The Eight Duties of a Murid towards His Shaykh

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

According to Mawlana Jalal ad-Din ar-Rumi (q.s.), there are eight duties of a murid towards his shaykh.

When he puts his hand in that of the spiritual guide, the disciple makes himself as a corpse.  He restrains his hand from his own impulses.  As Mawlana ar-Rumi (q.s.) has said in verse:

“If you are a disciple, be as though dead like a corpse next to a corpse.
Bury the blindness of your eye in order to live forever.”

He should consider his spiritual guide his ruler in all things, great and small.  He should not disobey anything commanded by the spiritual guide.  Mawlana ar-Rumi (q.s.) said:

“When you have taken a master, lo!  Submit (to him);
Go like Moses under the tutelage of Khidhr.
The master is a mirror for the soul in distress;
Rail not, O soul, at the mirror’s image.”

Even if the spiritual guide should give as much trouble and hardship as there are drops of rain, the disciple must not turn away from him.  If he would obtain the fortune of both worlds, he must not falter.  Mawlana ar-Rumi (q.s.) has written:

“Since you have taken a master, be not faint-hearted;
Be not weak like water and mud;
If you become resentful at every annoyance,
How will you ever become an untarnished mirror?”

The disciple must keep the secrets of spiritual master and not disclose them to the uninitiated.  He should not place the familiar coin in a stranger’s hand.  Mawlana ar-Rumi (q.s.) says:

“The Prophet said that whoever concealed secrets
Would quickly be joined with is heart’s desire;
Learning the secret of the Absent befits
Him who can seal his lips from speech.”

If he should see 100,000 persons who exceed his spiritual guide by 100,000 degrees, the disciple should not swerve away from him, nor should his belief become corrupted.  He should not devote himself to another.  As has been said:

“Now that you have a tranquil heart, bind it to him;
Close your eyes to the whole world.”

He must not object to anything the spiritual guide says or does.  Rather he should consider all that he witnesses from the spiritual guide to be truth and to recognize its certainty, for no action of the preceptor is without design, even though the disciple does not comprehend its purpose.  This is apparent in the story of Moses (a.s.) and Khidhr (a.s.).  Mawlana ar-Rumi (q.s.) says:

“He who receives Revelation and Words from God
- Whatever He Decrees is exactly correct -
‘Slay that boy!’ Khidhr cut his throat.
Ordinary folk do not perceive the secret!
If Khidhr scuttles a boat in the sea -
There are a hundred truths in Khidhr’s deed.”

The disciple must not conceal anything of his own secrets from his spiritual guide.  To do so is a great betrayal.  If a sick man hides his symptoms from the physician, he will never get well.

“Expose your inner secrets to your master and be relieved,
Just as one should not conceal one’s aches from the physician.”

The period of a disciple’s service to his spiritual guide is at least four seasons.  The median is a thousand days, and at most, it is limitless.  What is better than that a person spend his life in the service of his spiritual guide?  In essence, this means that the disciple should remain in service for as long as the spiritual guide thinks it appropriate; and Allah (s.w.t.) Knows best.


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