The right pathway to studying Prophetic ḥadīth is the subject of much debate, especially in light of the sheer volume and complexity of the ḥadīth corpus. Dr. Akram points out that there was a historical duality that occurred around the 5th Ḥijrī century, with ḥadīth being transformed from being treated as historical reports that required scrutiny to sacred texts requiring due reverence. This led to a laxity in the community which undermined sound knowledge, and continues to do so today.Continue reading →
The True Role of Ijāzah within Islamic Scholarship
The Ijāzah is a unique and cardinal feature of the Islamic tradition, arising from the earliest times to ensure a degree of protection and accuracy to the transmission of knowledge. At the same time, its usage over time varied while its exact meaning, scope and role within the Islamic sciences remains hotly contested and misunderstood from various quarters. Here, Dr. Akram, a traditional scholar par excellence, shares his valuable thoughts on this subject.
Everyone dies but not everyone truly lives. He was a teacher to many of us, a true mentor and educator, and a father figure to the entire community. His iconic smile and his soft demeanor, his loving support for many communities, his reconciliatory role in many conflicts, will be sorely missed.
He was born in 1930 in Sialkot, Pakistan and became a lawyer by profession. He emigrated first to the United Kingdom and then to the United States. In all of the three countries he lived, he became a pioneer in Islamic work. Ever since he met the late Shaykh Abū al-Aʿlā Mawdūdī—with whom he associated himself until the day he died in 1979—he dedicated himself to serving the cause of Islām. He was instrumental in the establishment of many of the largest Islamic centers across the tristate area. He tirelessly traveled the country for the sake of daʿwah, at a time when it was not popular to do so. He was the first to deliver English lectures on Islām in a number of college campuses. With his tafsīr books in hand, he traveled from home to home, city to city, college to college campus and halaqah to halaqah, to deliver Qurʾānic lessons and call people to the Qurʾānic way. He was a major figure in ICNA, the national organization that he loved and supported.
Communities, masājid and Imāms across America will have fond memories of him.
Let us be sad only for ourselves. As for our dear departed soul, what a fortunate life he lead, of steadfastness and consistency, until his very last days. Even days before he passed, in his last moments of consciousness, I would visit him and he had nothing but duʿāʾ on his tired lips for me, asking Allah to shower his blessings upon me and give me a good ending, with his ever fading but still iconic smile.
Let our uncle Bashir have the bashārah (glad tidings) of a good end O Allah!
In this monograph, Dr. Akram shares his personal reflections on the Qurʾān, in this case, on the idea of the Qurʾān as a clear and lucid Book that is independent and free of the need for extensive external commentaries, which can often become distractions to its real message.
The very first revelation came down with one bold word and one unmistakable command—Read! Though crystal clear in its wording, it has been variably interpreted and celebrated throughout history. In this brief article, Dr. Akram reveals his own thoughts on this misunderstood command. For him, it is no endorsement of education or the sciences, but an emphasis of the prayer, which is of central importance in the Islamic faith.