What is the purpose of Tasawwuf?
Tasawwuf is an effective way through achieving the aims that Islam heralds. We could list some of these aims as; having the morality of Gods (1) that is to say, ones fulfilling his/her heart and soul with the attributes, which God allows. Divine morality is the morality of Quran in shortest statement.
To follow the Sunnah: That means, taking Prophet Muhammads (peace be upon him) life as an example, and trying to live as he did. Following the Sunnah among the ways of the Valayat (curatorial) is one of the most beautiful, the most direct, the brightest, and the richest one. (2) With the statement of Quran, Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) is, usve-i hasene (Surah?) that is to say, he is a beautiful pattern for Muslims; he has to be taken as a model for Muslims to follow.
Riyadat an-nafs, Self-discipline, to control and to educate nafs (ones inner self, soul) (egotistical self as the Sufis call): It is nafs nature to incline to sin, but it can reach up to a beautiful state by disciplining it. Nafs looks like a crude oil in its first form. If it would not be purified, it is worthless or even harms. However, after good disciplining of nafs, it is benefited a lot from it.
Kasb-i Kamal, Sayr-i Jamal: It is a necessity for the one who grows bodily to grow spiritually. Great man is not a man who is great bodily but spiritually. Like the seeds trying to become a tree, humans aim should be to become a complete human being insan-el Qamil (the man of the Universe with utmost perfection). A human who reaches up to this level would find pleasure in contemplating and observing the divine art works. In addition, he would become an insightful observer of the book of the Universe.
Kurbiyet-i Allah: That means, attaining closeness to God. Doubtless, to say, this is not a place wise closeness. It is like an army officers ascending in rank and getting close to the president, or a students getting superior in knowledge and having close relation with his teacher.
To reach to the level of Ihsan (benefaction): According to Prophet Muhammads (pbuh) definition of Ihsan, It is to worship God as though you are seeing Him. (5) A believer at this level, sees him/herself before God, and lives in peace and quiet. Even before admitted to paradise, he/she feels the tastes of the Heaven in his/her inner realm.
To attain Ihlas (sincerity in belief): Ihlas means committing acts as because of God commanded them. Salvation is only possible with Ihlas. The antonym of ihlas is hypocrisy. Hypocrisy is an act of falseness that one does not hold; just for showing off. The Nafs that let alone tends to hypocrisy. But the Nafs that disciplined does not condescend to these kind of lower things, it directly heads towards God.
1. Nursî, Sözler, Sözler Yay. İst. 1987, s. 508
2. Nursî, Mektubat, s. 450
3. Eraydın, Tasavvuf ve Tarikat, s. 89
4. Eraydın, Tasavvuf ve Tarikat, s. 90
5. Buhâri, İman, 37; Müslim, İman, 1