Born and Family
Grand Ayatullah Allama Shaikh Muhammad Hussain Najafi was born in Jahanian Shah in district Sargodha (Punjab, Pakistan), in April 1932. He belongs to the Dhakku branch of Jat people.
He had two paternal uncles, both of whom were Shia ulema: Maulana Imam Bakhsh was a religious teacher in Jahanian Shah, while Maulana Sohrab Ali Khan was a reputed alim of Uch Sharif. His father Rana Tajuddin was not an alim, but he had the wish of making his son a great alim. However, he died in 1944 when Ayatullah Najafi was 12 years old, after which the family members persuaded the widow that Ayatullah Najafi should look after the family lands, but she kept up the wish of her dead husband.
Early Education in Pakistan
After secondary school education, he got admission in Madrasah Muhammadia in Jalalpur Nankiana, Sargodha, where one of his prominent teachers was Ayatullah Allama Hussain Bakhsh Najafi (Jarra). In 1947, he studied the courses of Dars-i-Nizami from Ayatullah Allama Muhammad Baqir Naqvi Chakralvi (known as "Allama Baqir Hindi" in Iraq & Iran) in Jhang. Ayatullah Baqir Naqvi had migrated from Iraq to spread Shia formal education in Pakistan. Since Ayatullah Allama Muhammad Yar Shah Najafi, the most prominent disciple of Ayatullah Baqir Naqvi, had moved from his ancestral city Alipur to Jalalpur, Ayatullah Najafi moved to Jalalpur to complete Dars-i-Nizami for the next five years. In 1953, he passed the examination of Molvi Fazil from Punjab University, and moved to Najaf in 1954 for higher education.
Before going to Najaf for higher religious education, he was married to his maternal cousin in 1952. His teacher Ayatullah Yar Shah had links with ulema of Najaf, and he wanted Ayatullah Najafi to get married in a scholarly family of Najaf, but Ayatullah Najafi declined this proposal due to cultural differences. In 1954, his only son Muhammad Sibtain was born. At the age of five, he got seriously ill and died, as Ayatullah Najafi did not have enough money for his treatment; he used to spend his stipend money on household and buying books. After Sibtain's death, Ayatullah Najafi did not have children for next eleven years. He married the daughter of Haji Muhammad Shafi (Faisalabad) in 1970. He had three daughters from this marriage. His first wife died in 1996.
Emigration to Najaf and His Teachers
In 1954, he moved to Hawza Elmiye Najaf to finalize his religious education . He attended the lectures of the following marjas:
1. Grand Ayatullah Mohsin Al-Hakim for dars-e-kharij of Fiqh
2. Grand Ayatullah Syed Javad Tabrizi for dars-e-kharij of Kifaya-tul-Usool
3. Grand Ayatullah Mirza Baqir Zanjani for dars-e-kharij of Usool-e-Fiqh
4. Grand Ayatullah Bazurg Tehrani for Fehm-e-Hadees-o-Rajjal & Kutb Shanasi
5. Grand Ayatullah Mahmood Shahroudi for dars-e-kharij of Fiqh
6. Grand Ayatullah Abdul Aala Sabzwari for dars-e-kharij of Fiqh
7. Grand Ayatullah Abul Qasim Rashti for Rasail-o-Makatib
8. Grand Ayatullah Abdul Hussain Amini (the writer of the famous "Al-Ghadeer") for Ilm-e-Munazira
9. Grand Ayatullah Mulla Sadra Najafi for Satheeyat & Asfar
10. Grand Ayatullah Aqae Muhaqqiq for Darse Manzooma Sabzwari
11. Grand Ayatullah Aqae Fazel for Ilm-e-Kalam
12. Grand Ayatullah Abdul Karim Zanjani for Tanawwo dar Islami Uloom-o-Funoon and Ittehad-e-Islami
In an interview to the Hawza Elmiye Qom's monthly magazine "Hawza", he was asked:
Hawza: "Hazrat, tell us about your education at Hawza Elmiye Najaf and your teachers there."
Ustad Najafi: "My stay at Najaf was short ... I completed my education in 6 years ... At Najaf, the total number of courses I used to study and teach daily often reached up to ten. ... Once my teacher Grand Ayatullah Syed Jawad Tabrizi said to me in light mood: 'Why do you take so much strain, what is the logic in taking ten courses daily? Iranians say: 'The climate of Najaf is dry, thus taking one course in Najaf is not enough, but taking two courses is more than enough.'"
Ijtihad & Marjiyyat
Before leaving for Pakistan in 1960 AD (1379 AH), he was awarded ijazah's from following marjas of Hawza Elmiye Najaf:
1. Grand Ayatullah Mohsin Al-Hakim
2. Grand Ayatullah Syed Javad Tabrizi
3. Grand Ayatullah Mara'shi Najafi
4. Grand Ayatullah Mirza Baqir Zanjani
5. Grand Ayatullah Bazurg Tehrani
6. Grand Ayatullah Muhammad Mahdi al-Kazmaini
7. Grand Ayatullah Mahmood Shahroudi
8. Grand Ayatullah Abdul Aala Sabzwari
9. Grand Ayatullah Abul Qasim Rashti
10. Grand Ayatullah Abdul Karim Zanjani
11. Grand Ayatullah Najam ud-Din ash-Sharif as-Samarrai
12. Grand Ayatullah Muhammad Raza al-Musavi
13. Grand Ayatullah Ahmed al-Mustanbit
He published his Tawzih ul Masail named "Qawaneen ush-Sharia fi Fiqh-e-Jafariya" in 1980 AD (1400 AH), in 2 volumes. He is being followed by a number of Shia Muslims in matters of fiqh from Pakistan and abroad.
