“Baraka Silsala.e.Nisbat” it’s such a joy to get inspired constantly, my blessed and beautiful “sohbat “ (association) is key the ingredient.
Yek zamaneh ba sohbat i awliya
behtar ast az sad hazaar saal e ta`at i bay-riya
A moment in the company of the Saints of Allah
Is better than a thousand years of sincere worship!
~ Hazrat Maulana Jalaluddin Rumi (r.a)
The Divine Messenger enters and leaves this world by the celestial gate towards which all mysticism is orientated. But the mystic himself, like other men, has entered this world through a gate that is merely cosmic; and to avoid ebbing back through such a gate, his little individual wave of entry must reach the culminating point of the great wave in order that its own relatively feeble current may be overpowered by the great current and drawn along with it.9 Not that the mystic could ever reach this central point of perfection by his own efforts. But the Prophet himself is always present at this centre, and to those who are not, he has the power to throw out a ‘life-line’, that is, a chain (silsilah) that traces a spiritual lineage back to himself.
Every Sufi order (tariqah) is descended from the Prophet in this way, and initiation into a tariqah means attachment to its particular chain. This confers a virtual centrality, that is, a virtual reintegration into the Primordial State which has then to be made actual. The great protoype of the Sufi rite of initiation is an event which took place at a crucial moment in the history of Islam about four years before the death of the Prophet when, sitting beneath a tree, he called on those of his Companions who were present to pledge their allegiance to him over and above the pledge they made at their entry into Islam. In some orders this rite of hand-clasping is supplemented, and in some replaced, by other forms of initiation, one of which is particularly suggestive of the chain as a life-line the Shaykh holds out his rosary to the novice who clasps the other end while the formula of initiation is pronounced. Attachment to the spiritual chain gives the initiate not only the means of preventing his own ebb hack in the direction from which he came, but also the means of advancing along the spiritual path if he is qualified for ‘travel’. The pull of the chain infinite1y transcends the efforts of the traveller, which are nonetheless necessary to bring it into operation.
A holy tradition: says:
‘If he (My slave) draweth nearer unto Me by a span, I draw nearer unto him by a cubit, and if he draweth nearer unto Me by a cubit, I draw nearer unto him by a fathom; and if he cometh unto Me slowly, I come unto him speedily.’
Needless to say, spatial symbolism is not capable of doing justice to the workings of the barakah (spiritual influence). To insist on the path, as being precisely a horizontal movement followed by an ascent would be a simplification, for the virtuality, which is conferred by attachment to the chain, makes it possible to anticipate the second part of the journey already during the first part. Moreover, it is part of the method of all mysticism to proceed as if the virtual were in fact already actual. Even the novice must aspire to the ascent, though he must remain alertly aware of the shortcomings that for the moment prevent this aspiration from being realised. We must also remember that although the chain traces a historical and therefore ‘horizontal’ line back the Prophet whose earthly perfection is the sole basis for the ascent, that perfection is brought within the orbit of the disciple in the person of the Shaykh, who is already at the centre, already submerged in the nature of the Prophet and already assimilated.
Excerpts from: WHAT IS SUFISM? By MARTIN LINGS