One should understand the benefit and need of swearing an oath of allegiance to a spiritual guide. Until the benefit and worth of a thing is known, its value cannot be appreciated. For example, a person possesses diverse forms of wealth and property around their home, comprised of rupees, paise, cowries, and firewood, etc. Everything is safeguarded according to the degree of its worth. A person would not tend to the safekeeping of a cowrie as carefully as one is compelled to look after a paisa or rupee; firewood and the like is usually left lying around in the corner of one’s home. In the same manner, a person is more protective of that which inflicts more harm if lost. Likewise, the outstanding aspect of swearing allegiance to a spiritual guide is repentance (tawbah), which means to turn back (ruju). Repentance refers to the state when man forsakes the ties that bind him to sin. When a person is indulged in a life of sin, he begins to dwell in this state and sin becomes his homeland, as it were. So, tawbah is to leave one’s homeland and ruju means to purify oneself. It lies heavy on a person to leave their homeland and one is faced with thousands of difficulties in doing so. There are a myriad of problems that one is confronted with even when he leaves his home. But when it comes to migrating from one’s native land, an individual must sever ties with friends and loved ones, and bid farewell to everything, such as his hearth and home, his neighbours, the streets and alleys of his prior homeland, and its place of business. He is compelled to move to a new country and he never returns to his homeland. Th is is called tawbah. Th e friends of evil are different from those who befriend righteousness. The Sufi s have named this transformation “death”. A person who repents is compelled to sustain a heavy
loss. Indeed, true repentance demands great sacrifices, but Allah the Exalted is Merciful and Munificent. God does not let a person die until He bestows upon them a better substitute for all such losses. Th is is the very indication in:
اِنَّ اللہَ یُحِبُّ التَّوَّابِیْنَ
Allah loves those who turn to him.
When one repents, they become destitute and helpless and this is why Allah the Exalted holds love and affection for such a person, and includes them among the community of the righteous. Other nations do not consider God to be Merciful and Munificent. The Christians effectively hold God to be a tyrant and His son to be merciful, for the father refused to forgive sin, while the son gave his own life to have others forgiven. It is absurd for there to be such a stark difference between father and son. Father and son always carry a resemblance in morals and habits, but here the case is exactly the opposite. If Allah was not Merciful, man could not survive for even a moment. How can one imagine that He who has created thousands of things for the benefit of man, even prior to his performing any action, would disregard his repentance and good deeds?
(Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmadas, Malfuzat, Vol. 1, pp. 2-3)