Ahmed Raza Khan Barelvi

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Not to be confused with Syed Ahmad.
Ahmed Raza Khan Hanfi Bareilvi
احمد رضا خان بریلوی
Title Ala Hazrat
Born 14 June 1856.[1]
Bareilly, North-Western Provinces, British Indian Empire
Died 28 October 1921(1921-10-28) (aged 65)
Muhallah Sodagraan, Bareilly, UP, British Indian Empire
Nationality British India
Ethnicity Pashtuns
Era Modern era
Region South Asia
Religion Islam
Jurisprudence Hanafi[2]
Creed Sunni[2]
Website http://imamahmadraza.net/, http://www.raza.org.za, http://www.alahazrat.net
Aqeedah, Fiqh, Tasawwuf
Part of a series on
The Barelvi movement
Tomb of Ahmed Raza Khan
Central figures

Ahmed Raza Khan Barelvi
Haji Imdadullah Muhajir Makki
Meher Ali Shah

Hamid Raza Khan

Sufism (Chishti, Qadiri and Suhrawardi orders)


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


Jamiatur Raza (Bareily, UP, India)
Al Jamiatul Ashrafia (Azamgarh, UP, India)
Manzar-e-Islam (Bakri, UP, India)
Al-Jame-atul-Islamia (Faizabad, UP, India)

Notable Scholars

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

Literature & Media

Kanzul Iman, translation of the Qur'an
Madani Channel

Ahmed Raza Khan Barelvi (Urdu: امام احمد رضاخان بریلوی‎, Hindi: अहमद रज़ा खान, 14 June 1856 CE or 10 Shawwal 1272 AH - 28 October 1921 CE or 25 Safar 1340 AH), also known as Ala'Hazarat, was a Muslim scholar, Sufi, and reformer in British India. The Barelvi movement within Sunni Islam is attributed to him.

Early life and family[edit]

Ahmad Raza Khan was born on 14 June 1856 in Muhallah Jasoli, Bareilly Sharif, British India. His birth name is Muhammad; however, his grandfather called him Ahmad Raza and his mother named him Amman Miyān. Later on, he became known with the name which was kept by his grandfather.[3] Khan used the appellation "Abdul Mustafa" (slave [or servant] of Mustafa) prior to signing his name in correspondence.[4]

Ahmed Raza Khan Barelvi's father Naqi Ali Khan was the son of Raza Ali Khan. Some of his lineage up to a few generations is given here:[5][6]

  • Ahmed Raza Khan Barelvi
  • Naqi Ali Khan (Father) (Death 1297 AH or 1880 CE)[7]
  • Raza Ali Khan (Paternal grandfather) (1224 AH - 1282 AH or 1866 CE)[7]
  • Muhammed Kaazim Ali Khan
  • Shah Mohammed Azam Khan
  • Sa'adat Yaar Khan
  • Sa'eedullah Khan

Ahmed Raza Khan Barelvi belonged to the Barech[6] tribe of Durrani Pushtuns. The Barech formed the largest tribal grouping among the Rohilla Pushtuns of North India who founded the state of Rohilkhand. The ancestors of Ahmed Raza Khan migrated from Qandahar during the Mughal rule and settled in Lahore. Allama Mawlana Sa'eedullah Khan held a high government post when he arrived in the Indo-Pak subcontinent. His son, Sa'adat Yaar Khan, after gaining victory in the city of Rohilla, was elected as the Governor of that city. Hafiz Kaazim Ali Khan, the son of Muhammed Azam Khan, was a Tax-collector in the city of Budaun. His son, Raza Ali Khan, the illustrious grandfather of Ahmed Raza Khan, did not serve in the Government. It was from this generation that the heads of the family began to adopt Sufism as their way of life.



Ahmed Raza Khan wrote several books on various topics in Arabic, Persian and Urdu, including Fatawa Radawiyyah (30 volumes), which is a compilation of fatwas, and Kanzul Iman (translation of the Qur'an). Several of his books have been translated in other European and South Asian languages.[8][9] His other works include:

  • Kanzul Iman (translation of the Qur'an)
  • Fatawa Radawiyyah (30 volumes; approx. 22,000 pages)
  • Husaamul Haramain
  • Ad Daulatul Makkiya Bil Madatul Ghaibiya
  • Al Mu'tamadul Mustanad
  • Al Amn o wa Ula
  • Alkaukabatush Shahabiya
  • Al Istimdaad
  • Al Fuyoozul Makkiyah
  • Al Meeladun Nabawiyyah
  • Fauze Mubeen Dar Harkate Zameen
  • Hidayake Bakhshish
  • Subhaanus Subooh
  • Sallus Say yaaful Hindiya
  • Ahkaam-e-Shariat
  • Az Zubdatuz Zakkiya
  • Abna ul Mustafa
  • Tamheed-e-Imaan
  • Angotthe Choomne ka Masla


