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Sufism and Tariqat
Murid (Arabic: مُرِيد) is a Sufi term meaning "committed one" from the root meaning "willpower" or "self-esteem". It refers to a person who is committed to a murshid (spiritual guide) in a tariqa (spiritual path) of Sufism. Also known as a salik (Arabic: سَالِك) or a seeker, a murid is an initiate into the mystic philosophy of Sufism. When the seeker makes a pledge (bay'ah) to a murshid the seeker becomes initiated as a murid. The initiation process is known as `ahd (Arabic: عَهْد ) or bai'ath. Before initiation, a murid is guided and taught by a murshid or Pir who must first accept the initiate as his or her disciple. Throughout the instruction period, the murid typically experiences visions and dreams during personal spiritual exercises. These visions are interpreted by the murshid. A common practice among the early Sufi orders, was to grant a khirqa or a robe to the murid upon the initiation or after he had progressed through a series of increasingly difficult and significant tasks on the path of mystical development. This practice is not very common now. Murids often receive books of instruction from murshids and often accompany itinerant murshids on their wanderings.
Role of the shaikh
Apart from God himself, the shaikh plays the largest role in the murid’s journey. The shaikh and the murid are expected spend every waking moment with each other, not leaving each other’s side under any circumstance. The murid should choose a shaikh who is perfect. While with the shaikh, the murid is expected to follow his every command. For example, the murid could be asked by the shaikh to beg — not to earn money — but rather to see what it is like to be a beggar (mystical dim). The murid and shaikh are so intimately linked that it has been said that they feel each other’s pain. The shaikh himself uses the technique of tawajjuh to become one with the murid.
- John Esposito, The Oxford Dictionary of Islam, Oxford University Press, 2003