Qadri was born on the 19th of February in 1951 in the Jhang district of Pakistan. He received both an Islamic and secular education from his father and other scholars in Pakistan and abroad including Syed Tahir Alauddin Al-Qadri Al-Gillani. From the age of 12 he obtained a formal classical Islamic education at the Madrasa al-'Ulum ash-Shariyya in Madinah. He also received a First Class degree, an MA in Islamic Studies and a PHd in Islamic Law from the University of Punjab where he worked as a lecturer and then as Professor of Law.
On 25 May 1981, Qadri founded a political party, Pakistan Awami Tehrik (PAT). In 1990, Qadri participated in the national election.
He was also elected as a Member of the National Assembly for his constituency. On 29 November 2004, Qadri announced his resignation as a Member of the National Assembly protesting the counterterrorism policies of the then President Pervez Musharraf. In 2005 he moved to Canada.
In December 2012, after living for seven years in Toronto, Canada, Qadri returned to Pakistan and initiated a political campaign. Qadri called for a "million-men" march in Islamabad to protest against the government's corruption. On 14 January 2013, a crowd marched down the city's main avenue. Thousands of people pledged to sit-in until their demands were met. When he started the long march from Lahore about 25,000 people were with him. He told the rally in front of parliament: "There is no Parliament; there is a group of looters, thieves and dacoits [bandits] ... Our lawmakers are the lawbreakers.". After four days of sit-in, the Government and Qadri signed an agreement called the Islamabad Long March Declaration, which promised electoral reforms and increased political transparency. Although Qadri called for a "million-men" march, the estimated total present for the sit-in in Islamabad was 50,000 according to the government.
Critics have charged that the protests were a ploy by the Pakistan Armed Forces to delay elections and weaken the influence of the civilian government, citing Qadri's close ties to the military, dual nationality and suspect foreign and Pakistani sources of funding. Lawyers for the Supreme Court of Pakistan claimed that Qadri's demands are unfeasible because they conflict with the Constitution of Pakistan. The Tribune reported on 17 February 2013, that Qadri seemed to have capitulated on most of his demands in the Islamabad Long March Declaration.
On 17 June 2014, a violent clash occurred between the Punjab Police and PAT activists resulting in the deaths of several protesters from police gunfire.
As of the end of September 2014, the Inqilab March began, with sit-in protests with allied partner Imran Khan, chairman and founder of Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) and organiser of 2014 Azadi March, in the capital of Pakistan, Islamabad.
Imran Khan and Tahir-ul-Qadri did not fully join their protest marches nor decline to support each other. On 10 August 2014, Qadri formally announced that his party's political march, the Inqilab March, would proceed parallel with PTI's Azadi march. Both marches were organised to take different routes, albeit closely mirroring each other. It is apparent that the two parties have similar objectives yet different aims and strategies. The announcement of two parallel marches by parties in opposition gave rise to speculation that a coalition between PTI and PAT was possible. The chiefs of the two parties never clearly stipulated a formal coalition; but an informal agreement to support each other was achieved
On 21 August 2014, Qadri said that the government had not been allowing his workers to supply food items and potable water to the participants of the sit-in.
The Daily Dawn of 31 August 2014 claimed that hundreds of people were injured in the federal capital as police battled throngs of protesters led by Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf and Pakistan Awami Tehreek.
It was reported that Tahir-ul-Qadri led the Eid prayer at Islamabad's D-Chowk. The congregation was attended by Imran Khan and other political leaders, including Raja Nasir Abbas Jafary of MWM. Animal sacrifies were also offered in the name of Allah following the Sunnah of Prophet Ibrahim and his son Prophet Ismail.
