Mufti Wali Hasan Tonki, Grand Mufti of Pakistan
By: Moulana Ebrahim Muhammad
Mufti Wali Hasan Tonkī (R.A) was born in 1924 C.E. (approximately 1342 A.H.). He was born in a family of “Ulamā. Moulānā Haydar Hasan Khān (R.A) who was the rector and Sheikhul Hadīth of Nadwatul ‘Ulamā in Lucknow, was the paternal uncle of his father, Mufti Anwārul Hasan Khān (R.A).
Hadrat Muftī Mahmûd Hasan Tonkī (R.A) who was also his father’s paternal uncle, was a distinguished scholar of Tonk. He wrote the voluminous Mu’jamul Muallifin, an encyclopedia of Arab authors. He was recognized as the leading Mufti of his district. Mufti Wali Hasan’s grandfather, Mufti Anwārul Hasan (R.A), and the latter’s father, Mufti Muhammad Hasan Khān (R.A) were the appointed muftīs of the Sharī’ah Court of Tonk.
Mufti Wali Hasan (R.A) studied the initial texts of Persian and Islamic studies under his father. His father passed away when he was eleven years old. After his father’s death, Moulānā Haydar Hasan Khān (R.A) took him to Nadwatul ‘Ulamā where he completed four years of the ālim course. During this period, he studied “Alfiyah Ibn Mālik’, a textbook of Arabic Grammar under Moulānā Haydar Hasan Khān (R.A) in his free time and a few booklets of Logic.
When Moulānā Haydar Hasan Khān (R.A) returned to Tonk, he took Mufti Walī Hasan (R.A) with and taught him a few books there. Moulānā Haydar Hasan Khān (R.A) suffered a stroke and passed away in Tonk. Muftī Walī Hasan (R.A) subsequently worked for several years in the Shari’ah Court of Tonk. He still harbored the desire to study the books of Hadīth and after abandoning his employment, proceeded to Saharanpur as Moulana Haydar Hasan Khan (R.A) used to praise the institute of Mazāhirul ‘Uloom a lot.
Sheikhul Hadith, Moulana Zakarīyā (R.A) was still young at the time. Mufti Wali Hasan (R.A) used to see Moulānā Zakarīyā (R.A) very often walking with the Bukhārī Sharīf in his hand and reciting the Holy Qur’an.
Mufti Wali Hasan (R.A) then proceeded to Dārul ‘Uloom Deoband where he studied for the final two years. He studied Sahih Bukhārī and Jami’ Tirmidhi under the famous Moulānā Husain Ahmad Madani (R.A). After qualifying, he returned to his homeland, Tonk where he was appointed the qādi and he also served the community by issuing fatwās (legal verdicts). He continued the work of his grandfather in the field of issuing fatwas.
However, it was the time when India was being partitioned and Mufti Wali Hasan (R.A) decided to settle in the newly. formed Pakistan. He chose Karachi for this purpose. At this time there was only one religious institute viz. Mazharul Uloom. It could not cater to all the scholars. Accordingly, Mufti Wali Hasan (R.A) accepted the post of an Islamic teacher at Metropolis High School.
In 1951 Moulānā Nür Ahmad (Founding member and first moderator of Jamia Darul Uloom Karachi) persuaded Mufti Wali Hasan (R.A) to join the Darul Uloom which Mufti Shafi’ had established in Nanak Warah, Karachi. Mufti Wali Hasan (R.A) now afforded the opportunity of displaying his intellectual talents. Among his students at Dārul ‘Uloom were Mufti Taqi ‘Uthmani and Mufti Rafi ‘Uthmāni. They describe his lessons as being extremely interesting. He had the knack for simplifying the most difficult texts and presenting it to his students in an eloquent manner. His knowledge was not only confined to best hooks, but he studied all other works in depth. He created a thirst in his students for reading literature.
Once he told Mufti Taqi ‘Uthmānī to read Fiqhul Lughah while he was still studying the elementary Arabic texts. This book, he said would assist him in understanding other works of Arabic literature. Mufti Taqi complied with his request and was extremely thankful for this golden advice as he benefitted tremendously from this book. Mufti Taqī says that this initiated his contact with the library and created the realization in him not to confine his reading to only the prescribed textbooks but to also expand the field of his reading.
