Short Profile - Hadhrat Shaykh Asif Hussain Farooqui
Hadhrat Shaykh Asif Hussain Farooqui daamat barakatuhum was born in Pakistan in 1947, where he was raised and schooled. He completed his early education from Aitchison College, Lahore and thereafter went to complete his Masters at the Punjab University, Lahore. He then went to Europe and Canada and acquired further degree qualifications in Geography and Business Management. After finishing a Catering and Hotel Management course in Manchester, England, he settled in that city, married and established a small business in the clothes and shoe trade.
Meeting his Beloved Shaykh
On a trip to Pakistan a few years later, he met and became a student of Arif Billah Hadhrat Shaykh Ali Murtaza rahmatullah alayhi, a highly-respected Sufi Shaykh of the Naqshbandi school of Sufism. Hadhrat Shaykh Asif Hussain Farooqui daamat barakatuhum made exceptional progress in this key science of traditional Islam, which focuses on refining one’s character, behaviour and sincerity, according to the example of the Prophet Muhammad, may peace be upon him, by means of abundant, heart-centred worship of Allah Most High.
Propagating Sufism in the UK
By 1977, Hadhrat Shaykh Asif Hussain Farooqui daamat barakatuhum had been authorised by his Shaykh to spread the Naqshbandi teachings in the UK. His work began with family and friends, and the numbers of his students grew steadily among the Pakistani community of Manchester during the early 1980s. A small property was acquired during this period, where the gatherings of worship and teaching could take place, and as word began to spread beyond Manchester about the inspiring effect of the Shaykh’s teaching, the numbers coming from further afield began to grow.
As numbers have grown, centres in London, Bradford and Burnley have been opened by students of the Shaykh, as well as a larger centre in Manchester, and these also serve as local community mosques. These centres are also used for regular women’s gatherings, since women make up approximately 40 percent of the Shaykh’s students.
It should be pointed out that at no point has Hadhrat Shaykh Asif Hussain Farooqui daamat barakatuhum ever been financially supported by his students. Until his retirement a couple of years ago, he personally attended and managed his market shops in the Arndale Centre in Manchester, where he sold clothes and shoes.
There are several aspects to the good character that Hadhrat Shaykh Asif Hussain Farooqui daamat barakatuhum both exemplifies and inspires his students to strive towards. Good relations with one’s neighbours, whatever their creed, is a central requirement, and there is no doubt that this has fostered improved community relations in the many areas where this message has taken root.
Integrity and honesty in personal and financial affairs is also greatly stressed, and he stresses that if even one penny of tax remains unpaid, one’s entire earnings become tainted. Many of the Muslim communities to which Hadhrat Shaykh Asif Hussain Farooqui daamat barakatuhum has conveyed this message share a malaise that cuts right across society, as recent news coverage of MPs expense claims has highlighted, whereby scant regard is paid to honesty in financial matters. Here again, the effect of this teaching has a tangible benefit for society as a whole.
This message of scrupulous morality is not restricted to financial matters, for those who dedicate themselves to the practice of Islam that he enjoins are guided away from any involvement in drugs, gambling, pornography and the like.
In addition, since the events of 9/11 and what followed, he has repeatedly condemned suicide bombings and other such acts of terrorism, reminding the Muslims that their worldwide political predicament is the result of Muslim communities’ collective abandonment of the high personal standards that a sincere practice of Islam should entail. It is ironic that the job of the very police who recently attempted to link him with acts of violence has undoubtedly been made easier through the influence of Hadhrat Shaykh Asif Hussain Farooqui daamat barakatuhum’s teaching.
The Prophetic teaching of the importance of good relations between husband and wife is another key element of good character. The divorce rate among his students’ families is strikingly low, compared to both Muslim and national rates.
He teaches patience, compromise in disagreement, the strength of humility and the weakness of egotism. This is a teacher who is a huge asset to this society on multiple levels.
An Exemplary Individual
In short, Hadhrat Shaykh Asif Hussain Farooqui daamat barakatuhum has for decades exemplified and promoted the attitudes of concern, integrity and tolerance which have characterised true Islam across the centuries.