The following lines of Urdu poetry are from the Salam-e-Raza of Imam Ahmed Raza Khan Barelvi:[10]

  • Mustafa Jaane rehmat pe lakhon salam Sham’e bazme hidayat pe lakhon salam

(Millions of salutations on the Chosen One , the Essence of Mercy Millions of salutations on the Guiding Light)

  • Door-o-Nazdeek ke sunne vaale Vo Kaan Kaane la’le karaamat pe lakhon salam

(Those Ears which can hear both from near and afar Millions of salutations On the beauty of those miraculous Ears)

  • Noor ke chashme lehraein darya bahein Unglion ki karamat pe lakhon salam

(Fountains of Spiritual Light, like seas over flowing Millions of salutations on the miracle of His Blessed Fingers)

  • Ghause Azam Imamut Tuqa wan Nuqa Jalvae Shaane Qudrat pe lakhon salam

(The Greatest Helper, i.e. Shaykh Abdul Qadir Jilani, leader of the God-fearing and select Millions of salutations on that splendid display of Allah Almighty’s Power)

  • Mujhse khidmat ke qudsi kahein haan Raza Mustafa Jaane Rehmat pe lakhon salaam

(Yes, Raza [recite],” [I will say]: Millions of salutations on the Chosen One , the Essence of Mercy


Ahmed Raza Khan was a Muslim scholar, belonging to Sunni tradition. He supported the traditional Sufi beliefs and practices as opposed to Wahabi and Deobandi movements. In this context he supported the following beliefs:

  • Muhammad, although insan-e-kamil (perfect human), possessed a nūr or "light" that predates creation. This contrasts with the Deobandi view that Muhammad, was only a insan-e-kamil ("complete man"), a respected but physically typical human.[11][12]
  • Muhammad is haazir naazir (can be present in many places at the same time by the power given by Allah, :[13]

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 developed refutations of Ahmadiyya, the Deobandis, the Ahl al-Hadith and Wahhabism.[14]


Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian claimed to be the Promised Messiah and Mahdi awaited by some Muslims as well as a Ummati Nabi, a subordinate prophet to Muhammad who came to restore Islam to the Pristine form as practised by Muhammad and early Sahaba.[15][16] Ahmed Raza Khan branded Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Qadiani a heretic and apostate and called him and his followers kuffar.[17]


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 there. Ahmed Raza Khan collected opinions of the ulama of the Hejaz and compiled them in an compendium with the title "Sword of the Two Sanctuaries" (Urdu: حسام الحرمین‎, 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 continuing to the present, Ahmad Raza Khan denounced as kuffar the Deobandi leaders Ashraf Ali Thanwi, Rashid Ahmad Gangohi, and Muhammad Qasim Nanotvi.[18]

Ahmad Raza Khan (Barelvi) has noted the beliefs of Muhammad Qasim Nanotvi (founder of the school at Deoband) and Rashid Ahmad Gangohi (of Deoband), and then added:

  • "They are all murtadd [apostate] according to the unanimous view (ijma) of Muslims."
  • "He who doubts that they are kafirs, is himself a kafir."[19]
  • "He who doubts about the unbelief of the Deobandis is also an unbeliever."[20]
  • "If anyone has the same beliefs as the Deobandis have, he is also an unbeliever."[21]
  • "If anyone prays behind anyone of the Deobandis, he is also not a Muslim."[22]
  • "If anyone admires Darul-Ulum Deoband, or does not believe in the corruption of Deobandis and does not scorn them, then this is sufficient to make a judgement for him to be a non-Muslim."[23]
  • "Any person who doubts the kufr of these people (Deobandis) will themselves become kaafirs!"[24]
  • "Any person who would not call them (Deobandis) disbelievers or would maintain friendship with them, or would take into consideration their positions as teachers or relatives or friends will also definitely become one of them. He is a disbeliever like them. On the Day of Judgement, he will also be tied with them in the same rope. Whatever lame excuses and fraudulent arguments they give here are invalid and false."[25]
  • "If there is a gathering of Hindus, Christians, Qadiyanis and Deobandis, the Deobandis alone should be rejected, for they have come out of the fold of Islam and defected from it. Agreement with the unbelievers is far better than the agreement with the apostates!!"[26]
  • "The works of the Deobandis are more unclean than the various works of the Hindus. The doubt about the heresy of Ashraf Ali Deobandi and suspicion about his punishment is also unbelief. To cleanse the impurity with the papers of the works produced by the Deobandis is not lawful, not because of the respect for their books, but because of the reverence of the letters with which they have been written."[27]
  • "The Wahhabis are more contemptuous than Iblis, indeed more mischievous and more straying than he, for the Shaytan does not tell a lie, but they tell a lie!!"[28]
  • "The Wahhabis are more wicked, harmful, and impure than the Jews and the Christians."[29]
  • "If anyone believes that the Wahhabi's are Muslims, he becomes an unbeliever. It is not lawful to pray behind him..."[30]
  • "He who hesitates in declaring Ashraf Ali (Thanawi) to be an unbeliever is himself an unbeliever."[31]
  • "The author of Behishti Zewar (by Maulana Thanawi) is an unbeliever. It is forbidden for a Muslim to look into it."[32]
  • "A woman is capable of committing fornication. Then according to the opinion of your leader and teacher, it is necessary that your God too should be capable of committing fornication - otherwise the prostitutes of the brothers of the Deobandis would laugh at Him and say: 'How do you claim for Godhead? You are not capable of doing which even we can do?' This naturally implies that your God must possess a female sexual organ - otherwise where will be the sexual intercourse?"[33]


