| A Tarīqah is a school of Sufism. A Tarīqah has a Murshid, or Guide, who plays the role of leader or spiritual director of the organization. Schools were developed, concerning themselves with topics of mystical experience, education of the heart to purify it of baser instincts, the love of God, and approaching God through progressive stages (maqaam) and states (haal).
Tarīqahs have a Silsilah meaning chain or, more idiomatically, a lineage of various Shaykhs that eventually leads back to Muhammad. Almost all order except the Naqshbandi order has a Silsilah that leads back to Muhammad through `Alī. One starts with sharia (Islamic law), the exoteric or mundane practice of Islam and then is initiated into the mystical (esoteric path of a Tariqah (Sufi Order).