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[Biography] – Shaikh Fazal Karim Asim (1424H)

Compiled, Translated and Annotated

Abu Hibban & Abu Khuzaimah Ansari


The Shaikhs Credentials

Matriculation, Fazil Dars Nizami, Moolwi Fazil, Munshi Fazil, Adib Fazil-Punjab University, Awti, Amir Ja’miyyah Ahl al-Hadith Britannia 1975-1991

He is al-Alim, the propagator, Shaikh Mawlāna Faḍal Karīm ʿAsim. The Shaikh was born on the 24th of Rajab 1339H corresponding to the 4th April 1908 in Panyām, in the district of Mirpūr in Azād Kashmīr. His fathers name was Shaikh Muḥammad Sharif, who was a pious man. He began seeking knowledge at the tender age of 7 and throughout his early years he attended various madāris and institutes in the local areas in pursuit of knowledge and the sacred sciences.

The quest to seek knowledge of the sacred Islamic sciences continued until approximately 1940. The Shaikhs pursuit of knowledge spanned approximately 20 or so years with an approximate break of 7-8 years.

Early Education

At the age of 7 his mother enrolled him in a madrassah in the village of Sahunah, the Shaikh however did not favour the atmosphere and thus after a short period returned home. The Shaikh continued his education at school and due to his general love of seeking knowledge, his affiliation for it grew stronger and thus his fervor for the sacred Islamic sciences also grew.

When the Shaikh turned 15 he developed a strong inclination to acquire the Islamic Sciences and thus enrolled at a madrasah in a village which was approximately 10 miles from Jhelum. He studied with Shaikh Amat al-Rasūl who was the teacher at the time, he read the Qurʾan to him as well as some of the basic books on the sciences of the Dīn. The Shaikh at the same time was also attending school and studying for his matriculation. Thereafter the Shaikh travelled to Gujrāt and enrolled in a barelwī madrassah in he area of Begumpura, where he studied for a year and studied their course.

Shaikh Faẓal Karīm ʿĀṣim completed his matriculation, which is the equivalent of modern day GCSE’s i.e. education from the age of 14-16, at Manawār High School in Chakswārī.

His Travels to Amritsar in Pursuit of Knowledge

The Shaikh travelled to Amritsar in approximately around 1928 when he was in his 20’s and enrolled in Madrassah Dār al-ʿUlūm al-Quds and completed his Dars Niẓamī during a 7-8-year period. During these years in his free time he would attend the famous and leading institute of the Ahl al-Ḥadīth at the time which was Madrassah Ghaznawiyyah Salafīyyah, where he studied and learnt some classical texts and manuals. He studied with numerous scholars in both institutes and benefitted from them. The Shaikh eventually completed his Dars Nizamī and became a Mawlāna.

His Teachers

Some of the Scholars Shaikh Faḍal Karīm ʿĀṣim studied with includes the likes of

Shaikh Dawūd Ghaznawī

Shaikh al-Ḥadīth Naik Muḥammad

Shaikh ʿAbd al-Kabīr (Karim) Kāshmirī

Shaikh Muftī Muḥammad Ḥasan

Shaikh al-Manāzirīn Thanāullāh Amritsarī

Shaikh Allāmah ʿAbdallāh Rawparī

Shaikh Muḥammad Khān

Shaikh Nazīr Aḥmad

Shaikh Muḥammad Ḥussain

Shaikh ʿAbdallāh

Shaikh Muḥammad Yūsuf

Some of these scholars were direct students of al-Imām Nazir Ḥussain Muḥaddith Dehlawī as well major scholars in their own right. Who is unaware of the great Shaikh Thanāullāh Amritsārī and his efforts for the Salafī Dawah and the likes of Shaikh ʿAbdullāh Rawparī, who were firm in calling to the teachings of the Qurʾan and Ḥadīth.

Thereafter Shaikh Faḍal Karīm joined Punjab University and achieved the qualifications of Moulwī Fāẓil, Munshī Fāẓil, Adīb Fāẓil and Awtī from Punjab University. Where he studied Arabic, Farsi and Urdu.

