THE FYZEE & ISLAM FILE…

The Other Face of Islam: Who was Professor A.A.A. Fyzee? And why should we bother about him?

From top left: Nazli, Nafisa, Summaya; bottom from left Sultana Fyzee and her husband, Asaf Ali Asghar Fyzee.

From top left: Nazli, Nafisa, Summaya; bottom from left Sultana Fyzee and her husband, Asaf Ali Asghar Fyzee.

This category will feature the  works of Prof. Fyzee, going back to his early years at Cambridge and Oxford, when he began writing and publishing groundbreaking articles on Islamic law and Middle Eastern studies. Before he died in 1978, he sent me his personal copies of some early essays that would be a startling revelation to the Muslims of today. Why did he send them to me? Because I was his favourite nephew — his wife, Sultana Asaf Fyzee, an Urdu writer, was my mother’s sister. In fact, he named me ‘Zuhair’ and desperately sought to adopt me because he had three daughters and no son!

Fyzee was also fluent in Arabic and Farsi, in addition to several European languages. He finished his undergraduate degrees and his PhD at Cambridge University, before studying law in London and being called to the bar at the Inner Temple. hence, he did all his research in the original texts.

I intend to start posting the personal material Fyzee provided me and excerpts from his other works. The other works include the Right of a Muslim Wife to Divorce (based on Islamic Jurisprudence researched by Fyzee from original Arabic documents) and The Re-interpretation of Islam, that he read out when inaugurating the Department of Islamic Studies at McGill University in Montreal in the 1950s. However, given my preoccupation with the documentry I am producing on my father, I will not update this segment of my site until a few years.