THE NECESSITY FOR A MURSHID:
If a person wants to learn any art form or gain knowledge/science he will seek help from an expert in that field. Knowledge of Allah Ta`ala`s Zaat (Being) is the most difficult secret in the universe. It can only be achieved with the help of its experts, the Awliya Allah. Only these people can be accepted as Murshids (guides). The following quotation define the need and guidance of a Murshid.
Ghausul A`zam, Hadrat Sheikh Abdul Qaadir Jailani (radi Allahu anhu) brings home the necessity of a Murshid in a beautiful metaphor. He says: "The heart is the plantation for the Aakhirah (Hereafter). Sow the seeds of Imaan in your heart. Irrigate, fertilise and mature it with regular good deeds. If there is kindness and energy in the heart it will be fertile and an abundant harvest will result. Should the heart be harsh and contemptuous, the soul becomes infertile and barren and no crop will be able to grow. Learn this art of farming by its farmers/experts, the Awliya Allah. Do not think your opinion to be sufficient. Our Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) says, `Seek help in every field from an expert in that field`". (Al-Fath-ur-Rabbani, pg. 202)
Ghausul A`zam (radi Allahu anhu) said: "Arrogance, hypocrisy, egoism, are all arrows of Shaitaan aimed at your hearts. One should formulate a strategy to defend oneself from this attack. The correct strategies are explained and demonstrated by the Mashaa`ikh (Guides). You should heed to their commands and act on them. They will guide you on the path of Allah since they have already travelled on this path. Ask their advise on matters relating to the Nafs (carnal desires), cravings and other weaknesses because they have also suffered their consequences and are well aware of the dangers and harms of evil desires. They have battled these over a long period of time and can confront, control and defeat them". (Al-Fath-ur-Rabbani, pg. 150)
THE ONE WITHOUT A MURSHID HAS SHAITAAN AS ONE`S MURSHID:
Murshids are two types:
A. Murshid Aam (General Guide,) and
B. Murshid Khaas (Specific Guide)
The Murshid Khaas comprises of the Sheikhul Ittisaal and the Sheikhul Isaal.
The Murshid Aam comprises of the Quran, Hadith, the writings of the Jurists, the Murshids, authorities of Tasawwuf, the writings of the scholars, and the writings of the people of guidance and righteousness. The guide of the general public is the Kalaam (Speech and Writings) of the Scholars. The guide of the Ulema or Scholars is the writings of the Imaams of Fiqh. The guide of Imams of Fiqh is the Sunnah and Hadith of Nabi (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam). The guide of the Holy Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) is the Quran/Speech/Revelation of Allah.
From this it can be seen that the Murshid Aam is an absolute necessity. A person without guidance of both the Murshids, i.e. Khaas and Aam is under the reign of Shaitaan. It is in this sense that A`la Hadrat, Moulana Ahmed Raza Khan Barelwi (radi Allahu anhu) writes that Sayyiduna Baayazid Bustaami`s (radi Allahu anhu) declaration in "Awaariful Ma`arif" that those without a Murshid (Khaas and Aam) have Shaitaan as their guide. (Fatawa Afriqa, pg.124)
[Taken from: The spiritual guide and the seeker, Abdun Nabi Hameedi Attari]
Ibn ‘Ajiba says:
In the path of Sufism, keeping the company of others (suhba) is of tremendous consequence in the journey to Allah, in accordance with the wont of Allah Most High and His wisdom. Some have even said, “Whoever has no sheikh [but travels the path alone] has the Devil as his sheikh.” Another has said, “A person is like a [fruit] tree growing up in the wild: if not trimmed and pruned, it becomes a scrub.” And Abul ‘Abbas al-Mursi has said,
“Whoever has no sheikh in this matter is not to be rejoiced over”
[Iqadh al-himam, 95–96]
In the Quran Shareef:
Siparah 15, Surah Bani Israel (17), Verse number 71
Yauma Nad'oo kola onasim bi imamihim
Ala Hazrat Azeemul Barkat Rahmatullahi 'alayh translate this part of the Ayat-e-karima:
The day when we shall call every people with their leaders
Tafseer by Mufti Ahmad Yaar Khan Rahmatullahi 'alayh:
From this we learn that we should make a pious person our leader in the world, through taqleed in Shariah and bai’at (taking mureedi) in the path of Tareeqat (mystic way of life) so our end will be with the pious. If he does not find a pious leader or guide then his guide would be Shaitaan. In this verse there is ample proof for Taqleed, Bai’at, Mureedi.
