Fatwa: # 19140
Category: Character & Morals
Country: Canada
Date: 19th January 2011

Title

I gave bai'ah (pledge) to a Shaykh online, is it valid? Can I take it again?

Question

I'm 17 years old and many months ago I took bay'at online. I want to become an alim first and then I want to give bay'at to a saint. My question is that when I gave bay'at online I wasn't sincere and I didn't understand the virtue of Bay'at, can I be forgiven? Can I take a bay'at when I grow up? I'm only 17 and I have great interest in becoming an alim and sufi. Can I be forgiven for bay'at online when I'm not sincere and following their tariqa? Can I give bay'at to saint when I grow up?

Answer

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

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


Tazkiyyah (purification of the soul) is also known as Ihsan or Tasawwuf and is mentioned in the Quran:

 

قَدْ أَفْلَحَ مَن زَكَّهَا ‏وَقَدْ خَابَ مَن دَسَّهَا

“Indeed he succeeds who purifies it (his own self)

And indeed he fails who corrupts it (his own self)”

(Surah Ash-Shams 9-10)

 

Tazkiyyah means to follow Islam in every aspect of one's life and in particular to subdue the vile inner qualities that are present within us such as: envy, jealousy, greed, arrogance, impatience, etc. and develop in their place beautiful inner qualities such as: gratitude, sincerity, humility, patience, and the like.

Since our vile inner qualities are essentially “diseases of the heart” they are hidden and difficult to perceive. As a result they are not easily diagnosed and treated by every person himself.

If one has such a capability to reform his own self, then he must do so. However, it is far more effective and mustahab (desirable) to give bai'ah (pledge) to a competent Shaykh who can through suhbat (physical presence) or correspondence (letters, email, etc.) prescribe the treatment to cure these “diseases of the heart”.


The signs of a competent Shaykh is that he:

a.) Strictly adheres to the Sunnah

b.) Stays far away from bi'dah (innovations)

c.) Has been given permission by his own Shaykh to accept mureeds (students in the path of Tasawwuf).


If your Shaykh meets the above criteria then you should not give bai'ah (pledge) to another Shaykh.

As a mureed (one who gave bai'ah) it is your responsibility to develop nisbat (spiritual relationship) and familiarity with your Shaykh and benefit from him. Otherwise the purpose of your bai'ah (pledge) will be defeated.

Bai'ah (pledge) can either be given through writing or personal meeting. After that one must correspond with one's Shaykh on a regular basis or sit in his suhbat and act upon his instructions of making dhikr, etc. to continue making progress. Insha-Allah you will become sincere and dedicated over time.

In the past, students of knowledge used to give bai'ah (pledge) in their youth to develop nisbat (spiritual relationship) with their tariqah (path of Tasawwuf). They would spend their free time after studies reading biographies of the Mashaikh of their tariqah. In this way their attachment to the lives of the pious would grow while their knowledge of Tafsir, Hadith and Fiqh increased as well. They would thus by the will of Allah, be able to make 'amal (practical application) on their 'ilm (knowledge). As an example, Shaykh ul Hadith Maulana Zakariyya (rahmatullahi alayhi) had given bai'ah (pledge) to his Shaykh at the age of 18 while still a student in his final year of studies (Daura-Hadith).


And Allāh knows best.

Ml. Sohail Bengali
Chicago, IL (USA)

Concurred by:

Muftī Abrar Mirza
Chicago, IL (USA)

Under the Supervision of Muftī Ebrahim Desai (South Africa)

 

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DISCLAIMER - AskImam.org questions
AskImam.org answers issues pertaining to Shar'ah. Thereafter, these questions and answers are placed for public view on www.askimam.org for educational purposes. However, many of these answers are unique to a particular scenario and cannot be taken as a basis to establish a ruling in another situation or another environment. Askimam.org bears no responsibility with regards to these questions being used out of their intended context.
  • The Shar's ruling herein given is based specifically on the question posed and should be read in conjunction with the question.
  • AskImam.org bears no responsibility to any party who may or may not act on this answer and is being hereby exempted from loss or damage howsoever caused.
  • This answer may not be used as evidence in any Court of Law without prior written consent of AskImam.org.
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