Knowing through information (khabar) comes to be seeing with direct vision (mu'ayana), through a transformation that concerns your heart and the purity of your innermost being (sirr). This is why the Commander of Believers, Ali bin Abi Talib (karamallahu wajhah) said, "Even if the veil were removed, my certitude (yaqin) would be no greater." He also said: "I do not worship a Lord I cannot see," and "My heart has let me see my Lord."
O ignorant ones! You must mingle with the scholars, serve them and learn from them. Knowledge is received from the mouths of men. You must attend the sessions of the scholars on your best behavior, and refrain from contradicting them. Try to benefit from them, in order to acquire some of their knowledge, receive their blessings and learn many useful lessons from them. In the company of the knowers ('arifun) you must sit in silence and in the company of the abstinent (zahidun) adopt a favorable attitude toward them.
The knower ('ariff) is one who at every moment comes closer to Allah than he was the moment before. At every moment his humility toward his Lord is renewed as is his submissiveness toward Him. He humbles himself to One who is present, not absent. His humility increases in proportion to his nearness to his Lord and his dumbness increases in proportion to his witnessing (mushahada). When someone really knows ('arafa) Allah, muteness overcomes the tongue of his lower self (nafs), his natural impulses (tab'), his passions (hawa), his habits ('ada) and his existence (wujud). As for the tongue of his heart, his innermost being (sirr), his spiritual state (hal), his station (maqam) and his gift ('ata'), it speaks to declare the blessings he enjoys. This is why they sit with them in silence to benefit from them and to drink the wine that matures in their hearts.
Note: Extracts from lectures given by Shaykh Abdul Qadir al-Jilani in Ramadhan 545 A.H. Reference: The Sublime Revelation (Al-fath ar-Rabbani) Translated from the Arabic by Muhtar Holland.