Ethics Agreement & Ethics Committee

Adopted 1995 Jamiat Khas; updated November 11 2012

We are challenged morally and spiritually to make a clear ethical agreement with one another. Rather than a list of rules, this is a simple statement of
     (1) our mutual respect and responsibility in spiritual community and in the initiatic relationship;
     (2) the processes for resolving ethical dilemmas where they arise; and
     (3) ongoing notice of ethical responsibility for new and continuing Sufi Ruhaniat International (SRI) members.

Teacher and Functionary:  Anyone authorized by SRI to present classes, seminars, workshops, or in any other way represent the SRI organization.

Initiator:  A teacher authorized to initiate and guide individual students in the SRI Esoteric School.  Only the SRI Spiritual Director can confirm Esoteric School initiators.

Mureed: A student in the SRI Esoteric School.

Student: Any participant in SRI activities.

Dual Relationship: Where the initiatic link is combined with other forms of relationship (business/financial, counseling, personal/romantic, etc.).

Our Ethics Goal
To cherish all, regardless of race, religion, gender identify, sexual orientation, age, ability, national origin, or marital status.  Environmental safety, freedom from peer harassment, and specifically the safety of children are priorities.  Organizational representatives are responsible for complying with local laws regarding the prevention and reporting of suspected abuse or neglect.

1. Teachers agree to hold in their heart the fulfillment of their student’s Path in life:  “Toward the One, the Perfection of Love, Harmony, and Beauty...”

2. Both teacher and student agree to keep their relationship clear of sexual, emotional, or financial exploitation and/or abuse.

3. Initiators agree not to engage in sexual activity with their mureeds; if an initiator and their mureed choose to develop a sexual relationship, they agree to first dissolve their initiatic link and to wait until the student has formed an initiatic link with another teacher.

4. Dual relationship exists in community and carries potential for misunderstanding.  Where dual relationship occurs, both teachers and students agree to use caution and discernment; seeking guidance with a third party is encouraged.  Dual relationship cannot be a precondition to initiation or to continuing an initiatic relationship.

5. Initiators are expected to honor the initiatic covenant by holding confidential and sacred the private communications between themselves and their mureeds, except where to do so could result in harm to the mureed or to another.  (added July 5, 2000)

6. The student accepts responsibility for bringing ethical concerns or ambiguities to the teacher, teacher’s guide, the Mureeds’ Advocate, the Ethics Committee, or the SRI Spiritual Director.

Resolution Process
1. Students, teachers, and the community share responsibility for keeping the initiatic relationship free of abuse or exploitation.

2. Wherever possible, issues will be resolved by those involved, with or without a mutually agreed upon mediator from within or outside of the Sufi community.  Immediate local resolution is encouraged.  It is recommended that local communities develop their own resolution/mediation processes.

3. Where resolution is not forthcoming, parties may request mediation assistance from the initiator’s supervising guide or the Mureeds’ Advocate.  Either party may request the assistance of the Ethics Committee.

4. The Ethics Committee, composed of three initiators, is appointed by the SRI Spiritual Director with the approval of the SRI Board of Trustees.  This committee shall (a) hear and make recommendations on all ethical issues referred to it, and (b) coordinate subsequent revisions of this agreement with the SRI Spiritual Director and the SRI Board of Trustees.  Terms shall be for five years, extendable indefinitely.

5. Decisions on ethical matters ultimately reside with the SRI Spiritual Director.

6. A copy of this agreement, along with names and addresses of the current Mureeds’ Advocate and members of the Ethics Committee, shall be published in The Ruhaniat Companion, available to all mureeds.

Ethics Committee
Abraham Sussman
6 Upton Street
Cambridge, MA  02139
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Zubin Mary Goldman
63 Norwich St
San Francisco, CA 94110
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Saladin Frank Pelfrey
PO Box 1133
Hamilton, MT 59840
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This agreement reflects ongoing learning from both mistakes and spiritual ideals.  It was initially ratified in 1995 following three years of Jamiat Khas meeting and online group process and dialogue, chaired by Murshida Khadija Goforth. 

Inspirations from Hazrat Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti invite further consideration concerning ethics:

  • The heart was essentially created for making rounds of the love of God.
  • There are no rituals or ceremonies to be performed in Sufism, nor are there academic dissertations which may easily be acquired by reading, but according to those who are lovers of God and the sheikhs of tariqat, Sufism means scrupulously maintained moral behavior which one must observe toward all of God’s creatures.
  • It is a hardened sinner who commits sin yet simultaneously believes oneself to be one of God’s “chosen few.”
  • For a follower of the path of Truth, it is worse than a sin to disdain or look down on anyone.
  • A sin committed does not harm an individual so much as the looking down with contempt on one’s fellow human beings. The best way of evading the fire of hell lies in feeding the hungry, providing water to the thirsty, removing the wants of the needy, and befriending the miserable.