The Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) today offered heartfelt condolences on the passing of Shaykh Taha Jabir Al-Alwani, a founder and former chairman of the Fiqh Council of North America.
In a statement ISNA President Azhar Azeez said:
"Sh. Taha Jabir Al-Alwani's passing is a very sad day for all of us and a huge loss not only for the Muslims living in North America but for Muslims of the world. He was one of the most prominent Islamic scholars of our time. I grew up watching and listening to his spiritual lectures on Shariah & Fiqh issues.
"Sh. Taha Jabir Al-Alwani dedicated his entire life serving Islam especially Muslims living in North America who benefitted tremendously through his vast knowledge and scholarly contributions. May Allah swt grant him a place in Jannah and grant Sabr-E-Jameel to his family members."
Sh. Al-Alwani had a concentration in Islamic legal theory, jurisprudence (usul al -fiqh), Qur'anic sciences and general Islamic thought. He taught in universities in Iraq before leaving for Egypt where he received his PhD in Usul al-fiqh from al-Azhar University in Cairo, Egypt in 1973. After his PhD graduation, he taught for 10 years at the Imam Muhammad ibn Saud University in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Sh. Al-Alwani then decided to immigrate to the United States in 1983 where he settled down in Northern Virginia. There he served as the President and as the Imam Al-Shafi'i Chair in the Islamic Legal Theory at The Graduate School of Islamic and Social Sciences at Cordoba University. Sh. Al-Alwani's openness to gaining knowledge from any source strengthened his benefit to the Islamic community in the United States.
During his time in the United States and in the Middle East, he worked extensively on interfaith projects. He had a vast network of scholars from different religions with whom he still kept up with as friends until today. Al-Alwani held the first chair for an Islamic scholar in the Washington Theological Consortium.
Al-Alwani has written and published over 30 books on a wide variety of Islamic issues including the "Ethics of Disagreement". He pioneered many revolutionary original thoughts and ideas that subsequently lead to the establishment of new fields in Islamic Studies. Al-Alwani has compared America to al-Andalus (Spain) where the Muslims risk deportation from America if they fail to become partners with other groups of society. They can achieve this by serving America and showing American society that Islam and Muslims in America are an asset to society rather than a liability.