This islahi/self-reformation correspondence is the vital cornerstone of sulook in our path.
Mureed writes about his state in regards to observance of Shariah, the wird prescribed, overwhelming thoughts and any questionable moral traits demonstrated in every day life in dealing with self and others. The Sheikh reviews it and diagnoses any ailments, if present and treats as appropriate.
To be definitely effective this has to be at regular intervals, usually once every month or fortnightly.
It is alchemy.
Recognizing its importance, nafs & shaytan try their best to put obstacles for doing it successfully. Mureed becomes lazy & slack, finding numerous excuses for not doing it. Even if he sits down to write a letter, he can not recall anything ‘significant’ to convey.
Once as similar mureed wrote to Sidi wa sandi Hazrat Moulana Mohammad Taqi Usmani sahib (Allah SWT preserve him & allow us to benefit from him a lot. Ameen!) that I can not bring to mind any thing to write in my letter.
Hazrat db replied:
“Writing even this, itself is sufficient.”
This is because; it keeps you in the habit of writing letters to the Sheikh, shows your concern and sincerity for self reformation, is an opportunity to request for dua and informs the Sheikh that at least you are not deteriorating and seeing your effort he makes special dua for you.
Hazrat db also said;
“For mureed who do not have the opportunity to be in close direct contact with the Sheikh to discuss their states in person regularly, it is essential to have this islahi correspondence. The mureed and even the Sheikh who do not recognize this are committing a fundamental mistake in Tasawwuf (especially our tareeq/path).”