The Initiatic Chain (Silsila)

“Whoever has no master (shaykh) has Satan as his master” say the
Sufis, thereby dooming to failure those who dare undertake by their
own means the travel to God. The conditions surrounding the selection
and the reciprocal acceptance of a master and his disciple—the
latter committing himself to his master “like the cadaver in the hands
of the washer-of-the-dead”—and the brotherly and caring feelings
expected to reign between the members of the Sufi orders have been
amply described in the handbooks of Sufism. It will suffice here to
mention the fact that all relevant practices of the Sufis tend to perpetuate
the initiatic pact which was sealed at Hudaybiya when, on their
way back from the “lesser holy war” against the Meccan unbelievers,
Muhammad’s (s.a.w.s) closest Companions took a solemn oath with him to
wage a “greater holy war” against their own inner enemies. Since that
momentous event, a continuous chain of masters and disciples has
carried to the core of the Islamic Community, in all regions and at all
times, the esoteric teachings contained in the Quranic Revelation and
the influence of blessedness (baraka) inherited from Muhammad (s.a.w.s)

~Jean-Louis Michon – October 2005, Ramadan 1426
Sufism: Love & Wisdom – Edited by Jean-Louis Michon & Roger Gaetani

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