Posted by: Seeker of the Sacred Knowledge | November 21, 2011

Importance of having a Shaykh and a Murshid


Importance of Having a Shaykh :


Allah said in the Holy Qur’an:


“Fear Allah and accompany Trustworthy people” [9:119].


Allah said in the Holy Qur’an:


ألا إن أولياء الله لا خوف عليهم ولا هم يحزنون. الذين آمنوا وكانوا يتقون


” Ah! Indeed, the friends of Allah there is no concern for them, and they do not grieve. The friends of Allah are those who believe and are cautious” (Yunus 10: 62-63)



Allah’s Word is for all time, for every era and for every century. It is an ongoing order, from which we understand the importance of keeping company with the Trustworthy. Allah orders all human beings to accompany them, because by keeping their company one will see how they live their lives, how they deal with people, how they address their companions, how they eat, how they sleep, how they worship. By accompanying them, one will learn all their good manners, and their ways of life.


Another way too understand this verse, is that one should accompany a trustworthy person, because to be trustworthy is very rare and not many people achieve it. Everyone, however, can find a trustworthy person and accompany him, in order to be guided. Following a Trustworthy One is essential to our spiritual path. Such a one is needed to lead us and guide us and to be a beacon for us on that way. In the Naqshbandi Order, the living presence of a connected Shaykh is essential. Through his physical and spiritual linkage to the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace)he establishes the murid’s connection. The murid’s obligation is to maintain his connection to his Shaykh, to hold tightly to the hand of the one within his reach. The Shaykh maintains the further connection to the previous Shaykhs and to the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace).


From what has been said above, and in the biographies of the Masters, the importance of accompanying a True Master has been clearly demonstrated. It provides the seeker with the opportunity to learn the essentials of ethics and good conduct, to discover the hidden defects of his heart, and to be lifted to the states of perfection. There are two requisites for entering upon such an endeavour: when the seeker feels the need to seek in this way he must purify his intention and ask his Lord to connect him to a Truthful One; and he must look in his own country for someone who will point him in the direction of the Perfect Master. The Need for a Living Guide



If one is separated from his Shaykh by death or other circumstances, it becomes necessary to find a living guide, who can complete the work of the first master (if there is any work remaining). The path itself is not the Goal, but the means to reach the Goal. Holding onto the attachment to a master who is no longer present, usually represents an unrealistic expectation and a false hope. It may also be a manifestation of pride. Although they had already pledged themselves to the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace), the Companions had to take initiation with Sayyidina Abu Bakr (Allah be pleased with him) after the passing of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace), and as they renewed their pledge to the successive khalifs, Sayyidina ‘Umar, Sayyidina ‘Uthman and Sayyidina ‘Ali, so too does a sincere seeker need to put his hand into the hand of a living Shaykh, and renew his initiation, in order to complete his journey to the Divine Presence.


Importance of a Murshid :


After the rank of being a prophet, no rank is higher than the being a deputy for a prophet, to call men, by the path of The Holy Prophet Hazrat Muhammad (Salallah Aleih Wassllam), to Allah (Subhana-hu Wa Ta’laa).


The word Sheikh, signifieth being a Khalifa; hence its degree is excellent, as, in respect of the Sheikhs of sufis, is in the hadith stated.


The Sheikh’s purpose is to cleanse, from the rust of lust and of nature, the murld’s heart, so that in it, by attractions and inclinations, may be reflected the rays of the beauty of unity and the glory of eternity; so that, by beholding them, his eyes may be attracted; and so that, thus, divine love may rest in his sincere heart.


The rules of being a Sheikh are following:




1. The purifying of resolution and the searching for the cause



First he should seek out of himself that the cause be not – The desire of precedence„ being a Sheikh„ being followed. wherein are born the lusts of sons of Adam ; this he should do, though he may see his own lust at rest and the fires of nature extinguished.





When he seeth some of the seekers, with sincerity of desire, turn to him, and from him seek guidance, hastily he should not be their director, but should delay till, with penitence, true submission, and supplication to Allah (Subhana-hu Wa Ta’laa),he discovereth the truth of the state and with certainty knoweth what Allah (Subhana-hu Wa Ta’laa)’s purpose is to him in regard to their charge.




If he see that the charge of the crowd of the seekers is trial, he knoweth caution to be necessary, and is engaged in comprehending the hidden cause.




If he see that Allah (Subhana-hu Wa Ta’laa)’s purpose is that he should instruct the seekers, he followeth Allah (Subhana-hu Wa Ta’laa)’s order.


