Bismillahi Rahmaanir Raheem
Hadhrat Moulana Ashraf Ali Thanwi (Rahmatullahi ‘Alayh) said: “When a person becomes my Mureed, my first worry and concern is not his Islaah (reformation), rather it is creating my love in his heart. Once that is achieved, his Islaah becomes very easy; because in love, a person accepts everything of his beloved and is keen to practise on it.”
In these times, so much is plastic or not durable and things break very easily. In a similar vein, Mureeds today are sensitive and are not strong and resilient. So the true Mashaa’ikh, taking into consideration the nature of the people, of their Mureedeen, take it easy with their Mureeds. Even if they scold, it is done in such a way, whereby the Mureed only increases in his Muhabbat for the Sheikh and does not feel disillusioned and despondent, or runs away.
For the Sheikh to understand the temperament of people is very important. Therefore, we find that the Sheikh who is Kaamil is generally not harsh or hard and will also not scold much, because he understands that if he adopts harshness, the little benefit that the Mureed is getting, will also be lost.
This too is in accordance with the Sunnah and is mentioned by Allah Ta’ala, in regard to Rasulullah (Sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam):
‘Thus, it is due to mercy from Allah that you deal with them gently. And had you been rough or hard-hearted, they would certainly have dispersed from around you…’
[Surah Aal-Imraan 3 : 159]
We find the gentleness and mercy of Rasulullah (Sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam) apparent in his manner and method of correcting the people. He had the best understanding and perception of human psychology and was thus, the most successful in Islaah and Tazkiyyah. And this success is evident when considering that in a short period of time, a people who were barbaric and uncivilised, engaging in all kinds of major sins, became the best of people, with the noblest characters and actions, by virtue of the company and guidance of Rasulullah (Sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam).
Take the famous incident, narrated by Hadhrat Abu Umamah (Radhiyallahu 'anhu) who mentioned of a young man who came to Rasulullah (Sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam) and said: “O Messenger of Allah, give me permission of Zina.”
Whilst the Sahaba-e-Kiraam (Radhiyallahu 'anhum) turned to him and started rebuking him, Rasulullah (Sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam) invited the young person to come closer and to sit down.
And then Rasulullah (Sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam) appealed to his sense of honour, by asking him if he would like the same for his mother, his daughter, his sister and other relatives. Each time, the young man replied in the negative. Rasulullah (Sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam) would respond that similarly, others would not like that for their women folk.
Rasulullah (Sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam) then placed his blessed hand on the young man and prayed for him, "O Allah, forgive his sins, purify his heart, and protect his chastity." Hazrat Abu Umamah (Radhiyallahu 'anhu) said that the young man did not pay heed to any temptation or anything Haraam thereafter.
We can gauge from such incidents, the positive results of mercy and compassion in making Islaah, over harshness and hardness. The way of Nabi (Sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam) is perfection, because it was inspired by Allah Ta’ala. Any other way will not invite the same results.
…If the Sheikh adopts harshness and severity in dealing with his Mureeds, the hearts of the Mureeds will turn away and they will not have any interest in following through with the Sheikh’s instructions or even keeping his company.
Thus, the Sheikh has to be wise, discreet and experienced. There are times where he will reprimand, where he will have to reprimand, but his reprimanding is due to a genuine concern that the Mureed be successful on this path. This kind of reprimand then brings about positive results.
Our Sheikh (Rahmatullahi ‘Alayh) mentioned that his Sheikh would say that the one who has not been subjected to the process of Islaah and has not withstood the scolding of the Sheikh, will not have others endure and tolerate his scolding.
...So these are amongst his distinct qualities and by which he is also recognized as a Sheikh-e-Kaamil, together with other noble characteristics also.
This experience, skill and ability to treat the spiritual sicknesses of his Mureeds correctly, comes from the Sheikh having spent a considerable time in the company of his own Sheikh, for his own Islaah, undergoing Mujahadah (Striving) in the path to Allah Ta’ala, learning from his Sheikh, the ways and methods of Islaah and becoming acquainted with the territory and its dangers.
Being an Aalim is one thing, and to be a Muslih is another. A person has to first undergo the process of Islaah and Tazkiyyah himself to learn the process of Islaah and Tazkiyyah.
May Allah Ta’ala guide us towards complete Islaah and Tazkiyyah, with ease, and grant us such guides who are a reflection of Rasulullah (Sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam) and who guide in the best possible ways.
By Hadhrat Moulana Abdul Hamid Is`haq Saheb (Daamat Barakaatuhum)
 Sheikh-e-Kaamil: Accomplished, experienced and pious Sheikh
 Muslih : One who reforms