At most, in cultures where some Muslims join a tariqa to deepen their commitment to Sunnat, there is no need to change room decor in an expensive manner.
At most, one may have a photograph of one's pir, murshid, or sheikh, but the emphasis is the love of Allah.
Tassawuf unless it is degenerate is not about magic or karma or seeking a good
Sheikh 'Alawi who founded the Alawiyya at Mostagnem, Algeria was formerly
in a snake charming sect, the Aissawa, and became proficient.
(No small thing, for venomous snakes were and remain a terror to many. If one
lives at ground floor in a dirt room with rush mats, snakebite is a constant
So the story goes, a visitor accosted al 'Alawi and said, "I will show you (a snake)that is bigger than this and far more venomous and if more venomous and if you can take hold of it you are a real sage. I mean your soul, which is between the two sides of your body, Its poison is more deadly than a snake's and if you can take hold of it and do as you please with it, you are a sage indeed."
The word Buzidi used here for the soul was nafs, which refers to the lower soul,
rather than the ruh, the higher soul."
This shiekh did not tell al'alawi to dress in white, decorate his rooms in
white, place white or yellow roses in his rooms or bring expensive presents to the Darawi sheikh.
This means if you are invited into a Sufi order, beware if you discover
excessive attention to room decor, and to mere fancy living and music.
This is interior decoration, mnipulation of externals, materialism.
At worst, it is a regression to magical thought.
Instead of love of God and fear of departing from God, it is replaced with
sentimentality and fear of inviting frowns from the leaders and their
And one must not grovel to a pir, murshid, or sheikh, intrigue for the persons
favor, fear his or her displeasure. Or, if a musician fret and fume that
you are barred access from the tariqas private recording studio.
For there should be no private recording studio -- competition for studio
recording slots is a travesty--one should love and care about God, not
whether one gets access to the leader or a good recording slot in the
recording studio at the leader's palace!
The renunciate Sufis fled royal courts. They did not create royal courts with themselves as rajas.
Ibn Battuta in his Travels, told of one renunciate Sufi, reputed holy, whose presence at court was demanded by the Indian ruler, Sultan Tughluq
Mohammed, in the 14th century.
"But the most serious problem for Ibn Battuta was his friendship with a Sufi holy man. This holy man refused to have anything to do with politics and tried to live a religious life. He snubbed the Sultan and refused to obey the Sultan's commands.
"In retaliation Muhammad had the holy man's beard plucked out hair by hair, then banished him from Delhi.
"Later the Sultan ordered him to return to court, which the holy man refused to do. The man was arrested, tortured in the most horrible way, then beheaded."
And no pir, murshid or sheikh should be regarded as God or a channel for God.
Some thoughts on room decor. Some affluents who call themselves Sufis fall
into this trap.
This is less likely to be a problem in the Muslim world.
But in the west, where all sorts of incongruous elements are slushed together
by types who do not live as Muslims and live by something that they call Sufism
but that would not be recognized as such by Muslim Sufis, some very strange
things can occur.
Such as intrusion of magical thought, even into the matter of room decor.
Some noted how Frithjof Schuon put far too much emphasis on decor and staging
as far back as the 1930s and 1940s -- even to the point of dressing in
moroccan garb and staging dhikr in rooms with moroccan decor.
It is worth remembering that 'Al Alawi's Sufi order was transmitted in authentic
form, by Muslim sailors and that it was these working class men who
brought the tariqa to Cardiff, UK. They could afford only the essentials --
not souveniers from the Marrekech or Algiers souqs.
But in the West, incongruous elements and distractions may creep in
and more attention may be paid to room decor and the oscillating whims
of a merely human leader than to God.
Watch out for excessive emphasis on room decor. Thats not God but the eccentricities of a leader and community.
Some religions, such as Anthroposopy (a theosophy derivative based on dogma of Rudolf Steiner) have the belief that structuring environment and even choice of colors brings desirable astral forces into the material world, and exposes even non Anthroposophists to good karma that increases their chances of a fortunate rebirth.
Persons at the higher levels of Anthroposophy feel entitled to keep what they believe a secret from non Anthroposophists while doing what they can to invite non Anthroposophists into Steinerian designed environments, such as biodynamic gardening projects and by representing Steinerian schools (aka Waldorf schools) as actually being non sectarian, so as to bring in children and parents who would otherwise refuse if they were told candidly and completely the full beliefs of Steiner's religion and its system of rank ordering human persons.
If a psychotherapist beliefs in Anthroposophy or a belief system with similarities to it, such as elitism and a belief that room environments and colors (walls, furniture, decor) designed to the specifications of that religion bring good karmic influences and perhaps a fortunate reincarnation to clients who have no knowlege of that religion and would not agree with its tenets, I suggest this is wrong and for several reasons.
*If one does believe in karma or astral forces, it is unethical to surround an unknowing client with talismans reminders of your worship sanctuary space. This is to do magical operations without a client's consent. Persons who take magic seriously and ethically would consider this wrong.
And..clients who grow up in secret ridden families will sense zones of secrecy at a non verbal level. This will trigger re-enactments of their family dynamics which will subvert the process of therapy.
* It is unethical to surround a non believer with reminders of your religion, whether its to draw down vitalizing astral forces, or remind you which plane you are on and which planes you hope to evolve or devolve up to or down into . If your religion or magical system are truly vitalizing you should have the inner resources that you can maintain a therapy room that does not contain of your worship sanctuary or coven. What you have in your private office should be sufficient to vitalize you.
*To impose your or your guru or magus' or churches decor specifications upon the waiting room and therapy room is to contaminate patient space with your private beliefs.
*A therapist should have the personal maturity to select clothing to his or her personal preferences and professional decorum. If one must dress in certain colors so as to draw down astral influences, confine that to one's worship space. Dont bring that into the therapy room. Magical thought is of a different type than what is needed for the work of licensed mental health practice, which is based on science and the principles of falsifiablity.
* It is not possible for a therapist to remain at adult level if he or she is in a therapy room designed to the specifications of a guru, prophet, or magus who claims to be at a higher level of realisation than the therapist. It is worth asking how a therapist can give full adult attention to a client if the therapy room is filled with cues designed to trigger associations with states of mind and--possibly trance--associated with one's religion or magic circle. Especially if the affiliation is a secret the therapist keeps from clients and not from other clients who are in on the secret.
*The therapist should have the maturity to hold and contain self integrity so that he or she can remain adult and grounded in a workspace (the therapy room) that does not contain remainders of his or her religion. It is quite all right for the therapists private office to have reminders of his or her religion, but the therapist should have the maturity to be able to function at adult and professional level without contantly being on the psychic teat of a belief system that requires dependance on external cues.
If the belief system ranks people hierarchically according to spiritual attainment or alleged lack thereof, how can a therapist who has attained some degree of rank in that belief system feel full and true empathy for a client who is seeminly at a lower level in the hierarchy.