Allah Ta’ala states in the Holy Qur’an regarding the allegiance of the Blessed Companions to Rasoolullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam), “Surely those who swear allegiance to you indeed swear allegiance to Allah. The Hand of Allah is above their hands.” [Surah 48, Verse 10]
This verse is the praise of Rasoolullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam). It refers to the incident of Bai’atur Ridwan. When rumours were heard about Hazrat Uthman Ghani (Radiallahu Ta’ala Anh) being martyred, Rasoolullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) took a pledge of allegiance from the people to perform Jihad. All the blessed Companions gave their hands in his blessed hands and pledged allegiance. Thereafter, Rasoolullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) pointed to his blessed left hand and said, “This hand is Uthman’s (Radiallahu Ta’ala Anh).” Then he pointed to his blessed right hand and said, “This hand is the Prophet of Allah’s and I myself pledge allegiance on behalf of Uthman (Radiallahu Ta’ala Anh) on my own hand.”
SubhanAllah! How fortunate is Hazrat Uthman (Radiallahu Ta’ala Anh)? Metaphorically, the hand of Rasoolullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) is Hazrat Uthman’s (Radiallahu Ta’ala Anh) hand and the Hand of Allah Ta’ala! And even though he was not present, he was counted amongst those that pledged allegiance in the hands of Rasoolullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam). The following point emerges from the above verse.
Firstly, Rasoolullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) has such an esteemed rank in the Court of Allah Ta’ala that obedience and pledges of allegiance to him are actually obedience and pledges of allegiance to Allah Ta’ala. His blessed hand is the Hand of Allah Ta’ala.
It is stated in Tasfeer Roohul Bayaan under this verse that Allah Ta’ala blessed Rasoolullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) with a rank so great unattained by anyone else. Rasoolullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) forsook everything for Allah Ta’ala. So, Allah Ta’ala is for Rasoolullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) and Rasoolullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) is the Beloved of Allah. Rasoolullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) is the manifestation of the Power of Allah Ta’ala. The Power of Allah Ta’ala is projected through the very existence of Rasoolullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam). If you wish to view the Splendour of the Divine Attributes of Allah Ta’ala then look upon the Beloved of Allah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam). That is why it is said in the Hadith of Rasoolullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam), “He who has seen me has seen the Truth (i.e. Allah Ta’ala).”
When the blessed hand of Rasoolullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) is the Hand of Allah Ta’ala, then his blessed tongue and in fact all of his blessed body parts, also project Divine Power. This is the station known as Annihilation in Allah Ta’ala (Fana Fillah). When human beings enter this station, miraculous qualities are gained by them. One is that the servant begins to demonstrate divine workings. Some examples are, when Hazrat Asif Barkhiya (Radiallahu Ta’ala Anh) brought the throne of Bilqees to Hazrat Sayyiduna Sulaiman (Alaihis Salaam) within a moment. Hazrat Yaqoob (Alaihis Salaam) attained the fragrance of Hazrat Yusuf (Alaihis Salaam) from Egypt. After constructing the Holy Ka’bah, Hazrat Sayyiduna Ibrahim (Alaihis Salaam) invited all of the people of the world to perform Hajj and every person to be born until the Day of Qiyaamah heard this call. The sun that set was risen, the moon was split in two and clouds rained all on the gesture of Rasoolullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam). These incidents are the workings of Allah Ta’ala and are demonstrated by His Beloveds (Alaihimus Salaam).
We also come to know that pledging allegiance (bai’at) is necessary. Rather, it is Sunnah. In fact, people made bai’at on the Day of Covenant as per the Holy Qur’an, “Am I not your Lord? They said, ‘Yes’.” [Surah 7, Verse 172].
The Sahaabah pledged allegiance in the blessed hands of Rasoolullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam), and anyone who came to accept Islam did so too. However, this pledge was for Islam whereas the pledge in Hudaibiyah was for Jihad. At times, Rasoolullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) would take specific pledges from people, e.g. Rasoolullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) took pledges from some not to beg from anyone.
Thereafter pledges were made in the hands of the four Khalifas, but this was an affirmation of power and succession as well as a pledge of loyalty (i.e. allegiance by a spiritual seeker). This is why the tradition of bai’at with spiritual guides was not habitual at that time because Hazrat Abu Baker, Hazrat Umar, Hazrat Uthman, Hazrat Ali (Radiallahu Ta’ala Anhum) were all spiritual masters themselves). The pledging of allegiance was also an affirmation of succession (Khilafat). So, it had to be made at the hands of every Khalifa who gained it.
