Why Can’t I Listen to Several Spiritual Guides?

Answered by Shaykh Farid Dingle

Question: Assalamu alaykum

I have heard numerous times an injunction by my Sheikh that I understood to mean that it is improper to seek knowledge of Tasawwuf from other than one’s own Sheikh. I have struggled to understand it and am shy to ask for clarification directly. I’m sure the teachers here will be able to help insya’Allah. Does this include taking courses on spirituality with students of my sheikh, or others that are offered on SeekersHub? Or am I completely missing the mark?

Answer: Wa alaykum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

Dear questioner,

What your Shaykh is talking about is a well-known principle among Sufi teachers. It is very hard to benefit from someone if they tell you thing and then someone else tells you something else. You just end up going in circles.

All the valid spiritual paths are good and true, but you can’t walk in two directions at once.

You should ask your shaykh exactly what he doesn’t want you to do, and who you can study what with.

Don’t be shy. The scholars say two types of people never benefit: someone who is too shy to ask an honest and well-intended question, and someone who is too proud to listen.

If you honestly want to benefit from more than one Sufi shaykh at once, you should just ask your shaykh if that is okay. He is not going to say that it is haram, but he’ll probably tell you that you that you are wasting your time. He only wants to benefit you after all.

If it becomes too much of an issue for you, just tell him that you can’t keep to his rules for the time being. It is not a matter of halal and haram, or Paradise and Hell.

Again you shouldn’t assume anything and you shouldn’t just rely on what others say. Ask him directly via phone or email and get the information directly from him. The sheikh-mureed relationship should be as direct as humanly possible.

I pray this helps.

[Shaykh] Farid Dingle

Shaykh Farid Dingle grew up in a convert family in Herefordshire, UK. In 2007, he moved to Jordan to pursue traditional studies. Shaykh Farid continues to live in Amman, Jordan with his wife and kids. In addition to continuing his studies he teaches Arabic and several of the Islamic sciences.

Shaykh Farid began his journey in sacred knowledge with intensives in the UK and Jordan (2004) in Shafi’i fiqh and Arabic. After years of studying Arabic grammar, Shafi’i fiqh, hadith, legal methodology (usul al-fiqh) and tafsir, Sh. Farid began specializing in Arabic language and literature. Sh. Farid studied Pre-Islamic poetry, Umayyad, Abbasid, Fatimid, and Andalusian literature. He holds a BA in Arabic Language and Literature and continues exploring the language of the Islamic tradition.

In addition to his interest in the Arabic language Shaykh Farid actively researches matters related to jurisprudence (fiqh) which he studied with Shaykh Hamza Karamali, Shaykh Ahmad Hasanat, and continues with Shaykh Amjad Rasheed.