On the 25th of Muharram about two decades ago Hyderabad as well as Mahdavia community lost one of the most out standing intellectual, an orator, a lawyer, a teacher and friend in the form of Janab Syed Shah Mohammad Arif Nizami Advocate’s death. His was such a multifaceted personality that he was well known in many circles be it intellectual, legal, religious, political and social circles of Hyderabad.
He was one of the eight children of Late Syed Shah Ali Qasim Nizami and Late Khairunnisa Bibi (Badi Bibi). Where as first six children passed away with in few days of their birth. Almighty Allah answered the prayers of their parents and well-wishers as the seventh (son Arif Nizami) and eighth (daughter Mehmooda Nizami) survived despite of being very weak at birth.
After his schooling Late Arif Nizami completed his graduation BA and post graduation MA from Osmania University. He was highly inspired and motivated by his maternal uncle late Syed Shah Alam Nizami sub-Judge who was one of the founding members of the Idara-e- Hayat wo Mamat and hence did his LLB. Before starting his legal practice he worked briefly as a lecturer at the famous Urdu Arts College in Hyderguda, Hyderabad.
Since his college days Arif Nizami was very active in religious, social and political activities. He joined Youth Congress and soon became a prominent youth leader of his days especially due to his oratory skills. After the National Congress split and former Prime Minister Indra Gandhi formed her own Congress (I), he decided to stay with the old congress and slowly lost interest in politics.
As a lawyer he worked with honesty and integrity and within a short time became one of the leading advocates of Hyderabad and Secunderabad. His generosity can be gauged from the fact that he charged nominal fee to the poor and under privileged people, in many cases he even worked for free especially for people from Mahdavia community. There are numerous instances where he used to do counseling and made both the parties settle their disputes (especially family and property disputes) at his office and didn’t allow them to go to the court and fight lengthy legal battles without charging any fee to either party. One of his out standing achievements as a lawyer was the most difficult case of illegal occupation of large portion of Markazi Anjuman-e-Mahdavia. The illegal occupiers of the said land were using all kinds of tactics including money and muscle power for a long time and were not vacating. Late Arif Nizami volunteered to take up the case and worked tirelessly without charging a penny to the Anjuman and within a short time he got the eviction orders from the court. With the help of the police he got rid of the illegal occupation. What was once considered an impossible case became a reality only due to the dedication and commitment of a person who never compromised his commitment to the cause of Mahdavia community. This is the very piece of land within Markazi Anjuman-e-Mahdavia, Chanchalguda, where a sprawling function hall was later constructed in the memory of Nawab Bahadur Yar Jung, which is a continuous source of income to the Anjuman.
He was appointed to the coveted post of assistant government pleader by the Govt. of Andhra Pradesh and held that position for more than a decade, which is in itself a great achievement especially for a Muslim advocate.
He was also an active member of Majlis-e-Tameer-e-Millat and used to give his legal as well as social advise and guidance to the organization. He was regular speaker at the annual Jalsa-e-Rehmat ulill alameen SAS, the largest public meeting organized in Hyderabad, by the Tameer-e-Millat.
His articles used to appear in major newspapers and magazines prominent among them being leading English daily “The Hindu” and Urdu daily “Siasat” on various subjects and issues. He was also honorary editor of the “Noor-e-Vilayat”, published by Tanzeem-e-Mahdavia, till his untimely death.
Due to his oratory skills and knowledge he was regularly invited to speak at various religious meetings, seminars and symposiums organized by various organization within and out side our community.
He felt the need of English translation of Mahdavia literature and pioneered to write a biography of Imamuna Mehdi AS. After extensive research he started writing the biography of Imamuna Mehdi AS and named it as “ The Fregrance of Khalifatullah”.
By shear coincidence during the same time two other members of the Mahdavia community were also working on their biographies on Imamuna AS. One being, Hazrat Syed Hussain Balkhi sahab and the other, Janab Syed Yakhoob ‘Rashan” Yadullahi sahab.
While Late Arif Nizami completed his work during 1986-87 and handed the same to his brother –in-law Hazrat Maulana Abulfatha Syed Nusrat Tashreefullahi sahab for corrections especially religious aspects. Janab Roshan sahab informed him that his book is ready for print and will be released shortly. Late Arif Nizami was very generous and broad-minded person. He volunteered to hold back his book for some time since he didn’t wanted the release of three books on the same subject within a matter of short time.
Hazrath Syed Hussain Balki’s biography was released first and Janab Syed Yaqoob Roshan Yadullahi sahab’s “The Promised One”, which was supposed to be released within few days, actually took about two years to get released in 1989. Meanwhile Late Arif Nizami struck to his commitment and delayed publishing his book “The Fragrance of Khalifatullah” to avoid ill will and competition.
During the middle of 1991 he started to give finishing touches to his stalled biography of Imamuna Mehdi AS before sending the same for publication. He suffered a massive heart attack, which brought to an abrupt and sad end to what can be termed as an illustrated career. Within a matter of minutes one of the brightest shining star of Mahdavia community faded into darkness leaving thousands of his admirers in a state of shock and sadness. His mortal remains were laid rest near his parents and uncle’s grave in the Daira of Hazrath Bandagi Mian Shah-e-Qasim Mujtahed-e-Guroah-e-Mehdavia, which was literally, filled by thousands of mourners.
“ Fragrance of the Khalifatullah” was published almost two years after the passing away of its author. Even after 16 years after the demise of the author any knowledgeable person can easily say that “Fragrance of the Khalifatullah” is the best biographies of Imamuna Mehdi AS, to date in terms of research and presentation as well as the English language.
Hope “ Fragrance of Khalifatullah” becomes the source of salvation and may Allah bless him with His Deedar. Ameen.
By: S. Noor Mohammad