Ethics Committee of the Sufi Order

  1. Purpose
  2. Functions of the Ethics Committee
  3. Reporting Unethical Behaviour
  4. Investigations
  5. Ethical Standards of the Sufi Order
    1. Definitions
    2. Scope of Function
    3. Ethical Standards
  6. Contacting the Ethics Committee


The purpose of the Ethics Committee of the Sufi Order is to deal with reported incidents of possible unethical behaviour 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 behaviour.


Functions of the Ethics Committee

  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 advise guides, representatives and co-ordinators concerning what might constitute ethically correct behaviour in a particular situation; and
  3. to serve as a body to establish guidelines to promulgate guidelines of ethical behaviour for representatives, coordinators, and guides.


Reporting Unethical Behaviour

All reports of possible unethical behaviour 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 the previous year, along with the dispositions, without any identifying information.



Reports of unethical behaviour 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.


Ethical Standards of the Sufi Order


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 honouring the following ethical standards.


Ethical Standards

  1. Teachers shall not prescribe behaviour 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.
  6. 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 students for personal gain.
  7. 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. 
    1. Examples from a teacher's perspective:
      • 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.
    2. Examples from a student's perspective:
      • 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. Teachers shall not present wazifas, dhikr, or shagall outside of Sufi Order functions without prior approval of the Executive Committee of the Sufi Order.


Contacting the Ethics Committee

  • If you have an ethical concern related to an activity or function of the Sufi Order or any of its teachers, please contact in writing either of the co-chairpersons of the Ethics Committee.
  • You can obtain the names of the individuals on the Ethics Committee and information for contacting them from the Sufi Order secretariat.
  • To contact the Sufi Order secretariat, use the information below.
Phone (518) 794-7834
Email Secretariat at sufiorder dot org
Mail Sufi Order
P.O. Box 480
New Lebanon, NY 12125



This page was last updated on Monday, March 27, 2017



Home Page

Website developed and maintained by Khusrau (khusrau at

 Top of Page