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Islamic mysticism/ tasawwuf/ "tazkiya e nafs / purification of soul or ego" is a path of self understanding.
On this path one realizes the inner aspect of religion and understands the meaning of his existence in this universe.
Anyone who wishes to embark on this journey looks for an accomplished spiritual master in order to undergo the process of spiritual training under his supervision.
This path of self realization leads to God and His love, which is the ultimate goal of human being in this existence.
This is a gradual process where one first needs to develop an understanding of his bad characteristics and then try to replace them with good characteristics, Zikr or Remembrance of God is been prescribed in order to help the seeker to continue this journey.
About Huston Smith: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Huston_Smith