Cii News | 07 December 2013/04 Safar 1435

Islamic “super specialist” authority, Mufti Muhammad Taqi Usmani has arrived in South Africa.

Unarguably one of the most senior and renowned scholars of Islam in the world today, the esteemed Mufti’s visit will be brief.

Cii Radio spoke to Mufti Taqi’s former student earlier this week, Sheikh attorney Muhammed Shoaib Omar, who has been an attorney in private practice since 1983 Sheik Omar graduated with a diploma in Islamic law and Arabic from Darul Uloom Karachi and is a primary member of the task team responsible for drafting the South African Muslim personal law bill and a member of the many shariah advisory boards in South Africa and abroad.

“Sheikh Taqi Usmani is a super specialist authority on all the different disciplines of the shariah, all the different Islamic sciences, a mufassir, a muhaddith, a faqih, a qadi and also a sufi, so his personality combines all the different dimensions of Islamic sciences and more particularly he has this unique genius ability to extract from the original sources from the Qu’ran and Sunnah, to extract the principles reliably and correctly and then to apply them to the contemporary situation.”

Born in 1943 in Deoband, India, Mufti Taqi’s journey to scholarship began with his father, distinguished scholar and former Grand Mufti of Pakistan, the late Maulana Mufti Muhammad Shafi. He obtained his PhD in Islamic education from Darul Uloom Karachi, the largest and most renowned Islamic educational institution in Pakistan. He also obtained a Master’s degree in Arabic literature from Punjab University, and a law degree (LLB) from Karachi University.

He is regarded as an expert in the fields of Hadith, Fiqh (Islamic jurisprudence), Economics, and Tasawwuf (Islamic spirituality) and has been teaching these and other branches of Islamic education since 1959.

Mufti Taqi served as Judge of the Shariat Appellate Bench of the Supreme Court of Pakistan from 1982 to May 2002. He is also a permanent member of the International Islamic Fiqh Academy, an organ of the organisation of Islamic conference (OIC) in Jeddah. He has served as the Vice Chairman of the Academy for nine years. He is also the Vice President of Darul Uloom Karachi.

He is generally known as one of the leading Shariah scholars active in the field of Islamic finance. For more than a decade he has served as chairman or member of Shariah supervisory boards of a dozen Islamic banks and financial institutions in various parts of the world. He presently serves as Chairman of the International Shariah Council for the Accounting and Auditing Organization for Islamic Financial Institutions (AAOIFI) in Bahrain.

He has held many positions in the higher levels of Pakistan’s education sector and has participated in many commissions set up by the Pakistani government in education and economics. He has been the Chief Editor of the monthly Urdu-language magazine Albalagh for 46 years, and Chief Editor of the monthly English-language magazine Albalagh International for half that term. He contributes articles to leading Pakistani newspapers on a range of issues and has authored more than 60 books in Arabic, English, and Urdu.

“When his father settled in Pakistan he was obviously a grand mufti in Pakistan and at that time one could even regard his father as the grand mufti of the Hanafi world. the lineage started from father and he received his guidance and inspiration from this distinguished personality in the form of his father who in turn was nurtured by some of the great scholars of Deoband for example Maulana Anwar Shah Kashmiri,” said Sheikh Omar.

Mufti Taqi was a gifted student and excelled in the different Islamic sciences. He is known to have an  uncanny and unique ability to extract rules and apply to contemporary situations.

Mufti Taqi is considered the “father of modern Islamic finance” because of his significant contemporary contributions to the field which is fairly new field. Having only been developed in the last 40 year it is often regarded a controversial field but Mufti Taqi is one of the leading shariah international experts and has s sound foundation of modern economics.

Sheikh Omar explains that these controversies however have not come about by fault in the formulation of the laws but in its application by Islamic financial institutions . “Jurisprudence has been formulated and it has to be applied correctly. you could say due to lack of proper monitoring and proper shariah compliance there may be cases of failure to apply.”

Mufti Taqi’s most admirable scholarly quality is that he is regarded an authentic interpreter of the sources. Even in ijtihadi matters which are open to differences of opinion, “the opinion he expresses is an authentic expression of the Deen sourced authentically in primary sources so it’s a reliable opinion”.

Mufti Taqi will be the guest of honour at the Mayfair Jumu’ah Masjid this Sunday for the Jamiat al Uloom al Islamiyyah’s annual  graduation Jalsah.

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