In a letter Shaikh al Hadith Maulana Zakariya Kandhlawi/Madani (1898 –1982) wrote to Maulana Abdul Majid Daryabadi (1892 –1977) [Allah have mercy on them]:
Suhba (company) of ahul-Allah (the pious) holds a unique position and importance in bringing about firmness in actions, correct understanding of religion and motivation to act on demands of faith.
Ignoring the suhba of pious is one of the tribulations (fitnah) from the many major ordeals of our era.
No doubt, a lot of information can be acquired from reading books. But the effectiveness of accompanying a living (pious) person is totally unique.
I agree it is essential to safe oneself from worshiping the Sheikh. But ignoring the suhba of pious is equally destructive.
Specially, the fatal moral characteristics of u’jub (high regard for self), arrogance, importance of self suggestion and self admiration can never be eliminated without the company of the pious (especially the Shaikh).”
Hakeemul Ummat ra, (by Mawlana Abdul Majid Daryabadi ra) page 568-9