A synonym for Sufism in Arabic is "path" (or tariqa'). This term does not mean a road that anyone can follow. It refers to a path in the desert from one oasis to the next. It is a trackless path; the sands shift constantly. You need a guide to get to that next oasis because, unless you have traveled that way often, you could never find your way by yourself. A Sufi teacher is a guide who has traveled the spiritual path, who knows the way and its pitfalls and dangers.

James Fadiman, Robert Frager, Essential Sufism by James Fadiman, editor, Robert Frager, editor