Shaykh al-Ja’fari, may Allah encompass him in His vast mercy and may He be pleased with him and please him, said:
“The beginning of my affair is when I saw the Prophet (salla Allahu alayhi wa sallam) in a dream at the age of eight years.”
This means that he was a wali before he became a scholar. I came to realise this after I got to know the Shaykh. In a celebration of his life which took place after his passing I said,
“I first knew the Shaykh as a scholar, and then I saw in him his wilaya and his connection to Allah. After I lived with him I came to know that he had been chosen by Allah (‘azza wa jall) to be a wali before he became a scholar. So he was a wali since his beginning and a scholar in his end. His scholarship revolved in the orbit of his wilaya and his connection to Allah.”
That is why Shaykh al-Ja’fari was a sign from the signs of Allah.
He was a great lover of the Messenger of Allah (salla Allahu alayhi wa sallam). That is why when he would mention the Hadith, he would mention the scholars who taught Hadith, and would mention the places where they taught Hadith. He taught here in the Azhar. His place was over there after the open space. He would sit facing the Qibla, and the people surrounded him. He would point and say,
“At that pillar Shaykh so-and-so would sit and teach Hadith and say such-and-such, and at that pillar Shaykh so-and-so taught Hadith.”
SubhanAllah it is as if he used to witness what the earlier scholars used to do.
– Shaykh Fathi Higazi, from a lesson in the noble Azhar Mosque.