Ahmed Raza Khan Barelvi

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Not to be confused with Syed Ahmad Barelvi.
Islamic scholar
Ahmed Raza Khan
Title Ala Hazrat
Born 14 June 1856[1]
Muhallah Jasoli, Bareilly, NWP, British Indian Empire
Died 28 October 1921(1921-10-28) (aged 65)
Muhallah Sodagraan, Bareilly, UP, British Indian Empire
Nationality India
Ethnicity Pashtuns
Era Modern era
Region South Asia
Jurisprudence Hanafi
Creed Sunni
Main interest(s) Aqeedah, Fiqh, Tasawwuf
Website [1]

Barelvi movement
Tomb of Ahmed Raza Khan
Central figures

Ahmed Raza Khan Barelvi
Shah Waliullah
Haji Imdadullah Muhajir Makki
Meher Ali Shah

Mufti Amjad Ali Aazmi
Hamid Raza Khan


Jamaat Ahle Sunnat, Pakistan
Sunni Tehreek, Pakistan
Sunni Ittehad Council, Pakistan
Dawat-e-Islami, International
World Islamic Mission, International
Sunni Dawat-e-Islami, International


Al Jamiatul Ashrafia · Manzar-e-Islam
Al-Jame-atul-Islamia · Jamiatur Raza

Notable Scholars

Sarfraz Ahmed Naeemi, Pakistan
Ilyas Qadri, Pakistan
Muhammad Muslehuddin Siddiqui, Pakistan
Allama Arshadul Qaudri, India

Kanzul Iman, translation of the Qur'an

Ahmed Raza Khan Barelvi (Urdu: احمد رضاخان بریلوی‎, Hindi: अहमद रज़ा खान, Born: 14 june 1856 AD or 10 Shawwal 1272 AH in Muhallah Jasoli Bareilly, UP[2] __Died: 28 October 1921 AD or 25 Safar 1340 AH in Bareilly, UP[3]), known as Aala Hazrat, was a Hanafi Sunni who founded the Barelvi movement of South Asia.[4][5][6] Raza Khan wrote on numerous topics, including law, religion, philosophy and the sciences. He was a prolific writer, producing nearly 1,000 works in his lifetime.[5]

Early life[edit]

His father was Naqi Ali Khan, his grand father was Raza Ali Khan and his great-grandfather Shah Kazim Ali Khan[7] was a noted Sunni scholar.[8] His ancestors were Pashtuns from Kandahar.[9]

Ahmad was born on 14 June 1856 in Jasuli, one of the areas of Bareilly Sharif, united India. His birth name is Mohammad however his grandfather called him Ahmad Raza and his mother named him Amman Miyān. He became famous with the name which was kept by his grandfather[10] Khan used the appellation "Abdul Mustafa" (slave [or servant] of Mustafa) prior to signing his name in correspondence.[11] He studied Islamic sciences and completed a traditional Dars-i-Nizami course under the supervision of his father Naqī Áli Khān, who was a legal scholar.[citation needed] He went on the Hajj with his father in 1878.[citation needed]


Ahmed Raza Khan's beliefs regarding Muhammad include:

  • Muhammad, although human, possessed a noor (light) that predates creation.[12] This contrasts with the Deobandi view that Muhammad was insan-e-kamil ("the complete man"), a respected but physically typical human.[13][14]
  • He is haazir naazir (can be present in many places at the same time, as opposed to God, who is everywhere by definition).[15]
  • God has granted him ilm-e-ghaib (the knowledge of the unseen).[citation needed]

Raza Khan wrote:

"We do not hold that anyone can equal the knowledge of Allah Most High, or possess it independently, nor do we assert that Allah’s giving of knowledge to the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) is anything but a part. But what a patent and tremendous difference between one part [the Prophet’s] and another [anyone else’s]: like the difference between the sky and the earth, or rather even greater and more immense."

—Ahmed Raza Khan, al-Dawla al-Makkiyya (c00), 291.

Opposition to other sects[edit]

Ahmed Raza himself painstakingly developed refutations of Deobandis, the Ahl-e-Hadith and Wahhabis.[16]


When Ahmed Raza visited Mecca and Medina for pilgrimage in 1905, he prepared a draft document entitled Al Motamad Al Mustanad ("The Reliable Proofs") for presentation to the scholars of Mecca and Medina. Ahmed Raza Khan collected opinions of the ulama of the Hejaz and compiled them in an Arabic language compendium with the title, Husam al Harmain ("The Sword of Two Sanctuaries"), a work containing 34 verdicts from 33 ulama (20 Meccan and 13 Medinese). In that work, which was to inspire a reciprocal series of fatwas between Barelvis and Deobandis lasting to the present, Ahmad Raza denounced as kuffar the Deobandi leaders Ashraf Ali Thanwi, Rashid Ahmad Gangohi, and Muhammad Qasim Nanotwi.[17]


