Some Glimpses Of Imam Ahmad Raza Khan's رحمۃ اللہ علیہ Life
Some Glimpses Of Imam Ahmad Raza Khan's رحمۃ اللہ علیہ Life
Haji Zakariyya, a Memon from Gondal, was a member of the committee at Badami Masjid. Gondal, situated in Gujarat, Hind, was a city Ameer e Ahle Sunnat دامت برکاتہم العالیہ visited alongside a Madani Qafilah of Dawat-e-Islami. The devout brothers there informed him that not a single person had gone astray; all those who professed the declaration of faith were fervent followers of the Prophet.
Ameer e Ahle Sunnat دامت برکاتہم العالیہ recall a moment when he had just prayed Salah and was seated within Badami Masjid. During a conversation, the late Haji Zakariyya mentioned the name of "Ala Hazrat رحمۃ اللہ علیہ" and spoke of "Maulana Ahmad Raza Khan رحمۃ اللہ علیہ." Though Ameer e Ahle Sunnat دامت برکاتہم العالیہ was only around 9 years old at the time, he دامت برکاتہم العالیہ recognized that "رحمۃ اللہ علیہ" was mentioned alongside the name of a Wali, for we Memons often mention "رحمۃ اللہ علیہ" with the names of Ghaus-e-Azam رحمۃ اللہ علیہ and Khuwajah Ghareeb Nawaz رحمۃ اللہ علیہ, particularly in reference to their Niyaz and reverence.
Hence, upon hearing Haji Zakariyya mentioning "رحمۃ اللہ علیہ" with the title of Ala Hazrat, Ameer e Ahle Sunnat دامت برکاتہم العالیہ asked “Is he a Wali too, as ‘رحمۃ اللہ علیہ’ was mentioned with his name?” In response, Haji Zakariyya expressively introduced Ala Hazrat رحمۃ اللہ علیہ, praising him as a profoundly righteous individual and a close friend of Allah Almighty. Until that juncture, the mention of "Raza, Raza" in poetry had reached Ameer e Ahle Sunnat دامت برکاتہم العالیہ ears, yet the subject of this "Raza" remained unfamiliar.
On that enlightening day, Ameer e Ahle Sunnat دامت برکاتہم العالیہ came to recognize that Raza was no ordinary poet; he held a distinguished status. As time passed, the seed of truth and acknowledgment that Haji Zakariyya had planted took root, steadily maturing over the course of 60 years.
Alhamdulillah, it has now flourished into a majestic tree. As a testament to this great blessing, Ameer e Ahle Sunnat دامت برکاتہم العالیہ confirm that a substantial community now enjoys the fruits of this tree, resounding with the chant of "Raza, Raza." Such is the kindness and favor of Allah Almighty. In the court of Allah Almighty, we earnestly beg that just as He has showered us with the blessings of Ala Hazrat رحمۃ اللہ علیہ in this earthly existence, He bestows upon us His blessings in the hereafter, never withholding them.
The Birth of Ala Hazrat رحمۃ اللہ علیہ
The respected master, Imam Ahmed Raza Khan رحمۃ اللہ علیہ, who was a prominent leader of the Ahl-us-Sunnah, a learned scholar, and an esteemed figure, was born in the neighborhood of Jasoli in the holy town of Bareilly Shareef. On a Saturday, precisely during the time of the Zuhr prayer, on the 10th day of Shawwal-ul-Mukarram in the year 1272 A.H., which corresponds to the 14th of June 1856 C.E, is the Ahmed Raza Khan Barelvi’s date of birth.
Although his given name is Muhammad, his parents chose this name for him. However, his grandfather affectionately named him Ahmad Raza, and it is through this name that he became famous. Additionally, due to his birth year of 1272 A.H., he is also known as Al-Mukhtar. (Source: "Tazkirah-e-Imam Ahmad Raza," p.3)
In every generation, children typically exhibit a carefree behavior. Even at the tender age of seven or eight, they often lack a profound understanding of matters. However, unlike most other children, the childhood of Ala Hazrat رحمۃ اللہ علیہ, was truly exceptional.
