This is the author of Ma'ariful Quran an 8 vol tafsir translated into English. I just got the recently published vol 8. It is very insightful and a good reference. It is a good translation (as you know some translations are not) and the project was supervised by his son Mufti Taqi Usmani. You can see the kind of pious company that was in their household. Has anyone else here read some of Ma'ariful Quran in English or Urdu? Or maybe read or heard something else?
MAULANA MUHAMMAD SHAFI (Rahimahullah)
Born in Shaban 1314 A.H. (1897 C.E.) in Deoband, Mufti Muhammad Shafi was a descendent of the Uthmani family. His father, Maulana Muhammad Yasin was a great scholar and saint. Mufti Muhammad Shafi opened his eyes in a religious environment and had the great fortune of sitting in the company of excellent luminaries of his time.
At the age of five he commenced his Quranic education by Hafiz Muhammad Azim. He studied all the Persian works by his father while mathematics and other secular subjects were taught to him by his uncle, Maulana Manzur Ahmad. Maulana Qari Muhammad Yusuf Mirthi, who broadcasted his recitation of the Qurn for a long period on All India Radio, taught him the basics of Tajwid. He was admitted to Darul Ulum Doeband at the age of sixteen and qualified in 1335 A.H. Among his erudite teachers and mentors were Allama Anwar Shah Kashmiri, Maulana Azizur Rahman Uthmani, Allamah Shabbir Ahmad Uthmani, Maulana Asghar Husain, Maulana Izaz Ali, Maulana Rasul Khan Hazarwi and Maulana Habibur Rahman Uthmani (may Allah have mercy on them). Each of these scholars was an ocean of knowledge and piety.
From his student days, Mufte Muhammad Shafi was counted among the highly intelligent and diligent ones. He always distinguished himself in all examinations. As a result, his teachers harbored intense love for him.
After graduating, Maulana Habibur Rahman appointed him to teach the subjects of the lower classes. Very soon he progressed to the higher subjects and taught virtually every subject. He taught for twenty seven years until 1362 A. H. During this period, approximately thirty thousand students from all over the world benefited from his discourses. Till today, there are thousands of his students serving Deen in various parts of the world. He was also given the delicate task of heading the Darul Ifta where juristic questions were pouring in from all corners of the globe.
Mufti Muhammad Shafi had also reached a very high stage in suluk and tasawwuf. He was initially bay’at to Shaikhul Hind in 1920. After the latter’s demise, this spiritual contact continued with Hadrat Thanwi who conferred the mantle of khilafat on him. Mufti Muhammad Shafi spent approximately twenty years in the company of Hadrat Thanwi. Under the latter’s supervision, he produced some outstanding literary works. Maulana Jamil Ahmad Thanwi states that Hadrat Thanwi had such a reliance on Mufti Muhammad Shafi’s juristic acumen, that he consulted him in his personal matters as well. Hadrat Thanwi once said, “May Allah lengthen the life of Mufti Saheb for I achieve two joys due to him. Firstly, I obtain knowledge from him and secondly, I have the satisfaction that after me there are people that will continue the work.”
Besides his literary and religious endeavors, he also served the nation in the political arena. At the indication of Hadrat Thanwi, he played a major role in the independence of Pakistan by openly supporting the Muslim League. Hadrat Thanwi chose him amongst other Ulama to reform and spiritually rectify the leaders of the Muslim League like Muhammad Ali Jinnah and others.
Mufti Muhammad Shafi was appointed the Chief Supervisor of the Jamiatul Ulama-e-Islam, a body created by the scholars who participated in the movement of Pakistan. In 1945, due to Mufti Muhammad Shafi’s influence, voting went in favor of Liaqat Ali Khan who was elected the President. In the referendum of the North West Frontier Province, the countrywide tours of Allamah Uthmani and Mufti Muhammad Shafi were the causes of success as attested by Qaid Azam himself.
After the founding of Pakistan, at the request of Allamah Uthmani, he left Deoband and emigrated to Pakistan. In 1949 after the demise of Allamah Uthmani, he was elected the Chaiman of the Jamiatul Ulama-e-Islam. He was elected to many national bodies and make great endeavors in promoting Deen in the country.
In much strained circumstances, he established an institute in 1370 A.H. in Karachi. After only a few months it developed into a fully fledged Darul Ulum with more than two thousand students. He wrote more than three hundred books of which some, like Tafsir Maariful Quran are great contributions to humanity. Besides his literary masterpieces, he broadcasted the Tafsir of the Quran on Radio Pakistan for many years.
Mufti Muhammad Shafi spent his entire life in religious activities. Now withstanding his high status, he was extremely humble. His character was immaculate and he always had a smiling countenance. He had a habit of speaking softly but his replies were concise and to the point. He wore simple clean clothing throughout his life. He was never seen in expensive clothes. He had an exceptional capability in both writing and speaking. His memory was phenomenal. During his discourses, he would provide references of books that he read many years ago, thus leaving the listeners dumbfounded. He was a poet in Arabic. He was the head of all the Ulama of Pakistan.
Very few people know that he was also an expert calligrapher, book-binder and hakim (physician). He learnt calligraphy and book-binding during his student days. He studied herbal medicine as part of his course in Darul Ulum. His intention was to teach solely for Allah’s sake and earn a livelihood by means of practicing as a physician. However, Allah Subhanahu wa ta’ala had not decreed this for him. When he was initially appointed a teacher at Darul Ulum, his salary was five rupees monthly. When he left the institute after twenty six years, his salary was only sixty five rupees monthly whereas he had offers to teach in several parts of the country for a much better salary. Acquiring wealth was not his aim. Madrasah Aliyah of Calcutta offered him seven hundred rupees monthly to teach there but he did not accept the offer.
He passed away on 10 Shawwal 1396 A.H. (6 October 1976). More that 100,000 people participated in his janazah. Dr. Abdul Hayy Arifi, khalifah of Hadrat Thanwi and a close friend of Mufti Muhammad Shafi performed the janazah salah. Many great Ulama expressed extreme grief at his demise. Maulana Ihtishamul Haqq said, “All the Ulama have become orphans with his demise.” Mufti Mahmud commented, “Now it is very difficult for such a great learned man and jurist to be born.”