[Tafseer Noorul Irfan]
Types Of Bayat:
There are mainly two types of Bayat.
The traditional mureeds (Bai’at-e-Barakah) or (Bai’at-e-Tabaruk).
This is to initiate oneself into a silsila just for mere blessings and this is the general idea of becoming a mureed in our times. This should be at least done with a good intention and not for any worldly gains. If one becomes a mureed for worldly gains or any other reason other than spiritual upliftment then such bai’at is null and void. Bai’at-e-Barakah is not useless but very beneficial. Some of its benefits are:
a) One’s name will be recorded in the books of the beloveds of Allah; by having just a link with the Awliya is a great blessing.
b) A divine link is connected with the Awliya and Sa’li’heen.
c) By sitting in the company of the beloved of Allah is a source of receiving Allah’s mercy.
The sincere mureeds (Bai’at-e-Iraadah):
This is the true form of Bai’at whereby one surrenders one’s complete self in the hands of a spiritual master. The mureed must submit himself completely to the murshid like a corpse in the hands of a person performing ghusal. This is also known as Bai’at-e-Salikeen. Such Bai’at leads one to Allah and is regarded as the aim and practice of all the grand spiritual masters.
How the mureed should behave towards shaykh:
Some of the duties towards your shaykh you can only realise by showing good manners. By showing respect towards religious scholars and shaykhs, who are your spiritual fathers, you fulfil an important duty and if you would neglect these things then this is nothing else as negligence and disobedience. In the ahadith it is said: “Who does not honour our great ones and who does not show mercy towards our ‘little ones’ and who does not acknowledge the right of our scholars, does not belong to us”. If you neglect the right of your shaykh, who as a mediator represents by his right the right of God, then you also fail in your duty towards God, because “if you show neglect towards your lowest lord, then you will not reach your highest Lord”. The shaykh in the midst of his companions who gives them teachings is like the prophet in the midst of his companions. When the shaykh calls you to the path of the imitation of the messenger of God, then he is the representative of the messenger of God: “The shaykh among his community is like the prophet in his community”.
At the moment there are fifteen rules for the mureeds towards their shaykh present in my spirit. These are both universal as well as particular rules.
The first rule expresses the conviction that only your shaykh should take care of your education, guidance, training and teaching. If you should look towards someone else as being comparable to him or even more perfect than him, then your connection with your shaykh, based on love and inclination, is weak and because of that the words and the spiritual states of your shaykh will have little effect on you. The way by means of which words get through to you and give you a connection with the states of your shaykh, is love. If your love is more perfect, then the more your disposition will be open to be educated by your shaykh.
The second rule implies the fixed decision to persevere in the obedience towards your shaykh. You should know that the door of the divine mercy will only open because of your constancy in obedience and service. Either I give my life at his doorstep or I’ll reach my goal. A sign hereof is that you do not turn away, when your shaykh says no to you and when he keeps you at a distance, because a shaykh often tests you when he scans your spiritual states.
