In the Holy Quran Allah says;
In this verse the word Waseela (medium ) refers to a Kamil Murshid. According to dictionary waseela (medium) means such source or means through which one can reach ones destination and it should be so helpful that all the needs of the needy are fulfilled and he is completely satisfied by obtaining all goals of his life.
Lissan-ul-Arab (volume II-page 725) defines Waseela as "by means of which closeness to some other thing is achieved".
According to Shariat, Waseela (medium) means to find closeness to Allah through a person who is already close to Allah and His beloved, who has travelled the mystic path and knows its ups and downs. In Tasawuf such person is known as Murshid, spiritual Mentor and guide. A true Murshid is the one who knows the way to Allah perfectly and who has reached the Divine Oneness and now is fully capable to guide the common people who do not know the way to Allah. A Perfect Murshid saves them from the satanic illusions and destructions of the nafs (the baser self) and all the other obstacles. So, now the above mentioned verse may be translated as "O' believers find a Perfect Murshid and guide to reach Allah".
Zikr (Invocation) and Tasawur (contemplation) of Ism-e-Allah Zaat (Personal Name of Allah) and Ism-e-Mohammad (Sacred Name of Prophet Mohammad Sall'Allahu Alayhi Wa'alihi Wasallam) can only lead to Allah if invoked and contemplated under the guidance of a Murshid (spiritual mentor) who knows the path of Visal (Union with Allah). Whenever, one wants to travel an unknown destination, he does seek guidance, just like a person who wants to learn a lesson or a skill or to get education, seeks an instructor. Similarly, Faqr's esoteric path is unknown to the devotee; moreover Satan like a brigand, lies in ambush to deceive and mislead, so that, one may never reach Allah. In the Holy Quran Allah says:
So, the seeker of Allah needs a Murshid (spiritual guide) together with Zikr and Tasawur-e-Ism-e-Allah Zaat (invocation and contemplation of the Personal Name of Allah). Our Holy Prophet Sall'Allahu Alayhi Wa'alihi Wasallam said:
A Murshid Kamil (perfect spiritual mentor), the one who completely knows this path, is to a devotee, a guide, a teacher, a companion; only he can save a devotee from satanic temptations and illusions and ambitions of the ethereal personalities of Nafs (self) and takes him to the destination. Without a Murshid Kamil, no matter, how pious and devoted one is to physical prayers, on
Certainly, if not accompanied by a Murshid Kamil, someone who is a stranger to the path can easily be misled by satan.
The Murshid Kamil is also like a physician to his devotee, one who cures the spiritual diseases like lust, vanity, greed, wile, malice, hypocrisy, haughtiness, arrogance etc. to make the soul strong enough for the journey of the path of Faqr without arduousness.Hazrat Sakhi Sultan Bahoo Rehmat-ul-Allah Alayh says:
Allah is concealed in the being of man just as the actual fruit is hidden inside the peal. Only a spiritual mentor can make it possible for a devout to find intimate closeness and spiritual presence before Allah and be blessed with His splendid sight and then the devout is never separated from Allah, whether it is this world of material life or the eternal world. (Noor-ul-Huda)
In the Holy Quran Allah also emphasizes to approach such a mentor who is accomplished in Zikr (invocation).
Here, Allah has not ordered to seek those with superficial knowledge of religion i.e. religious scholars, because this knowledge leads different people to different perceptions to reach the truth, as they analyze the religion according to their own compass of information and approach thus, ending nowhere but sectarianism. Today sectarianism in Muslims is because of different approaches of different scholars towards the knowledge of the religion. Every religious scholar defines and interprets the religion according to his own knowledge and approach. Those, who find any interpretation in accordance with their own reasoning start following that particular sect. Therefore, the Muslims are divided into so many sects of the prayers and rituals, thus following their own version of the right path. Though, there is nothing but one path. Allah says in the Holy Quran:
Religious scholars are themselves divided into sections, how could they show the path of Allah to others. The perfect mentors are the spiritual successors of the Holy Prophet Sall'Allahu Alayhi Wa'alihi Wasallam and the custodians and heirs to the treasure of Faqr, hence, they are on Sirat-e-Mustqeem (the right path). They are always present in this world to perform the obligation of connecting men to Allah spiritually and give them the mystical knowledge of Marifat-e-Elahi (Gnosis of Allah). World is never left without them. Those who have lost trust in the true spiritual guides upon deception by the fraudulent ones are at fault themselves; it is their intentions that are adulterated with their material desires, so they find a false guide due to their own false desires. Those, who sincerely set to seek Allah only, are never deceived because Allah has Himself promised to guide His true seekers. In the Holy Quran Allah promises:
And Allah never goes against His promise. Those who desire world and worldly treasures and wealth, false respect and power or heaven and its pleasures would get a guide according to their desires. But those who purely seek Allah's Qurb (proximity) and His Deedar (Vision) are guided by Allah Himself towards Murshid Kamil (the perfect spiritual guide). This guide purifies and sanctifies the Batin (inward) and the soul of the seekers, according to the way of our Holy Prophet Sall'Allahu Alayhi Wa'alihi Wasallam, as mentioned in the Holy Quran.
