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]
Died 1921 (aged 64–65)
Ethnicity Indian
Era Modern era
Region South Asia
Jurisprudence Hanafi
Creed Sunni
Main interest(s) Aqeedah, Fiqh, Tasawwuf

Barelvi movement

Sunni Barelvis consider Dargah Ajmer Shareef as their prime center of Islam in South Asia
Central figures

Ahmed Raza Khan Barelvi
Hamid Raza Khan


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


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

Notable Scholars

Ameen Mian Qaudri, India
Sarfraz Ahmed Naeemi, Pakistan
Muhammad Ilyas Qadri, Pakistan
Akhtar Raza, India
Qamaruzzaman Azmi, United Kingdom
Muhammad Muslehuddin Siddiqui, Pakistan
Arshadul Qaudri, India

Kanzul Iman, translation of the Qur'an

Ahmed Raza Khan Barelvi (Urdu: احمد رضاخان بریلوی‎, Hindi: अहमद रज़ा खान, 1856–1921 CE or 10 Shawwal 1272__25 Safar 1340 AH, born & died Bareilly, UP), known as Aala Hazrat, was a Hanafi Sunni who founded the Barelvi movement of South Asia.[2][3][4] 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.[3]

Early life[edit]

His father was Naqi Ali Khan, his grand father was Raza Ali Khan and his great-grandfather Shah Kazim Ali Khan[5] was a noted Sunni scholar.[6]

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[7] Khan used the appellation "Abdul Mustafa" (slave or servant of Mustafa) prior to signing his name in correspondence.[8] 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 Nūr (light) that predates creation.[9] This contrasts with the Deobandi view that Muhammad was insan-e-kamil ("the complete man"), a respected but physically typical human.[10][11]
  • He is haazir naazir (can be present in many places at the same time, as opposed to God, who is everywhere by definition).[12]
  • 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]

Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian claimed to be the Mahdi (messiah) awaited by Muslims, as well as a prophet. These claims proved to be extremely controversial among many in the Muslim community, and he was branded a heretic and apostate by many religious scholars of the time, including Ahmed Raza Khan. Ghulam Ahmad's claims are controversial to this day, but his Mahdi status and prophethood is believed in by the Ahmadiyya sect. In 1974, the constitution of the state of Pakistan was amended, declaring the Ahmadiyya sect non-Muslim as they do not accept the finality of the prophethood of Muhammad.[13][14]

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.[14]

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.[15]
  • Tawaf (ceremonially walking in circles around a holy site ) of tombs.[16]
  • Sajda (prostration) on Shrines and Tombs to those other than God[17][18]
  • Ta'zieh, plays re-enacting religious scenes[17]
  • Women going to visit mazar (tombs)[19]


  • 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.[20]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Hayat-e-Aala Hadhrat, vol.1 p.1
  2. ^ See:Ala Hazrat denied and condemned Taziah,Qawwali,tawaf of mazar,sada except Allah SWT,women visit at Mazar and Fatiha.
  3. ^ 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. 
  4. ^ Ali Riaz (2008) Faithful Education: Madrassahs in South Asia, p. 75. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, ISBN 9780813543451
  5. ^ 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. 
  6. ^ Malfuzaat e A'ala Hadrat. Dawateislami.net (2009-11-08). Retrieved on 2012-06-01.
  7. ^ Ala Hadhrat by Bastawi, p. 25
  8. ^ Man huwa Ahmed Rida by Shaja'at Ali al-Qadri, p.15
  9. ^ Islamic Beliefs, Practices, and Cultures. Marshall Cavendish. 1 September 2010. pp. 145–. ISBN 978-0-7614-7926-0. Retrieved 4 May 2011. 
  10. ^ Pakistan perspectives, Volume 7. Pakistan Study Centre, University of Karachi, 2002
  11. ^ Akbar S. Ahmed (1999) Islam today: a short introduction to the Muslim world. I.B. Tauris Publishers, ISBN 978-1-86064-257-9
  12. ^ N. C. Asthana & A.Nirmal (2009) Urban Terrorism : Myths And Realities. Publisher Pointer Publishers, ISBN 978-81-7132-598-6, p. 67
  13. ^ Zahid Aziz, Ahmadiyya Anjuman Ishaat Islam (2008) A survey of the Lahore Ahmadiyya movement: history, beliefs, aims and work. A.a.i.i.l. (u.k.), ISBN 978-1-906109-03-5. p. 43
  14. ^ a b 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
  15. ^ Ahkame Shariat part 1 pp. 33–34 Fatwa No 18
  16. ^ Ahkame Shariat part 3 pp. 2–3
  17. ^ a b Ahkame Shariat part 1
  18. ^ Qanoon-e-Shariat Part1
  19. ^ Fatwa-e-Razwia
  20. ^ 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

Further reading[edit]

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