I have been recently reading the biography of al-Arif billah Shaykh Muhammad Nabhan, a wali from Aleppo, Syria, who passed away in 1974 (see photo). In particular, I found his words on loving the awliya quite striking. The shaykh stresses that one must absolutely have love for the `Awliya Allah. He says that a righteous and an upright man might still nevertheless be in 99% danger of dying on iman if he does not love the awliya Allah. On the contrary, he says that a thief or a drunkard whose heart is filled with the love of the awliya Allah will not die except on tawba due to his affection for Allah's beloved servants. The shaykh calls the love of the awliya - "wilaya sughra" (Lesser Sainthood). He also says that the awliya will intercede for us in our graves. He was also asked about a drunkard who keeps repeating "Ya Abd al-Qadir! and "Ya Rif'ai!". The shaykh replied that the man will not die except on tawba. You can be guaranteed that if these same words were uttered by a Sunni `alim from the subcontinent, they would be immediately dismissed as "Barelvi exaggerations about the awliya". By the way, this man was not some ordinary scholar but was widely regarded as a wali and was deeply loved and adored by the scholars of Syria, Iraq and Hijaz. Even the former king of Saudi Arabia, King Faisal called him a king. The shaykh used to be constantly in the presence of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) and Shaykh Abd al-Qadir Jilani (quddisa sirruh) in the state of wakefulness. May Allah sanctify his secret and raise his station in Jannah. Amin.