When the era of the Khalifa’s had ended, power remained with kings. For this reason, a pledge as an affirmation of power and rule was made with Muslim kings while the pledge of spirituality was made with the Shaikhs. The word murid (the title of the one who pledges allegiance) means someone who seeks. The word mureed (disciple) means ‘someone who seeks’. A mureed is a seeker of the Pleasure of Allah Ta’ala. The word has been deduced from the following Quranic Verse, “Those who seek the pleasure of Allah, and it is they who are prosperous.”
[Surah 30, Verse 38]
A narration found in Muslim Sharif states that the death of a person who does not have the rope of someone around his neck (i.e. someone who does not have the guidance of someone) is the death of ignorance.
The lower self (nafs) is a dog. Put the collar of someone around it so that it does not stray. The progression (Shajarah) of the Spiritual Masters is like the chain of the collar whose first link is around the neck of the disciple while the last is in the blessed hands of Rasoolullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam). Also, if you are far from the lamp of Prophethood, have a connection with those mirrors by which the light of the Beloved of Allah is reflected. Rasoolullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) is the rain of mercy while the Scholars and the Mashaa’ikh are its ponds. He who cannot access the rain should satisfy his field of Imaan with these alternatives.
We also come to know from this verse that it is Sunnah to place the hands in the hands of the Spiritual Master when making bai’at because joining hands indicates a strong affirmation from the allegiance. Also, we use our hands to take in the world. This is why we lift them when making Dua, because it is as if we are taking from Allah Ta’ala. Rasoolullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) himself gestured to holding a handful of knowledge and bestowed it to Hazrat Abu Hurairah (Radiallahu Ta’ala Anh).
However, it is not permissible for foreign (ghair mahram) males to touch the hands of foreign females as this is against hijab and is Haraam. When bai’at is taken from females, it must only be a verbal allegiance. Yes, a Shaikh can hold the hands of female mahram relatives in bai’at. Foreign males may not touch the hands of foreign womenfolk. Sayyidah Aisha Siddiqah (Radiallahu Ta’ala Anna) states, “Never did Rasoolullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) touch the hand of any female when making bai’at.”
The disciple touching the hands of the Shaikh is for the Noor attained from Rasoolullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) and transmitted through the Mashaa’ikh to manifest its blessings within the disciple. It is permissible for a Shaikh to hold one end of a shawl and extend the other end to a foreign female in bai’at so that the Noor is conveyed to her as well.
Womenfolk cannot be made spiritual masters because being one is a type of leadership. Neither can a woman become the leader of a male nor is her leadership correct.
Four qualities must be sought in a spiritual master before pledging allegiance to him.
- He should be Sahihul Aqeedah (i.e. his beliefs must be in accordance with the Ahle Sunnah wal Jama’ah).
- He must have sufficient knowledge to guide people.
- He must not be an open sinner. Rather, he should be pious in nature.
- His spiritual chain must correctly reach Rasoolullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam).
If a spiritual master lacks in even one of these qualities, then allegiance should not be made in his hands. This is the command of Shariah. A successor can be selected in the following ways.
- The Shaikh himself chooses his successor during his lifetime, just as how Hazrat Abu Bakr Siddiq (Radiallahu Ta’ala Anh) chose Hazrat Umar (Radiallahu Ta’ala Anh) as the Khalifah during his lifetime.
- After the demise of the Shaikh, the general body of the Shaikh’s disciples chooses someone as his successor. The Khilafat of Hazrat Abu Bakr Siddiq (Radiallahu Ta’ala Anh) is an example of this. Rasoolullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) did not explicitly declare it but it was after the consultation of the general body of Muslims that Hazrat Abu Bakr Siddiq (Radiallahu Ta’ala Anh) was chosen as the first Khalifah.
- Selected, trusted individuals from amongst the disciples make someone the Khalifah. The Khilafat of Hazrat Uthman Ghani and Hazrat Ali (Radiallahu Ta’ala Anhum) are examples of this. Their Khilafat was established by the consultation of authorities amongst the Companions.
These Khilafats are proof of the Khilafats prevalent today. Sadly, in our current era, people say that the son of the master should also be a Shaikh, irrespective of whether his father granted him successorship or not, whether the disciples are content with him or not. This is completely wrong. The annotator of Qasidah Burdah Shareef, Hazrat Allama Karputi (Radiallahu Ta’ala Anh), has strongly refuted this notion. He writes, “Today, becoming the successor has become a form of amusement, that the minor son of the Shaikh is also made a Shaikh even though he does not fulfill the criteria of one nor is he worthy of being made so.”
May Allah Ta’ala grant us the Taufeeq to seek knowledge from the Holy Qur’an and the ability to differentiate between truth and falsehood, Ameen.
[Compiled from Shaan-e-Habeebur Rahman min Aayaatil Qur’an by Hakeemul Ummat Mufti Ahmad Yaar Khan Naeemi Rahmatullah Alaih]