Sayyidi wa sanadi Shaikh Mufti Mohammad Taqi Usmani (Allah preserve him) said while explaining the Sheikh-mureed relationship;
“My Shaikh (Allah have mercy on him) used to say that there are three levels of relationship with the Sheikh.
First is the ‘aqidet’ (reverence). That is, being impressed by Shaikh’s reputation of either scholarly knowledge, or piety or association with pious predecessors, or affectionately guiding disciples, a feeling of respect and desire to benefit from him arises. This is the first stage.
Second stage is that of ‘munasbet’ (congeniality). That is, on hearing Shaikh’s advice the aspirant readily accepts it and feels as though the words are pouring directly into his heart. The advice seems to be aimed directly at him. It appears to addresses his own spiritual ailments. Most importantly it does not stir any significant negative thoughts and criticism.
The final stage is that of ‘muhabbet’ (love). That is, being in association with the Shaikh for some time gradually a desire strengthens to benefit from him abundantly, to visit him often, to hear his advice and act accordingly. This is the desired level necessary for benefiting from the Shaikh. It is at this stage taking bayah is most useful. And it is the usual practice in the tareeq of Hakim al Umma Mawlana Asharf Ali Thanawi (Allah have mercy on him) to take bayat at this stage.
Waaz: 9th July 2006, Sunday, Masjid Darul Uloom, Karachi