The spiritual mentor cures the soul from vanity, lust, greed, wile, malice, haughtiness, arrogance and all that is ill esoterically. Then by continued Zikr and Tasawur-e-Ism-e-Allah Zaat, under his guidance, the soul of a devout reaches that stage of ultimate purity and sanctity where his soul becomes Ruh-e-Qudsi (the sacred soul). Only this Ruh-e-Qudsi (sacred soul), because of its purity and sanctity, can reach that closeness where it can gain Allah's Pehchan (recognition) and Deedar (Vision). This is the purest soul which is present in a person's body at the time of his birth. Allah said about this soul:
But after coming to this world, this pure soul gets entangled in worldly desires and pleasures and thus suffers from the intrinsic diseases. Man is so involved with his material needs that he completely ignores the demands of the soul, so it gradually becomes weak and dejected and loses its purity.
The spiritual guide not only purifies the soul of the devout but also unfolds before him the reality of this mortal and deceitful world. The purified soul, when finds the true pleasures of closeness to Allah and His glorified Vision, all the temporary pleasures of the world lose their charm. So, the devout struggles to get closer to Allah, instead of running after these short lived pleasures. Now, he has no lust for wealth. All the luxuries are meaningless in front of Allah's will. To please Allah, he becomes humble and submissive. He does not expect anything from anyone except Allah; rather his submissiveness makes it easy for him to remain contented and happy in every situation. He always trusts upon Allah. He not only gets rid of lust and greed but is also freed from the fear of all others except Allah. So no one can force him to do wrong. He comes to know that no position or post is better than being close to Allah, so he never does anything wrong to get material wealth, position, false respects or worldly glory. He also knows that a soul captured by the curses of greed, vanity, lust, malice etc. can never get close to Allah, so he becomes pure in his behaviors with others, as well as, never lets any vicious thoughts about others to overcome his mind and soul. In this way, not only his inner self is set right but his extrinsic self and behaviors are also improved, and all this is by the virtue of Murshid Kamil.
After having intimate knowledge of Allah, he knows by verification of his heart that Allah is always close to him and is watching his every step, so fear of Allah stops him from committing any sin. As Allah says:
In this verse 'knowledge' refers to the intimate Gnosis and knowledge of Allah and not the worldly knowledge, and this knowledge can only be gained through Zikr and Tasawur-e-Ism-e-Allah Zaat under the guidance of a Kamil Murshid.
In his book Ain-ul-Faqr Hazrat Sakhi Sultan Bahoo Rehmat-ul-Allah Alayh says;
Who is a Murshid Kamil (the spiritual mentor)? What qualities does he possess? How does he submerge the seeker in Divine Oneness and bless him with presence in the Assembly of the Prophet Mohammad Sall'Allahu Alayhi Wa'alihi Wasallam? And what is his own status and powers?
Murshid possesses the Divine Powers as he is Fana Fillah (annihilated in Allah) and Baqa Billah (immortal with Allah). With these powers he kills the alive nafs (vehement inner self) of the seeker and thus gives life to his dead soul. Murshid is free from all needs. He is just like a Paras stone which turns everything to gold that touches it. Murshid is like a Kasauti (touch stone which checks the purity or impurity of a substance). His single glance is beneficent like sun, which removes all the bad qualities from the seeker. Murshid (spiritual mentor) is also like a dyer (who diverts the attention of a seeker from materialism to spiritualism, thus changes his inner color). Murshid is also like a betal leaf chooser who separates the useful betal leaves from the rotten ones.
