Ahmed Raza Khan Barelvi
Ahmed Raza Khan
احمد رضا خان
|Born||14 June 1856|
|Died||28 October 1921 (aged 65)|
|Main interest(s)||Aqeedah, Fiqh, Tasawwuf, Urdu poetry|
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Ahmed Raza Khan (Arabic: أحمد رضا خان, Persian: احمد رضا خان, Urdu: احمد رضا خان , Hindi: अहमद रज़ा खान), commonly known as Ahmed Raza Khan Barelwi, Ahmed Rida Khan in Arabic, or simply as "Ala-Hazrat" (14 June 1856 CE or 10 Shawwal 1272 AH – 28 October 1921 CE or 25 Safar 1340 AH), was an Islamic scholar, jurist, theologian, ascetic, Sufi, Urdu poet, and reformer in British India, and the founder of the Barelvi movement. Raza Khan wrote on numerous topics, including law, religion, philosophy and the sciences.
- 1 Life
- 2 Bay’at and Khilafat
- 3 Works
- 4 Beliefs
- 5 Political views
- 6 Legacy
- 7 See also
- 8 References
- 9 Further reading
- 10 External links
Early life and family
Ahmed Raza Khan Barelvi's father, Naqi Ali Khan, was the son of Raza Ali Khan. Ahmed Raza Khan Barelvi belonged to the Barech tribe of Pushtuns. The Barech formed a tribal grouping among the Rohilla Pushtuns of North India who founded the state of Rohilkhand. Khan's ancestors migrated from Qandahar during the Mughal rule and settled in Lahore.
Khan was born on 14 June 1856 in Mohallah Jasoli, Bareilly Sharif, the North-Western Provinces. The name corresponding to the year of his birth was “Al Mukhtaar”. His birth name was Muhammad. Khan used the appellation "Abdul Mustafa" ("servant of the chosen one") prior to signing his name in correspondence.
He was only 4 years old when he completed the recitation of the Quran. At the age of 13, he completed his Islamic Education as well as reached puberty after which he began issuing Fatwas.
Khan saw an intellectual and moral decline of Muslims in British India. His movement was a mass movement, defending popular Sufism, which grew in response to the influence of the Deobandi movement in South Asia and the Wahhabi movement elsewhere.
Today the movement is spread across the globe with followers in Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Turkey, Afghanistan, Iraq, Sri Lanka, South Africa, United States, and UK among other countries. The movement now has over 200 million followers. The movement was largely a rural phenomenon when begun, but is currently popular among urban, educated Pakistanis and Indians as well as South Asian diaspora throughout the world.
Many religious schools, organizations and research institutions teach Khan's ideas, which emphasize the primacy of Islamic law over adherence to Sufi practices and personal devotion to the prophet Muhammad.
Khan died on 28 October 1921 CE (25th Safar 1340h) at the age of 65, in his home at Bareilly. He was buried in the Dargah-e-Ala Hazrat which marks the site for the annual Urs-e-Razavi. The 4th of November 2018 marked the 100th Urs-e-Razavi.
