Allah’s religion has 3 Pillars.
Islam,Iman and Ihsan.
It is mentioned in Quran and Hadith
Also on the authority of ‘Umar, radiyallahu ‘anhu, who said:
“While we were one day sitting with the Messenger of Allah, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, there appeared before us a man dressed in extremely white clothes and with very black hair. No traces of journeying were visible on him, and none of us knew him.
He sat down close by the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, rested his knee against his thighs, and said, O Muhammad! Inform me about Islam.” Said the Messenger of Allah, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, “Islam is that you should testify that there is no deity save Allah and that Muhammad is His Messenger, that you should perform salah (ritual prayer), pay the zakah, fast during Ramadan, and perform Hajj (pilgrimage) to the House (the Ka’bah at Makkah), if you can find a way to it (or find the means for making the journey to it).” Said he (the man), “You have spoken truly.”
We were astonished at his thus questioning him and telling him that he was right, but he went on to say, “Inform me about iman (faith).” He (the Messenger of Allah) answered, “It is that you believe in Allah and His angels and His Books and His Messengers and in the Last Day, and in fate (qadar), both in its good and in its evil aspects.” He said, “You have spoken truly.”
Then he (the man) said, “Inform me about Ihsan.” He (the Messenger of Allah) answered, ” It is that you should serve Allah as though you could see Him, for though you cannot see Him yet He sees you.” He said, “Inform me about the Hour.” He (the Messenger of Allah) said, “About that the one questioned knows no more than the questioner.” So he said, “Well, inform me about the signs thereof (i.e. of its coming).” Said he, “They are that the slave-girl will give birth to her mistress, that you will see the barefooted ones, the naked, the destitute, the herdsmen of the sheep (competing with each other) in raising lofty buildings.” Thereupon the man went off.
I waited a while, and then he (the Messenger of Allah) said, “O ‘Umar, do you know who that questioner was?” I replied, “Allah and His Messenger know better.” He said, “That was Jibril. He came to teach you your religion.”"
Welcome to Islam-The foundation of the religion of Allah 
Islam,Iman,Ihsan-The Pillars of Religion
Islam, the first pillar of the religion is the gateway to the religion of Allah. It comprise testimony of faith (Shahada), and laws and methods of all external deeds which a Muslim is obligated to accept and follow in his/her life.
All obligatory and voluntary deeds and how to do it, are mentioned in this level. The study branch of “Islam” is known as “Fiqh” or Jurisprudence (Shari’a).  In Sunni Islam, we follow one of the four Imams’ Schools of Jurisprudence, namely “Hanafi,Shafi’e,Maliki and Hanbali”.
Islam is the body of the religion of Allah.
The title of the followers of Islam is known as “Muslim”
Iman-the back bone of the Religion.
While Islam is the Foundation “basement”, Iman (Faith) can be compared to the “backbone”.
Iman is otherwise known as “Theology and Beliefs”. The study of the subjects Iman is called as “Aqeedha” in Arabic.
Six fundamentals of Iman begins with Testimony of Faith (Shahada), that is:
“I bear witness that there is no god but Allah and Muhammad is Servant and Messenger of Allah”-Peace and Blessings of Allah be up on him.
“Ash-hadu an La Ilaha Illa Allahu wa Ash-hadu anna Muahmmadan Abdu hu wa Rasoolu hu”-Swalla Allahu alaihi wa sallam.
The title of the followers of Iman is known as “Mua’,min”
To become  a Mu’amin, you have to become a good Muslim first by following Sunnah and Shari’a and have undoubtful Faith in the fundamentals of Iman without Question!.
Ihsan-The Goal and Heights (Peak) of the Religion of Allah
Ihsan is the Soul and Goal of the religion and purpose of the Islam and Iman”.
Only common fundamental repeats in the 3 Pillars of the religion (Islam,Iman and Ihsan) is “Testimony of Faith” (Shahada).
The study of Ihsan is known as “Tasawwuf” or Sufism in English. The followers of the masters of Ihsan (Pious servants of Allah-Awliya Allah) is known as “Sufis”.
Since Ihsan “It is that you should serve Allah as though you could see Him, for though you cannot see Him yet He sees you.
Allah commands that you shall obey those who are charged with authority amongst you.
