat), zakat, hajj and truth. Furthermore, it includes fulfilling the promise, avoiding all the forbidden acts and practicing all the basic principles of religion etc. These Sunna are accountable. Therefore, the relinquisher of these Sunna will be questioned on the Day of Judgment. Undoubtedly, its denier is the denier of the Holy Prophet and his denier is indeed the denier of Allah. In fact, Sunnan-al-Huda include all Sunna related to the Quran in any way.
Sunnan-Al-Zawaid (Additional Sunna):
It is the collection of Sunna associated with routine activities of the Holy Prophet. For example, decorum of the Prophet’s Assembly, his style of conversation, his eating habits etc. These Sunna are Musteheb (Act has reward for doing but no punishment for not doing). Hence, following these Sunna shows love for the Holy Prophet. A person is not accountable for not following these Sunna.
Oath of Allegiance in the Quran and Sunna
Among the essentials of the religion , the oath of allegiance has utmost importance. Therefore, the Quran and all the books of Hadiths emphasis on it. In the beginning of Islam, it was compulsory to take oath on the sacred hand of Prophet Mohammad before following the pillars of Islam. This means that believing in the Prophet and verbally reciting Islamic creed do not guarantee to be a Muslim. Therefore, in spite of faith and Islamic creed, a person need to take oath of allegiance to enter Islam. Consequently, ‘oath of allegiance’ became one of the essentials to enter Islam like Islamic creed and faith.
None of the orders of Allah and His Prophet is without wisdom. Rather, there is a hidden treasure of guidance and wisdom for the umma in every single order. Therefore, it is evident that oath of allegiance has assumed immense importance since start of Islam. Moreover, it is clear that no one can achieve perfect faith without taking oath of allegiance.
Furthermore, there is no doubt that the Holy Prophet made it compulsory solely as per Allah’s order. As the Quran bears witness to it in these words:
وَمَا يَنطِقُ عَنِ الْهَوَی ﴿۳﴾ إِنْ هُوَ إِلاّ وَحْيٌ يُوحَی
- Meaning: “He does not speak out of his (own) desire. His speech is nothing but outright revelation, which is sent to him.” (Al-Najm:3-4)
How can any of his act be of his own choice? Therefore, it is definitely according to the revelation of Allah.
Oath of Allegiance is an Essential Sunna
In this way, the oath of allegiance is Allah’s order. If it had been compulsory then the Prophet would not have taken the oath of allegiance from the people.
Moreover, the oath of allegiance is ‘Essential Sunna’ as Sunna proves it and Quran has endorsed it. In this way, its relinquisher is the denier of Islam.
Oath of Allegiance to the Prophet is like oath to Allah
اِنَّ الَّذِیۡنَ یُبَایِعُوۡنَکَ اِنَّمَا یُبَایِعُوۡنَ اللّٰہَ ؕ یَدُ اللّٰہِ فَوۡقَ اَیۡدِیۡہِمۡ ۚ فَمَنۡ نَّکَثَفَاِنَّمَا یَنۡکُثُ عَلٰی نَفۡسِہٖ ۚ وَ مَنۡ اَوۡفٰی بِمَا عٰہَدَ عَلَیۡہُ اللّٰہَ فَسَیُؤۡتِیۡہِ اَجۡرًا عَظِیۡمًا
Meaning: (O’ Beloved!) Indeed those who pledge allegiance to you, in fact 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. (Al-Fath:10)
This verse shows the exalted station of Prophet Mohammad. Moreover, this shows that his action is in fact the act of Allah. Keeping the relation with him is in fact the relation with Allah. Swearing the pledge of allegiance with him is the pledge with Allah as mentioned in verse. Thus, it also shows the significance of the oath of allegiance.
Oath of Allegiance is the Sunna of the Prophet as well as Allah
Moreover, the oath of allegiance is not only the Sunna of Prophet but is the Sunna of Allah as well.
In the whole Quran Allah has not associated any component of worship with him except Darood-e-Pak. He says:
إِنَّ اللَّهَ وَمَلَائِكَتَهُ يُصَلُّونَ عَلَى النَّبِيِّ ؕ يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ اٰمَنُوا صَلُّوا عَلَيْهِ وَسَلِّمُوا تَسْلِيمًا
Meaning: “Surely Allah and (all) His angels invoke salutation (Darood) and blessings on the Holy Prophet. O Believers! You (also) invoke salutation upon him. And salute him with a worthy salutation of peace abundantly (and fervently).” (Al-Ahzab-56)
Paying salutations to the Prophet Mohammad is the Sunna of Allah. But, this is not Sunna of the Prophet as Holy Prophet does not invoke blessings for himself. Rest of the devotions are the practice of the Holy Prophet but not of Allah. Therefore, the oath of allegiance is the only component that is the Sunnah of the Prophet as well as the Allah.
Origin of al-bayah
As per verse 10 of Surah al-Fath referred-above, the oath of allegiance is a promise to Allah. al-Bayah is the Arabic word for oath of allegiance. Moreover, it is derived from the word Baee بیع . Its literal meaning is ‘trade or give and receive’. Take an example: Two persons conduct a business among each other. Therefore, they pledge a deal between them. In other words they exchange things. Among them, one is seller and other is buyer. The seller need money and buyer need something in exchange of money. Consequently, they trade with each other. This type of pledge and trade is called بیع (Baee).
Similarly, the oath of allegiance is also like a trade with Allah. In this trade, one pledges to Allah to give his everything to Allah in exchange for His closeness. Therefore, a person cannot have Divine closeness if he did not swear oath of allegiance. Hence, it is necessary to take oath of allegiance on sacred hand of Prophet Mohammad. But, after Prophet Mohammad, one must swear it on sacred hand of Companion or Saint.
Allah prohibits to break Oath of Allegiance
Allah says in Quran;
وَاَوۡفُوۡا بِعَہۡدِ اللّٰہِ اِذَاعٰہَدۡتُّمۡ وَ لَاتَنۡقُضُوا الۡاَیۡمَانَ بَعۡدَ تَوۡکِیۡدِہَا وَ قَدۡ جَعَلۡتُمُ اللّٰہَ عَلَیۡکُمۡ کَفِیۡلًا
Meaning: And always fulfil the pledge of Allah when you have made it. And do not break oaths after making them firm. (An-Nahl-91)
وَأَوْفُواْ بِالْعَهْدِ ۚ إِنَّ الْعَهْدَ كَانَ مَسْؤُولاً
Meaning: And always fulfil the promise. No doubt, the promise will be questioned about. (Bani Israil-34)
Oath of Allegiance is Allah’s Will and Tranquility for Believers
The oath of allegiance is also a source of achieving Allah’s will. Moreover, it blesses believers (Mumin) with peace and tranquility. As Allah says in Surah Fatah verse no. 18:
لَقَدۡرَضِیَ اللّٰہُ عَنِ الۡمُؤۡمِنِیۡنَ اِذۡ یُبَایِعُوۡنَکَ تَحۡتَ الشَّجَرَۃِ فَعَلِمَ مَا فِیۡ قُلُوۡبِہِمۡ فَاَنۡزَلَ السَّکِیۡنَۃَ عَلَیۡہِمۡ
Meaning: Surely Allah was well pleased with the believers when they pledged allegiance to you under the tree (at Al-Hudaybiya). So, Allah knows (the passion of truth and fidelity) that permeated their inwards, and descended an exceptional calmness and tranquility. And awarded them the forthcoming victory (of Khaybar). (Al-Fath-18)
In addition to the Quran, a large number of authentic books of Hadiths also endorse the importance oath of allegiance.