Murshid is virtuous like Prophet Mohammad Sall'Allahu Alayhi Wa'alihi Wasallam as he possesses all his virtues, more kind than parents, guide and mentor on the way of Allah, bestower just like a mine of diamonds and gems, like an ocean filled with pearls of kindness, problem solver like a key for every lock, indifferent to worldly wealth, free of all the greeds, loving the seekers more than his own life, dervish having none of material luxuries.
Murshid is like a corpse laver (who gives bath to dead bodies). He is always in search of a seeker whose nafs (vehement inner self) has become dead and has reached the stage of
meaning: "die before death", thus his soul has become alive. Such seeker is the one who can suffer the hardships on the way of Faqr, while, the disobedient seekers are egoistic and stubborn.
Murshid is also like a potter who makes pots out of earth. Earth does not dare to object whatever he does with it. Murshid should be the knower of Allah and seeker should have complete trust on him. Murshid is the true companion of the seeker, as is said by the Holy Prophet Sall'Allahu Alayhi Wa'alihi Wasallam "First find a companion then set on the way." The false Murshids of this age are lovers of wealth and woman, egoists and arrogant, having black and dead hearts. The true Murshids who can change earth into gold with their one glance (i.e. they can change a common man into a wali, friend of Allah) are very rare. (Ain-ul-Faqr)
Murshid, like a shady tree, endures the severity of weathers himself and provides shade and comfort to those sitting under it. Murshid should be against the comforts and luxuries of this world which stops the seeker from the way to Allah, and should be a friend of Allah and His religion. While the seeker should trust him and should not hesitate to sacrifice his wealth and life for his Murshid. Murshid should be like a messenger of Allah and seeker should be like a friend of Allah. (Ain-ul-Faqr)
Mediation (through Murshid) is better than excellence of knowledge. When a person is about to commit a sin, his knowledge or excellence cannot stop him from committing sin but a mediation (of Murshid) can stop him. Just as Hazrat Yousaf Alayh Salam was saved from the evil of Zulaikha due to mediation (of his Murshid and father Hazrat Yaqoob Alayh Salam). Prophet Mohammad Sall'Allahu Alayhi Wa'alihi Wasallam said "A Murshid is among his devotees just like a Prophet is among his Ummah." (Ain-ul-Faqr)
There are three types of Murshids;
Murshid-e-Dunya seeks only material wealth, false respect and fame and inclination from people. He eats up even the bones of his disciples out of greed, makes monasteries, keeps busy in travelling and observing the spectacles of earth and skies, wants closeness of the rulers and struggles only to possess magical powers. Such Murshid is an eunuch (she male) and his disciples are also the same.
Murshid-e-Uqba (guide for here after) is a pious devout having superficial knowledge of religion. Such Murshid is always enveloped by the fear of hell and he prays just in the lust of heaven. Such Murshid is (weak like) female and his disciples are also the same.
