Etiquettes in the Tariqah

By Sidi Al-Hafeth As-Sayyed Abul Fad’l Abdullah Bin As-Siddiq Al-Ghumari (may Allah be pleased with him).

Etiquettes of the Murid with Allah Ta'ala

The Murid’s acts and words must be within the boundaries of Shariah, and never cross them. The Murid should remain steadfast on the Sunnah and perform extra acts of worship, in order to attain Allah’s pleasure and love. In an authentic Hadith Qudsi, Allah says:

عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَة رَضِيَ اللهُ عَنْهُ قَالَ: قَالَ رَسُول اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه و سلم إنَّ اللَّهَ تَعَالَى قَالَ: “مَنْ عَادَى لِي وَلِيًّا فَقْد آذَنْتهُ بِالْحَرْبِ، وَمَا تَقَرَّبَ إلَيَّ عَبْدِي بِشَيْءٍ أَحَبَّ إلَيَّ مِمَّا افْتَرَضْتُهُ عَلَيْهِ، وَلَا يَزَالُ عَبْدِي يَتَقَرَّبُ إلَيَّ بِالنَّوَافِلِ حَتَّى أُحِبَّهُ، فَإِذَا أَحْبَبْتُهُ كُنْت سَمْعَهُ الَّذِي يَسْمَعُ بِهِ، وَبَصَرَهُ الَّذِي يُبْصِرُ بِهِ، وَيَدَهُ الَّتِي يَبْطِشُ بِهَا، وَرِجْلَهُ الَّتِي يَمْشِي بِهَا، وَلَئِنْ سَأَلَنِي لَأُعْطِيَنَّهُ، وَلَئِنْ اسْتَعَاذَنِي لَأُعِيذَنَّهُ”.
[رَوَاهُ الْبُخَارِيُّ].

On the authority of Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) who said:

The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, “Verily Allah ta’ala has said: ‘Whosoever shows enmity to a wali (friend) of Mine, then I have declared war against him. And My servant does not draw near to Me with anything more loved to Me than the religious duties I have obligated upon him. And My servant continues to draw near to me with nafil (supererogatory) deeds until I Love him. When I Love him, I am his hearing with which he hears, and his sight with which he sees, and his hand with which he strikes, and his foot with which he walks. Were he to ask [something] of Me, I would surely give it to him; and were he to seek refuge with Me, I would surely grant him refuge.’ ”

(Narrated by Sahih Bukhari)


The above translation is not to be understood literally, as such things are inapplicable to Allah Ta’ala. A possible meaning of the Hadith Qudsi is that the human being reaches such heights of perfection and purification that all of their faculties are in accordance with pleasing Allah – that no limb or organ can be put to use, no movement or thought can be generated, except for the pleasure of Allah.
The Murid should be pleased with what Allah decrees and seek help from Allah alone, as the Beloved Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi wa sallam) advised Ibn Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) in the Hadith below (see page 23). Hence, if the Murid realises this and adheres to it, it would undoubtedly comfort their heart and make them pleased with whatever the Creator decrees.

عَنْ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ بْنِ عَبَّاسٍ رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُمَا قَالَ:

كُنْت خَلْفَ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه و سلم يَوْمًا، فَقَالَ: يَا غُلَامِ! إنِّي أُعَلِّمُك كَلِمَاتٍ: احْفَظْ اللَّهَ يَحْفَظْك، احْفَظْ اللَّهَ تَجِدْهُ تُجَاهَك، إذَا سَأَلْت فَاسْأَلْ اللَّهَ، وَإِذَا اسْتَعَنْت فَاسْتَعِنْ بِاَللَّهِ، وَاعْلَمْ أَنَّ الْأُمَّةَ لَوْ اجْتَمَعَتْ عَلَى أَنْ يَنْفَعُوك بِشَيْءٍ لَمْ يَنْفَعُوك إلَّا بِشَيْءٍ قَدْ كَتَبَهُ اللَّهُ لَك، وَإِنْ اجْتَمَعُوا عَلَى أَنْ يَضُرُّوك بِشَيْءٍ لَمْ يَضُرُّوك إلَّا بِشَيْءٍ قَدْ كَتَبَهُ اللَّهُ عَلَيْك؛ رُفِعَتْ الْأَقْلَامُ، وَجَفَّتْ الصُّحُفُ .

