In order to diagnose our hidden internal misbehavior and defects we may seek the assistance of a learned scholar of ethics who after having perfected itself has achieved a praiseworthy moral conduct. We must explain in detail the characteristics and internal behavior to him, and should request him to remind us about our psychic faults and moral indecencies.
A spiritual physician who is a psychiatrist as well as a scholar of ethics, whose beliefs and actions coincides, and is a true manifestation of higher moral excellence- is extremely useful and influential for achieving self-perfection and undertaking a spiritual journey towards Allah. If one finds such a person, one must be thankful to Allah for this blessing. Imaam Ja’far us-Saadiq (as) said that, “We are the doctors (tabeeb) of the souls of the believers.” So according to the belief of the religion of the household of the Prophet, the Holy Imaam is the sole spiritual authority of the mumineen.
Unfortunately such persons are not available early and are in shortage. The correct diagnosis of the self-disease is extremely difficult, therefore it is the patients duty to describe in detail his deeds and internal characteristics without reservation before such a spiritual physician to unable him diagnose his sickness correctly. If the patient did not reveal all the realities about him then he would not obtain the desired results.
Self-refinement and identification of moral indecencies can also be possible by consulting a good friend because a good friend who is wise, intelligent and a well wisher is a great blessing from Allah; subjected to his being knowledgeable to identify our good and bad characteristics. Because if he could not diagnose the good and bad characteristics he cannot help us, but on the contrary he may regard our weaknesses as virtues and vice-versa. In case if he is not a trusted well wisher, it is quite possible that for the continuation of friendship he might conceal our faults and even for appeasement can mislead by branding our indecencies as our virtues.
If luckily we find such a well wisher, we must ask him to point out our faults and defects. If he does so we must appreciate him his reminders, should utilize for the improvement of self, should make him understand that his criticism is sincerely appreciated and that we are not unhappy but we are grateful and pleased to know our own faults. On the other our friend should be obliged and through his practical actions must prove his honesty and sincerity. He must review the characteristics of his friend honestly without any reservations, and should let him know about his observations in a friendly and well wishing manner and in strict confidence. And he should strictly prohibit of talking about our faults in front of others. He must reveal the facts and must not exaggerate, a believer is supposed to be like a mirror for another believer reflecting the latter’s beauty and ugliness the way they are without making any addition and subtraction.
If one of us finds such an ideal friend then we indeed have received one of Allah’s blessings. He must appreciate it, should be pleased for his comments, must thank him, and must realize that a friend who criticizes for the sake of his improvement is one of the best and most valuable friends.
If someone reminds you that there are poisonous scorpions upon your dress, Will you feel offended and will take revenge or will you be pleased and thank him? The undesirable characteristics are like poisonous scorpions and even worst then them because they sting and continuously strive their entries inside the soul. Some one who helps us to be against them has indeed done the greatest services for us.
Imaam Ja'far us-Saadiq (as) said, “The one who points out my faults to me is my best brother.”