Aala Hazrat Introduction
* Mujaddid-e-Islam [Revivalist of Islam] * Senior Sufi Master * Arif Billah [Gnostic]
* Qutub * Ashiq-e-Rasool Sallal Laahu Alayhi Wasallam [Ardent Lover of the Beloved Rasool] * Senior Representative of Sayyiduna Rasoolullah Sallal Laahu Alayhi Wasallam * Murshid al-Kaamil [Perfect Spiritual Guide] * Imam-e-Ahle Sunnat [Leader of the Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat] * Sheikh-ul-Islam * Nai’b-e-Ghawth al-A’zam radi Allahu anhu * Aalim-e-I’lm-e-Ladunni * Scholar * Mufti * Hafiz * Teacher * Muhaddith * Faqih al-Islam [Jurist] * Orator * Author of more that 1000 books * Linguist * Commentator * Muhaqqiq [Researcher] * Mathematician * Astronomer * Philosopher * Scientist * Physicist * Economist * Poet
Imam Ahmed Raza Khan Barelwi (Alaihir Rahmah) was born on a Monday, the 10th of Shawaal 1272 A.H. [14th June 1856], at the time of Zohr Salaah in a place called Jasoli, which is in the city of Bareilly, India.
A few days before the birth of Imam Ahmed Raza Khan (Alaihir Rahmah), his father, Allama Mawlana Naqi Ali Khan (Alaihir Rahmah), narrated a wonderful dream to his father, Allama Mawlana Raza Ali Khan (Alaihir Rahmah), who interpreted this dream by saying: “This is a sign that you are going to be the father of a child, a boy, who will grow up to be pious and knowledgable. His name will gain prominence from East to West.”
Imam Ahmed Raza Khan Barelwi (Alaihir Rahmah) was a master of Abjad and he deduced his year of birth from the verse of the Holy Qur’an: “These are they in whose hearts Allah has inscribed faith and helped them with a spirit from Himself.” (58:2)
The name that was given to him at birth was “Mohammed.” The name corresponding to that year of his birth was “Al Mukhtaar.” His grandfather, Allama Mawlana Raza Ali Khan (Alaihir Rahmah), named him “Ahmed Raza.” It was by this name that he was famously known. Much later in his life, Imam Ahmed Raza Khan Barelwi (Alaihir Rahmah) added the title “Abdul Mustafa” to his name signifying his great love and respect for the Messenger of Allah (Sallal Laahu Alaihi Wasallam).
Much later, the Grand Mufti of Makkatul Mukarramah, Sheikh Hussain bin Saleh Makki (Alaihir Rahmah), gave him the title of “Zia’udeen Ahmed.”
The followers of the great Mujaddid Imam Ahmed Raza Khan (Alaihir Rahmah) call him “A’la Hadrat”. “Hadrat” means “person” and “A’la Hadrat” means “great”, “A’la Hadrat” means “a great person”.
ANCESTRAL TREE OF IMAM AHMED RAZA KHAN BARELWI
The following ancestral tree of Imam Ahmed Raza Khan (Alaihir Rahmah) is carefully constructed from the authentic Books of Genealogy and meticulously scrutinized with references to other books in this field. The ancestors were compared with dates and periods found in books written by Historians who were masters in this field.
The Ancestral tree is as follows:
Mujaddid-e-A’zam A’la Hadrat Imam Ahmad Rida Khan s/o Ra’isul-Atqiya Imam Muhammad Naqi Ali s/o ‘Arife-Billah Imam Rida Ali s/o Mawlana Hafiz Kazim ‘Ali s/o Mawlana Sha Muhammad A’zam Khan s/o Mawlana Muhammad Sa’adat Yaar Khan s/o Shuja’at Jung Muhammad Sa’idullah Khan Bhadur Qandhari s/o ‘Abdur-Rahman Khan s/o Yusuf Khan Qandhari s/o Dawlat Khan s/o Badal Khan s/o Da’d Khan s/o Bar’hech Khan s/o Sharfud-Deen ‘Urf Shar’haboon s/o Ibra’him ‘Urf Sard’bun s/o Sayyiduna Qais Malik ‘Abdur-Rashid Sahabi s/o ‘Ays s/o Salool s/o ‘Utba s/o Na’eem s/o Marra s/o Malik Jalandar s/o Malik Askandar s/o Zaman s/o ‘Unais s/o Bah’lool s/o Sa’lam s/o Salah s/o Qaroon s/o Nasr s/o Ashmu’ail s/o Na’eem s/o Akram s/o Ash’ath s/o Sharood s/o Makhal s/o Nusrat s/o Qalaj s/o Sher s/o ‘Atham s/o Faylool s/o Karam s/o ‘Amaal s/o Hudayfa s/o Mat’hal s/o Qabal s/o ‘Ilm or ‘Aleem s/o Ash’mool s/o Haroon s/o Qamar s/o Abi s/o Su’heb s/oalal s/o Lu’ee s/o ‘Ameel s/oaraj s/o Arzand s/o Mandool s/o Saleem or Sa’lam s/o Afghana s/o Sarad al-Muqallab bi Malikaloot s/o Qais s/o ‘Utbah s/o Alas s/ou’ail s/o Yahoodah s/o Sayyiduna Nabi Ya’qoob s/o Sayyiduna Nabi Ishaq s/o Khaleelullah Sayyiduna Nabi Ibra’him s/o Ta’rikh s/o Makhood or Nahoor s/o Shuroo’ or Ash’ragh s/o Sayyiduna Nabi Hood s/o Abir s/o Sha’lakh s/o Araf’khashad s/o Saam s/o Sayyiduna Nabi Nooh [age: 1400 years] s/o La’lak [age:780 years] s/o Malik Matla’shakh [age: 900 years] s/o Sayyiduna Nabi Idris s/o Bayarad s/o Mahla’heel s/o Qay’nan s/o Anoosh s/o Sayyiduna Nabi Sheeth [age: 912 years] s/o Sayyiduna Nabi Adam [age: 900 years]
Imam Ahmed Raza Khan (Alaihir Rahmah) belongs to the Afghani Bar’hech tribe which was of royal descent. He was from a very respectable and noble tribe in Afghanistan. Great ‘Ulama and Mashaa’ikh hailed from his dignified tribe whose Mazaars (Tombs) are still a center of solace and spiritual enlightment for the people both in Afghanistan and Hindustan. A separate detailed book can be written about these great dignitaries. An important point to note is that in the ancestry of Imam Ahmed Raza Khan (Alaihir Rahmah), there are eight Prophets and one Sahabi.
