Posted: Sat Dec 11, 2004 7:58 am Post subject: Bayat Ceremony
The following are excerpts from Alwaez Abu Aly's book "Ismaili Tariqah".
Bai'at in Arabic means: to sell, allegiance, promise. During the time of the Holy Prophet anyone wishing to embrace Islam would go to him and declare the Kalimah in acceptance of the Religion of Allah. Then the concert would extend his right hand upon which the Holy prophet would place his hand, swearing him to be faithful and loyal, according to the Arab customs. This was known as bayat. Allah assured those who swore allegiance to the Holy Prophet: "Verily, those who swear allegiance unto thee (Muhammad) swear allegiance unto Allah, The Hand of Allah is above their hands. So whosoever breaketh his oath breaketh it only to his soul's hurt; while whosoever keepeth his covenant with Allah, on him will He bestow immense reward."(48:10) Thus bai'at made to Holy Prophet was in fact made to Allah. After the Holy Prophet it is made to the Imame Zaman.
In Ismailism the first and the most important ceremony is bai'at or kangvo in Gujerati language. It means: a lasting allegiance, a promise of absolute obedience. This is the ceremony of admittance into our Holy Faith. When our Holy Imame Zaman is physically away the mukhi of the Jamat performs the ceremony of bai'at or kangvo.
Without the bai'at no person can be considered an Ismaili at all. Everyone without exception must perform this ceremony which is the declaration of iman. A newly born child must also be initiated as soon as possible. Once performed, bai'at is valid for the rest of a follower's life unless he renounces his faith, or a new Imam is enthroned. It is advisable to renew the Baiyat for rededication in the presence of the Holy Imam. Every Ismaili mureed must perform bai'at of the Imam of his time.
The person wishing to perform bai'at should declare in the presence of the mukhi in jamat khana as follows:
"BISMILLA HIR REHMANIR RAHEEM.
ASH-HADU AN LA ILAHA ILLALLAH
WA ASH-HADU ANNA MOHAMMEDAN RASOOLULLAH
WA ASH-HADU ANNA ALI-YUN AMIRIL MOMINEEN ALIYULLAH
I DECLARE AND ACCEPT THAT MOWLANA HAZAR IMAM SHAH KARIM AL-HUSAYNI IS THE LORD OF THE AGE, THE IMAME ZAMAN, AND MY SPIRITUAL MASTER. I PROMISE TO BE ABSOLUTELY OBEDIENT AND LOYAL TO HIM. HAI ZINDAH QAYAM PAYA".
Then the head is bowed down devotedly and the mukhi's hand is kissed and touched at the forehead. The mukhi then gives chhanto by sprinkling holy water on the face of the person and blesses him on behalf of the Lord. With this initiation the person becomes an Ismaili.
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