|Full name||Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri|
|Born||February 19, 1951 (age 61)|
|School/tradition||Hanafi Qadiriyya Sufi|
|Main interests||Sufism, Islamic Philosophy,Hadith, Tafsir, Seerah,Tasawwuf, Politics|
|Notable ideas||Fatwa on Terrorism, Concept of Jihad, interfaith dialogue|
Muhammad Tahir ul-Qadri (inPunjabi and Urdu: محمد طاہر القادری) (born February 19, 1951, Jhang, Pakistan) is aPakistani Sufi scholar and former professor of internationalconstitutional law at theUniversity of the Punjab. Qadri was recently described by theCNN-IBN as the ‘International Peace Ambassador’. Qadri was nominated for the 2012 Nobel Peace Prize
Qadri is the founder of Minhaj-ul-Quran International, a broad-based global Sufi organizationworking in the fields of welfare, human rights and education. Its objectives are the promotion of a moderate and non-extremist vision of Islam, the establishment of good relations and understanding between communities and religions, and the education of youth through “employing the methods of Sufism”. He also founded The Minhaj University of which he is the head of the Board of Governors, as well as an international relief charity, Minhaj Welfare Foundation.
Muhammad Tahir ul Qadri is the son of Farid-ud-Din Qadri and his ancestors belong to the Punjabi Sial family of Jhang near Sargodha. Qadri started his education at the Christian ‘Sacred Heart School’ in Jhang, where he learnt English and was exposed to Christianity at an early age. He was specifically taught Islamic education from the age of 12 in al-Madina al-Munawwara, Saudi Arabia at the Madrasa al-‘Ulum al-Shar‘iyya, which was situated in the house of Abu Ayyub al-Ansari, the first residence of the Islamic Prophet Muhammad after his migration to Madinah. He learnt under Mawlana Diya’ al-Din al-Madani (d. 1981, aged 107) and studied Hadith from Muhaddith al-Hijaz al-Sayyid ‘Alawi ibn ‘Abbas al-Maliki al-Makki (d. 1971). Al-Shaykh al-Sayyid ‘Alawis son, the late muhaddith of al-Hijaz, al-Sayyid Muhammad ibn ‘Alawi al-Maliki al-Makki (d. 2004) who was the foremost Sunni authority of the Middle Eastgave all of his fathers ijazas and isnads to Qadri in written form which he had previously received verbally, as well as his own chains. Qadri continued his quest for knowledge early in his life, making sama‘ of Hadith from the then Muhaddith al-A‘zam of Pakistan, Sardar Ahmad al-Qadri (d. 1962).
Qadri has also learnt from a number of other prominent classical authorities in the Islamic sciences such as the following scholars:
- Abu al-Barakat Ahmad al-Qadri al-Alwari (d. 1978). One of the hadithnarrators of the Sub-Continent, he is the son of Didar ‘Ali al-Shah al-Alwari(student of Ahmad ‘Ali al-Muhaddith al-Saharanpuri) and was a student ofAhmed Raza Khan Barelvi. qadri studied under him for four years and was gifted all of the Shaykhs ijazas in Hadith and Fiqh in 1972.
