There are many levels of study and as the Shaykh says; ' the relationship between the Murshid and the Mureed is one that develops over time and is based on 'munasabah' (cordialalty) and trust. He also very much believes in a personal communication with students, as much as that is possible given time, location and availability. This means that he encourages people who are interested in study to read his darus , listen or watch discourses, participate in WebnAir broadcasts and write to him specific questions.
It is also important to know that the basis of our Order as it is put forward by Shaykh ul Tariqat Sh.Ahmed, is suhbat (keeping the company of sincere seekers and students as well as with the Shaykh when possible) and learning the very unique and comprehensive methods of meditation that are based on direct transmission, and niyyat (intentions). This method goes back to the time of the Khawaja Khawajagan of Central Asia, and are given by the Shaykh directly to the seeker/student.
Shaykh Ahmed abdu r Rashid does not ask the student to give bayt ( formal promise of studentship) at the onset of the practices, but gifts the practices of the first 10 transmissions as a means for the sincere seeker to establish his or her practice, determine their sincerity and the practices suitability with that student, develop the communication and relationship with the Shaykh and determine if they wish to make a permanent relationship based on their experience with the practice and the Shaykh . This process is usually about 2-4 years but of course it may be shorter or longer.
His dars (lectures) are available through The Circle Group www.circlegroup.org, or can be found in abundance on You Tube/Google under the name Shaykh Ahmed abdur Rashid.
At a certain point the student is encouraged to meet the Shaykh in person, speak to him on the phone or write directly to him with questions. He also likes to know more about a person; i.e. a brief history, their work/education, interests and who if anyone they have studied with previously and their relationship with that teacher. Of course , informing him of why they wish to study with him is very important. One does not need to be a Muslim to study with the Shaykh but will need to understand that Sufism is the inner path of Islam and as such that individual will need to develop a vocabulary that includes Arabic and Farsi terminology as it is expressed in Sufism and understand that after the first 2-4 years or the first 10 Transmissions they will need to discuss with the Shaykh the efficacy of Islam , the lives of the Aulyia (Saints) and the importance of The Quran and the Sunnah , the relevance of Dhikr (remembrance) and Namaz (prayer) etc.
So you can see that study with Shaykh Ahmed is taken very seriously by him and insh'Allah by the person who is requesting; in this way a proper relationship insh'Allah can be established and the possibility of personal fulfillment and progress is more possible. Many of his students have been with him for over 30 years and understand as the Prophet Mohammad (sal) said: 'Seek out knowledge from the cradle to the Grave' . The journey of a sincere seeker is one that requires patience, sincerity , discipline and an understanding that the illumination (tajjali) of Allah swt is overflowing and endless and can be experienced in day to day life as the Shaykh calls it " "Applied Sufism". Being able to apply the teachings inwardly and outwardly.