In this book, originally titled Īmān Aur Kufr Qur’ān Kī Roshnī Mein (Īmān and Kufr in Light of the Qur’ān), Muftī Muḥammad Shafī‘* provides a detailed explanation of the principles of Takfīr (declaring someone outside the fold of Islām). As he explains in the preface to the book, most of the academic content is taken from a highly technical and largely inaccessible work by his teacher, ‘Allāmah Anwar Shāh al-Kashmīrī, called Ikfār al-Mulḥidīn. Thus, writing for the benefit of a more popular audience, Muftī Muḥammad Shafī‘ offers a clear understanding of what constitutes Īmān and Kufr, and outlines the principles on which a person who claims to be Muslim while denying core elements of Islām will be deemed a Kāfir.
Since the work was written shortly after the creation of Pakistan, Mufti Muḥammad Shafī‘ also includes a short tangential discussion on the two-nation theory (which was the basis for the creation of Pakistan).
In light of Zandaqah (crypto-Kufr) and Ilḥād (heretical distortion) – concepts discussed in detail in the book – being on the rise today, Muftī Shafī‘’s work is all the more relevant and important.
What is the Islāmic ruling on forming alliances, joining or working together with non-Muslim political parties, or taking assistance from non-Muslim groups or individuals for state administrative purposes?
What is the Islāmic ruling on taking the assistance of non-Muslim organisations to perform exclusively religious work or work exclusive to the Muslim community, like Zakāt collection/distribution or running a masjid?
In the following article, Muftī Muḥammad Shafī‘ provides an in-depth analysis of these questions. His discussion is written in the context of the political debates of his time in British India, where different political groups fought for independence and power. Should Muslims work with/join Congress, an ostensibly secular party, or should they join the Muslim League, an openly Muslim party? In exploring these debates, the article provides a useful historical background. It was written in the form of a fatwā shortly after the death of Mufti Shafī‘’s mentor, Mawlānā Ashraf ‘Alī al-Thanawi, and was endorsed by several leading scholars, including ‘Allāmah Shabbīr Aḥmad al-‘Uthmānī and ‘Allāmah Ẓafar Aḥmad al-‘Uthmānī.
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.