- ‘Abd al-Rashid al-Ridwi (d. 2011). Qadri completed the classical Dars-e-Nizami course with him from 1963 to 1970 at Jami‘a Qutbiyya Ridwiyya, Jhang. Lessons were conducted from the predawn Tahajjud prayers at three o’clock in the early morning to eleven o’clock at night with pauses between noon and afternoon. No other student was taught while he was engaged in coaching Qadri. In 2007, he attended the birthday gathering of Qadri and whilst praising his talents and achievements, said:
|“||Today we are lucky to be present here in connection with the birthday of a true lover of the Holy Prophet. I started teaching Shaykh-ul-Islam when he was very young but I never saw him missing his (predawn) Tahajjud and other optional(prayers)… Let alone speaking of neglecting a lesson or going absence, he never even imagined such a thing. As a student he was deeply loyal to me. The world has rewarded him by bestowing upon him the title of Shaykh-ul-Islam. Dr Sahib was a person of great humility and this quality exists in him even today and has not lessened even a little. All of this is divine grace and favour upon him. I pray to Allah for his long life and success in the Mustafawi mission.||”|
|—’Abd al-Rashid al-Ridwi, |
- Tahir Allauddin al-Qadri al-Gilani (d. 1991). A well-known Sufi-saint became Qadri’s spiritual guide in the Qadiriyya Tariqa in 1966. He also bestowed him with all of his ijazas in Hadith. Tahir Allauddin opened The Minhaj University saying that anyone opposing the Minhaj-ul-Quran institute would have no relationship with the Qadiriyya movement and their deeds would not benefit Islam.
- Ahmad al-Zubaydi (whose father’s standing was such that he was known as Abu Hanifa al-Saghir) of Syria who is allegedly from the family of Imam al-A‘zam Abu Hanifa reports that he personally heard Tahir Allauddin al-Gilani referring to Tahir Qadri as “Mujaddid (Reviver of Islam)”.
- ‘Abd al-Ma‘bud al-Jilani (d. 1985) who had himself taken knowledge and training directly from many scholars and saints such as Imdadullah Muhajir Makki, Ahmad Rida Khan al-Barelwi, Qutb al-‘Arifin ‘Ali bin Sulayman ibn Mustafa’ al-Naqib al-Baghdadi, his father ‘Abd al-Rahman al-Mahd al-Naqib al-Baghdadi, al-‘Arif Billah al-Shah Muhammad Sulayman Tonswi (successor of Qutb al-‘Arifin al-Shaykh Nur Muhammad al-Muharwi) and Fazl-e-Haq Khairabadi.
- Farid al-Din Qadri (d.1974), the father of Qadri was also a scholar who had acquired knowledge from the centres of learning at al-Hijaz, Lucknow, Delhi, Hyderabad (India), Baghdad,Damascus among other places. He gained knowledge from many of the leading scholars of his time such as al-Haram al-Makka ‘Alawi ibn ‘Abbas al-Maliki, Muhammad ‘Abd al-Shakur al-Muhajir al-Madani (student of Ahmad ‘Ali al-Muhaddith al-Saharanpuri and once teacher atDar al-‘Ulum Deoband before leaving it for al-Madina al-Munawwara), ‘Abd al-Hadi al-Ansari al-Laknawi, ‘Abd al-Baqi ibn ‘Ali Muhammad al-Ansari al-Muhaddith al-Laknawi (student of al-Imam Abu al-Hasanat ‘Abd al-Hayy ibn ‘Abd al-Halim al-Muhaddith al-Ansari al-Laknawi and many other great scholars), Muhammad al-Makki ibn Ja‘far al-Kattani and Muhammad Sardar Ahmad al-Qadri al-Chishti. He taught Qadri everyday from 1962 to 1970 and periodically from 1970 till 1974. This included the principles of Hadith, Fiqh, Tafsir, ‘Aqida, Tasawwuf, Nahw, Balagha, Logic, Philosophy and Arabic literature as well as many other traditional classical sciences. He awarded Qadri with the Dawra al-Hadith certification in 1970.
- Ahmad Saeed Kazmi (d. 1986). A famous authority of Pakistan who was known as the “Ghazali of his Time” was a close friend of Qadri’s father, Farid al-Din al-Qadri. Qadri studied under him at Jami‘a Islamiyya, Bahawalpur as well as in his own institution Anwar al-‘Ulum inMultan. These studies included Hadith, ‘Aqida, ‘Ilm al-Kalam and other classical sciences. Upon completion of his studies, a special certification,Sanad-e-Hadith was awarded in 1979.
