The Nature Of Bay’t

The meaning of bay’t (يبيع : to sell) is inherent in bay’t (بيعت). Bay’t thus implies that the mureed “sells” himself to the Shaikh. In other words, he has sold himself to the Shaikh, in preparation of ahkam-e-zahirah and ahkam-e-batinah (i.e. to learn to give practical expression to the Law of Allah Ta’ala). The nature of this “sale” envisages that the searcher for the truth (talib), should repose implicit trust and faith in his Shaikh. He should understand and accept that the advices and prescriptions, admonitions and prohibitions of the Shaikh are all designed and motivated for his (the mureed’s) spiritual well-being. The talib shall not interfere with or impede the diagnosis and prescriptions of the Shaikh. He should have implicit faith, to such an extent that he should believe that in all the world there is none in his knowledge who can benefit him more than his Shaikh.

In the terminology of Tasawwuf this conception of implicit faith in the Shaikh is known as wahdat-e matlab (unity of purpose). Minus this conception, the ceremony of bay’t is meaningless and of no benefit because compatibility (munasabat) with the Shaikh is an essential condition for islaah (reformation) of the nafs. The sign of the existence of compatibility (munasabat) between the Mureed and his Shaikh is that the heart of the mureed does not object to the respect, statements and acts of the Shaikh. Should any objection arise in the heart regarding the Shaikh, the mureed should grieve and feel depressed. The external form of bay’t is beneficial to the general public since it induces reverence and respect in them for the Shaikh.

As a result, they readily accept the Shaikh’s statements and are constrained to act accordingly. However, for the elite (khawas), i.e. the Ulama, bay’t proves beneficial after a period has been spent in association with the Shaikh. By virtue of bay’t a bond of sincerity (khulus) is generated between the mureed and the Shaikh.

The Shaikh considers the mureed to belong to him, and the mureed considers the Shaikh to belong to him. There does not remain any suspense between them.

Adapted from Shariat And Tassawuf

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