Ahmed Raza also declared Wahabis as Kuffar and collected many fatwas of various ulema against the Wahabbi Movement founded by Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab and predominant in the Arabian peninsula, just as he had done with the Ahmadis and Deobandis.[18]

Opposition to heterodox practices[edit]

Raza Khan condemned many practices he saw as bid'at (forbidden innovations), such as:

  • Qawali (religious music) and Sufi whirling, which he opposed as un-Islamic. Khan issued a fatwa in which he quoted the sayings of the Chisti Sufi order demonstrating their view that musical instruments are forbidden in Islam.[19]
  • Tawaf (ceremonially walking in circles around a holy site ) of tombs.[20]
  • Sajda (prostration) on Shrines and Tombs to those other than God[21][22]
  • Ta'zieh, plays re-enacting religious scenes[21]
  • Women going to visit mazar (tombs)[23]

Political quietism[edit]

Unlike most other Muslim leaders in the region at the time, Khan and his movement opposed the Indian independence movement due to its leadership under Mahatma Gandhi, who was not a Muslim.[24]


  • Raza opposed labeling British India to be Dar al-Harb ("land of war"), thus opposing any justification of jihad (struggle) or hijrat (migration to escape) against the proposed plans of the Deobandiyya Movement who wished to begin jihaad. Raza's stance was opposed by Deobandi scholars such as Muhammad Qasim Nanotvi.[25]
  • Raza Khan opposed the belief in a heliocentric system, instead stating that the sun and moon circulate around the Earth.[26]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Hayat-e-Aala Hadhrat, vol.1 p.1
  2. ^ http://www.raza.org.za/the_mujaddid_imam_ahmed_raza_childhood.html
  3. ^ http://www.raza.org.za/the_mujaddid_imam_ahmed_raza_demise.html
  4. ^ See:Ala Hazrat denied and condemned Taziah,Qawwali,tawaf of mazar,sada except Allah SWT,women visit at Mazar and Fatiha.
  5. ^ a b Usha Sanyal (1998). "Generational Changes in the Leadership of the Ahl-e Sunnat Movement in North India during the Twentieth Century". Modern Asian Studies 32 (3): 635. doi:10.1017/S0026749X98003059. 
  6. ^ Ali Riaz (2008) Faithful Education: Madrassahs in South Asia, p. 75. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, ISBN 9780813543451
  7. ^ Usha Sanyal (1996). Devotional Islam and politics in British India: Ahmad Riza Khan Barelwi and his movement, 1870–1920. Oxford University Press. p. 51. ISBN 978-0-19-563699-4. 
  8. ^ Malfuzaat e A'ala Hadrat. Dawateislami.net (2009-11-08). Retrieved on 2012-06-01.
  9. ^ Usha Sanyal, Ahmad Riza Khan Barelwi: In the Path of the Prophet, Oneworld Publications (2012), p. 52
  10. ^ Ala Hadhrat by Bastawi, p. 25
  11. ^ Man huwa Ahmed Rida by Shaja'at Ali al-Qadri, p.15
  12. ^ Islamic Beliefs, Practices, and Cultures. Marshall Cavendish. 1 September 2010. pp. 145–. ISBN 978-0-7614-7926-0. Retrieved 4 May 2011. 
  13. ^ Pakistan perspectives, Volume 7. Pakistan Study Centre, University of Karachi, 2002
  14. ^ Akbar S. Ahmed (1999) Islam today: a short introduction to the Muslim world. I.B. Tauris Publishers, ISBN 978-1-86064-257-9
  15. ^ N. C. Asthana & A.Nirmal (2009) Urban Terrorism : Myths And Realities. Publisher Pointer Publishers, ISBN 978-81-7132-598-6, p. 67
  16. ^ http://www.hudson.org/research/9848-the-assertion-of-barelvi-extremism
  17. ^ http://books.google.com/books?id=6w7JVOlDIokC&pg=PA282&dq=Khan++deobandi+husam&hl=en&sa=X&ei=h3LgUb-DDaj84AOOq4G4Ag&ved=0CDQQ6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q=Khan%20%20deobandi%20husam&f=false
  18. ^ https://alislam.org/books/3in1/chap9/index.html
  19. ^ Ahkame Shariat part 1 pp. 33–34 Fatwa No 18
  20. ^ Ahkame Shariat part 3 pp. 2–3
  21. ^ a b Ahkame Shariat part 1
  22. ^ Qanoon-e-Shariat Part1
  23. ^ Fatwa-e-Razwia
  24. ^ R. Upadhyay, Barelvis and Deobandhis: "Birds of the Same Feather". Eurasia Review, courtesy of the South Asia Analysis Group. 28 January 2011.
  25. ^ M. Naeem Qureshi. Pan-Islam in British Indian politics: a study of the Khilafat Movement, 1918–1924. BRILL, 1999. ISBN 978-90-04-11371-8. p. 179
  26. ^ Fauz e Mubeen Dar Radd e Harkat e Zamin. Alahazratnetwork.org (2011-11-27). Retrieved on 2012-06-01.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]