The reality of Bay‛ah is that from the side of the sheikh there is a pact of making Islah (i.e the Sheikh deems it his duty to rectify the condition of the murīd) and from the side of murīd there is a pact of obedience (to the sheikh). What else is there in mere words?
المَرْءُ مَعَ مَنْ أَحَبَّ
A person will be with those whom he loves.*
Bay‛ah is like Bay‛ (a sale agreement) ** that it can be done by Ta‛ātī (gestures) as well. Similarly if the murīd makes firm pact to follow (the sheikh) then the bay‛ah is done. In fact, even if the sheikh tells the murīd that he is not the murīd’s sheikh, then too, the murīd will remain a murīd. It is as though apprentice-ship is in the hands of the murīd.
A husband can give divorce to a woman but the Sheikh cannot give divorce to a murīd. Yes, the murīd can give divorce to the sheikh just like a woman who renegades Islam can give divorce to the husband. ****
Murīd and Murtad (renegade) are just difference in words. ***
Malfuzāt Hakīmul Ummat Malfuz # 105 – Vol. 12 Pg. 70
* Sahīh al Bukhāri 8/39 #6168
**Referring to Bay’ ta‛ātī where the buyer picks up an item at the store and gives the thaman (money) to the seller without any words of Ijāb (proposal) or qubūl (acceptance). Such a bay‛ is valid according to Sharī‛ah.
*** Essentially, the murīd is like a miner entering a mine full of gems and jewels, such that these jewels are not diminishable. The amount of time and the amount of struggle he will undertake to mine the wealth will determine his benefit. In doing so he will choose when he can leave the mine and go away. His leaving will only be detrimental to his own benefit.
A sheikh on the other hand is like a spring that gives away the benefit to those who seek it, without prejudice. Those who are sincere will benefit, and those who seek to dirty the spring with mud will only muddle themselves. The spring will still remain a source of benefit. The benefit of the true sheikh is Islāh of the murīd.
**** In fact the difference in Murīd (مريد) and Murtad (مرتد) is that of Yā and Tā. More closely the difference is merely the placement of the two dots. A murtad instead of submitting himself (i.e keeping the two dots down) raises his ego in rebellion and places the two dots on top. While a murīd takes his pride and submits it to the obedience of his sheikh. Murtad does it in defiance of Allah, while a murīd does so to gain closeness of Allah.