- Husayn ibn Ahmad ‘Usayran (d. 2005). He was the last living student of the famous Lebanese authority, Yusuf ibn Isma‘il al-Nabhani and gave Qadri all of his ijazas in 2004, a year before he passed away. He had gained knowledge from some of the topmost authorities in Hadith and Fiqh from the Middle East and North Africa.
- Muhammad Fatih al-Kattani, the Muhaddith al-A‘zam of Syriafrom whom Qadri learnt in Damascus and gained all his ijazas.
- Burhan Ahmad al-Faruqi (d. 1996) who was a famous student of Zafar al-Hasan ‘Uthmani and student and khalifa (spiritual successor) of Muhammad Sulayman Ashraf ‘Aligarhi who in turn was a khalifa of Ahmad Rida Khan. Under him, Qadri learnt the philosophical reflections of Muhammad Iqbalunder his guidance and also received all of his ijazas.
He studied law at the University of the Punjab, Lahore where he graduated with an LLB in 1974, gaining a Gold Medal for his academic performances.Following a period of legal practice as an advocate, he taught law at the University of the Punjab from 1978 to 1983 and then gained hisPhD  in Islamic Law (Punishments in Islam, their Classification and Philosophy) from the same university in 1986 where his supervisors were Bashir Ahmad Siddiqui (‘Ulum al-Islamiyya) and Justice Javaid Iqbal. He was appointed as a professor of Law at the University of Punjab, where he taught British, US and Islamic constitutional law.
Qadri was appointed as a Jurist Consultant (legal adviser) on Islamic law for theSupreme Court and the Federal Shariat Court of Pakistan and also worked as a specialist adviser on Islamic curricula for the Federal Ministry of Education (Pakistan). At various times between 1983 and 1987, he received and declined offers for various high-level posts.
He has delivered more than 6,000 lectures on economy and political studies, religious philosophy, law, Sufism, medical sciences, material sciences and astronomy. Numerous lectures are available in Urdu, English and Arabic at Islamic bookshops around the world.
Founding of Minhaj-ul-Quran
Qadri founded a Sufism-based organisation Minhaj-ul-Quran International in October 1981 and spent the next decade expanding it nationally and internationally. In 1987, the headquarters of Minhaj-ul-Quran, based inLahore, Pakistan was inaugurated by Sufi saint Tahir Allauddin who is now regarded as the organisation’s spiritual founder. The goal of the organisation is fairly broad, namely to promote religious moderation, effective and sound education, inter-faith dialogue and harmony, and a moderate interpretation of Islam employing methods of Sufism. Over the past 30 years, the institute has reportedly expanded to over 90 countries. During the March 2011 session the United Nations Economic and Social Council granted special consultative status to Qadri’s organisation Minhaj-ul-Quran International.
On 31 August 2008, Qadri delivered a lecture entitled “Islam on Peace, Integration and Human Rights” hosted by Farghana Institute Manchester.
In March 2010 he gained media attention for the launch of his unconditionalFatwa on Terrorism and appeared on various international media outlets including Sky News, BBC News, ITV, EuroNews, Al-Jazeera, CNN and CNN’sAmanpour, CBC News, Russia Today, Al Arabiya and various other outlets.He appeared on Frost Over The World and interviewed by Sir David Frost in which Qadri stated that the “purpose of his life is to bring peace and harmony in the world”. Furthermore, the US State Department declared the Fatwa to be a significant publication which takes back Islam from terrorists.
Qadri was quoted in the American Foreign Policy magazine stating: “I am trying to bring [the terrorists] back towards humanism. This is a jihad against brutality, to bring them back towards normality. This is an intellectual jihad.”
In August 2010 Qadri held the first anti-terrorism camp for Muslim youth at theUniversity of Warwick with the aim of tackling extremism in the UK. The camp was organised by his organisation Minhaj-ul-Quran UK which has established 572 schools, a number of colleges and a chartered university.
