Ghani then asked why an authorization in writing – known as sanad-e-vilayat – is required prior to a saint’s being put in charge of a spiritual jurisdiction. He cited the incident of the Mohammedan saint, Ali Ahmed Sabir, who was ordered by his Master to obtain the authority of his sainthood signed and endorsed by another Master, Hazrat Jamal Hansvi, prior to assuming his duty as the chargeman of the town of Kalyan.
Meher Baba gave this explanation:
A signed letter or document is one of the ways of transferring the spiritual charge externally. During my last four months in Sakori, I myself had to take the charge from Upasni Maharaj in writing. The stamped paper and other agreements I have dictated and had executed from the mandali, although not as important as the sanad-e-vilayat, still are not without deep meaning and spiritual significance.
The spiritual transfer of power and authority that takes place between a Master and disciple must always be symbolized by giving it a concrete external form. Among Mohammedans walis and pirs, such saints invariably give their chosen chargemen the robe of chargemanship in the form of some wearing apparel, like a cap. a turban, an apron, or some other such tangible token.
An example of the robe of chargemanship is the case of Sai Baba, who received his initial spiritual charge from the Hindu saint Gopal Rao; he received his Master’s dhoti skirt and sewed it into a kafni shirt and turban.
Lord Meher, Original Publiation, Bhau Kalchuri, Vol. 2, p. 476.