This effort of self-reformation appears to be long, tedious, and exhausting. It seems to require real motivation and determination.
This is very true in ordinary situations.
How many of us have felt frustrated by our failed hard work in following the injunctions of Shariah, repeatedly?
However, this is not the case for those involved in Tasawwuf.
Once the Mureed starts the sincere effort of this self reformation Sheikh instructs and tries to develop love of Allah swt (mauhabbat/ta’aluq ma’aAllah) in him.
Love of Allah swt becomes the driving force in all this seemingly strenuous effort. It makes it easy and pleasurable.
Following example may make this more understandable:
Imagine I have to travel from Mycity to Makkah e mukkarramah. The distance between these two cities is 2000 miles. This is a long journey. It requires extraordinary effort. May be months of travel. In addition to this imagine the hostile weather and unfamiliar geography. This will be certainly true if I travel by foot or on a donkey, horse, camel, car or even bus. However, if I board a jet airliner, being flown by an expert pilot, I can traverse this distance in 2-4 hours.
The point of origin and destination remains the same, the distance between the two cities remains the same, the only thing that has changed is the transport.
By creating and nurturing the love of Allah swt, Tasawwuf does the same.
Just to remind: The goal is the attainment of Allah swt’s pleasure. Its means (distance) are by rectifying the external actions and inner moral states, i.e. by following Shariah completely. Love of Allah swt developed by Tasawwuf adds momentum to it.
Beware! This love has to be acquired and developed under the close supervision of the Sheikh. Excess of it is sometimes equally detrimental as is the lack of it.
Love alone without the guidance of a perfect Sheikh is like a stray jet which may crash anywhere and lead to destruction.
While excess of it may cause such an overwhelming state that the individual looses his corporeal senses and is permanently adsorbed in spiritual realm ( becomes a majzoub). This will lead to abandoning of physical worship and neglect of family/dependent rights. Eventually leading to Allah swt’s displeasure. Allah huma hafizna.
But True Love, is as Moalana Rumi ra says;
Az muhabat talakh ha shereen shawad
The love is the elixir, which makes unpalatable things sweet & tasty
May Allah swt gives us all some tiny fraction of His true love. Ameen