Invocation (Zikr) and contemplation Tasawur of Ism-e-Allah Zaat and Ism-e-Mohammad can only lead to Allah if invoked (Zikr) and contemplated Tasawur under the guidance of a spiritual mentor (Murshid) who knows the path of Union (Visal). Whenever one wants to travel an unknown destination, he does seek guidance, just like a person who wants to learn a lesson or a skill or to get education, seeks an instructor. Similarly, Faqr's esoteric path is unknown to the devotee, moreover Satan like a brigand, lies in ambush to deceive and mislead so that one may never reach Allah. In the Holy Qur'an Allah says:
Meaning: Satan forbids you to (join the way of) Faqr (as it will take you close to Allah) and enjoins you to commit indecent acts. (Al Baqra-268) So, the seeker of Allah needs a spiritual `guide (Murshid) together with invocation and contemplation of the Personal Name of Allah (Zikr and Tasawur-e-Ism-e-Allah Zaat). Our Holy Prophet Sall'Allahu Alayhi Wa'alihi Wasallam says:
Meaning: Find a companion first and then set on a journey. A perfect spiritual mentor (Murshid-e-kamil), the one who completely knows this path, is to a devotee, a guide, a teacher, a companion; only he can save a devotee from satanic temptations (Vasavis) and ambitions of the ethereal personalities of self (Nafs) and takes him to the destination. Without a spiritual mentor (Murshid-e-kamil), no matter, how pious and devoted one is to physical prayers, one can never attain Gnosis (Marifat) of Allah. Holy Prophet Sall'Allahu Alayhi Wa'alihi Wasallam said:
Meaning: One who is not guided by a mentor is verily guided by a Satan.
Certainly a devotee, stranger to the path, is easily misled by Satan if not accompanied by a spiritual guide (Murshid-e-kamil).
The spiritual guide (Murshid-e-kamil) is also like a physician to his devotee, one who cures the spiritual diseases like lust, vanity, greed, wile, malice, hypocrisy, haughtiness, arrogance etc to make soul strong enough for journeying the path of Faqr without arduousness.
Hazrat Sakhi Sultan Bahoo Rehmat-ul-Allah Alayh says:
Allah is concealed in the being of man just as the actual fruit is hidden inside the peal. Only a spiritual mentor can make it possible for a devout to find intimate closeness and spiritual presence before Allah and be blessed with His splendid sight and then the devout is never separated from Allah, whether it is this world of material life or the eternal world. (Noor-ul-Huda).
Meaning: You cannot find Allah just by physical prayers. You need guidance by someone who has already found Allah.
Meaning: If you could find some guide like Hazrat Musa Alayhi Salam found Hazarat Shoaib Alayhi Salam, you can easily become 'Kaleem" (someone who directly talks to Allah) from a Shaban (shepherd), as Hazrat Musa did.
In the Holy Qur'an Allah also emphasizes to approach such mentor who is accomplished in the invocation (Zikr)
Meaning: If you do not know (the way to Allah) then ask those who are accomplished in Zikr. (Al Anbia-7) Here Allah has not ordered to seek those with material knowledge of religion i.e. religious scholars, because this knowledge leads different people to different perceptions to reach the truth because they analyze the religion according to their own compass of information and approach thus, ending nowhere but sectarianism. Today sectarianism in muslims is because of different approaches of different scholars towards the knowledge of the religion. Every religious scholar defines and interprets the religion according to his own knowledge and approach. Those who find any interpretation in accordance with their own reasoning start following that particular sect. Therefore, the muslims are divided into so many sects of the prayers and rituals thus following their own version of the right path. Though there is nothing but one path. Allah says in the Holy Qur'an :
Meaning: "Hold unto the single rope of Allah and do not make sections among yourself".
Religious scholars are themselves divided into sections, how they could show the path of Allah to others.
