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Murshid (Arabic: مرشد‎) is Arabic for "guide" or "teacher", derived from the root r-sh-d, with the basic meaning of having integrity, being sensible, mature.[1] Particularly in Sufism it refers to a Spiritual Guide.[2] The term is frequently used in Sufi Orders such as the Qadiriya, Chishtiya, Shadhiliya, Suhrawardiya, and others including the Alevis, Bektashis,[3] and Nizaris, the main school of Ismā‘īlī Shiites.[4]

The path of Sufism starts when a student-murshid takes an oath of allegiance or Bay'ah (bai'ath) with a spiritual guide-Murshid. In speaking of this initiatory pact of allegiance, the Qur’ ̄an (48:10) says: Verily they who pledge unto thee their allegiance pledge it unto none but God. The Hand of God is above their hands.[5]

The Murshid's role is to spiritually guide and verbally instruct the disciple on the Sufi path, but "only one who has himself reached the End of the path is a spiritual guide in the full sense of the Arabic term murshid".[6]

A murshid usually has authorisation to be a teacher for one "tariqa" (spiritual paths). Any tariqa or silsila has one murshid at a time who is the head of the his spiritual order. He is known as the shaykh, by way of khilafah: process in which the shaykh identifies one of his disciples as his successor,for the khalifa.[7]

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  1. ^ See Hans Wehr's Arabic Dictionary, 4th ed., s.v. rašada.
  2. ^ Cf. A.R. Siddiqui, Quranic Key Words A Reference Guide, p. 199.
  3. ^
  4. ^ Daftary, Farhad (2007), The Ismāʻı̄lı̄s: their history and doctrines (2 ed.), Cambridge University Press, p. 431, ISBN 0521616360 
  5. ^ Cf. Martin Lings, What is Sufism, Islamic Texts Society, Cambridge, p. 125.
  6. ^ "Murshid Kamil Akmal". 
  7. ^ "Murshid Kamil The Perfect Spiritual Guide".