Answered by Sayyidi Habib Umar bin Hafiz (may Allah protect him and benefit us by him)
What is the beginning of the path to Allah? Is there an end to this path, and how do we reach it?
The beginning of the path is an inward matter that has an outward manifestation. The inward matter is a gift from Allah, an urge that causes one to truly reflect on the obligation of travelling to Allah while being afraid of being cut off from Him. This urge causes the seeker firstly to truly repent from acts of disobedience and then to seek beneficial knowledge and to act in accordance with it. The seeker will then be taken from having a general knowledge of Allah to having a special knowledge of Him.
The first milestone on this path is for there to be no difference in the seeker’s state whether he is alone or in the company of people. He then continues to travel along the path and ascend. Even those who have reached an advanced stage never reach ‘an end’ as the attributes, names, bounty and knowledge of the One they are travelling to are unlimited. Thus the seeker continues to ascend eternally.