There are two types of Bai’at – Bai’atul Barakah and Bai’atul Iraadah:
Bai’atul Barakah (Allegiance of Blessing):
One pledges Bai’atul Barakah by joining a Sisilah (spiritual order) for attaining Barakah (spiritual grace). Bai’atul Barakah is more widely pledged. However, one must be absolutely sincere in pledging to this Bai’ah. For the Bai’atul Barakah to be complete, it is necessary that the four conditions of a Sheikhul Itisaal be met. (The four conditions has been explained). This Bai’ah is also very auspicious. To be amongst those who are loved by Allah Ta’ala and linking to their spiritual order is an honour itself.
Bai’atul Iraadah (Allegiance of Devotion)
In Bai’atul Iraadah one pledges to detach oneself completely from one’s self-will wholly, and unconditionally place oneself in the hands of the Murshid such that one may be moulded through the ways of Tariqah (the path to Allah through spiritual training). No action or decision may be taken without the consent and approval of the Sheikh. This Bai’ah is pledged and carried out by the Saalikeen (Travelers on the path of Tasawwuf), hence it is also called Bai’atus Saalikeen. It is also the purpose of the Mashaa’ikh and a conveyance to Allah Ta’ala. The Holy Prophet Muhammed (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) took this Bai’ah from the Noble Sahabah (radi Allahu anhum).
The Noble Companion, Abaada Ibnu Saamit Al Ansaari (radi Allahu anhu), narrates: “We pledged Bai’ah to the Holy Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) in all our matters of good and misfortunes, in all trials and tribulations. We pledged to consult the Holy Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) in all our matters and to unflinchingly follow his orders and not to query his commands”. (Fatawa Afriqa by A’la Hazrat, pg.135)
From this discussion one can deduce that Bai’ah should be done on the hands of such a person who is worthy and meets with the criteria of a Murshid.