Structure of Sufi Orders Sufism presumes a fundamental link between the shaikh, head of the Sufi tareeqah (order), and the murid (novice), extending throughout their lifetime and continuing after their death. The murid takes an 'ahd (oath) of loyalty and swears obedience to the shaikh, who in turn promises to solve the murid's problems and deliver him from every dilemma whenever he calls on his shaikh for help. The shaikh also promises to intercede for him with Allah so that he may be admitted to Jannah. The murid pledges to be conscientious in practicing the set of dthikr (chants) assigned to him by his shaikh, to adhere to the rules of the order and to accept its claim on his loyalty for life over a wide range of behaviour affecting the well-being of the order. The quality and extent of the shaikh's hold over the murid is therefore almost total. The murid's behavior even outside the order's group setting is expected to conform to rules laid down by the order. And where conflict with outside obligations arises, the murid must resolve it by acting as a Sufi and following his order's rules. The Tijaniyyeh Order makes every candidate for initiation pledge not to visit the grave of pious personality or visit any living scholar. This is one of the major factors in widening the rift between one order and another, causing an order to enter into conflict against his others in an attempt to convert, conquer or annihilate them. The mechanism of the order structure in Sufism leads to many evil results:
- Division of the Muslim ummah into fractions and orders ruled by deviant and ignorant shaikhs, thus making the ummah an easy prey for conquest by non-Muslims.
- Enmity among the adherents of different orders, to the point that they will not marry into one another's families or cooperate with one another.
- Deception on the part of the shaikh, who falsely claims the ability to deliver the murid from difficulties and deadly problems the befall him. The shaikh even claims he will be present at the murid's death, regardless of time or place, and ridiculously enough, will instrut him in his grave on what to tell the two angels of the grave, and will argue with them on his behalf. Finally, the shaikh promises to intercede for him with Allah on the Day of Judgment, and to help cross over as-Siraat (the bridge over Hell) on that Day, and accompany him to Jannah.(40) This kind of deception, offering security in the grave as well as in the Hereafter, is a flagrant lie, not permissible under any circumstance. Sufi shaikhs lead simple-minded Muslims to believe in such claims, and the result is shirk (polytheism). Deceiving Muslims is one of the major sins.
- Insulating the murid as far as possible from the world outside the order as to exploit and manipulate him.(41)