This is a valuable excerpt from Words and Reflections of Sheikh Ilyas regarding knowledge. It is also a reminder in a way that you are a reflection of your friend circle more than the number of Islamic books you read i.e. importance of good company.
About knowledge, Sheikh Ilyas research was that limiting the teaching and learning of the knowledge of Islam to mere words and impressions of books and the boundaries of religious institutions is the method of the later period, and this method is the other name of depriving a major part of Muslim community of the wealth of Islam. By this method a very small part of the Muslim community gets the benefits of Islam, and that too, sees some books and memorises some words. The common and natural method of the teaching and learning of Islam, by which millions of people can get not only the ‘knowledge of Islam’ but the ‘essence of Islam’ (Islam itself) in a short time, and without any physical equipment and material expense is :
(1) the meeting and mixing with and remaining in the company of the people of knowledge and practice (Scholars and Pious People)
(2) joining oneself with these people in their struggle and propagation for Islam
(3) taking time out for this purpose
As the language and civilization are at the best adopted only by meeting with and remaining in the company of civilized people and masters of the mother tongue, and this is the only and natural way of learning, similarly, the correct knowledge of Islam can be had by constantly meeting, mixing and associating oneself with the pious people; and this is the only and natural way of learning Islam.
This is because there are many sections of the knowledge of Islam which are beyond the grip of pen. Islam is a living and active thing, whereas the printed words of books are dead impressions and producing a living thing from a dead substance goes against the law of Nature.