Rights of the Shaikh — A Must Read for all those who have a Shaikh
Honor and respect and obedience to the Shaikh are a must. Obedience and acting in accordance with his teachings is what really needs to be adopted practically.
One must become subservient to the Ahlullah. Put aside your desires, opinion, and pride, and annihilate yourself in front of them.
In the realm of spiritual training, the Shaikh’s concern and affection are similar to a father’s affection in the realm of worldly training. In fact, the Shaikh has greater affection than even a father. The Shaikh is capable of rendering such which a father is unable to do. The Shaikh connects the mureed to Allah. The Shaikh is the means for the mureed’s ma’rifat of Allah. Ultimately, the Shaikh is the one who makes the mureed reach Allah. For this reason, the bond between the Shaikh and the mureed must be strong and sincere.
It is vital to act in conformity to the advices of the Shaikh.
Any salik can never achieve a good condition unless he loves serves and respects his shaikh.
The person who does not have a shaikh and claims to be on the Tareeq, then his shaikh is Iblees (Shaitaan). If per chance he is able to perform unusual acts which are out of the norm, then know that this is istidraaj (respite given by Allah to His evil servants). The tricks and treacheries of the nafs and Shaytan are known only by the shaikh.
That person who tries to tread this path of sulook without a guide will not only go astray himself but will also mislead many others. That person who disrespects and mistreats the Mashaa’ikh, Allah will cause this person to despised by the other servants of Allah.
That person who does not believe in the perfection of his Shaikh, then he shall never benefit at the hands of the Shaikh.
It is a must upon the mureed that he does not use the word “why” lest he becomes unsuccessful in the Tareeq.That person who finds that his nafs has turned away in rebellion from his Shaikh or from the other followers of the Shaikh (his brethren in sulook), then he should understand that he is about to be thrown out from the threshold of Allah.
Even if the mureed has been in the service of his Shaikh for a thousand years, and has spent millions upon the Shaikh, then too, this thought should not cross the mind of the mureed that I have fulfilled the right of my Shaikh. Thoughts of this nature expel one from the Tareeq.
If the Shaikh behaves strictly with a mureed for no apparent reason, then too the mureed should adopt patience, and come with resolve and humility in the presence of the Shaikh. This way the mureed will earn acceptance.
It is mandatory that the mureed put all his resources at the feet of the Shaikh. He should neither rely upon his knowledge not upon his deeds, but rather be certain that all goodness reaches him by means of his Shaikh.
For the mureed to adopt the company of his Shaikh at some instances is more virtuous than to perform nafli Hajj and ‘Umrah. The Shaikh makes the mureed reach the Owner of the Baitullah which is afdhal to the Baitullah. In other words, the Shaikh makes one reach the actual goal and not just the means by which the goal can be reached.
It is necessary for the mureed that he comes in the presence of his Shaikh in all honesty, even if it be a thousand times a day. This does not mean that the Shaikh be disturbed. Rather it means that the mureed should present himself the way he is, and not put on a show for the Shaikh, and pretend to be pious.
Whoever wishes to seek perfection and kamaal without a Shaikh has gone off the right path because a fruit has never come into existence without the seed.
It is necessary for the mureed not to be jealous when he notices that the shaikh is advancing one of the other mureeds. This jealousy will cause one to falter and fall from the maqaam he may have attained.
When it is not permissible for the salik to leave his physical father and attribute himself elsewhere, then how can it be permissible for the salik to leave his spiritual father (the Shaikh) and attribute himself elsewhere?
It is mandatory that the mureed consider the Shaikh to be honest in all matters. If something is unclear, then the mureed should consider this to be a shortcoming in his own understanding.
When the mureed realizes that his Shaikh is a Kaamil, and that there is a link between Allah and the Shaikh, then the mureed should show obedience to the Shaikh as the angels do to Allah, i.e. “they show no disobedience to Allah in what He has commanded them to do, and they do exactly what they have commanded to do.” (Surah Tahreem).
The mureed should not disobey any command of the Shaikh; otherwise he will be rejected like Shaitaan was.
The mureed should have certainty in his heart that the Shaikh is that eye by which Allah looks at me (the mureed) with mercy. In other words, the pleasure of Allah is in the pleasure of the Shaikh, and the wrath of Allah is in the wrath of the Shaikh.
The mureed should not keep an eye out on the external condition of the Shaikh, but rather the mureed should keep the internal bounty which is in the heart of Shaikh ahead of him.
Just like it is mandatory for the salik to save himself from shirk, similarly it is mandatory on the mureed not to incline towards another in the presence of the Shaikh.
Just as there are not two being worthy of worship, there are not two husbands for a woman at one time, similarly the mureed can not have two Shaikhs on the path of sulook. That salik who connects himself at one time with many Shaikhs can never be successful.
The mureed should never compare the apparent conditions of his/her ‘ibaadat to that of the Shaikh’s. Rather the mureed should have certainty that one day of the Shaikh is more virtuous than a thousand days of the mureed.