Quran 4:59. Sura Nisa: O ye who believe! obey Allah, and obey the Messenger, and those charged with authority among you.
Without fulfilling Ihasan-the third pillar of the religion of Allah, one’s religion is not complete!.
“Whoever dies without an Imaam then he dies the death of jaahileeyah” (AHMAD, MUTAQQI AL HINDI in ‘Kanzul U’maal’ [1/103])
Ihsan is to follow a spiritual guide (Imam) from the righteous successors of the Prophet (Peace and Blessings of Allah be up on him). To purify the heart, only pure heart can worship A`llah though you could see Allah.
Hadith:On the authority of Abu ‘Abdullah al-Nu’man bin Bashir, radiyallahu ‘anhu, who said: I heard the Messenger of Allah, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, say:
“Truly, what is lawful is evident, and what is unlawful is evident, and in between the two are matters which are doubtful which many people do not know. He who guards against doubtful things keeps his religion and honour blameless, and he who indulges in doubtful things indulges in fact in unlawful things, just as a shepherd who pastures his flock round a preserve will soon pasture them in it. Beware, every king has a preserve, and the things Allah has declared unlawful are His preserves. Beware, in the body there is a flesh; if it is sound, the whole body is sound, and if it is corrupt, the whole body is corrupt, and behold, it is the heart.”
[Al-Bukhari & Muslim]
An Imam should have the following basic conditions:
  • He must be authorized by his Shaykh and given permission (ijazah).
  • He must have an unbroken chain known as “Silsila” which connect him to Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be up on him) and the 12 Imams of Ahlu bayth (the house of Prophet-peace be up on them)
  • He must be following Shari’a of the Madhabs and Aqeedha of the Ahlu Sunnah wal Jamah (Mathuridhi or Ash’ari).
The schools of the Pious Servants of Allah are known as Sufi Orders or Tarikat.
ان ا لإنسان اذا لم تلقن الّذكر الشريف الذي هو التوحيد من شيخ مرشد له نسبة متّصلة بالنّبي صلي الله عليه وسلم , فبعيد ان يستحضرها وقت الحاجة اليها وقت مصيبة الموت (الشّيخ محي الدين عبد القادر الجيلاني قدّس الله سرّه العزيز
“Whoever among men, who did not receive the “Testimony of Faith-Kalimatu Tauhid” from a spiritual teacher, who connected to the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be up on him) in an unbroken chain (Silsila), then it is very difficult from him/her to remember the Tauhid during the final important time of death”.(Sayyidul Awliya Shaykh Muhyiddin Abdul Qadir Al Jilani,Qaddasallahu Sirrahul Azeez)
These words are clear without in need of further explanations. This words are for all people and for all time.
Dear brothers, that’s the reason pious people of the past were followed the ways of the Sufis and trained their followers in the way of tauheed.
Shaykh Abdul Qadir Al Jilani (Peace be up him), the Master of Saints again saying:
وليتحقق بان الله عز وجل أجر العادة بان يكون في الارض شيخ و مريد وصاحب و مصحوب و تابع ومتبوع من لدن أدم الي ان تقوم الساعة
 (الغنية 280)
Predecessors, Preceded,Followers, followed, Shaykh, Murid, all these traditions are the systems which Allah implemented up on mankind, since the time of Adam alaihissalam. (Ghunya 280/2)
وشيخ التربية لا يخلو الزمان منه أبدا 
(الفتوحات الالهية290 )
“There was no time, without the Shaykh of Tarbiyya” (Al Futuhatul Ilahiyya 290)
Imam Tawbi (radiyallahu Anhu) says: “
لا ينبغي للعالم ولو تبحّر في العلم حتي صار واحد أهل زمانه أن يقنع بما علمه وأنما الواجب عليه الأجتماع بأهل الطريق ليدلّوه علي الطريق المستقيم -تنوير القلوب 
“Even if someone  gain ocean like knowledge and become greatest scholar of his time and none  is there grater than him in knowledge, he cannot be satisfied with that knowledge. But it is obligatory on him to live with the Shaykhs of tasawwuf to know and get the right path” (Tanvirul Quloob 404)
وقد جرت العادة وجرّبت بأنّ التطهير لازم عن النجاسات المعنوية والأدناس الطوية والخضوع والخشوع في الصلاة وسائر العبادات بمشهد أن تعبدالله كأنّك تراه وان لم تكن تراه فانّه يراك المعبّر عنه بمقام الإحسان وهذا لا يتيسّر في الغالب للطلاب الاّ بيد شيخ عارف كامل خبير بعلاج هذه الامراض ولوحفظ المبتلي كتباعديدا لا يستغني بها عن التربية علي يد مثل هذا الشيخ ليخرجه من رعوة النفس الأمّارت بالسوء ودسائسها الخفية—
  الدرر المرضية  
“To purify yourself from the impurity and dirty of the heart and to worship Allah described as Ihsan-as though you could see Him, for though you cannot see Him yet He sees you, to do the prayers and deeds as mentioned above, it is not easy to reach in such station without the help and support of a Shaykh-who is a knower of God (Arif) and to gain such level of worship the knowledge of the book is not enough, even though you studied 100s of books. You need “tarbiyyath” of a Shaykh to purify and cure you from such sickeness. That Shaikh free him from the unseen sickness of the heart and mind.