Abu ‘Uthman-e-Hiri [d. 298/910-11; he has been of prime importance in the Sufism of Khorasan] came to Neshapur obeying [his shaykh] Shah-e-Kermani [d. before 300/912-13; he was a mureed of Abu Turab an-Nakhshabi] to visit Abu Hafs-e-Haddad [d. 270/883-4 or earlier; he was a malamatiyya, that is he followed the path of blame]. When he saw the light of his sanctity, his [= Abu Hafs] blessed look attracted him in such a way that he [= Abu ‘Uthman] became a prisoner in his net. When the time to return had come, he then asked Shah-e-Kermani if he could stay [with Abu Hafs]. At that time he was in the midst of his youth. Abu Hafs however chased him away and said: “You are not allowed to sit in my company”. He then obeyed this decision and retreated, walking with his back towards the door, until the shaykh could no longer see him. Abu ‘Uthman then decided that he would dig a hole near his door and to remain sitting in it and not to come out except if Abu Hafs would accept him and call him. When Abu Hafs saw his honest determination, he called him, made him one of his special companions, married his daughter to him and appointed him as his successor. After the death of this shaykh, he sat for thirty years in his place.
The third rule implies that you submit yourself to the choices of your shaykh. As a mureed you should accept every decision of your shaykh dealing with your person or with your possessions and you should obey every decision being submitted and content. This is the only way that you can win the jewel of his attention and his love. Only by this measuring rod the quality of your sincerity can be determined according to the advice present in the following words [Qur’an 4:65]: “Yet by your Lord, they will never believe until they name you to judge concerning what they are quarrelling over among themselves concerning whatever you have decided, and will accept it wholeheartedly”.
Question: How do you know that you can trust your shaykh (or your shaykh to be if you are not yet his mureed)? As you know there are many charlatans around who are only interested in your money or are eager to increase their power over other persons.
The fourth rule stipulates that you should not criticise [your shaykh]. The mureed should never occupy himself/herself, neither inwardly nor outwardly, with criticising the choices and decisions of his/her shaykh. Each time when something is unclear regarding the behaviour of your shaykh then you should think of the story of Moses and Khidr [see Qur’an 18:60-82), wherein Moses in spite of being a prophet, his great knowledge and his passionate devotion to Khidr, criticised several of the acts of Khidr, but he changed his ideas after hearing an explanation of their inner meanings. If your shaykh does something which you cannot understand, then you should say that it is because of your limited understanding and knowledge and in no way it has to do with a wrong behaviour of your shaykh. Thus you will be free of the possibility that the relationship with your shaykh will suffer and that love may diminish. A mureed of al-Junayd [d. 910 C.E.] asked him a question and then criticised his answer. Al-Junayd then said (Qur’an 44:21): ‘When you do not believe me, then keep away from me’.
The fifth rule demands that you decline from making your own choices. The mureed is not allowed to undertake anything – neither religious nor worldly, universal or particular – without finding out what the shaykh wants and chooses. You should not eat nor drink, nor dress yourself, nor give presents, nor sleep, nor take, nor give but with the permission of the shaykh. You should not perform any religious practices without the permission and the specification of your shaykh, like for instance fasting or taking food, voluntary devotional practices or limiting yourself to those practices which are obligatory or the remembrance of God, the recitation of the Qur’an and being absorbed in something. It so happened one night that the messenger passed the house of Abu Bakr and overheard him reciting the Qur’an in his nightly prayers with a low voice. Then he passed the house of ‘Umar and heard him recite the Qur’an in his nightly prayers in a loud voice. When the two of them came to the messenger of God in the morning he asked Abu Bakr why he recited the Qur’an in his nightly prayers in a low voice. He answered: “I listen to the One with Whom I converse”. He asked ‘Umar why he recited in a loud voice. He answered: “I drive away the Satan and I awake the one who is sleeping”. Then he ordered them that they should not recite in a too soft voice nor in a voice that is too loud, they should follow a middle course. Then the Quranic verse 17:110 was revealed: “And pray neither with a loud nor with a low voice, but follow a middle course”. This is a proof that when you have a spiritual guide you should not follow your own insight. This is also true when this concerns a true insight.
