The community of Ibrāhīm Niasse articulated specific guidelines for disciple conduct. The most important was purity of intention. The Arabic word murīd (disciple, aspirant) connotes one who desires. The Sufi murīd was thus conceived as one who ardently desired to know God. This intention should remain central to the disciple’s consciousness, according to Aḥmad al-Tijānī’s words in the Jawāhir al-maʿānī:
“This love [of the disciple for the Shaykh] must be because the Shaykh is of God’s presence: one of those whom God has chosen for himself. If the disciple loves him for this reason to the exclusion of all other reasons, there is no doubt that the disciple will reach God, even if it takes time. But if he should accompany a saint for the sake of his own aims and desires, he will not receive anything from the saint except the fulfillment of his
[worldly] goal. He will not reach God, nor will he really reach the saint.
The extent of the saint’s duty [in this case] is to always maintain friendly relations with him, just as he would perform good deeds for the entirety of creation as God has ordered him. This friendly relationship
bears [divine] approval, but the saint should withhold his secrets from him. If such a disciple were to remain with the saint for a thousand years, he would obtain nothing from him. The spiritual state of the saint says to
him, “You did not join us for the sake of God, but you only joined us for your own ends. There is no link between you and us.”