رَوَاهُ التِّرْمِذِيُّ

On the authority of Abu Abbas Abdullah bin Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) who said: “One day I was behind the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) [i.e. riding on the same mount] and he said, ‘O’ young man, I shall teach you some words [of advice]: Be mindful of Allah and Allah will protect you. Be mindful of Allah and you will find Him in front of you. If you ask, then ask Allah [alone]; and if you seek help, then seek help from Allah [alone]. And know that if the nation were to gather together to benefit you with anything, they would not benefit you except with what Allah had already prescribed for you. And if they were to gather together to harm you with anything, they would not harm you except with what Allah had already prescribed against you. The pens have been lifted and the pages have dried.’”
(It was related by at-Tirmidhi, who said it was a good and sound Hadith)

The Murid should submit their needs to Allah in everything. Umm al-Mu’minin the Lady Aisha (may Allah be pleased with her) advised that ‘one should ask Allah for everything, even shoelaces, because if Allah does not make it easy for you to obtain then you will not obtain it’.
We should ask Allah from His bounty, as Allah Ta’ala says in the Qur’an

وَلَا تَتَمَنَّوْا۟ مَا فَضَّلَ ٱللَّهُ بِهِۦ بَعْضَكُمْ عَلَىٰ بَعْضٍۢ ۚ لِّلرِّجَالِ نَصِيبٌۭ مِّمَّا ٱكْتَسَبُوا۟ ۖ وَلِلنِّسَآءِ نَصِيبٌۭ مِّمَّا ٱكْتَسَبْنَ ۚ وَسْـَٔلُوا۟ ٱللَّهَ مِن فَضْلِهِۦٓ ۗ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ كَانَ بِكُلِّ شَىْءٍ عَلِيمًۭا

Translation (Sahih International): And do not wish for that by which Allah has made some of you exceed others. For men is a share of what they have earned, and for women is a share of1 what they have earned. And ask Allah of His bounty. Indeed Allah is ever, of all things, Knowing
Al-Qur’an, 4:32

Once, a man from the pious predecessors (al-Salaf al-Saleh) had a severe financial crisis, to the extent that he intended to ask some of his close brothers to help him. That night he dreamt that someone said to him: “Is it appropriate for the free Murid, if he knows that Allah has all he needs, to direct his heart to the slaves of Allah?!” The man awoke with his heart entirely detached from all creation.

The Murid should also observe the highest etiquettes with the Beloved Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi wa sallam), nourishing their manners and morals from the Sunnah, prioritising it over everything, and glorifying the Ahlul Bayt and the Sahaba. This needs no proof as Allah Ta’ala often mentioned in the Qur’an the obligation of glorifying His Prophet, observing the highest of manners and politeness with him, realising that obeying him is obeying Allah, and that the one who rejects or deviates from him is promised afflictions and severe punishment (see selection of ayat below)…

وَمَن يُطِعِ ٱللَّهَ وَٱلرَّسُولَ فَأُو۟لَـٰٓئِكَ مَعَ ٱلَّذِينَ أَنْعَمَ ٱللَّهُ عَلَيْهِم مِّنَ ٱلنَّبِيِّـۧنَ وَٱلصِّدِّيقِينَ وَٱلشُّهَدَآءِ وَٱلصَّـٰلِحِينَ ۚ وَحَسُنَ أُو۟لَـٰٓئِكَ رَفِيقًۭا

Translation (Sahih International): And whoever obeys Allah and the Messenger – those will be with the ones upon whom Allah has bestowed favor of the prophets, the steadfast affirmers of truth, the martyrs and the righteous. And excellent are those as companions. 

