Hakeemul Ummah Hazrat Moulana Ashraf Ali Thaanwi Sahib رحمه الله has explained that nowadays people are terrified of reforming themselves. They wish to take the easy way out by preferring Zikr and Shaghl (spiritual exercises). How can people who are ill prescribe their own treatment? Even doctors who are ill will go to other physicians to have the illnesses diagnosed. This is the common sense approach where the advice of a specialist is sought. Similarly, it is vital for the Saalik to understand the need for a spiritual specialist.
An individual established ta'alluq with Hazrat Moulana Ashraf Ali Thaanwi Sahib رحمه الله. He informed Hazrat رحمه الله that he suffered from the disease of fornication and he was thereafter prescribed a remedy to prevent him from the wretched habit. He wrote back to Hazrat رحمه الله requesting him not to be harsh. This is a great impediment within us whereby we are involved in major sins but we do not consider the outcome of our acts of disobedience. Because of this lack of concern, our spiritual ailments are not cured.
On another occasion, a person wrote to Hakeemul Ummah Hazrat Moulana Ashraf Ali Thaanwi Sahib رحمه الله informing him that he was involved in the disease of lustful glances. He complained to Hazrat رحمه الله that he could not control himself. Hazrat رحمه الله replied: "Casting evil glances is a volitional act (ie it is done by one's own free will. One is not forced to cast lustful glances). Therefore, it is within one's power and ability to control and abstain (from evil glances) even though it may appear difficult. However, people just refuse to undergo any difficulty. But the punishment of Jahannum is severe and most difficult."
Another individual was involved in the evil habit of lustful glances. Hazrat Thaanwi Sahib رحمه الله asked him whether he will still ogle at a woman knowing that her husband is watching him. Obviously, he will not dare cast lustful glances because of the fear of apprehension. Thereafter, Hazrat Thaanwi Sahib رحمه الله commented: "The greatness of Allah Ta'ala in your heart does not even equal the greatness which your heart has for the husband. Allah Ta'ala is Omnipresent. He watches our conditions at all times. At all times He is aware of our evil conditions; however, we are not deterred. We are not conscious of being watched by Allah Ta'ala every moment. If this consciousness is developed, there will not be the audacity to sin in this way."
The Saalik needs to show purpose and sincerity in his approach; whilst at the same time 'taking the plunge' in combatting the evil traits and abandoning the feeble thoughts of being unable to resist the temptation towards sin.