Bay’t is a mutual pledge relating to the striving, arranging, executing and adhering to the laws of A’male Zahiri and A’male Batini. This pledge is called Bay’t-e-Tareeqat which has been in vogue by authoritative transmission from generation to generation from the earliest time of Islam.
Rasulullah (Salla Allahu ta’ala’alayhi wa sallam) had enacted bay’t of the Sahaabah not only on Jihad, but on Islam and the adherence of the Ahkam (Laws in general) as well on practical deeds (A’mal). This is established by numerous Ahadith. The following hadith is one such Hadith:
“Auf Ibn Maalik Ash-ja-ee (radhiyallahu anhu) said: We were with Nabi (Salla Allahu ta’ala’alayhi wa sallam), seven, eight or nine (of us), when he (Salla Allahu ta’ala’alayhi wa sallam) said:
‘Will you not make bay’t (pledge) to the Rasul (Salla Allahu ta’ala’alayhi wa sallam) of Allah (Azzawajal) ?’
We stretched our hands and enquired: On what shall we make bay’t to you, O Rasul (Salla Allahu ta’ala’alayhi wa sallam) of Allah (Azzawajal)? He said:
‘That you make the Ibaadat of Allah (Azzawajal); that you associate nothing with Him; that you perform the five Salaat; that you hear and obey.” (Muslim, Abu Dawood, Nisai)
On this occasion the bay’t which Rasulullah (Salla Allahu ta’ala’alayhi wa sallam) took from the Sahaabah was neither Bay’t Imaani (Pledge of Imaan) nor Bay’t Jihaadi (Pledge to wage Jihad). This Hadith is categoric proof for the validity of the system of bay’t in vogue by the Masha-ikh of Tasawwuf. Like there are four Math-habs (Schools of Thought) in Fiqh, viz. Hanafi, Shafi, Maaliki and Hambali, so too are there four schools of thought in Tasawwuf, viz., Chishtiyya, Qaderiyyah, Naqshabandiyyah and Suharwardiyyah. Like the Hanafi Way is dominant in this area (India and Pakistan), the Chistiyyah Way too is dominant here. Our akabir (authorities in Tasawwuf) enter into (bay’t) in all the four Schools of Thought (Silsilah) so that respect for the four Silsilah is maintained although Chishtiyyat is dominant .
The founder of the Chishtiyyah Silsilah is Hadhrat Khwajah Mueenuddin Chishti Ajmeri (rahmatullah alayh); founder of the Qaderiyyah Order is Hadhrat Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani (rahmatullah alayh); founder of the Naqshabandiyyah Order is Hadhrat Shaikh Bahauddin Naqshabuddin (rahmatullah alayh); and the founder of the Suharwardiyyah Silsilah is Hadhrat Shaikh Shahabuddin Suharwardiyyah (rahmatullah alayh).