The following is a paraphrase of what the reviver of Sunna (Muhiyyus Sunnah), Maulana Shah Abrarul Haqq of Hardoi (Allah have mercy on him ) said.
‘Every day when I drink tea it brings to mind the similitude of the process of traversing the spiritual path (sulook).
Water and tea leaves individually have their own properties. However, they have to be mixed together under certain special circumstances to make them tea.
First water is to be brought to rolling boil. Then tea leaves are added. They are thoroughly mixed and left to sit alone. This brings out the colors and flavors. Then only tea is ready to be consumed.
Skipping any of the steps of this process will not provide the delicious end results.
In this scenario the similitude of the seeker is like water that wants to become tea. The tea leaves are the company and guidance of the Shaikh. Whereas the process of boiling is the spiritual struggle (mujahidda).
Remember that merely mixing the water with tea leaves is not enough. The water has to be brought to boil. It has to be mixed and left alone for a while. Only then it is able to extract the color and flavor from tea leaves.
Similarly in order to benefit from the company and guidance of the Shaikh the seeker has to do mujahidda. That is abandoning all the sinful and doing the necessary and even extra acts of worship. Only then this association will be beneficial.’
Khanqah e Ashrafiya, Gulshan Iqbal Karachi, 1980s