Ahmed Raza Khan declared Wahabis as Kuffar and collected many fatwas of various scholars against the Wahabbi Movement founded by Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab who was predominant in the Arabian peninsula, just as he had done with the Ahmadis and Deobandis.[34]

Political views[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.[35] Furthermore, Khan opposed labeling British India to be Dar al-Harb ("land of war"), thus opposing the Deobandi interpretation of jihad (struggle) or hijrat (migration to escape) who wished to begin jihad against British. Khan's stance was opposed by Deobandi scholars such as Muhammad Qasim Nanotvi.[36]

Ahmed Raza Khan's followers played a significant and active role in the Pakistan Movement at educational and political fronts.[37]


Muhammad Iqbal said: "I have carefully studied the decrees of Imam Ahmed Raza and thereby formed this opinion; and his Fatawa bear testimony to his acumen, intellectual calibre, the quality of his creative thinking, his excellent jurisdiction and his ocean-like Islamic knowledge. Once Imam Ahmed Raza forms an opinion he stays firm on it; he expresses his opinion after a sober reflection. Therefore, the need never arises to withdraw any of his religious decrees and judgements. With all this, by nature he was hot tempered, and if this was not in the way, then Shah Ahmed Raza would have been the Imam Abu Hanifa of his age."[38] In another place he says, "Such a genius and intelligent jurist did not emerge."[39]


The Barelvi movement was a radical movement which did not accept the views of the Deoband Ulama, the Ahl-eHadith and some others.[40] Deobandis and Wahabis criticized Ahmed Raza Khan and his beliefs. For example, Ehsan Elahi Zaheer has written a detailed book on the Barelawis called, ‘Barelawis – History and Beliefs’ which highlights: the influences of Shi’ism on the founder of the Barelawi school of thought; the easiness with which they declare Kufr on their opponents; their superstitions, baseless talk, unfounded stories and fables; their garb of religion; their distortion (Tahreef) and their misinterpretations of the Book and the Sunnah to support their beliefs. Similarly, another book that criticized the Barelwis is, ‘The Book of Unity or Oneness of Allah’ compiled by Muhammad Iqbaal Kailani. [41]


Ahmed Raza Khan died on 28 October 1921 in Muhallah Sodagraan, Bareilly.


Ahmed Raza Khan is regarded by his followers as Imam-e-Ahl-e-Sunnat (Leader of the Ahl-e-Sunnat) and A'lahazrat. Today the Barelvi movement is spread across the globe with a huge number of followers in Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, UK and other countries. Many religious schools and research institutions have been established that work on the teachings of Ahmed Raza Khan.[42]

Research institutes[edit]



See also[edit]


