Muhammad Shafee Okarvi

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Muhammad Shafee Okarvi
Portrait of Muhammad Shafee Okarvi
Born 2 February 1930
Died 24 April 1984
Nationality Pakistani
Occupation Religious scholar
Known for Theology

Muhammad Shafee Okarvi (Urdu: اردو نام: محمد شفیع اوکاڑوی‎; 2 February 1930 – 24 April 1984), also known by his honorific as Maulana Muhammad Shafee Okarvi, was a Pakistani religious scholar and orator. He was one of the founders of the Jamaa'at-e-Ahle-Sunnat[1][2] Pakistan and the Gulzaar-e-Habeeb Trust. He has received various honors from the Pakistani government and private institutes including the Sitara-e-Imtiaz. Over a span of thirty-eight years, Okarvi delivered over 18,000 speeches on many religious topics.[3]

Early life and education[edit]

Okarvi was born in Khem Karan, East Punjab, India, to Haaji Shaiekh Karam Ilaahi, a local businessman. He was the eldest son of seven siblings. He began his education by learning to read and memorize the Quran and he completed middle school.[4]

Personal life[edit]

Okarvi married at a young age and fathered eleven children, these being five sons and six daughters. In 1952, however, his two eldest sons, three-year-old Muneer Ahmad and 14-month-old Tanveer Ahmad, died within a week of each other. His eldest son, Kaukab Noorani Okarvi, continues his father's religious work and is considered one of the leading scholars of Islam.[5][6]

Throughout his life it was his daily routine to engage in research and occupy himself in worship in the night time, resting after Fajr prayers. He would rise at 11 in the morning.[7] From late afternoon until late evening (Isha prayer) he would sit in his library where he would meet and receive visitors and devotees. Daily, he met hundreds of people and was known to deliver up to as many as ten speeches.[3]

Religious and academic work[edit]

In 1947, after migrating from India, he and his father built Masjid Ghausiyah in Okara. In 1950, he began leading Friday prayers and teaching the congregation at Jaame Masjid Muhaajireen in Sahiwal and became the head of the Department of Religion at Birla High School (renamed Sutlej Cotton Mills High School) in Okara.[8]

From 1952 to 1953 he contributed to the Tahreek-e-Tahaffuz-e-Khatm-e-Nubuwwat (Protection of the Finality of Prophethood Movement). In 1954 he also established the Jaami'ah Hanafiyah Ashraf-ul-Madaaris on Grand Trunk Road in Okara and remained one of its mentors and sponsors.[8]

In 1955 he visited Karachi for the first time when he lectured at the Jaame Masjid Aaram Bagh on the first Laylat al-Qadr. The following year he became the lecturer and Imam of Memon Masjid and he founded Jamaat Ahle Sunnat and became its first chairman.[9]

International endeavors[edit]

Okarvi preached in the Far East, Middle East, India, Palestine, South Africa, United Arab Emirites, Mauritius and many other countries.[10] He sold 100,000 cassettes of his speeches in South Africa before 1980.[11] Video cassettes of his speeches are also widely distributed internationally.

In 1962, Okarvi travelled to Baghdad, Syria, Karbalaa, Beirut, Jeddah, Makkah and Madinah. He visited the shrines of many spiritual and religious scholars as well as many notable mosques and historical holy places.[12]

In 1976, Okarvi established in South Africa, Anjuman Ahl-e-Sunnat Wa Jamaa'at.[1][2]

In 1974, Okarvi formed the Jamaa'at e Ahle Sunnat in Durban, South Africa, which attracted up to 10,000 members.[13] He gave lectures in mosques and other notable places.

Okarvi made the journey to Mecca for Hajj, Ziyaarat and Umrah sixteen times.[12]

Religious Teachings[edit]

He was non violent and disliked it when the preachers of the religion would themselves not follow the Sunnah of Muhammad and misinterpret or change the actual meaning of the Qur'an and the ahadith.[14] To his critics, Okarvi would say:

"I am not taking anyone's name in my speech. I am talking about those who have wrong beliefs according to Quran and Sunnah. Whatever I say, I say it with full confidence. I have only explained those qualities of hypocrites that the holy Prophet (Sallal Laahu 'Alaiehi Wa Sallam) has explained and their signs so that the true Muslims can safeguard their beliefs and articles of faith. If those qualities are present in anyone and they can see a mirror then why are you blaming me? Why don't you correct yourself and accept the truth."[15]

Political and social contribution[edit]

He was made the Chief of Tahreek-e-Khatm-e-Nabuwwat in Sahiwal district in 1952-1953.[16]

Political Imprisonment[edit]

Okarvi was arrested for his participation against the Qadiani Movement. He remained in Montgomery prison for 10 months. During this period of imprisonment his first two sons, Muneer Ahmad (3 years old) and Tanveer Ahmad (1 1/4 years old), died within a week.[17] Several influential people[who?] met the Deputy Commissioner of Montgomery and made recommendations for him. The Deputy Commissioner visited the prison and privately told Okarvi:

"Due to the sudden death of your children, the conditions of your family are not good. I have received many recommendations for you. You sign the letter of apology. Your apology letter will be kept hidden from the public. And just today you will be released."[18]