Global Peace and Unity
On 24 October 2010, Qadri was invited to deliver a speech entitled “Jihad: Perception and reality” to a gathering of thousands of British Muslims at the largest European multicultural gathering, the Global Peace and Unity event. Qadri stated in his speech: “Let me make it very clear and sound, let me remove any ambiguity that no leader or a group has any authority to declare jihad. If any leader or a group does that, it is terrorism and not jihad.” He added: “it is solely the prerogative of a state authority to declare jihad and only as a matter of last resort when diplomacy and all other efforts to make peace have failed.”
US Institute of Peace
On 10 November 2010, Qadri delivered a lecture on “Islamic Concept of Jihad” at the US Institute of Peace, a prestigious think-tank. The audience comprised senior scholars, doctors, professors, engineers, policy makers and opinion leaders etc.
World Economic Forum
U.S. Islamic World Forum
In April 2011, Qadri was invited to speak at the U.S. – Islamic World Forum which was jointly organized by the Brookings Institution, Qatar Government and the OIC, where he spoke on issues such as integration and identity, the impact of media and politics, security and counter-terrorism, the treatment of minorities, and interfaith relations.
Lecture on Terrorism & Integration at the Parliament of New South Wales,Australia
In July 2011, he gave a lecture on the issues of terrorism and integration at theParliament of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia where he was invited by the member of the NSW Legislative Council, the Hon. Shaoquett Moselmane MLC. The audience at the lecture comprised members of the NSW Legislative Council, ministers, politicians, policy makers, senior scholars and religious leaders, etc. On 19 July 2011 Qadri appeared on NEWS LINE Australia Network where he discussed terrorism and possible troop withdrawals from Afghanistan. On 23 July 2011, Qadri appeared on SBS ONE TV and cautioned Western governments about their “aid and anti-terror funding”
Peace for Humanity Conference
On 24 September 2011, Minhaj-ul-Quran convened the “Peace for Humanity Conference” at Wembley Arena in London where Tahir-ul-Qadri and the assembled speakers issued a declaration of peace on behalf of religious representatives of several faiths, scholars, politicians, and 12,000 participants present from various countries. This conference was endorsed by, or received supportive messages from, the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar University, Ban Ki-Moon (Secretary General of theUnited Nations), Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu (Secretary General of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation), David Cameron (British Prime Minister), Nick Clegg(British Deputy Prime Minister), Rowan Williams (Archbishop of Canterbury) and others.
Peaceful Future of Afghanistan Conference
On 30 November 2011, Qadri was the keynote speaker at the 3-day “Peaceful Future of Afghanistan” conference in Istanbul, Turkey which was organised by the Center for World Religions, Diplomacy and Conflict Resolution of George Mason University together with Marmara University and was attended by more than 120 Afghani leaders. Qadri clarified about jihad and why suicide bombings is not Islamic. He provided suggestions on how to make a peaceful future in Afghanistan by dialogue and co-operation. He pointed out that Afghans need to unite against the radicals and Taliban who are in fact responsible for the NATO occupation in the first place.
2012 Tour of India
On 22 February 2012, Qadri arrived in Delhi for a 4-week tour of India.Due to threat from the Taliban he was treated as a state guestand was provided Z plus securitythroughout his tour by the Government of India. Qadri went to India with a message of peace and said ‘Terrorism has no place in Islam’ while addressing the fatwa book launch in Delhi. Indian media reported that ‘sea of humanity’ gathered to listen to Qadri along with government officials in Gujarat. In Hyderabad he attracted millions of people at the Quli Qutub Shah stadium and spoke on the Islamic concept of wasilah which was reported as the biggest gathering in the history of Hyderabad City. Qadri addressed a huge crowd at Palace Grounds of the historic Bangalore where he cleared misconceptions about Islam and said ‘A true Muslim is one who protects mankind, not just Muslims’. Qadri also urged the Pakistani and Indian governments to reduce their defence expenditures and instead spend money on the welfare of poor people. He went to Ajmer under tight security and his programme was not disclosed until he had arrived in the city. He was one of the only scholars to hold a gathering in historic Ajmer. In Mumbai the state government had arranged adequate security for Qadri’s programme due to threats from extremists.