The Shaikh is like a mirror for the mureed. The mureed sees his/her own reflection in the Shaikh sometimes.
If the Shaikh does something that goes against the wish or desire of the mureed, then the mureed should be patient. Being patient at this juncture will prove to be a means of advancement for the mureed.
The mureed should consider the Shaikh’s friends as friends and enemies as enemies.
The mureed should not get the wrong impression due to the Shaikh’s soft nature, but rather the mureed should always remain alert. Similarly if the Shaikh is strict with the mureed, the mureed should not mind it, but rather the mureed should be happy that his/her Islah is being made.
The mureed should never seek miracles from the Shaikh. This is in a way is like doubting the Shaikh.
The mureed should not become upset or saddened if the Shaikh is stern with the mureed. If the Shaikh figuratively pushes the mureed away, then too, the mureed should not separate from the Shaikh. Understand that the pious people of Allah do not even for one second dislike any Muslim. Whatever they do is for the teaching and training of the mureed.
It does not behoove the mureed to busy himself in trying to figure out the status and position of the Shaikh. The mureed should be busy with what he is told to do. Just as the purpose is to eat the fruit, not count the trees.
It is mandatory that the mureed does not do such a thing due to which the Shaikh feels inconvenienced or hurt. If this happens, then the mureed should immediately ask for forgiveness, and should be careful in the future.
The mureed should not weigh the speech of the Shaikh in the scale of his own intellect. If the Shaikh stops the mureed from going to a particular speaker or scholar, then the mureed should abide by this, otherwise it will be to his own detriment.
The Shaikh has the right to change the spiritual practices of the mureed from one to another. The mureed should readily accept and implement the new practice even if the mureed feels there is benefit in the previous practice.
If the Shaikh appears to be smiling, jolly, and in a good mood, then too the mureed should not be neglectful of the etiquette towards the Shaikh. The Shaikh is sometimes in the form of rain and mercy, a sword and a test.
The mureed should believe that everything the Shaikh says or does is good even if the mureed does not understand the wisdom and reasoning at the time.
Those mureeds who are constantly available to serve the Shaikh should not think of themselves to be better than others who are not always available.
No mureed should suffice on the piety of their father or grandfather as is the case with the offspring of many Mashaa’ikh. Note and remember that piety is not inherited but earned through seeking it and making an effort to attain it.
The pious predecessors used to tell their mureeds, “Wipe the slate of your heart clean and then come to us.” Just as it is difficult to write on a slate that already has writing on it, similarly the heart which is filled with other things cannot absorb spiritual blessings.
If the Shaikh is upset with the mureed, then the mureed should try and please the Shaikh, even if the mureed does not know what he did to upset the Shaikh in the first place.
The mureed should consider the sleep of the Shaikh to be more virtuous than his (the mureed’s) worship.
The mureed should treat and consider the wife of the Shaikh as one’s mother.
The mureed should not inconvenience the Shaikh by making the Shaikh come to him, but rather the mureed himself should go to the Shaikh.
The mureed should give precedence to the children and family of the Shaikh over everything. If the mureed has to spend all of his wealth, then too he should think that I have not even fulfilled the right of a single etiquette that the Shaikh has taught me.
The mureed should not stare directly at the Shaikh and look at him eye to eye as if to imply that they are at the same level. However, once in a while the mureed should derive pleasure by looking at the radiance which comes from the Shaikh’s face. But when the Shaikh is speaking, the mureed should be focused towards the Shaikh and should be looking at the Shaikh, and not here and there.
The mureed should not undertake any spiritual practice without consulting the Shaikh first or without the Shaikh’s permission.
The mureed should never extend or spread his feet towards the Shaikh. Whether the Shaikh is alive or has passed on, day or night, all the time, whether present or absent, the mureed should be mindful of the rights of the Shaikh.
The mureed should not visit other Shaikhs even if they happen to be friends of the mureed’s Shaikh unless the mureed has emphatic or indicative permission by his own Shaikh. This will help in maintaining the focus of the mureed’s heart towards his Shaikh.
The mureed should not use anything that belongs to the Shaikh without the permission of the Shaikh. If the Shaikh has given the mureed permission, then it is fine.
If the Shaikh blesses the mureed by giving the mureed a gift, then that gift should be cherished and kept with respect and honor, and not misused.
The mureed should always keep his heart connected and linked with the Shaikh’s heart. The mureed should realize that whatever internal blessing he receives is due to the Shaikh, even if outwardly the benefit seems to coming from elsewhere.
The mureed should never focus his attention from his Shaikh to another Shaikh regardless.
If due to divine assistance, the mureed elevates to the rank of the Shaikh, or surpasses the Shaikh, and the Shaikh attests to this, then too the mureed should never lose sight of the rights of his own Shaikh, because wherever he is, and whatever he has received is because of the Shaikh.
From where was this taken?
Wallahu A`lam this could be one reason of becoming distant.
Another reason could be simply by not calling, writing, attending the majalis of the shaikh and not accompanyiing fellow mureeds. Maybe you should write a letter to your shaikh requesting du`a or have a gathering in which you invite all the mureedeen of your shaikh and keep contact with them.