Quran 4:69

مَّن يُطِعِ ٱلرَّسُولَ فَقَدْ أَطَاعَ ٱللَّهَ ۖ وَمَن تَوَلَّىٰ فَمَآ أَرْسَلْنَـٰكَ عَلَيْهِمْ حَفِيظًۭا

Translation (Sahih International): He who obeys the Messenger has obeyed Allah; but those who turn away – We have not sent you over them as a guardian.
Qur’an, 4:80

ٱلنَّبِىُّ أَوْلَىٰ بِٱلْمُؤْمِنِينَ مِنْ أَنفُسِهِمْ ۖ وَأَزْوَٰجُهُۥٓ أُمَّهَـٰتُهُمْ ۗ

Translation (Sahih International): The Prophet is more worthy of the believers than themselves,1 and his wives are [in the position of] their mothers.
Qur’an, 33:6

إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ وَمَلَـٰٓئِكَتَهُۥ يُصَلُّونَ عَلَى ٱلنَّبِىِّ ۚ يَـٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوا۟ صَلُّوا۟ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلِّمُوا۟ تَسْلِيمًا

Translation (Sahih International): Indeed, Allah confers blessing upon the Prophet, and His angels [ask Him to do so]. O you who have believed, ask [Allah to confer] blessing upon him and ask [Allah to grant him] peace.
Qur’an, 33:56

يَـٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوا۟ لَا تَرْفَعُوٓا۟ أَصْوَٰتَكُمْ فَوْقَ صَوْتِ ٱلنَّبِىِّ وَلَا تَجْهَرُوا۟ لَهُۥ بِٱلْقَوْلِ كَجَهْرِ بَعْضِكُمْ لِبَعْضٍ أَن تَحْبَطَ أَعْمَـٰلُكُمْ وَأَنتُمْ لَا تَشْعُرُونَ

Translation (Sahih International): O you who have believed, do not raise your voices above the voice of the Prophet or be loud to him in speech like the loudness of some of you to others, lest your deeds become worthless while you perceive not.
Qur’an, 49:2

Etiquettes of the Murid with the Shaykh (Murshid)

he Murid should honour their Shaykh (Murshid, ‘guide’), observing full manners and not rushing to talk or act in his presence without permission. The Murid should defend their Shaykh in his absence, avoid events that disrespect the Shaykh, and refrain from opposing the Shaykh’s directives. 

The Sahaba were instructed to observe certain etiquettes with the Prophet (Sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi wa sallam), and from this example the Sufi scholars derived the correct manners for the Murid to display with the Shaykh. There is no doubt that “the scholars are the inheritors of the Prophets” as stated in the well-known Hadith (see page 14), hence they inherit the due etiquettes and respect as well. 

Therefore, it is also imperative that the Murid searches for a qualified Shaykh before they request to join any Tariqah, a Shaykh who is a true inheritor of the Prophets. A sign of a qualified Shaykh is a comprehensive and profound knowledge of the Shariah, with an in-depth and all-encompassing knowledge of the Qur’an and Sunnah. After all, there is no guidance and no Tariqah (path to reach the pleasure of Allah) without the Shariah of Allah and what is consistent with its teachings. He who is not an authority in the sacred knowledge, and is not then beautified by devoutness, is not fit for teaching and guidance. One cannot teach something one does not know.


Etiquettes of the Murid with their fellow Murids

The Murid should respect their fellow Murids, and not see themselves as superior to them. They should comfort those in need, visit the ill, teach the unlearned, and work with all to fulfil the duties of the Tariqah. The Murid should also forgive those who disrespect or transgress them, find excuses for their actions and always give them the benefit of the doubt. They should serve their fellow Murids themselves, approach them with a loving smile and hand shake. They should kindly advise those who make mistakes without disrespecting or degrading them.
The Murid must also respect the Muqaddam (leader appointed by the Shaykh), listen to them, abide by their advice, and consider them as a representative of the Shaykh while present. Similarly, the Muqaddam must be concerned with the Murids, their issues, and lead them to advance in their knowledge and practice all the time. The Muqaddam must inquire after and follow up on those who fall short, be kind to them and treat all equally.

