Asaf Ali Asghar Fyzee

Indian educator, jurist, author, diplomat, and Islamic scholar
Asaf Ali Asghar Fyzee

Asaf Ali Asghar Fyzee (10 April 1899 – 23 October 1981) was an Indian educator, jurist, author, diplomat, and Islamic scholar who is considered one of leading pioneers of modern Ismaili studies. He also served as India's first ambassador to Egypt from 1949 to 1952, and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Jammu and Kashmir from 1957 to 1960.

QuotesEdit

  • ‘It must be realized,... that religious practices have become soulless ritual; that large number of decent Muslims have ceased to find solace or consolation in the traditional forms of prayer and fasting; that good books on religion are not being written for modern times; that women are treated badly, economically and morally, and that political rights are denied to them even in fairly advanced countries by the fatwas of reactionary Ulema; that Muslims, even where they constitute the majority in a country, are often economically poor, educationally backward, spiritually bankrupt and insist on “safeguards”; that the beneficial laws of early Islam have in many instances fallen behind the times; and that the futile attempt to plant an Islamic theocracy in any modern state or fashion life after the pattern of early Islam is doomed to failure.’ ... ‘the time for heart-searching has come. Islam must be reinterpreted, or else its traditional form may be lost beyond retrieve.’
    • Arun Shourie - The World of Fatwas Or The Sharia in Action (2012, Harper Collins)[citation needed]
  • ‘The law of marriage in Islam, with certain important reservations, is beneficial to women; and so is the law of inheritance,’... ‘Why is it that almost everywhere in Islamic countries women have been denied rights by custom over immovable property? That is so in India, Indonesia, Egypt, Persia, and North Africa. And what is more disturbing is that not only is woman denied her Koranic rights but she is considered inferior to man and not fit for certain political rights. Travel in Muslim countries demonstrates the painful fact that woman is considered the plaything of man and seldom a life-companion, co-worker, or helpmate. It is not enough to brush this aside by saying that a particular practice is un-Islamic or contrary to the spirit of Islam. It is necessary to face facts, to go to the root of the matter, to give up inequitable interpretations, and to re-educate the people.’
    • Arun Shourie - The World of Fatwas Or The Sharia in Action (2012, Harper Collins)[citation needed]
  • ‘The greatest gift of the modern world to man is freedom,’... ‘—freedom to think, freedom to speak, freedom to act.’
    • Arun Shourie - The World of Fatwas Or The Sharia in Action (2012, Harper Collins)[citation needed]
  • ‘It closes the Gate of Interpretation. It lays down that legists and jurisconsults are to be divided into certain categories and no freedom of thought is allowed.’
    • Arun Shourie - The World of Fatwas Or The Sharia in Action (2012, Harper Collins)[citation needed]
  • ‘Iqbal and Abdur Rahim amongst recent Indian writers have rebelled against this doctrine, and yet none ventures to face the wrath of the Ulema.’
    • Arun Shourie - The World of Fatwas Or The Sharia in Action (2012, Harper Collins)[citation needed]
  • ‘Some ten years ago (the essay was written in 1959), there were disturbances in Pakistan and an inquiry was instituted. The Chief Justice of Pakistan questioned several Ulema regarding Islam and its essential tenets; and according to his analysis, some of the Ulema were, in the opinion of their fellow-Ulema, unbelievers. Such is the degree to which fossilization of thought has taken place in our faith. Islam, in its orthodox interpretation, has lost the resilience needed for adaptation to modem thought and modem life.’
    • Arun Shourie - The World of Fatwas Or The Sharia in Action (2012, Harper Collins)[citation needed]
  • Such gradual modifications, even of the rules of Shariah do not destroy the essential truth of the faith of Islam. On a truer and deeper examination of the matter, it will be found that certain portions of the Shariah constitute only an outer crust which enclose a kernel—the central core of Islam—which can be preserved intact only by re-interpretation and restatement in every age and in every epoch of civilization. The responsibility to determine afresh what are the durable and what the changeable elements in Islam rests on us at the present time. The conventional theology of the Ulema does not satisfy the minds and the outlook of the present century. A re-examination, re-interpretation, reformulation and restatement of the essential principles of Islam is a vital necessity of our age.
    • Arun Shourie - The World of Fatwas Or The Sharia in Action (2012, Harper Collins)[citation needed]
  • ‘It is the writer’s conviction,’ he wrote, ‘that gradually all individual and personal laws, based upon ancient principles governing the social life of the community, will either be abolished or so modified as to bring them within a general scheme of laws applicable to all persons, regardless of religious differences...’
    • Arun Shourie - The World of Fatwas Or The Sharia in Action (2012, Harper Collins)[citation needed]
  • ‘What we have to face,’ he wrote, ‘is that a Muslim living in a secular or a modern state must have the freedom and independence to obey fresh laws; and new legal norms, whether related to the Shariah or not, will have to be formulated. It is becoming increasingly clear that something good and legal may be entirely outside the rule of Shariah, just as, surprisingly enough, some rules which are unjust and indefensible may be within the orbit of acts permitted by the Shariah. I refer to some rules in the Hanafi law of talaq (divorce) in India, to take a simple example.’
    • Arun Shourie - The World of Fatwas Or The Sharia in Action (2012, Harper Collins)[citation needed]
  • ‘My solution,’ Fyzee wrote, ‘is (a) to define religion and law in terms of twentieth century thought, (b) to distinguish between religion and law in Islam, and (c) to interpret Islam on this basis and give a fresh meaning to the faith of Islam. If by this analysis some elements that we have regarded as part of the essence of Islam have to be modified, or given up altogether, then we have to face the consequences. If, on the other hand, belief in the innermost core can be preserved and strengthened, the operation although painful will produce health and vigour in an anaemic body which is languishing without a fresh ideal to guide it.’
    • Arun Shourie - The World of Fatwas Or The Sharia in Action (2012, Harper Collins)[citation needed]
  • ‘It is necessary to add,’... ‘that true Islam cannot thrive without freedom of thought in every single matter, in every single doctrine, in every single dogma.’
    • Arun Shourie - The World of Fatwas Or The Sharia in Action (2012, Harper Collins)[citation needed]
  • ‘It must be asserted firmly,’...‘no matter what the Ulema say, that he who sincerely affirms that he is a Muslim, is a Muslim; no one has the right to question his beliefs and no one has the right to excommunicate him. That dread weapon, the fatwa of takfir, is a ridiculous anachronism. It recoils on the author, without admonishing or reforming the errant soul. Belief is a matter of conscience, and this is the age which recognizes freedom of conscience in matters of faith. What may be said after proper analysis is that a certain person’s opinions are wrong, but not that “he is a Kafir.”‘
    • Arun Shourie - The World of Fatwas Or The Sharia in Action (2012, Harper Collins)[citation needed]

Quotes about FyzeeEdit

  • Asaf A.A. Fyzee was a distinguished scholar, author of the well-known Outlines of Muhammadan Law, the seventh print of the fourth edition of which was published by the Oxford University Press in 1993. His succinct book, a gem of lucidity and courage, A Modern Approach to Islam, glows with the passion to salvage Muslims, and just as much with exasperation at what has been made of the shariah, and through that of Muslim society by the ulema.
    • Arun Shourie - The World of Fatwas Or The Sharia in Action (2012, Harper Collins)[citation needed]

External linksEdit

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