Suhbat (Companionship) with the Auliyaa is imperative for moral reformation and spiritual elevation. Without the company of the Auliyaa this is not normally possible. Suhbat of the Auliyaa has been the Sunnah of the Ummah from the very inception of Islam.
In the first phase it was Suhbat with the Nabi (sallallahu alayhi wasallam). Then followed the Suhbat of the Sahaabah and then of the Auliyaa. And, this Sunnah has been transmitted down the centuries. No man, barring rare exceptions, gained spiritual ascendency without the Suhbat of the Auliyaa. Those who had attempted the spiritual sojourn alone, ended up in deviation, some even prostrating to shaitaan. Those who seek to plod this path of reformation and spiritual elevation without the guidance of the Auliyaa, in the end formulate for themselves cults of satanism.
When the Suhbat — physical Suhbat — of the Auliyaa is not available, as is the case in the present day, the next best method is to study their lives and read in abundance the episodes, anecdotes, advices and admonition of the Mashaa-ikh.
Excerpt from ORCHARDS OF LOVE published by Majlis.net