In 1987, the headquarters of Minhaj-ul-Quran, based in Lahore, Pakistan, was inaugurated by the Sufi saint Tahir Allauddin, who is regarded as the organisation's spiritual founder;
The organisation claims to promote religious moderation, effective and sound education, inter-faith dialogue and harmony, and a moderate interpretation of Islam supposedly employing methods of Sufism. During its March 2011 session, the United Nations Economic and Social Council granted special consultative status to Minhaj-ul-Quran International, Qadri also founded the Minhaj University in Lahore, of which he heads the Board of Governors, as well as an international relief charity, Minhaj Welfare Foundation.
On 2 March 2010, Qadri issued a 600-page Fatwa on Terrorism, in which he said that "Terrorism is terrorism, violence is violence and it has no place in Islamic teaching and no justification can be provided for it".
The fatwa gained widespread media attention and he appeared on various international media outlets. On Frost Over The World he told David Frost that the "he wanted to take Islam back from the terrorists". The US State Department declared the fatwa to be a significant publication which takes back Islam from terrorists. Qadri told the American Foreign Policy magazine: "I am trying to bring [the terrorists] back towards humanism. This is a jihad against brutality, to bring them back towards normality. This is an intellectual jihad.".
In August 2010 Qadri held an anti-terrorism camp for Muslim youth at the University of Warwick with the aim of tackling extremism in the UK. He organised the camp under the auspices of Minhaj-ul-Quran UK.
Seven days after the Faisalabad Gathering, Qadri made a public gathering in Lahore on 19 October 2014.
The 2014 Lahore clash, more commonly known as the Model Town tragedy or the Lahore massacre (Urdu: سانحہ ماڈل ٹاؤن), or simply Lahore incident, was a violent clash that ensued between the Punjab Police and Pakistan Awami Tehreek activists on 17 June 2014 resulting in several protesters being killed by the police gunfire. Five police officers remain under arrest. The standoff lasted for almost 11 hours when the police′s anti-encroachment squad launched an operation to remove the barriers from the road leading to the offices of Minhaj-ul-Quran and the residence of PAT founder Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri in Model Town, Lahore. Although, Police officials were given a court order by PAT leaders, stating "due to terrorism issue place security barriers in front of Minhaj-ul-Quran and the residence of PAT founder Qadri. But police still attacked.
The incident was broadcast live on various local news channels and there were conflicting accounts of how the standoff began. Police claimed that they were attacked by people inside the PAT secretariat, a claim that is denied by party chief Qadri. In the live footage broadcast on television, the policemen were shown firing assault rifles and lobbing tear gas canisters at the protesting masses while the protesters threw stones at the police for defence.
Qadri strongly condemned the attack and called it the worst form of state terrorism. Qadri vowed to avenge the deaths of his political workers by bringing about a revolution that would hasten the end of the rule of prime minister Nawaz Sharif and his brother Shahbaz Sharif.
Tahir ul Qadri and his party observed Youm-e-Shuhada(Day of Martyrs) at 9 August 2014 in Tehreek-e-Minhaj ul Quran secretariat in Model Town. A Country-Wide clash occurred between Police and the Workers of PAT. After the gathering of People, He assured his supporters and the government that the rally on 10 August would be peaceful while requesting his followers to bring their prayer mats for recitation of the Quran.
On 23 June 2015, Qadri launched 'Peace and Counter-terrorism Curriculum' in London, England to theologially counter the ideology of Islamic State of Iraq and Levant. The curriculum features two books, one for students and one for teachers, imams and khateebs. The initiative was supported by former Islamist and liberal activist Maajid Nawaz, and politician Sayeeda Warsi.
He has been invited to deliver his lectures by several organisations.
