Muftī Muḥammad Shafī‘: Limits of Interacting with Non-Muslims

The following is the translation of an essay by Muftī Muḥammad Shafī‘ (1897 – 1976 CE)* written in the year 1932 CE. It deals with the subject of personal interactions/dealings with non-Muslims, outlining that such interactions should be respectful albeit infrequent, and should not border on close friendship or become overly frequent.** Muftī Muḥammad Shafī‘ lived in India under British colonial rule and was one of the most learned scholars of that era. He was writing therefore in a context not so different to that of Muslims in western countries or other non-Muslim majority countries. He also wrote a lengthier treatise on the limits of participating with non-Muslim organisations (primarily, political organisations) to achieve religio-political goals, a translation of which will also be released shortly.

* Muftī Muḥammad Shafī‘ was one of the most eminent scholars of undivided India and then the new state of Pakistan. He served as the head-muftī of Dār al-‘Ulūm Deoband for over ten years, having trained in Ḥanafī Fiqh and fatwā under the first head-muftī of the Dār al-‘Ulūm, Muftī ‘Azīz al-Raḥmān Deobandī, and Ḥakīm al-Ummah Mawlānā Ashraf ‘Alī Thānawī. In 1943 CE, Muftī Muḥammad Shafī‘ resigned from the Dār al-‘Ulūm due to his involvement in the Pakistan movement. When Pakistan came into existence, he migrated to Karachi, and in 1951 CE established Dār al-‘Ulūm Karachi. He authored a number of academic books and treatises primarily on subjects of Fiqh. He initially took bay‘ah in taṣawwuf at the hands of Shaykh al-Hind (1851 – 1920 CE), and then continued on the spiritual path with Mawlānā Ashraf ‘Alī Thānawī, receiving khilāfah (successorship) from him.

** See also: Ma‘ārif al-Qur’ān, 2:50-2, Jawāhir al-Fiqh, 5:236-240

Zameelur Rahman

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