There is no question of whether Tableeghi Jamaat is superior to Bay’ah (allegiance) in the hands of a spiritual guide (Shaikh). Both are of equal importance. The two can be combined. Many brothers affiliated to the Tableeghi Jamaat have also taken Bay’ah at the hands of a Waliullah (pious saint).
The purpose of Tableeghi Jamaat is to strengthen ones Imaan and Yaqeen which results in devotion to the Qur’an and Sunnah. The purpose of Bay’ah at the hands of a spiritual guide is also rectification of ones heart. The two are not in conflict, rather they confirm one another.
It is essential for each and every individul to make arrangements for his personal well-being and rectification. This may be in the form of Bay’ah or spending time in Jamaat.
In Bay’ah, a person seeks help from a spiritual guide, who is a master of the path of rectification and nearness to Allah. He advises the seeker and prescribes for him certain practises and Azkaar that are in accordance to the Qur’an and Sunnah that would help him reach his goal, which is rectification of the heart and nearness to Allah. The seeker also confides in his Shaikh and informs him of all the troubles he is facing in reaching his goal. The Shaikh advises him accordingly because he is a master of the path.
In Tableeghi Jamaat it is slightly different. There is no Bay’ah, nor a spiritual guide. But the effort and sacrifice required in this path builds self control in ones life, which results in determination to seek Allah’s pleasure no matter what obstacles come in the way.
My sincere advise to you would be to balance your life between the two. Do not involve yourself in one, leaving the other. After all, sitting in the company of the pious and pledging allegiance to a spiritual guide is beneficial for ones own self rectification, but in Tableeghi Jamat, the benefit is not personal, rather it is shared amongst the entire mankind. Acitve Da’wah takes place.
The purpose of Rasoolullah were both, Tazkiyah (purifying the souls of the believers) and Da’wah (actively inviting towards the right path).
You have a choice between the two but my advise is to practise both. Indeed take Bay’ah, but also set out in Jamaat, the state of the Ummah will appear in front of your eyes. When the state of the Ummah appears in front of your eyes then this will increase your worry and concern for the guidance of mankind. It will make you realise why the Tableeghi brothers so strongly emphasize the importance of going out in Jamaat and the need for Da’wah.
The elders of the Tableeghi Jamaat, specifically Hafiz Patel Sahib of Dewsbury, UK is also a Shaikh Kaamil.
And Allah knows best.
Mufti Yaseen Shaikh