Zafar Ishaq Ansari
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Dr. Zafar Ishaq Ansari (Urdu: ﻇﻔﺮﺍﺳﺤﺎﻖ اﻧﺻﺎﺭﻯ) (27 December 1932 – 24 April 2016) was a scholar of Islamic Studies. He was the Director General of the Islamic Research Institute of the International Islamic University. Previously, he was the President of the International Islamic University Islamabad. He has published a number of books and articles, and has spoken at international conferences on Islamic Studies and inter-religious dialogue.
Education and early life
Zafar Ishaq Ansari belongs to a family of scholars. His late father, Maulana Zafar Ahmed Ansari, was a scholar of Islamic studies and was also elected to the National Assembly of Pakistan during the 1970s.
Ansari obtained his M.A. and PhD from the Institute of Islamic Studies, McGill University, Montreal, Canada in 1966. His main thesis for his PhD program was titled “The Early Development of Fiqh in Kufah with special reference to the works of Abu Yusuf and Shaybani”. He studied at University of Karachi before going to Canada for his higher studies. He was also associated with Islami Jamiat-e-Talaba.
Ansari is fluent in English, Urdu and Arabic, and has a good command of Persian, French and German.
Ansari started his teaching career as a visiting lecturer at Department of Oriental Studies, Princeton University, NJ, USA in 1966. Since then, he has been professor of Islamic Studies and History at many universities, including King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah (1967–70), University of Petroleum and Minerals, Dhahran, Saudi Arabia (1970–86), University of Melbourne, Australia (1976 – visiting), McGill University Montreal, Canada (1976–1977), University of Chicago, Chicago (Summer 1979), Faculty of Shari‘ah and Law, International Islamic University, Islamabad, Pakistan (1986–88) and Director General, Shariah Academy, International Islamic University (1987–1988).
Since 1988, Ansari has been Director General, Islamic Research Institute, International Islamic University, Islamabad.
He is the editor of the quarterly journal Islamic Studies and is a member of the editorial board of Journal of Islamic Studies, American Journal of Islamic Social Sciences, Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs, Journal of Qur'anic Studies, Studies in Contemporary Islam, and Quarterly Insights, published by Da'wah Academy, International Islamic University Islamabad.
He is also a member of the international scientific committee appointed by UNESCO for the academic supervision of its 6-volume series on various aspects of Islamic Culture, and co-editor of its first volume, The Foundations of Islam.
He has contributed a large number of research articles to journals of international repute and to Encyclopædia Britannica and Encyclopaedia of Religions. He is currently editing and translating Sayyid Abul ‘Ala Mawdudi’s Tafhim al-Qur’an under the title Towards Understanding of the Qur’an (Islamic Foundation, Leicester); so far ten volumes have been published.
He died on 24 April 2016. He died due to prolonged sickness and during his sleep.
Dr. Ansari has authored a number of books and articles on history, religion, law, Qur’an, Hadith and other religious and social sciences.
Some of his books and articles that have been published are as follows:
- "'Islamic Perspectives: Studies in Honour of Sayyid Abul A‘la Mawdudi , edited by K. Ahmad and Z.I. Ansari, Leicester, UK, 1979.
- Living Religions of the World: A Socio-Political Study, A. Al-Masdousi, translated into English (Karachi, 1962).
- Towards Understanding the Qur'an, vols. 1–10 and the last part (Juz' 'Amma - surahs 78-114), English rendering of Sayyid Abu A`la Mawdudi, Tafhim al-Qur'an (Leicester, 1988–2010). (Ten volumes have been published so far).
- Towards Understanding the Qur'an Abridged Version (Leicester: 2006).
- “Muslims and the West: Encounter” (Islamabad and Washington DC; 2001), Edited, in collaboration with John L. Esposito,.
- “Taftazani’s Views on Taklif, Jabr and Qadar”: A Note on the Development of Islamic Theology Arabica, Tome XVI, fasc. 1 (Leiden, 1969), pp. 65–78; and Tome XVII, fasc. 3 (1970), pp. 309–311.
- “Early Islamic Juristic Terminology”, Arabica, Tome XIX (Leiden, 1972), pp. 255–300.
- “Some Reflections on the Qur’anic Legal Verses”, Hamdard Islamicus, vol. IV, no. 2 (Summer 1981), pp. 13–29.
- “The Authenticity of Traditions: A Critique of Joseph Schacht’s Argument e Silentio”, Hamdard Islamicus, vol.VII, no. 2 (Summer 1984), pp. 51–56.
