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Shaykh Mufti Taqi Usmani (may Allah preserve him) recently addressed a graduation ceremony of ‘professionals’ who completed a year long course in basic Islamic knowledge. He mentioned some amazing and thought-provoking points, especially pertinent for students of Islamic sciences (tullab al-ilm). In summary, he stated that Muslims who have only studied secular sciences and undergone that system, sometimes, feel that knowledge is restricted to the West. They look up to others for enlightenment but are unaware of the diamonds found within their own faith and heritage. Allah has blessed us with such a faith and such luminaries of faith that we find a great legacy of knowledge in every aspect of life. He mentioned that whilst he was a judge at the Shari’a appellate bench (of the Supreme Court of Pakistan) for 17 years, he would often discuss and scrutinise legal issues alongside his colleagues there - all high level judges who had spent their entire lives in advocacy and law. Often, he was blessed to grasp legal concepts quicker than his colleagues, upon which some of them remarked that it was due to his LLB degree in which he attained 2nd position. He would respond by telling them that it is not due to his law degree; rather because he studied ‘Al-Hidaya’ (the famous Hanafi fiqh masterpiece)! He said that he only studied for a month prior to his exams for the LLB degree. The reason why he was able to grasp aspects of law easily was because of his connection with Islamic Jurisprudence (fiqh) and its principles (usul al-fiqh). When he would compare the two, what is termed in legal quarters as ‘interpretation of institutes’ appeared like children’s games and play before usul al-fiqh! Sadly, the majority of us are unware of this amazing legacy left behind by our scholars. He also mentioned this in his recently published Arabic work titled ‘Fiqh al-Buyu’ (compiled to address the rules of trade and commerce in light of the 4 Schools and with a comparative study of laws of various counties). He states therein that if you study any major law book you will not find it’s author presenting a case study of ‘probable’ and ‘prospective’ situations; rather they merely provide commentary on legal verdicts given by various courts. In comparison, when you look at the works of our jurists (fuqaha), one is left gobsmacked with how they comprehensively provide solutions to all types of ‘supposed’ scenarios! A classic example of this is Imam Sarakhsi’s ‘Al-Mabsut’ in 30 volumes, the majority of which he dictated to his student whilst being under house arrest at the bottom of a well! He also wrote Sharh Siyar al-Saghir and Al-Usul. Allah Most high blessed our Scholars with deep insight in every field and science - even in worldly/secular sciences. He remarked that one of his teachers Mufti Rashid Ahmad Ludhyanwi (Allah have mercy on him) was an expert in mathematics. He taught a book titled ‘Khulasat al-Hisab’ which exemplifies the depth of knowledge of our predecessors in mathematics. His teacher would teach them maths and calculation practically; for example he used classical methods and taught them how to calculate and measure the distance between the Earth and moon. The method was simple yet accurate, using tools designed in olden times. This same teacher of his (Shaykh Mufti Rashid Ahmad Ludhyanwi) held a position regarding the Qibla being at certain degrees... A pilot once came to him and disagreed with his teacher regarding the degrees, upon which his teacher remarked that the pilot was incorrect. The pilot said, “Shaykh! how can you disagree with me; I fly planes at the said degrees every day!” His teacher responded that you could never fly your plane at the degree you are mentioning, and thereafter explained the matter to him which left the pilot astonished that a Madrasa teacher had more insight than him - and he acknowledged his mistake. This teacher of his did not study mathematics and geometry at a university; rather he obtained this understanding from studying the works of classical Muslims scholars. As such, our scholars have left us with a legacy that is a means of guidance in every aspect of life, but we are sadly unaware of what we have within us. May Allah grant us the tawfiq to truly appreciate and recognise the treasures hidden within our heritage, Ameen. ~ Muftī Muhammad Ibn Adam al-kawthari The lecture by Muftī Muhammad Taqī Usmanī hafizahullāh can be accessed from here: https://m.youtube.com/watch?feature=youtu.be&v=qrUbbH1kW8k