Interview with Shaykh Mufti Shafi’ on Radio Pakistan
Radio Pakistan Interviewer: Listeners, Today we are present in the company of Maulana (Mufti) Shafi Saheb (RA). Maulana (Mufti) Shafi Saheb (RA) is the founder of Darul-uloom(Karachi) and he is no need of elaborate introductions, he is a respected (Buzurg)personality, Scholar of Islam, graduate of Darul-uloom Deoband where he was born, student of Shaykhul-Hind Maulana Mahmoodul Hasan (RA), Allamah Anwar Shah Kashmiri (RA) and the great Scholar of Pakistan Allamah Shabbir Ahmed Usmani (RA).
After graduating from Darul-uloom Deoband, he also taught there as a teacher. He (RA) was also forefront in the movement of Pakistan. Today, we are fortunate to be in the company of Mufti Saheb (RA) so we can gain knowledge about his services to the Ummah, the Nation and to Islam.
So, Maulana (Mufti) Shafi Saheb (RA), if you permit us we would like to ask you a few questions.
Maulana (Mufti) Shafi Saheb (RA): You may the questions which you wish for but due to my intimate knowledge of myself, my circumstances my personality my answer is in the couplet which I composed some time ago which is:
بغزر ز من کہ حال دل زارم نہ دیدہ زہ
بغزار حالِ من کہ ھم نہ شنیدہ
Interviewer: Mufti Saheb (RA) is indeed famous but I would like to be audacious and request you to shed some light on your initial education. When did you begin your education and where and in which institutions did you study?
Maulana (Mufti) Shafi Saheb (RA): In compliance to your orders (I will answer), but the reality is that I am a worthless individual who has no talents. However, Allah (SWT) showered upon me immense blessings and the greatest blessing among them is that I was given birth into a Muslim, practising and academic family and I opened my eyes in an environment which reverberated with Deen, my ears overheard and picked up words and talks of Deen, I used to listen to stories of respected personalities (Buzurgs) as a child.
I even played my childhood games in the courtyard of Darul-uloom Deoband where the eyes used to frequently fall upon the Awliya of Allah (SWT) and this was my childhood.
Since my respected father was a teacher at the Darul-uloom, I used to sit in his company to pass my time as a child.
Thereafter I began my studies under Hafiz Abdul-Azeem (RA) who was a respected (Buzurg) personality in the Darul-uloom, a Hafidh and a teacher of Hifdh and I recall that my father had in his possession a letter from Shaykh (Maulana Rasheed Ahmed) Gangohi (RA) which stated, “I am happy to hear the news of the birth of your son, name him “Mohammed Shafi”. A further letter was received when I had started my Qur’aan studies and it stated, “I make dua for Allah (SWT) to grant him knowledge”.
My studies thus started with the duas of Shaykh (Maulana Rasheed Ahmed) Gangohi (RA) and with the opportunity of being in the company of Hafiz Abdul-Azeem (RA) who was a person with angelic disposition. After his passing away I was entrusted to other teacher until eventually after completing my studies of the Qur’aan I engaged myself in the study of Persian and Mathematics under the tutelage of my illustrious father and during my Persian studies I also studies basic Arabic books from my illustrious father as well.
I belief that it was 30 Hijrah (1330 AH equivalent to 1911) perhaps, at the age of 14 or 15 when I was officially admitted into the Arabic levels of Darul-uloom Deoband and this was the time when Shaykhul-Hind Maulana Mahmoodul Hasan (RA) used to give Saheeh Bukhari Lessons in the Darul-uloom. I was not capable of benefitting from Shaykh (RA) directly as my initial studies were basic (from childhood) but it was customary for the entire Darul-uloom to gather together when the Shaykh (RA) used to start (i.e. begin Saheeh Bukhari) and when Saheeh Bukhari was finished so I have repeatedly studied the beginning and end Ahadeeth of Saheeh Bukhari from Shaykhul-Hind Maulana Mahmoodul Hasan (RA) i.e. that I attended his lessons.
In addition to that, I didn’t have the opportunity to study from Shaykhul-Hind Maulana Mahmoodul Hasan (RA) directly. However, since I was blessed with the company of respected personalities (Buzurgs) I was never interested in the normal games which children used to indulge into and at every opportunity I used to present myself in the company of Shaykhul-Hind Maulana Mahmoodul Hasan (RA) and my free (childhood) time was spent in this manner.
Shaykhul-Hind Maulana Mahmoodul Hasan (RA) used to be particularly benevolent towards me and this was the time when the fall of Ottoman Empire was fast approaching and the Nations of Europe had collectively mounted military operations against the Islamic Caliphate. During this time, I sensed that Shaykhul-Hind Maulana Mahmoodul Hasan (RA) was very restless and perturbed and even his usual routine of lessons (and teaching) was affected and it was reduced, often he (RA) used to read newspapers and conversations of this nature (about the fate of Islamic Caliphate) used to take place. I was a child not familiar with these affairs but I observed and noticed that Shaykhul-Hind Maulana Mahmoodul Hasan (RA) was busy in some “mission” and I didn’t have the capability to understand much more then this but I remember that Shaykhul-Hind Maulana Mahmoodul Hasan (RA) commenced his journey telling us that he was departing for Hajj. We were crying that our Hazrat (Shaykh) was departing for Hajj in his old age and didn’t know what will happen and we were not aware of anything (deeper than that).
Then we heard that the British had arrested him in Makkah and after his arrest he was sent to the prison in Malta where he sent four years. All praise be to Allah (SWT) that when Hazrat (Shaykh) returned from Malta I had nearly completed by Academic studies so I had some opportunity to be present in the company of Hazrat (Shaykh) but this was a short time and some of this time was spent in travels and his illness and due to various illnesses Hazrat (Shaykh) had become very weak.
Alhumdolillah that I had a small opportunity to be in the company of Hazrat (Shaykh) but my formal studies were done under the tutelage of other teachers of Darul-uloom Deoband and from amongst them foremost was the (then) head-teacher of Darul-uloom Allamah Shaykh Anwar Shah Kashmiri (RA) and Maulana Syed Asghar Hussain (RA), Maulana (Mufti) Azizur-Rahman (RA), Maulana Aizaz Ali (RA), Maulana Mohammed Ibraheem (RA), Maulana Rasool Khan (RA) and these were my primary teachers. Maulana Syed Asghar Hussain (RA) who was well known and regarded as a Wali was particularly benevolent towards me and I had the opportunity to many lessons from him. Shaykhul-Islam Allamah Shabbir Ahmed Usmani (RA) was my cousin (son of my father’s sister) and also my teacher and I had the opportunity of studying many books from me and when the campaign for Pakistan started he participated in it and accompanied him in many of his travels and also worked alongside him.
Allah (SWT) completed my studies with the special kindness of these respected personalities (Buzurgs) and in the year 1336 AH (equivalent to 1917) I finished my studies and I was entrusted with the responsibilities of teaching some basic books in the Darul-uloom.
From 1336 AH (equivalent to 1917) I continuously taught at Darul-uloom Deoband and I taught under the supervision of my teachers. During his time my respected teacher Maulana (Mufti) Azizur-Rahman (RA) passed away so the position of Iftaa became vacant and in the beginning some other people were selected to perform this duty but then within a year or two the respected personalities (Buzurgs) of Deoband which included foremost Shaykhul-Islam (Maulana) Hussain Ahmed Madani (RA) placed upon me the responsibility of Iftaa and deputed me as the Chief-Mufti. I engaged in the service of Iftaa since 1349 AH (equivalent to 1930) and at the same time I was also responsible for the Hadeeth book Abu Daud and I continued teaching it.
So I was engaged in the service of Iftaa and quantitatively I believe that approximately 40,000 Fatwaas from my pen are preserved in the registers of Darul-uloom and I continued to teach the Sunan of Abi Daud and long time passed in this manner.
Then the movement for Pakistan started and by chance there was a clash of political ideologies in Darul-uloom Deoband with certain personalities in favour of the politics of (Indian National) congress while I and Allamah Shabbir Ahmed Usmani (RA) and some other personalities under the following of Shaykh Hakeemul-ummah (Maulana) Ashraf Ali Thanwi (RA) and in his presence were in favour of Muslim league and Pakistan.
And when these political ideologies clashed and as a result, we decided to leave the Darul-uloom. After our resignation we engaged ourselves for the struggle of Pakistan and continuously toured India from Madras (Chennai) to Karachi, political activities, gatherings and demonstrations were held in many cities and in the end when the referendum was held (in NWFP where the Pushtun decided to join Pakistan) I accompanied Allamah Shabbir Ahmed Usmani (RA) for his detailed 6 day tour of the province and eventually due to doings of Allah (SWT) Pakistan was formed. Allamah Shabbir Ahmed Usmani (RA) arrived in Pakistan on the same night (of independence) while I remained in Deoband with my luggage packed but the horrible massacres riots and bloodbath which started (in East Punjab) with the independence blocked all the way (of travel). After eight months upon the request of Allamah Shabbir Ahmed Usmani (RA) I arrived in Pakistan and foremost was the need to prepare a skeleton of an Islamic constitution and for this purpose, I, Shaykh Sulaiman Nadwi (RA) and Dr Hameedullah (RA), Maulana Manzir Ahsan Gilani (RA) were invited from India. This worthless individual, Dr Hameedullah (RA) and Maulana Manzir Ahsan Gilani (RA) arrived on time but Shaykh Sulaiman Nadwi (RA) arrived sometime later. We did produce a framework for an Islamic constitution but never had the opportunity to present it (formally) until in 1949 the legislative Assembly was formed here and for an Islamic education board the choice of recommendations was given to Allamah Shabbir Ahmed Usmani (RA) who recommended me and the same individuals (previously mentioned) and after four years of continuous work we produced a draft Islamic constitution which was presented to the Assembly and the beginning of the draft which is commonly known as “Pakistan Objectives Resolutions (of 1949)” was presented to the Assembly by Allamah Shabbir Ahmed Usmani (RA), himself.
By chance this was accepted by the Assembly and constitution still contains it but the rest of our report was after the passing of Liaquat Ali Khan (RA) was embroiled into such political controversy that to this day we don’t know what happened to it! It was neither published nor any progress was made on it, we don’t have much information on what actually happened to it.
Anyways, when coming to Pakistan one of our initial objectives was to ensure that Islamic constitution was enforced here and we worked towards it and continued to make effort in this regards and the second matter which required attention were the political parties which were working here before independence a party by the name of “Jamita Ulama-e-Islam” was formed under the leadership of Allamah Shabbir Ahmed Usmani (RA) and it succeeded in its mission (of independence of Pakistan) but it was vital that this organization continued to work and play its role. Struggles were made in this regard but the truth is that they were not successful. Our third objective was to establish a good Darul-uloom because when he had left Darul-uloom Deoband we were saddened by the fact that we were leaving behind an Islamic institution which was exemplary not only in India but also outside of it and there was no institution equivalent to it (nearby) particularly where we had moved (i.e. Karachi) which had nothing but a small Madrasa, this new Darul-uloom had to be well run according to the needs of this new country (Pakistan) and equivalent to the central status of the city (i.e. Karachi). This effort was started by Allamah Shabbir Ahmed Usmani (RA) in his lifetime and I was present in it but Shabbir Ahmed Usmani (RA) passed away fairly soon afterwards and we were orphaned in Pakistan. But after the passing of Maulana (RA) this idea gained strength that we had to establish a central Darul-uloom here. Some humble efforts were made and reached fruition and Alhumdolilah 22 years have now passed since this Darul-uloom (Karachi) was established and it is progressing daily.
Interviewer: Mufti Saheb (RA), perhaps you are the rector o this Darul-uloom at the moment?
Maulana (Mufti) Shafi Saheb (RA): Yes, Allah (SWT) founded the Darul-uloom at the hands of this humble servant and indeed the entire responsibility is at my shoulders. There is a Shura council which has the relevant authority and I also head the council but the administrators are others who are referred to as “Nazims”.
Interviewer: Mufti Saheb (RA) when you moved into Pakistan, did you get the opportunity to travel abroad?
Maulana (Mufti) Shafi Saheb (RA): All prais be to Allah (SWT) that I was blessed with the opportunity to visit the blessed Hijaz (due to Hajj & Umrah) and also once to officially attend Rabita Al-Alam Al-Islami (Muslim World League). In addition perhaps in 1956 there was a convention of world Muslim Scholars “Mutamir Al-Alam Al-Islami” in Damascus where Scholars from Indonesia to Morocco gathered together and its gatherings were also held in Jordan and Jerusalem and other places and I had the opportunity to stay in Beirut for some time. I also had the opportunity to visit South & East Africa for a month and this was more of a Dawah (Tableegh) tour.
Interviewer: Mufti Saheb (RA), this Tableegh which you do and you also referred to Tableegh tour of South Africa were they successful? If we were to do Tableegh from here to Africa or other nations, how much success can be achieved through it?
Maulana (Mufti) Shafi Saheb (RA): I am of the opinion that South Africa is fertile ground and I noticed that although people there didn’t fully understand our language but there were affected and there was a change in their lives. I noticed within a few days (of my stay) that there were many people whose lives were transformed and become conformant to the commandments of Islam. I didn’t get the chance to travel much in East Africa but it is my estimation that it is also fertile and it is important to conduct Tableegh there as much as possible.
Interviewer: Mufti Saheb (RA), I would also like to ask you that you travelled to Damascus and Hijaz and Beirut and you met the major Scholars there what is your opinion on how the major Scholars of those areas think about Pakistan?
