A long many years ago I was approached by an old man that I didn’t know. It was after Isha salaah at a mosque that I didn’t frequent very often since it was outside of my neighbourhood. I must have been around 18 or 19 at the most at the time. Anyway, this man started chatting to me about a Shaykh at a local mosque not far from where we were, and he kept insisting that I should go there to become a mureed. I didn’t know what a mureed was, but I assumed it was a student or something. I disagreed with the concept and just nodded my head respectfully without any intention of following through.
Many years before that, I was playing in our garden when I was still a child, and I saw a very old man with a thick white beard, very long, enter our yard. I don’t recall him talking to me, and I don’t recall anyone else being around either, but the lingering memory of that experience was a pile of white hair from his beard that was trimmed at the tap in our front garden. It just lay there almost dissolving away in the running water without anyone making a fuss of it. He disappeared. It never made sense, and still doesn’t.
I once had a dream of strange over-sized chandeliers threatening to fall on me when I was trying to cross a road to get to my aunt’s house. I was scared. I kept dodging the path of the chandeliers that seemed to move along cables that my aunt controlled with some gadget she had in her hand. All this took place close to a farm town of which I have many fond memories from my childhood years. I don’t recall ever knowing the outcome of that dream. I was a child when I had that dream, but the imagery is still very vivid. Many years later, after I started working, I went to a local mosque close to where I worked, and saw chandeliers of almost exactly the same design suspended from a triple volume ceiling. I could never stop staring at those chandeliers whenever I visited that mosque over the years that I worked in that area.
Recently, I made acquaintance with some very intriguing personalities. The entire mureed issue came up again. I was exposed to some unfortunate experiences, and in seeking assistance to overcome it, I discovered that I could determine many interesting facts behind the incidents without having any real knowledge about them. A recognised and respected local Amil (one who is recognised as being gifted to be in touch with the spiritual world with which ‘normal’ people are unable to interact and who has the knowledge and ability to rid one of Jinn, Sihr, etc.) shared his insights with me about the conditions around my situation, and nothing he told me was news to me. This happened again with someone else. On both occasions, I shrugged off the suggestions that I apparently have a gift that puts me in touch with these unspoken facts, for lack of a better phrase.
I always went through life believing that my instinct about others was based on my acute sense of observation, which I honestly believed was a result of my introverted nature that allows me to recede into the shadows while observing the behaviours of others. I thought that this allowed me insight into the human psyche that most are too distracted to notice. I’m not so sure that this is the reason any more.
By the way, all my ‘instincts’ about the people around me in those trying circumstances that I experienced proved to be accurate either through the uncovering of evidence that confirmed it, or through actual admissions on the part of those that I believed were implicated in the under-handed dealings. So once again, I’m faced with the choice of choosing to be a mureed, which I am still not comfortable with, or potentially exposing myself to harm (if any of the research I’ve done is anything to go by) by not aligning with a shaykh/scholar, usually of the Sufi path.
I’m opposed to excessive interpretations of anything, regardless of madhab or sect or whatever. So the same prevents me from pledging allegiance to a specific shaykh in my endeavour to acquire more knowledge about this path that I’m on. But part of this aversion to excess is my inclination not to want to dismiss everything about any group just because some of their practices are questionable. This is a confusing space that I’m in, but I feel as if I’m on the brink of a spiritual journey that could greatly influence the rest of my life. This is truly a ramble, and isn’t nearly as cathartic as I hoped it would be. (I hate that word, ‘cathartic’. It sounds so superficial!).
That there is a significant amount of mysticism entangled in Islamic knowledge is of no doubt. The advices in numerous ahadith to recite various verses or names of Allah towards healing people through unconventional means proves that there is merit in this way that I am being exposed to. The challenge is trying to determine how much of that skill is blameworthy as taught by the Jinn to man, versus how much of it can be used to benefit man. This is all very confusing. May Allah guide me in this troubled time towards the best outcome, Insha-Allah.