Biography of Shaykh Fazal Karim Asim
Biography of Shaykh Fazal Karim Asim
The English text was present at the end of the book “Tahreek Ahlul Hadith Europe mein” of Shaykh Fazal Karim Asim. I have added some additions afterwards which I have translated from Urdu from the same book and from other sources. I have added as well some of his articles and Fatawa translated from Urdu.
“A MAN OF COURAGE
Though Ahl-e-Hadith seemed to be absent from the stage and invisible as a religious group, some individuals nevertheless felt the need of organizing them. However, nobody had the time and courage to come forward, except one who from his very arrival has involved himself in the service of the community: Moulana Fazal Karim Asim.
Moulana Asim immigrated to Britain in 1962 as a factory worker. He was educated in religious sciences, a holder of “Fadil” degree from Madrasa Ghaznawiyah in Amritsar, and “Moulvi Fadil”, “Munshi Fadil” and “Adib Fadil” from Punjab University. Before he emigrated to Britain, he had worked for 27 years in the educational administration both for the British, and for the Pakistan government.
After his arrival in Birmingham he came across two gentlemen who ran a mosque converted from a small house. They were Moulvi Muhammad Azim and Hafiz Muhammad Ilyas. They ran some small religious activities among immigrant Muslim under the title “Jam’iyyiat al Muslimin”. These activities were run on a voluntary basis. Though neither belonged to Ahl-e-Hadith, Moulana Asim joined them in their religious activities and served also as the “Khateeb” of that mosque.
When in 1963 the U.K. Islamic Mission was founded in Birmingham, he became very active member. He worked as “Khateeb” at the Mission’s Mosque for about one year and taught children as well.
In 1965, he saw the compelling need to establish a proper supplementary school to Muslim Children whose parents were just immigrating to Britain and settling here. The main aim was to enable them to learn English so that they could compete in their classes. To this purpose he laid down the foundation of “Muslim Oriental School” at Small Heath, Birmingham.
Moulana Asim, though a staunch Ahl-e-Hadith and ever keen to promote the cause o Ahl-e-Hadith, made great efforts to keep the Muslim Community united, and not divided on denominational lines. He worked with every group of the Muslim community regardless of their ideological inclinations and differences. He even harmonized himself to the extent that he avoided offering prayers according to his own personal conviction.
TAKING UP THE CHALLENGE
Moulana Asim did his best to work in full cooperation with all the groups of the Muslim community until 1974. However, the community appeared to be forming itself along the same ideological and communal lines as back at home. Ahl-e-Hadith were now being excluded or marginalized in various religious and social activities. Other groups speeded up their activities and started forming their own communities on ideological lines. Factional “Ulama” were being recruited from back home to serve this purpose and run the mosques. Differences started to widen, and disunity instead of unity became an instrument to gain some religious or social leadership.
At this stage, Moulana Asim explained, it became imperative for Ahl-e-Hadith to establish their own identity in the jungle of ever-mushrooming organizations. It was vital for them to have their own centre and mosques. It was time to organize the community and start their own activities. He consulted his other colleagues and Ahl-e Hadith friends and with their help he laid down the foundation of “Jamiat Ahl-e Hadith UK” in the beginning of 1975. Soon after, he started the task of gathering information about Ahl-e-Hadith individuals and families.
THE DELEGATION FROM MEDINAH
It so happened that in August 1975, as the organization and its activities was getting under way, a delegation from Islamic University Medinah, Saudi Arabia, arrived in Britain to look into the prospects and need of “Dawah” among Muslims immigrants in particular, and non-Muslims in general. The delegation stayed in Birmingham for about one and a half months, and toured the different cities to meet the Muslim Communities and their organizations. The delegation was made up of two “Sheikhs” and three students. The two Sheikhs were Sheikh Abdul Wahhab Al-Banna, who was the inspector of schools in Saudi Arabia, and Sheikh Nasiruddin al-Albani, a prominent scholar in Hadith Science at Islamic University. The three students who came for the purpose of translation, were Shareef Ahmad Hafiz, Mahmood Ahmad Mirpuri, and Major Mohammad Aslam.
The foundation of the “Jamiat Ahl-e-Hadith” came as a happy coincidence for the purpose of the delegation as they found it intellectually and ideologically a like-minded organization. They visited the centre and met Moulana Asim and other members and together with them organized several public and private meetings.
As the delegation was preparing to return to Madinah, Moulana Asim requested them to help Jamiat Ahl-e-Hadith both financially and with able and learned people. As the delegation had seen the situation very closely, and felt a need to speed up the prospect of “Dawah”, they promised to bring this to the attention of benevolent organizations and people. They also requested Moulana Asim to come for the pilgrimage that year, so that they could arrange a meeting for him with Sheikh Abdul Aziz Ibn Abdullah Ibn Baz, the chairman of the presidency of Dar al-Ifta in Saudi Arabia.