In approximately 1936 the Shaikh returned to his native land of Chakswārī, Azād Kashmir and continued to teach in Manāwar High school and Dadyāl High School for approximately twenty-three-23 years. He then went on to teach at Intermediate College Mirpūr for another 3-three years.

His Time in England

The Shaikh migrated to England in 1962 and began working in a factory despite his Islamic credentials and acquired the status of a British national in 1967. He continued teaching students in various places. When the Shaikh first moved to the United Kingdom he came to Birmingham where he remained for the rest of his remaining life until he passed away.

As soon as the Shaikh moved to England he became involved in Daʿwah straight away, he found 2 people who had set up a small masjid and a madrassah in a house. This masjid and madrassah was run by an old person, Mawlāna Muḥammad Aẓīm and Ḥāfiẓ Muḥammad Ilyās. They had formed an organization called Jamiʿyyah al-Muslimīn, Shaikh Faḍal Karīm ʿĀṣim began working with them, he would deliver the Friday sermons and also teach children. He would work his shifts in the factory and would spend the rest of the time in giving Daʿwah.

He was the Khaṭīb of the UK Islamic Mission Masjid in Sparkbrook where he also taught children in 1963, when they first established a masjid in Birmingham. The UK Islamic Mission were affiliated with the Jamāt Islamī movement. During his time at the masjid he also taught the children the Quran and other Islamic sciences. The Shaikh eventually left them due to methodology as well as their methods, which he himself has stated in his writings.

At the time England was peaceful without any sectarianism and factionalism and the Shaikh was able to continue in his goal and mission. Numerous groups and parties had been established in the UK as well as many scholars of the various methodologies had also migrated to the UK. Slowly by slowly the atmosphere changed from giving daʿwah, reform and cultivation to factionalism. When the ugly head of blind imitation and partisanship raised its head the Shaikh was forced to continue this glorious call independently.

During this period and after leaving UK Islamic Mission Shaikh Faẓal Karīm ʿĀṣim established Muslim Oriental School to cater for the needs of the every growing Muslim community who migrated to the UK. The School was based on mount street in small Heath. With the growing number of Muslims coming to the UK from the Subcontinent, Shaikh Faẓal Karīm began teaching the Qurʿan, Urdu as well English to the new students.

The Shaikh was well aware of the needs of the growing Muslim community as well as the daily issues and problems they would face. The Shaikh was also very diligent and concerned for the educational welfare of the new migrants. The Shaikh, due to his efforts and hard work with the Muslim Oriental School, became known in the community due to his constant struggle and endeavour to help the Muslims.

Due to the educational needs of the community and the work Shaikh Faẓal Karīm ʿĀṣim had done within the community specifically in the educational sector, the community formed an educational committee and elected Shaikh Faẓal Karīm ʿĀṣim as the General Secretary.  

The Ahl al-Hadith

The work of daʿwah continued and from around 1973 Shaikh Faẓal Karīm ʿĀṣim began thinking about setting up Jamʿiyyah Ahl al-Ḥadīth based on the methodological changes that were taking place. Then around about 1974 The Shaikh began meeting other people who were upon the way of Ahl al-Ḥadīth, he would meet them on a regular basis and discuss ideas and ways to move the Daʿwah forward. These meetings and discussions culminated and was was the impetus for Shaikh Faẓal Karīm ʿĀṣim to set up his own Madrassah which eventually led him and others to set up the Jamʿiyyah Ahl al-Ḥadīth Britannia in the June of 1975 and the first Salafī Madrassah in Alum Rock on George Arthur Road, right next to a Baptist church.

The daʿwah continued and eventually another huge building was acquired in 1977 and Madrassah Salafīyyah 20 Green Lane was officially opened with 4 teachers. The Shaikh continued with his daʿwah efforts and delivered his regular lectures and lessons wherever they were needed.

From here on in, numerous other branches were set up around the United Kingdom and in this way the call of the Ahl al-Ḥadīth spread everywhere and fruits of this can be seen today. The Shaikh also began to publish a monthly magazine called Ṣirāt al-Mustaqīm, which is now world famous and is distrusted globally even until today after almost 40 years.

