Second Qazi Mujahidul Islam Memorial Lecture

The Second Qazi Mujahidul Islam memorial lecture was organized on August 20, 2004 in the auditorium of Engineering College, Jamia Millia Islamia at 5.00 p.m. A large number of people including journalist, politicians, social workers and the ulama belonging to a number of institutions and schools of thought attended the programme. Students of various Madaris were also present in considerable number.

The programme started with the recitation of some verses from the Holy Quran by Maulana Sarfaraz Alam Qasmi. Prof. Sayyid Abdul Bari, who conducted the programme, then, requested Mr. Manzoor Ahmad, Vice-Chairman of IOS, to deliver the inaugural address. He threw light on the activities of the IOS and mentioned the special relationship that late Maulana Qasmi had with it and with other institutions. He also shed some light on the life and vision of Maulana Qasmi in whose memory the lecture was being organized.

Maulana Rizwan al-Qasmi, a renowned scholar, thereafter delivered his lecture. He spoke on the jurisprudential services of Maulana Qazi Mujahidul Islam Qasmi. He also spoke about his special relationship with late Maulana Qasmi. He highlighted the multidimensional personality of Qazi Saheb (1936-2002) who started his career as a teacher and left the world for his heavenly abode when he was widely acknolwedged as a towering leader of the Millat. He held several key positions in his life; he was Qazi of Imarat-e-Sharia, Bihar for over three decades and served Milli Council and Islamic Fiqh Academy as their secretary general. But the most prominent aspect of his personality was his extraordinary insight in Fiqh. In fact, he was a Faqih first and foremost, though he had deep knowledge of Quran and Hadith as well. Although a graduate of Deoband and a Hanafi to the core, the Maulana was a very broad-minded scholar and had insight in all the schools of Fiqh. He never hesitated from benefiting from schools of Fiqh other than the Hanafi one. As a result he was acceptable also to the scholars who did not follow the Hanfi school of Fiqh.

Before speaking on Maulana Qasmi’s contribution to Fiqh Maulana Rizwan shed light on the meaning and significance of Fiqh in Islam. He quoted verses from the Holy Quran and cited some sayings of the Prophet (Pbuh) to explain the role that Fiqh is required to play in the society.

Throwing light on the life of Maulana Mujahidul Islam Qasmi, Maulana Rizwan said that after graduating from Deoband in 1955, Qazi Saheb joined Jamia Rahmani of Mongir, Bihar as a teacher. He spent seven years at the Jamia and taught a number of subjects including Fiqh. Thereafter he joined Imarat-e-Shariah Bihar on the invitation of Maulana Minnatullah Rahmani. His association with the Imarat continued till he breathed his last. He served as Qazi-e-Shariat for a long time.

Qazi Saheb was fully aware of the importance of Qaza in the Muslim society. All his life he tried to impress upon the Muslims that Dar-al-Qaza was essential for reforming the Muslims. He, therefore, decided to train scholars in Fiqh. He organized training camps for this purpose in 1986 and 1994 which were attended by large number of scholars. Qazi Saheb also started an one year course in Qaza at Imarat-e-Shariat Bihar. He designed the course with a view to teaching various aspects of Qaza and Fiqh to the young religious scholars.

Maulana Rizwan said that Qazi Saheb was instrumental in spreading the network of Qaza all across the country. He personally supervised the opening of Dar al-Qaza at many places in Bihar, Orissa and Jharkhand.

Qazi Saheb was associated with Dar al-Qaza for 37 years during which he decided over 12 thousands cases. Realizing the importance of Dar al-Qaza the Muslim Personal Law Board decided in 1993 to set up such judicial courts in the cities where large numbers of Muslims reside. The Board gave the responsibility of setting up such courts to Maulana Mujahidul Islam Qasmi.

Qazi Saheb had great insight in Fiqh. He was of the opinion that Fiqh should take into account the changing time and take bold decisions when required. He was also a great champion of Muslim unity. He used to take care of it while deciding the cases brought before him. He also believed in providing the alternatives. Some times it just so happens that pronouncing a Fatwa to declare something Haram is not enough or it does not work. In such situations Qazi Saheb used to suggest alternatives.

Another quality of Qazi Saheb was to patiently hear the opinions of even his opponents. By ‘opponents’ we mean the people who differed from the opinion of Qazi Saheb. Moreover, his greatest asset was his insight in all schools of Fiqh. For the sake of Muslim unity or for greater interests of the Ummah Qazi Saheb often decided cases according to the opinion of Non-Hanfi Muftis. He believed in creating an intellectual balance on issues requiring Ijtihad to solve them. But his Ijtihad was not to totally ignore the Muftis of our distant past.

Qazi Saheb’s greatest contribution was to set up the Islamic Fiqh Academy at New Delhi. The Academy is active ever since its inception. It has organized a number of Fiqh seminars which discussed and tried to solve a number of complicated problems. The Academy has been able to acquire the services of both young and old Fuqaha. It has generated a spirit of enquiry among young ulama. The Academy has also emphasized on collective Ijtihad. In fact all the seminars it held were an exercise in collective Ijtihad.

Qazi Saheb was a man of action and as a result was always preoccupied with a lot of works. He, therefore, had little time for writing books. He did not leave behind large numbers of books and articles. But whatever he wrote, bears testimony to his great insight in Fiqh. Towards the end of his life he wrote a few articles and books. His major contribution, however, was to start the Urdu translation of the Encyclopaedia of Fiqh which is originally in Arabic and has been published from Kuwait. The work is in full swing and hopefully it will see the light of the day sooner than later.

Qazi Saheb was an active and dynamic man, said Maulana Rizwan. All his life he took active interest in the works of the Muslim Personal Law Board. From this platform he tried to solve the religious as well as social problems of the Muslim community. He also worked all his life to bring about and maintain unity among the Muslims, said Maulana Rizwan.