Pledge of al-Aqaba
In the beginning of Islam, some delegations came from Madina to Makkah. Then, the Holy Prophet invited them to Islam. Some people accepted the invitation in first year. Therefore, their oath of allegiance was ‘first pledge at al-Aqabah’ (Bayat-e-Aqabah Oola). Moreover, the oath of allegiance taken in the next year was ‘the second pledge at al-Aqabah’ (Bayat-e-Aqabah Sani).
Ka’ab bin Malik said:
“The night came when Prophet Mohammad had promised to meet. We slept earlier to wake up early. So, we woke up although people were deep asleep. Furthermore, we gathered in the valley of Uqba. Moreover, nobody was accompanying the Prophet. The Prophet Mohammad preached my companions and invited them to Islam. In addition, he recited the Holy Quran. After hearing this, everyone embraced Islam and requested for oath of allegiance on the hand of the Prophet. He said, “Select twelve representatives out of your nation.” We took out one representative from each group. Then everyone took oath of allegiance on the hand of the Holy Prophet sall’Allahu alayhi wa’alihi wasallam.” (Bukhari)
Types of Oath of Allegiance
Oath of Entering Islam (Bayat-e-Islam):
At the time of acceptance of Islam, it was necessary for the believers to swear oath of allegiance. Therefore, it was imperative to swear of oath of allegiance on sacred the hand of the Holy Prophet. Such sort of oath is called ‘Oath of Allegiance for entering Islam’ or ‘Bayat-e-Islam.
Oath of Allegiance for repentance and piety (Bayat-e-Tauba-o-Taqwa):
It is pledge to follow sharia after repentance on sins in order to gain closeness of Allah. Moreover, the spiritual journey of a person starts after this oath. During the era of the Holy Prophet, the oath of repentance and piety was included in oath of entering Islam. However, many Hadiths bear witness that believers (Momineen) also used to swear this oath of allegiance separately.
In the present era, Muslim take oath of repentance and piety on the hand of a spiritual guide. In fact, it is obligatory for closeness of Allah.
Oath of Caliphate (Bayat-e-Khilafat):
Muslims take this oath on the hand of Muslim caliph. This is the oath to accept particular person as a Caliph or ruler. This oath, along with the oath of repentance and piety, were sworn together till the time of Hazrat Imam Hassan (ra) but later on, they were separated.
Oath of listening and following (Bayat-e-Samaa-o-Ta’at):
It is the pledge of listening and following the religious Leader (Imam), caliph or a spiritual guide. Moreover, several Hadiths certify this bayat.
Oath of Jihad (Bayat-e-Jihad)
It is a pledge to fight against enemy of Islam. Commander take oath of allegiance from all men prepared to fight a war.
Bayat-e-Tasawuf (The Mystical Bayat):
Since beginning of Islam, Saints upheld the tradition of oath of repentance and piety. Now, it has become the ‘Mystical Oath’. In fact, this is submission of disciple to spiritual guide for purification of innerself and sanctity of his soul. Thus, esoteric journey of a disciple starts. Ultimately, he achieves closeness of Allah.
Oath of entering Islam relinquished
The tradition of taking ‘oath of entering Islam’ relinquished at the time of Rashidun Caliphate. In fact, at that time, caliphate was expanding. Therefore, millions of people started to accept Islam. It also include those people who were afraid of power of Islam. Consequently, it was difficult to differentiate between faithful and feared ones. However, the tradition of taking oath of caliphate remained implemented. Therefore, Muslims used to swear oath of caliphate on the hand of caliph. In fact, the representatives of different tribes used to come for this oath on the behalf of their tribes.
Oath of repentance and piety was part of Oath of Caliphate
As the Rashidun Caliphs, were religious scholar as well as spiritual guides for the public. Therefore, oath of repentance and piety was part of ‘oath of caliphate’. The caliph assisted them outwardly as well as spiritually as Prophet Mohammad did. Moreover, the Rashidun Caliphate had absolute beneficence, capability and authority of the Holy Prophet. Therefore, they fulfilled exoteric and esoteric duties altogether. Although, the oath of allegiance taken on their hands had discrimination. For example, the people having superficial values swore only the oath of allegiance of caliphate. While the pious and those fearing from Allah swore the oath of repentance and piety as well. Therefore, everyone got benefit depending on the intention with which he had sworn oath of allegiance to the caliph.
Muslim swore oath on the hand of Abu Bakr Siddiq
It in all the books of hadith that when the Holy Prophet passed away, all the Muslims had sworn oath of allegiance on the hands of Hazrat Abu Bakar Siddique (Abu Bakr Siddiq). Then, public considered him as the caliph and vicegerent of the Prophet sall’Allahu alayhi wa’alihi wasallam. At the time of oath of allegiance (al-bayah) the words of Abu Bakr Siddiq were:
- Follow me as long as I obey Allah and His Prophet”.
Therefore, this oath of allegiance considered as the oath of allegiance of caliphate. Moreover, same oath of allegiance considered as oath of allegiance of obeying the Prophet (Rasool Allah) and the oath of repentance and piety altogether.
Muslim swore oath on the hand of Umar ibn Khattab
Hazrat Anas Razi Allah Anhu narrates that Abu Bakr Siddiq died. Therefore, and Hazrat Umar Farooq (Umar ibn Khattab) became 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. As I had sworn with the first caliph before you.”
Muslim swore oath on the hand of Usman ibn Affan
Hazrat Saleem bin Abi Amar also stated that a group from Hamrah swore oath of allegiance on the hand of Hazrat Usman Ghani (Usman ibn Affan). They promised 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 (Ramadan). Moreover, they promised to leave celebrating the festivals of the fire-worshippers. (Masnad Imam Ahmad)
Beneficence of four Caliphs
Moreover, the spiritual chains of mystic ways, continuing from these four pious Caliphs are the proof of the fact that they were also a source of spiritual beneficence for the ummah (umma). This beneficence continues till now. Among the present chains of spiritual orders, particularly the Sarwari Qadri order, the spiritual journey of disciple does not complete until he gets beneficence from all the four Caliphs. Disciple gets the blessings of Veracity and truthfulness from the spiritual glance of Abu Bakr Siddiq. Moreover, he receives blessings of justice and accountability of innerself from Umar ibn Khattab. Furthermore, he receives beneficence of obedience and modesty from Usman ibn Affan and Faqr from Ali ibn Abi Talib. This benefice is still present since then.
How to get beneficence of the Prophet now?
In the present era, a person who born in a Muslim family is already a Muslim by birth. Therefore, he does not need to swear the oath of entering Islam. However, to receive beneficence of the Prophet and the caliphs, it is compulsory to swear oath of repentance and piety upon the hand of the spiritual guide. But spiritual guide must be on the footsteps of the Holy Prophet. In fact, he is the Universal Divine Man who has permission of the Prophet to guide the Muslims.