The Prophets are:
1) Sayyiduna Nabi Ya’qoob (Alayhis Salaam)
2) Sayyiduna Nabi Ishaq (Alayhis Salaam)
3) Sayyiduna Nabi ‘Ibrahim (Alayhis Salaam)
4) Sayyiduna Nabi Hud (Alayhis Salaam)
5) Sayyiduna Nabi Nuh (Alayhis Salaam)
6) Sayyiduna Nabi Idris (Alayhis Salaam)
7) Sayyiduna Nabi Sheeth (Alayhis Salaam)
8) Sayyiduna Nabi Adam (Alayhis Salaam)
The one Sahabi is Sayyiduna Qais Malik ‘Abdur-Rashid Sahabi (Radi Allahu Anhu). He is the 43rd descendant of Afghana and 45th descendant of Hadrat Malik Taloot. Qais bin ‘Ays lived in the mountain of Ghour. In one of the expeditions of Sayyiduna Khalid ibn Walid (Radi Allahu Anhu), he became interested in Islam. So he took some of the leaders of Afghanistan and wen to Madina al-Munawwarah. They met the beloved Prophet of Allah (Sallal Laahu Alayhi Wasallam) and immediately accepted Islam on his sacred hands. Sayyiduna Rasoolullah (Sallal Laahu Alayhi Wasallam) then said to him: “Qais is a Hebrew word and I am an Arab.” The Prophet of Allah (Sallal Laahu Alayhi Wasallam) gave him the Islamic name “’Abdur-Rashid”. The beloved Prophet (Sallal Laahu Alayhi Wasallam) further said: “You are the Awlad of Malik Taloot whom Allah blessed with the title of Malik (King). In the future you too will be remembered with the title of ‘Malik’.” This is how he got the title of “Malik” from the office of Prophethood.
It was in the Madinan period that the Beloved Nabi (Sallal Laahu Alayhi Wasallam) was planning for the conquest of Makka and appointed Sayyiduna Malik ‘Abdur-Rashid (Radi Allahu Anhu) and the other Afghani Sahabi as the leaders of the secret service scouts of the army led by Sayyiduna Khalid ibn Walid (Radi Allahu Anhu). The Afghani Mujahids displayed their astonishing bravery in the battle of Makka. Sayyiduna Malik ‘Abdur-Rashid (Radi Allahu Anhu) himself killed 70 Kufaar in this battle. His role and bravery in this war brought great joy to the heart of the Beloved Prophet (Sallal Laahu Alayhi Wasallam) who predicted that a great family will emerge from the off-springs of this Sahabi. They will be steadfast on religion and will strengthen the Deen of Islam like “Bataan” (conqueror with great bravery or Military Advisor). It was the effects of this Du’a of Sayyiduna Rasoolullah (Sallal Laahu Alayhi Wasallam) that great ‘Ulama and Mashaa’ikh were born in the lineage of Sayyiduna Malik ‘Abdur-Rashid (Radi Allahu Anhu).
Since the Beloved Nabi’s (Sallal Laahu Alayhi Wasallam) Du’a for the Awlad of Sayyiduna Malik ‘Abdur-Rashid (Radi Allahu Anhu) was that they will strengthen the Deen and their strength will be like “Bataan”, from that day on he became famous by the title of “Bataan”. This word “Bataan” in later days changed to the present day name “Pathaan”. Eventually, the Awlad of Sayyiduna Malik ‘Abdur-Rashideen (Radi Allahu Anhu) became synonymous by the word “Pathaan”. This is how the word “Pathaan” can into existence. Sayyiduna Malik ‘Abdur-Rashid (Radi Allahu Anhu) married Mutahira, the daughter of Sayyiduna Khalid ibn Walid (Radi Allahu Anhu), and he passed away at the age of 87 years.
The services of the great Mujaddid Imam Ahmed Raza (Alaihir Rahmah) is known to the Muslim World and precisely the manifestations of the Du’as of the Beloved Prophet of Allah (Sallal Laahu Alayhi Wasallam).
FATHER & GRANDFATHER
Imam Ahmed Raza Khan Barelwi (Alaihir Rahmah), was the son of Allama Mawlana Naqi Ali Khan, who was the son of Allama Mawlana Raza Ali Khan, who was son of Allama Mawlana Mohammed Kaazim Ali Khan, who was the son of Allama Mawlana Shah Mohammed Azam Khan, who was the son of Allama Mawlana Sa’adat Yaar Khan, who was the son of Allama Mawlana Sa’eedullah Khan (Alaihimur Rahmah).
The great forefathers of Sayyidi A’la Hadrat Imam Ahmed Raza (Alaihir Rahmah) migrated from Qandhar (Kabul) during the Mogul rule and settled in Lahore. Allama Mawlana Sa’eedullah Khan, the first forefather of Imam Ahmed Raza Khan Barelwi, held a high government post when he arrived in the Indo-Pak subcontinent. His son, Allama Mawlana Sa’adat Yaar Khan (Alaihir Rahmah), after gaining victory in the city of Ruhailah, was elected as the Governor of that city.
