Knowledge and Jurisprudence
1. Tafaqquh (profound understanding) cannot be attained by merely reading books. It requires extensive practice and the suhbah (devoted companionship) of an expert Mufti for a long duration. This applies to all sciences. Expertise in any subject is acquired through learning and suhbah.
2. The label Mufti must be of significance. A Mufti is not simply the one who has studied the Dars Nizami or required syllabus. A true Mufti is one who has remained in the company of an expert Mufti for a long period of time and acquired profound understanding as a result.
3. My father Mufti Muhammad Shafi Sahib (R) would receive questions over the phone. I would assist and take the phone calls. Initially, he would take the phone from me and listen to the question directly and answer to ensure that there is no miscommunication in relaying the question or the answer. Then a time came that h- would allow me to relay the question and also relay his answer. On one occasion, I answered the question without referring it to him as the answer was obvious. When he found out, he reprimanded me, not because the answer was wrong, rather because I did not have the permission or the authority from him to answer questions.
4. Until the demise of my respected father Mufti Muhammad Shafi Sahib (R), I would show him whatever I wrote; every fatwa, every article - and he would check it.
5. When writing a fatwa and the issue is clear - for example, the prohibition of alcohol – rather quote the verse or the Hadith instead of quoting al-Durr al-Mukhtar.
6. Issuing a fatwa and using the Mufti title should not be taken lightly. Imam Malik said, 'I did not issue legal verdicts until seventy (scholars) testified that I am capable of doing so.' [Hilyah, 6:316].
7. Hakimul Ummah Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanwi (R) was of the view that to have 'Questions & Answer' sessions after rendering advice to the general public dilutes the effect of the advice.
8. Hakimul Ummah Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanwi (R) would not mention complicated masaʾil (rulings) in his speeches.
9. If someone asked Hakimul Ummah Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanwi (R) a question during his travels, he would refer the person to the local Muftis.
Differences of Opinion
10. Whoever you have a difference with, make a point to meet them. Either the difference will end or at least the difference will not become a means of enmity and discord.
My father would visit and meet with other sects and scholars.
11. If someone does something inappropriate, do not humiliate the person. If necessary, then clarify the issue without taking the person's name. Clarify, but do not disgrace! This is what the Hadith of niyyah & the story of Muhajir Umm Qays teaches. The Prophet ﷺ would say, 'what has happened to people who do such and such' without mentioning names.
12. Differences of opinion should not result in quarrels, groupings, sectarianism or discord. Do not be disrespectful or disruptive.
13. In relation to differences of opinion and dealing with other groups, Mufti Sahib mentioned: “Firstly, research the issue from their primary sources. Do not rely on secondary sources. Secondly, once this is established, ensure that your response does not lead to enmity.”
14. Once, when asked regarding some people who make secret recordings of durus/lessons and circulate it on social media with a refutation, Mufti Sahib mentioned: “This is what creates fitnah. Do not spread fitnah. Go and meet the person and seek clarification. It is wrong to publicise in this way.”
15. Do not regard yourself as an Alim (scholar). Regard yourself as a student.
16. “Maulana Idris Kandhelwi (R) would say: “The reason for strife among scholars is hasad (jealousy).”
17. When Shaykh Abdul Fattah Abu Guddah (R) visited Pakistan, he commented: “Every person here is a doctor and every person is a Mufti.”
18. Studying books alone is insufficient. The blessings that are acquired by studying with a teacher are not attained by studying alone, even if it is just reading the text of a book to a teacher without explanation. Allah Ta'ala is the one who grants knowledge; however, it is His practice to grant knowledge via a person. In addition to this, Allah Almighty grants the teacher knowledge due to the blessing of the student's zeal and passion, similar to how the more a baby cries; more milk is produced in the mother's chest.
19. My mentor, Dr Abdul Hayy Arifi (R) once said: “There is a train that travels from Karachi to Lahore, it is very clean and travels fast. As it is about to leave Karachi station, an old dirty carriage is attached to the end of this train. As the train departs, the old carriage starts to squeak and rattles. The old carriage is asked: “Where are you going with these new carriages?” It replies: “You are laughing at me because I am old and poor. However, I will also reach Lahore when the new carriages reach Lahore, because my buffer is attached to them.” The morale of this is that we should connect ourselves to the pious servants of Allah whether it is through Isnad (chains of Hadith) or through spiritual chains. The Hadith states, “A person shall be with whom he loves.”
20. If knowledge does not result in selflessness and humility, this is not (true) knowledge, it is ignorance.
21. My father Mufti Muhammad Shafi (R) would say: “Do not think slight inhiraf (deviance) is not serious. When the train track deviates even slightly, the direction – as the journey continues – eventually becomes totally different.”
22. My respected father Mufti Muhammad Shafi Sahib (R) would recall the statement of Haji Imdadullah (R): “There are two pre-requisites for Ittihad (unity): Tawadu (humility) and Ithar (giving preference to others over oneself).”
23. In the Hadith al-Rahmah, al-Rahimun (those who have mercy) is general and includes humans, animals and all the creation of Allah. Further, 'have mercy on those who are on earth' includes Muslims and non-Muslims.
24. Having mercy on non-Muslims could be in two ways:
a. Supporting them during their difficulty
b. Feeling sorry for them and having the passion and ardent desire that Allah guide them. We are negligent in this regard and do not have this feeling.
25. Let alone having mercy on non-Muslims, we do not have mercy on those whose maslak (school) is different. Rather, there is animosity. A slight difference of opinion and we split. This has destroyed us. Yes, critique with affection, however, do not regard the person an 'outsider.'
26. A pious saint would say: “Our faith has become weak. Appreciate anyone who is serving the faith.”
Brief Biodata of Mufti Muhammad Taqi Usmani Mufti Muhammad Taqi Usmani is amongst the leading scholars of contemporary times. He was born in Deoband in 1362 AH - 1943 CE. He graduated with distinction from Darul Uloom Karachi, Pakistan. He has also obtained a Master's degree in Arabic Literature from the Punjab University and a law degree (LLB) from the Karachi University. He is an expert in the fields of Islamic Jurisprudence, Economics, Hadith and Tasawwuf.
He has gained Ijazah and has been authorized to teach hadith from his father Mufti Muhammad Shafi (R), Maulana Idrees Khandhelawi (R), Qari Mohammed Tayyeb (R), Maulana Saleemullah Khan (R), Allamah Zafar Ahmed Usmani (R), Sheikhul Hadith Maulana Zakariya Khandelawi (R), amongst many others.
In the field of Tasawwuf, he has traversed the path under the guidance of Sheikh Dr Abdul Hayy Arifi (R) and Maulana Maseehullah Khan (R) both khulafa of Hakimul Ummah Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanwi (R). He has been authorized by both of his mentors in the Silsila Ashrafia: Chistiyah, Naqshbandiyah, Qadiriyah and Suharwardiyah. In addition to his busy schedule, he is a mentor to numerous spiritual seekers all over the world.
He was also a Judge at the Sharia Appellate Bench of the Supreme Court of Pakistan until May 2002 as well as been a consultant to several international Islamic Financial Institutions and has played a key part in the establishment of Islamic financial institutions. He is a permanent member of the International Islamic Fiqh Academy, an organ of the OIC based in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
Presently he is the Vice-President of Darul-Uloom, Karachi, Pakistan, where he teaches Sahih Bukhari, Fiqh and Islamic economics.
He also conducts a weekly session for the public interested in spiritual improvement. He has authored more than 60 books in Arabic, English and Urdu.