Muhammad Ilyas Qadri is a Pakistani-born scholar of traditional Islam. He has authored numerous books on Islamic topics, published by Dawat e Islami which he founded. Honorary titles bestowed upon him include Ameer e Ahle Sunnath.
Muhammad Ilyas Qadri says he was born in the Bombay Bazar area of Karachi, Pakistan into a middle class family of Memon background, but the family suffered immense poverty after his father died in 1951 whilst performing the Islamic pilgrimage of Hajj.
Alongside various menial occupations to support his brother and in keeping the remaining members of his household, he states that he also studied the traditional sciences of Islam including the Dars e Nizami syllabus and beyond, under the tutelage of Mufti Waqar ud Deen - a prominent Islamic scholar of that time.
He states that he was married on a Friday afternoon in 1977 shortly before the Ju'mma prayer, at the age of 28. His nikah was performed by his teacher and mentor, Mufti Waqar ud Deen. Shortly after this, his elder brother died, and the responsibility of keeping the entire household fell solely on his shoulders. Whilst by his own admission already of a religious inclination, he says that this incident made him yet more serious in his endeavours and lead ultimately to the founding of Dawat e Islami.
Muhammad Ilyas Qadri describes how the death of his older brother, and the burden of keeping his family intensified his religious sentiments, that he began to limit his circle of friends to those of a religious mindset. His close companions used to accompany him to recite Islamic litanies and naat at the graveside of his brother, which lead to a series of speeches delivered on various aspects of Islam.This grassroots movement took hold, through congregations consisting of speeches and du'a's, which eventually became the foundation of Dawat-e-Islami. An increase in the size of the crowd led for these congregations to be twice moved to larger mosques, before the purchase of a large, derelict piece of land in Karachi's old industrial district, where an international headquarters has been built by the name of Faizan e Madinah.