Explaining Tasawwuf, Hakimul Ummat Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanwi (Rahmatullah alaih) said:
“The aim of Sulook (Tasawwuf) is Ridha-e-Haqq (The Pleasure of Allah). For this attainment, two things are essential: The knowledge of the Tareeq (i.e. the Road leading to Allah), and Amal, i.e. to practise in accordance with this knowledge.
There is only one Tareeq (Road), viz., firm adherence to the Zaahiri (outer) and Baatini (inner) dimensions of the Shariah. The Tareeq has two aids:
(1) Constant and abundant Thikr.
(2) Suhbat (Companionship) of the Ahlullaah (Saintly Mashaa-ikh).
If one is unable to spend much time in the company of the Pious, then the next option is to study their biographies, statements, advices and teachings. To some extent this will be a substitute for physical companionship.
Two acts are severe impediments in this Tareeq.
1) Commission of sins.
2) Indulgence in futility (nonsensical and useless talk and actions).
Of great importance is to constantly keep the Shaikh (Spiritual Guide) informed of one’s spiritual and moral condition. The attainment of the goal of Sulook depends on the ability and endeavours of the individuals of Sulook.