The references about the Oath of Allegiance for repentance and piety are present in a large number of Hadiths. The reference of verse 10 of surah Fateh does not refer to the oath of entering of Islam. Rather, Muslims took oath of allegiance on the hand of the Holy Prophet after accepting Islam. Different references about oath of repentance and piety given in Hadith are as under:
Oath of Allegiance in Hadiths
Oath of Allegiance on the Caliph of the Prophet
- Narrated Abu Huraira: The Prophet said:
“The Israelis used to be ruled and guided by prophets. Whenever a prophet died, another would take over his place. There will be no prophet after me, but there will be my Caliphs who will increase in number.”
The people asked:
“O Allah’s Apostle! What do you order us (to do)?”
“Obey the one who will be given the pledge of allegiance first. Fulfil their (i.e. the Caliphs) rights, for Allah will ask them about (any shortcoming) in ruling those Allah has put under their guardianship.” (Bukhari:3455)
Allah will not speak to the one who does not obey his Spiritual guide
- Narrated Abu Huraira: Allah’s Apostle said:
“There will be three types of people whom Allah will neither speak to them on the Day of Resurrection nor will purify them from sins. Moreover, they will have a painful punishment. They are:
(1) A man possessed superfluous water (more than he needs) on a way and he withholds it from the travelers.
(2) The one who gives an oath of allegiance to an Imam (spiritual guide) and gives it only for worldly benefits. If the Imam gives him what he wants, he abides by his pledge. Otherwise he does not fulfill his pledge.
(3) And a man who sells something to another man after the `Asr prayer. He swears by Allah (a false oath) that he has offered so much for it whereupon the buyer believes him and buys it. Although in fact, the seller has not offered such a price. (Bukhari:7212)
Oath of allegiance of repentance and piety
- Hazrat Abada Bin Saamat narrates:
قَالَ رَسُوْلُ اللّٰہِ وَحَوْلَہُ عِصَابَۃٌ مِّنْ اَصْحَابِہٖ بَایِعُوْنِیْ عَلٰی اَنْ لَّا تُشْرِکُوْا بِاللّٰہِ شَیْئاً وَّلَاتَسْرِقُوْا وَلَا تَزْنُوْا وَلَا تَقْتُلُوْا اَوْلَادُکُمْ وَلَا تَأتُوْا بِبُھْتَانٍ تَفْتَرُوْنَہُ بَیْنَ اَیْدِکُمْ وَاَرْجُلِکُمْ وَلَا تَعْصُوْا فِیْ مَعْرُوْفٍ فَمَنْ وَفٰی مِنْکُمْ فَاَجْرُہٗ عَلَی اللّٰہِ وَمَنْ اَصَابَ مِنْ ذٰلِکَ شَیْئًا فَعُوْقِبَ بِہٖ فِیْ الدُّنْیَا فَھُوَ کَفَّارَۃٌ لَّہٗ وَمَنْ اَصَابَ مِنْ ذٰلِکَ شَیْئًا ثُمَّ سَتَرَہُ اللّٰہُ عَلَیْہِ فَھُوَ اِلَی اللّٰہِ اِنْ شَائَ عَفَا عَنْہُ وَ اِنْ شَائَ عَاقَبَۃُ فَبَایَعْنَاہُ عَلٰی ذٰلِکَ۔
Meaning: When a group of Companions of the Holy Prophet was present, he said, “Swear oath of allegiance with me that you will:
- Believe in Oneness of Allah
- We shall not steal
- Not keep extra-marital relations
- We shall not kill your children
- Not put false accusations on anyone
- We shall 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.”
(Ubada ibn as-Samit says), so we took oath of allegiance with the Holy Prophet 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:
بَایَعْنَا عَلَی السَّمْعِ وَالطَّاعَۃِ فِی الْعُسْرِ وَالْیُسْرِ وَالْمُنْشِطِ وَالْمُکْرِہٖ وَالْاَثْرَۃِ عَلَیْنَا وَاَن لَّا نَنَازَعَ الْاَمْرَ اَھْلَہُ وَلَنْ نَّقُوْلَ بِالْحَقِّ حَیْثُمَا کُنَّا لَا نَخَافُ فِی اللّٰہِ لَوْمَۃَ لَائِمٍ۔
Meaning: “We promised the Holy Prophet to obey him in all conditions, convenience and hardship, happiness and sorrow. 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. We promised to 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)
Oath of repentance and piety was compulsory even after entering Islam
Both the above hadiths are the proof of the oath of allegiance of repentance and piety after embracing Islam. Therefore, this is the base of the oath to the spiritual guides who are spiritual successors of the Prophet. The objective of such oath is to persuade Muslim to repent, invoke Allah and to renounce lusts. Its aim is to seek Allah and complete journey towards Allah with perseverance under the guidance of spiritual guidance.
Different forms of oath of repentance and piety
In fact, the oath of repentance and piety has always continued among the faithfuls (momineen). Therefore, it has continued from the time of Holy Prophet till today. Although, its forms kept changing according to the demands of the time.
First form of oath implemented by Prophet Mohammad
Its first and foremost form is the same, which had been the Sunnah of the Holy Prophet. That form is to swear oath at the sacred hands of the Imam or Khalifah (the possessor of Divine Trust). This form of oath had continued during the Rashidun Caliphate. After Ali ibn Abi Talib. It remained in practice till Hazrat Imam Hassan (Hasan ibn Ali) took the responsibility of caliphate for a few months. He also took the oath of repentance and piety alongwith that of Khilafat.
Segregation between Oath of caliphate and Oath of repentance and piety
But Yazid had raised an uproar on the matter of oath of caliphate of Hasan ibn Ali. Therefore, he had gone through blasphemy, oppression and tyranny against him and his sacred family. Resultantly, perfect spiritual guides (Mashaikhs) segregated the oath of repentance and piety from the oath of caliphate. Moreover, one more reason was that the physical caliphate had gone into the hands of worldly rulers. Actually, they were incapable to give spiritual beneficence to the umma (Ummat), rather they were harmful for their religion.
Granting Khirqah was a form of Oath of repentance and piety
Shaikh Hasan of Basra changed the form of the oath of repentance and piety after martyrdom of Husayn ibn Ali. So that, the rulers might not think it as an oath of caliphate which they had considered a danger to them. Thus, he started granting his followers a Khirqa (a patched cloak, symbol of the spiritual traveller). Moreover, he started granting a turban (Amama) which was a symbol of disciple’s obedience to his spiritual guide. It also expressed right of getting spiritual beneficence from him. Therefore, to grant a Khirqa was a prudently adopted form of oath of repentance and piety.The Sufis and Saints called this act of granting Khirqa as the replacement of oath of allegiance (qaeem muqam bayat).
Revival of first form of Oath
But after a long period, the rulers left the custom of oath taking. Moreover, their fears from the spiritual leaders faded away. That is why, Sufis revived this tradition in the same was and form as was in the time of The Holy Prophet.
Oath of repentance and piety always remained in practice
So the oath of repentance and piety is such a great and sacred Sunna which has remained in practice in every era in one way or the other. The Holy Prophet’s caliphs and successor Saints are the only ones to keep this sacred Sunna (Sunnat) alive forever.
