Community News

Mohammad Shafi Moonis (1918-2011)

New Delhi: Former Secretary General of Jamaat-e Islami Hind (JIH) and former Vice President of All India Muslim Majlis-e Mushawarat Maulana Mohammad Shafi Moonis passed away here on 6 April at the age of 93 years. He had fully devoted his whole life to Islamic Dawah and milli services. Born on 1 May, 1918, Maulana Shafi Moonis had his early education in Urdu, Hindi and Persian. He got vernacular Teachers Certificate in 1940, and before joining JIH, worked as a teacher in the Anglo-Arabic Higher Secondary School at Ajmeri Gate, Delhi. In his younger age he was inclined towards social activism, and before his association to JIH, he was attached to the socialist group of Congress Party. A Salafi Alim was trying to win him over into the Salafi fold, and for that purpose he provided him with some books written by Maulana Maudoodi, founder of the Jamate Islami. After reading those books and more specifically the book Musalman aur siyasi kashmakash, he was attracted towards the mission of the Jamaat and eventually joined it in 1944 and served it whole-heartedly ever since in various capacities as local president of JIH Delhi, Zonal president Delhi and UP and also of Andhra Pardesh and then as Secretary General of JIH (Qayyim Jamaat).

Till his death, he was the honorary advisor of Jamaat President as well as a member of JIH Central Advisory Council and Representatives Council. He has to his credit a book on the brief history of JIH and two collections of Urdu poems.

At the time of his death, Mohammad Shafi Moonis was the senior-most person of the first generation of the Jamaat. Besides the JIH, his contribution to other community activities is also worth noting. He served as General Secretary of All India Muslim Majlis-e Muahawarat and also as its vice president. He was representing the Jamaat in FDCA, All India Muslim Personal Law Board, Deeni Talimi Council and was associated with a number of social, charitable and political forums.

He was incharge of JIH relief work during the horrible Jabalpur riots in 1961 and had been supervising JIH relief activities done from time to time in different places. During Emergency period in 1975 with other leaders of the Jamaat he too was detained in Tihar Jail. He was one of the founders of Idarae-Adab-e Islami Hind, and had been a member of its highest body. After his association with the Jamaat he went to Darul-Isalm Pathankot(Panjab), the then headquarter of Jamaat. There he met Maulana Maudoodi and stayed with him for a short while. The maulana will be remembered also because he had done hard work to establish the new JIH headquarters at Abul Fazal Enclave in South Delhi and to populate the adjoining locality. Maulana Moonis had a special interest in new developments in the Muslim World in general, especially in Pakistan’s state of affairs. That is why he used to read national and foreign newspapers with a keen interest.

Maulana Mohammad Shafi Moonis was the chief instrument to organize various scattered Muslim student groups under the banner of SIO as a student wing of JIH, said Mohammad Jafar, former Secretary General of JIH in the condolence meeting held at the Masjid of JIH headquarters here on 7 April. Mr Azharuddin, president of SIO, said that he was always promoting young talents. Dr Zafarul-Islam Khan, editor Milli Gazette and Working President of AIMMM, said that Maulana Shafi Moonis was very punctual to attend AIMMM’s meetings, and was a man of patience and firm resolve. He used to give his reasonable and well-grounded opinion on a certain issue but was never imposing it on others, Khan said. Javed Habib, chairman of Bharati Majlis, said that Maulana was a man of rules and of relations as well. Honesty, firmness and introspection were his qualities. Maulana Yusuf Islahi, rector of Jamiatus Salihat (Rampur), said that the Maulana was never disappointed whatsoever conditions may be.

Maulana Jalaluddin Umri, JIH chief in his condolence speech said that Maulana Moonis was a purely self-made man. Qayyime Jamaat Nusrat Ali said that on his demise a golden chapter of the history of JIH has been closed.

In his condolence statement, former Union minister Saifuddin Soze said that Maualan Shafi Moonis was a dedicated and sincere leader of the Muslim community.

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 16-30 April 2011 on page no. 16

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