The sixth rule implies the observing of the thoughts of your shaykh. The mureed is not allowed to undertake anything, which rejects the thoughts of one’s shaykh. You should not consider them to be of little importance, because you rely on the kindness, the perfect clemency, the friendliness and the forgiveness of your shaykh. What enters the consciousness of shaykhs because of rejection or acceptance has a very strong influence on the person of the disciple.
The seventh rule demands of you that you ask your shaykh to give an explanation of your visions. The mureed should depend on his or her shaykh in regard to the explanation of visions, no matter if they come in your sleep or during your wakefulness. You should not independently decide on your own that there is no harm in them. It is namely possible that such visions come about because of secret desires in your soul, but that you are not able to see them as such and that they are judged to be harmless, which may not be the case. When you however speak about it with your shaykh and your shaykh by his rich knowledge gets really acquainted with it, then you have the opinion of your shaykh to help you to realise it in a practical way when it is harmless. When it may mean an injury, then this has also become clear.
The eighth rule demands that you give an attentive ear to the words of your shaykh. The mureed should wait and be attentive in regard to everything that comes from the lips of his or her shaykh. He or she should see his tongue as a means of expression of the speech of God and be convinced that he (your shaykh) speaks by means of God and that his speech does not stem from his own desire and that he has reached the station of ‘He is speaking by me’. You should see his heart as a boisterous sea, filled with all kinds of pearls of knowledge and precious gems of gnosis, a sea which every now and then – because of the blowing of the winds of pre-eternal providence - may cast some of these pearls and precious stones on the shore of the tongue. You should therefore take care and be attentive, so that you are not excluded from anything from the words of your shaykh, which may be useful and beneficial to you.
You should also try to harmonize every word of your shaykh with your own state. You should imagine that you are formulating a request for your well-being at the door of God with a receptive tongue and in the measure of your receptivity a speech coming from the unseen descends to you. When you are talking with your shaykh you should keep away from your own ego, you should be far away from hypocrisy by showing your own knowledge and gnosis and by presenting yourself as beautiful and perfect. Because when you try to speak yourself and when you are waiting for the oppurtunity to talk yourself, then you remove yourself from the position of a mureed and the ear of your heart will become deaf to the words of your shaykh. In their explanations of the reason that the Qur’anic verse 49:1: ‘O, believers! Do not press forward before Allah and His Messenger…’ has been revealed, some commentators have written: There have been people in the company of the messenger of God who – when someone asked him a question – developed the habit to give their own opinion, this until the Allmighty by means of this verse from the Qur’an made it clear that this was wrong and forbidden.
The nineth rule demands that you should lower your voice. When you are together with your shaykh you should not speak with a loud voice, as it is not courteous. It is as if you put down the robe of dignity. In order to teach something the following verse in the Qur’an (49:2) has been revealed: ‘O, believers! Do not raise your voices above the prophet’s voice!’ Thereafter their words were difficult to understand as they were lowering their voices too much. That is why the following verse (49:3) from the Qur’an has been revealed: ‘Those who lower their voices in the presence of the messenger of God are those whose hearts God has tested for reverence’.
The tenth rule implies that you do not show negligence in your behaviour. A too free type of behaviour in the contact with your shaykh is not allowed, neither in words nor in deeds, because if you just let it all go then the veil of modesty and the dress of worthy behaviour are taken away and the flow of mercy then gets interrupted. You should use respectful terms when addressing him, so you should say: ‘Sir!’ or ‘O, my Shaykh!’
The companions of the prophet – in the beginning - did not use respectful terms when using his name. They said: ‘Mohammad!’ and ‘Ahmad!’ until this was disallowed in the word of God (see Qur’an 49:2) that was sent down:
And do not be loud in speaking to him, as you speak loudly to one another, lest your works come to grieve while you are unaware.
Thereafter they addressed him by using ‘Messenger of God!’ or ‘Prophet of God!’.
Representatives of the Banu Tamim, in order to get him out, shouted out in front of the inner appartments of the prophet: ‘Mohammad! Come out to us!’