Extremism & Terrorism
Qadri argues that terrorists have left the true, classical teachings of Islam and that their rebellious spirit of violence and religious extremism is a continuity of the Khawarij. Qadri was one of the religious leaders in Pakistan to condemn the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. He has denounced and severely condemned Osama bin Ladin.
Qadri describes terrorism as an “ideological infection” and believes that, through his anti-terrorism summer camps, “we are fighting on the ideological, philosophical, theological and academic fronts. We are trying to educate young people.”
After the December 2009 Rawalpindi attack he was quoted as saying: “Suicide attacks are not allowed in Islam, these actions are un-Islamic, The slaughter of human beings in any religion or country, and terrorism in all its manifestations, are totally in contradiction with the teachings of Islam.” The same view is also held by the majority of mainstream (non-Sufi) Muslims based on the teachings of the Qur’an 5:32.
Division of the World
Qadri refutes the division of the world into two categories Dar al-Islam (the abode of Islam) and Dar al-harb (the abode of war) and that the west is the latter; Qadri instead divides the world into five categories. Qadri argues that the word “Dar al-Islam” actually implies “the abode of Peace” rather than the abode of Islam and that all countries under the United Nations (UN), whether Muslim or non-Muslim actually come under Dar al-Ahad (house of treaty) which Qadri says is the same as Dar al-Islam.
In his 2010 anti-terrorism summer camp in Britain, Qadri further commented on the issue saying,
|“||All these Western countries – Britain, Europe, North America, wherever you are living – since you are enjoying all rights, all freedoms according to the constitution as other non-Muslim communities are enjoying, there is no difference. And I would have no hesitation in saying you are enjoying the rights and freedoms much better than in many other Muslim and Arab countries.||”|
Muhammad Cartoon Controversy
Fatwa on Terrorism
On 2 March 2010, Qadri issued a 600-page Fatwa on Terrorism, which is an “absolute” scholarly refutation of all terrorism without “any excuses or pretexts.” He said that “Terrorism is terrorism, violence is violence and it has no place in Islamic teaching and no justification can be provided for it, or any kind of excuses or ifs or buts.” Qadri said his fatwa, which declares terrorists and suicide bombers to be unbelievers, goes further than any previous denunciation.
Qadri states in his Fatwa on Terrorism:
|“||The importance Islam lays on the sanctity and dignity of human life can be gauged from the fact that Islam does not allow indiscriminate killing even when Muslim armies are engaged in war against enemy troops. The killing of children, women, the old, infirm, religious leaders and traders is strictly prohibited. Nor can those who surrender their arms, confine themselves to their homes and seek shelter of anyone be killed. The public cannot be massacred. Likewise, places of worship, buildings, crops and even trees cannot be destroyed. On the one hand, there is a clear set of Islamic laws based on extreme discretion, and on the other, there are people who invoke the name of Islam to justify the indiscriminate killing of people, children, and women everywhere, without any distinction of religion or identity. It is a pity that such barbaric people still refer to their activities as Jihad. There can be no bigger discrepancy than this to be seen on earth. It can in no way be permissible to keep foreign delegates under unlawful custody and murder them and other peaceful non-Muslim citizens in retaliation for the interference, unjust activities and aggressive advances of their countries. The one who does has no relation to Islam and the Holy Prophet (blessings and peace be upon him).||”|
|—Tahir-ul-Qadri, Fatwa on Terrorism|
Burning of Qur’an
On 9 September 2010, Qadri wrote a letter to the U.S. President Barack Obamain response to the controversial ‘Burn a Quran Day‘ urging him to stop this incident from happening. Qadri wrote in an article published on the CNNwebsite: “If this event had gone ahead it would not be less than 9/11 in the sense of far-reaching consequences and after-effects.” he added: “A handful of individuals, it does not matter whether they are related to mosque or church, cannot be given the right to flippantly play about with peaceful co-existence, and their so-called sentiments cannot be preferred over global peace.”