In July 2011, he gave a lecture on the issues of terrorism and integration at the Parliament of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia where he was invited by the member of the NSW Legislative Council, Shaoquett Moselmane MLC. Qadri also made appearances on Australian media, where he discussed Islam, terrorism and possible troop withdrawals from Afghanistan. On 24 September 2011, Minhaj-ul-Quran convened the "Peace for Humanity Conference" at Wembley Arena in London where Tahir-ul-Qadri and the assembled speakers issued a declaration of peace on behalf of religious representatives of several faiths, scholars, politicians, and 12,000 participants present from various countries. This conference was endorsed by, or received supportive messages from, the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar University, Ban Ki-Moon (Secretary General of the United Nations), Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu (Secretary General of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation), David Cameron (British Prime Minister), Nick Clegg (British Deputy Prime Minister), Rowan Williams (Archbishop of Canterbury) and others. On 30 November 2011, Qadri delivered a lecture at the "Peaceful Future of Afghanistan" conference in Istanbul, Turkey which was organised by the Center for World Religions, Diplomacy and Conflict Resolution of George Mason University together with Marmara University and was attended by more than 120 Afghan leaders.
On 22 February 2012, Qadri visited Delhi for a four-week tour of India. Qadri delivered a message of peace and said: "Terrorism has no place in Islam", while addressing the fatwa book launch in Delhi. People gathered to listen to Qadri along with government officials in Gujarat. Qadri also urged the Pakistani and Indian governments to reduce their defence expenditures and instead spend money on the welfare of poor people. He also visited Ajmer, where he was given a large reception, at which he gave a lecture on Sufism. On 4 January 2015, he declared terrorism as biggest problem of the world.
The Fatwa on Terrorism and Suicide Bombings is a 600-page (Urdu version), 512-page (English version) is an Islamic decree by Qadri which demonstrates from the Quran and Sunnah that terrorism and suicide bombings are unjust and evil, and thus un-Islamic. It was published in London as a book. This fatwa is a direct refutation of the ideology of al-Qaeda and the Taliban. It is one of the most extensive Islamic anti-terrorism rulings, an "absolute" condemnation of terrorism without "any excuses or pretexts" which goes further than ever and declares that terrorism is kufr under Islamic law. The launch was organised by Minhaj-ul-Quran UK. Qadri said during the launch that "Terrorism is terrorism, violence is violence and it has no place in Islamic teaching and no justification can be provided for it, or any kind of excuses or ifs or buts."
The fatwa received widespread media attention and was positively covered by the international press.
According to CNN, experts see the fatwa as a significant blow to terrorist recruiting. CNN's Amanpour show added the fatwa summary to its website and declared it to be fatwa for peace, while the US State Department declares the fatwa to be significant step in taking Islam back from terrorists.
Before it had been released, Douglas Murray described the Fatwa on Terrorism, in an article in the Evening Standard, as "potentially important", although he said "A single-fatwa will not change the level of denial and self criticism inherent in so much of modern Islam".
ITV news channel questioned the credibility of the fatwa and asks if it was not by the British government because senior counter-terrorism officials from Scotland Yard and MI5 were present at the launch.
The 512-page English book version of the fatwa, Fatwa on Terrorism and Suicide Bombings, (London: Minhaj-ul-Quran, 2011. ISBN 978-0-9551888-9-3) has a foreword by John Esposito and an introduction by Joel Hayward, both of whom share Qadri's scholarly assessment that, regardless of any intention, the evil of terrorism remains evil and must be exposed, opposed and condemned.
The Fatwa on Terrorism and Suicide Bombings has been officially endorsed by Al-Azhar University in Cairo, Egypt. In January 2011, the fatwa was discussed at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2011. In June 2011, Pope Benedict XVI received a copy of the fatwa from representatives of Minhaj Interfaith Relations. The Pope reportedly appreciated that it promoted peace, harmony and interfaith dialogue.
The Fatwa on Terrorism and Suicide Bombings has been reviewed positively by international scholars including Kemal Argon who published a review in the Journal of Rotterdam Islamic and Social Sciences, Vol. 2, No. 1, 2011, pp. 149–160. Islamic University of Rotterdam, Netherlands.
The legal-theological opinion by Qadri creates an impression that there is a consensus in Islam on how to deal with apostates, which did not exist in Muhammad's time but came about later during the reign of the Fourth Caliph Ali and challenged his authority.