- Functions of the Ethics Committee
- Reporting Unethical Behaviour
- Ethical Standards of the
- Scope of Function
- Ethical Standards
- 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.
- to serve as a body to determine whether there has been an ethical violation
in a particular instance;
- to serve as an advisory board to advise guides, representatives and co-ordinators
concerning what might constitute ethically correct behaviour in a particular
- to serve as a body to establish guidelines to promulgate guidelines of ethical
behaviour for representatives, coordinators, and guides.
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.
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.
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
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.
- Teachers shall not prescribe behaviour or make decisions for students.
- Teachers are not authorized to engage in psychotherapy in their official
capacity in the Sufi Order.
- Teachers shall not use the authority and power of their position to exploit
students for material, emotional, or other personal gain.
- If a teacher has or develops a sexual relationship with a student then the
teacher shall transfer the student to another teacher.
- 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
students for personal gain.
- 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.
- Examples from a teacher's perspective:
- A student with physical problems shall be advised to seek proper
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 wazifas, dhikr, or shagall 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 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.
Secretariat at sufiorder dot org
P.O. Box 480
New Lebanon, NY 12125