Imam Ahmed Raza Khan Barelvi رحمۃ اللہ علیہ possessed a remarkable level of sensibility and an extraordinary memory even during his early years. This is evident from his achievement of completing the recitation of the entire Holy Quran by the young age of just 4½ years.
By the age of six, Ahmed Raza Khan Barelvi رحمۃ اللہ علیہ confidently delivered an elaborate speech about the blessed occasion of Milad-un-Nabi ﷺ in front of a sizable audience during the sacred month of Rabi’-ul-Awwal. His performance was highly appreciated by scholars and saints alike.
Maulana Hasnain Raza Khan Sahib writes that from his early years and based on accounts from some elders, it became evident that Imam Ahmad Raza Khan رحمۃ اللہ علیہ remained steadfast in offering congregational prayers with great diligence, as though he had entered the land of conscious prayer even before reaching the age of maturity.
This practice persisted under the auspices of disciplined companionship, and he adhered to this pattern until the time of his passing. (From "Sirat-e-Aala Hazrat" by Maulana Hasnain Raza Khan, Printed in Karachi, p. 48)
According to the guidance of the esteemed scholar Maulana Muhammad Mansha Tabish Qasoori, Hazrat Maulana Hasnain Raza Khan رحمۃ اللہ علیہ composed the following description of Hazrat Imam Ahmed Raza رحمۃ اللہ علیہ in response, which is as follows:
· In his early age, your complexion was radiant like polished gold.
· Every feature on your blessed face was extremely graceful and appropriate.
· High forehead, blessed nose, perfectly proportioned.
· Both eyes were very attractive and beautiful.
· Gaze held a special sharpness, a distinctive trait of the Pathan community.
· Both eyebrows and eyelashes were a perfect match.
· While thin, your face lacked gauntness, but there was such elegance in your pallor that the observer wouldn't sense the thinness.
· The beard was formed beautifully.
· On your blessed head, locks of hair cascaded down to your ears.
· You always wore a turban on your blessed head, beneath which two pleated caps were frequently worn.
· Despite the gauntness, your chest felt broad due to an outstanding breadth.
· The neck was elegant and long, a sign of leadership.
· Your height was moderate.
· In every season, except for seasonal clothes, you wore white attire, which adorned your blessed body.
· During the winter season, you also wore a fur-lined cloak.
· However, you particularly favored a green blanket, which looked beautiful on your blessed body.
· You remained a bit sickly in childhood, which led everyone to criticize and view you as weak.
· Your voice was deeply resonant and carried a degree of elevation.
· You always wore Indian footwear, commonly known as "Salim Shahi Joota."
Observing the Fast
When you observed your first fast during childhood, the ceremony of observing the fast was conducted with great display and splendor. Maulana Hasnain Raza Khan رحمۃ اللہ علیہ portrays the scene as follows:
The entire family and close associates were invited. The meal was ready, and it was a hot day in the month of Ramadan. Despite the heat, Ahmed Raza Khan Barelvi رحمۃ اللہ علیہ was in his youthful years, but he joyfully observed his first fast.
Around midday, the blessed face began to show signs of low energy levels. Upon witnessing this, his respected father immediately brought him indoors and handed him a refreshing bowl of Phirni (Kheer), saying, "Eat it!" Imam Ahmed Raza رحمۃ اللہ علیہ responded, “But, I’m fasting.” His father said, “This is how children fast, the room is closed and no one can come or see.” Upon this Ahmed Raza رحمۃ اللہ علیہ said, " I'm observing fast for Allah Almighty and Allah Almighty is watching me." At this, the father was shocked.