Murshid Kamil Akmal is the knower of Allah who is submerged in Oneness of Allah and blessed with Divine Presence. Indifferent to both the worlds, material and the hereafter, he is happily occupied with Allah. For him everything except Allah is lust. (Ain-ul-Faqr)
For whom is the word 'Murshid' most suited to? For one who can give life to soul and kills the nafs only by one glance of majestic wrath and magnetic attraction. Murshid is the one, who is so much accomplished in Faqr that he has forbidden everything upon him except Allah. He is an eternal pilgrim having unveiled Vision of Allah. Such Murshid is like a physician and disciple is like a patient. When a physician treats a patient he gives him bitter medicines, the patient must take those medicines so that, he is cured and healthy. (Ain-ul-Faqr)
What are the signs of a true Murshid? Hazrat Sakhi Sultan Bahoo Rehmat-ul-Allah Alayh says:
A Kamil Murshid (perfect spiritual mentor) blesses the seeker with Ism-e-Allah Zaat on the very first day and asks him to write it on his heart and engrave it on his soul. When seeker carves it successfully on his heart by Tasawur (contemplation), Murshid asks the seeker by his Divine attention to observe this Ism-e-Allah Zaat, when seeker looks at it, it starts glowing like sun immediately, by the refulgent Light of The Essence (Allah). (Noor-ul-Huda)
Murshid Kamil is the one, who not only blesses the seeker with Zikr of Ism-e-Allah Zaat but also bestows him with its Tasawur. The Murshid who does not give Ism-e-Allah Zaat to the seeker is not a true Murshid. (Noor-ul-Huda)
There are not any big hurdles like mountains between man and Allah, neither is there any long distance journey, rather, there is only a thin veil (of nafs) which can easily be removed by just one glance of a Kamil Murshid and Tasawur of Ism-e-Allah Zaat. Doors are open for those who want to search Allah, otherwise, Allah does not need any one. (Kaleed-ul-Tauheed Kalan)
Murshid thoroughly and completely knows every way of the Batin (inward) and solution of all its problems. Murshid is a synonym for Taufeeq-e-Elahi (Divine favour). No work is completed without Divine favour and help. So without Murshid all your prayers and mystic exercises are useless, even if you spend all your life in such exercises because no one has ever reached Allah without a spiritual mentor. Murshid Kamil is like an experienced and skilled captain of a ship who has complete knowledge of sailing, he saves the ship from every storm and calamity. Murshid himself, is the ship and the sailor as well (only those, who have deep insight will understand). (Ain-ul-Faqr)
You must know that Allah is within the heart of a Murshid Kamil because the ocean of Oneness and Uniqueness of Allah is possessed by the heart of a Momin. So the person, who wants to find The Reality and seeks Union with Allah, must first of all find a Murshid Kamil because he is the owner of all the treasures of heart and soul. One who recognizes his inner self is never deprived of Deedar-e-Elahi (Vision of Allah). (Ain-ul-Faqr)
Murshid Kamil is the one, who is aware of every inward and outward condition of the seeker. He must know what the seeker says or does, what is his status regarding his spiritual journey to the ultimate closeness of Allah, he must also be aware of all his feelings, ideas and arguments. Murshid should have such spiritual excellence that seeker may always feel him omnipresent and omniscient by the Divine effects of Ism-e-Allah Zaat and believes in him completely. Everyone is not capable of being a Murshid. Murshid Kamil is like a Paras stone which turns iron into gold. (Kaleed-ul-Tauheed Kalan)
Murshid Kamil bestows the Divine knowledge of Marifat (Gnosis) and Deedar (Vision) of Allah upon the seeker through Tasawur (contemplation) of Ism-e-Allah Zaat and shows him the reality of this carrion world, so that he is disgusted of its charm and repents thousand times. Murshid Kamil is the one who unveils Deedar-e-Elahi (Vision of Allah) through Tasawur of Ism-e-Allah Zaat and then returns to Ism-e-Allah Zaat, because no status, from eternal beginning (Azal) till eternal end (Abad), is out of Ism-e-Allah Zaat and never will be. (Noor-ul-Huda)
If a person continues prayers and hard mystic exercises throughout his life and says his prayers on one leg for 30 years, even then, he will not be able to know the spiritual secrets and can never have Deedar-e-Elahi. This supreme blessing can never be found without the grace of Murshid. One glance of Murshid is better than prayers of years and years. (Ameer-ul-Kaunain)
About the status of Sarwari Qadri Murshid Hazrat Sakhi Sultan Bahoo Rehmat-ul-Allah Alayh says:
Meaning: Arif-e-Kamil Qadri (Sarwari Qadri Murshid) is empowered to do everything and be present everywhere i.e. he is omnipotent and omnipresent. (Risala Roohi Sharif)
There are two kinds of Sarwari Qadri Murshid:
Who possesses only the Zikr. He holds the status of common creation. These Murshids are just Khalifahs (spiritual successors) and their disciples spend all their life in carving the name of Allah on their hearts and never find Vision of Allah.
