Initiation: The First Step
“Initiation only means a step forward, a step which should be taken with hope and courage, for without courage and hope it would be most difficult to take any forward step.”
– Pir-o-Murshid Inayat Khan
Initiation on a spiritual path signifies one’s desire to undergo a spiritual training. Those who do not elect to make this formal commitment, however, are fully welcome to participate in the teachings and programmes offered by the Sufi Order. Those who choose to mark their commitment by initiation are known as mureeds (students).
Initiation into the Sufi Order demonstrates one’s sincerity in entering the Sufi path, strengthens one’s powers to do so, and confers a blessing upon the pupil which enables progress. This initiation is the linking of the individual Sufi student with the chain of masters and teachers stretching back through the ages. The link so formed is of lifetime duration and forges a solemn bond, similar to the practice of baptism.
One may be initiated into the Sufi Order by one of its Representatives. Those interested in initiation are encouraged to select a Representative with whom they feel a deep trust and respect, for those qualities are necessary to facilitate the training offered. The Initiate receives spiritual practices from her/his initiator which are designed to promote spiritual realization, facilitate the unfoldment of his/her being and assist in meeting life’s challenges and demands. The practices are not compulsory, but are given as a gift.
A mureed in the Sufi Order is welcome to be initiated into other esoteric traditions such as Tibetan Buddhism, Hinduism, or other Sufi Orders. However, it is advised that a student receive his/her daily practices from only one guide and consult the Sufi Order guide about practices he/she is doing from other Orders or traditions. The intention is to safeguard the wellbeing of the student, so he/she is not confused by mixing practices that may not be complementary.