Hazrat Moulana Muhammad Ilyaas (rahmatullahi ‘alaih) once mentioned the following:
When the general masses go to visit the Ulama (and deeni elders) with the hope of serving them, then (in order for them to acquire benefit,) they should make four intentions:
1. The first intention they should make is to fulfil the command of Islam (i.e. to fulfil the rights of brotherhood which they owe to their brother and which Islam commands them to fulfil). When any Muslim meets his Muslim brother solely to fulfil the command of Islam in regard to being concerned about his brother’s welfare i.e. his meeting him is only for the pleasure of Allah Ta‘ala, then seventy thousand angels spread their wings beneath his feet. When this is the great virtue of visiting an ordinary Muslim, then this virtue will certainly be acquired when visiting an Aalim of deen.
2. The second intention they should make is to show respect and honor to them. When the hearts and bodies of the Ulama (and deeni elders) carry the knowledge of Nubuwwah, then they are most worthy of being shown utmost respect and honor and they are worthy of being served.
3. The third intention they should make when visiting the Ulama (and deeni elders) and serving them is that the Ulama (and deeni elders) are responsible for supervising and administrating the deeni affairs of the Muslims. (Hence, they should learn deen from them and express gratitude for the good they acquire from them.)
4. The fourth intention they should make is to enquire if the Ulama (and deeni elders) have any worldly needs (that they may be able to assist in fulfilling). The reason is that if the general masses enquire about the worldly needs of the Ulama, and make an effort to fulfil their worldly needs, then the Ulama will be saved from spending their time in fulfilling their worldly needs. Hence, they will be able to spend this time in the service of deen and in disseminating the knowledge of deen to the people. Since the wealthy people who assist them will be the means for them spending their time for deen, the wealthy people will also have a share in the reward of their good works.
Nevertheless, when the general masses wish to serve the Ulama (and deeni elders), then it is important and necessary for them to do so under the guidance and supervision of reliable Ulama. The reason is that they may not know which Aalim (or deeni elder) requires which type of assistance, and who is more in need of assistance compared to others. However, if one is able to personally enquire regarding the needs of certain Ulama, then he may do so.
(Malfoozaat Hazrat Moulana Muhammad Ilyaas (rahmatullahi ‘alaih) pg. 43-44)