Mulhiq al-Asaghir bi’l-Akabir Hadhrat Hakim al-Ummah Mujaddid al-Millah Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanvi (Rahimullah) said,
‘Ilm [Knowledge] is that which vanishes from committing sins. And is not obtained by a sinner. If solely word-ism was the name of ‘Ilm, it would come together with sin, too – but even with Kufr [Disbelief]. Otherwise in Beirut and Germany Christians are instructors of Arabic, their memory is very strong and their mind is very fast. So, one comes to know that ‘Ilm is not the name of that. The reality of real ‘Ilm is Noor [Light], regarding which it is said in the Qur’an, قَدْ جَاءكُم مِّنَ اللّهِ نُورٌ وَكِتَابٌ مُّبِينٌ [“There has come to you from Allah a Light and clear Book.” – 5:15]. And this has been given a Ruh [Soul] as well, وَأَيَّدَهُم بِرُوحٍ [“…and has helped them with a Spirit from Him.” – 58:22]. Enough, in reality exactly this is ‘Ilm.
Imam Abu Hanifa (Rahimullah) hadn’t read books much. But Allah Ta’ala granted a light in his heart, that which thing he mentioned was told totally correct. And now how much ever experience someone may have, but that ‘Ilm won’t be graced that Imam Sahab had attained.