What is Initiation?

Initiation (bay’at or taking hand) is making a commitment of bond and training with the Inayati Order, its teachings and methods, and with a Guide who helps one navigate the spiritual path. It is taken when one feels a certainty or a call to undertake dedicated study and practice within our tradition, and to devote oneself as fully as one can to its principles in one’s inner as well as outer life.  The ceremony of initiation is therefore an outer affirmation of a step already taken in one’s heart.

Upon initiation, the mureed (initiate) embarks on a relationship with a Guide who gives spiritual practices as well as other spiritual consultation.  Usually, a spiritual name traditional to the Sufi path is given (though there is no firm expectation that the initiate uses that name outwardly).

There is no expectation that those coming to the programs of Inayati Order centres take initiation.  There are many, for example, who are more attuned to other avenues for the realization of the spiritual life (such as Kinship, the creative arts, nature, Universal Worship) than they are to the journey in an esoteric school through initiation.  All seekers from all orientations are therefore welcome, and initiates and non-initiates blend into one community.

Hazrat Inayat Khan on Initiation

The aim is to find God within ourselves, to dive deep into ourselves so that new

we may touch the unity of the whole being.

It is toward this end that we are working by the power of initiation,

in order that we may receive inspiration and blessing in our life from within.

In considering the question of being initiated into the Inayati Order, there is, in the first place, the inclination to know something different from what is taught in the world. One feels the desire to seek for something though one knows not what. One feels that the opposites, good and evil, right and wrong, friend and foe are not so far apart as one used to think. At the same time the heart is felt to be more sympathetic than ever before, and the sense of justice makes one wish to judge oneself before judging others. This all shows that one may look for a guide through these unknown paths.

Then there is the feeling, especially after reading or hearing something about Sufism, that one is already really a Sufi that one is at one with the circle of Sufis. One may now feel drawn to the spirit of the Teacher from whose hand initiation may be taken.

Then the question arises: what is meant by initiation? Initiation, or in Sufi terms bayat, first of all has to do with the relationship between the pupil and the teacher on the spiritual path, the Murshid. They do not give anything to or teach the pupil, the mureed, for the murshid cannot give what the latter already has, cannot teach what the soul has always known. What the murshid does in the life of the mureed is to show how to clear the path towards the light within. This is the only purpose of our life on earth.

One may attain the purpose of life without a personal guide, but to try to do so is to be like a ship traversing the ocean without a compass. To take initiation, then, means entrusting oneself in regard to spiritual matters to a spiritual guide.

To learn more.. . http://inayatiorder.org/teachings/initiation/