Although Mufti Wali Hasan (R.A) was a student of Darul ‘Uloom Deoband, he also studied at Lucknow where he was afforded the opportunity of paying special attention to the subjects of History and Literature. However, it was in Islamic Jurisprudence that he excelled. During the lessons of fiqh, he would shed light on contemporary issues and indicated the principles involved in solving any mas’alah.
He also encouraged his students to write articles on different topics. Mufti Taqi comments that Mufti Wali Hasan (R.A) taught him the art of writing and the first article he wrote was due to the guidance of Mufti Sāhib (R.A). He also taught Mufti Taqī the manner of issuing legal verdicts. He spent between eight to ten years at Dārul ‘Uloom.
At Jamia Banurī Town
In 1956 when Darul ‘Uloom was transferred to the outskirts of the city and there was great difficulty in reaching the institute, Mufti Wali Hasan (R.A) forced, due to circumstances beyond his control, to resign. He continued his teaching career at the newly established Institute of Moulana Yusuf Banuri (R.A) namely, Madrasah Arabia Islamiyyah, Newtown (Now Jamia Uloom Islamiyyah Allama Banuri Town). Here he was appointed the Head Mufti while he supervised the faculty of specialization in fiqh. He was also a distinguished teacher of hadith.
Moulana Yusuf Banuri (R.A) handed over the teaching of Tirmidhi (a text on hadith) to Mufti Wali Hasan (R.A) after he made the latter sit in his lessons for one year. Moulānā Yusuf Banuri (R.A) commented that he wanted Mufti Wali Hasan (R.A) to become acquainted with the teaching style of his ustadh. Moulānā Anwar Shah Kashmiri (R.A). Therefore, one year prior to handing over the responsibility of Tirmidhi, he requested Mufti Wali Hasan (R.A) to attend his lessons. Mufti Wali Hasan (R.A) complied and out of extreme respect and humility used to sit with students.
He was also very well versed in the principles of jurisprudence. He taught Usoole Bazdawi (an extremely difficult text on the principles of fiqh) for a lengthy period.
He made the book seem very easy to understand due to his excellent teaching style. When Allāmah Banuri (R.A) passed away, the mammoth task of teaching Sahih Bukhari was conferred on Mufti Wali Hasan (R.A). He taught this authentic text until he fell ill in 1989. During this lengthy period, thousands of local and foreign students quenched their thirst for knowledge at this veritable well of ilm.
He was also the author of several books ex. Aili Qawānin, Yatim Pote ki Mirath else. He wrote a detailed treatise against the Muslim Personal Law of the government Although he became a renowned Sheikhul Hadith, he was more well known for his capacity as a Mufti. ‘Allamah Banuri (R.A) used to remark that the lens of high and understanding can be perceived from Mufti Sahib’s forehead. In the words of Mufti Abdus Salām. Mufti Wali Hasan (R.A) was a true wali (saint) in conformity to his name.
He first took the pledge at the hands of Maulānā Hammadullāh Hālejwi (R.A). He attended his majlis several times until the latter passed away. He had the desire to take the pledge at the hand of Moulānā Zakarīyā (R.A). When the latter came to Pakistan, he took the bay’at in Makki Musjid in Karachi. He continued his contact with his Sheikh by means of correspondence.
When Moulāna Zakarīyā (R.A) performed i’tikaf in Stanger in South Africa, Mufti Wali Hasan (R.A) also attended the program. Moulānā Zakarīyā (R.A) conferred the mantle of khilafat on him during the last ten nights of Ramadān. Before this, Mufti Wali Hasan (R.A) never gave public lectures and he wrote that before being conferred with the Khilafat, he was dumb, When he was asked by Sheikh Zakarīyā (R.A) during his i’tikaf in Stanger if he could deliver a lecture, he replied in the negative. Through the blessings of Sheikh Zakarīyā (R.A), Allah opened his Tongue and he began delivering lectures.
Sheikh Zakarīyā (R.A) advised him to participate in the work of Dawah and if he could not do this, he should assist the work. If he could not do this too, then he should harbor good thoughts about the work and never oppose it.
Mufti Wali Hasan (R.A) passed away on 2 Ramadan 1415 (1995) on a Friday at the time of Sehri. He had a stroke and was bed-ridden for 6 years. May Allah shower His choicest blessings on him till eternity.