Moral Culture


Pir-O-Murshid Inayat Khan created a set of maxims to guide the ethical behavior and development of all who seek self improvement through the moral culture of spiritual paths. These are stated as "rules" and divided into iron, copper, silver and golden rules.

The spiritual leader of the Sufi Order, Pir Zia Inayat-Khan, has taught that, "Each Rule begins with the reader addressing himself or herself, because the Rule is not coming from an outside authority figure. It is coming from your own conscience, speaking to itself and recommitting itself to the principles that you know to be your own purpose."

Pir Zia has been providing commentaries on the rules, and also has organized a "chivalric order" to help those seeking to incorporate these ethical guides into their lives. A letter from Pir Zia announcing the Knighthood of Purity is given below.

The following list of "metal rules" is from the Sayings of Pir-o-Murshid Inayat Khan (section Vadan - Alankaras). The complete Sayings text is available online as a PDF-format e-book or as web pages. You can download an Anki flashcard deck to help with memorizing the Iron Rules here.

There is a website specifically devoted to the Knighthood of Purity. Also, a Knighthood of Purity webpage can be found at the Sufi Order North America website.

 


 

Iron Rules

My conscientious self:

  • Make no false claims.
  • Speak not against others in their absence.
  • Do not take advantage of a person's ignorance.
  • Do not boast of your good deeds.
  • Do not claim that which belongs to another.
  • Do not reproach others, making them firm in their faults.
  • Do not spare yourself in the work which you must accomplish.
  • Render your services faithfully to all who require them.
  • Seek not profit by putting someone in straits.
  • Harm no one for your own benefit.

 

Copper Rules

My conscientious self:

  • Consider your responsibility sacred.
  • Be polite to all.
  • Do nothing which will make your conscience feel guilty.
  • Extend your help willingly to those in need.
  • Do not look down upon the one who looks up to you.
  • Judge not another by your own law.
  • Bear no malice against your worst enemy.
  • Influence no one to do wrong.
  • Be prejudiced against no one.
  • Prove trustworthy in all your dealings.

 

Silver Rules

My conscientious self:

  • Consider duty as sacred as religion.
  • Use tact on all occasions.
  • Place people rightly in your estimation.
  • Be no more to anyone than you are expected to be.
  • Have regard for the feelings of every soul.
  • Do not challenge anyone who is not your equal.
  • Do not make a show of your generosity.
  • Do not ask a favor of those who will not grant it you.
  • Meet your shortcomings with a sword of self-respect.
  • Let not your spirit be humbled in adversity.

 

Golden Rules

My conscientious self:

  • Keep to your principles in prosperity as well as in adversity.
  • Be firm in faith through life's tests and trials.
  • Guard the secrets of friends as your most sacred trust.
  • Observe constancy in love.
  • Break not your word of honor whatever may befall.
  • Meet the world with smiles in all conditions of life.
  • When you possess something, think of the one who does not possess it.
  • Uphold your honor at any cost.
  • Hold your ideal high in all circumstances.
  • Do not neglect those who depend upon you.

 


 

The following letter was distributed to the SOI's Keeping in Touch email list on September 12, 2010:

The Knighthood of Purity of the Hazratiye Order (Futuwwat-i Safwa-yi Silsila-yi Hazratiyya)

Sufism (tasawwuf) and chivalry (futuwwa) have traditionally gone hand-in-hand. Sufism is primarily concerned with consciousness whereas chivalry is primarily concerned with conscience. In the classical period, Sufi orders and chivalric orders existed side-by-side, and often overlapped. When Sayyid Abu Hashim Madani initiated Hazrat Inayat Khan as a Shaikh, a master of tasawwuf, he simultaneously qualified him as an Akhi, a master of futuwwa.

In medieval Christendom, knighthood came to represent in the secular sphere what the monastic orders represented in the religious sphere.

On September 13, 1926, when Hazrat Inayat Khan consecrated the cornerstone of the Universel, he laid the groundwork for two new orders: one hieratic and the other knightly. The first was the Confraternity of the Message. He made his son Pirzade Vilayat the head of this line. The task of its members was, and remains, to observe the prayers of the Confraternity daily.

The second line was not named, but twelve ordinations were given: eight Naqibs, and four Sahaba us-Safas (all four of whom were women). The former were called Heralds and the latter were called Knight of Purity (the London Sufi Order having at first been called alternatively, “The Order of Purity”). Murshid thus established the basis for an order of chivalry.

Exactly eighteen years later, on September 13, 1944, Pirzadi Noor un-Nisa gave her life for the cause of freedom. Her last word was “Liberte.” In her courageously self-denying heroism, she became the paragon of the chivalry of the Sufi Message for all posterity.

Today, on the eve of September 13, 2010, we have the honor to announce the revival of the chivalric order instituted by Hazrat Inayat Khan and personified in the heroism of Noor-un-Nisa.

The essential features of the order are outlined below. Inquiries may be directed to Hassan Suhrawardi Gebel (sg [at] sufiorder [dot] org).

May the Message of God reach far and wide!

 — Shaikh al-Mashaik Mahmood Khan and Pir Zia Inayat-Khan

 


 

Description of the Knighthood

The Knighthood is composed of two degrees: Herald and Knight of Purity.

All who are inspired by the Sufi Message of Hazrat Inayat Khan and sincerely committed to enacting its ideals are eligible to receive the ordination of Herald (Naqib[a]). Ordination is by application to the Chancellery.

Upon ordination, the Herald commences his or her task.  The task is to recite the Iron, Copper, Silver, and Golden Rules, and to apply their morals in daily life.  Each rule is recited once a day, in the morning, over a forty-day period.  The completion of one set of rules thus takes four hundred days.  The completion of all four sets takes 1600 days (four years and 140 days). Heralds are asked to notify the Chancellery upon the completion of each set.

Upon completion of the entire task, the Herald is qualified to receive the accolade of Knight of Purity (Sahab[a] us-Safa).  Initially, Shaikh al-Mashaik Mahmood Khan and Pir Zia Inayat-Khan will be solely responsible for giving the accolade.  Subsequently, ordained Knights will be authorized to give the accolade.

 


 

Pir Zia announced the foundation of the Knighthood of Purity in a Hejirat Day Address, given on September 12th, 2010 by webcast. A recording of that address is below:

Hazrat Inayat Khan

Pir-O-Murshid Hazrat Inayat Khan

From the Gayan

The true religion, to the Sufi, is the sea of truth, and all different faiths are as its waves.
— Sayings of Hazrat Inayat Khan: Gayan - Chalas