The death of Mufti Taha brought a deep sense of grief that I have been struggling to put into words. Other people of great stature have also passed on this week. Yet I felt bereft. Even though i have never met Mufti Taha his death has left me with a gaping hole that seems difficult to explain. As I read the many obituaries and the beautiful posts explaining who he was. I understood that it was his death that made us understand his value. I have been listening to his duroos and explanations on Shafi'ee Fiqh for years. His Arabic was flawless, his poetry and eloquence opening doors of knowledge. I kept going back to the this question why are we feeling this death to such an extent? The answer was simple. Growing up in predominantly Hanafi madaaris, our connection to the beauty that is found in Shafi'ee Fiqh had been minimized to "Shafi'ees do it like this". The deep knowledge and connection that is found in studying Fiqh from the sources of of Imam Shafi'ee was minimised. Growing up being Hanafi because our understanding of Shafi'ee Fiqh was limited, left us with the feeling that being Shafi'ee was wrong. We didn't learn about the insightful perspective that is attached to ahadith from a Shafi'ee viewpoint. The deep academic study that brings with it respect for each madhab.
Yet as I began my journey to understand Shafi'ee Fiqh as an adult, and find a deeper attachment to it ,I found many like me. Studying Hanafi yet being Shafi'ee. And it was Mufti Taha who allowed us to connect the great history of uloom The magnificent understanding that each madhab is different yet each was formulated through a deep connection to the worship of Allah. He allowed us to learn the true meaning of worship upon Baseerah . To look at the process behind every act of worship. He allowed the actual study of Ibadah to become an act of Ibadah. In understanding that the rules that define our Fiqh laws can differ it did not matter which madhab you followed. The differences do not matter. The focus is to look beyond the masaail and the rules. The focus is to appreciate the beauty of Fiqh. It allows us to perfect our Ibadah. It allows us to worship Allah in every way of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم. It allows us to understand that your madhab is a means of gaining closeness to the Deen of Allah in a way that was beautifully enriched by the understanding of each Faqih who explained it to us. My intention this year was to return home and spend three months studying under His tutorship. To create a deeper understanding when educating my son. To allow him to learn of the greats that sacrificed so that we could grow in our Ibadah. My dua had been for my son to meet one of the exemplary men of our time. A man dedicated to uloom. Dedicated to worship that is found in the eloquence of the Arabic language. Dedicated to worship with insight and comprehensive understanding of the Majesty of Allah.
Allah decreed otherwise and has not allowed us to meet. But On the death of a giant in the knowledge of Deen, I make dua that just as Imam Shafi'ee was born in the year that Imam Abu Hanifa passed away and was a means of continuing the chain of Islamic knowledge that connects us to our worship -I make dua that the birth of my son at the time of the death of this giant be a means of him attaining the many outstanding qualities of Mufti Taha and allow him to live a life dedicated to continuing the chain of Ilm that has been passed down to us.