What is ‘the love of shaykh’?

– The false and true signs of having ‘the love of one’s shaykh’.

An hour or so ago, I had a discussion with a person on what constitutes as being ‘the love of shaykh’.
Predictably, the person came out with the usual mantras of what he thought the love of shaykh is. ‘Being in front the shaykh is a sign of a student’s true love’.This was his insignia and his understanding of what it meant to be a true lover of the shaykh.

Now, typically speaking, people who travel on a spiritual path, always tend to define their own understanding of tassawuff. Usually based on what they see and hear their co-mureedien doing.
Many students who see their colleagues; crying a lot, in a sad state, keeping a bent posture, with heads always looking towards the ground. As being the ideal student, who has reached a high station in the eyes of the shaykh and generally in tassawuff. From this example, these people also assume always physically being present in front of the shaykh as the epitome of love. The amusing thing is, each mureed assumes he or she has the true understanding of tassawuff and what it means to be a student; What it means to have the love of a shaykh. Each living in his own bubble world.

Yet, even in their misunderstanding of the love of shaykh; that one must be physically present in front of the shaykh. In order to feel (and be seen in the eyes of others), as a lover of the shaykh. – They are selective in this cooked up definition. Only choosing to follow their assumptions when it suits them. If it WAS the case that only physically being present in front of the shaykh constitutes love. Then they should be camping out in front of the shaykh’s house 24 hours a day, 7 days a week! They do not do this. But, are happy to live in their own homes and by only attending a few gatherings think they are showing their love of the shaykh.

Tassawuff is not ‘open doors invitation’. Where anyone can come along and define his own understanding and principles of tassawuff. Our understandings of tassawuff MUST be in line with the established sources of islam and the sources written down by our pious predecessors. Many in the circles of tassawuff are pressured into accepting co-mureedin ideologies. In fear of being seen as a black sheep among the group, the novice seeker will adopt unconditionally what his peers say and believe as the definition of tassawuff and the love of shaykh.

So, what is the actual definition of ‘the love of one’s shaykh’?

To have love of one’s shaykh does not mean a student must attend every gathering of the shaykh. In order to have the love of shaykh in him. The love of shaykh is not a physical connection. In spirituality, the love of shaykh is not a physical lubricant which bonds two individuals together. It is a love free of boundaries and barriers. A student who hardly attends a gathering of the shaykh, yet maintains his prescribed deeds. Stays true to the shaykh’s teachings, will have more love of the shaykh in him. Than a student who merely attends the shaykh’s gathering physically but does not do any of the above mentioned deeds. A person looking to attain the love of one’s shaykh, can only attain this through the one true means. Which is, to stay true to the shaykh’s teachings and do the prescribed deeds. Forget what others are saying and doing. Define your understanding of tassawuff only by what the established sources say and not what pseudo-Sufis, co-mureedin define it as. The sign of a student having the love of shaykh is doing what he is told, with steadfastness. Through the thick and thin. There is no point going in front of the shaykh and acting like a angel, displaying a false image of being the ideal student. Yet, behind his presence acting like a devil.

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