The credit goes to Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani, the revitalizer of the true faith (deen), for reinitiating the oath of repentance and piety. He got his khirqa, while swearing oath of allegiance, from his spiritual guide Abu Saeed Mubarak Makhzoomi. On presenting this Khirqa, he said to him:
“O Abdul Qadir! The Lord of the Universe (Prophet Mohammad) presented it to Ali ibn Abi Talib. Then he granted it to Shaikh Hasan of Basra and then it reached me hand to hand”.
Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani revived the Sunna in true meaning
So, 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. Resultantly, people from every nook and corner of the world entered Islam. Therefore, they renewed their promise that they would never involve in infidelity, oppression, crimes and would renounce the worldliness. They promised not to forget their religious obligations and the hereafter. Neither would they involve in falsehood nor the heresy (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. Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani made arrangements for their spiritual training and self-accountability. His disciples became responsible members of the society after oath of allegiance and renovation of their faith. This proves that taking oath on the hand of Saint plays an important role in individual and collective sanctity.
From the above-mentioned references proves that the oath of allegiance is an important Sunna according to the Quran and hadith. Moreover, it is also the Sunna of the Companions and the Saints. Like all the basics of the religion like Tauheed, prayers, zakat, fasting, Hajj and Jihad, it is also in practice.
Denier of Oath of Allegiance
Although, the fake critics who have incomplete and superficial knowledge of religion, neglecting its importance. Hence, they are raising objections against it and calling it infidelity and polytheism. They do not realize that an act proved by the Quran and Sunna and the actions of the great people of the umma, if proclaimed as infidelity, is a great infidelity in itself. Allah says:
اَفَتُؤۡمِنُونَ بِبَعۡضِ الۡکِتٰبِ وَ تَکۡفُرُونَ بِبَعۡضٍ
Meaning: Do you believe in some of the parts of the Quran and deny the others. (Al-Baqarah-82)
The scholars have agreed upon that the denier of a part of Quran is the denier of the whole Quran. These people act upon those orders of the Quran, which they consider easy. They follow those instructions, which are according to their wishes and object the ones, which are unpleasant for them.
Warning for those who stop others from Oath
They not only reject and disobey them rather they forbid others too. It is in Fayooz-ul-Bar, the exegesis of Bukhari Sharif:
- When someone forbids or declare anything unlawful or prohibited in Islam, then he must prove his claim. If he fails to prove his claim based on authentic laws of Islam, he is a reprobate.
Since the deniers have no argument against oath according to the Islamic law, so they are among the rejected ones. In fact, these people try to mislead the commoners by their hollow argument.
Hollow argument of deniers and its answer
They argue that that there is no need to take oath in the presence of the Quran and Sunna. This argument is as illogical as is their intellect.
The need of oath was vital even in the life of the Holy Prophet. The Quran, revealed upon him, cannot be more powerful than his holy self can. In fact, it did not have the power to guide the people without a leader. The one who would practically teach them what is in Quran. Even during the presence of Prophet Mohammad, there was a need of oath taking. Thus, in his absence its need increased far more. These people consider Quran and Sunna as the replacement of oath taking and admit them as their guide. But they negate their own opinion by denying the importance of oath 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, women’s oath taking is present in the Quran and Hadith.
Women’s Oath in Quran
In the Surah Al-Mumtehna Allah says:
یٰۤاَیُّہَا النَّبِیُّ اِذَا جَآءَکَ الۡمُؤۡمِنٰتُ یُبَایِعۡنَکَ عَلٰۤی اَنۡ لَّا یُشۡرِکۡنَ بِاللّٰہِ شَیۡئًا وَّ لَا یَسۡرِقۡنَ وَ لَا یَزۡنِیۡنَ وَ لَا یَقۡتُلۡنَ اَوۡلَادَہُنَّ وَ لَا یَاۡتِیۡنَ بِبُہۡتَانٍ یَّفۡتَرِیۡنَہٗ بَیۡنَ اَیۡدِیۡہِنَّ وَ اَرۡجُلِہِنَّ وَ لَا یَعۡصِیۡنَکَ فِیۡ مَعۡرُوۡفٍ فَبَایِعۡہُنَّ وَ اسۡتَغۡفِرۡ لَہُنَّ اللّٰہَ ؕ اِنَّ اللّٰہَ غَفُوۡرٌ رَّحِیۡمٌ
Meaning: O Prophet! When the believing women appear in your presence to take the oath of allegiance that they will not set up anything as partner with Allah and will not steal. Nor will they commit adultery, or kill their children. (They take oath that they will not) bring false blame, which they have invented between their hands and feet. (i.e., will not deceive their husbands declaring some other’s baby as their own). (They take oath that they will not) disobey you in (any) matter pertaining to law. Then accept their allegiance and seek forgiveness for them from Allah. Surely, Allah is Most Forgiving, Ever-Merciful. (Al-Mumtahanah-12)
This verse about the oath of allegiance of women is such an explicit argument. Therefore, only an envious, proud and the denier of the Quran can reject it. It is also obvious that it was not the oath of entering Islam. Rather it was an oath of repentance and piety because, at the beginning of the verse, there is the description of ‘faithful’ women (mominat) who came to the Prophet for oath taking. It is quite clear that the women had already embraced Islam and were swearing oath of repentance and piety.
Women’s Oath in Hadiths
The description of the oath taking of mominat is present in Hadiths abundantly. Salma bint Qais relates:
- I was present in the court of the Prophet and swore my oath with the other women of Ansaar. The Holy Prophet took our oath on the condition that we must not involve in polytheism, steal or adultery. We will neither murder our offspring nor slander anyone. Moreover, neither we will disobey the orders about virtuous deeds, nor would deceive our husbands. We swore our oath and returned.” (Musnad Ahmad, Abu Ya’ala, Tibrani)
Umaima Bint Zuqaiqa relates:
- I was present alongwith the other women at Holy Prophet’s court and said:
“O Prophet! 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 inquired:
“Among these, upon which things do you have power and authority?”
“Allah and His Prophet are more merciful upon us than ourselves. Please! Honour us with your sacred presence so that, we could swear oath on your sacred hand”.
Then, the Prophet 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)
Sunna of Prophet of taking oath by women
The Holy Prophet used to take hands of the men in his own sacred hands while oath taking. However, for the women’s oath, he adopted different methods at different times. Initially, he took oral oath.
Then he started the method 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 another method. In this method, the women held one end of cloth and he used to hold the other end. He never ever took oath of the women by holding their hands. After him, his successors (Khulfa) and the Sufis continued the same method. Now a day also, the Murshid Kamil Akmal uses the method of cloth.
Reasons behind prohibiting women from oath of allegiance
Inspite of the clear proofs of the oath taking of women in the Quran and Hadith, people object it. In fact, they are narrow minded and malicious. They think of woman as a trivial thing of use only, having no 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 of her worldly and religious education that she will become aware of the rights, which Allah has granted. 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 educated woman, not only will become aware of her own rights but her duties.
Another problem of these men is that their own minds are full of lust and filth. Therefore, they think Saints are like them whom women should not visit to get spiritual beneficence. Their mirror of inciting innerself is so dirty that the light of the Saints (God forbid) seem to them as dirt. Obviously, Holy Prophet himself appoints him at the throne of Divine persuasion and guidance. Then how come he can have lust? Rather, his highest status is beyond the thoughts and perceptions of these irrational people.
