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Etiquette for Sohbet/Suhbah

In a tradition, the Prophet (PBUH) said:

“Acquiring knowledge in company for an hour in the night is better than spending the whole night in prayer.”

Whether in virtual or actual space, a sohbet is an opportunity to draw deep nourishment and inspiration. To which end please observe the following:

  • Be in wudu.
  • Be attentive in presence. Ensure you don’t rush into a sohbet after attending to matters that will affect your ability to focus.
  • Sit in a quiet space where you won’t be disturbed.
  • Wear loose, clean, and comfortable clothes.
  • Turn off your telephone and other electronic devices that might interfere.
  • If this is a virtual sohbet ensure you have enough battery in your laptop or device and good internet connection.
  • Keep your microphone switched off.
  • Ensure you join the sohbet at the designated time.
  • If you are joining late, turn off your microphone and camera so that you don’t disturb other participants as you enter.
  • If you have a question related to the topic of discussion raise a virtual hand and wait for the facilitator, organiser, or Shaykh to recognise you.
  • Do not interject when someone else is speaking, particularly the Shaykh.
  • The virtual sohbet should normally include no more than 12 including the Shaykh and the organiser/ facilitator.
  • If there is a particular subject to be discussed, the organiser should let everyone know well in advance so participants can prepare for the meeting.
  • If you do not have a particular question don’t formulate one unnecessarily – it is not necessary to speak or comment in order to benefit.
  • When you do speak, be as brief as possible.
  • Regard your participation as a blessing and not as cause for enhanced self-regard.