(Addurarul Mardiyya13)
Hazret Ali Ibn Abi Taalib (Radiyallahu Anhu) saying :
أذا المرء ربّي نفسه بمراده        لقد شاد بنيانا علي غير أسّه “
ومن لم تربّيه الرجال وتسقه      لبانا لهم قد درّ من ثدى قدسه 
فذاك لقيط ماله نسبة الولا        ولن يتعدّى غير ابناء جنسه
(30 قلا دة الجواهر )
“When someone make tarbiyyath himself without a Shaykh, it is like he constructing a building without the foundation!,Those who do not have tarbiyath of shyakhs will not get the spiritual wisdom coming from Allah like a fountain of wisdom coming through the Shaykhs ,thus he will not reach in lofty stations  of faith. He will be like illegitimate children who got someone to be called as a father!”
(Qalaidul Jawahir 30)
Some people think the goal of Sufism is just to gain some spiritual knowledge.whoever whether Muslim or non-Muslim, follow the ways of Sufis wil receive certain knowledge and wisdom because of their good deeds they perform under the order. It may be just loving a saint. But whoever seeks “Allah”, then he/she must follow Islam.
“Certainly only religion accepted by Allah is Islam-Sura Al Imraan-chapter3.
Some people think the goal of Sufism is just to gain some spiritual knowledge.whoever whether Muslim or non-Muslim, follow the ways of Sufis wil receive certain knowledge and wisdom because of their good deeds they perform under the order. It may be just loving a saint. But whoever seeks “Allah”, then he/she must follow Islam.
“Certainly only religion accepted by Allah is Islam-Sura Al Imraan-chapter3.
So, if your goal is hereafter life and Allah. Then you must follow the religion wholeheartedly. That is to accept Islam,Iman and Ihsan completely. Without leaving any of the 3 pillars of the religion of Allah. This is the golden rule.
Shaykh Zainuddin Maqdoom (Radiyallahu Anhu)
Stuyding Tasawwuf (Sufism) is Fard Ain, According to Shafi Madhab Scholar Shaykh Zainuddin Maqdoom (radiyallahu Anhu)
وَتَعَلَّمَنْ عِلْمًايُصَحِّحُ طَاعَة وَعَقِيدةً وَمُزَكِّيَ القَلْبِ اصْقُلاَ
study science that makes the worship( ilm fiqh) and beleif (ilm aqeedah) valid; and refine your heart (study ilm tasawwuf)
هَذِ الثَّلاَثَةُ فَرْضُ عَيْنٍ فَاعْرِفَنْ وَاعْمَلْ بِهَا تَحْصُلْ نَجَاةً وَاعْتَلاَ
These three (sciences) are personal obligations (fard ain). Study and practice them so that you will be success and high-ranked.

So if you are not someone who wait to follow Imam Mahdi (A.S), then don't say you do not follow other Imams!, those who follow Imam Mahdi will be the followers of other Imams. 
On the authority of Tamim Al-Dari that the prophet said:

"Religion is sincerity". We said: "To whom?" He said: "To Allah and His Book, and His messenger, and to the leaders of the Muslims and their common folk".
 narrated by Muslim 

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