All of the spiritual seekers aspire to do good and abstain from sinful actions.
However, most of us harbor a misconception regarding the means to achieve this goal.
We wish for a overpowering and overwhelming state that facilitates this for us by itself. Automatically. A kind of fairy tale magic spell.
Moreover, we assume that making supplications or reciting a particular litany (wadhifa) or associating with a pious individual or a group or reading classical spiritual text or visiting a holy site (like the revered Makkah and radiant Medinah) or worshiping in the blessed times (like the night of power) will create this ‘state’ for us.
This will never happen!
Hakim al Ummah Mujaddid Mawlana Ashraf Ali Thanawi (Allah have mercy on him) has repeatedly made this very clear in his works.
Self determination, self restraint and earnest hard work is needed to do good and abstain from sinful actions.
There is no other way around.
It is not easy.
Initially it is tough. This is the spiritual struggle (mujahida ). It brings the reward and its blessings in the here-after.
This is the norm in all the things we aspire to achieve. No school or work project is successfully completed just by supplicating, reading or associating with the experts. One has to toil and labor sincerely and put up his best effort in an organized manner to do it.
Therefore, praying the salah on time with the congregation, especially Fajr or having khushoo in salah or controlling anger or quit listening to music or watching the obscene on internet or ending free intermingling with opposite sex , etc. will never ever be achieved until we make a firm resolve to do so and use the self determination and restraint powers, bestowed to us by Allah, earnestly.
May Allah make this clear to us. Amin!