Okarvi replied:

"I have worked for the respect and honour of the holy Prophet (Sallal Laahu 'Alaiehi Wa Sallam) and it is my belief that the holy Prophet Saiyyidinaa Muhammad (Sallal Laahu 'Alaiehi Wa Sallam) is the Last Prophet of Allaah Ta'aalaa, therefore; the question of asking for apology does not even arise. The children have passed away; even if my life is also taken away I will still remain steadfast on my belief and will not ask for any apology."[18]

Assassination attempt[edit]

On 16 October 1962 in Khadda Market, Karachi, an assassination attempt was made on Okarvi during one of his speeches.[19] He received wounds on his neck, shoulders, head and upper back. Okarvi stayed under treatment in the hospital for two and a half months. While giving his statement to the police officer Okarvi said:

"I have no personal grudge with anyone. Nor I am a criminal. If I did any crime it is only this that I preach the religion of Islam and do praise and glorification of Saiyyid-ul-'Aalameen (Master of the entire Universes'), Muhsin-e-Insaaniyat (Benefactor of the humanity), Huzoor Rahmat-ul-lil Aalameen (Mercy of the Universes) (Sallal Laahu 'Alaiehi Wa Sallam). I do not want to take any revenge from anyone and nor do I want anything to be done against the attackers. My blood has been shed unnecessarily. My Allaah, Rabb-e-Kareem accepts this and makes this mediation for my salvation. I forgive the attackers. Whereas, for establishing peace, you people do what is appropriate so that this kind of incident does not take place again."[20]

He did not appoint a lawyer for this case or follow any hearings. On recovery he occupied himself in preaching Islam and delivered his very first lecture at the same place where the attempted assassination happened.

Afterwards, three more attempts were made on Okarvi's life. While delivering his lecture, a stone was thrown at him. On another occasion he was attacked with a knife. Daggers were also put in his shoes on a third.[12]

Death and legacy[edit]

In 1974, Okarvi had a heart attack but this did not prevent him from preaching and organizing services. In 1975, he had another heart attack and came to Karachi, where he received cardiac treatment for six weeks. On 20 April 1984, he delivered his last speech at the congregation of Jum'ah Salaat at Jaame Masjid Gulzar-e-Habeeb. That evening, Okarvi had a third heart attack and was admitted to the National Institute of Cardiovascular Disease. After three days, on 24 April 1984 he died at the age of 55.[21]

On 23 March 1985, President Zia-ul-Haqq awarded the Sitaara-e-Imtiaaz to Okarvi due to his contributions to religious services.[22]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Zuleikha Ismail (14 August 1976). "10 000 members for new body". The Natal Mercury. 
  2. ^ a b Deoband to Bareilly: The Truth. Zia-ul-Qur'aan Publications (original from the University of Michigan). 1996. p. 5 & 6. Retrieved 12 June 2012. 
  3. ^ a b "Hazrat Allamah Muhammad Shafee Okarvi (Rehmatullahi Aleih)". Retrieved 13 June 2012. 
  4. ^ [rana Muhammad alam article]
  5. ^ Maatak Moti laal (Sindhi Book)
  6. ^ Majaalis e Ulamaa
  7. ^ [(Article by Rana Muhammad Alam) – Al Khateeb (Book series Issue No.12 Article by Hafiz Muhammad Shafeeq headmaster)]. 6-
  8. ^ a b [Aqeel Ahmad (2013), "Maulana Muhammad Shafee Okarvi ki Ilmi Deeni Khidmaat Tahqiqi Jaa'iza thesis". Karachi University Press. p188].
  9. ^ [Aqeel, Ahmad (2013); Thesis. "Maulana Muhammad Shafee Okarvi ki Ilmi Deeni Khidmaat Tahqiqi Jaa'iza thesis" Karachi University Press. p197].
  10. ^ [ Article by Mufti Ghulaam Sarwar]
  11. ^ [ Article by Muhammad Hasan Qaadiri, 3] Video cassettes of his speeches are also widely distributed internationally.
  12. ^ a b c [ Article by Rana Muhammad Alam]
  13. ^ [Newspaper Ref : The Natal Mercury-Dated 14 August 1976]
  14. ^ [1,2,6 (Articles by Peer Saiyyid Naseer Ud din Naseer and Abdul Qaiyyuum Hazarvi]
  15. ^ [ Quoted from the Book Zikr e Jameel]
  16. ^ [2,6, Article by Shaiekh Muhammad Lateef] 6-
  17. ^ [6, Articles by Shaiekh Muhammad Lateef and Rana Muahmmad Alam] 6-
  18. ^ a b "Maulana Muhammad Shafee Okarvi". Retrieved 30 September 2014. 
  19. ^ "Okarvi Stabbed". Daily News. 17 October 1962. 
  20. ^ "okarvi-rahmatul-laahi-lsquoalaieh". Retrieved 30 September 2014. 
  21. ^ [Newspaper Ref: Daily Jang Urdu, 25 April 1984]
  22. ^ [On 14 August 1984 in all newspapers of Pakistan

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