Then these elevated words were revealed (Qur’an 49:4-5):
Those who shout out to you from without the inner appartments, most of them do not understand. Had they waited for you to come out to meet them, it would have been better for them.
Just like you should not be to free in your speech to your shaykh, you should see it as your duty to honour and respect him in your acts. That is why, when you are in the company of your shaykh, you should roll out your praying-carpet only during the times of the ritual prayers. When listening to Sufi music you should refrain from making movements and you should not call out, and as long as you have the power to control yourself, you should not move when you are in the company of the shaykh. You should also refrain from laughing.
(Please note that the aim of the aforesaid rules is only to realise the proper behaviour in order that teaching and learning can take place. Every Sufi order and every shaykh modifies the above according to the place, the time and the people concerned).
Reference : Partly from the Misbaah al-hidaaya wa Miftaah al-Kifaaya – The Lamp of Right Guidance and the Key to What is Sufficient. & the ‘Awaarif al-Ma-aarif.
SOME DUTIES OF A MUREED TO HIS MURSHID :
1. One should have firm faith, belief and a firm conviction that his murshid is the greatest of the mashaa’ikh of the era and that there is no one better qualified than his murshid to guide him. If he regards another more perfect than his own murshid, the bond of love is weakened between them and the word of the murshid will have no effect on the mureed. [Awarif-ul-Ma’arif – Hazrat Shahabuddin Umar Suhrawardi ]
2. A mureed must not oppose or contradict the murshid.
3. One must remain obedient to the murshid in all aspects.
4. One should not undertake any duty eg. Nafil fasts, nafil namaaz, extra wazaif etc without the approval of the murshid.
5. One should not raise one’s voice in front of the murshid as this is a sign of bad conduct.
6. The mureed must not conceal from the murshid any of his spiritual experiences, dreams and any gifts that Allah has bestowed upon him.
7. The mureed must not feel at any moment in time that the master is indebted to him because of his devotion but rather he must understand that he owes everything to his murshid.
8. A mureed must consider the murshid to be present with him at all times. [Miftahul Aashiqeen – Conversations of Hazrat Khwaja Nasiruddin Chiragh, recorded by Hazrat Maulana Habibullah ]
9. If the Murshid does something that seems to the mureed contrary to the shariah, he must not state his concern in blunt and explicit terms since that might alienate him. If he notices some kind of fault in his Sheikh he must overlook it and turn the suspicion upon himself. He must try to interpret the sacred law in the Shaikhs favour. Then if he can find no valid excuse for him in the sacred law he must seek forgiveness on behalf of the Shaikh. The mureed must not believe that he posses impecible virtue and he must not tell anybody about this experience. [Ghunyat-ut-Talibeen – Hazrat Shaikh Sayed Abdul Qadir Jilani] Hazrat Shahbuddin Suhrawardi says in Awaariful Ma’arif that if the Murshid does something which is beyond the understanding of the mureed, the mureed should remember the incident of Hazrat Moosa (alihis salaam) and Hazrat Khidr (A layhis salaam). Sura Kahf verses 65-82
10. The mureed should not imitate his Murshid in any manner without his consent.
The Bond Between Disciple and Shaikh:
A saint was reciting the Qur'an when Khidr ( alayhis 'salam) came and saluted him.The saint did not respond.The salutation was repeated serveral times without respond.When the Salaam was repeated the seventh time,the saint scolded Khidr alayhis 'salam saying:' Why do you keep greeting me and interfering with my recitation?'' When he resumed reading the Holy Qur'an Khidr alayhis 'salam thought to himself:'' Thousands are eager to meet me,here I have come to meet him and he pushes me away-his status must be so elevated that I can not fathom it with my inner sight." The Khidr alayhis 'salam turned to the saint and asked:" Do answer me one point,were your Shaikh to come,what would you have done?"" The saint replied: I would have immediately closed the Honly Book,fallen at his feet and follwed him whererever he went'..On being asked why he would do so,the saint replied with a smile:' Because I have God through him.'' This is the kind of bond that the disciple must cultivate with his spiritual Master.