Allama Mawlana Hafiz Kaazim Ali Khan, the son of Mawlana Mohammed Azam Khan (Alaihir Rahmah), was a Tax-collector in the city of Badayoun. His son, Allama Mawlana Raza Ali Khan (Alaihir Rahmah), the illustrious grandfather of Imam Ahmed Raza Khan (Alaihir Rahmah), did not serve in the Government. It was from this generation that the heads of the family began to adopt Tassawuf as their way of life.
We have included a very brief history of Imam Ahmed Raza Khan Barelwi’s (Alaihir Rahmah) father and grandfather.
HIS FATHER: Imam Ahmed Raza Khan Barelwi’s (Alaihir Rahmah) father, Mawlana Naqi Ali Khan (Alaihir Rahmah), received his education at the hands of his father, Allama Mawlana Raza Ali Khan (Alaihir Rahmah). He wrote more than 50 books, among them, Suroorul Quloob fi Zikri Mouloodul Mahboob, which received a very high distinctive position amongst Islamic literature. The treatise is characteristic in its condemnation of the enemies of Islam, both internally and externally. Imam Ahmed Raza Khan’s father passed away in 1297 A.H. (1880) when Imam Ahmed Raza was 24 years old.
HIS GRANDFATHER: One of the greatest Sufis of his time, Allama Mawlana Raza Ali Khan (Alaihir Rahmah) was born in the year 1224 A.H. He was also a great warrior and fought with General Bakht Khan against English invaders in the year 1834. He received his early education at the hands of Molwi Khaleerur Rahman. At the age of 23, he had already completed his Islamic education, earning certificates of distinction in various fields of knowledge. He passed away in the month of Jamaadi-ul-Awwal in the year 1282 A.H. (1866). Imam Ahmed Raza Khan Barelwi (Alaihir Rahmah) was at this time only 10 years old.
MEETING WITH A MAJZOOB
At the age of 3, Imam Ahmed Raza (Alaihir Rahmah) was once standing outside the Raza Musjid in Bareilly Shareef. An “unknown” person, attired in an Arab garb, approached him and spoke to him in the Arabic language. Those who witnessed this incident heard the young Imam Ahmed Raza (Alaihir Rahmah) converse with the person in pure Arabic. They were surprised. The person who spoke to the young Imam Ahmed Raza was never seen again in Bareilly Shareef!
A Majzoob (one drowned in his love for Allah Ta’ala) by the name of Hadrat Basheeruddeen Sahib (Alaihir Rahmah) used to live at the Akhoon Zada Musjid in Bareilly Shareef. He spoke harshly to anyone who visited him. Imam Ahmed Raza Khan (Alaihir Rahmah) wished to meet this Majzoob. One night, at about 11 o’clock, he set off alone to meet him. He sat respectfully for about 15 minutes outside the Majzoob’s house. After some time, the Majzoob became aware of him and asked, “Who are you to Mawlana Raza Ali Khan.” Imam Ahmed Raza replied that he was the grandson of Hadrat Raza Ali Khan (Alaihir Rahmah). The Majzoob immediately embraced him and took him into his little room. He asked Imam Ahmed Raza Khan if he had come for any specific matter, but Imam Ahmed Raza (Alaihir Rahmah) said that he had come to ask him to make Du’a for him. On hearing this, the Majzoob, for approximately half an hour, made the following Du’a: “May Allah have mercy on you, May Allah bless you.”
PIETY AS A CHILD
Imam Ahmed Raza Khan Barelwi (Alaihir Rahmah) was 4 years old when this incident took place. On that particular day, he was dressed in a long Kurta. As he stepped out of his house, a few female prostitutes walked past him. In order to cover his eyes, Imam Ahmed Raza Khan quickly held the bottom of his Kurta with both his hands and lifted the Kurta over his face. When one of the prostitutes saw what he did, she said, “Well! Young man. You covered your eyes, but allowed your Satr to be shown.” With his face and eyes still covered, the young Imam Ahmed Raza Khan (Alaihir Rahmah) replied, “When the eyes are tempted, then the heart becomes tempted. When the heart is tempted, then the concealed parts become tempted.”
Another incident which happened in the Month of Ramadaan also shows Imam Ahmed Raza’s (Alaihir Rahmah) piety and fear of Allah. Fasting was not Fardh (obligatory) upon him because he was still a child, but he still intended to keep fast. Now, for a little child to keep fast in India during the summer season was very difficult as temperatures sometimes soared to 50 degrees Celsius. On that day, the heat of the sun was intense. Allama Naqi Ali Khan (Alaihir Rahmah) took the young Imam Ahmed Raza Khan into a room where sweets were kept. He closed the door and said, “There, eat the sweets.” Imam Ahmed Raza Khan replied that he was fasting. His father then said, “The fasting of children is always like this. The door is closed and no one is looking. Now you may eat.” On hearing this, the young Imam Ahmed Raza respectfully said, “Through Whose command I am fasting, He is Seeing me.” On hearing this answer from a little child, tears began to flow from the eyes of Allama Naqi Ali Khan (Alaihir Rahmah). They both then left the room.
HIS FIRST LECTURE ON THE MOULOOD
Imam Ahmed Raza Khan Barelwi (Alaihir Rahmah) delivered his first lecture at the age of 6 years. It was during the glorious month of Rabi-ul-Awwal. Imam Ahmed Raza Khan stood on the Mimbar (Pulpit) and delivered a 2 hours lecture before a very large gathering which also consisted of many ‘Ulema. He spoke on the Wilaadat (Birth) of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (Sallal Laahu Alaihi Wasallam) which affected the hearts of the listeners. They were thoroughly impressed by the maturity and eloquence of this lecture.
HIS INTELLIGENCE AS A CHILD
Imam Ahmed Raza Khan Barelwi (Alaihir Rahmah) was so gifted and intelligent that there was no need for him to study beyond the fourth Kitaab of his course under the tutorship of any of his teachers. He studied the remaining Kitaabs by himself and used to later ask his teachers to test him.
