Muhammad Taqi Usmani : biography
Muhammad Taqi Usmani ( Muḥammad Taqī ‘Usmāni, Arabic: ‘Uthmāni; born 1943) (also spelled Uthmani) is a Hanafi Islamic scholar from Pakistan. He served as a judge on the Federal Shariat Court of Pakistan from 1981 to 1982 and the Shariat Appellate Bench of the Supreme Court of Pakistan between 1982 and 2002. He is an expert in the fields of Islamic Jurisprudence (fiqh), economics and hadith. He also held a number of positions on the Shariah Boards of prestigious Islamic institutions, and is one of the most influential Islamic authors outside the Middle East. He is the brother of Islamic scholars Muhammad Rafi Usmani, Muhammad Wali Razi, and the late Muhammad Razi Usmani, as well as of the late Urdu poet Muhammad Zaki Kaifi.
Muhammad Taqi Usmani was born on 5 October 1943 in Deoband, a city in the Saharanpur district of Uttar Pradesh, India.
In 1958, Usmani passed the Fazil-e-Arabi (Arabic language examination) with distinction, administered by the Punjab Board. In 1959 he graduated from the `Alim course at Darul Uloom Karachi. He then specialised in fiqh (Islamic jurisprudence) under the guidance of his father, the Grand Mufti of Pakistan and of Darul Uloom Karachi, Muhammad Shafi, receiving his Takhassus degree (equivalent to a PhD) in fiqh and ifta (issuance of Islamic legal opinions) from Darul Uloom Karachi in 1961, earning the title of Mufti. He graduated from the University of Karachi with a Bachelor of Arts in 1964, then received a Bachelor of Laws with distinction from the University of Karachi in 1967. He received a Master of Arts in Arabic literature, with distinction, from the University of Punjab in 1970.
Usmani received ijaza to teach hadith from Islamic scholars including Muhammad Shafi, Idris Kandhalvi, Muhammad Tayyib, Saleemullah Khan, Rashid Ahmad Ludhianvi, Sahban Mahmud, Zafar Ahmad Usmani, Muhammad Zakariya Kandhalvi, Hasan al-Mahshat, and others.
Usmani pioneered the concept of Islamic banking in Pakistan when he established the Meezan Bank. Usmani has authored a number of books in Arabic, Urdu, and English on Islamic topics in addition to a large number of articles on Islamic banking and finance published in a number of journals and magazines.
In March 2004, United Arab Emirates Vice President and Prime Minister Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum presented an award to Taqi Usmani in recognition of his lifetime service and achievement in Islamic finance during the annual International Islamic Finance Forum (IIFF) in Dubai.
In accordance with the tradition of the scholars of Deoband and recognising the importance of tasawwuf, Usmani's bay'ah was accepted by Abdul Hayy Arifi and Maseehullah Khan. Usmani is currently a mentor to numerous spiritual aspirants all over the world and delivers weekly lectures on self-improvement at Darul Uloom Karachi on Sundays between Asr Salaah and Maghrib Salaah.
He currently teaches Sahih al-Bukhari, fiqh, and Islamic economics at Darul Uloom Karachi and is known for his Islahi Khutbat. He was a key member of a team of scholars which helped declare Ahmadis (Qadianis), as non-Muslims by Pakistan's National Assembly during the era of former Pakistani president, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, in the 1970s. During the presidency of General Zia ul Haq, he was instrumental in drafting laws pertaining to Hudood, Qisas, and Dayiat. He strongly opposed the Women's Protection Bill. According to him, it was designed to distract attention from issues such as flaws in the law enforcement system.
According to a comment piece in The Times, Usmani "believes that aggressive military jihad should be waged by Muslims 'to establish the supremacy of Islam' worldwide." and "Muslims should live peacefully in countries such as Britain, where they have the freedom to practise Islam, only until they gain enough power to engage in battle". On 23 October 2009, he published a response to alleged misrepresentations of his views on Jihad. To a question whether he had issued any fatwas saying “Muslims living in the West conduct violent jihad against the infidels at every opportunity.” he declared: "I never made any such statement either in writing or verbally nor issued any so-called fatwa. Nor is there any sentence to that effect in any of my writings, including “Islam and Modernism”. If this statement is attributed to me in Mr. Norfolk’s interview with me, it is not but a blatant lie, because I never said this during the interview." In Norfolk's piece in The Times this quote was not made. Usmani did write in his book “Islam and Modernism” about aggressive jihad that: “The question is whether aggressive battle is by itself commendable or not. If it is, why should the Muslims stop simply because territorial expansion in these days is regarded as bad? And if it is not commendable, but deplorable, why did Islam not stop it in the past?” and that peace agreements with non-Muslims in power is acceptable if: "If Muslims do not possess the capability of "Jihad with power" agreement may be made till the power is attained."M. T. Usmani, Islam and Modernism (Adam Publishers & Distributors, 2005), p. 90-91.
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