Swearing Oath of Allegiance is right of woman
The woman possesses the same right as the man, to seek Allah and His Love. They have right to seek the Prophet 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. It is because they have to perform their respective duties to run the system of this world. Otherwise, the soul is neither a man nor a woman. Every soul has the relation of Ishq (an ardent love) with Allah. Man and a woman have equal right to have the vision of Allah reaching at the status of Miraj (Meraj). Hence, it is very unfair and cruelty to stop the women from receiving the spiritual beneficence of a perfect Murshid.
Therefore, the true women seeking for the Truth (Haq) must not pay heed to such devils. They create hurdles between Allah and them. One should ignore such people thinking them as the dogs of the path. Therefore, the spiritual journey to Allah should remain continue with steadfastness. No doubt! Allah will soon remove these hurdles due to their patience and steadfastness. (Insha Allah)
One must be careful of Fake Pirs
Therefore, it is unlawful to stop the women from spiritual beneficence and gnosis through oath taking of a perfect mystic. 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, one should confirm whether the oath taker is actually a spiritual guide and follower of sharia. However, to consider the perfect Saint as fake pirs and to forbid others from getting their spiritual beneficence is unfair.
Allah has promised to guide sincere seekers
In fact, Allah has promised to help those who try to search spiritual guide for gaining gnosis (Marifat). Therefore, Allah will help them Himself and never let them entangled into the trap of the deceivers. Allah says:
وَالَّذِيۡنَ جَاهَدُوۡا فِيۡنَا لَنَهۡدِيَنَّهُمۡ سُبُلَنَا
Meaning: And those who strive hard for Our cause, We certainly guide them to our ways. (Ankaboot-69)
The need of Oath and its importance
The one and only purpose of the creation of man in the Quranic is:
وَمَا خَلَقۡتُ الۡجِنَّ وَ الۡاِنۡسَ اِلَّا لِیَعۡبُدُوۡنِ
Meaning: And we created jins and human beings merely for our worship (Ibadat). (Al-Zariat-56)
If the purpose is only to worship then the purpose of every action and thought should be only the worship. In fact, it is quite logical to fulfil the purpose at every cost, otherwise it is an absolute failure. However, man has lost in the needs and luxuries of this material and immortal world. Thus, he has forgotten the purpose of his creation. He has turned the direction of all his actions, deeds, thoughts and even prayers towards the world or the heaven.
Resultantly, he has deviated from his Rub (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, one cannot blame him. Because he has forgotten his pre-eternal relation with Allah on coming to this world. Therefore, his body and innerself are inclined towards the world and the worldly needs.
Allah creates medium for righteousness
So, Allah has been creating the sources and waseela (means) of righteousness, from the very beginning of this world. The sources have always in the form of the same ‘human being’. Physically, the source is a man like the other humans, but inwardly his relation with Allah is stronger. Because of this strong relation, he finds righteousness directly from Allah. Moreover, he becomes the source of transferring it to others. It has been the principle of Allah that He sends righteousness to man always through the source. Even He says:
وَلَوۡ جَعَلۡنٰہُ مَلَکًالَّجَعَلۡنٰہُ رَجُلًا
Meaning: If (for the righteousness of people) we would have sent an angel, it must have been in the form of a man.(Al-Anam-9)
Thus Allah is explaining very clearly about the source of the righteousness that it can only be a male man. So, the source have always been the ‘Perfect Men’ in every era. Therefore, they guided people in the form of the Prophets till Prophet Mohammad. But after the Holy Prophet, they are guiding in the form of his spiritual successors.
Point to Ponder
How can it possible that Allah has guided His men continually since the very outset of life but He has ended this succession for the last fourteen hundred years?
Do we need only Quran for righteousness?
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:
یُضِلُّ بِہٖ کَثِیۡرًا ۙ وَّ یَہۡدِیۡ بِہٖ کَثِیۡرًا ؕوَ مَا یُضِلُّ بِہٖۤ اِلَّا الۡفٰسِقِیۡنَ
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. (Al-Baqarah-26)
It means, impure inward (batin) which is devoid of spiritual glance of spiritual guide, will get astray. In fact, only perfect spiritual guide cleanses the inward with his spiritual glance.
Sinfulness (فسق ) is a vast term, which includes all the spiritual and inner diseases. Like pride, arrogance, vanity, greed, envy, malice, avarice, self-conceit, lust etc. These ailments divert from straight path. Only the Prophets or perfect Saints are free from these spiritual diseases. These men of perfection possess the spiritual power that removes sinfulness (فسق) from their inwards. Thus, making them capable of gaining righteousness from the Quran.
Purified inwards can only understand Quran
As Allah says about the Quran that:
لَّا یَمَسُّہٗۤ اِلَّا الۡمُطَہَّرُوۡنَ
Meaning: No one can touch this (Quran) but the purified one. (Al-Waqiah-79)
Pure people ( مُطَہَّرُوۡنَ ) in the above verse does not refer only to the physically clean people. But it also refers to the inwardly and the spiritually pure ones. ‘Touch’ means to reach to its reality and the true essence. Only the pure soul can find the reality of Quran and its message hidden under the veil of apparent words. Otherwise, learning Arabic grammar and thinking the outer words as the true message is depravity. Unless one’s inward does not purify, his inward remains sinfulness, thus, he cannot understand the soul of Quran.
Denier seeks guidance in all worldly matters but refuses the need of guidance to reach Allah
The Quran is a prescription for the cure of inner diseases. But merely through a prescription nobody can recover, unless there is a doctor to tell the method of using prescription. Therefore, whoever tries to cure himself only by prescription without doctor gets harm.
Just like in the physical world, it is impossible to learn any skill without a teacher or to travel on any path without the guidance of somebody. Even if someone knows destination but unware of the path leading to it, he will reach to his destination. Similarly, it is essential to have a guide on path of Allah, as a layman is unfamiliar to path. The Satan also ambushes at every point to astray the people.
Allah instructs to seek guidance from Men of Invocations
Hence, one cannot travel on this path of mysticism (tareeqat) without a guide. When one cannot learn anything without a guide in physical, then how one can travel the path of spiritualism without a guide. As it is beyond the boundary of the physical world! That is why, Allah Himself says in the Quran:
فَسۡـَٔلُوۡۤااَہۡلَ الذِّکۡرِ اِنۡ کُنۡتُمۡ لَا تَعۡلَمُوۡنَ
Meaning: Ask the men of invocation (Ahl-e-Zikr) if you do not know. (Al-Anbiah-7)
Men of invocations means the Men of perfection whose souls have reached at the station of annihilation in Allah. They have become absolutely pure with the invocation of Allah (Zikr-e-Elahi). Now, they have become familiar to the Divine path. Therefore, they have become capable of guiding others by granting them spiritual purity with their spiritual authority.
One must adopt company of truthful for guidance
Allah orders as below:
كُوۡنُوۡا مَعَ الصّٰدِقِيۡنَ
Meaning: Remain in the company of those who uphold the truth (truthfuls). (Al-Tauba-119)
Every command of Allah is an obligation. Hence, to adopt the company of the Sidiqeen (truthfuls) and Mystics is compulsory. If Allah is ordering to ask the men of invocation and adopt the companionship of the truthfuls, then it is obvious that they are present in every age for the guidance of people. Every command of the Quran is for every age, as it is universal.
