Rafi Raza was born in July 1936. He came from a prominent Shia family of Karachi. He read Jurisprudence at Brasenose College, Oxford University (1954-57), and was called to the Bar (Inner Temple, London) in February 1958. On returning to Pakistan, he practised as a lawyer on the civil and corporate side, representing national and international companies. In the 1960s he also taught at the Pakistan Institute for International Affairs and the Islamia Law College, Karachi.

From March 1968 to June 1969 he was Legal Counsel to the recently established Asian Development Bank in Manila. On resigning from the Bank, he returned to politics in Pakistan.

After withdrawing from politics in 1977, he became a Visiting Fellow at the London School of Economics, and participated in various seminars in the UK and Germany on constitutional developments in Pakistan. He resumed legal practice and represented many national corporations and international organisations.

He was married with two surviving sons, and during his last years lived in London.

He died in January 2017 and, following his wish, was buried in Karachi near his parents, infant son and other family members.