Know that esoteric knowledge [Sufism - tasawwuf] aims at purifying hearts of vice and embellishing them with numerous virtues. When hearts are purified of vices and embellished with virtues, lights shine in them, secrets appear in them, intuitive realities (al-haqâ`iq al `irfâniyya) and lordly secrets (al-asrâr al-rabbâniyya) are unveiled in them. It is thus that one reaches contemplative gnosis (ma`rifat al-`iyân) and attains the station of perfect accomplishment (maqâm al-ihsân).*
These are the contents of esoteric science [Sufism - tasawwuf].
*That is, the third - and the highest - degree of religion (al dîn), according to the famous hadith called "Gabriel's hadith" ( Muslim, chap. 1), in which the Prophet defined islam as observance of religious law with its five pillars, imân as faith in God, in His books, His messengers, etc., and ihsân as "worshipping God as if you saw Him, for if you do not see Him, He sees you!"
quoted from: The Autobiography of a Moroccan Soufi: Ahmad Ibn `Ajiba;
from: Fri, Sep 17, 2004
upd.: Sun, 16 Sep 2007