Hadhrat Hakim al-Umma Mawlana Ashraf ‘Ali Thanawi (may Allah have mercy on him) said,
“Do not assume that we are devoid of inner states (kaifiyat e batinah) and spiritual stations (muqamat e ruhaniya). The praise is for Allah, all of these entities, like unveiling (kashaf), miracles (karamah) and spiritual interventions (tasarrufat) are manifested at their appropriate place. However, (the thing to understand is that) in fact all these are still material entities.
Allah has gifted the people of truth (ahl e haq) with something better and more potent. That is, spirituality (ruhaniyat). (It belongs to the non-material world.) It has various degrees in excellence and magnitude. But its progress is totally contingent on following the teachings of Shariah. The inner states and unveilings have no role whatsoever in this (progress).
The ultimate secret of all Tassawuf (tariqat) and spiritual path (sulook) is incorporated in the following verse,
اياك نعبد و اياك نستعين
اهدنا الصراط المستقيم
صراط الذين انعت عليهم
You alone do we worship, and from You alone do we seek help.
Take us on the straight path.
the path of those on whom You have bestowed Your Grace”
(Maasir Hakim al-Umma, page 151)
Arif billah Hadhrat Dr. Abdul Hayy ‘Arifi (may Allah have mercy on him) use to tell us that it is very difficult trying to appreciate and experience a non-material, spiritual entity with our material senses, intellect and mind.