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Question

In the entry The Reality of Bay‛ah it is mentioned that the shaykh is like a mine full of jewels. However, the following link Sincerity of the Mureed says that it is possible the shaykh is not perfect. How do you reconcile between the two?

Answer:

In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

As-salāmu ‘alaykum wa-rahmatullāhi wa-barakātuh.

I mentioned in the footnotes on the Malfuz:

“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.”

I wished to highlight that the maqsood (objective) is attained depending on the murīd’s exertion. This is logical to any action. The more one will exert, the greater the reward. What we must keep in mind is that while the murīd exerts towards the maqsood, the maqsood is only attainable through the will of Allah. It is a mercy from Allah that the murīd can achieve the maqsood through the means of His pious auliyaa(friend).

In the second malfuz mentioned on Daral Mahmood site you refer,

“Sometimes the Sheikh give permission to an incompetent and unsuitable one with this hope in mind that because of earnest and sincere seeker’s blessings, he too will become rectified.”

The malfuz mentions thereafter that Hakimul Ummah rahmatullah alayh has mentioning Shuyūkh giving ijazah to incompetent murīd does not mean that it is a common occurrence, rather it was by way of presenting the fact that such cases also occur. The malfuz says,

“Whatever Hakeemul Ummat had written here about the ‘Ijaazat’ of the incompetent one is an extremely delicate point. It does not follow at all that every incompetent one should be granted ‘Ijaazat’. All it means is that such things do happen among some Sheikhs, and that there are times when a Sheikh has become competent due to the effect of his mureed.”

As for the apparent contradiction in advice, once we understand that the fadhl and blessing is solely initiating from Allah, then it becomes easy to understand why some Shuyūkh would give khilāfah to an incompetent person with hope of his rectification. The murīd of the incompetent khalīfah may very well be worthy of much blessings from Allah. So for these blessings to come to this murīd, the incompetent khalīfah would become a means. In doing so, the incompetent khalīfah will take the benefit of those fuyūdh (blessings).

Take an example of an incompetent math teacher. If he is tasked to teach particular problems to a pupil, then in order to fulfill the task the teacher will need to understand the problems himself. So by virtue of the pupil it is hoped that the teacher will master that issue as well.

Similarly, if a marriage counselor is asked to guide a couple through some marital turbulance, then the only way he would successfully lead that marriage out of turbulence is by becoming competent in marital issues. It is hope that the same problems will not afflict his marriage issues.

This is exemplified in the hadīth of Rasulullah salallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam where it expounds that many a times a person’s rizq (sustenance) is increased because of him being a guardian over another. In effect, the first person gets more sustenance so that he can impart that sustenance to the other.[1]

However, there is a deeper understanding into this apparent contradiction of advices as well. Please refer to the malfuz about “Two types of Perfection”. Competence and perfection is a subjective concept. If someone is competent in one field, then it does not necessitate that he has achieved all the level of competence in that field. For example, if a doctor has been designated as a General Practitioner (GP), then it does not necessarily mean that he will be competent with all issues pertaining to this field. He will face many instances where he will either:

a.      revert to the learning process to achieve competence,

b.     or he will apply his discretion based on whatever little he knows

When Shuyūkh give their khilāfa to anyone, they do so upon their assessment that the murīd will follow the first option (i.e. in event of facing a new issue, he will revert to his sheikh or other more senior to him to gain competence). The Sheikh has this good faith that the murīd has aligned himself to a disposition of constant aspiring and learning, and based on this wishes khilafah for him. It is only in this case that the khilafah to someone incompetent in certain matter, will actually benefit him. This is because every time the murīd will realize his incompetence, he will strive to gain competence.

Sometimes, however, a doctor opts to use his discretion and act on it without aptly knowing the issue at hand. This leads to grave mishaps and mistakes. The doctor could lose his license for the malpractice or be reprimanded to re-evaluate his work ethics. Similarly, a khalifah might lapse and not revert to his seniors and apply his incompetent discretion. This also causes many spiritual mishaps. This is also a reason that sometimes the khulafa get reprimanded by their own shuyukh and sometimes the khilafah is even revoked. In this case however, the murīd has the option of re-evaluating his connection with his sheikh, and restart from where he lapsed.

Now linking back to our example of a mine, the sheikh holds many jewels (competence) within him. While the diamonds, gems and gold nugget may be there for the murīd to benefit from, there always remain the dirt, rocks and coal. It is the Sheikh’s quest to purify himself of all these undesirable items, and the duty of the murīd to take all the valuables from him.

A sālik should take all that is treasure worthy from his sheikh. If he sees something which is not desirable of the sheikh’s stature then consider that to be from the “incompetence” which the sheikh at his level is struggling to purify. In this way, both Sheikh and the murīd are classified as saalik, and both are striving to attain purity in the path of Allah.

This explanation is in line with our aqueeda. Only prophets are Masūm (sinless). Awliyā’ are mahfūz (saved from sins). However, the fact that awliyā’ are not masūm, is a clear sign that they have a weakness to commit sins and they need to continue their field of reformation.

And Allah Ta’āla Knows Best

Mawlana Faisal bin Abdul Hameed
Student, Darul Iftaa
Canada

Checked and Approved by,
Mufti Ebrahim Desai.

[1] وَعَن أنسٍ قَالَ: كَانَ أَخَوَانِ عَلَى عَهْدِ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ فَكَانَ أَحَدُهُمَا يَأْتِي النَّبِيَّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ وَالْآخَرُ يَحْتَرِفُ فَشَكا المحترف أَخَاهُ إِلَى النَّبِيِّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ فَقَالَ: «لَعَلَّكَ تُرْزَقُ بِهِ» رَوَاهُ التِّرْمِذِيُّ مشكاة المصابيح (3/ 1460)

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