This is an excerpt of the “Teachings of Shah Waliyullah of Delhi” written by G. N. Jalbani:
There are four periods in the history of Tasawwuf. The first one is of the first and the second century of Islam, in which the outcome of Tasawwuf and the sumtotal of religion was Ihsan. The second one begins with Junaid Baghdadi. In that period stress was laid on the acquisition of the attributes of Ta’alluq-billah (“Attachment with Allah”). The third period starts with Shaikh Abu Sa’id bin Abi’l-Khair and Shaikh Abu’l-Hassan Khirqani, in which the Sufis crossing the bar of actions acquired the degree of Jadhb (Attraction). The last one is that of Ibn-ul-‘Arabi, in which other relevant problems of Tasawwuf were discusses; for example the emanation of this universe from Wajib-ul-Wujud (Self-Existent). Shah Sahib, however, claims to have combined in his person all the attributes of the Tasawwuf of these four periods.
[reference: Hama’at, Hama’s 1, 2, 16.]