Sheikh Muhammad Sadiq Muhammad Yusuf was born on the 21st of the month of Radjab, 1371 AH (April 15, 1952) in the village of Niyazbatir, Asaka district, Andijan region of Uzbekistan, to the family of a spiritual scholar. He received his primary religious education from his father, Muhammad Yusuf-hajji, who taught his son Tajweed (a set of rules for proper pronunciation and recital of the Quran) and Arabic grammar (sarf and nahv), and also several juz of Qur’an.
After graduating from secondary school in the village of Bulakbashi in 1969, Muhammad Sadiq enrolled in Mir Arab Madrasah in Bukhara.
Mir Arab Madrasah was the only religious educational institution in the entire former Soviet Union. Representatives of different nationalities, mainly from countries belonging to the former Soviet Union, were trained in that madrasah. Muhammad Sadiq Muhammad Yusuf was the most promising and outstanding student among them.
He was taught by the best teachers and eminent scholars — Shahabiddin-domla (qiraa), Mukhtarjan-domla (nahv), Usmanjan-domla (Arabic literature), Safiyullah-domla and Kasimdzhan-domla (Fiqh), Abdullatif-domla (tafseer).
In 1971, a higher level Islamic institute was opened in Tashkent named Imam Bukhari, which along with the imams of the mosques of the republics of the former Soviet Union, invited gifted students from the Mir Arab Madrasah in Bukhara as well. Among these students was Muhammad Sadiq. In 1975, he successfully completed his studies along with the first graduates.
At the Imam Bukhari Institute Muhammad Sadiq was taught by the teachers such as Yusufjan Shakirov (rhetoric), Ismail Makhdum (fiqh), mufti Ziyauddin Ishan Babakhan and Abdulghani Abdullaev (hadith), and many others.
Muhammad Sadiq began his professional activity in 1975 in the magazine “Muslims of the Soviet East”, where his first scholastic articles were published. Soon he got enrolled in the “Faculty of Islamic Da’wah” in Libya and where he traveled for studies.
Most of the faculty students were foreigners from Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Syria, Jordan, certain African countries, as well as from Asia — Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand. Here Muhammad Sadiq became an honor student. After classes he would often invite his classmates and other students from the hostel and lead conversations and have discussion on topical issues of religious character.
Muhammad Sadiq received knowledge in Libya from various sheikhs and doctors of religious studies, including Tayyib An-Naos on Ayatul Ahkam and Usulul Fiqh, Muhammad Ar-Rabiti on Hadith and Fiqh, Ibrahim Rufaya on Ulumul Qur’an, Dr. Hulail on Rhetoric, Kamil Banna on History, and from other mentors on such disciplines as Ilmun-Nafs, Logic and Aqeedah.
One of the teachers of the faculty, the well-known scholar Sheikh Tayyib An-Naos, also lectured on the Tafseer of Qur’an and other religious disciplines, answered questions in the studio “Izaatul-Qur’an” radio broadcast. After classes, Muhammad Sadiq would hold the teacher by the arm, as the teacher was blind, and take him to the Izaatul-Qur’an radio studio and listen to his talk-show, thereby gaining additional knowledge from him. Sheikh Muhammad Rabiti, who lectured on the subjects of hadith and fiqh, was also blind. Along with his teaching activity, Sheikh Rabiti concurrently studied in the correspondence department of the university and was working on his doctoral dissertation. Muhammad Sadiq was helping him find the necessary books and simultaneously studied them. During the dissertation defense Muhammad Sadiq helped Sheikh Rabiti as a secretary.
Muhammad Sadiq spent most of his time in a large library in Tripoli. He was on good terms with the director of the library, Dr. Tahir.
In 1980, Muhammad Sadiq graduated from the faculty with honors and was in first place in academic achievement among the students. He was awarded a monetary reward specified by the charter of the educational institution. Students who placed first, second, or third were rewarded differently based on the results of the common accumulated points.