Nothing remains concealed from a saintly guide:
Hazrate Ibrahim Khawwas Rahmatullahi 'alayh says, “I was at the mountain “maqam”. There I saw pomegranates, so I had temptation to eat the same. I picked up a pomegranate to eat it. When I tasted the pomegranate it was sour. So I left it there and proceeded further. After that I saw an individual on whose body Honey Bees were gathering. I said "Assalamu 'Alaykum", he answered "Wa'alaykum 'Assalam ‘O’ Ibrahim!" I asked him “How were you able to recognise me”? He answered:-
“The one who is able to recognise Allah Subhanahu wa Ta'ala nothing remains hidden from him”. I said, “I have seen some peculiar relationship between you and Allah Subhanahu wa Ta'ala. Didn’t you pray that Allah Subhanahu wa Ta'ala gets you rid of the Honey Bees?” He said:-
“Me too, I have seen peculiar status of dignity of yours in the court of Allah Subhanahu wa Ta'ala; Did you not pray to Allah Subhanahu wa Ta'ala that he gets you rid of the lust (desire) to eat “pomegranate” because a human being comes across the grief of pomegranate in the world and the hereafter, where as the stinging of Honey Bees is only in this world. The Bees bite only the baser-self, but the lecheries (worldly desires) deprive the hearts of spirituality.” Hazrat Ibrahim Khawwas says that after that (conversation) I left him and went away.
In The Presence of Your Peer O Murshid
Heading towards one's sheikh:
Wear clean clothes
Apply attar (perfume) onto your clothes before going to visit your sheikh's
When entering your sheikh's abode you should make no prior intention of leaving.
Turn off your mobile phone / pager / watch alarm before sitting in your sheikhs gathering
Remove your shoes and socks before meeting your sheikh
On arriving do not stare in all directions looking for a space to sit. Instead sit wherever you find available space.
Sitting in the presence of one's Sheikh:
It is important for the mureed not to busy himself in respecting or honouring any other sheikh or person in the presence of one's own sheikh.
Do not look at or sit in the presence of your sheikh without wudhu.
Do not sit in the shadow of your sheikh
Do not sit in a place where your own shadow falls upon your sheikhs' shadow or upon your sheikhs' clothes.
Do not position your back towards your sheikh
Lower your gaze and sit in a humble position.
Do not fiddle with your feet or any other part of your body
Do not sit leaning against a wall or in any other laid back position.
Do not position your feet in the direction of your sheikh
Do not crack your fingers or make any other avoidable sound.
Do not play with your clothes or watch or any other item
Do not clean your nose in the presence of your sheikh.
Sit silently & listen attentively
Do not speak or respond to anyone
Free your mind from all worldly thoughts and allow faiz to enter your heart.
Whatever your sheikh utters, believe it to be 100% true
Do not object to any of his speech either by physical expression or by internal thought.
Commit to memory all that you learn and observe from your sheikh.
*Do not drink water in the presence of your sheikh
*Do not eat in the presence of your sheikh.
Before doing anything always ask permission from your sheikh.
Turn your hearts attention wholly upon your sheikh.
Walking with one's sheikh:
Lower your gaze and walk humbly behind your sheikh
Be alert and ready to remove any object in the pathway of your sheikh
Be ready to open any closed doors in the pathway of your sheikh
Do not walk on the shadow of your sheikh
When walking behind your sheikh, do not walk in your sheikh's footsteps
Do not walk in front of your sheikh or directly to his left or right side.
Speaking with one's sheikh:
If need arises to speak to one's sheikh, look for an appropriate time to speak. Do not disturb your sheikh in the middle of his speech nor distract him if he is contemplating.
Speak when spoken to
It is important for the mureed not to utter something from the mouth which will nullify the bait either by joke or by sarcasm
Do not raise your voice above the voice of your sheikh.
