A.) 1. A Murshid is a person who guides to the complete following of the Shari'ah. 2.

A Murshid must have these 5 qualities: a) He must possess knowledge of the Qur'an and Sunnah, whether through academic studies or by sitting in the company of an Aalim; b) He must inculcate taqwa (piety) in his life by totally abstaining from major sins and not being habitual in minor sins; c) He must be disinclined from the dunya (this world and its possessions) and his focus should be on authentic dhikr; d) He must command good and forbid evil; e) He must have stayed in the company of another Murshid from an authentic Silsila, learning the path of sulook (journeying towards Allah) and have received Ijaazat (permission to initiate others in the path of Sulook) from that Murshid. You may make a person with these 5 qualities as your guide. (Fataawa Mahmoodiyah vol.1 pg.132)

A Shaykh of Sufism is a Sufi who is authorized to teach, initiate and guide aspiring dervishes. There are several types of such Shaykh.

A Shaykh of barakah (blessing). This can, for example, be someone who inherits leadership of a group of Sufis, who although he does not have the spiritual standing of a genuine Shaykh of Tarbiyah (Instruction) nevertheless has a blessing in that by holding to him his followers have unity and community, as is in the Noble Hadith, "The hand of Allah is with the group (jama'ah)." A Shaykh of Ahwal (states). This is a shaykh who has genuine tasting of the states of Sufism and can transmit them. A Shaykh of Tarbiyah (instruction). This is properly the correct usage of the term Shaykh according to the Sufis. This is the realised gnostic ('arif) of Allah, who has been granted idhn (permission and authorisation) by the Allah and Muhammad, to lead the followers of the path of Sufism to knowledge of Allah. This idhn is not to be confused with ijazah (authorisation) granted by a Shaykh or a scholar to a student to teach. Even if all of the scholars and shaykhs granted their ijazah to a student, he would still not be a Shaykh of Instruction until he had the idhn of Allah and Muhammad. This is manifest in his tawfiq or 'success' in inculcating the perfections of Islam, Iman and Ihsan in his disciples [point 8, below].

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The customary position with the people of Sufism, particularly in the Shadhili and the Darqawi tariqah, is that a person will not be a shaykh without having had a background in the basic disciplines of the Qur'an and Sunna. This is the position of Imam Junayd. However, in unusual circumstances there have been exceptions to this rule, among them the famous wali, Abd al-Aziz ad-Dabbagh [1] of Fez, and in the Darqawi tariqah, the Shaykh Sidi al-'Arabi ibn al-Huwari from whom Shaykh Muhammad ibn al-Habib took the tariqah, and most famously Shaykh Ahmad al-Alawi, a master of Sufism whom all accept without reservation. An ijazah is a certificate used primarily by Muslims to indicate that one has been authorized by a higher authority to transmit a certain subject or text of Islamic knowledge. This usually implies that the student has learned this knowledge through face-to-face interactions "at the feet" of the teacher. In a paper titled Traditionalism in Islam: An Essay in Interpretation [1], Harvard professor William A. Graham explains the ijazah system as follows: The basic system of "the journey in search of knowledge" that developed early in Hadith scholarship, involved travelling to specific authorities (shaykhs), especially the oldest and most renowned of the day, to hear from their own mouths their hadiths and to obtain their authorization or "permission" (ijazah) to transmit those in their names. This ijazah system of personal rather than institutional certification has served not only for Hadith, but also for transmission of texts of any kind, from history, law, or philology to literature, mysticism, or theology. The isnad of a long manuscript as well as that of a short hadith ideally should reflect the oral, face-to-face, teacher-to-student transmission of the text by the teacher's ijazah, which validates the written text. In a formal, written ijazah, the teacher granting the certificate typically includes an isnad containing his or her scholarly lineage of teachers back to the Prophet of Companions, a later venerable shaykh, or the author of a specific book.

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