Initiation – Bay’a

When one who is searching for gnosis of the Divine through purification of the heart wishes to begin his spiritual education, it is necessary to initiate him or her into the Tariqa. This is done through committing himself or herself to respecting the pact (bay’a) that links him or her to the master (Shaykh).

The origin of this pact is in the numerous examples of the companions of the Prophet Mohamed, peace be upon him, pledging their allegiance to him, putting their hands in his (musafaha), such as at the foot of the tree of Hudaybiya. The Quran recalls this event “Allah’s good pleasure was on the believers when they swore fealty to you under the tree.”

The master (shaykh) is a Gnostic (‘arif’) whose mission is the spiritual education of the seekers. Perfect servitude and humility are some of the essential characteristics of the ‘arif. In order to take up the function of spiritual educator, the Shaykh has the permission (idhn) of his own master through an uninterrupted spiritual chain (silsilah) which connects all the preceding masters to the Prophet Mohamed, peace be upon him. This permission is divine because the “transmitting” Shaykh does not give it on his own initiative: “It is He who invests [takes charge of] the saints [as-saliheen]” (Quran, Al-Araf, v196).

The divine secret (Sirr) which the master is the trustee of, is at work in the invocations (dhikr) that the disciple practices assiduously. This explains the progressive effect of spiritual “transformation” of the disciple.

The initiation ritual that welcomes the new disciple has a clearly established origin. It is the symbolic reproduction of the pact that was concluded by the companions when they put their hands in those of the Messenger of God. Therefore, the shaking of hands (musafaha) which charecterises the ritual of spiritual initiation in the Boutchichi Tariqa confirms the inner pact (the pact of the heart) concluded with the shaykh.

When deciding to join the tariqa and at the moment of the initiatory pact, the new disciple makes the intention in his heart to repent to God, to recognise the mission of his Shaykh, and to follow him as his only spiritual educator.

Sidi Jamal-ad-Din, does not initiate new disciples himself and for that purpose he appoints experienced disciples across the globe to facilitate the initiation. There are several individuals within the UK who have express authorisation (idhn) from Sidi Jamal-ad-Din to initiate new disciples to the path.