Mufti Muhammad Shafi Deobandi (RA) was one of the most prominent and respected ulama of Darul-uloom Deoband. Born on 25th of January 1897 in Saharanpur, Mufti Muhammad Shafi Deobandi grew up in a religious environment under the religious and spiritual guidance of his father Hazrat moulana yaseen ra who was a senior faculty member at Darul-uloom Deoband. At the age of five Mufti Muhammad Shafi Deobandi (RA) began to memorize the Holy Quran. During 1907 and 1908 he commenced the study of Urdu, Persian, Mathematics and other subjects at Darul-Uloom Deoband, which he completed within the next five years under the supervision of his father moulana yaseen ra. Mufti Muhammad Shafi Deobandi (RA) also studied Athematic and Euclid from his uncle Munshi Manzoor Ahmed and Quranic recitation from Mohammed Yusuf Marathi, besides Maulana Yaseen Sahab introducing him to the elementary Arabic books of Sarf (Morphology) Nahw (Grammar) and Fiqah (jurisprudence) upto the Fusul-i-Akbar, and Hidayat-Un-Nahw, He did his course of Hadith in 1916 to 1917 under the supervision of Maulana Anwar Shah Kashmiri, and thus completed his education. Besides he studied Sahih-Al-Bukhari, Tirmizi and Sharh-an-Nafisi (on medicine) tibb, under Maulana Anwar Shah Kashmiris supervision.
Mufti Muhammad Shafi Deobandi (RA) began his career as a teacher at Darul-Uloom Deoband in 1918 and taught elementary level books of the curriculum and eventually the level of Durah-i-Hadith. During his teaching career at Darul-Uloom Deoband, Mufti Muhammad Shafi Deobandi (RA) was selected for his assistance in refuting the Ahmadiya movement. The biggest contribution towards social activism was that he established Darul-Uloom Karachi in 1951, which is not an institution in an ordinary sense, but a way to understand and interpret the Islamic sacred text and civilization. It emerged as a response to colonialism and the western imperialistic incursion. He taught Sahih- Bukhari for several years. In the last four years of his life he was ill and was unable to teach regularly, but on the insistence of students and teachers, every year Mufti Shafi Deobandi (RA) gave extension lectures and taught the first lessons of Sahih Bukhari and last lesson is of “Sihah-sittah”.
Hadhrat Muhammad Shafi Deobandi (RA) was a great scholar, better known for his polemical discourses against Christians and scholars of Hinduism. He refuted the principles of exegesis established by the modernists and stressed upon Islamic traditions as understood by the “Salaf-us-Saliheen” (the pious predecessors of Islam). His greatest achievement was the revival of an educational movement for the renaissance of religious sciences in India and the creation of guiding principles for the madaris (schools). He laid down the foundation of Islamic education in Pakistan also. Despite sufferings, he never gave up his conviction to help the society. Under his supervision, madaris were established. Most of them still exist, rendering educational and religious services in their vicinity.
It must not be forgotten that Mufti Shafi Sahab (RA) upheld the torch and his vision and foresightedness guided people towards religious teachings. He wanted to introduce a blend of Islamic education in the region. He made some selfless efforts towards this end. The seeds he planted at that time have grown into fruitful trees, with branches offering fruit to everybody irrespective of caste or creed. The Institution laid down by him has produced a number of successful religious scholars. Despite many constraints, these institutions give free education to poor students. Apart from playing a prominent role in the promotion of literacy.
The social and religious activism of Mufti Muhammad Shafi Deobandi (RA) was only to bring forward Muslim Ummah on all fronts. His religious approach encompasses all aspects of the subject under discussion, and his viewpoints on different issues reflect a genuine, thorough examination of traditional Islamic thought. His acute intelligence, revolutionary method of training and teaching, love of Allah and His Messenger (Allah bless him and give him peace), organized management of time, broadmindedness, tolerance, and unique and fresh, yet conservative, understanding of religious disciplines has etched him a permanent place in Islamic history. Mufti Sahab (RA) was one of the most prominent and respected scholar of Deoband. His profound knowledge, universal personality and extraordinary power of memory was exemplary.
Mufti Muhammad Shafi Deobandi (RA) was well-known for his oratorical skills. He attracted a multitude of audiences in his speeches. His scholarly and public speeches were marked with abundant knowledge, and flow.
According to the archives of Darul-Uloom Deoband, Mufti Muhammad Shafi Deobandi (RA) issued 26000 to 40000 fatwas, of which some fatwas got published in eight large volumes, titled “Imdad al-Muftin” and majority remains unpublished. On an occasion he even gave up his land allotted to him by the government of Pakistan, and built a Madrasa. Mufti Muhammad Shafi Deobandi (RA) valued scientific enquiry, and a civilized attitude based on tolerance, mutual, co-existence, and love for values and tradition. One very important aspect of his life was his fatherly and kind behavior towards his juniors. He respected remote relations and valued greatly the relatives of his father, teachers and acquaintances.
His notable work “Ma’ariful Quran” (The wisdom of Quran) was finished four years before his death. This work of commentary on the entire Holy Quran later began as a series of weekly lectures aired on Radio Pakistan than ran for ten years.
Mufti Muhammad Shafi Deobandi (RA) died on 10th of Shawal 1396 Hijri, which is 6th of October 1976. May Allah’s blessings be on his soul…Aameen