Point to Ponder
After complete revelation of Quran, Prophet Mohammad passed away. Therefore, it has become more important to seek guidance from men of invocation and truthful. In fact, they are spiritual successors of Prophet Mohammad. Moreover, they are means of the righteousness after the Prophet Mohammad.
Find a medium to reach Allah
Thence, Allah is ordering to search these very persons, in the following verse (ayat):
یٰۤاَیُّہَاالَّذِیۡنَ اٰمَنُوا اتَّقُوا اللّٰہَ وَ ابۡتَغُوۡۤا اِلَیۡہِ الۡوَسِیۡلَۃَ وَجَاہِدُوۡا فِیۡ سَبِیۡلِہٖ لَعَلَّکُمۡ تُفۡلِحُوۡنَ
Meaning: O believers! Adopt piety persistently and keep looking for medium to (approach and get closer to) Him. And strive hard in His way so that you may prosper. (Al-maidah-35)
Explanation of Medium
In the book Qaul-ul-Jamil Shah Waliullah Dehlawi writes in the explanation of this verse:
- Here waseela or medium neither refers to the faith because the faithfuls are already being addressed. Nor it refers to the pious deeds like the prayer, fasting, Zakat as they comes under piety (Taqwa). Thus, here waseela refers to Divine love (iradat), oath of allegiance and the spiritual guide.
Similarly, Shah Ismail Dehlvi, who is the leader of deniers of oath and spiritual guides, defines waseela in these words:
مراد از وسیلہ شخصے است کہ اقرب الی اللہ باشد
Meaning: Waseela refers to that person who is very close to Allah.
When Allah ordered to search means, obviously, it did not refer to an invisible thing like faith, piety devotion etc. In fact, one cannot search them. Hence, the search refers to Universal Divine Man (Mard-e-Kamil) whose reality is unknown among the people.
This verse also clarifies that the false and fraud pirs are not means to reach Allah, as one does not need to search them. Fake pirs are present everywhere and they have made themselves commercial. Thus, one does not need to search them. Medium 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.
Quran stresses to search spiritual guide
In surah Bani Israil verse 57, Allah Himself defines wasila as:
یَبۡتَغُوۡنَ اِلٰی رَبِّہِمُ الۡوَسِیۡلَۃَ اَیُّہُمۡ اَقۡرَبُ
Meaning: They look for mean towards their Lord that among them who is near and beloved of Allah.
In Surah Luqman too, Allah commands to obey His special Men of perfection, which is in fact the instruction to take oath:
وَّاتَّبِعۡ سَبِیۡلَ مَنۡ اَنَابَ اِلَیَّ
Meaning: But follow someone who adopts the path of turning to Me. (Surah Luqman-15)
One must obey Allah, His Prophet and Enlightening leader
Allah says more:
اَطِیۡعُوااللّٰہَ وَ اَطِیۡعُوا الرَّسُوۡلَ وَ اُولِی الۡاَمۡرِ مِنۡکُمۡ ۚ
Meaning: O believers! Obey Allah and obey the Messenger and those who hold command amongst (enlightening leader) you. (An-Nisa-59)
Allah instructed to obey Him and His Prophet alongwith another Human being’s obedience. Surely, this Oulil Amr is a perfect Saint (Wali) who follows the same path the Prophet has followed. Moreover, his instructions conform to Allah and His Prophet. Furthermore, he is successor of Allah and His Prophet. Certainly, there must be one such individual in the world, that is why, the Allah orders to follow him. Undoubtedly, enlightening leader does not refer to the worldly rulers. As their path and deeds are usually against the commandments of Allah and His Prophet. Therefore, following them would make it impossible to follow and obey Allah and His Prophet. Hence, to follow and obey Allah and His Prophet it is essential to find out an enlightening leader. The one who has reached at the highest station of the Divine closeness by following Allah and His Prophet perfectly.
Allah always guides people
In Surah Bani Israil Allah says:
مَنِ اہۡتَدٰی فَاِنَّمَا یَہۡتَدِیۡ لِنَفۡسِہٖ ۚ وَ مَنۡ ضَلَّ فَاِنَّمَا یَضِلُّ عَلَیۡہَا ؕ وَ لَا تَزِرُ وَازِرَۃٌ وِّزۡرَ اُخۡرٰی ؕ وَ مَا کُنَّا مُعَذِّبِیۡنَ حَتّٰی نَبۡعَثَ رَسُوۡلًا
Meaning: Whoever adopts the path of guidance follows it to his own benefit and whoever goes astray, then the evil consequences of his error also fall back on him alone. And no bearer of burden will bear the burden (of the sins) of any other and We do not torment (any people) at all until We send a Messenger (to them). (Bani Israil-15)
This verse proves that Allah always keeps sending His special Men for guiding people towards righteousness in every age. Hence, he guides people in the form of Prophets or in the form of Mystics. Moreover, He will not punish anyone as long as He does not make arrangements for his guidance. If he follows the one who possesses righteousness, then there is salvation for him. But if he refuses to obey him, then Allah punishes him.
Every Muslim seeks path of bestowed people from Allah
We pray in Surah Al-Fatihah during our five times prayers daily:
اِهۡدِنَا الصِّرَاطَ الۡمُسۡتَقِيۡمَۙ. صِرَاطَ الَّذِيۡنَ اَنۡعَمۡتَ عَلَيۡهِمۡ
Meaning: Show us the straight path. The path of those upon whom You have bestowed Your favours.
But people do not take responsibility to search such rewarded people. We think that rewarded people are only the Prophets who have passed away from this world. Therefore, people think that there are no more rewarded people in this world.
A wrong Notion and answer of Quran
This is entirely a wrong notion that only the punished and wrath stricken group have left in this world. God forbid! If such had happened, the doomsday would have befallen so far. In fact, this is the blessing of the existence of bestowed people that it rains and earth grows crops. Surely, it is because of them that the sun rises and life exists. Every soul is taking birth in this world with a hope to receive righteousness from them. Allah Himself explains about the rewarded ones in Quran:
وَمَنۡ یُّطِعِ اللّٰہَ وَ الرَّسُوۡلَ فَاُولٰٓئِکَ مَعَ الَّذِیۡنَ اَنۡعَمَ اللّٰہُ عَلَیۡہِمۡ مِّنَ النَّبِیّٖنَ وَ الصِّدِّیۡقِیۡنَ وَ الشُّہَدَآءِ وَ الصّٰلِحِیۡنَ ۚ وَ حَسُنَ اُولٰٓئِکَ رَفِیۡقًاؕ
Meaning: And whoever obeys Allah and His Messenger are the people who will be in the company of those whom Allah has blessed with His favour: the Prophets, the truthful, the martyrs and the most pious. And how excellent these companions are! (An-Nisa-69)
There is no Prophet after Prophet Mohammad but the chain of truthfuls and pious will remain continue till the doomsday. That is why Allah ordered to remain in the company of truthfuls:
یٰۤاَیُّہَا الَّذِیۡنَ اٰمَنُوا اتَّقُوا اللّٰہَ وَ کُوۡنُوۡا مَعَ الصّٰدِقِیۡنَ
Meaning: Remain in the company of the truthfuls. (Al-Tauba-119)
One can have their company after swearing oath of allegiance on the hand of perfect Saints (Pir-e-Kamil). Thus, all the verses commanding to acquire the company of His beloved men, obey and follow their path are infact instructions of swearing oath to these Saints (Auliya). So the swearing oath is the religious obligations.