Once, his teacher asked him, “Mia! Are you a Jinn or a human being? It takes me much time to teach a lesson, but it does not take you much time to learn the same lesson.” Imam Ahmed Raza Khan answered, “Praise be to Allah that I am a human.”
When he was 8 years old, Imam Ahmed Raza Khan Barelwi (Alaihir Rahmah) wrote a Mas’ala concerning Fara’idh (Fards). When his father looked at the answer, he happily remarked, “If only some adult could answer in this manner.”
At the age of 10, when he was studying the Kitaab, ‘Ilm-us- Thuboot, under the guidance of his father, he noticed a few objections and answers of his father on the side of the page. Imam Ahmed Raza Khan Barelwi (Alaihir Rahmah) studied this book carefully and wrote such a well- explained footnote that even the need for an objection was ruled out. His father came across his research on that objection. He was so delighted that he stood up and held his son to his heart and said, “Ahmed Raza! You do not learn from me, but you teach me.”
COMMENCEMENT OF ISLAMIC EDUCATION
HE LESSON OF ‘LAAM’ AND ‘ALIF’
During Imam Ahmed Raza Khan’s “Bismillah Kwaani” or “Commencement of Islamic Education” a very strange incident occurred.
His Ustaadh asked him to read the Tasmiyah, and then told him to read “Alif, Baa, Taa, . . . .” Imam Ahmed Raza did so until he came to the word “Laam Alif” at which point he became silent. When his teacher asked him once more to read “Laam Alif”, he remained silent. The teacher instructed him, “Say, ‘Laam Alif’”. Imam Ahmed Raza then replied, “I have already read them earlier on. What need is there for me to repeat it?”
Allama Raza Ali Khan (Alaihir Rahmah), who was witnessing this incident, said, “Son! Listen to what your Ustaadh is saying.” Upon further reflection, Allama Raza Ali Khan (Alaihir Rahmah), realised the reason for the objection of the young Imam Ahmed Raza. It was because the teacher was teaching Imam Ahmed Raza the lesson on single alphabets. Imam Ahmed Raza Khan felt that how was it possible that a complete word like “Laam Alif” should be found in such a lesson that only dealt with single alphabets!
Allama Mawlana Raza Ali Khan knew that it was a very delicate matter that could not be understood by a child. Nevertheless, he explained, “Son! It is true that which you are thinking of. But the ‘Alif’ which you had earlier read, in reality, is ‘Hamza’ and this which you are reciting now is ‘Alif’. ‘Alif’ is always ‘Sakin’ and one cannot commence with an alphabet which is ‘Sakin’. Therefore, it is for this reason that the alphabet ‘Laam’ is brought before the ‘Alif’.”
When Imam Ahmed Raza Khan heard this answer, he replied, “If that be the case, then any other alphabet could be joined to the ‘Alif’. Why the ‘Laam’?” Mawlana Raza Ali Khan (Alaihir Rahmah), out of sheer happiness and excitement, embraced Imam Ahmed Raza and made Du’a for him. He then explained the answer to Imam Ahmed Raza Khan Barelwi (Alaihir Rahmah) in the following brilliant manner: “In looking at them they both appear to be very much alike, since they are both empty. Even when writing them together they look very much alike. When it comes to their qualities then ‘Laam’ is the heart of ‘Alif’ and ‘Alif’ is the heart of ‘Laam’.”
Allama Mawlana Raza Ali Khan was in reality opening the doors and the treasures of knowledge and spiritual insight to Imam Ahmed Raza Khan.
Imam Ahmed Raza Khan Barelwi (Alaihir Rahmah) was only 4 years old when he completed the recitation of the Holy Qur’an.
COMPLETION OF STUDIES
Due to the extraordinary intelligence bestowed upon him by Almighty Allah, Imam Ahmed Raza Khan completed his Islamic education at the very young age of 13 years, 10 months and 5 days. Imam Ahmed Raza Khan Barelwi (Alaihir Rahmah) states that, “I completed my religious education during the middle of the month of Shabaan in the year 1286 A.H. I was 13 years, 10 months and 5 days old at that time. It was also at this time that Salaah became Fard upon me and I began to have great interest in the Laws of Shari’ah”. [Al ‘Ijaazatur Radawiyya]
His Divinely bestowed intelligence was such, that when Sayyidi A’la Hadrat Imam Ahmed Raza (Alaihir Rahmah) completed a quarter of any given book at the feet of a teacher, he used to study and memorize the remainder of the book by himself. It is recorded that he completed an Arabic commentary on the book, Hidaayatun Nahw, on Arabic Syntax, when he was only 8 years old!
His initial education was taught by:
