Islam is disseminated through a branch named Tasawwuf. Many people think Tasawwuf has nothing to do with Islam, this mentality is wrong. All Tasawaf deals with is the rectification of the heart. These are another class of doctors who are the only ones that can detect internal spiritual diseases (despite the modern-day, technology has advanced, but cannot diagnose spiritual diseases). These are the pious Sufis through whom Allah has prescribed remedies. If the inner self is not rectified then our daily worship or any other worship, which relates to the body, will be of little use. Rather than it being accepted, it could be thrown into our faces.
The way to do this is first to pledge his allegiance to a sheik (spiritual guide who upholds the Sunna of the Prophet – peace be upon him). He places his hand under the hand of his Sheikh, swears fidelity, and becomes his disciple – following شيخ روحاني في قطر the way of the Prophet () and the Sahaba (Allah be pleased with them all). The sheik then prescribes for him daily recitals from the Quran, and Sunna, often as special compilations arranged by upright scholars. The sheik also by instruction, advice, and admonition, by the Sharia, assists the disciple along his journey towards taqwa (God-consciousness) in a way that would be difficult for the disciple alone.
By the disciple’s being loyal and obedient he or she comes to acquire higher degrees of character and to uproot the diseases of the heart. In the end, after much struggle and discipline, with Allah’s help, the disciple becomes the beloved of Allah.
A spiritual guide is a perfect Fakir who grants the true seeker the closeness, union, and gnosis of Allah. Annihilation in the spiritual guide (fana fi Shaikh) is one of the most dignified stations in the path of Faqr. It is inevitable to reach the station of annihilation in a spiritual guide before annihilating in the Holy Prophet and Allah by perishing one’s own identity in the Essence and becoming immortal with Him. One achieves this on the truth of certainty.
The stage of annihilating in the spiritual guide has always been desirable yet baffling for Allah’s seekers because they can behold his alive physical being. Therefore, the notion of annihilating him is outside the realm of their comprehension. However, the passion of love for a spiritual guide (Murshid) keeps them restless all the time to perish their being in him.
Fana fi Shaikh is the most difficult task and the gain of all efforts in Faqr. The spiritual guide is already annihilated in Prophet Mohammad and Allah. Therefore, after annihilating him, reaching the levels of annihilation in the Prophet and Allah are barely any task. The true effort is made to reach the station of annihilation in the spiritual guide.
Until the love of the spiritual guide gains passion, neither the identity of the seeker perishes nor will the essence of Murshid manifest in his being. A seeker who is not an ardent lover of his Murshid will hesitate to sacrifice his being on Murshid and will lack in submission. Thus, reaching the magnificent level of annihilation in a spiritual guide will become arduous. And if one fails to reach the level of annihilation in the spiritual guide then reaching the levels of annihilation in Prophet Mohammad and Allah will become impossible.
It is also a fact that at the beginning of the journey, the seeker is not able to love his spiritual guide as much because his inward contains the love of worldly relations like parents, siblings, or children. However, as he invokes and contemplates Ism-e-Allah Zaat and adopts the company of a spiritual guide, the inward gradually become independent of these mortal affections.