Denier of Oath of Allegiance is Denier of Quran
According to the verse 85 of surah Al Baqarah referred before, Allah says:
اَفَتُؤۡمِنُوۡنَ بِبَعۡضِ الۡکِتٰبِ وَ تَکۡفُرُوۡنَ بِبَعۡضٍ
Meaning: Do you believe in some parts of the Quran and deny some others? (Al-Baqarah: 82)
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. Therefore, the denier of oath is the denier of the Quran, Sunna and denier of Allah and His Prophet.
On Doomsday, everyone will be with his spiritual guide
Allah says in Surah Bani Isral:
یَوۡمَ نَدۡعُوۡا کُلَّ اُنَاسٍۭ بِاِمَامِہِمۡ ۚ
Meaning: On the doomsday, when We shall call every section of people along with their (enlightening) leaders (Murshid). (Bani Israel-71)
He who had not found out his Imam or Murshid, he would be alone on the day of judgment. Rather, his Murshid will be Satan. As Holy Prophet said:
مَنْ لَّاشَیْخَ یَتَّخِذُہُالشَّیْطَانَ
Meaning: The one who has no Murshid, his Murshid is Satan.
Some interpreters derive meaning ‘the Prophets’ from the word شَیْخَ in the above-mentioned verse. Although Allah used the word “Imam” instead of Nabi. If it was Prophet of every nation, then Allah would have used the word Nabi.
Oath of Allegiance with Allah
Moreover, the relation with the Prophet develops by swearing oath with the Murshid Kamil (Imam). As Allah say:
اِنَّ الَّذِیۡنَ یُبَایِعُوۡنَکَ اِنَّمَا یُبَایِعُوۡنَ اللّٰہَ ؕ یَدُ اللّٰہِ فَوۡقَ اَیۡدِیۡہِمۡ ۚ
Meaning: (O Beloved!) Indeed, those who pledge allegiance to you in fact pledge allegiance to Allah alone. Allah’s hand is over their hands (in the form of your hand) (Al-Fath-10)
Therefore, Allah set the principle that the oath with Prophet is in fact the oath with Allah. Similarly, the oath at the hand of successor of Prophet is oath with the Prophet and so the chain reaches to Allah. Hence, whoever will swear oath with the perfect spiritual guide of today, in fact he swear oath with Prophet Mohammad through several means.
Perfect spiritual guide in light of Hadiths
The explicit orders of searching the perfect Saint of the concerned era and acquiring his company are present in the Hadiths.
Holy Prophet said:
اَلرَّفِیْقُ ثُمَّ الطَّرِیْقُ
Meaning: First find the guide then set on journey.
لَادِیْنَ لِمَنْ لَّاشَیْخَ لَہ
Meaning: He has no faith who has no Shaikh (Murshid).
مَنْ مَّاتَ وَلَیْسَ فِیْ عُنْقِہُ بَیْعَۃٌ مَاتَ مَیْتَۃً جَاھِلِیَّہً
Meaning: Who died in a state that he had not sworn oath of a perfect spiritual guide, he died in ignorance.
اَلشَّیْخُ فِیْ قَوْمِہٖ کَنَبِیٍّ فِیْ اُمَّتِہٖ
Meaning: A Shaikh among his community (followers) is like a Prophet among his umma.
مَنْ لَمْ یَدْرِکْ اِمَامِ زَمَانَہٗ فَقَدْ مَاتَ مَیْتَۃً جَاہِلِیَّۃً
Meaning: Who does not discover the perfect saint of his time with his insight, will die in ignorance.
The perfect saints (auliya kamileen) gain these levels by acting upon these orders of the Quran and Hadith.
All Saints swear Oath of Allegiance
All the Mystics also swore oath to certain perfect mystic and had received spiritual training from him. Even leader of all the Saints Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani had to swear oath to Hazrat Abu Saeed Makhzoomi to cover the spiritual waystations. Then how can a common and imperfect claims to reach Allah without a medium of Mystic?
Everyone needs a spiritual guide
Jalaluddin Mohammad Rumi (Maulana Rome) says:
.ہیچ کس از نزد خود چیزے نہ شُد
ہیچ آہن خنجر تیزے نہ شُد
.ہیچ حلوائی نہ شُد استادِ کار
تاکہ شاگردے شکر ریزے نہ شُد
مولوی ہرگز نہ شُد مولائے روم
تا غلام شمس تبریزے نہ شُد
Explanation: Nobody can gain anything without a specialist. Just like, no piece of an iron can become a dagger unless handled by a black smith. Moreover a confectioner cannot becomes an expert by himself until he learns this skill from an expert confectioner. Then, he tells that even he could not have reached this status himself until he had not adopted the slavery of his Murshid Shams of Tabriz (Shah Shams Tabrez).
یک زمانے صحبتے با اولیاء
بہتر از صد سالہ طاعت بے ریا
Meaning: A single moment in the company of sacred Saints is better than the sincere worship of hundred years.
Teachings of Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani
Ghaus-ul-Azam Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani razi Allah anhu expresses in these words.
Seek a spiritual doctor
- O people of Allah! You are in a material world of ways and means, so you need a medium. Ask for a doctor (Murshid) from your Lord 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 closeness of the beloveds of Allah. They are very close and respectful to Him.They are the custodians of the doors of the Divine path. (Al-Fath ar-Rabbani)
Spiritual guide is a mirror
- 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 properly. 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. However, the lord of both the worlds says:
‘Mumin is the mirror for a Mumin’.
When the faith of a Muslim rectifies and become perfect, he becomes a mirror for the entire creature. As, they see the faces of their religion in the mirror of his conversation during his meeting and his closeness. (Al-Fath ar-Rabbani)
Always remain with spiritual guide
- O traveller of the world! Do not separate yourself from the caravan, guide and the companions. Otherwise, your life, wealth, and everything will lost. O traveller of the hereafter! You must ever remain alongwith the perfect spiritual guide, he will let you reach the destination. Serve him with dedication, pay respect to him and never remain contradict to his opinion. He will teach you the knowledge and bless you closeness of Allah. (Al-Fath ar-Rabbani)
Satan astray those who are without spiritual guide
The union with Allah is impossible without the guidance of an accomplished spiritual guide. The path of gnosis, closeness and union with Allah passes through door of sharia. Therefore, on both sides of the door of the sharia, the devil ambushes the seeker of Allah with his army. Firstly, he does not let any son of Adam come at the door of sharia. Anyways, if a courageous man arrives at the door (prayer, Zakat, Hajj), then the Satan tries to stop him. Thus, Stan involves him in the superficial scenes of the adornment of sharia. He does not let anybody approach the soul of sharia.
If a lucky seeker dares to step ahead, the devil endeavours to stop him with more force. Therefore, Satan uses every tactic to stop him. When the seeker passes through the door of sharia and enters the kingdom of his inward, 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). At this point, the seekers without perfect Murshid gets astray in the jungle of the inclination of the creation. Therefore, he is killed. Just like the knowledge of the sharia one cannot learn the esoteric knowledge without the help of a perfect Murshid. As, the spiritual glance of the Murshid is such an alchemy which removes the impurities from the seeker. Thence, it makes him capable of having enlightened insight and conscience.