1. Mirza Qadir Baig Barelwi (d.1297 AH) and
2. He completed his education with his father, Mawlana Naqi Ali Khan Barelwi.
He also took knowledge of Islam and ‘Ijazahs in Hadith from the following scholars:
1. Mawlana Abdul Ali Khan Rampuri (d.1303 AH) student of ‘Allama Fazle Haq Khairabadi
2. Shah Abul Husain Ahmad Noori Marahrawi (d.1324 AH) student of Mawlana Noor Ahmad Badayouni
3. Shah Aale Rasool Marahrawi (d.1297 AH) student of Shah Abdul Aziz Muhaddith Dehlwi (d. 1239 AH)
4. Imam al-Shafi’iyah Shaykh Husain Salih (d.1302 AH)
5.Mufti Hanafiya Shaykh Abdur Rahman Siraj (d.1301 AH)
6. Mufti Shafi’iyah Shaykh Ahmad bin Zayn Dahlan (d.1299 AH) Qadi al-Quddat, Makka
ISSUING OF FATAWA AND HIS IN-DEPTH KNOWLEDGE
IMAM AHMED RAZA KHAN’S FIRST FATAWA ON FOSTERAGE
In a letter sent to his illustrious Khalifa, Malakul ‘Ulema, Hadrat Mawlana Zafaruddeen Bihaari, Imam Ahmed Raza Khan Barelwi (Alaihir Rahmah) wrote: “With the Grace of Almighty Allah, this servant wrote his first Fatawah at the age of 13. It is also at this age that I completed my religious education and gained a certificate of proficiency in this field. On this day, a question was put forward to me as to whether milk, if reaching the belly of a child, would prove fosterage or not? I replied that even if milk reached the child’s belly, either through the nose or mouth, fosterage would be proven, therefore, making it Haraam upon the child to marry this women”. [Al Malfuz, Part I, pg. 12]
ASSIGNED TO ISSUE FATAWA
His father was so amazed and delighted by this in-depth reply that he assigned the young Imam Ahmed Raza (Alaihir Rahmah) the task of issuing Fatawa [Islamic Verdicts]. For many years, thereafter, Imam Ahmed Raza carried this very important duty with absolute dignity and responsibility. Imam Ahmed Raza began answering hundreds of Fatawa daily. He received them in all languages – Arabic, Urdu, Persian, English and many other languages.
A few days after the Nikah of Imam Ahmed Raza (Alaihir Rahmah), a certain person came to Bareilly Shareef and presented a Fatwa of Mawlana Irshaad Hussain Mujaddidi to Hadrat Allama Mawlana Naqi Ali Khan for an answer. The Fatwa bore the signatures of many ‘Ulema.
Hadrat Allama Naqi Ali Khan (Alaihir Rahmah), instructed the messenger with the following words: “Go into the room. Moulvi Sahib is there. He will answer your question.” The messenger entered the room and only saw Imam Ahmed Raza sitting there. He returned to Hadrat Allama Naqi Ali Khan and said, “There is no Moulvi Sahib there. All I see in the room is a young lad.” Hadrat Allama Naqi Ali Khan told the messenger: “Give the Mas’ala to him and he will answer it.” The messenger went to Imam Ahmed Raza (Alaihir Rahmah) and handed him the Fatwa. He studied it and realised that the answer on the Fatwa of Mawlana Irshaad Hussain was incorrect. Imam Ahmed Raza Khan Barelwi (Alaihir Rahmah) wrote the correct answer to the Fatwa and respectfully presented it to his father who verified it as being correct.
The Fatwa was then taken to the Governor of Rampur. After studying the Fatwa of Imam Ahmed Raza (Alaihir Rahmah), the Governor requested the presence of Mawlana Irshaad Hussain Sahib. When the said Mawlana appeared before the Governor, the Fatwa was shown to him. Mufti Irshaad Hussain Sahib humbly acknowledged that his Fatwa was incorrect and that the Fatwa from Bareilly was correct. The Governor of Rampur then said, “If the Fatwa of Bareilly is correct, then how is it that all the other ‘Ulema verified and endorsed your Fatwa?” Mawlana Irshaad Hussain replied, “They endorsed my Fatwa because I am prominent, but the true Fatwa is the one written by the Mufti of Bareilly.”
Regarding Imam Ahmed Raza’s knowledge of sheep in reply to a Fatwa, Mawlana Mufti Mazharullah said: “Once, I enquired from Imam Ahmed Raza Khan Barelwi about the holy sacrifice offered by Muslims. He, in his reply, described innumerable kinds of sheep which was a matter of surprise for me. I kept his letter with me. It so happened that Mawlana Kifaayatullah came to see me and by chance he saw the letter. He was astounded and said, ‘No doubt his learning and knowledge knows no boundaries’.”
Once Sayyidi A’la Hadrat Imam Ahmed Raza (Alaihir Rahmah) went to Pillibit Shareef. He stayed with Muhaddith-e-Surat, Hadrat Mawlana Wasi Ahmad Sahib (Alaihir Rahmah). Before leaving for Bareilly Shareef, Imam Ahmed Raza Khan Barelwi requested to borrow a Kitaab called Uqoodul Arya from him. As there was only one copy of the book he gave it to Imam Ahmed Raza Khan Barelwi and said, “After studying the book, please return it as these are the only few kitaabs that I have for Fatawa writing.”
Sayyidi A’la Hadrat Imam Ahmed Raza (Alaihir Rahmah) was supposed to depart from Pillibit Shareef that night, but since he had been invited at another person’s home, he stayed one more night in Pillibit Shareef. Imam Ahmed Raza spent the entire night studying the Kitaab, which consisted of numerous volumes.
The following morning, before leaving for the railway station to meet Imam Ahmed Raza Khan Barelwi (Alaihir Rahmah), Hadrat Muhaddith-e- Surat found that the Kitaab that he had lent Imam Ahmed Raza Khan Barelwi had been returned. He thought that Imam Ahmed Raza was angry and displeased with him for asking him to return the Kitaab quickly. He immediately went to Imam Ahmed Raza and asked for pardon. Sayyidi A’la Hadrat Imam Ahmed Raza (Alaihir Rahmah) smiled and then said, “That is not the reason for returning the Kitaab. I stayed one more night, so I studied the book and, therefore, did not find the need to take it with me.”
When Hadrat Muhaddith-e-Surat (Alaihir Rahmah) heard this he was surprised and exclaimed, “You have studied this book in one night!” Sayyidi A’la Hadrat Imam Ahmed Raza (Alaihir Rahmah) replied, “Insha-Allah, for the next 3 months I will not need to look at the book to find any statements, and as for the essence of the book, Insha-Allah, I will not forget it in my lifetime.” He then said, “The book did not have a table of contents. I have drawn up one for you.”