The perfect mentors (Murshid-e-kamil) are the spiritual successors of the Holy Prophet Sall'Allahu Alayhi Wa'alihi Wasallam and the custodians and heirs to the treasure of Faqr, hence are on the right path (Sirat-e-Mustqeem). They are always present in this world to perform the obligation of connecting men to Allah spiritually and give them the knowledge of Gnosis (Marifat) of Allah. World is never left without them. Those who have lost trust in the true spiritual guides (Murshid-e-kamil) upon deception by the fraudulent ones are at fault themselves; it's their intentions that are adulterated with their material desires, so they find a false guide due to their own false desires. Those, who sincerely set to seek Allah only, are never deceived because Allah has Himself promised to guide His true seekers. In the Holy Qur'an Allah promises:
Meaning: And those who toil hard (and fight their inner self vehemently) for my closeness, I certainly guide them in my way (of striving for attaining Gnosis) and verily Allah blesses the men of spiritual excellence with His companionship (Al Ankabut-69)
And Allah never goes against His promise. Those who desire world and worldly treasures and wealth, false respect and power or heaven and its pleasures would get guide according to their desires. But those who purely seek Allah's proximity (Qurb) and His Vision (Deedar) are guided by Allah Himself towards the perfect spiritual guide (Murshid-e-kamil). This guide purifies and cleans the inner selves (Batin) of the seekers according to the way of our Holy Prophet Sall'Allahu Alayhi Wa'alihi Wasallam as mentioned in the Holy Qur'an in surah Al Jummah verse 2.
Meaning: ''He (Allah) is the one who sent a (glorious) Messenger (Sall'Allahu Alayhi Wa'alihi Wasallam) among the ignorant people from among themselves who recites to them His revelations, rectifies (their soul) and teaches them the book (the true meaning of the Qur'an) and wisdom''. (Al-Juma'a-2)
The spiritual mentor cures the soul from vanity, lust, greed, wile, malice, haughtiness, arrogance and all that is ill esoterically. Then by continued invocation and contemplation of the Personal Name "Allah" (Zikr and Tasawur-e-Ism-e-Allah Zaat), under the guidance of a perfect mentor (Murshid-e-kamil), the soul of a devout reaches that stage of ultimate purity and sanctity where his soul becomes the sacred soul (Rooh-e-Qudsi). Only this sacred soul (Rooh-e-Qudsi), because of its purity and sanctity, can reach that closeness where it can gain Allah's recognition (Pehchan) and the Vision (Deedar). This is the purest soul which was present in a person's body at the time of birth. Allah said about this soul:
Meaning: Indeed we have created man in the best constitution. (At-Tin-4)
But after coming to this world, this pure soul gets entangled in worldly desires and suffers from the intrinsic diseases. Man is so involved with his material needs that he completely ignores the demands of the soul, so it gradually becomes weak and dejected and loses its purity.
The spiritual guide not only purifies the soul of the devout but also unfolds before him the reality of this mortal and deceitful world. The purified soul, when finds the true pleasures of closeness of Allah and His glorified Vision, all the temporary pleasures of the world lose their charm. So the devout struggles to get closer to Allah, instead of running after these short lived pleasures. Now he has no lust for wealth. All the luxuries are meaningless in front of Allah's will. To Please Allah, he becomes humble and submissive. He does not expect anything from anyone except Allah; rather his submissiveness makes it easy for him to remain contented and happy in every situation. He always trusts upon Allah. He not only gets rid of lust and greed but is also freed from the fear of all others except Allah. So no one can force him to do wrong. He comes to know that no position or post is better than being close to Allah, so he never does anything wrong to get material wealth, position, false respects or worldly glory. He also knows that a soul captured by the curses of greed, vanity, lust, malice etc. can never get close to Allah, so he becomes pure in his behaviours with others as well as never lets any vicious thoughts about others to overcome his mind and soul. In this way, not only his inner self is set right but his extrinsic self and behaviours are also improved.
After having intimate knowledge of Allah, he knows by verification of his heart that Allah is always close to him and is watching his every step, so fear of Allah stops him from committing any sin. As Allah says:
Meaning: Amongst the servants of Allah, only those fear Allah (the most), who have (His intimate) knowledge. (Fatir-28)
In this verse 'knowledge' refers to the intimate Gnosis and knowledge of Allah and not the worldly knowledge, and this knowledge can only be gained through invocation and contemplation of The Personal Name of Allah under the guidance of a spiritual guide and mentor.