- “An Early Discussion on Islamic Jurisprudence: Some Notes on al-Radd ‘al-Siyar al-Awza‘i ”, a chapter in Islamic Perspectives: Studies in Honour of Sayyid Abul A‘la Mawdudi (Leicester, U.K. 1979), pp. 147–167.
- “Contemporary Islam and Nationalism: A Case Study of Egypt”, Die Welt des Islams, N.S. vol. VII, nr. 1-4 (Leiden, 1961), pp. 3–38.
- “Islam and Nationalism in Egypt—The Earlier Developments”, Pakistan Horizon, vol. XII (1959), pp. 230–247.
- “Egyptian Nationalism vis-á-vis Islam”, Pakistan Horizon, vol. XIII (1960), pp. 21–47.
- “The Sanusi Movement”, Proceedings of the First International Conference of the Historians of Asia (The Philippines, Historical Association, 1962), pp. 129–152.
- “Some Reflections on Islamic Bases for Dialogue with Jews and Christians”, Journal of Ecumenical Studies, vol. 14 (1977), pp. 433–447.
- “Sayyid Abul A‘la Mawdudi: An Introduction to his Vision of Islam and Islamic Revival”, in collaboration with K. Ahmad, a chapter in Islamic Perspectives, op. cit., pp. 359–383.
- “Non-Muslims in the Ottoman Empire”, Iqbal (Lahore, October 1962).
- “Al-Ghazali and Islamic Government”, Voice of Islam, vol. VII (Karachi, 1959).
- “Iqbal and Nationalism”, Iqbal Review, vol. II (Karachi, 1961), pp. 51–89.
- “Shah Wali Allah and Fiqhi Disagreements”, Iqbal (Lahore, January 1967), pp. 44–52.
- “Ummah in the Qur’an”, Islamic Education (Lahore, 1969).
- “The National Socialism of the Arab Ba‘th Socialist Party”, Chiragh-i Rah (Karachi, December 1967), pp. 375–392. (In Urdu).
- “Abu Hanifah”, Encyclopædia Britannica, rev. edition, 1974.
- “Al-Muslimun wa al-øa÷òrah al-hadithah”, in al-Wa`y al-Islami (Kuwait, November 1968). (In Arabic).
- “Truth, Revelation and Obedience”, Christian-Muslim Dialogue: Papers from Broumana, 1972 (Geneva, 1973), pp. 80–86.
- “Aspects of Black Muslim Theology”, Studia Islamica, Fasciculo LIII (1981), pp. 137–176.
- “Muslims in the South Pacific: A Study of the Muslim Communities in Australia, New Zealand and Fiji”.
- “The Historical Background of the Contemporary Islamic Renaissance”, The Proceedings of the Annual Convention of the Muslim Students’ Association of America and Canada, Bloomington, Indiana, May 1977 in Al-Attihad: A Quarterly of Islamic Studies, vol. 15, no. 4 (October 1979), pp. 7–13.
- “Philosophy of Water Reuse in Islamic Perspective”, with S. Farooq, Desalination, vol. 39 (1981), pp. 273–281.
- “Islamic Studies in Universities: A Critical Evaluation,” Muslim Education Quarterly, vol. I, no. 2 (Winter 1984), pp. 13–38.
- “The Religious Doctrines of the Black Muslims of America, 1934–74”, Islamic Order, vol. 7, no. 2 (1985), pp. 17–47.
- “W. D. Muhammad: The Making of a “Black Muslim” Leader, (1933–1961)”, American Journal of Islamic Social Sciences, vol. 2, no. 2 (1985), pp. 245–262.
- “Hijrah in the Islamic Tradition” in E. Anderson and N.H. Dupree, eds., The Cultural Basis of Afghan Nationalism (London, Pinter,1990), pp. 3–20.
- “The Significance of Shafi‘i’s Criticism of the Medinese Jurists”, Islamic Studies, vol. 30, no. 4 (Winter 1991), pp. 485–499.
- “The Contribution of the Qur’an and the Prophet to the Development of Islamic Fiqh”, Journal of Islamic Studies, vol. 3, no. 2 (July 1992), pp. 141–171.
- “Sawm” and “Abu Hanifah”, articles in The Encyclopedia of Religions.
- “Scientific Exegesis of the Qur’an”, Journal of Qur'anic Studies, vol. 3:1 (2001), pp. 90–104.