Sufism is the spiritual life of Islam. Those who represent Islam according to the way of the Prophet and his Companions have never stepped outside this line. A tariqah is an institution that reaches the essence of religion within the framework of Sufism and by gaining God's approval, thus enabling people to achieve happiness both in this world and in the next.
As a lifestyle, Sufism was practiced at the most sublime level during the Age of Happiness, the Time of the Prophet and the Four Caliphs, upon them be peace and blessings. Later, this teaching was systemized according to the individual character, spiritual makeup, and understanding of men whom we can call "tariqah dignitaries." This is a completely normal occurrence. Now if I had the ability to read people's minds, that is, if I had the ability to know everyone with their particular characteristics, I would direct each person to the hill of perfection that is the most appropriate for them. I would recommend continuous reflection, contemplation, and reading; I would tell them to study the signs of God in the universe and in people themselves; I would advise people to busy themselves with the study of the Qur'an; I would advise others to recite a portion of the Qur'an and certain prayers on a regular basis; I would tell still others to continuously reflect on "natural" phenomena. That is, I would, in a sense, designate duties to people in the areas in which they have natural abilities. What the Sufi masters actually do is not any different from this. According to the character, general nature, and makeup of people, the Sufi masters assign them religious responsibilities in accordance with their spiritual capacities and enable these people to evolve spiritually according to their capabilities. The Sufi masters aim to take people to the horizon of perfection, which is the purpose of the creation of humanity.