After returning to Uzbekistan, Sheikh Muhammad Sadiq Muhammad Yusuf worked in the following positions:
Since 1981 — a teacher at Tashkent Islamic Institute named after Imam Bukhari;
Since 1982 — Vice-Rector of Tashkent Islamic Institute named after Imam Bukhari;
Since 1984 — rector of Tashkent Islamic Institute named after Imam Bukhari.
During 1981–1989 he taught tafseer, hadith, science of the Qur’an, and aqeedah. Taking advantage of the rich experience gained during his studies in Libya, he introduced many useful innovations and introduced several new disciplines into the curriculum with the help of some teaching aids. For example, he introduced to the curriculum of the institute such disciplines as “Ulumul Qur’an”(science of the Qur’an), “Ulumul Hadith” (science of the hadith), “Firaqul Islamiya” (Islamic schools and trends), “Fannun Khataba” (science of rhetoric), and others. He replaced the teaching aids used in the teaching of tafseer and hadith and began lectures on tafseer based on the book of Ayatul Ahkam by Muhammad Ali Sabuni, and on the science of hadith based on the book “al-Manhalul Hadith fi Sharhil Hadith”. In view of the absence of these books in our country, Sheikh made great efforts to bring them from abroad. Later, after becoming a mufti, he managed to publish these books in Uzbekistan.
On February 6, 1989, Sheikh Muhammad Sadiq Muhammad Yusuf was elected Mufti of the Spiritual Board of Muslims of Central Asia and Kazakhstan.
Sheikh directed all his activities as mufti and chairman of the Spiritual Board to remove existing barriers to the acquisition of Muslims’ religious rights, primarily the right to religious education, the restoration of Islamic culture, and the improvement of the material and technical base of religious institutions. A subsidiary farm and a greenhouse were launched under the property rights of the Spiritual Board. The income received was directed to the needs of the Spiritual Board, mosques, salaries, and scholarships of teachers and students, as well as the publication of religious literature.
During a trip to Pakistan, the reverend Sheikh brought modern printing equipment, which he used to develop the publishing activity at the Spiritual Board, and provided libraries of regional departments with textbooks brought from abroad. In agreement with the leaders of Kuwait’s Ministry of Waqf Affairs and Islamic Affairs, Sheikh opened a subdivision of the International Islamic Charitable Foundation of Kuwait in Uzbekistan. This fund carried out large-scale charitable events, which were organized in other republics, related to the Spiritual Board of Muslims. Such events included the construction of dwelling houses after floods in Kyrgyzstan, assistance to numerous orphans, assistance in the construction of mosques and madrassas, and improvement of water supply in anhydrous areas. This foundation still provides free assistance to hundreds of people in need in the regions of the republic.
In 1989, Sheikh Muhammad Sadiq was appointed Chairman and Mufti of the Spiritual Board of Muslims of Central Asia and Kazakhstan. In the solemn Kurultai (congress), convened on this occasion, the government of Uzbekistan handed over the Mushaf of Uthman to the Spiritual Board of Muslims, kept in the Tashkent History Museum, which was a momentous event in the life of Muslims in the region.
In December 1989, Sheikh Muhammad Sadiq was elected People’s Deputy of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR, where he used his authority in the interests of Muslims throughout the country.
In his capacity as Chairman of the Spiritual Board of Muslims of Central Asia and Kazakhstan and People’s Deputy of the Supreme Council of the USSR, Sheikh Muhammad Sadiq addressed the government of the USSR with questions about the status of Muslims, respect for their rights and restoration of the possibility for them to perform religious worship. As a result of these efforts, the government’s policy towards Muslims has changed dramatically, which has led to positive changes and the opening of many mosques and madrasahs.
