Permission to enroll disciples
A commitment denoting deep spiritual obligation where one becomes responsible to the other, is what makes up the true essence of the word Bai’at – a process of entering into a pledge regardless of all doubts and fears; the worldly casts or the geo political differences.
When Hazrat became convinced in every respect about scholarly and spiritual "graduation" of Babuji, he accorded permission to him to extend bait to people, i.e., take pledge of filthy from those wishing to become his murid (disciples). Being by nature modest and humble-minded, Hazrat Babuji availing of this permission for long time the day that eventually become, however, when he did to decide to shoulder to this heavy burden of responsibility. This happened when Hazrat Babuji once came to say good bye to Hazrat before leaving for Pakpattan at a time when Hazrat himself was ill. The conversation that took place between the august father and talented but humble minded son on his occasion is worth reproduction here:
Hazrat: If some one is really keen to seek discipleship at your hands, you should not refuse his request.
Babuji: May I respectfully submit, Sir, that I do not posses the merit that is essential for extending bait to others. Thanks to the infinite bounty of Allah, I also do not need to use this as a means of earning my livelihood. Furthermore, as yourself have often observed, only a person with a very high spiritual station is fit to extend bai'at to others and this is a qualification which I have no doubt I do not posses.
Hazrat: There are many others who are adopting others as murid even though they are not qualified to do so by virtue of their spiritual stations.
Babuji: What I am humbly submitting, Sir, concerns myself and not others.
When Hazrat repeated his earlier directive, Hazrat Babuji said, "I am prepared to do so only if your good self agrees to accept the real responsibility of all those whom I adopt as disciples."
Hazrat: How can a humble person like me accept this heavy dual responsibility?
Babuji: If some one with as high a spiritual station as your honoured self is unable to carry this burden, then I being my self to be many times less worthy to do so.
Hazrat: (After a few moments hesitation); Okay, I agree to be responsible for any one who takes bai'at at your hand.
The qualifications as stated by Hazrat himself were that only a person who had the ability to envisage latent realities (Ayyan-e-Thabta) should take other people in Bai’at i.e., the realities pertaining to the past and future life of an individual (apart from the global comprehension of the universe); he should also have the ability to resolve their issue and problems at the moment at crisis both in this life and the life hereafter while guaranteeing the Prophet’s (P.B.U.H) mercy in both the worlds.
Hazrat repeated his directive thrice. Babuji (R.A) was advised to follow three things regularly (religiously) i.e.,
(i) To maintain Wazu (ceremonial washing, ablution) all the time,
(ii) To eliminate his egoism,
(iii) To serve mankind and remain with the people as one of them.
It was only after the foregoing episode that Hazrat Babuji started taking people into his bai'at on a regular basis. Even so he did not feel fully re-assured on this account until one of the employees of the langar (free kitchen) at Golra Sharif saw Hazrat (R.A) in a dream one night, and was directed by him to tell Babuji to take bai'at from people "with an open heart" rather than a feeling of compulsion.
After the death of Hazrat Syedna Pir Meher Ali Shah (R.A), Babuji’s letter to Sheikh-ul-Jamia dated 18th May 1938, reads as follows:
“I have taken over the burdens of other people on my shoulders… I am not capable of this although even now I am not doing this because of my ability but solely due to the responsibility taken by Hazrat (R.A). God is the Master. There is non-else. I rely on Him”.
In his letter dated 17.01.62, Babuji (R.A) wrote to one of his sangee, “I am not fond of ‘Piri-Muridi’ and never think that I have followers. I regard every one as my companion/acquaintance and friends. Only am I obeying the orders of my Hazrat (R.A)”
The underlying spirit of bai'at
The practice of bai'at vogue in the Sufi circles does not merely denote a formal ritual but has spiritual connotations as well. In receiving a person's bai'at, a truly eminent Murshid (spiritual guide) accepts responsibility besides providing religious and shariah guidance to the disciple, for taking care of him also in a spiritual way. This spiritual "protection" is available to the disciple wherever he or she may physically be. This is because, as pointed out in Maulana Jalaluddin Rumi's verse,
Translation: "When a person has found and adopted an accomplished Pir, both God and his Prophet (P.B.U.H) get combined for him in the Pir's person".
