A sincere student inquired,
What does giving bayah to a shaykh include?
Following answer was given,
Baiyet or bayah or Ahed is a solemn pledge. It hallmarks an agreement between the Sheikh and a spiritual aspirant. That is, in order to gain Allah swt’spleasure the aspirant agrees to receive and obey the guidance and instruction from the Sheikh. And the Sheikh kindly accepts to direct him accordingly.
This is the reality of ba’iyet.
Outwardly it takes the form of holding the hand of the Sheikh, who recites some Quranic verses, hadithand ask the mureed to repent for all previous sins and make a solemn affirmation of not committing them ever again. Also he announces that the aspirant is now a member of xyzSufi order. Then he instructs him accordingly.
Indeed, this outwardly form of baiyet is filled with barakah. Being a Sunnah (ghair muakkidah) and the practice of saintly elders it has its own benefits. It is not an ordinary thing.
However, without the above mentioned reality it is a form devoid of soul.
History of religions is evident of the fact that with passage of time and spiritual decline means become goals by themselves and realities are ignored. Rituals and ceremonies eclipse the real meaning intended.
Same has happened with Tasawwuf. Ba’yit has become a ceremony. It is considered to be a goal by itself. This is not the correct teaching of Tasawwuf. Essential thing is continuously receiving instructions and acting on them as guided.
For this reason, in our tariq, ba’yit is deferred initially. The instruction and guidance starts immediately. However, the ba’yit is as a principle is delayed till the Sheikh is satisfied that the individual is sincere to follow the path and is doing so to the best of his ability. And, moreover, the potential mureed understands and agrees with the methodology of the Sheikh and himself acknowledges increasing benefit from these instructions.
This time period may be days or years.
The best deal is: Try before you buy.
Once the potential mureed sees himself grow spiritually, the real importance of ba’yit will become evident to him. However, if such is not the case, he will be free to try his luck somewhere else.
Ashrafiya Qs &As