Shaikh Faẓal Karīm ʿĀṣim himself said although we set up the Jamʿiyyah Ahl al-Ḥadīth in the UK, the biggest obstacle was being alone. He would visit family members and some other people who sympathized with the Ahl al-Ḥadīth from my native land but they also did not show any interest. In the beginning two people, who despite not having much Islamic knowledge were very enthusiastic about spreading the Da’wah, they were Muhammad Gulzār Nadwī and Muḥammad Siddīq

Daʿwah Programs, Seminars and Travels Around the World

Shaikh Faḍal Karīm ʿĀṣim would often be invited around the world for daʿwah programs, seminars and conferences. He travelled to countries like Holland, Turkey, Irān, Kashmīr, Germany, Denmark, France, Pākistān, Egypt, Greece, Afghanistan, India, Bulgaria, Nepāl, Bangladesh, Palestine, Baltistān, Saudī ʿArabia, UAE, Indonesia, America as well as other countries for daʿwah purposes and for liaison.

Affects of the Daʿwah

It is very obvious with all these efforts the message of Tawḥīd and Sunnah spread throughout the whole of the Britain. Shaikh Faḍal Karīm ʿĀṣim was also instrumental in setting up a Muslim Youth Movement, a department for Daʿwah and Iṣlah, an education department and an Islamic Library. The numerous institutes and madrassahs in the United Kingdom and their teachings are all as a result of Imām Nazir Ḥussain Muḥaddith Dehlawī.

In the beginning Shaikh Faḍal Karīm Āʿṣim and Mawlana ʿAbdul Karīm Thāqib had already set up Markazī Jamāʿah Ahl al-Ḥadīth and had a few branches elsewhere under which the organisation was fulfilling its duty of daʿwah. There was however no formal structure or any specific organisation.

Shaikh Faḍal Karīm Āʿṣim with the aide of some associates started to use a house in Alum Rock, Birmingham for their activities and also established a madrassah in 1975. It so happened that in the same year in the summer of 1975 a Saudi delegation on the order of Dār al-Daʿwah waʾl-Irshād waʾl Iftā, whose president was Shaikh ʿAbdul ʿAziz ibn ʿAbd Allāh ibn Bāz, was sent to the United Kingdom for research and daʿwah.

The head of this delegation was the great Shaikh Muḥammad ʿAbdul Wahhāb al-Banna and he was accompanied by the well known Albanian Ḥadīth Master, Shaikh Muḥammad Nāṣir al-Dīn al-Albānī. They were also accompanied by translators who were students of knowledge in their own right and studying in Madīnah University at the time. They were asked to accompany the delegation because of the large exodus of the Asian community from the subcontinent.

The delegation was accompanied by Shaikh Maḥmūd Aḥmad Mirpūrī, Shaikh Major Muḥammad Aslam and Sharīf Aḥmad Ḥāfiẓ. Shaikh Faẓal Karīm Āʿṣim tirelessly helped them whilst they engaged in daʿwah and propagated the call of Tawḥīd. The delegation was highly impressed and pleased with Shaikh Faẓal Karīm ʿĀṣim’s efforts and diligence and acknowledged the speed and rate of his work.

They also noticed the need for further callers to help Shaikh Faẓal Karīm ʿĀṣim and he also expressed the need for young active yet knowledgeable callers to come to the United Kingdom and assist with daʿwah to the rapidly growing Muslim community in their thousands. The delegation advised him to go and meet Shaikh ʿAbdul ʿAzīz ibn ʿAbd Allāh ibn Bāz and request further assistance as he was the Head of Dār al-Iftā.

During December of the same year ie 1975 Shaikh Faḍal Karīm ʿĀṣim went for Ḥajj and also met Shaikh Ibn Bāz and he mentioned his request for help. He explained the need for daʿwah and the growing Muslim population and how western society was influencing them and how the Muslims were contravening a dejected path.

