Aadaab in Tasawwuf is key. This is not only in terms of Aadaab and respect with the Shaykh, but with oneself, and those around you. Aadaab and etiquette is an ocean without shores, and only a tiny amount can be gained from books in this science. It is something that can only be tasted in reality through the company of one’s Shaykh.
This means to be disciplined with oneself in terms of what has been set and what we aim to do. For example, we should be disciplined in praying our Salah; in reciting our Awraad and other litanies; in remaining in a state of ritual purity; in making sure we fulfil the rights of people around us; in learning and expanding our knowledge and in aiming to become the best Muslim possible. When it comes to etiquette with the Shaykh, don’t see them as an elder, but see them as an inheritor of RasoolAllah .
They are the one who are guiding us, saving us and giving us the tools to get closer to Allah ﷻ.
Listed below are a few pointers in terms of Aadaab with the Shaykh:
- The student must obey the command of the Shaykh, he must submit to their will, and aim to please them. For the Shaykh’s happiness is ultimately what will lead to Allah’s ﷻ happiness. However, one should not follow the command of the Shaykh if it goes against the Shariah.
Al Iskandari says in his Qawaid at Tasawwuf, “If anyone brings forth anything against the Shari’ah, reject it.”
- The student must show utmost respect to the Shaykh, and his family.
- The student must sit in the appropriate manner, which is on the knees, and listen attentively to what the Shaykh has to say. The student must not interrupt the Shaykh.
- Do not eat or drink in the presence of the Shaykh unless instructed to, and do not refuse if the Shaykh commands.
- The student should not fast when intending to visit the Shaykh, if he happens to be fasting he may break the fast without letting anyone know he is fasting, and then make up the fast later. This is mentioned by multiple scholars, including Imam Ghazali .
- Do not talk in their presence unless told to do so.
- When going to visit the Shaykh, make sure you are in a state of ritual purity, ensure you are wearing clean clothes, apply perfume, turn off your phone, and do not make any intention to leave early.
- Do not sit/walk/stand in front of the Shaykh, and do not walk upon their shadow.
- When sitting in the presence of the Shaykh, sit on one’s knees, cover your laps with the shawl, and listen attentively.
- Do not sit upon the same seat as the Shaykh.
- Do not consume/drink food or drink they have left over without asking their permission first.
- Aim to be the best Mureed possible, and don’t let sins dishearten you from going to visit the Shaykh. It is in these times that we need their presence the most.
Aadaab will include a lot more than this, but this is a small idea of what it entails.