The Sufi Order's Ethics Committee and the Ethical Standards provide guidelines and procedures for appropriate behavior between teachers, students and the public.

Ethics Committee

The purpose of the Ethics Committee of the Sufi Order is to deal with reported incidents of possible unethical behavior in interactions between Sufi Order students and the public and their teachers. A further purpose is to advise on procedures to help prevent problems of possible unethical behavior.

Its functions are:

  1. to serve as a body to determine whether there has been an ethical violation in a particular instance;
  2. to serve as an advisory board to advice Representatives, Guides and Coordinators concerning what might constitute ethically correct behavior in a particular situation;
  3. to serve as a body to establish guidelines to promulgate guidelines of ethical behavior for Representatives, Guides and Coordinators.

Reports of unethical behavior will be investigated by the Ethics Committee, which will forward its findings and recommendations to the Secretary-General. The determination of the appropriate sanction (e.g., removal from authority) will be made by the Head of the Sufi Order in consultation with the Secretary-General and the Ethics Committee.

All reports of possible unethical behavior will be reported to the co-chairpersons. The co-chairpersons may consult with other people as necessary in individual cases, but strict confidentiality will be observed at all times. The Ethics Committee will give the Board of Trustees an annual report summarizing the types of cases investigated in a previous year, along with the dispositions, without any identifying information.


Sufi Order Ethical Standards


The word Teacher as used in these standards applies to anyone who is functioning in an official capacity of the Sufi Order International, including Representatives, Guides, Coordinators, and Retreat Guides. The word Student as used in these standards applies to initiates of the Sufi Order as well as students at classes, seminars, or retreats.

Scope of Function

Teachers serve students by giving spiritual guidance along with encouragement and inspiration. Teachers are authorized only to give spiritual guidance and practices established by the Sufi Order in functions approved by the Sufi Order.

A teacher of the Sufi Order realizes the sacred trust involved in guiding the spiritual development of another human being. With that trust goes the responsibility of honoring the following ethical standards:

  1. Teachers shall not prescribe behavior or make decisions for students.
  2. Teachers are not authorized to engage in psychotherapy in their official capacity in the Sufi Order.
  3. Teachers shall not use the authority and power of their position to exploit students for material, emotional, or other personal gain.
  4. If a teacher has or develops a sexual relationship with a student then the teacher shall transfer the student to another teacher.
  5. Teachers shall not exploit their position for monetary gain.
    Teachers shall be very cautious about getting involved in any dual relationship with their students. Examples would include employing a student or contracting with a student in any type of business or professional relationship, or seeking investments from students for personal gain.
  6. A teacher needs to be aware if a student has a problem that requires a different type of assistance than can be offered in the role of spiritual guide.


  • A student with physical problems shall be advised to seek proper medical treatment.
  • A student with serious psychological problems (severe depression, anxiety, psychosis, or personality disorder) shall be advised to seek a licensed therapist (psychiatrist, psychologist, social worker, or licensed counselor).
  • A student with a drug or alcohol problem shall be advised to seek an appropriate substance abuse treatment resource such as a licensed professional, AA, or residential treatment facility.
  • If a student is in treatment for a physical or a psychological problem the teacher shall not attempt to discourage or replace the treatment.
  • If a student is aware of having a significant physical or psychological problem, then the student shall inform the teacher of the problem. A teacher may elect not to give spiritual training to such a student.
  1. If a teacher is unable to function effectively in the role of spiritual guide with a student due to factors such as personality conflicts or other conflict of interest situations as previously outlined, then the teacher shall refer the student to another teacher. The same shall apply in the case of a student who has attained a level beyond the ability of the teacher to help the student continue to advance spiritually.
  2. Teachers realize that there may be times in their lives during which they will be unable to function effectively in their role due to factors such as burnout, financial problems, relationship problems, or other factors. At such a time the teacher shall consult with the Secretary General about a reduction in responsibilities or taking a leave of absence until such time as they are able to fulfill their role.
  3. A person wishing to lead a retreat, seminar, or other program in the name of the Sufi Order shall have prior authorization from the Head of the Sufi Order or others delegated with that authority. Teachers shall not present wazaif, dhikr, or shaghal outside of Sufi Order functions without prior approval of the Executive Committee of the Sufi Order.

If you have an ethical concern related to an activity or function of the Sufi Order or any of its teachers, please contact the Ethics Committee in writing through the Sufi Order Secretariat either by email at secretariat [at] sufiorder [dot] org or by postal mail at: Sufi Order Secretariat, P.O. Box 480, New Lebanon, NY, 12125, USA

Source: Sufi Order Leader's Manual

Hazrat Inayat Khan

Pir-O-Murshid Hazrat Inayat Khan

From the Gayan

A true worshipper of God sees His person in all forms, and in respecting man he respects God.
— Sayings of Hazrat Inayat Khan: Gayan - Chalas