This reality is further borne out by the Quranic ayah as well as another verse of Maulana Rumi's Masnavi reproduced below:
Translation: "Verily those who swear allegiance unto thee (O Muhammad (P.B.U.H) !) swear allegiance (in fact) unto Allah. The Hand of Allah is above hands. (XLVIII, 10)
"The hand of the Pir extends (even) to those (disciples of his) who are not present before him; his hand (in fact) is similar to the grip of Allah." (Masnavi of Maulana Rumi)
A factual illustration of the above-mentioned reality was provided, in the case of Hazrat Babuji (R.A), by an incident which once accord to a young disciple of his. This young man had somehow fallen victim to an amil (sorcerer), who had prescribed the recitation of incantations to him in order to subdue a jinn for the purpose of attaining some occult purposes. He once came to Hazrat Babuji and told him that the incantation of the amil had proved ineffective time and again because, according to the amil whenever they neared success some "unseen hand" suddenly appeared from nowhere and rendered the incantation ineffective. Concluding that this "unseen hand" was that of his Murshid (i.e., Babuji), he sought the latter's permission to continue indulging in his magical pursuits in order to achieve success. Hazrat Babuji made it clear to him that such magical practices contrary to the injunction of the shariah and were also disapproved mashaikh (spiritual leader). He therefore exhorted the young man, in his own interest, to give up this fruitless pursuit, and to devote himself instead to practices which were in accord with the dictates of the Shariah. Unfortunately, the young man's obsession with incantations and charms had advanced so much that he could not persuade himself to act upon the advise given to him. Hazrat Babuji was there left with no choice except to leave him to his own ways.
Hazrat Madni Sahib's bai'at with Hazrat Babuji (R.A)
The manner in which Syed Ahmed Mahdar-ul-Atas of Madina Munawwara (popularly known as Madni Sahib), who belonged to a highly renowned Syed family of Madina Munawwara, entered into bait with Hazrat Babuji, helps to bear out the foregoing episode. According to Madni Sahibs own admission, he once came to Golra Sharif with the express attention of taking bai'at at Hazrat's hands. On arrival here, however, he learned about Hazrat having passed away sometimes earlier, and felt greatly grieved to find that he would be unable to achieve the purpose for which he had undertaking the long journey.
One morning, as he was sitting in a dejected frame of mind in his room after the Fajr prayers, engaged in recitations, he was delighted to suddenly find Hazrat in person before him. As he tried to recover from this most pleasant surprise, Hazrat addressed him in consoling words, and added: "I and Ghulam Muhyuddin (Babuji) are not two separate entities, but are one and the same". Madni Sahib was greatly reassured by these words and it was because of this that he entered into bai'at with Hazrat Babuji sometime later during one of Babuji's visits to Baghdad Sharif (Iraq).
The spiritual caliber
Talking about Hazrat Madni Sahib’s spiritual caliber, Babuji (R.A) stated that simply by closing his eyes Madni Sahib will behold the face of the Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H) - Such was the relation he maintained with the Prophet (P.B.U.H).
To be able to hold a meeting with or to envisage the Holy presence (P.B.U.H) is the highest status to be attained in one’s spiritual development. Nothing exists beyond that. This revealed a fine point concerning Babuji’s (R.A) own spiritual calibre.
If a person like Babuji (R.A) could perceive the levels of spirituality in Madni Sahib who had already achieved the highest spiritual enhancement, then what about Babuji’s (R.A) own spiritual calibre and yet a revelation he always kept a secret of, well-guarded from the common public. Never ever did he use words to reveal his own status. It got unveiled from moment to moment in its physical enactment though perceived by very few to its fullest.
Taking into Bai’at Babuji (R.A) would counsel and exhort the person concerned to steadfastly observe the daily prayers – five times a day and to recite the “Darud Sharif” (blessing on the Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H)) and the "Kalimah Tayyiba” ten times after each prayer.
Darud Sharif remains a compulsory component though there are certain instances where Babuji (R.A) would advise “Ya Haiyo Ya Qayyumo” to be recited along side. Specific Quranic verses allocated to the followers hinted at the person’s nature as well the aspect of the follower requiring special grooming or purification.