Etiquette of the Shaikh
Etiquette of the Shaikh
(Shaikh here means a spiritual guide.)
(1) Honour and respect Islam and its laws. Be steadfast in the observance of Islam's commands. Pay special care to Islam's teaching of appointing someone as one's senior spiritual (Deeni) guide. Be obedient to him. It is not sufficient to accept him as one's senior merely on paper and addressing him with lauding titles. Obedience and acting in accordance with his (the Shaikh's) ta'leem (instruction) are the actual things for practical adoption.
(2) It is necessary for every person to appoint someone (capable and qualified) to act as his Shaikh. This is compulsory.
(3) The necessary condition is to become subservient to the People of Allah (the Auliya) who are the spiritual guides). Cast aside your desires and pride and annihilate yourself in front of them. Act according to their instructions.
(4) In the sphere of roohaani (spiritual) training the Shaikh's concern and affection are similar to a father's affection in the sphere of worldly training. In fact, the spiritual mentor has greater affection than even a father. The spiritual mentor executes such tasks which a father' is incapable of rendering. He unites man's rooh (soul) with Allah Ta'ala. He transforms man into Aarif (one who possesses deep knowledge and insight of the spiritual realm) and a waasil (one who has attained the goal of Divine Pleasure). Thus in this holy process of spiritual training the bond between the two parties (Shaikh and Mureed) can never be sufficient irrespective of any high degree the association may have attained.
(5) Without being under the guidance of a Shaikh-e-Kaamil (a qualified spiritual mentor), there always lurks danger in every step taken. The need is vital to act in conformity with the instruction of a Shaikh-e-Kaamil. Annihilate all your wishes, desires and intentions. Submit yourself to your Shaikh.
(6) Do not raise the slightest objection against the ta'leem of your Shaikh. While honouring and respecting all Shaikhs, do not accept for practical adoption their ta'leem. Adopting the ta'leem of another Shaikh while ones' shaikh is living is detrimental. Objecting to one's Shaikh's ta'leem will deprive one of spiritual progress.
(7) The less one's confidence in one's Shaikh, the less the benefit.
(8) Do not recite poetry in the presence of your Shaikh.
(9) I regard it as disrespectful to write poetry in letters to the Shaikh. There is no harm if such verses are written spontaneously because of momentary enthusiasm and feeling. But poetry should not be written to seniors by deliberate design. It implies the desire to impress and to display one's ability. The student should not adopt such an attitude with his instructor.
(10) One should not sit with a rosary (Tasbeeh) in the presence of seniors or in the presence of a person whom one wishes to accept as one's Shaikh. This is contrary to adab (respect). It implies a claim of piety.
(11) It is highly disrespectful to display any ability or rank in the presence of one's Shaikh, e.g. to demonstrate one's knowledge. To exhibit one's excellences in order to gain acceptance among the masses is a worse malady. Abstention from this is imperative.
(12) Noor (spiritual light) is created by having true respect in the heart for the Auliya. Imaan is strengthened and one's Deen becomes firmly grounded thereby. I greatly fear disrespect shown to the Masha-ikh (plural of Shaikh) and Ulama because the consequences are most dangerous (to Imaan).
(13) When someone speaks ill of those whom you regard as the Masha-ikh, then immediately admonish him. Politely tell him:
"Brother, your attitude grieves me. Do not speak in this way in my presence!"
(For a better understanding of Tasawwuf and the Mureed's relationship with his Shaikh, read the book, Shariat and Tasawwuf by Hadhrat Masihullah Khan, available from the Publishers. Price: R6 [3.U.S. Dollars].
(1) Taqwa (piety) has its role in the attainment of sharh sadr. In this regard, adab (respect) too, plays a vital role (i.e. showing respect to the Auliya).
(Sharh Sadr is the heart's state of firm conviction. The mind opens up to fully comprehend the subject. All doubt is eliminated in this state. Transistors).
(2) Once a man was sitting on the river bank making wudhu. He observed that on his left side on a lower level Imaam Ahmad Bin Hambal (rahmatullah alayh) was seated, also making wudhu. Thinking that it is disrespectful to allow his used water to flow in the direction of the Imaam, he (the man) got up and seated himself at a distance on the left side of the Imaam. After his death Allah Ta'ala pardoned him his sins on account of this act of adab. Adab is indeed a great asset.
(3) Maulana Gangohi (rahmatullah alayh) said:
"People who criticize, insult and vilify the Ulama of the Deen, their faces in the grave are turned away from the Qiblah."