Syed Mumtaz Ali has a long and impressive resume, but unfortunately we will only be able to mention a few of his most salient accomplishments here.The President of the Canadian Society of Muslims recently received (March 2001) two awards for outstanding service to Islam from the Muslim community here in Toronto. They asked for a one-page resume listing his accomplishments which was then published in a booklet that outlined the recipients of the awards and their accomplishments. We thought our readers would like to know a bit about the background of our President, so we have reproduced here the description we gave of his accomplishments to that committee.
He was educated at several universities. His first university was Osmania in Hyderabad Deccan, India. Back in the days when he attended it, (the 1940s) Osmania was a famous University and was THE University to attend in India. There he studied under such great people as Maulana Manazir Ahsan Gilani and other prominent scholars such as Beoband and Nadwa as well as Dr. M. Hamidullah. He received a BA in theology and also an LL.B. in Muslim Law from Osmania. He had received various scholarships as well in those studies. Some of the subjects he studied were: the Qur'an (exegesis), Hadith, Usul, Fiqh, Kalam, Logic, Arabic, as well as other Arts subjects.
Due to the tumultuous conditions from the unfortunate takeover of Hyderabad by India, and under self-imposed exile, he travelled to Pakistan where he practised law as an Advocate for five years. Then he travelled to London, England where he studied at the University of London. There he completed the courses for an LL.M. in Muslim Law and also courses as a Chartered Secretary.
He immigrated to Toronto in 1960. Upon completing the Bar Admission course at Osgoode Hall, he was called to the Bar in 1962. He was the first immigrant from India/Pakistan in Canada to have taken his legal oath on the Holy Qur'an, as opposed to the Bible. This created quite a fuss at the time. [see picture above]
His whole life has been law, not only as a scholar in Muslim Law, but he is also educated in Western secular law too. People who know him see that he is a lawyer through and through - both secular and religious.
In 1962-3 he met Dr.
M. Qadeer Baig and a long and fruitful relationship with him both as
a friend and as his disciple began. Under Dr. Baig's directorship, Syed
Mumtaz Ali was instrumental in the incorporation of The Canadian Society
of Muslims and two other sister corporations: International Institute of
Islamic Studies and Research, and The Society for Understanding the Finite
and the Infinite. It was around that time that the successful textbook
campaign to eliminate the bias and prejudice from Ontario's textbooks was
started and the Jami Mosque of Toronto was set up by Dr. Baig. Dr. Baig
then mounted the Muslim Law Campaign, which was then put into the capable
hands of Syed Mumtaz Ali, who has had some success (although he feels there
is still a long way to go) in getting the government to address Muslim
family law concerns. At the moment the Ontario government is more open
to Alternative Dispute Resolution through court-affiliated Mediation procedures
which as a result of Syed Mumtaz Ali's efforts, in conjunction with other
members of the Bar, provides an opportunity for Muslims to settle their
family law disputes according to the Quranic prescription of Arbitration/Mediation.
Consequently he established the first Muslim Marriage, Mediation and Arbitration
service in Canada. Dr. Baig also started the Sufi Study Circle, and Syed
Mumtaz Ali has continued with it. (This has been ongoing for the past 28
years). In fact he developed a website devoted to the Sufi
Study Circle in January 1997. Six months later he developed The
Canadian Society of Muslims (this) website. That website has now become
one of the most authoritative Islamic web sites on the Internet today.