As a member of parliament the Sheikh wrote a letter to M.Gorbachev asking to issue a decree on the organization of the pilgrimage of Muslims from the USSR to Mecca, which was a major milestone for millions of Muslims, who had been deprived for almost eighty years of the opportunity to perform this great act of worship. In 1990, 500 Muslims from the Central Asian republics left for Hajj from Tashkent. Before that, the number of pilgrims sent to Hajj from the entire former Soviet Union was only 20–30 people. Also, after negotiations with the leaders of the World Islamic League (Rabitatul-Alam al-Islami), Sheikh Muhammad Sadiq obtained a million copies of the Holy Qur’an on behalf of the late King of Saudi Arabia Fahd ibn Abdulaziz. By agreement with the leadership of the League, the entire circulation was sold at a symbolic price, and the proceeds were directed to the expenses of the Spiritual Board of Muslims, the reconstruction of mosques, and the publication of religious literature.
In agreement with the Ministry of Waqf and Islamic Affairs of Kuwait and the relevant state organizations for religious affairs of Pakistan, Sheikh Muhammad Sadiq managed to organize the training of gifted imams of Uzbekistan in foreign countries, creating the necessary conditions for their education and professional development.
Considering the role of books and mass media in spreading religious knowledge, Sheikh Muhammad Sadiq did a great job in this field. Under his leadership, the magazine “Soviet Muslims of the East,” earlier published by the Spiritual Board in several foreign languages for foreigners, began to be published under the new name “Muslims of Mawaraunnahr”, and the content of the magazine was completely changed. Since 1990, the newspaper “Islom Nuri” began to be published in large numbers. These publications were devoted to the articles of Sheikh Muhammad Sadiq and teachers of religious educational institutions, imam-khatibs, and writers on topical religious themes.
Sheikh Muhammad Sadiq submitted to the government a proposal about the need to celebrate two Islamic holidays — Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha. The proposal was received positively, and since then these holidays have been widely celebrated in the country and are declared as days off.
It should be noted that all the aforementioned achievements were made in a matter of four years, when Sheikh Muhammad Sadiq held the post of chairman and mufti of the Spiritual Board of Muslims.
The election of Sheikh Muhammad Sadiq as a People’s Deputy was a kind of symbol of the liberation of Muslims from atheism, under which they were for many years.
Sheikh Muhammad Sadiq conducted large-scale activities not only in the territory of the fallen Union, but also at the international level, representing the interests of Muslims around the world. Thus, he visited several countries as part of the Soviet delegation, selflessly participating in the establishment of peace and conducting speeches at the residence of the Afghan mujahedin in Peshawar. Sheikh Muhammad Sadiq took advantage of the opportunity and authority given to him to remove obstacles and restore religious rights, religious education and culture of Muslims, who lived on the territory of the former Soviet Union.
His merits, committed for the benefit of Islam, Muslims, his people, and the country were highly appreciated and duly rewarded at the international level. During his visit to Egypt, he was awarded by President Muhammad Hosni Mubarak a gold medal of the first degree “Laurus of the Nile”.
For some reasons, in 1993, Sheikh Muhammad Sadiq Muhammad Yusuf resigned, leaving the post of Mufti. He was forced to leave his beloved Motherland, his parents, relatives, and friends. From 1993–1994 he lived in the Blessed Mecca, Saudi Arabia. By the wisdom and will of Allah, he continued to write his main work “Tafseer Hilal” in the land where the Holy Qur’an was revealed. He set out for big plans himself, of which first was to finish his book. After the tafseer, the Sheikh wrote several dozen books in all major areas of the Islamic topic. Books on hadiths, aqeedah, fiqh, including detailed manuals on the Hanafi fiqh, history, tasawwuf and other disciplines were written. With the help of Allah, almost all of these plans were implemented.
By the grace of the Allah, the results of his labor surpassed all expectations. Tafseer Hilal was fully published and went into circulation. Soon thereafter, they began translating this fundamental work into other languages.
The publication of the first volumes of the multi-volume series “Hadiths and Life” also took off, which is still an important tool today for mastering the science of Hadith for our people.