Etiquettes of the Murid with Others

The Murid must be honest and humble with all others, neither abusing nor fearing them. The Murid should look after the well being of others, and should wish for them what they would wish for themselves, as per the Hadith of the Beloved Prophet (Sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi wa sallam):

عَنْ أَبِي حَمْزَةَ أَنَسِ بْنِ مَالِكٍ رَضِيَ اللهُ عَنْهُ خَادِمِ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه و سلم عَنْ النَّبِيِّ صلى الله عليه و سلم قَالَ: “لَا يُؤْمِنُ أَحَدُكُمْ حَتَّى يُحِبَّ لِأَخِيهِ مَا يُحِبُّ لِنَفْسِهِ”.
[رَوَاهُ الْبُخَارِيُّ]
، [وَمُسْلِمٌ]

On the authority of Abu Hamzah Anas bin Malik (may Allah be pleased with him) — the servant of the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) — that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said:

None of you [truly] believes until he loves for his brother that which he loves for himself.
Narrated by Sahih Bukhari & Muslim

In conclusion, if the Murid adheres to these etiquettes and puts them into practice, they would then attain true faith and Allah would meet all their needs. May Allah guide us to all that is good and righteous, so we may attain His pleasure.

Additional Etiquettes

Within the Alawi Husayni Ninowy branch

  • No Murid shall ever make Salat and Salam on the Prophet (salla Allahu alayhi wa alihi wa salam) without mentioning “wa alihi” (i.e. “and his family”). This applies both when speaking, writing and thinking. i.e. Never just say: “sallallahu alayhi wa sallam”, but Sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi wa sallam.
  • If possible, male Murids should wear a ring with a stone on the ring finger of their right hand. This is the Sunnah of Ahlul Bayt (peace be upon them).
  • Respect all Shayukh and scholars, and do not indulge in comparitiveness or showing off. Never belittle other Tariqahs, or other schools, or other Muslims of other sects, and never use bad words against any human being regardless of background.
  • Remember that the Tariqah is for you to focus on improving your own faults. Never get busy counting other people’s faults and imperfections. Get busy to perfect your own.
  • Try to learn more about the Ahlul Bayt, their Sirah and struggle, and remember their significant days (e.g. days of birth, martyrdom, and highlights of their sirah). Share their days of sorrow and their days of happiness, and teach their sirah to others. Keeping their message and views alive, and following their footsteps; the least we can do is to commemorate their days.
  • Try to learn more about the Ahlul Bayt, their Sirah and struggle, and remember their significant days (e.g. days of birth, martyrdom, and highlights of their sirah). Share their days of sorrow and their days of happiness, and teach their sirah to others. Keeping their message and views alive, and following their footsteps; the least we can do is to commemorate their days.
  • Female Muridahs ought to research about, learn and live the life examples of the famous females of the Ahlul Bayt, such as our Mother Khadija (may Allah be pleased with her), Sayyidatuna wa Mawlatuna Fatima al-Zahra (alayha assalam), Sayyida Zaynab al-Kubra (the Hero of Karbala), Sayyida Sukayna, Sayyida Ruqayyah, and all the honourable wives of the Prophet (peace be upon them all), such as Ummu Salamah (radiya’Allahu anha).

Etiquettes of the Murid with the Universe

All People (Muslims and Non-Muslims), Animals, Plants, and the Universe as a Whole...

Our principle and practice is: Mercy for ALL, malice towards NONE.

The Sufi Muslim must be all good. The Sufi life is to make a positive contribution to self, community, society, nation, and the Universe as a whole. This stems from many parts of the Qur’an and Sunnah, including…

وَمَآ أَرْسَلْنَـٰكَ إِلَّا رَحْمَةًۭ لِّلْعَـٰلَمِينَ

Translation (Sahih International): And We have not sent you, [O Muḥammad], except as a mercy to the worlds.

