Hakim al Umma Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanvi ( Allah have mercy on him) said,
‘The pious (masters) do not focus excessively on the exoteric actions (dhahiri a’mal). This is because they can be rectified in a moment merely by changing one’s determination. That is, an individual who does not pray can (make a firm determination) in a moment and start praying, one who shaves his beard can (make a firm determination) in a moment and let it grow. Similarly, in a moment an alcoholic can repent from drinking and a transgressor (fasiq fajir) becomes God-fearing.
The important thing that the pious focus on is the rectification of the moral characteristics (ikhlaq e batinah), like arrogance (kibr) etc.. The rectification of these is very difficult.’
Husn al-Aziz, Malfuzat e Hakim al Umma ra, volume 17, page 284