2. The knowledge of capacity


The Sheikh must regard the capacity of the murld. If, in him, he see capacity for treading the path of those near to Allah (Subhana-hu Wa Ta’laa), he inviteth him with skill, and by elucidat¬ing the states of him who is near to Allah (Subhana-hu Wa Ta’laa),




If he see that he has not much capacity for the path of the pious, he inviteth him by admonishing, by inciting, by instructing, and by mentioning paradise and hell.




The Sheikh urgeth the capable ones to deeds of the heart (murakiba, observance of mystery, distinguishing thoughts), and to pure devotion.




Thus, if he see the murld’s welfare in abandoning the world’s chattels, or in hold¬ing to them, he ordereth as may be suitable to his state.




Who acquireth not knowledge of the different kinds of capacity, and discrimina¬tion as to the forms of understanding, hath no true power over the murid.



3. Being pure (having no lot or part) in respect of the murid’s property


The Sheikh must show no greed for the property, or for the service, of the murid. With a gratification, he should not make vain his instructing and directing, which are the best of alms (for Allah (Subhana-hu Wa Ta’laa)).


When, by divine information or by true knowledge, he knoweth that, for the ge¬neral good, he should take the property, he may do so.


If the murid desire at once to give up his property, the Sheikh may accept: because, in return for it, he can give to the murid that state (for which he is fit) which is the cause of tranquillity of heart.


If he knoweth that the murid will look with regret at his property, he will allow him to spend a portion.


Once, one of Junid’s murids wished to give up all his property. Junid refused saying:—


Keep what is sufficient and thereon subsist; the surplus, give. For, after the expending of all thy property, safe from the demands of thy desire, I shall not be.



4. Offering


Delights of offering and of severing attachments are incumbent on the Sheikh, so that, by observing their effects, the sincerity, and the conviction of the murid may be greater; and the severing of attachments, easier; and the desire of celibacy, over¬powering.


By offering, becometh sifted the murid’s suspicion as to the Sheikh’s state, and, as to the truth of his sway.


According to necessity, he should distribute the excess among the poor.



5. Concordance of deed with word in invitation


When the Sheikh wisheth to invite the murid to a practice, or to an abandonment, it is necessary that, in his own state, this (practice or abandonment) should be evident, so that, without suspicion, the murid may accept.


Upon persons, the mere word has no great effect.


According to the hadis the murid should choose fakr (poverty), which is the wealth of sufi,ism, and the condition of tarikat (the path to Allah (Subhana-hu Wa Ta’laa)), although to him, poverty and riches are, as ‘Umar hath said, one.



6. Compassion for the weak


When, in the murid, the Sheikh seeth weakness of resolution ; and knoweth that against lust and the abandoning of accustomed things, he hath no true resolution, he should display kindness.


To the limit of his power, he should abridge the austerities, so that the murid may not shun him ; and so that, in time, and by intercourse, he may gain kinship with fukara (fakirs).


Possibly, after resolution shall h ave been incited in him, he may gradually reach from the abyss of license (to disregard austerities) to the height of resolution.


Once one of the sons of favour (a rich man) joined the society of Ahmad Kalansi; and severed himself from the world.


In him, Ahmad found a weakness, whereupon, when a few dirhams were gained he used to purchase for him bread, round cake, roast meat, sweetmeat; and to say:—


” Out from the world’s favour and from association therewith, this man has come; then fit it is to tread with him the path of compassion; and not to forbid him delights.



7. The purifying of speech


Pure of the pollution of desire must be the Sheikh’s speech, so that its effect upon the murid may be seen.


On the heart the effect of speech is like to seed: if the seed be bad, there is no fruit; iniquity of speech is in entering into, and associating with, desire.


Into speech desire falleth :—


    either for attracting the hearts of hearers, which is unfit for the state of Sheikhs. or from pride of himself on account of the beauty of his own speech, which (in the opinion of men of hakikat) is pure sin.




With the murid the Sheikh should winnow his speech from the pollution of desire ; should plant it in the heart’s soil, and entrust it to Allah (Subhana-hu Wa Ta’laa) to be preserved from the bird of forgetfulness and from the power of shaitan.


On account of the pride of self, sincerity appeareth not save by observing the lights of Allah (Subhana-hu Wa Ta’laa)’s excellence and the effects of His boundless favours,—in the splendour of which lights the glance of lust becometh dimmed ; and the darkness of pride, extin¬guished. Then in the buffeting of the waves of the ocean of perpetual bounty, he regardeth his own existence, much more his speech,—less than a drop.