Khidmat of one's sheikh:
In the Khidmat of your sheikh do not busy yourself with Zikr or Nafl prayers. Without first gaining permission from your sheikh.
Cooking for one's Sheikh:
Ensure you have wudhu before you begin to cook
Wash all utensils before using them to prepare food
Cook a simple dish both halaal and pure
Try to prepare or have a sweet dish or savoury for after the main course.
Items belonging to one's sheikh:
Do not use the items, utensils, towel etc of your sheikh
Do not wear your sheikhs' clothes, shoes, topi, etc without permission from your sheikh
Other important etiquettes:
Do not stand upon the prayer mat of your sheikh
Refrain from all those things, which your sheikh has prohibited for you
Do not position your back towards your sheikh
If you are not in the state of wudhu, do not look at your sheikh's face or sit in his presence.
Don't do your wudhu where your sheikh performs his wudhu
Do not position your feet in the direction of your sheikhs' house of residence.
Whatever emanates from your sheikh accept this to be the best even though it may look externally not good.
Upon being questioned whom is your sheikh always give your own sheikhs name not a prominent name within your silsila.
Whatever faiz you receive you must acknowledge that all the faiz has come from you own sheikh.
If you are requested to become an imam then after salaat either offer a small prayer and recourse back or better still recourse back and request your sheikh to make the prayer.
Do not sit with those who are enemies of your sheikh
Whatever you learn from your sheikh, on arriving home, note it down on a piece of paper
If a mureed happens to come across some water left by his peer, he should stand up and drink it.
Ya Allah Grant us all the ability to act upon all the ettiquettes accordingly, Ameen!
Advice for an Ideal Spiritual Existence (COMPILED BY LATE ASOOMAL LAKHWANI)
Always consider your Murshid to be more advanced than any other spiritual leaders.
Always consider the favors bestowed upon you by your Murshid above all others.
Stay away from lying, stealing, false accusations, and hurting other people¡¦s feelings. Continually ask for God¡¦s forgiveness.
Keep sleep to a minimum, especially after early morning hours.
Keep eating to a minimum.
Value silences and keep unnecessary talking to a minimum.
Control your ego.
Listen to your Murshid¡¦s instructions for saying your ¡¥zikr¡¦ at every opportunity
Have patience during times of difficulty and give thanks during times of plenty.
Do not hurt other¡¦s feelings; even those who have hurt yours.
Don¡¦t ask others for favors, but trust and believe in God.
Live in a place where your heart is in harmony with God and your spiritual thoughts are not restricted.
Cultivate friendships with God fearing people and suppress feelings of greed.
If someone gives you something in the name of God, accept it with grace.
If you collect material things and wealth beyond your needs, it is your duty to give away what you cannot use. Your Murshid, other spiritual beings, the poor and the orphaned are to be the recipients.
The disciple should dress in a simple manner similar to the Murshid. Avoid dressing with too many overt expressions of wealth.
One should respect every saintly personality and spiritual person. But if that person says or does something to lead you away from your Murshid, you should abandon that company.
You should perform every task by assuming that it is in God¡¦s hands and trust Him with it.
One should consider God to be in every part of your life and witness to every action or deed that you are part of.
Try not to speak ill of someone, avoid jealousy and company that involves worldly activities such as dancing/shows.
Anger at anyone is not desirable. If you do not care for someone¡¦s company, stay away.
One should consider this life temporary and liable to end anytime. Consider ¡¥nafs¡¦ (ego) to be your enemy.
One should listen carefully to a spiritual person and try to take their advice to heart.
A person should strive to lessen his/her needs and demands, and stay afar from harmful habits.
Secrets from beyond this world (¡¥batun¡¦) should only be shared with your Murshid.
Pay no attention to your own good characteristics or bad habits/obsessions, but do pay attention to your ¡¥zikr¡¦ and the true path to God.
Do not be disrespectful of your Murshid. If you see someone being disrespectful of your Murshid, stay away and leave that gathering.