MARRIAGE AND CHILDREN
Imam Ahmed Raza (Alaihir Rahmah) was fair-complexioned, bright-looking, medium-structured, smart, simple, soft-spoken, sweet-voiced and taciturn.
In the year 1291 A.H. (1874), Imam Ahmed Raza (Alaihir Rahmah) married Sayyidah Irshaad Begum who was the beloved daughter of Sheikh Fadhl Hussain Sahib. He was 18 years old at the time of his Nikah.
Allah Ta’ala blessed Imam Ahmed Raza with 7 beautiful children – 2 sons and 5 daughters.
His sons Mawlana Hamid Raza Khan (Alaihir Rahmah) [d.1362/1934] and Mawlana Mustafa Raza Khan (Alaihir Rahmah) [d. 1402/1981] are celebrated savants of Islam. They rendered great services to Islam and the Muslim Nation in India.
A’la Hadrat’s eldest son, Hujjatul Islam, Hadrat Allama Mawlana Muhammad Haamid Raza Khan was very much efficient in Arabic and various other religious sciences. He was a great savant, orator, author and poet. He was such a master of argumentation that he was called “Hujjat al-Islam” [Argument of Islam]. His features resembled his illustrious father. Hujjatul Islam (Alaihir Rahmah) ?left this mundane world on the 17th of Jamadi-ul-Awwal 1362 A.H., while in the state of Salaah.
Ghausul Waqt, Huzoor Mufti-e-Azam-e-Hind, Ash Shah Imam Mustapha Raza Khan (Alaihir Rahmah), the younger son of Imam Ahmed Raza (Alaihir Rahmah), studied primarily under the guidance of his elder brother. He also received education at the blessed feet of his father and earned himself a certificate of proficiency in religious sciences. Huzoor Mufti-e-Azam-e-Hind (Alaihir Rahmah) has approximately ten millions Mureeds (disciples) around the world. He was such a great Mufti that he was called “Mufti-i-’Azam” [The Great Mufti] of India. He left this mundane world on the eve of the 14th of Muharram 1402 A.H. (1981).
The grandson of Imam Ahmed Raza (Alaihir Rahmah), Hadrat Ibrahim Raza Khan Jilani (Alaihir Rahmah) was such a great Mufassir that he was called “Mufassir-i-’Azam” [The Great Commentator] of India.
PROFICIENCY IN OVER 60 BRANCHES OF KNOWLEDGE
THE BRANCHES OF KNOWLEDGE ATTAINED
If we study the life of Sayyidi A’la Hadrat Imam Ahmed Raza(Alaihir Rahmah), we will discover that his proficiency in various subjects total over sixty branches of knowledge. The branches of knowledge of Imam Ahmed Raza Khan Barelwi (Alaihir Rahmah) are here arranged according to the syllabus of Jamias & Universities written as under :-
1. I’lm of the Qur’an & Art of its Translation
2. Qur’anic Tafseer
3. Principles of Tafseer
4. Master of Recitation of the Qur’an with Tajweed
6. Principles of Hadith
7. Encyclopaedia of Hadith
8. Critical Examination of Hadith
10. Principle of Jurisprudence
11. Lexicon of Jurisprudence
12. Scholastic Theology
15. Syntax & Etymology
16. Rhetoric and style & Elocution
17. Linguistic & Lexicon
19. Urdu Prose
20. Arabic Prose
21. Persian Prose
22. Arabic Poetry
23. Persian Poetry
24. Urdu Poetry
25. Hindi poetry
26. Explanation, Criticism & Appreciation
30. Incantation & Invocation
31. Jafr (Literology & Numerology)
32. Carrying the Figures (Takseer)
37. Chronology & Biography
41. Political Science
44. Arithmetic & Computation
45. Algebra (Factorization, Equation of any degree, Exponential series, Binomial theorem, Set theory, Topology, Tensorial algebra)
46. Plane Trigonometry Euclidean logarithms
47. Spherical Trigonometry
48. Euclidean Geometry
49. Coordinate Geometry
52. Astronomy & Astronomical Tables
57. Hydro Dynamics
64. Unani Medicine
66. Inorganic Chemistry
Is it possible today, to find an Islamic scholar or even a non-Muslim professor, scientist, educationist or a Nobel Prize owner who possesses such qualifications? Arab Scholars like Shaykh Ismail bin Khalil and Shaykh Musa Ali Shami commended Imam Ahmed Raza Khan Barelwi (Alaihir Rahmah) as the Revivalist of the 14th Century A.H.: “If he is called the revivalist of this century, it will be right and true.”
BRANCHES OF KNOWLEDGE STUDIED AT HIS FATHER’S FEET
Sayyidi A’la Hadrat Imam Ahmed Raza (Alaihir Rahmah) became proficient in the following branches of knowledge at the feet of his father:
1. I’lm-al-Qur’an (Knowledge of the Qur’an)
2. I’lm-al-Hadith (Knowledge of Traditions)
3. Usul-e-Hadith (Principle of Traditions)
4. Fiqh-e-Hanafi (Hanafi Jurisprudence)
5. Kutub-e-Fiqh Jumla (All Books of Jurisprudence)
6. Usul-e-Fiqh (Principle of Jurisprudence)
8. I’lm-e-Tafseer (Knowledge of Exegesis of the Holy Quran)
9. I’lm-al Kalam (Scholastic theology)
10. I’lm-e-Nahav (Syntax)
11. I’lm-e-Sarf (Grammar, Accidence and Etymology)
12. I’lm-e-Maani (Elocution)
13. I’lm-e-Badi (Style)
14. I’lm-e-Bayan (Rhetoric)
15. I’lm-e-Mantique (Logic)
16. I’lm-e-Munazara (Dialectic)
17. I’lm-e-Takseer (Carrying figures)
18. I’lm-e-Falsafa (Philosophy)
19. I’lm-e-Hay’at (Astronomy)
20. I’lm-e-Hisab (Arithmetic)
21. ‘Ilm-e-Hindasa (Geometry)
In the book, Al Ijaazatul Mateena, on page 22, Sayyidi A’la Hadrat Imam Ahmed Raza (Alaihir Rahmah) has said the following in connection with the above mentioned 20 branches of knowledge. He says, “I learnt these twenty branches of knowledge, personally at the feet of my father”.