Quran 21:107

Hence, the Sufi in our Tariqah must always remember that they must strive to become an extention of the Prophet’s Mercy to the Worlds (Sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi wa sallam). The “Worlds” includes everything: the good, the bad, and the ugly. Try to channel the Prophetic Mercy to everything around you – humans, and non-humans, regardless of who they are. You must be that Mercy – do not wait for others to start.

عَنْ أَنَسٍ، قَالَ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏ “‏ مَا مِنْ مُسْلِمٍ يَغْرِسُ غَرْسًا أَوْ يَزْرَعُ زَرْعًا فَيَأْكُلُ مِنْهُ طَيْرٌ أَوْ إِنْسَانٌ أَوْ بَهِيمَةٌ إِلاَّ كَانَ لَهُ بِهِ صَدَقَةٌ ‏”‏ ‏.‏

Anas reported Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him and his family) as saying Never does a Muslim plant trees or cultivate land and birds or a man or a beast eat out of them but that is a charity on his behalf.
Narrated by Sahih Muslim

Hence, all Murids are to do good, point blank. Do good without expecting recognition or reward. Allah Ta’ala knows your efforts, and He is One who rewards most generously. When doing good, seek recognition from Him and nobody else.

  • Do random acts of kindness regularly.
  • Anytime an opportunity knocks for you to help with your time, money, or effort, consider it a gate to gain lots of rewards in this world and in the hereafter. Don’t waste it. Maximise your potential; make the best return on time/effort investment.
  • Allah Ta’ala loves those who serve each other and help each other. Be among those.
  • Remember to be good to all, those who are good to you and those who aren’t. If you are only good to those who are good to you, what good are you?
  • Never accuse the intentions of others. Disagree nicely (if you have to disagree) and walk away peacefully making du’a for those you disagreed with, and pray that Allah guides you and them to the truth.
  • Put yourself in your fellow human being’s shoes. Remember our Shaykh’s father, Sayyidi Yahya bin Muhammad (may Allah have mercy on his soul) used to say: “If you can’t articulate your opponents points as well as you articulate your own, then you haven’t even started to understand the other”.

عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ ـ رضى الله عنه ـ أَنَّ النَّبِيَّ صلى الله عليه وسلم قَالَ ‏”‏ بَيْنَا رَجُلٌ بِطَرِيقٍ، اشْتَدَّ عَلَيْهِ الْعَطَشُ فَوَجَدَ بِئْرًا فَنَزَلَ فِيهَا فَشَرِبَ، ثُمَّ خَرَجَ، فَإِذَا كَلْبٌ يَلْهَثُ يَأْكُلُ الثَّرَى مِنَ الْعَطَشِ، فَقَالَ الرَّجُلُ لَقَدْ بَلَغَ هَذَا الْكَلْبَ مِنَ الْعَطَشِ مِثْلُ الَّذِي كَانَ بَلَغَ مِنِّي، فَنَزَلَ الْبِئْرَ، فَمَلأَ خُفَّهُ مَاءً، فَسَقَى الْكَلْبَ، فَشَكَرَ اللَّهُ لَهُ، فَغَفَرَ لَهُ ‏”‏‏.‏ قَالُوا يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ وَإِنَّ لَنَا فِي الْبَهَائِمِ لأَجْرًا فَقَالَ ‏”‏ فِي كُلِّ ذَاتِ كَبِدٍ رَطْبَةٍ أَجْرٌ ‏”

Narrated Abu Huraira: The Prophet (peace be upon him and his family) said, “A man felt very thirsty while he was on the way, there he came across a well. He went down the well, quenched his thirst and came out. Meanwhile he saw a dog panting and licking mud because of excessive thirst. He said to himself, “This dog is suffering from thirst as I did.” So, he went down the well again and filled his shoe with water and watered it. Allah thanked him for that deed and forgave him. The people said, “O Allah’s Messenger (Peace be upon him and his family)! Is there a reward for us in serving the animals?” He replied: “Yes, there is a reward for serving any animate (living being).” 

Narrated by Sahih Bukhari

Remember: Mercy for ALL and Malice towards NONE is our principle and practice.