Sunday, 27 July 2008

Day 30 (Cont'd): Bay'aa

Something else happened today which I've been debating writing about because of the controversy surrounding it. But it's part of my experience here, and an important one, so I've decided to share it.

So I come back from tahajud and fajr prayer at Dar al-Zahra only to be told that Habib Omar is going to give bay'a [covenant] to those of us who want to in half an hour.

It threw me for a loop, it really did. In its simplest terms, bay'a means you have chosen a sheikh and have "handed him your reins" to guide you on the spiritual path. You then become a murid [one who desires] who trusts his sheikh completely, follows his commands, recites the award [litanies] you are given and from then on are 'connected' to this sheikh and his chain of teachers spiritually.

The concept is firmly rooted in Sufism. Personally, I love Sufis and I think they embody so many aspects of our religion that we can't even identity, let alone experience or understand. But like I said in a recent post, I still don't know exactly where I stand on visions/ dreams, which are supposedly a big part of how you connect with your sheikh.

Plus, choosing your sheikh is a big decision, and even though Habib Umar is an incredible sheikh, and I would be honored to have him be my sheikh, am I sure that I'm even ready for one? And it's not like I can change my mind about it. A lot of people tell you that if you're not exactly clear about what a bay'a is or what it entails, you should choose the sheikh you feel the most connection too. And honestly, I have felt more connection with other sheikhs.

So as bad as this sounds, I was kind of glad when the bay'a was postponed. Now I have time to do istikhara and think.

No comments: