Remembering Shaikh Qazi Mujahidul Islam Qasmi (R)
Posted: 7 Safar 1423, 20 April 2002
This is a very sombre occasion. The Ummah has lost a most dynamic personality. Maulana
Qazi Mujahidul Islam, known affectionately as Qazi Saheb, passed away into the mercy of
Allah on Thursday 4th April 2002 / 21st Muharram 1423.
Although Qazi Saheb left no offspring yet he has left many, many orphans. I mean those
people who profited from his vast knowledge and erudition are all now orphans. In a life
span of 65 years, he will be remembered for among other notable things as being a great
Faqih (Islamic Jurist). Alhamdulillah, his entire life was dedicated to steadfastly
serving Islam and Muslims.
Qazi Saheb's distinguishing trait was his unostentatious appearance and remarkable
simplicity. He displayed profound insight and solicitude for the Ummah, showing
exceptional acumen for resolving its problems. Despite suffering cancer and feeling
extremely debilitated for the last 5 years of his life, he continued working tirelessly,
with tremendous courage and fortitude, until his last breath.
Qazi Saheb was an outstanding graduate of Darul Uloom Deoband and a prodigious student
of the great Indian scholar Maulana Hussain Ahmed Madani, Rahmatullahi Alayh. He was a
prolific writer who authored over fifty books, both in Urdu and Arabic. He was editor of
the journal Bahas-wo-Nazar. Besides writing extensively, he was also chief Qazi of the
Imarat-e-Shariah in Bihar and Orissa. He established the Islamic Fiqh Academy (IFA) in
India (see http://ifa-india.org), which aims to find solutions to contemporary Muslim
problems and was a founder member of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB).
After the demise of Maulana Syed Abul Hasan Ali Nadwi, Rahmatullahi Alayh, in 1999, he
succeeded as its President. Moreover he was associated and affiliated to numerous national
and international organisations, institutes and academies, for instance as executive
member of the International Fiqh Academy in Jeddah and the Centre for Islamic Studies in
Oxford. In due recognition of his eminent status, he became the recipient of various
prestigious accolades both in India and abroad, for instance the Shah Waliullah Dehlawi
Award from the Institute of Objective Studies, Delhi and Islamic Personality of the Year
Award from the American Federation of Muslims, New York.
Founder of the Islamic Fiqh Academy (IFA)
By establishing the IFA, Qazi Saheb single-handedly rendered a tremendous service to
Muslims in India and elsewhere. The IFA has managed to draw together leading Islamic
scholars to collectively deliberate on modern day issues affecting Muslims. This
initiative has helped reinvigorate the spirit of interpreting Islam in relation to
contemporary problems and issues, something that Islamic jurisprudence has always innately
possessed. The IFA has made fascinating progress since its inception in 1989. Until today
it has held 13 annual convocations, discussing a host of challenging matters including
cloning, intellectual property rights, Internet, organ transplantations, etc.
Qazi Saheb's approach to all matters was scientific. He was persuaded by cogent
arguments and never allowed extraneous matters to becloud his judgment. Thus his
professionalism enabled him to pursue and resolve intricate issues with clarity and
conviction, always preferring debate and discussion whilst observing the Islamic
etiquette. In this way, he followed the respectable and dignified path pursued by all
great Islamic jurists.
Inspirational and Dynamic
Qazi Saheb was a very inspirational and dynamic person. He wanted to see the energies
of the Ulama and professionals synchronised for the advancement of the Ummah. He
encouraged people to take initiatives and would guide them in their cause. An example of
this is the translation & printing of the 14 volume Encyclopaedia of Fiqh, published
by the Kuwaiti Islamic Shariah Committee, which Qazi Saheb personally edited and
supervised despite his ailing health and pre-occupations.
His last visit to England was in July 2000 when he attended as distinguished guest of
the international symposium organised to honour the life and work of Maulana Syed Abul
Hasan Ali Nadwi, Rahmatullahi Alayh. He conveyed a very important message to Muslims in
the west and it is truly worthy of being noted by Muslims everywhere.
He reminded Muslims that they were sent to these lands not as Pakistanis, Indians etc,
but as Muslims. And our duty here was to communicate the great message of Islam. Our task
was to relay with wisdom and soundness the teachings of Allah and His beloved Prophet,
Sallallaho Alayhi Wasallam. He advised Muslims to leave aside petty issues and concentrate
singularly on the cause of Dawah (Inviting people to Allah). He emphasised the importance
of inviting humanity to the splendour of Islam.
President of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB)
The AIMPLB was established in 1972 and is a representative body of Indian Muslims which
seeks protection of their Islamic rights. In what was his last address as its president,
Qazi Saheb made a powerful speech at the annual meeting of members last year when he
publicly urged leaders of the VHP, RSS and BJP, who had been making derogatory and
sacrilegious remarks about Islam, to re-examine their understanding of the religion. He
told them courageously and unequivocally that their poor understanding was a result of
ignorance. They should try understanding Islam in a better light.
One of his lasting contributions to the AIMPLB is the publication of the Compendium of
Islamic Laws, which he edited and completed prior to his demise. The work was initiated by
the Board's founder secretary-general, the late Amir e Shari'ah, Maulana Minnatullah
Rahmani, Rahmatullahi Alayh.
A person of Qazi Saheb's calibre was rare for this age. It was destined that he should
pass away at this critical moment otherwise Indian Muslims are facing the most terrible
persecution and challenge to their existence. His inspirational guidance and leadership
will be sorely missed.
Qazi Saheb was a man of multifarious talents. He had many sterling qualities but, above
all, he will be remembered as a great Faqih. As Mufti Zubair Bayat Saheb, Director of
Darul Ihsan Research and Education Centre (see www.direct.za.org) , has written in his
obituary of Qazi Saheb, that he was the original inspiration for the inception of Muslim
Personal Law in South Africa. He will be greatly missed by the Ulama. His demise is a
great vacuum in Islamic scholarship and leadership.
In concluding, it is perhaps apt to recall the words of Shaykh Hasan al Basri on the
definition of a Faqih. (Incidentally, Qazi Saheb also quoted this same definition during
his speech at the symposium, while alluding to the responsibilities of the Ulama in their
duty of resolving the problems of the Muslim Ummah.) Shaykh Hasan al Basri, Rahmatullahi
Alayh, said in his commentary on the Hadith: 'He for whom Allah desires great good, He
grants him understanding in the Religion'. "Have you ever seen a Faqih? The Faqih is
he who has renounced the world, longs for the hereafter, possesses insight in his
Religion, and worships his Lord without cease."
Furthermore, Shaykh Asim ibn Damura, Rahmatullahi Alayh, said: "The true, the real
Faqih is he who does not push people to despair from Allah's mercy, nor lulls them into a
false sense of safety from His Punishment, nor gives them licenses to disobey Allah, nor
leaves the Qur'an for something else. There is no good in worship devoid of knowledge, nor
in knowledge devoid of understanding, nor in inattentive recitation."
And, Shaykh Amr ibn Murra, Rahmatullahi Alayh, said: "Be wellsprings of the
Science and beacons in the night, wearing old clothes but possessing new hearts for which
you shall be known in the heaven and remembered on the earth. Thus Knowledge dies when
those who possess it die. By Allah, I do swear it! The earth will never be empty of one
who establishes the proofs of Allah so that His proofs and signs never cease. They are the
fewest in number, but the greatest in rank before Allah. Through them Allah preserves His
proofs until they bequeath it to those like them (before passing away) and plant it firmly
in their hearts. By knowledge they have taken the reality of things, so that they found
easy what those given to comfort found hard, and found intimacy in what the ignorant found
desolate. They accompanied the world with bodies whose spirits were attached to the
highest regard. Ah, ah! How one yearns to see them!"
Let us therefore remember Qazi Saheb in the proper way. His life was one dedicated to
serving the Ummah and finding solutions for Muslims. We have truly certainly lost someone
who was a beacon of guidance and knowledge, someone who had great insight and foresight.
However, whilst we feel the pain of his loss, let us renew our commitment to continue his
mission of being of service to Islam and Muslims. This will really prove to be a small but
lasting tribute to such a great personality, Insh'Allah.
May Allah forgive Qazi Saheb, accept his services for Islam and grant him the loftiest
stages of Jannatul Firdaus. Aameen.
Further Reading: Tibbi Akhlaqiat (by Maulana Mujahidul
Islam Qasmi - Urdu)