Moulana Asim left for Saudi Arabia to perform the “Hajj” which was held in December 1975. A meeting was arranged as planned between Moulana Asim and Sheikh ibn Baz. The Sheikh listened to what the Moulana and his delegation had to say, and asked how he could help. Moulana Asim with the help of his delegation put forward two requests. As the Jamiat needed to purchase a property where it could base its activities and promote its “Dawah” mission, they asked the Sheikh to help them, if possible, financially. Looking at the shortage of learned and expert people in the Dawah field they also requested him to send graduate students from the Islamic University Madinah to help strengthen the organization and widen the scope of its mission, suggesting the names of the three students who had earlier come to Britain. The Sheikh initially agreed to both requests. However, it seems that he has never been able to send any financial help. Though reminded and requested again, financial constraints may not have allowed him to help in this way, and his promise may have exceeded his organization’s financial ability.
However, Sheikh ibn Baz fulfilled his second promise and sent two of the three students named who graduated in 1976 from the Islamic University: Mahmood Ahmad Mirpuri and Shareef Ahmad Hafiz. They arrived in Britain at the end of 1976. Meanwhile another graduate from Islamic University, Abdul Kareem Saqib, who had already arrived in Britain on his own, happened to meet Moulana Asim and joined the team. He also became an appointee from Saudi Arabia like the other two students requested by the Jamiat.
Moulana Asim served the “Jamiat” in his capacity as “Amin” from its foundation in 1975 until 1991. Hafiz Muhammad Yaqub was chosen as its first general secretary, though he was forced to resign in 1983 owing to the demands of his Halal meat business.
AN UNEXPECTED OFFER OF HELP
Moulana Asim did not succeed in securing any financial help from Saudi Arabia. Large premises were needed for the purpose of the Jamiat’s activities and donations and collections did not raise sufficient amounts.
Meanwhile a huge building which used to be a public library and leisure centre in Small Heath, Birmingham, was put up for sale by the Council in early 1976. The building seemed to be potentially suitable for all activities of the Jamiat. The building was on an offer of 24,000. The solicitor advised Moulana Asim to accept the offer and buy the building. However, the shortage of money was the greatest hurdle.
While efforts were being made to secure the purchase of this building, a Kuwaiti businessman happened to visit Birmingham. His name was Abd al-Aziz Al-Mutawwa’. He came to know the activities of the Jamiat and the financial problems it was facing. Sheikh Al-Mutawwa’ donated from his own pocket a huge amount of 20,000. With the help of further local donations the building was purchased and a centre for the Jamiat established.
Additions from other sources:
Shaykh Fazal Karim Asim was born on the 4th April 1908 in the village Panyam in the area of Mirpur of Azad Kashmir. He studied from great scholars including Shaykh Dawoof Ghaznawi, Shaykh Naik Muhammad, Shaykh Al-Islam Thanaullah Amritsari, Hafiz Abdullah Ropuri and many other great scholars.
2 books of Shaykh Fazal Karim Aasim have been published by Numani Kutub Khanah Lahore:
a) “Safar Name”: A book of 663 containing the trips of Shaykh Fazal Karim Asim in Turkey, Iran, Kashmir, Germany, Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Palestine, Saudi Arabia and Indonesia..
b) “Tahreek Ahl e Hadith Europe Mein”: a 464 pages on the history of Ahl e Hadith in UK, the formation of Markazi Jamiat Ahl e Hadith UK and its activities. This book is currently being translated in English and it will insha Allah be published by Adnan Karim, the grand son of Shaykh Fazal Karim Asim.
Shaykh Fazal Karim Asim passed away on the 22 May 2003 in Birmingham, Inna Lillahi wa Inna Ilayhi Rajiun.
His grand son Adnan Karim established the publication “Dar Al-Arqam Publishing” and published many books in English among which we count:
1) “A commentary on Zad Al-Mustaqni” in 2 vols by Shaykh Fawzan
2) “A commentary on the Creed of Imam Al-Tahawi” by Shaykh Fawzan
3) “An epitome of Hanbali Substantive law” (Kitab Furu Al-Fiqh) of Shaykh Yusuf ibn AbdilHadi Hanbali
4) “A Hanbali epitome, the student’s guide” (Dalil At-Talib) by Shaykh Mar’i ibn Yusuf Al-Karmi
5) “A critique of the Ruling of Taqlid” (Al-Qawl Al-Mufid fi Hukm At-Taqlid) by Imam Shawkani
6) “Secrets within the order of the Quran” (Asrar Tartib Al-Quran) of Hafiz Suyuti
7) “Ibn Taymiyah on the ones of God” (a section of Sharh Asfahaniyah)
8) “An introduction to the Hanbali Madhab” (Al-Madkhal) of Shaykh ibn Badran
9) “The virtues of Black and Abyssinyans” by Hafiz ibn Jawzi
10) “The Eminence of Hadith Adherents” (Sharf Ashabil Hadith” by Khateeb Al-Baghdadi
And many other beneficial titles.
Source: ““Tahreek Ahlul Hadith Europe mein” of Shaykh Fazal Karim Aasim, “Bustan e Hadith” of Shaykh Ishaq Bhatti and others.