BRANCHES OF KNOWLEDGE ATTAINED FROM VARIOUS ULEMA
The following are the 10 disciplines of knowledge which Sayyidi A’la Hadrat Imam Ahmed Raza (Alaihir Rahmah) haven’t studied under any teacher but he had the ‘Ijazat (permission) in these from discerning ‘Ulama and he used to give ‘Ijaza in these disciplines too.
22. Qir’at (Recitation of the Qur’an)
23. Tajweed (Knowledge of Right pronunciation of the Qur’an)
24. Tasawwuf (Mysticism)
25. Suluk (Knowledge of manner in Mystic)
26. Akhlaaq (Ethics)
27. Asma-ul-Rajaal (Encyclopaedia of Narrators of Traditions)
28. Siyar (Biography)
29. Tawarikh (Chronology)
30. Loghat (Lexicon)
31. Adab-Ma-Jumla Funoon (Literature with all Arts)
Sayyidi A’la Hadrat Imam Ahmed Raza(Alaihir Rahmah) states: “These ten branches of knowledge, I achieved at the feet of the following teachers: Shah Ale Rasool Marahrewi, Mawlana Naqi Ali Khan, Shaykh Ahmed Bin Zain Dahlaan Makki, Shaykh Abdur Rahman Makki, Shaykh Hussain Bin Saleh Makki, Shah Abul Hassan Ahmed Noori.”
BRANCHES OF KNOWLEDGE ATTAINED WITHOUT THE ASSISTANCE OF ANY TEACHER
The following are the 14 disciplines of knowledge that Sayyidi A’la Hadrat Imam Ahmed Raza (Alaihir Rahmah) did learnt by any teachers:-
32. Arsamatiqi (Arithmetic)
33. Jabr-o-Muqabilah (Algebra)
34. Ilm-e-Tauqeet (Timings)
35. Logharsimat (Logarithms)
37. Manazir-o-Maraya (Sense & Sight)
38. I’lm-ul-Ukur (Spheres)
39. Zijaat (Astronomical Tables)
40. Muthallath Kurvi (Spherical Trigonometry)
41. Muthallath Musattah (Plane Trigonometry)
42. Haiyate Jadeedah (Modern Astronomy)
43. Jafr (Numerology & literology)
44. Murabba’at (Quadrangular)
45. Za’icha (Horoscopes)
The following are the 10 branches of learning that he has received by the Heavenly Blessing inspired directly into his heart:
46. Nazm-e-Arabi (Arabic Poetry)
47. Nazm-e-Farsi (Persian Poetry)
48. Nazm-e-Hindi (Hindi Poetry)
49. Nathr-e-Urdu (Urdu Prose)
50. Nathre-Farsi (Persian Prose)
51. Nathre Arabi (Arabic Prose)
52. Khat-e-Naskh (Arabic Calligraphy)
53. Khat-e-Nastalique (Persian Calligraphy)
54. Tilawat ma’a Tajwid (Recitation of the Holy Qur’an with right pronunciation)
55. I’lm-e-Meerath (Knowledge of Inheritance)
When Imam Ahmed Raza (Alaihir Rahmah) was questioned about his amazing capabilities in solving intricate and confusing Mathematical theories, and as to whom his mentor was, he replied, “I did not have a teacher in this field. Whatever you see, I achieved within the four walls of my room. This is indeed through the grace of Sayyiduna Rasoolulah (Salal Laahu Alaihi Wa Sallam).” [Al Mizaan, pg. 342]
The above are merely a few branches of knowledge in which Sayyidi A’la Hadrat Imam Ahmed Raza (Alaihir Rahmah) reached such great heights of proficiency that he was considered to be the inventor of that branch of knowledge! An example of this is to found in his book, Ar Raudal Baheej fi Adaabut Takhreej, dealing with the Principles of Chronomatic Recording of Ahadith.
Commenting on this, the famous Historian, Mawlana Rahmaan Ali, (M.P. Madya Pradesh) states, “If there are no books to be found on the subject of Chronomatic Recording of Ahadith, then Imam Ahmed Raza Khan Barelwi (Alaihir Rahmah) can be considered to be the very inventor of this branch of knowledge”. [Tazkerah Ulema-e-Hind, pg. 17]
HIS MASTERY IN THE TRANSLATION OF THE QUR’AN
One of Imam Ahmed Raza’s (Alaihir Rahmah) most outstanding works is his translation of the Holy Qur’an into Urdu which he named Kanzu’l Iman fi Tarjamatu’l Qur’an which is unique and unparalleled in every sense. It is said that this translation is not merely a literal translation, but is also the commentary of the Holy Qur’an. Each and every line of this translation gives glimpses of the beauty of the Holy Qur’an and shows his mastery of the sciences of Tafseer. The translation takes into account the Glory of Allah Ta’ala and the perfection of His Messenger (Sallal Laahu Alaihi Wasallam); hence, it is free from the faults that are found in other translations. In his translation Hadrat Imam Ahmed Raza only used those words in his translation that are worthy for the Attributes and Qualities of Allah Ta’ala and of His beloved Rasool (Sallal Laahu Alaihi Wasallam).
We have taken just one example of a Verse from the Holy Qur’an that has been translated by various persons and compared it with the translation of Sayyidi A’la Hadrat Imam Ahmed Raza (Alaihir Rahmah).