Listen to his bayaans…. read his malfoozat… etc. these are also some things which may benefit.
* jazakAllah for the indepth response, i should have stated that i keep in regular contact with my shaykh, i have always been regular with my mamoolats, i will contact him for every other sharee matter rather then islahi, i listen regularly to his bayans, how can i say this the more im learning about my shaykh and how much knowledge and wisdom he has the more respect i have for him. i cant understand what is stopping me from contacting him for islahi issues it is either fear, awe or respect. your answer is correct when you state that i am keeping long gaps, but my long gaps are not in keeping contact they are more in line with not contacting him for issues that are important.
* Wa Iyyaakum.
I’m sorry to say this, but your nafs is playing a very big trick on you. For shar’ee issues, you can contact any alim or mufti, but islahi issues should solely be the domain of your shaykh. You stated a few reason why you don’t.
a.Fear-what are you afraid of? He is your shaykh. He will not look down upon you. Rather he will appreciate the fact that you are trying to become closer to him and developing more i’timaad (trust) in him, which is the right of the shaykh anyways.
b.awe-If you have so much awe of him, why have you started this islah with him in the first place. Islah should be taken not on the basis of a personality, but on the basis of comfort level and mutual compatibility. If that is not the case, then your benefit will be very minimum, and the most important is that your islah will not be made properly.
c.Respect-Respect is a requirement in this path. But it is never a preventative. In fact the more you respect a person, the more you want to develop a closer relationship with them. By disclosing your inner conditions which pertain to islah, your shaykh will be pleased. In this way, you would be respecting him. Disrespecting him would be to use him for things that he isn’t really meant for or nor is that his main purpose in regards to you.
Long story short, these are tricks of your nafs and shaytan to make you avoid what is really important and they are pushing you off into tangents which is not the actual aim and purpose of your relationship with him to start with. I apologize if i seem, sound, or come off as some one who isn’t sensitive. But just because you haven’t been disclosing to your shaykh what you really should be informing him of before, doesn’t mean you can’t start now. The most important issue is that of your islah. So why delay an act of good? I hope Allah grants all of us the taufeeq to benefit appropriately from our shayksh. Aameen!
* jazakAllah for your valuable advices, and for being straight to the point, your advise is very accurate, may Allah subhaanuhuwata’aala guide me away from my disception, insha-Allah you have given me food for thought. Will ignore all the negative feelings and concentrate on what is required of me to be a god-fearing Muslimah, jazakAllah.
You said in a reply to a question that “But don’t tell him that you don’t feel there is no connection anymore, as your shaykh is a human being, and you don’t would want to cause him any type of pain. Laying it all on the table for him would then give him the chance to diagnose you disease properly.”
So it seems that there are times when one should not disclose all his feelings to his shaykh, yet one has to lay it all on the table in order for the shaykh to properly diagnose his problems. The question that then comes to mind is, what is the dividing line between how much one should and shouldn’t disclose to their shaykh?
* Assalaamu alaikum,
There is no time when one should not disclose all his feelings to the shaykh. That is to say that all one feels, should be disclosed to the shaykh. I was merely suggesting that it not be done in the words used by the person who made the comment earlier in that particular manner. “Izaa ul Muslim” is haram, period. So you don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings, especially the feeling of your shaykh. So to answer your question in brief, there is no dividing line. When it comes to delicate issues, one needs to use some wisdom and diplomacy, and I’m sure that if the shaykh is truly a shaykh, he would understand what exactly is going on. My basic point was that one should not to be so blunt and forthcoming in his disclosure. For example, one could say that I am feeling as if my ta’alluq with you is weakening because of my unworthiness or incompetency, or something of that sort. That way the point has been made (i.e. “I don’t feel a connection anymore.”), but the finger is pointed towards yourself and not your shaykh. I hope this has clarified the issue somewhat.
when addressing ones shaykh in writing in english, i find the word ‘you’ very disrespectful, can you advise how to address ones shaykh respectfully when writing a letter, JazakAllah.
* Wa’laikum Assalaam,
You do have a point there to some degree. So in the example I mentioned above, if I were to take your point into consideration, I would then for example say, “Hazrat/Shaykh/Hazrat Shaykh/Hazratwala/, I am feeling that my ta’alluq with Hazrat/Shaykh/Hazrat Shaykh/Hazratwala/ is ….” This all depends on the language background of the shaykh as well. There exist in English something which is called a “generic you”. But the above are some ways the shaykh can be addressed. The best is to notice how others address the shaykh, and substitute the same title in the place of “you”. In Urdu, the word “Aap”, is considered fine, but for the most part we refer to our Shaykh with a title. That would be my advice to you. I have tried briefly to answer your concern, and I hope that this has helped somewhat, if not completely.
* Alhamdulillah your advise has been accurate and concise, jazakAllah for your time and effort, may Allah Subhaanuhuwata’aala reward you in both worlds. Ameen