  1. ^ Hayat-e-Aala Hadhrat, vol.1 p.1
  2. ^ a b Rahman, Tariq. "Munāẓarah Literature in Urdu: An Extra-Curricular Educational Input in Pakistan's Religious Education." Islamic Studies (2008): 197-220.
  3. ^ Ala Hadhrat by Bastawi, p. 25
  4. ^ Man huwa Ahmed Rida by Shaja'at Ali al-Qadri, p.15
  5. ^ "New Page 2". taajushshariah.com. Retrieved 28 July 2015. 
  6. ^ a b "The blessed Genealogy of Sayyiduna AlaHadrat Imam Ahmad Rida Khan al-Baraylawi Alaihir raHmah | Alahzrat's Ancestral Tree". alahazrat.net. Retrieved 28 July 2015. 
  7. ^ a b "Alahazrat Childhood". alahazrat.net. Retrieved 28 July 2015. 
  8. ^ Skreslet, Paula Youngman, and Rebecca Skreslet. (2006). The Literature of Islam: A Guide to the Primary Sources in English Translation. Rowman & Littlefield. ISBN 978-0-8108-5408-6
  9. ^ Maarif Raza, Karachi, Pakistan. Vol.29, Issue 1-3, 2009, pages 108-09
  10. ^ http://www.iqra.net/Salaams/salaams7.html
  11. ^ Pakistan perspectives, Volume 7. Pakistan Study Centre, University of Karachi, 2002
  12. ^ Akbar S. Ahmed (1999) Islam today: a short introduction to the Muslim world. I.B. Tauris Publishers, ISBN 978-1-86064-257-9
  13. ^ N. C. Asthana & A.Nirmal (2009) Urban Terrorism : Myths And Realities. Publisher Pointer Publishers, ISBN 978-81-7132-598-6, p. 67
  14. ^ Ismail Khan. "The Assertion of Barelvi Extremism - by Ismail Khan". hudson.org. Retrieved 28 July 2015. 
  15. ^ "My Claim to Promised Messiahship - The Review of Religions". reviewofreligions.org. Retrieved 28 July 2015. 
  16. ^ Elucidation of Objectives: English Translation of Taudih-e-Maram: a Treatise by Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad
  17. ^ Aziz, Zahid. (2008). A survey of the Lahore Ahmadiyya movement: history, beliefs, aims and work. Ahmadiyya Anjuman Ishaat Islam (AAIIL), UK. p. 43, ISBN 978-1-906109-03-5.
  18. ^ Gugler, Thomas K. (2011). When democracy is not the only game in town: Sectarian conflicts in Pakistan. In Trysts with Democracy: Political Practice in South Asia, edited by Stig Toft Madsen, Kenneth Bo Nielsen, and Uwe Skoda. Anthem Press, pp. 281-295.
  19. ^ (Hisam al-Haramain, pp. 100 and 113)
  20. ^ (Fatawa Ridwiyya, 6/82)
  21. ^ (Fatawa Ridwiyya, 6/43)
  22. ^ (Fatawa Ridwiyya, 6/77)
  23. ^ (Fatawa Ridwiyya, 6/110)
  24. ^ (See the preface to Ahmed Raza Khan's Tamheed-e-Iman, p. v, by the South African Barelvi who called himself the "Khadim-e-Raza: servant of Rida Khan", Mohammed Bana, dated 19/10/87)
  25. ^ (Ahmed Raza Khan in the last page of his Tamheed-e-Iman)
  26. ^ (Ahmed Raza Khan in his Malfuzat pp. 325-6)
  27. ^ (Fatawa Ridwiyya, 2/136, Faisalabad, Pakistan)
  28. ^ (Ahkam-e-Shariat p. 112)
  29. ^ (Ahkam-e-Shariat, 1/80).
  30. ^ (Fatawa Ridwiyya, 6/80-91)
  31. ^ (Fatawa al-Ifriqiyya, p. 124)
  32. ^ (Fatawa Ridwiyya, 6/56)
  33. ^ (Subhan al-Subbuh, p. 142)
  34. ^ "Kafirs". web.archive.org. Retrieved 28 July 2015. 
  35. ^ R. Upadhyay, Barelvis and Deobandhis: "Birds of the Same Feather". Eurasia Review, courtesy of the South Asia Analysis Group. 28 January 2011.
  36. ^ 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
  37. ^ Imam, Muhammad Hassan. (2005). The Role of the Khulafa-e-Imam Ahmed Raza Khan in the Pakistan Movement 1920–1947. Diss. Karachi: University of Karachi.
  38. ^ Arafat, 1970, Lahore.
  39. ^ Weekly Uffaq, Karachi. 22–28 January 1979.
  40. ^ Islam in Britain: Past, Present and the Future by Mohammad Shahid Raza
  41. ^ The Jamaat Tableegh and the Deobandis: A Critical Analysis of their Beliefs, Books and Dawah by Sajid Abdul-Kayum
  42. ^ Usha Sanyal. Generational Changes in the Leadership of the Ahl-e Sunnat Movement in North India during the Twentieth Century. Modern Asian Studies (1998), Cambridge University Press.
  43. ^ http://runningstatus.in/. "Ala Hazrat Express/14312 Live Running Train Status". runningstatus.in. Retrieved 28 July 2015. 
  44. ^ "Ala Hazrat Barelvi Commemorative Stamp". stampsathi.in. Retrieved 28 July 2015. 
  45. ^ Commemorative Stamps, India.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]