(1) “And he found you lost on the way and he guided thee.” [Sura 93, Verse 7]
Translation by Mohammad Asad
(2) “And found thee groping so he showed the way.” [Sura 93, Verse 7]
Translation by Muhammad Ali Lahori Qadiani
(3) “And He found you uninformed of Islamic laws so he told you the way of Islamic laws.” [Sura 93, Verse 7]
Translation by Ashraf Ali Thanwi
(4) “Did he not find thee erring and guide thee.” [Sura 93, Verse 7]
Translation by Arberry
(5) “And saw you unaware of the way so showed you the straight way.”[Sura 93, Verse 7]
Translation by Fatheh Muhammad Jalledhri
(6) “And he found thee wandering and He gave thee guidance.” [Sura 93, Verse 7]
Translation by Yusuf Ali
Now that we have examined six different translations of Sura 93, Verse 7, let us examine the difference and the uniqueness of the translation of Imam Ahmed Raza (Alaihir Rahmah). He writes: “And he found you drowned in his love therefore gave way unto him.”
In Arabic, the word “dal” has got four different meanings, viz, “unaware”, “mixed”, “lost in love” and “lofty-tree”. Whichever of these is appropriate on the occasion, should only be used. Nothing should be fitted hurriedly which is out of sense or which kills the sense. Keeping to the dignity of the Revealer and the Revealed of Holy Qur’an, Imam Ahmed Raza Khan Barelwi (Alaihir Rahmah) has translated the “Dal” into “lost in his love”. A man of love talks of love. One who loved the Holy Prophet (Sallal Laahu Alayhi Wasallam) picked up the word of love out of different words. After all, choice differs from man to man. Moreover, the name of Holy Prophet (Sallal Laahu Alayhi Wasallam) is “Muhammad” as well as “Ahmad”. “Muhammad” means “one whom Allah Ta’ala praised most” and “Ahmad” means “one who praised Allah Ta’ala most”. All this bears testimony to his being lost in love with Allah Ta’ala.
Look at the uniqueness and the cautiousness that is present in this translation. Imam Ahmed Raza Khan Barelwi (Alaihir Rahmah) abstained from using those words that may cause any disrespect to the dignity and personality of the Holy Prophet (Sallal Laahu Alaihi Wasallam)!
Due to the vast amount of time Imam Ahmed Raza spent in compiling books on Fiqh and various other topics, it was not possible for him to compile a complete commentary of the Holy Qur’an. However, a few learned scholars have stated that if all the books of Imam Ahmed Raza (Alaihir Rahmah) have to be brought together then there is a great possibility that a complete commentary of the Holy Qur’an may be compiled. Like his translation of the Holy Qur’an, they have said that his Tafseer will also be exceptional.
Commenting only on the “Bismillahir Rahmanir Rahim”, Imam Ahmed Raza (Alaihir Rahmah) presented such a lengthy lecture on this simple phrase that it was compiled into a complete book and published under the title, Al Meeladun Nabwiya.
Once, during the ‘Urs Shareef of Hadrat Mawlana Shah Abdul Qaadir Sahib (Alaihir Rahmah), Imam Ahmed Raza Khan Barelwi (Alaihir Rahmah) delivered a 6 hour lecture on Sura Wad-Duha from 9 a.m. in the morning right till 3 p.m. in the afternoon! After completing his lecture Imam Ahmed Raza Khan Barelwi (Alaihir Rahmah) said, “I only wrote 80 percent of the commentary on this Sura and had to leave it aside. Where is there time enough to write the Tafseer of the entire Qur’an-e-Azeem?!”
Allama Ata Muhammad Bindayalwi (Alaihir Rahmah), Sarghoda (Pakistan) said: “Hadrat Bareilvi (Alaihir Rahmah) has written about a thousand treatises. He exhaustively dealt with every topic he touched, but his most glorious work is his Urdu translation and explanation of the Holy Qur’an entitled, ‘Kanzul Imaan’. Indeed, there is no parallel. Real worth of this monumental work can be evaluated by only those scholars who possess vast and deep knowledge of various other translations and explanations of high standard in Urdu. Imam Ahmed Raza Khan Barelwi kept the same pattern as adopted by the renown writers, but he excelled in the explanation and expansion of the most difficult and complicated subject matter in relatively few simple words.”
HIS MASTERY IN HADITH
For one to be a Muhaddith, it is not necessary to be a Faqih but to be a Faqih, one must be a Muhaddith and Sayyidi A’la Hadrat Imam Ahmed Raza (Alaihir Rahmah) was an undisputed Imam of Fiqh. He had a vast knowledge of Hadith and its related sciences including Turuq, Nasikh and Mansukh, Rajih and Marjuh, Tatbiq and Rijal.
Sayyidi A’la Hadrat Imam Ahmed Raza (Alaihir Rahmah) was once questioned about how many books of Hadith he had studied. He replied with the names of 29 books and said that he had studied over 50 books of Hadith. Moreover, when one researcher studied 356 books of Imam Ahmed Raza, he found citations therein from not just 50 books but 240 books of Hadith. As mentioned, these 240 books are mentioned in just 356 of his books whereas he has authored approximately 1000 books; hence, this number is likely to be much greater.
Imam Ahmed Raza Khan Barelwi (Alaihir Rahmah) knew the names of almost every Hadith narrator. When he was questioned concerning details of a certain narrator, he was able to give a complete biography of the narrator. When he studied any Hadith he was able to explain the type of Hadith, its benefits and the reasons behind that Hadith. He wrote many booklets on the topic of Ahadith.
Sayyid Muhammad Muhaddith Kachochawi (Alaihir Rahmah) writes: ““His knowledge of Hadith can be seen by the fact that all the Ahadith that are the foundation of the Hanafi school were in his memory and those Ahadith by which the Hanafi school is [apparently] challenged; Imam Ahmed Raza knew the weaknesses of their Sanad and the meanings of all of them. The knowledge of Asma’ al-Rijal is the most difficult science of Hadit.