Shaikh Ibn Bāz asked Shaikh Faḍal Karīm ʿĀṣim how he could help him. Shaikh Faḍal Karīm ʿĀṣim said the three students that came with the Islamic University delegation during the summer could they be sent to the United Kingdom to him. Shaikh Ibn Bāz was very pleased with the request and sent Shaikh Maḥmūd Aḥmad Mirpūrī and Sharīf Aḥmad Ḥāfiẓ to United Kingdom for Daʿwah and teaching at the behest of al-Daʿwah waʾl Irshād waʾl Iftā during the latter part of 1976 when they both had completed their studies.

In around 1976 a huge building which used to be a public library and leisure centre in Small Heath was being sold by Birmingham City Council. The building was huge with ample space for all activities and also a place of worship. The building was on an offer £24,000. The solicitor advised Shaikh ʿĀṣim 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 was visiting Birmingham. His name was ʿAbdul ʿAzīz al-Mutawwaʾ. He found out about the activities of the Jamʿiyyah and the financial problems it was facing. Shaikh al-Mutawwaʾ 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 Jamiʿyyah established.

The Shaikh as a Writer

Shaikh Faẓal Karīm ʿĀṣim compiled a book on issues like Tawhīd, Shirk, Riba, explanation of the Quranic Ayat prohibiting Alcohol. The book also had explanatory notes on Ashraf al-Hawashī. He had given the book to the great Ahl al-Hadith and Salafī Alim Shaikh ʿAzīz Zubaidī via Shaikh Bashīr Anṣārī, however it was never published.

The Shaikh also wrote regular articles in explanation of the Quran in his monthly magazine, Ṣirāt al-Mustaqīm, which is still being published today. The Shaikh also wrote on a number of other issues and topics that were relevant to the new generation of Muslims growing up in the UK.

The Shaikh also compiled a book on the history of the Ahl al-Ḥadīth in Europe titled Tehrik Ahl-Ḥadīth Europe Mein. The book is 464 pages and was published in 1997. The Shaikh would also keep a daily journal and or a journal of his travels. This eventually materialized in to a book called Muṭālʿatī Safar which was published in 2000 and is 662 pages.

The Shaikh was praised for his efforts by the likes of the great ʿAllāmah Ehsān Ilāhī Ẓahīr, Shaikh Subayyal, Shaikh Muḥammad Ḥussain Sheikhpūrī and numerous other major scholars

The Shaikh left behind praiseworthy offspring so much so that the Shaikhs grandchildren are active in Daʿwah as well as seeking knowledge of the fundamentals of this Din. One grandchild is studying in al-Imam Muhammad Ibn Saud Islamic University whilst another has an Islamic translation and publishing company, Dar al-Arqam, who has produced some very beneficial books, Alḥamdulillāh.  

The Shaikh Rahimahullah died in 1424H corresponding to May 2003 and left behind an incredible legacy of the Salafī daʿwah in the west. May Allāh accept his efforts, struggles and daʿwah, forgive his sins and grant him a place in Jannatul Firdaws al-Aʿla. [1]


[1] Shaikh Faḍal Karīm ʿĀṣim, Muṭālʿatī Safar (Lāhore: Nomani Kutab Khana, 2000) 28-31. Introduced, verification and correction by Shaikh Ishāq Bhattī 15-27. Cf. Shaikh Faḍal Karīm ʿĀṣim, Terikh Ahl al-Ḥadīth Europe Mein (Lāhore: Nomani Kutub Khana, 1997) 27-48, introduced by Shaikh Bashīr Anṣārī and Advocate ʿAbd al-Khāliq Anṣārī, Professor Mian Muḥammad Yusūf Sajjād, Tazkirrah Ulamāʾ Ahl al-Ḥadīth Pākistān (Siyālkot: Jāmiʿa Ibrāhimiyyah, 1992) 3:223-225, Every Innovation is Misguidance, trans. Abū Ḥibbān and Abū Khuzaimah Anṣārī, (Birmingham: Salafi Research Institute, 2016) 15-17.

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