No one ever reached Allah without spiritual guide
In this regard, Sultan-ul-Arifeen Hazrat Sakhi Sultan Bahoo expresses:
- No one has ever reached Allah without a Murshid because the Murshid knows every waystation of the inward journey. Infact, he has the solution of every problem. Actually, Murshid is another name for the Divine favour, without the Divine favour one cannot accomplish job. Murshid is like a vigilant and skilled captain of the ship who is aware of all the hazards of the way and knows all the methods to overcome them. Without the captain, the ship would surely sink. For a seeker, perfect Murshid himself is the ship as well as the captain. (Ain-ul-Faqr)
Mediation is better than excellence
- Mediation (through the Murshid) is better than excellence gained by knowledge. Knowledge or excellence cannot stop a person from sin but mediation (Murshid) can. Just as Prophet Yousaf (Joseph) was saved from the evil of Zulaikha due to the mediation of his Murshid and father, Prophet Yaqoob ).. (Ain-ul-Faqr)
Abu Ḥamid Mohammad ibn Mohammad al-Ghazali:
- To enter the class of the Sufis (oath taking to Murshid Kamil) is an important obligation. As, nobody has exemption from faults and the diseases of the soul, except the Prophets.
- Initially, I was a denier of the spiritual states of the pious ones and Mystics. I remained so unless I had received beneficence by the slavery of my spiritual guide Shaikh Yousaf Nisaj.
The Selection of Shaikh (Spiritual Guide)
Inspite of knowing the importance of oath with reference to Quran and Sunna people are still hesitant from it. Its main reason is the widespread fraud and deceit and the abundance of fake pirs these days. Though, Allah saves His sincere seeker from such fraudulent. Only, seekers of the material world are the trap of these fraudulent. In fact, every person receives what he desires and seeks. If he seeks this deceptive world then he will find the fake pirs (guides). If he is seeking paradise and its blessings, he will find such spiritual guides who will involve him in excessive prayers, forty days seclusions and specific spiritual exercises. As these are pre-requisite to fulfill the desire of heaven.
Allah guards His seeker
Although, one who sets out to search a perfect spiritual guide to seek Allah, Allah Himself is his protector. As He has said:
وَ الَّذِیۡنَ جَاہَدُوۡا فِیۡنَا لَنَہۡدِیَنَّہُمۡ سُبُلَنَا ؕ
Meaning: The people who strive hard for Our Way, We certainly guide them to Our ways” (Al Ankaboot-69)
Whose desire and intention is true, if initially he goes at wrong place, Allah guides him towards the right place. Hence, it is necessary to rectify your own intention and desires first, instead of blaming the fraud guides.
Perfect Spiritual guide conceals himself from seeker of this world and the hereafter
Sultan-ul-Faqr VI Hazrat Sakhi Sultan Mohammad Asghar Ali Rehmat-ul-Allah Alayh says:
- I have heard that these days Kamil Murshids (perfect spiritual guides) are rare. Whereas the fraudulents and cheats are available everywhere in the guise of Murshid. Well! If you will seek the world or heaven instead of Allah then definitely such people will deceive you. A true seeker who really wants proximity of Allah never becomes victim of such people. Because his protector is He (Allah) in whose search he has set out. First check and rectify your own demand, then look for a spiritual guide, you will surely find the destination. Since there are no more seekers of Allah who set out to search Him truly and seek His closeness and recognition.
Hence, perfect spiritual guide has also concealed himself from the carcass worldly people. I again emphasize upon searching a spiritual guide with a true inward, sincere intention and without prejudice. Only then, you will find your destination. Abu Jahal and Abu Lahab could not recognize Prophet Mohammad inspite of being near him. While Hazrat Awais Qarni (Uwais al-Qarani) recognized him due to his true passion despite being physically away from him.
Signs of perfect spiritual guide
Syed Muhammad Zauqi Shah tells some important things to recognize the true Murshid:
- Visit that Shaikh and notice that as long as you were sitting there, whether you felt less worldly dangers, satanic whisper or not. Whether, you felt the love for Allah and Prophet or not. After getting out of that place, your state may 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?. What was the state before becoming his disciples and what kind of change they felt afterwards?
- The time you remained in his company, did he utter such words, which conform to your spiritual states. Moreover, 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
Major Problem of today
Nowadays, there is another severe problem. It is because of the abundance of imperfect spiritual guide. Infact, people swear oath with any available Murshid, 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 oath, they imagine themselves free from fulfilling this Sunna whether they gain spiritual beneficence from it or not. This attitude is entirely wrong,
There is no oath with fake spiritual guide
One must know that if the spiritual guide is imperfect and is not capable of benefitting his disciples then the oath has not occurred at all. If the disciple does not feel change then he must not hesitate even a little bit to leave that Murshid. One must leave fake Murshid if seeker has not freed from pride, malice, vanity, conceit and greed despite his guidance. If someone could not feel the love of Allah and His Prophet then, he must not follow that imperfect guide.
Rather, he must set out to search a perfect Murshid and swear oath on his hands. Because, the orders of oath are similar to those of marriage (Nikkah), as both create a sacred and deep bond. Just like marriage with an eunuch cannot happen, similarly, the oath with an imperfect Murshid cannot happen as well. Therefore, the soon one must get rid of such Murshid and return to a perfect Murshid.
Different situations for renewal of oath of allegiance
In case of imperfect spiritual guide
- After oath, if someone comes to know that the Murshid is imperfect. Moreover, he does not belong to any spiritual chain and does not follow sharia. Then, the oath 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 Murshid. They only earn money and enjoy political status through the inheritance of the saint’s seat. They have no concern with spirituality. May Allah save everybody from swearing oath on their hands. They infact defame all the Murshids. The insensible people, following their ancestor’s footsteps, swear oath with these inheritors of Saint. This is not spiritualism instead a devilishness. Hence, this oath has not happened. Hence, 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 get benefit from his Murshid’s shrine, and then the renewal is must.
Oath during childhood
- If during the childhood, one swears oath under somebody’s influence without any understanding. Now he has grown up and finds himself inclined towards another Murshid, he has the right to repeat oath.
If seeker does not get any beneficence
- 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. Moreover, it is lawful for the perfect Murshid to take his oath and train him.
- If the Murshid has lost and the disciple could not contact him physically and spiritually. Moreover, seeker does not have any information about him. Then, in this situation, one can renew his oath with perfect Murshid.
Prominent signs of Perfect Spiritual Guide
According to Sultan Bahoo, the most prominent sign for recognizing a true Murshid are:
- He grants the seeker sultan of invocation i.e Hoo ھُو (Sultan-ul-Azkar ) for invocation.
- Moreover, he blesses contemplation (tasawur) of Ism-e-Allah Zaat (the personal name of Allah.).
- He orders him to inscribing Allah’s name on the body (mashq murqoom-e-wajudia). The Murshid, who cannot grant all this, is not capable of Divine guidance and instruction. Therefore, by breaking his oath, one can sworn on the hands of the perfect spiritual guide who possesses all qualities.
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