Bay’at and Khilafat
In the year 1294 A.H. (1877), at the age of 22 years, Imam Ahmed Raza became the Mureed (disciple) of Imam-ul-Asfiya, Hadrat Shah Aale Rasool Marehrawi. His Murshid bestowed him with Khilafat in the following Silsilas:
1) Sisilah Tariqah 'Aliyyah Qadiriyya Barkatiyyah Jadidah
2) Silsilah Tariqah Qadiriyyah Abaiyyah Qadimah
3) Sisilah Tariqah Qadiriyyah Ahdaliyyah
4) Sisilah Tariqah Qadiriyyah Razzaqiyyah
5) Sisilah Tariqah Qadiriyyah Munawwariyyah
6) Sisilah Tariqah Chishtiyyah Nizamiyyah 'Atiqiyyah
7) Sisilah Tariqah Chishtiyyah Mehbobiyyah Jadidah
8) Sisilah Tariqah Sohrawardiyya Wahidiyyah
9) Sisilah Tariqah Sohrawardiyyah Fadliyyah
10) Sisilah Tariqah Naqshbandiyyah 'Ula'iyyah Siddiqiyyah
11) Sisilah Tariqah Naqshabandiyyah Ula'iyyah (the chain linked to the illustrious Sufi Master Sayyid Moula Abu al-'Ula Naqshabandi Akbarabadi)
12) Sisilah Tariqah Badi'iyyah
13) Sisilah Tariqah Uloh'wiyyah Manamiyyah
These also include the 4 Mystical Musafahas, namely:
- The Sanad of Musafaha Jinniyyah
- The Sanad of Musafaha Khidriyyah
- The Sanad of Musafaha Mu'ammariyyah
- The Sanad of Musafaha Manamiyyah 
Khan wrote books in Arabic, Persian and Urdu, including the thirty-volume fatwa compilation Fatawa Razaviyya, and Kanzul Iman (Translation & Explanation of the Qur'an). Several of his books have been translated into European and South Asian languages.
Kanzul Iman (translation of the Qur'an)
Kanzul Iman (Urdu and Arabic: کنزالایمان) is a 1910 Urdu paraphrase translation of the Qur'an by Khan. It is not associated with the Hanafi jurisprudence within Sunni Islam, and is a widely read version of translation in the Indian Subcontinent. It has been subsequently translated into English, Hindi, Bengali, Dutch, Turkish, Sindhi, Gujarati and Pashto.
Husamul Haramain or Husam al Harmain Ala Munhir kufr wal myvan (The Sword of the Haramayn at the throat of unbelief and falsehood) 1906, is a treatise which declared infidels the founders of the Deobandi, Ahle Hadith and Ahmadiyya movements on the basis that they did not have the proper veneration of the Prophet Muhammad and finality of Prophethood in their writings. In defense of his verdict he obtained confirmatory signatures from 268 traditional Sunni scholars in South Asia, and some from scholars in Mecca and Medina. The treatise is published in Arabic, Urdu, English, Turkish and Hindi.
Fatawa-e-Razvia or Fatawa-e-Radaviyyah is the main fatwa (Islamic verdicts on various issues) book of his movement. It has been published in 30 volumes and in approx. 22,000 pages. It contains solution to daily problems from religion to business and from war to marriage.
He wrote devotional poetry in praise of the Prophet Muhammad and always discussed him in the present tense. His main book of poetry is Hidayake Bakhshish. His poems, which deal for the most part with the qualities of the Prophet, often have a simplicity and directness. They reportedly created a favorable climate for na'at writing. His Urdu couplets, entitled Mustafa jaane rahmat pe lakhon salaam (Millions of salutations on Mustafa, the Paragon of mercy), are read in movements mosques. They contain praise of the Prophet, his physical appearance (verses 33 to 80), his life and times, praise of his family and companions, praise of the awliya and saleheen (the saints and the pious).
- 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 Radd-E-Harkate Zameen
- Subhaanus Subooh
- Sallus Say yaaful Hindiya
- Az Zubdatuz Zakkiya
- Abna ul Mustafa
- Angotthe Choomne ka Masla
In this context he supported the following beliefs:
- Muhammad, although is insan-e-kamil (the perfect human), possessed a nūr (light) that predates creation. This contrasts with the Deobandi view that Muhammad, was only a insan-e-kamil, a respected but physically typical human just like other humans.
- Muhammad is haazir naazir (can be see many places at the same time and reach on desired place by the power given by God, :
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.
- Islamic Law Shari'ah is the ultimate law and following it is obligatory for all Muslims;
- To refrain from Bid'ah is essential;
- A Sufi without knowledge or a Shaykh without actions is a tool in the hands of the devil;
- It is impermissible to imitate the Kuffar, to mingle with the misguided [and heretics] and to participate in their festivals.