8. Exalting the heart to Allah (Subhana-hu Wa Ta’laa) in the state of speech


When the Sheikh wisheth to speak to the murid, he should turn his heart towards Allah (Subhana-hu Wa Ta’laa), and from Him ask sense, that he may be theperfecter of time and the compre-hender of the welfare of the hearer’s state ; that his tongue may be the speaker of Allah (Subhana-hu Wa Ta’laa) ; and that his speech may be true in rendering benefit.


Thus they say:— In the hearing of his own speech he was equal to the other hearers.


Although sooner than the spectators on the shore, the diver in the sea collecteth pearl-shells and bringeth with himself the pearl, yet, as soon as he issueth from the sea and openeth the shell, he is only equal to the spectators on the shore.



9. Speaking ambiguously


When in the murid, the Sheikh seeth something detestable; and wisheth to admonish him thereto, so that he may strive to remove it, he should not speak fluently and conspicuously.


Nay, ambiguously he should cast the matter before the assembly, that to its object, its tenour may lead.


Thus if, in the murid’s soul, he should see :


    a pride of his own deeds and states, a claim to nearness (to Allah (Subhana-hu Wa Ta’laa)) and to perfection, a crookedness and a turning from the path of firmness.




He should relate to the assembly, in respect of it, an hadis, or a tale, of Sheikhs ; and briefly should hint at the abomination, so that those present may be profited. In this way, counsel is nearest to courtesy and to hikmat.



10. Preserving the mysteries of the murid


The Sheikh should preserve the mysteries of the murid, and not reveal his manifestations and miracles. By speaking to him in private, he should render them contemptible, saying :—


Although circumstances like these are the favour of Allah (Subhana-hu Wa Ta’laa), yet, expecting and looking for them, is the cause of the murid’s path being closed. In thanks for them, they should make return; from them, takeoff their glance; and, inobserving the Benefactor (Allah (Subhana-hu Wa Ta’laa)) through observing His favour, be engaged. Otherwise, in loss they remain.



11. Pardoning the murid’s blunder


If, in the murid, the Sheikh should see a defect in abandoning a service, or in neglecting a rule,—–it, he should forgive him ; and thereto by kindness, by courtesy, by indulgence, and by grace incite him.



12. Descending from (passing over) his own right


Of the murid, the Sheikh should have no hope, although it is his right; and to his right, the keeping of the murid is a most important rule. But the Sheikh’s expecta¬tion of it is not approved ; and his descending from his right is best.


Waki says :


Once, in Egypt, with an assembly of fukara, I was in a masjid, where Abu Bakr VVirak stood before a pillar and prayed. I said to myself, when the Sheikh finisheth his prayer, I will salute him. When HP had returned the salam of the prayer, he came and preceded me in salutation. I said :” Best it would have been if I had first stood in respect.” The Sheikh said : “I have never been bound with the expectation that any one should do me honouring.”



13. The allowing of the murid’s rights


In sickness and in health, the Sheikh should not delay in allowing the rights of the companions.



14. The distributing of times in respect of khilvat (retirement) and of jilvat (rapid circular motions)


The Sheikh’s time should not be plunged in communication with the people. His power of ‘hal’, his perfection, his tamkln, and his presence (with others) should not be the excuse. With perfection of hal, and of tamkin, The Holy Prophet Hazrat Muhammad (Salallah Aleih Wassllam) was not, all day, in men’s society. For asking the aid of Allah (Subhana-hu Wa Ta’laa)’s bounty, of mercy, he chose khilvat; for diffus¬ing the mercy on the people, he chose society. For the Sheikh is necessary a special khilvat, wherein he may be employed :


    in portions of devotion. in humbling himself and in supplicating Allah (Subhana-hu Wa Ta’laa) for his own sake and for others. in asking aid so that his khilvat may be secure from being employed with people.




By the opposition of man’s composition, displaying assiduity to Allah (Subhana-hu Wa Ta’laa) is difficult; and languor in deeds is expected, and at such times, it is proper that he should pass his time in society and thereby dispel that languor Again, through shauk and zauk, he may incline to khjlvat and to devotion ; men may be benefited by his nature ; and he may escape from languor.



15. The increasing of the works of supererogation (nawafil)


The boiling of his hal should not hinder him from repairing time with good deeds. For, with perfection of hal, assiduous in respect to nawafil, was The Holy Prophet Hazrat Muhammad (Salallah Aleih Wassllam) : — in the namaz-i-tahajjud, prayer of midnight. „ ,, chasht, prayer between sunrise and noon. „ „ zawal, prayer after noon. „ ruza,-i-tatawwu, fasting during good deeds. „ other nawafil. At night so long used he to stand in prayer that his auspicious feet became swollen.






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