Hazrat Shaikh Moulana Muhammad Zakariyya (rahmatullahi ‘alaih) once mentioned the following:
My beloved friends! It is an accepted fact that has been witnessed throughout history, that without making an effort, a person will not achieve anything.
مپندار جان پدر گر کسی کہ بے سعی ہر گز بجائے رسی
My beloved! Never think that any person who has reached his goal, has reached his goal without making effort.
In the malfoozaat and irshaadaat (statements and advices) of Hazrat Hakeemul Ummah Moulana Ashraf Ali Thanwi (rahmatullahi ‘alaih), known as Tarbiyatus Saalik, and in his other writings as well, you will find it mentioned numerous times that du‘aa and tawajjuh (the special attention and focus of the shaikh) are merely ways to assist one to progress. The actual cause for progress is by one expressing his desire and longing for progress, and thereafter striving and making effort.
My Hazrat (i.e. Moulana Khaleel Ahmad Sahaaranpuri [rahmatullahi ‘alaih]) once wrote the following to me, in reply to one of my letters. He said:
“My example is like that of a hand-pump (which is used to draw out water from the well). The water comes to a person via the pump. However, the more effort a person puts in when pumping the water, the more water one will receive from Allah Ta‘ala.” (In other words, the actual giver is Allah Ta‘ala, and in accordance to one’s longing and effort, Allah Ta‘ala blesses one with progress and allows him to benefit more from his seniors.)
(Qutbul Aqtaab Hazrat Shaikhul Hadith Moulana Muhammad Zakariyya [rahmatullahi ‘alaih] pg. 413)