Qadri views an Islamic state as a Muslim-majority country which respects freedom, the rule of law, global human rights (including religious freedom), social welfare, women’s rights and the rights of minorities.
He also claims that the Constitution of Medina “declared the state of Madinah as a political unit”. He also mentions that the Constitution declared the “indivisible composition of the Muslim nation (Ummah)”.
With respect to the Constitution of Medina, Qadri says: “This was the constitution, which provided the guarantee of fundamental human rights in our history.” He believes that “a constitution is a man-made law and by no means it can be declared superior to a God-made law.”
He believes in the Sovereignty of God’s law, that the Qur’an and Sunnah equates to State law, and that Islam encourages political activity. Qadri sees Islam as a faith which allows political participation. He believes in democracy and human rights, and argues that rights are defined in Islam by the Qur’an and Sunnah.
On May 25, 1989, Qadri founded a political party Pakistan Awami Tehreek or PAT. The main aims of this political party are to introduce the culture of true democracy, economic stability, improve the state of human rights, justice and the women’s role in Pakistan. The PAT also aims to remove corruption from Pakistani politics. Its official website contains its formal manifesto.
In 1990, Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) participated in the national elections just one year after it was founded. In 1991, PAT and TNFJ (Tehreek-e-Nifaz-e-Fiqh-e-Jafria A shia political group ) now known as Tehreek-e-Jafria signed a ‘Communique of Unity’ in order to promotes social and religious harmony. In another creative move, PAT for the first time in the political history of Pakistan, introduced an idea of “working relationship” between the three national political forces, PAT, TNFJ and Tehreek-e-Istaqlal.
From 1989 to 1993, Qadri continuously worked as an opposition leader tying to indicate the government’s mistakes and to suggest ways for improving the situation in the political, educational, and economical fields. In 1992 he presented a complete working plan for interest-free banking in Pakistan covering all kinds of national and international transaction which was recognized and appreciated by all sections of the society including industrial and banking professionals. PAT offices were also opened in major foreign countries.
Qadri continued his research alongside his political career and, in 1996, he presented a thesis on the utilization of an observatory for moon sighting based on the more recent scientific findings.
He was elected as an MNA (Member of the National Assembly) of his Lahore constituent on the Pakistani National Parliament. On 29 November 2004, Qadri announced his resignation as a Member of the National Assembly.Explaining his resignation he cited the President’s broken promises, political corruption and blackmailing, the undemocratic system, institutional inabilities, failures of accountability, the sabotage of National Assembly, global issues including Pakistan-US relations, international terrorism and US global domination, Israeli aggression, the Iraq war, Islamabad-Delhi relations including the Kashmir dispute and Pakistan-Afghanistan relations. His 41-page resignation statement is available online to read.
In a January 2011 address to a meeting of MQI’s Majlis-e-Shura in Lahore, Qadri stated that the current political system of Pakistan protects a 3% ruling elite, while the 97%, who are mainly poor people, have effectively become slaves of this corrupt political system.
Qadri is still influential in Pakistani politics, on October 6, 2011,Supreme Court of Pakistan ordered action on Karachi violence after the Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry took a suo motu notice on the appeal of Dr Tahir ul Qadri.
On 19 November 2011, speaking via video to a student rally at Punjab University, Lahore, Qadri requested the people to rise against the current political system like an Egyptian-style revolt. He urged the youth to rebel against the corrupt system and play their role in a Pakistani mass movement. During a press conference via video conference on 24 November, Qadri stated that even 100 elections under the current corrupt political system will not bring any change in Pakistan and announced that his political party will start countrywide peaceful rallies.