Hojjat al-Islam Sayyid Muhammad Rizvi, Toronto, Canada
Birth & Education
He was born in 1957 in a family of ‘ulamã’ in Bihar, India. He comes from a region in Bihar (Siwan District, previously known as Saran) that has produced well-known Shi‘a scholars in the Indian sub-continent.
Migrated to Africa with his parents where he received elementary education in English medium school. After that for two years, he studied Arabic and Farsi with his respected father and two other ‘alims in Dar-Es-salaam, Tanzania.
In 1972, at the age of fifteen, he went to the Hawza-e ‘Ilmiya-e Qum, Iran. During his ten years stay in Qum, he studied with various teachers; and moved from the levels of muqaddimãt to sutûh (equal to graduate level in secular universities) and, finally, attended the dars-e kharij (ijtihad lectures equal to post-graduate studies) of Ayatullah al-Uzma Shaikh Wahid Khurãsãni.
Maulana Syed Muhammad Mahdi (author of the famous Lawã’ijul Ahzãn); the late Ayatullah Syed Rahat Husain Gopalpuri; the late Ra’isul Hukamã Syed ‘Ali Azhar; and also Syed ‘Ali Haidar saheb (of Islah, Kuhjwa; father of Maulana Razi Ja‘far of Karachi); the late Maulana Mustafa Jawhar saheb (father of ‘Allama Talib Jawhari). Maulana Jawhar saheb was a class-fellow and close colleague of his grandfather, the late Hakim Maulana Abul Hasan Rizvi. In this list, we may also add his illustrious father, the late Hujjatul Islam Maulana Sayyid Saeed Akhtar Saheb.
In 1982, he returned to India where he stayed at Gopalpur for about a year.
Migration to Canada
In June 1983, at the invitation of the Shia Muslim Community of British Columbia, he and his wife moved to Vancouver where he stayed till June 1991 and served Shi‘a Islam through his lectures, writings, and teachings.
Based on his publications and educational background, in September 1987, the Simon Fraser University (Vancouver) admitted him in the post-graduate program at Masters’ level. This was even though he had no formal degree nor was he asked to sit for any exams. In 1990 he completed his thesis; and after successfully defending the thesis, was awarded the Master of Arts degree in History in 1991.
In July 1991, he moved to Toronto and till 1996 worked as the Director of Islamic Education & Information Centre providing a variety of religious services to Shi‘as in North America. During this time, he was also involved in the founding of the As-Sadiq Islamic School, a full time Islamic school from KG to Grade 8 levels.
Since July 1996, he has accepted the responsibilities of the Imam-e Jum‘a and Resident ‘Ãlim of the Jaffari Islamic Centre / Jaffari Community Centre.
Publications & Travels
Most of his articles and books are in English. The most important are listed below:
1. An Explanatory Translation of the Qur’ãn in three volumes (1984; 1985; 1987).
This covers half of the Qur’ãn; the remaining three volumes will be published soon.
2. Imam Husayn: the Saviour of Islam. (1984)
3. An Introduction to the Islamic Sharí‘ah. (1992) Reprinted in Iran also. Its Italian translation was published in 2006 by Jami’atuz Zahra, Qum.
Some chapters of this booklet have also been translated into Urdu for use as text books in the discussion groups of Al-Mehdi Association of Bombay.
4. Khums: An Islamic Tax. (1984 & 1993) Reprinted in Iran also. Its Italian translation was published in 2006 by Jami’atuz Zahra, Qum.
5. Ritual & Spiritual Purity. (1989) Reprinted in Iran also (1990). Its Swahili translated was published by Bilal Mission, Tanzania in 2003.
6. Ritual Ablutions for Women (Tahãratu ’n-Nisã’). (1985; 1986)
7. Marriage & Morals in Islam. (1990) Reprinted in Iran also; and also translated into Indonesian and Spanish languages.
8. Writing of an Islamic Will. (1993; 1994; 1995; 1996; 2003; 2006)
9. Hajj: the Pilgrimage to Mecca. (1996)
10. Shi‘ism: Imamate & Wilayat. (1999) Reprinted in Iran also and its Japanese translation is already available online. A chapter of this book was translated into Farsi and published in the quarterly Safina Journal in its spring 2008 issue.
11. Hijab: A Muslim Woman’s Dress. (2004)
12. Islam: Faith, Practice & History. (2004)
13. The Infallibility of the Prophets in the Qur’ãn. (2005) Its Swalihi translation was published in 2008.
14. Business Ethics in Islam. (2007)
15. A series of 5 booklets on Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.): 1. Muhammad: the Messenger of God; 2. Peace & Jihad in Islam; 3. How Did Islam Spread? 4. Polygamy & Marriages of the Prophet; 5. Justice, Peace & Prophet Muhammad. (2007)
He has written many articles and also many pamphlets on various Islamic topics in English, Urdu and Arabic. A partial list is as follows:
1. An Introduction to Islam.
2. An Introduction to Shi\'a Islam.
3. Jesus: the Prophet of Islam.
4. Imam Husayn\'s Mission: Reforming the Ummah. 1992
5. Freedom of Expression: only a right or also a responsibility? 2006
6. Samarra, O Samrra; Your Golden Dome Shall Shine Again. 2006
7. The Last Messenger\'s Last Message. 2006
8. Salat al-Jum\'a / Friday Prayer: a few reminders. 2006
9. Proposal & Engagement: a few pointers. 2006
10. Optional Conditions in An Islamic Marriage Contract. 2006
11. Organ Donation & Transplantation. 1993; 2006
12. Gender Apartheid or Respected Interaction? 2006
13. Respectable Interaction or Mixed Gathering. 2006
14. The Shi\'as of Lebanon (1). 1993; 2006
15. The Shi\'as of Lebanon (2). 1993; 2006
16. Brotherhood, Courage & Loyalty in \'Abbas bin \'Ali. 2006
17. Basic Fasting Guidelines. 2007
18. What After Ramadhan? 2007
19. Health Care in Islam. 2007
20. Al-Fajr as-Sadiq: A New Perspective. 199?
21. The Da Vinci Code: from a Muslim\'s Perspective. 2007
22. Apostacy in Islam. 1997; 1998.
23. Ghadir & the Orientalists. 1991
24. The Story of the Crescent. unpublished.
25. Ababil Air Force. (the story of Surat Feel for children) unpublished.
26. Zakat in the Shi\'a Fiqh.
27. On the Zabiha of Ahlul Kitab. 1996
28. Islam & Religious Pluralism published as an introduction to a book with the same title by Shahid Murtaza Mutahhari.
He has also authored many textbooks used in Sunday schools of the Shí‘a Muslim communities in North America. He has compiled, edited and written the lessons for Islamic Correspondence Course which was later on published in a book form in Qum under the title of Islam: Faith, Practice & History. He was the editor of the Right Path magazine.
He has traveled to most cities in Canada and U.S.A.; as well as to Australia, Guyana, Trinidad, United Kingdom, Dubai, Pakistan, Tanzania and Kenya for lectures.
Islamic Shia Ithna-Asheri Jamaat of Toronto
9000 Bathurst Street
Thornhill, Ontario L4J 8A7