In 1994, Sheikh Muhammad Sadiq moved with his family to Libya. During his time there he continued working on his scholarly activities and then returned to his home country in 2001. Muhammad Sadiq Muhammad Yusuf was a member of the following Muslim organizations:
1. Constituent Council of the World Islamic League (Mecca);
2. Presidium of the World Tasawwuf Association;
3. Council of Secretaries of the World Union of Muslim Ulema (co-founder);
4. Presidium of the World Council of Islamic Recruitment;
5. General Secretariat of the World People’s Islamic Leadership;
6. Academic Council of the World Islamic University (Islamabad);
7. The Executive Office of the Assembly of Islamic Ulema and the thinkers of the world (Mecca);
8. World Association of Mosques;
9. Royal Academy of Islamic Thought (Jordan);
The venerable Sheikh was awarded a number of honorary orders and awards of such countries as Libya and the Russian Federation. He took an active part in many international scientific conferences, held scientific talks and meetings with many ulema of the Islamic world.
Returning to the Motherland, Sheikh Muhammad Sadiq Muhammad Yusuf continued his large-scale scientific activity. He made a huge contribution to the revival of religious education and Islamic sciences. Thanks to his books, video and audio sermons, scientific conversations, meetings and speeches, lessons and instructions, disagreements and disputes among people were eliminated, the Hanafi madhhab was strengthened, a great confusion was prevented, which was brewing on the basis of ignorance and departure from the sources of Islam. Because of these, many people who fell into error got on the right path, people ignorant of Islam began to return to their religion, in the hearts of people emerged the spirit of tolerance, and brotherhood and mutual love was strengthened.
Every year in the month of Ramadan, he held a series of thematic lectures in mosques that were recorded and widely distributed on national and foreign radio channels, as well as on the Internet.
To spread Islamic education under the leadership of Sheikh Muhammad Sadiq Muhammad Yusuf, the site www.islom.uz was created in Uzbek for the first time, which became the most active and most visited site in Uzbekistan and Central Asia. In ten years islom.uz has turned into a large portal, within which more than twenty independent sites were opened in different thematic areas, each of which quickly turned into one of the richest in content and most active in its direction.
Until the end of his life, Sheikh Muhammad Sadiq responded online to numerous questions from around the world. This service has become the source of the spread of true Islam and genuine aqeedah not only for Muslims of Uzbekistan, but also for our compatriots and Uzbek-speaking Muslims from all over the world.
It is no exaggeration to say that Sheikh Muhammad Sadiq Muhammad Yusuf, through his active and productive activities, revived the development of Islamic science throughout Central Asia. His works and sermons inspired many theologians, scholars and seekers of knowledge. He always followed his motto, which is printed on the title page of each of his books. He founded a new kind of school, which teaches genuine Islam and he trained hundreds of students based on this ideology. His work has been translated many times over into Russian, Kazakh, Uighur, Karakalpak, Kyrgyz and other languages.
Every week from Monday to Thursday, Sheikh Muhammad Sadiq organized scholarly lectures in his home on such sciences as tafseer, hadith, aqeedah, and questions of modern fiqh and spiritual education. The listeners of these lectures were imams of mosques and teachers of madrasahs.
Each Sufi has its own wird — daily voluntary commitments. The main wird of Sheikh Muhammad Sadiq was science and knowledge. He said: “The average believer’s wird is dhikr, the wird of qari is reciting the Qur’an, the wird of a seeker of knowledge is to learn, and the wird of the ulema is the dissemination of knowledge.” As a daily goal, he would complete at least 10 pages of a new book.
Speaking about his daily routine, we know that he woke up before dawn every day and after praying Tahajjud (the night prayer) sat down to work, and after the prayer of fajr (he morning prayer) he would do his wird. These were dhikr. But having completed one task of wird, he could not go on to another as almost every day he attended various events, where he gave sermons.
He cherished his time very much, was very demanding in this matter to himself and others, he did not waste a single moment. Regularly he did sports, led a healthy lifestyle, and was always in ablution (wudu). He read and listened to the Qur’an a lot. In his spare time, which was a rare occasion, he read books, fiction, poetry, and he was always well-informed about the events all over the world.