Who is the possessor of the Essence (Zaat) and the Personal Name of Allah along with all of His attributes. He is Fana Fillah (annihilated in Allah) and Baqa Billah (immortal with Allah) Faqeer. He holds the status of Insan-e-Kamil (The Universal Man) and is the custodian of the Trust of Allah. He is the Supreme and the Perfect Mentor who possesses the Light of guidance. His disciples are blessed with Tasawur of his sacred face through Ism-e-Allah Zaat. Sultan-ul-Arifeen says about such Murshid that:
Arif Billah (knower of Allah) Fana Fillah Faqeer is the one who is Fana-Fi-Rasool, Fana-Fi-Faqr and Fana-Fi-Hoo (annihilated in Rasool Sall'Allahu Alayhi Wa'alihi Wasallam, Faqr and Hoo). (Ain-ul-Faqr)
Sultan-ul-Arifeen explains the difference between the Sahib-e-Ism and Sahib-e-Musamma Murshid in his book Ain-ul-Faqr:
Sahib-e-Ism possesses only the Zikr of Allah and holds the status of general creation while Sahib-e-Musamma (possessor of the Essence, Zaat and the Personal Name of Allah Along with all of His attributes) is submerged in the Divine Essence and his status is above all creations. He is completely annihilated and always submerged in the Divine Self, so Zikr is forbidden for him. (Ain-ul-Faqr)
In his Punjabi verses Sultan-ul-Arifeen Rehmat-ul-Allah Alayh says:
Meaning: Kamil Murshid should cleanse (the soul of a seeker) like a washerman washes clothes. He does not indulge his disciples in lengthy prayers or hard mystic exercises, rather he purifies the soul of the seeker with his Divine attention and glance and through Ism-e-Allah Zaat, leaving no filth or dirt of worldly desires and intrinsic diseases inside the seeker. Thus, he makes the soul of the seeker pure enough to love only Allah and to be loved by Allah. O' Bahoo! Such a Murshid is alive in the bones and flesh, rather in every cell of the seeker.
Meaning: Murshid is like a goldsmith who puts the gold in kiln to purify it and makes it lustrous and then makes beautiful jewelry out of it, of different designs. Similarly, a Kamil Murshid puts the devotee in the kiln of passionate Love of Allah, and burns all his worldly desires except the desire of being close to Allah, by the fire of Ism-e-Allah Zaat (the Personal Name of Allah). And then prepares him in such a way that is desirable and ultimately acceptable by Allah.
Meaning: Hazrat Sakhi Sultan Bahoo Rehmat-ul-Allah Alayh is drowned in the love of his Murshid. He expresses this love by praying that may Allah convert all my body into eyes, so that, I am always having the privilege of vision of my Murshid. May I have lacs of eyes all over my body so that if one of these eyes is closed, I can still see my Murshid with other eyes. I am so anxious that even then, I am not satiated and want more of his glorious vision because for me, the vision of Murshid is equal to lacs and crores of Hajj (as he is the true manifestation of Allah).
Meaning: I wandered in the forests and deserts in search of Allah, made hard mystic exercises, seclusions, continued recitals but all in vain. Neither thirty fasts nor five daily prayers fulfilled my heart's desires. All my prayers and wishes were answered when my Murshid put a glance of kindness upon me.
Hazrat Sakhi Sultan Bahoo Rehmat-ul-Allah Alayh warns the seekers of Allah to avoid imperfect Murshid. For him, the standard for the seeker is that he wishes only the Vision and Closeness of Allah and the standard for the Perfect Mentor is that he gives his seekers the Zikr of Sultan-ul-Azkar (Crown invocation Hoo), Tasawur of Ism-e-Allah Zaat and Mushq Murqoom-e-Wajudia (practice of inscribing Ism-e-Allah Zaat on body) on the very first day and thus takes him to the utmost limits of Gnosis. He says:
One should get religious instruction and persuasion from a Perfect Murshid only. One should get rid of imperfect and false Murshid as soon as possible. How can a person recognize whether the Murshid is perfect or imperfect? The Perfect Murshid grants the seeker Ism-e-Allah Zaat and orders him to do Mushq Murqoom-e-Wajudia (practice of inscribing Ism-e-Allah Zaat on body) and takes the seeker to the Divine presence by his attention. While the imperfect and false Murshid just makes false promises. (Noor-ul-Huda Kalan)
Meaning: If your mentor is not able to give relief to your inner pain then such mentor is useless. The mentor who cannot change the state of your heart has got no spiritual powers, how can he guide you on the way to Allah? So what's the use of having such a mentor? But if you have got true Murshid who can take you directly to Allah then do not hesitate to sacrifice even your life for him.