Dr. Mohammad Mustafa Azami (1932-2017) the renowned and famous Islamic scholar died on 20th December, 2017 at the age of 85. He was one of the leading experts on Islamic literature in the world. He had studied from famous educational institutes of the world like DarululoomDeoband (India), JamiyaAzhar (Egypt), and Cambridge University (UK). He did his doctorate from Cambridge University on the topic “Studies in Early Hadith Literature”. Dr.Azami served in many famous universities and educational institutes of the world both as teaching and visiting faculty which included, UmmulQura University (Mecca), Visiting Scholar at University of Michigan (Ann Arbor); Visiting Fellow at St. Cross College (University of Oxford); King Faisal Visiting Professor for Islamic Studies at Princeton; and Visiting Scholar at University of Colorado (Boulder). He was also an Honorary Professor at University of Wales. Besides all this he was also a recipient of world`s famous and prestigious award known as Shah Faisal Award for his contribution in the Islamic studies. He was writer of many books, essays, and research articles which served as a source material for the students\ scholars of Islamic studies. Dr.Azami lectured in hundreds of seminars and conferences organized by universities throughout the world. He was well aware and close to the literature of the
Orientalists in which they questioned about the authenticity and reliability of the Hadith. He is regarded as one of the first Muslim scholar who refuted scholarly, brilliantly, and scientifically the claims and allegations of western writers and orientalists which they levelled against Islamic legacy. He critically investigated the writings of famous orientalists like IgnácGoldziher, David Margoliouth, and Joseph Schacht and refuted their claims against Islam.
Whenever in past Muslims faced any challenge from western writers and orientalists, scholars from Indian sub-continent didn’t remain silent and thus came forward to play their role to overcome from these. Similarly Dr.Azami authored many books in both English and Arabic. His works were translated in other international languages. Studies in Early Hadith Literature, is one of the famous book authored by him. This book is actually his doctorate dissertation.
In this book he had highlighted historical narrative of compilation of Hadith and in this book Dr.Azami had brilliantly and scientifically proved that compilation of the Hadith was began during the life of Prophet SAAW. Another important book on the same pattern is Studies in Hadeeth methodology and literature, This book deals with the methodology used to check the Hadith`s authenticity and non-authenticity. Both these books in general serve as the reference books in the various universities of the world and Arabic version of Studies in Hadeeth methodology and literature, in particular is included in the syllabus of Islamic University of Medina Munawara.
Besides these two important books, he had authored another important book relating to the Quran namely, “The history of the Quranic text from revelation to compilation”. This book is an attempt from the author to highlight many historical ways and methods used by the companions of the prophet to record, and preserve the divine book of Almighty. A complete account of steps taken by different Caliphs to preserve the Holy Quran had been provided in this book. He had also provided a detailed list of those companions who took part in the preservation and compilation of the Quran directly or indirectly. In the preface of this book, Dr.Azami had explained the necessity to write this book that a Journalist Toby Lester wrote an article which was published in the Atlantic Monthly( January 1999). In his article Lester attempted to create confusion among Muslims about the authenticity of the Quran. He claimed that the Quran as the unadulterated book of Allah is not capable of defending this view scholarly and thus posed a biggest challenge to the Muslims. Dr.Azami took this challenge and in order to answer him and started to write this book. In this book he scholarly rejected all the claims of Lester that the authenticity of the Quran is fake. In the same way in this book, he had also rejected all the allegations against the Quran and its authenticity, raised by other orientalists and their influenced Muslim writers.
Furthermore Dr.Azami had written a book, namely “On Schacht’s Origins of Muhammadan Jurisprudence” in which he had answered all questions raised by the notedOrientalist Joseph Schacht against Islamic Jurisprudence. He had authored many other notable books mostly relating to the science of Hadith and its other aspects. Some of them are,KitabNabi, Sahih Ibn Khuzema, and had ably edited many books like Mawata Imam Malik, Sunan Ibn Ma`ja and manuscript of Saheeh Al-Bukhari.
In short, Muslim world lost a great Muslim scholar who is an author of many books and without him it was not possible for the Muslims to become aware of many other books of Hadith. May Allah grant him highest ranks in Jannat and forgive his sins. (Ameen).
(The author has done Masters in Islamic Studies from Islamic University of Science and Technology Awaitipora and can be mailed at: [email protected]