Mureed wa Muraad

There are two categories of conduct of the murid with his Shaykh: internal conduct and external conduct.

Internal Conduct of the Murid

  1. The seeker must submit to the will of the Shaykh and to obey him in all his orders and advice, because the Shaykh has more experience and more knowledge in haqiqat, in tariqat and in shari'ah. As the sick person gives himself to his doctor to be cured, so too does the murid, sick in his conduct and behavior, submit to the Shaykh's experience in order to be healed.
  2. The seeker must not object to the way the Shaykh instructs and controls the murids. Each Shaykh has his own way, which he has been permitted by his own Shaykh to use. Imam Ibn Hajar al-Haythami said, "Whoever opens the door of criticism against shaikhs and their behavior with their murids and their actions will be punished and will be isolated from receiving spiritual knowledge. Whoever says to his Shaykh, 'Why?' will never succeed." [al-Fatawa al-Hadithiyya, p. 55]
  3. The seeker must know that the Shaykh might make some mistakes, but that these will not prevent him from lifting the murid up to the Divine Presence. So the murid must excuse the Shaykh, as the Shaykh is not the Prophet (s). Only the Prophet (s) was free of error. Although it is rare, just as the doctor might make a mistake in treating a patient, so too might the Shaykh make a mistake in treating his murid's spiritual illness, and that must be excused.
  4. The seeker must respect and honor the Shaykh in his presence and his absence, if only because the Shaykh can see with the eye of the heart. It is said that whoever is not happy with the orders of the Shaykh, and does not keep good conduct and adab with him, will never keep good conduct with the Qur'an and with the Sunnah of the Prophet (s). Shaykh Abdul Qadir Jilani said, "Whoever criticised a saint, Allah will cause his heart to wither."
  5. The murid must be sincere and loyal to the company of his Shaykh.
  6. He must love his Shaykh with an extraordinary love. He must know that his Shaykh is going to take him to the Presence of Allah, Almighty and Exalted, and to the Presence of the Prophet .
  7. He must not look to any other than his Shaykh, though he must keep respect for all other shaikhs.

External Conduct of the Murid

  1. He must agree with the opinion of his Shaykh completely, as the patient agrees with the physician.
  2. He must behave well in the association of the Shaykh, by avoiding yawning, laughing, raising the voice, talking without authorization, extending the feet, and always sitting in a respectful manner.
  3. He must serve his Shaykh and make himself as useful as possible.
  4. He must not mention from the speeches of his Shaykh what listeners cannot understand. This might harm the Shaykh in a way that the murid is unaware of. Sayyidina `Ali said, in a hadith narrated in Bukhari, "Speak to people at a level they can understand, because you don't want them to deny Allah and His Prophet (s)."
  5. He must attend the association of the Shaykh. Even if living far away, he must make an effort to come as often as possible.

Ibn  Hajar al-Haythami said, "Many people, when they see their guide is firm on the matter of obligations and the Sunnah of the Prophet , accuse him of being strict. They say that he is praying too much or keeping the Sunnah too firmly. These people don't realize that they are falling to their own destruction. Beware of believing your ego's complaints about the firmness of the Shaykh's adherence to the shari'ah." [al-Fatawa al-Hadithiyya, p. 55.]

Abu  Hafsa  an-Nisaburi is quoted in Shaykh as-Sulami's book  Tabaqat as-sufiyya, p. 119, as saying: "Sufism is composed of adab [good conduct]. For every state and station there is an appropriate adab. For every time there is a proper conduct. Whoever keeps the adab will reach the Station of Manhood, and whoever discards adab is very far from acceptance into Allah's Divine Presence."