A man of manifold and staggering achievements, Shaykh-ul-Islam Professor Dr Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri is the founding leader of Minhaj-ul-Quran International (MQI), an organization with branches and centre’s in more than 80 countries around the globe, working for the promotion of peace and harmony between communities and the revival of spiritual endeavor based on the true teachings of Islam.
Shaykh-ul-Islam was born on February 19th 1951 in the historical city of Jhang, Pakistan and the son of the great spiritualist and intellectual of his time Ash-Shaykh Farid-ud-Din Al-Qadri. Since his birth had been foretold through a spiritual dream to his father, he was educated from a young age in both the Islamic and secular sciences simultaneously, imbued with the belief that his entire life would be devoted to the renaissance of Islam. Although he had already started his Islamic education under his father two years earlier, his formal Islamic education was initiated in Al-Madina-al-Munawwara at the age of 12, in Madrassa-tul-Ulum ash-Shariyyah which was situated in the blessed house of Sayyidina Abu Ayub al-Ansari, the first residence of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w) after his migration. By the time he had received a First Class Honors Degree from the Punjab University in 1970 he had also completed his Classical Islamic Studies, having spent over ten years under the tutelage of his father and other eminent Shayukh of his time and achieving an unparalleled understanding of the Classical Shariah Sciences and Arabic language. He earned his MA in Islamic Studies in 1972 with the Punjab University Gold Medal, achieved his LLB in 1974 and began to practice as a lawyer in the district courts of Jhang. He moved to Lahore in 1978 and joined the Punjab University as a lecturer in law and completed his doctorate in Islamic Law (Punishments in Islam, their Classification and Philosophy). He was also a member of the Syndicate, Senate and Academic Council of the Punjab University, which are the highest executive, administrative and academic bodies of a University.
However within a short space of time he emerged as the country’s leading Islamic Jurist and scholar and revivalist of the Islamic Ideology. He was appointed as a Jurist Consult (legal advisor) on Islamic Law for the Supreme Court and the Federal Shariah Court of Pakistan and also worked as a specialist adviser on Islamic curricula for the Federal Ministry of Education of Pakistan. At various times between 1983-1987, he was offered the positions of Senator for the Upper House of Parliament, Federal Minister of Religious Affairs, Federal Minister of Education and the Federal Minster of Law and Parliamentary Affairs. He was also nominated as Ambassador for Pakistan as well as being offered the post of Justice of the Appellate Shariah Bench, Supreme Court of Pakistan and the position of being a member of the Islamic Ideology Council of Pakistan (highest constitutional body for Islamic legislation). All of these positions were offered by the then President of Pakistan. However Sayyidi Shaykh-ul-Islam refused to accept any of these due to his life long commitment to serving the Deen of Islam and the Muslim Ummah at large.
In the 1980’s a number of historical judgments in the legal and constitutional history of Pakistan were passed by the Federal Shariah Court and the Appellate Shariah Bench, Supreme Court of Pakistan as a result of Shaykh-ul-Islam’s juristic arguments, documented in the Pakistan Legal Decisions (PLD) and Pakistan Legal Judgments (PL J). In particular the Federal Shariah Court passed a judgment denying the legal position of rajm as a hadd of Shariah, in which almost all well known ulama and senior renowned classical scholars of the country had appeared before the court giving their arguments. In a review petition Shaykh-ul-Islam presented his arguments before the court against the judgment for three consecutive days. As a result, a land mark decision was passed by the full bench of the Federal Shariah Court of Pakistan overturning their prior judgment and the rajm was judicially re-accepted as a hadd of Shariah.
In another case the Blasphemy Law protecting the esteemed station and reverence of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w) was also passed for the first time in the history of Pakistan after Shaykh-ul-Islam presented his arguments to the court, over a period of three days, culminating in an Act of Parliament. Another landmark and famous enactment of Parliament concerning diyah (monetary punishment for a woman’s murder) resulted after Shaykh-ul-Islam presented arguments in the President House of Pakistan during a special legislative session chaired by President Zia-ul-Haq. This session was attended by all Federal Ministers, Secretaries, Governors of all provinces, all judges of the Federal Shariah Court and Appellate Shariah Bench of the Supreme Court, members of the Islamic Ideology Council, selected top ranking classical scholars and shuyukh belonging to all schools of law. Shaykh-ul-Islam presented arguments in favor of equality of rights of women concerning al-diyah for eight hours followed by a question and answer session. This was a unique and unprecedented event in the judicial and legislative history of Pakistan. As a result of his arguments the discrimination clause was removed and women were given equality of redress. Moreover during the 1980’s hundreds of un-Islamic clauses from the old civil and criminal laws of Pakistan, which had existed since the period of British rule were amended
according to Islamic principles upon the juristic recommendations of Shaykh-ul-Islam.
He is also a former Professor of Islamic Law at Punjab University, Lahore, Pakistan, and the youngest person ever to have been awarded a professorship in the history of the University. Shaykh-ul-Islam has also previously held the position of the Head of the Department for LLM in Islamic Legislation.
Thus there is no doubt that Shaykh-ul-Islam is a man of extraordinary capabilities. He is a theologian and a theosophist, a scientist and a spiritualist, a revivalist and a reformer, a philosopher and a political thinker. He is probably the foremost jurist and expert of Islamic legal affairs in the Islamic world, and arguably the world’s most accomplished Islamic scholar, and globally renowned authority. He has been bestowed the honored title of (meaning the “authority of Islam”) by the most eminent Islamic scholars around the world. While thoroughly grounded in the classical tradition of Islam, his learned instruction and creative interpretation of Islam provide refreshing perspectives on the role of Islam in the contemporary world. One of his most remarkable achievements is to have initiated what has become one of the largest non-governmental educational projects in the world, through the Minhaj Educational Society (MES). MES has established around 1000 educational institutes, including schools and colleges, throughout Pakistan, which combine both religious and secular subjects.
There is also an officially chartered university, Minhaj University, Lahore, of which he is the founding Chairman of the Board of Governors. Qualifications obtained through Minhaj University have equivalence with the renowned al-Jamia’ al-Azhar of Cairo(Egypt).