Maulāna Muhammad Anwarī Lā’ilpūrī says that the year in which he was studying hadīth under Hadhrat ‛Allāmah Anwar Shāh Kashmīrī rahmatullah ‛alayh at Darul Ulūm Deoband, ‛Allāmah ‛Ali al Yamanī thumma al Misrī, a hāfidh al hadīth, came for vacation to India. He came to Mumbai and then went to Randheir. In Randheir he met Maulāna Muftī Mahdi Hasan Sahib Shahjahānpūrī. ‛Allāmah ‛Ali was Hanbalī in madhab and was very a staunch defender of his school of thought. Hence when Mufti Mahdi Sahib talked about Darul Ulūm Deoband and its elders he was unable to entertain the discussion at length.
In this vacation he happened to come to Delhi and stayed by Maulavī Abdul Wahāb, a well known Ahl Hadīth scholar, in Sadr Bazār. Coincidently he got involved in a heated debate with Maulvī Abdul Wahāb about the timings of Salāt. ‛Allamah ‛Ali became very despondent at the situation and made his stay elsewhere in Delhi. He would complain at times that what was done to a guest was inappropriate.
Someone suggested him to visit Dārul Ulūm Deoband; however he kept thinking that since he is Hanbalī and even though Hanbaliyyah is more in line with the way of the Ahl Hadīth, he did not receive the appropriate welcoming from them. How then would a non Hanbalī entertain him any better? But due to continuous insistence he decided to go Deoband.
When he reached Dārul ‛Ulūm Deoband, Maulāna Habībur Rehmān Uthmānī took great care in welcoming the sheikh. At the time there were some students from Yemen studying at the Dārul ‛Ulūm as well. Maulana Uthmānī also encouraged these students to take exceptional care of their guest. After just two days (at the Dārul ‛Ulūm) this Muhaddith and ‛Allama mentioned to his fellow countrymen,
“‛Ulamā’ Dārul ‛Ulūm are embodiment of good character. Look at the open heart and enthusiasm with which they have taken care of me, a complete stranger with no prior acquaintance. (All this and) although we are different in school of thought, their hospitality did not waver.”
Maulvī Muhammad Yahyā al Yemenī, a student, seeing that ‛Allāmah was impressed by the teachers, stated that,
“‛Just like the character of Ulamā’ Deoband is brilliant so is the grounding of their knowledge and intellect unmatchable.”
Upon this the Sheikh replied,
“Oh leave that aspect aside, what would a stranger non-Arab know the depth of knowledge”
Coincidently in the very days the eulogy written in Arabic by ‛Allāmah Shah Kashmīrī rahmatullah ‛alayh in remembrance of Hadhrat Shāh Abdur Rahīm Raipūrī (khalīfah of Hadhrat Maulāna Gangohī rahmatullah ‛alayh), was published in the Dārul Ulūm’s magazine. Maulvī Yahyā handed that magazine over to ‛Allāmah Ali al Yameni rahmatullah ‛alayh. Upon reading he said,
“I can smell the style and literature of the pre Islamic Arabic from these verses.”
When he learnt that the person who has composed such an eulogy in this day and age is teaching Bukhāri and Tirmidhī Sharīf at Dārul Ulūm Deoband, ‛Allāmah decided to take part in the lessons. Next day he went along with the Yemeni students and sat for lessons. What ill fortune that the topic under discussion was in refutation of ‛Allāmah Ibn Taymiyyah. ‛Allāmah Shah Kashmīrī rahmatullah ‛alayh, keeping ‛Allamah Ali al Yameni in mind, decided to give the lesson in Arabic.
Hence a lengthy dialogue on the obsessive stances of ‛Allāmah Ibn Taymiyyah and its response and then responses to that response opened. ‛Allamah Ali attended the lessons for one week and then he disclosed his first impression to the Yemeni students,
“I have travelled from Lavant (Shām) to Hindustān and have visited nearly every Muslim city. I have given lessons on Sahihayn (Bukhārī Sharīf and Muslim Sharīf) in Egypt myself but I have never seen a scholar of this stature. I tried to silence him innumerable times but his command and depth of knowledge is incomparable.”
The day when he was about to leave Deoband, he announced in the gathering of students that,
“لو حلفت انه اعلم بابى حنيفة لما حنثت”
If I were to take an oath that he (‛Allāmah Kashmīri) is more knowledgeable than
Imām Abu Hanīfah then it (reality of the matter) would not break my oath.
However ‛Allāmah Shah Kashmīrī rahmatullah ‛alayh’s humility could not accept such praise and when he came to know of these impressions of the Sheikh, he stopped the students after ‛Asr and made the announcement,
“Sheikh Ali Misrī has exaggerated in my favour. The extent of reach of Imām A‛dham in his Ijtihād is so high that I cannot fathom reaching anywhere close to it.”
Hayāt Kashmīrī Pg. 290