The Importance of a Good Shaykh, from Shaykh Abdul-Qadir al-Jilani (R.D.A)
Shaykh Abdul-Qadir al-Jilani (Radi Allahu anhu) said:
You must work hard to ensure that your hearts are not locked out of the door of His nearness. Be sensible! You are getting nowhere. You must seek the company of a Shaikh who is learned in the law [hukm] and knowledge [`ilm] of Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He), and who will show you the way toward Him. Without seeing the successful [muflih], one cannot succeed. If a person does not seek the company of scholars who put their knowledge into practice [`ulama `ummal], he is a chicken from an egg abandoned by the rooster and the mother hen.
Seek the fellowship of those who enjoy fellowship with the Lord of Truth (Almighty and Glorious is He). What each of you should do, when the night has grown dark and people have gone to bed and their voices are silent, is get up, take an ablution [yatawadda'], perform two cycles of ritual prayer [yusalli rak`atain] and say: "O my Lord, guide me to one of Your righteous servants near to You, so that he may guide me toward You and make me familiar with Your path." The instrument [sabab] is necessary. Allah ( Subhanahu wa Ta'alaAlmighty and Glorious is He) was quite capable of guiding [His servants] to Him without the Prophets [anbiya']. Be sensible! You are getting nowhere. You must awaken from your heedless folly. As the Prophet has said:
If someone relies entirely on his own subjective judgment, he will go astray.
Try to find someone who will be a mirror for the face of your religion [din], just as you look in the mirror to check the appearance of your outer face, your turban and your hair. Be sensible! What is this crazy foolishness? You say, "I don't need anyone to teach me," and yet the Prophet has said:
The believer is the believer's mirror [al-mu'minu mir'atu 'l-mu'min].
When the believer's faith is sound, he comes to be a mirror for all creatures. They behold their religious faces [wujuh adyanihim] reflected in the mirror of his speech, every time they see him and get close to him. What is this craziness? Not a moment goes by without your begging Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He) to provide you with more than you already have to eat, to drink, and to wear, with more sexual opportunities and more income. These are not things that could increase or decrease, even if you were to be joined in your plea by every supplicant whose prayers are answered [da`in mujab].
Supplication [da`wa] will neither increase one's sustenance by so much as an atom, nor reduce it by an atom. This is a foregone conclusion [mafrugh minhu]. You must devote your attention to doing what you have been commanded to do, and to avoiding what you have been forbidden to do. You should not worry about that which is bound to come your way, because He guarantees that it will come to you. Allotted shares [aqsam] arrive at their appointed times, whether they be sweet or bitter, whether you like them or dislike them.
The people [of the Way] attain to a condition in which they no longer have any prayer of supplication [du`a] or request [su'al] to make. They do not beg [in their prayers] to gain advantages, nor to get rid of disadvantages. Their supplication comes to be a matter concerning their hearts, sometimes for their own sake and sometimes for the sake of all creatures, so they utter the prayer of supplication without conscious premeditation [fi ghaiba].
O Allah, endow us with good behavior in Your company under all circumstances!
[When the believer's faith is sound], fasting [sawm], prayer [salat], remembrance [dhikr] and all acts of obedience [ta`at] become second nature to him, mingled with his flesh and blood. Then he receives protection from Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He) under all circumstances. The restraint of the law [hukm] does not desert him, not for an instant, while he is on this course. The law comes to be like the vessel in which he sits, as he travels over the ocean of the power [qudra] of his Lord (Almighty and Glorious is He). He goes on traveling over it until he arrives at the shore of the hereafter, at the shore of the ocean of grace and the hand of nearness. Thus he is sometimes in the company of creatures and at certain times in the company of the Creator. His work and toil are with creatures, while his relaxation is with the Creator.
From Shaykh `Abd al-Qadir al-Jilani, "The Sublime Revelation (Al-Fath ar-Rabbani)."
Article Reference: www.livingislam.org