The article below has been taken from the Council of Ulama website. Author unknown.
As an indication of his extreme humility, Moulana used to tell me when I asked for his biography, that his life story could be fitted on the back of a postage stamp! Nothing could be further from the truth.
It was the great good fortune of Port Elizabeth that Moulana’s daughter and her family settled in Port Elizabeth. This brought Moulana, who had great love for his family, to our city many a times. Moulana used to not give the Ulama a chance to come and visit him first as he used to go and visit the junior and senior Ulama alike at their homes and places of work. The Ulama of Port Elizabeth benefited tremendously from Moulana’s advices especially with regards to setting up the Council of Ulama Eastern Cape.
Moulana generally did not like to have a program prepared in advance in Port Elizabeth. His talks, announced late, drew good crowds for the city. A unique feature was that the audience always consisted of a large percentage of Ulama.
Moulana loved the poor and once, on a visit to Port Elizabeth, I pointed out to him a poor student from one of the countries in Africa who sacrificed a lot to come and study Islam. Moulana called him aside in secret and gave him some money.
On one occasion, the maid of Moulana’s landlord needed to go to hospital to deliver her baby in the middle of the night. When the landlord refused, Moulana, together with his wife, took the maid to hospital and waited for her to be discharged before bringing her back home.
Moulana practically demonstrated the Islamic teachings of anti-racism and many a person from a different race group was won over by his impartial respect that he showed to one and all.
Anyone who saw him for even a little while would be impressed by Moulana’s adherence to the Sunnah and wonderful character. His granddaughter mentioned that in the months in which she lived with him, Moulana never once expressed anger towards his wife. Moulana recounted that all his maids who worked for him over the years accepted Islam, with three months being the most time required. Moulana lived a very simple, frugal life. He was accessible to people from all walks of life at all times.
The death of Moulana was an indication of his love for the holy cities of Makkah Mukarramah and Madinah Munawwarah. He performed Tawaaf, read Maghrib Salaah and experienced a heart attack in front of the Ka’bah in the Mataaf area. He breathed his last in the Haram. His Janaza Salaah was performed by Sheikh Shuraim at the Ka’bah. Moulana was buried in Jannatul Mualla, the blessed graveyard of Makkah Mukarramah, where Hazrat Khadijah رضي الله عنها is buried. This is extraordinary in itself as foreigners are not normally buried here.
Moulana was 65 when he passed away. He had two daughters and a son.
Moulana was not only a fountain of knowledge, wisdom and piety, he was also a pillar of strength for all, Ulama especially. I personally know many Ulama who relied on Moulana’s advices and support to continue their service of Islam. In fact, while the Muslims of South Africa in general feel at a loss on the demise of Hazrat Moulana Yunus Patel رحمة الله عليه, it is the Ulama who feel totally orphaned. Moulana had a knack of encouraging Ulama and directing them to better service of Islam. He was the confidante of the innermost feelings of many an Aalim.
The adoration of his followers is a reminder of how the Sahaaba رضي الله عنهم adored the Prophet صلي الله عليه وسلم. The sadness and shock at the news of his passing makes one think of how the demise of the Prophet صلي الله عليه وسلم affected those who loved him, the Sahaaba رضي الله عنهم.
He guided even the biggest sinner with a marvelous hand of wisdom.
The Prophet صلي الله عليه وسلم said: ‘Allah does not take away the knowledge by taking it away from (the hearts of the) people, but takes it away by the death of the religious learned men till when none of the (religious learned men) remains, people will take as their leaders ignorant persons who when consulted will give their verdict without knowledge. So they will go astray and will lead the people astray.’
‘This saint with Madinah Muawwarah’s love at heart,
His praises we cannot fulfill; merely start.
His character a reflection of He صلي الله عليه وسلم who lies,
Under the green dome, beneath Arabia’s skies.’
(From: An Ode to Hazrat Moulana Yunus Patel رحمة الله عليه)