The great alim, muhaddith-jurist, researcher, prolific writer and shaykh, Zafar Ahmad b. Abd al-Latif Uthmani Thanwi. He was born on 13 Rabi I 1310 (Oct, 1892) and died in Dhul Qa’dah 1394 (1974 CE). He was a close member of Hakim al-Ummat Ml. Ashraf Ali Thanwi’s circle who was also his maternal uncle and teacher. Amongst others, he also studied under Shaykh al-Hadith Ml. Khalil Ahmad Saharanpuri from who he has ijazah for the kutub sittah. He served as a teacher in Mazahirul Uloom for seven years and thereafter at Imdamul Uloom in Thana Bawan. He also taught at Madrasah Muhammadiyah in Rangoon, Burma, served at head teacher Madrasah Aliyah in Dacca for eight years and was the shaykh al-hadith at Darul Uloom Islamiyyah in Ashafabad (Hyderabad, Sind).
His magnus opus is Ila’ al-Sunan in which he produced and critically analysed the hadith evidence used in the Hanafi fiqh. He further wrote supplementary works to this title; Qawa’id fi Ulum al-Hadith and Inja’ al-Watan ‘an al-Izdira’ bi Imam al-Zaman. It took twenty years to complete. Another work of note is Dala’il al-Qur’an ‘ala Masa’il al-Nu‘man (popularly known Ahkam al-Quran li Thanwi) in which he was assigned to write from the beginning to Surah Nisa’. These works were commissioned by Hakim al-Ummat Thanwi. He has many other works in Arabic and Urdu. His fatawa is published in multi volumes under the title Imdad al-Ahkam; they are particularly insightful as he highlights the principles of the issues.
May Allah almighty have mercy upon him and grant him a high station in Junnah.
Muhammad Saifur Rahman
5 Rabi II 1437
15 January 2016
For a more detail read the biography written by Shaykh Abdul Fattah Abu Ghuddah (May Allah have mercy upon him) available in introduction to ‘Ila al-Sunan.