Maulana (Mufti) Shafi Saheb (RA): When I travelled there it was a time when the entire Islamic Ummah was looking at Pakistan (with hope) and they had good aspiration of it (i.e. Pakistan) and Pakistan was accorded great respect and when it was learned that a certain person was Pakistani the Islamic Nations awarded great respect to such a person.
Unfortunately, this view changed right before our very eyes.
Interviewer: Mufti Saheb (RA), I would like to ask you about Shaykhul-Hind Maulana Mahmoodul Hasan (RA) and would like to request you to say a few words regarding him which will be a treasure for us because he was such a grand Scholar and a Mujahid.
Maulana (Mufti) Shafi Saheb (RA): There are two dedicated books on his life, namely:
a) Hayat-e-Hazrat Shaykhul-Hind (life of Shaykhul-Hind) by Maulana Syed Asghar Hussain (RA);
b) Aseer-e-Malta (Prisoner of Malta) by Shaykhul-Islam Maulana Hussain Ahmed Madani (RA)
Since I was at the beginning of my life in those days and didn’t have the capability to understand the objectives of Shaykhul-Hind Maulana Mahmoodul Hasan (RA), however since you have referred to him as a Mujahid I recollected something from my childhood.
Since I was a little boy I used to go around unobstructed and one day in the afternoon I entered in the room of Shaykh (RA) and I saw a strange scene that Shaykhul-Hind (RA) is alone in his room sitting on his bed with a sword in his hand and was indulging in swordplay.
He burst out laughing when he saw me and I asked, “Hazrat what are you doing?” He replied, “This is an old sword and today it was polished and I wanted to engage with it and there is great awe in it. When I hold it in my hands there is great passion which I feel”. I saw this when he was all alone and this was the time when Shaykhul-Hind (RA) was consumed with passion for Jihad and he wanted to eradicate the British rule and establish an Islamic empire in its place and he had made preparations from Kabul to Turkey, either his message or his representatives had reached Kabul and Turkey and preparations were ready. We don’t have time to go into details but it has been published that when the British officer (Burns) met him (in Malta prison) and prepared his report it stated that the officer was shocked to find that such a person who had spent his entire life on the rough course mats (of Darul-ulooms) i.e. had lived a humble life had in his possession a detailed global political plan (to establish Islamic emirate). Furthermore, the report had accepted that if we had not known about this movement then we would have lost India.
This was admitted by Burns in his report and the reality was that all Islamic Nations from Turkey to Kabul were assembled together like beads in a thread by Shaykhul-Hind (RA) but it was revealed (by a spy) due to which he was arrested and the movement was decimated.
Interviewer: Mufti Saheb (RA), if I say that this movement was to extend the works of Jamalud-deen Afhani what would you say to that?
Maulana (Mufti) Shafi Saheb (RA): There is no doubt that Qur’aan & Sunnah is the basis of these movements and the foundation is the same. Sometimes the flag was raised by Jamalud-deen Afhani (RA), sometimes by Shah Waliullah (RA), sometimes by Syed Ahmed Shaheed (RA) and sometimes by Shaykhul-Hind (RA) and in the end by Allamah Shabbir Ahmed Usmani (RA) in collaboration with Qaud-e-Azam (i.e. Muhammad Ali Jinnah).
Interviewer: Mufti Saheb (RA), in the end I would like to ask you about your works, would you like to send some tight on your writings?
Maulana (Mufti) Shafi Saheb (RA): From the beginning I noticed from the teachers whom I was blessed to be with that they had kept up literally works alongside their teaching schedules so I also developed a liking to it. From the beginning of my teaching days I started writing small booklets and this expanded (from there) and currently I believe that my writings are in excess of 150 and the major amongst them is the recently printed Tafseer Maariful Qur’aan and it is strange that the beginning of this had started from Radio Lessons. But Qur’aan wasn’t interpreted serially on Radio rather, it was selective verses but when the decision was made to publish them it was the time that I was bedridden (with illness) and I was remorseful that these papers may go to waste as the verses were not serialised. During my state of being bedridden (with illness), Allah (SWT) put in my heart that some work should be done in this regard and Alhamdulillah during a period of 5 years which was a period of illness and a period of Fitnah (in this country) due to the blessings Allah (SWT) it was completed and printed in 8 volumes.
Apart from this, there are several major and minor works and it is difficult to get into details of it.
Interviewer: Thank You Mufti Saheb, I appreciate that you gave us your valuable time and granted me the opportunity to appear here in your presence in this old age.