Alhamdulillah yesterday evening I received the opportunity to go into the service of a very old and elderly scholar, Hadrat Mawlana 'Arif sahib damat barakatuhum. Hadrat lives in fact only 2 kilometers away from me, but because of his excessive weakness, the chance to meet him is less. Alhamdulillah today I got the chance of meeting him along with two of my students.
Hadrat's age is almost 85 to 90 years. Around 1940, he studied for six years at Jami'a Islamia Dabhel. At the time he was in the introductory stage, the Jami'a had teachers of the likes of 'Allamah Anwar Shah Kashmiri, 'Allamah Shabbir Ahmad 'Uthmani, Mawlana Badr 'Alam, and Mawlana Abd ar-Rahman (May Allah have mercy on them all). Hadrat studied Kanz ad-Daqa'id with Mawlana Badr 'Alam. He used to go serve Mawlana Badr 'Alam and Mawlana Shabbir Ahmad 'Uthmani. Hadrat says in his own words, "When 'Allamah Uthmani used to come to the masjid with his staff, I would already be standing at the door and would take his staff and shoes and put them in place. Then, when 'Allamah Uthmani would leave after Salah, I would again take his shoes and staff and present them to him. At that, he would recite a du'a softly for me. InshaAllah this du'a will be enough for me."
Hadrat left Jami'a Islamia Dabhel for some reason before his last year there, and instead completed it at Jami'a Husainiya in Rander, where Mawlana Mu'in ad-Din Ajmeri was the Shaykh al-Hadith. Then, in 1949, he came to the village of Kholwad, and for 50 years was Imam at the same place at Masjid Quwwat al-Islam. He remained there until he could no longer continue due to old age. Presently he is very disabled, even having difficulty to walk. But one strange thing I observed is that when I presented a book as a gift to Hadrat, he started to read it without even having glasses on. Allahu Akbar.
At the end Hadrat blessed us with many du'as. May Allah lengthen Hadrat's shadow over us with a long life, Amin.