Permissibility of currency notes
In 1905, Khan, on the request of contemporaries from Hijaz, wrote a verdict on the permissibility of using paper as form of currency, entitled Kifl-ul-Faqeehil fehim Fe Ahkam-e-Kirtas Drahim.
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 practiced by Muhammad and early Sahaba. Khan declared Mirza Ghulam Ahmad a heretic and apostate and called him and his followers as disbelievers or kuffar.
When Imam Ahmed Raza Khan visited Mecca and Medina for pilgrimage in 1905, he prepared a draft document entitled Al Motamad Al Mustanad ("The Reliable Proofs"). In this work, Ahmad Raza branded Deobandi leaders such as Ashraf Ali Thanwi, Rashid Ahmad Gangohi, and Muhammad Qasim Nanotwi and those who followed them as kuffar. Khan collected scholarly opinions in 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). This work initiated a reciprocal series of fatwas between Barelvis and Deobandis lasting to the present.
Khan wrote various books against beliefs and faith of Shia Muslims and declared various practices of Shia as kufr. Most Shiites of his day were apostates because, he believed, they repudiated necessities of religion.
Muhammad Ibn Al-Wahhab
Khan declared Wahabis as kuffār 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.
Khan declared that India was Dar al-Islam and that Muslims enjoyed religious freedom there. According to him, those arguing the contrary merely wanted to take advantage of the provisions allowing Muslims living under non-Muslim rule to collect interest from commercial transactions and had no desire to fight Jihad or perform Hijra. Therefore, he opposed labeling British India to be Dar al-Harb ("land of war"), which meant that waging holy war against and migrating from India were inadmissible as they would cause disaster to the community. This view of Khan's was similar to other reformers Syed Ahmed Khan and Ubaidullah Ubaidi Suharwardy.
The Muslim League mobilized the Muslim masses to campaign for Pakistan, and many of Khan's followers played a significant and active role in the Pakistan Movement at educational and political fronts.
- On 21 June 2010, Muhammad al-Yaqoubi, a cleric and Sufi from Syria, declared on Takbeer TV's programme Sunni Talk that the Mujaddid of the Indian subcontinent was Ahmed Raza Khan Barelvi, and said that a follower of Ahlus Sunnah wal Jamaah can be identified by his love of Khan, and that those outside of that those outside the Ahlus Sunnah are identified by their attacks on him.
- Muhammad Iqbal (1877–1938), a poet and philosopher, 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 caliber, 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 judgments. 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." In another place he says, "Such a genius and intelligent jurist did not emerge."
- ‘Ali bin Hassan Maliki, Mufti of Mecca, called Khan the encyclopaedia of all religious sciences.
- Ala Hazrat Express is an express train belonging to Indian Railways that runs between Bareilly and Bhuj in India.
- The Indian government issued a commemorative postal stamp in honour of Ahmad Raza Khan on 31 December 1995.
Imam Ahmad Riza Khan,Rehmatullahi A'laihi, had two son and five daughters. His sons Maulana Hamid Raza Khan (Hujjat-ul-Islam), Rehmatullahi A'laihi (d.1362/1934) and Mustafa Raza Khan Qadri (Mufti E Azam Hind), Rehmatullahi A'laihi (d. 1402/1981) are celebrated savants of Islam.
- Raza Academy is an educational institute and learning centre that is spread across all over the country and provides Islam learning to many people.
- Dargah-e-Ala Hazrat
- Hamid Raza Khan
- Akhtar Raza Khan
- Mohammad Abdul Ghafoor Hazarvi
- Mustafa Raza Khan
- Qamaruzzaman Azmi
- Raza Academy
- Syed Waheed Ashraf
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The emergence of Ahl-e-Sunnat wa Jama'at ... commonly referred to as Barelvis, under the leadership of Maulana Ahmed Riza Khan (1855–1921) ... The defining characteristic ... is the claim that it alone truly represents the sunnah (the Prophetic tradition and conduct), and thereby the true Sunni Muslim tradition.
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