A man of manifold and staggering achievements, Shaykh-ul-Islam Dr Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri is the founding leader of Minhaj-ul-Qur’an International (MQI), an organization with branches and centres in more than 90 countries around the globe, working for the promotion of peace and harmony between communities and the revival of spiritual endeavour based on the true teachings of Islam. Shaykh-ul-Islam is a scholar of extraordinary proportions and an intellectual leader for all seasons. He is a living model of profound classical knowledge, intellectual enlightenment, practical wisdom, pure spirituality, love, harmony and humanism. He is well known for his ardent endeavour to strengthen bonds among people, by bringing them together through tolerance, dialogue, integration and education. He successfully bridges the past with his image of the future and finds convincing solutions for contemporary problems. He has been teaching Hadith, Tafsir, Fiqh, Theology, Sufism, Seerah, Islamic philosophy and many other rational and traditional sciences to thousands of people, including Ulema, scholars, Shuyukh, students, intellectuals and academics in the east and the west.
Shaykh-ul-Islam was born on February 19, 1951 in the historical city of Jhang, Pakistan, and is the son of the great spiritualist and intellectual of his time ash-Shaykh Dr Farida’d-Din al-Qadri. He was educated from the young age in both the Islamic and secular sciences simultaneously. Although he had already started his religious education under his father two years earlier, his formal classical education was initiated in Madina at the age of 12, in Madrasa al-‘Ulum ash-Shar‘iyya, which was situated in the blessed house of Sayyiduna Abu Ayyub al-Ansari, the first residence of the Holy Prophet (blessings and peace be upon him) after his migration. By the time he had received a First Class Honours Degree from the University of the Punjab in 1970, he had also completed his Classical Islamic Studies, having spent over ten years under the tutelage of his father and other eminent Shuyukh of his time and achieving an unparalleled understanding of the classical shari‘a sciences and Arabic language. He earned his MA in Islamic Studies in 1972 with the University of the Punjab Gold Medal, achieved his LLB in 1974 and began to practise as a lawyer in the district courts of Jhang. He moved to Lahore in 1978 and joined the University of the Punjab as a lecturer in law and then gained his PhD in Islamic Law. He was also a member of the Syndicate, Senate and Academic Council of the University of the Punjab, which are the highest executive, administrative and academic bodies of the University.
In a short span of time, he emerged as the country’s leading Islamic jurist and scholar and revivalist of the Islamic ideology. He was appointed as a Jurist Consult (legal adviser) on Islamic law for the Supreme Court and the Federal Shari‘a Court of Pakistan and also worked as a specialist adviser on Islamic curricula for the Federal Ministry of Education of Pakistan at various times between 1983 and 1987. In the 1980s, a number of historical judgments in the legal and constitutional history of Pakistan were passed by the Federal Shariʻa Court and the Appellate Shariʻa Bench, Supreme Court of Pakistan as a result of Shaykh-ul-Islam’s juristic arguments, documented in the Pakistan Legal Decisions (PLDs) and Pakistan Legal Judgments (PLJs).
He is also a former Professor of Islamic Law at the University of the Punjab, Lahore, Pakistan, and the youngest person ever to have been awarded a professorship in the history of the University. Shaykh-ul-Islam has also previously held the position of the Head of the Department for LLM in Islamic Legislation.
Shaykh-ul-Islam founded Minhaj-ul-Qur’an in 1981 and established its headquarters in Lahore. In less than 30 years, Minhaj-ul-Qur’an has expanded and spread over more than 90 countries around the world; and in terms of its comprehensive and all-encompassing sphere of activities, educational, social, cultural and spiritual, Minhaj-ul-Qur’an is probably one of the largest non-governmental organizations in the world.
Shaykh-ul-Islam is founder and Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Minhaj University Lahore which is chartered by Government and is imparting higher education to thousands of students in the faculties of basic, modern, social, management and religious sciences. He is the founder of Minhaj Education Society which has established more than 570 schools and colleges in Pakistan. He is also the founding Chairman of Minhaj Welfare Foundation, a humanitarian and social welfare organization working globally. He is the founding leader of different forums of Minhaj-ul-Qur’an including Minhaj-ul-Qur’an Ullama Council, Minhaj-ul-Qur’an Women League, Minhaj Youth League, Mustafavi Students Movements and Muslim Christian Dialogue Forum.