In the Name of Allah
The Persian word ‘Peer’ translates into Arabic as ‘Sheikh’ or ‘Teacher’. In a religious context such as that within which we seek to address the question at hand, A Peer is a spiritual guide, who helps to refine one’s character and purify one’s heart in order to attain proximity (closeness) to Allah. The above question about believing in a Peer is therefore one that may not be correctly articulated. The real question is whether or not it is permissible to follow or give bay’ah (allegiance) to a Peer/Sheikh.
“Those who swear allegiance to you are but swearing allegiance to Allah. The hand of Allah is over their hands.” [Qur’an 48:10]
It is indeed permitted to give bay’ah to a Sheikh/Peer and according to the Fuqaha, it is recommended for those seeking a spiritual path towards closeness to Allah. It is a means towards attaining the good inward traits that please Allah and leaving those that displease the Almighty Lord.
The greatest scholars of the Islam have taken bay’ah with a spiritual guide, including Ibn Abidin who was Naqshbandi, Imam Al-Surunbulali, who was a Shadhili and many others, who were followers of various other paths. Many people in our age are unaware of the guidance given to famous scholars by Sufi Shaykhs and some may even ignorantly claim that it is not permissible. Such people are often unaware that the very books they learn from are written by people who had Sufi Shaykhs as Peers.
We ask Allah to give us strength.
And Allah knows best.
[Answer provided by: Kutubuddin Akuji]