Deobandi De facto Leader: Usmani is very important as a figurehead in the Deobandi movement— one of the most successful of the Islamic revivalist initiatives of the past century. His views and fatwas are taken as the final word by Deobandi scholars globally including those at the Deoband seminary in India. Usmani was born in Deoband, India, to Mufti Muhammad Shafi (the former Grand Mufti of Pakistan) who founded the Darul ‘Uloom, Karachi, a leading centre of Islamic education in Pakistan. He has authority to teach hadith from Sheikh al-Hadith Mawlana Zakariya Khandelawi amongst others, and he traversed the spiritual path of Tasawwuf under the guidance of Sheikh Dr Abdul Hayy Arifi, a student of the great revivalist scholar of India, Mawlana Ashraf Ali Thanvi. His students in the thousands are spread across the globe, especially in the Indian subcontinent, central Asia and many Western countries. It is estimated that over 65% of all madrassas in Pakistan are Deobandi as well as 600 of the 2000 mosques in the UK. Deobandis consider themselves orthodox Hanafi Sunnis.
Leading Islamic Finance Scholar: Usmani’s other influence comes from his position as a global authority on Islamic finance. He has served on the boards, and as chairman, of over a dozen Islamic banks and financial institutions, and currently leads the International Sharia Council for the Accounting and Auditing Organization for Islamic Financial Institutions (AAOIFI) in Bahrain. He is also a permanent member of the International Islamic Fiqh Academy of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, one of the highest legal bodies in the Muslim world.
Writer: He has translated the Qur’an both into English and Urdu. He is the author of a six-volume Arabic Hadith commentary on Sahih Muslim. He is the Chief Editor of both the Urdu and English monthly magazine Albalagh, and regularly contributes articles to leading Pakistani newspapers on a range of issues. His legal edicts (fatwas), written over the period of 45 years, are published in 4 large volumes. He has authored more than 80 books in Arabic, English, and Urdu.
New Works: He is directly supervising The Hadith Encyclopaedia, a masterful, pioneering compilation which will provide a universal number to each Hadith in a manner that will make referencing any Hadith as easy as it is to refer to an ayat of the Quran. The Encyclopaedia will be over 300 volumes. A second major work recently published is entitled The Jurisprudence (Fiqh) of Trade. The book concludes with a proposed Code of Islamic Law of Sale of Goods and Transfer of Property, which serves as a powerful call to action for regulators and standard setting organisations alike.
Assassination Attempt: On March 22, 2019, as Mufti Taqi was on his way to deliver a Friday sermon, gunmen riding three motorbikes opened fire on his and an accompanying car. The Mufti, his wife and two grandchildren (a girl aged seven and boy aged five), miraculously survived the shower of bullets untouched, but two people lost their lives and a further two were severely injured. The Prime Minister of Pakistan condemned the attack as did scholars and politicians across the board. As of yet, no one has claimed responsibility for carrying out the attack.
Covid-19: The Mufti has argued for keeping the mosques open—this situation demands prayers— but has asked the vulnerable to stay at home and has stressed the need for extra measures to be in place at mosques to minimise transmission of the virus.