Clerical Activities in Pakistan
After returning to Pakistan in 1960, Pir Fazal Shah (Parhezgar) and other Saadaat of Sargodha asked him to become the principal of Dar-ul-Uloom Muhammadia, Sargodha, which he eagerly accepted. In 1971, due to increased involvement in majaalis and Shia political movements it became impossible for him to run the affairs of Dar-ul-Uloom Muhammadia, therefore he stepped down from this post.
In 1963, the principals of Shia madrasahs from all over Pakistan gathered in Karbala Gamey Shah, Lahore, and founded Tanzeeme Madarise Arabia Shia Pakistan (Organization of Shia Madrasahs of Pakistan). Ayatullah Najafi was elected its president.
In 1965, a high-level organization of Shia ulema Mautamar Ulemae Shia Pakistan (Conference of Shia Ulema of Pakistan) was formed with Ayatullah Najafi as its president, and Ayatullah Mufti Jafar Hussain as its patron. Other members included Allama Gulab Ali Shah, Ayatullah Allama Akhtar Abbas Najafi, Ayatullah Allama Hussain Bakhsh Najafi (Jarra), Maulana Hafiz Saifullah Jafari, Allama Safdar Hussain Najafi, Mufti Inayat Ali Shah, Allama Muhib Hussain, Ayatullah Hafiz Riaz Hussain Najafi and Allama Ghulam Hassan Jarra.
In 1964, Ayatullah Najafi played a pivotal role in gathering about 250 Shia ulema and leaders in Imam Bargah Rizvia, Karachi, where "Shia Mutalbat Committee" was formed with Allama Syed Muhammad Dehlavi as its president.
In 1978, after Zia ul Haq's announcement of promulgating Hanafi fiqh, Shia ulema and leaders gathered in Bhakkar and founded Tehrik-e-Nifaz-e-Fiqh-e-Jafaria (later called Tehrik-e-Jafaria Pakistan) with Ayatullah Mufti Jafar Hussain as its president. Ayatullah Najafi was a part of this organization's supreme council. After Mufti Jafar's demise, it was upon Ayatullah Najafi's recommendation that Allama Arif Hussain Hussaini was elected the new president of the organization.
In 1978, Raja Mumtaz Ali Khan gifted 3-acre land to Ayatullah Najafi for madrasah, on which Jamia Ilmia Sultan ul-Madaaris al-Islamia was constructed. In 2004, he founded Jamia Aqeela bani Hashim for the religious education of women. He is also the patron of the following madrasahs:
1. Madrasah Muhammadia, Sargodha
2. Madrasah Ahya ul-Uloom Haideria, Mandi Bahauddin
3. Madrasah Baqir ul-Uloom, Bhakkar
4. Madrasah Wali ul-Asr, Jhang
5. Madrasah Hazrat Amir ul-Momineen, Layyah
6. Madrasah Jamia tul-Qaim, Layyah
7. Madrasah Jafaria, Uch Sharif
8. Madrasah Bab ul-Hussain, Dera Ismail Khan
Under his patronage, Mausisa Taaleemat-e-Muhammad-o-Aal-e-Muhammad (AS) in Hawza Ilmia Qom, Iran. Hojat-ul-Islam Allama Tahir Abbas Awan is currently its head.
Participation in International Conferences
On the invitation of the Iranian Supreme Leader Grand Ayatullah Ali Khamenei, he attended the 17th Islamic Unity Conference in Tehran, Iran in May 2004. He also visited Hawza Elmiye Qom, where he had meetings with Ayatullah Morteza Moghtadai, Grand Ayatullah Hossein Noori Hamedani and Grand Ayatullah Naser Makarem Shirazi. He was interviewed by the state television and the Hawza Elmiye Qom's official magazine Hawza.
Again on Grand Ayatullah Ali Khamenei's invitation, he attended the 21st Islamic Unity Conference in Tehran, Iran in May 2008, along with Allama Sajid Naqvi, Allama Shaikh Mohsin Najafi, Ayatullah Hafiz Riaz Hussain Najafi and Sunni ulema. He also visited Hawza Elmiye Qom, where he had meetings with Grand Ayatullah Jafar Subhani, Grand Ayatullah Mousa Shubairi Zanjani, Grand Ayatullah Qorban Ali Kaboli, and Ayatullah Ahmad Mobalighi. He also co-addressed a gathering arranged in memory of late Ayatullah Allama Aktar Abbas Najafi and Shaheed Allama Ghulam Hussain Najafi in Madrasah Hojatieh, Hawza Elmiye Qom.