No other scholar has the distinction of having to his credit a thousand publications, five-thousand lectures, and a huge organisation that spans 90 countries, including India, working to enlighten humanity with the message of Islam. This Scholar par excellence has written voluminous books, the latest being the unique Encyclopedia of Quran that consists of 8 volumes. The next will be an Encyclopedia of Hadith consisting of 40 volumes, expected to be published later this year. The king of contemporary Ahl-e-Sunnah scholars, the charismatic and celebrated Islamic, is none other but his eminence, Shaykh-ul-Islam, Prof Dr Mohammed Tahir ul-Qadri.
Prof Qadri was born on February 19, 1951, in the historic city of Jhang in Pakistan. His father was the great spiritualist and intellectual, Shaykh Dr Farid al-Din al-Qadri. Tahir earned his MA in Islamic Studies in 1972 at the University of Punjab, with a Gold Medal, and achieved his LLB degree in 1974. He began to practise as a lawyer in the district courts of Jhang. He moved to Lahore in 1978 and joined the University of Punjab as a lecturer in law. There he gained his PhD in Islamic Law. Pertinently, he had started his religious education years earlier. His formal classical education was initiated in Madina at the age of 12, in Madrasa al-‘Ulum al Shar‘iyya, which is situated in the blessed house of Sayyiduna Abu Ayyub al-Ansari, the first residence of the Holy Prophet (blessings and peace be upon him) after his migration.
Prof Qadri has been teaching Hadith, Tafsir, Fiqh, Theology, Sufism, Sirah, Islamic philosophy and many other rational and traditional sciences
to thousands of people, including Ulama, scholars, Shuyukh, students, intellectuals and academics in the east and in the west. His oration has a unique effect that his followers and opponents both testify to. Once you listen to him, he will end up convincing you by his eloquence and in-depth knowledge of both religious and rational sciences. He never quotes anything that is without proof, i.e., from Quran, Hadith or traditions of pious predecessors. The Shaykh always took it as a blessing to share the dais with a wide spectrum of religious personalities, within and outside the country, be It the great Islamic scholar, the late Drisrar Ahmad, with whom he had at length a number of sessions together on the issue of how to bring the Islamic system back. He also had the rare honour of addressing a gathering of scholars from different schools of thought when he presented his paper at the OIC meet in Saudi Arabia 2019 last year. He spoke on the role of education in prevention of terrorism and extremism.
Besides spreading the message of Islam, Prof Qadri’s organisation, the Minhajul Quran International (MQI), strives hard to bridge the lost gap between Sufism and Islam. Sufism is excluded from the resources of Islam by certain so-called Islamists. The MQI, however, also acknowledges the corruption within some Sufi practices and the necessity to come out from traditional institutions and evolve a modern form of organisation, an endeavour in which MQI has succeeded to a large extent. Opposed to any sectarian position, it welcomes all sects within its fold, drawing inspiration from the teachings of the holy prophet of mercy (SAW) where every single person is accepted. The MQI has done a commendable job in the social field as well. It runs a chain of not less than 572 schools, including 42 colleges and an international university in Lahore. The MQI’s India chapter runs many schools and does a lot of charitable work.
The MQI has special consultative status granted by the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). There are many feats of the great revivalist of the century which can’t be summed up in one write-up. It may need another Dr Tahir ul-Qadri to unravel and explore the innumerable works of his.