And he was very grateful to Allah Almighty that this child will never forget the promise to Allah Almighty, even when dealing with strong hunger, thirst, weakness, and young age, showing such high regard and commitment to the promise's obligations even before fulfilling the basic duties due to hunger, thirst, and being young. (From "Sirat-e-Aala Hazrat" by Maulana Hasnain Raza Khan, Printed in Karachi, p. 87)
The Reason Behind Saying Ala Hazrat رحمۃ اللہ علیہ
"Ala" signifying "Grand" or "Supreme," suitably characterizes our Imam Ahmad Raza Khan رحمۃ اللہ علیہ, who indeed embodied greatness and excellence, thus earning the distinguished title of "Ala Hazrat (The Grand Master)." Esteemed scholars rightfully address him as "Ala Hazrat," a term we also affectionately use to refer to him. Furthermore, he رحمۃ اللہ علیہ was an erudite scholar, which is why he is “Ala Hazrat.” (Malfuzaat-e-Ameer Ahle-e-Sunnat, Part 71)
Kanzul Iman By Ahmed Raza Khan رحمۃ اللہ علیہ
Ala Hazrat رحمۃ اللہ علیہ completed the Urdu translation of the Holy Quran. It is considered the best among all the current Urdu translations known as 'Kanz-ul-Iman'. Building upon the profound legacy of Ala Hazrat رحمۃ اللہ علیہ's translation, his spiritual followers and esteemed commentators have further enriched the understanding of the Holy Quran through their insightful works.
Imam Ahmed Raza Khan Barelvi رحمۃ اللہ علیہ spiritual follower, Maulana Sayyid Na’eemuddin Muradabadi رحمۃ اللہ علیہ, has written an explanation called 'Khaza`in-ul-‘Irfan', and another respected commentator and thinker of the Muslim community, Mufti Ahmad Yar Khan رحمۃ اللہ علیہ, has written a commentary named 'Noor-ul-‘Irfan' on Kanz-ul-Iman.
Ahmed Raza Khan رحمۃ اللہ علیہ Education
With Ala Hazrat’s رحمۃ اللہ علیہ first teacher, he رحمۃ اللہ علیہ would review the textbooks once or twice only. Then, in class, Ahmed Raza رحمۃ اللہ علیہ would recall everything he رحمۃ اللہ علیہ had read, word for word, letter for letter. This amazed his teacher. The teacher once verbally asked him, “Are you a human or jinn? It takes me longer to teach the lesson than for you to memorize it!” The Imam Ahmed Raza Khan رحمۃ اللہ علیہ replied, “Thanks to Allah Almighty, I am human. But yes, His grace and blessings are with me.”
Ahmed Raza Khan Barelvi رحمۃ اللہ علیہ became a versatile scholar, excelling in more than 50 different fields of knowledge. These fields encompassed both ancient and modern sciences, along with areas like Islamic law, spiritual purification, and various other subjects.
Ala Hazrat رحمۃ اللہ علیہ received certifications of proficiency in areas like Islamic jurisprudence, interpretation of the Holy Quran, principles of Islamic jurisprudence, and the six authentic books of hadith. He رحمۃ اللہ علیہ earned these certifications from knowledgeable scholars of his time, including respected Arab scholars from Makkah.
The list of esteemed teachers of Imam Ahmed Raza Khan Barelvi رحمۃ اللہ علیہ is very concise. His respected father, Maulana Shah Naqi Ali Khan (and beside him, the following five noble personalities, from whom Ala Hazrat رحمۃ اللہ علیہ have a connection of discipleship):
The teachers of Ala Hazrat رحمۃ اللہ علیہ from whom he studied initial books:
· Mr. Mirza Ghulam Qadir Beg (from whom Imam Ahmed Raza رحمۃ اللہ علیہ acquired education up to Meezan-e-Manzoom)
· Hazrat Maulana Abd-ul-Aleem Rampuri (From whom Ahmed Raza Khan Barelvi رحمۃ اللہ علیہ studied some lessons of Sharh Chagmini)
· Your spiritual guide and mentor, Hazrat Shah Aal-e-Rasool Marahrawi (From whom Ala Hazrat رحمۃ اللہ علیہ gained education in Tasawwuf o Tariqat and Ifkaar)
· Leader of the blessed family, Sayyid Shah Abul Hassan Ahmad Noori (From whom Imam Ahmed Raza Khan Barelvi رحمۃ اللہ علیہ acquired knowledge of Ilm-e-Jafar, Taqsir, and Ilm-e-Tasawwuf)
· Sheikh Ahmad bin Zain Dahlan Maki رحمۃ اللہ علیہ
· Sheikh Abdul Rahman Saraj Maki رحمۃ اللہ علیہ
· Sheikh Hussain bin Saleh Maki رحمۃ اللہ علیہ
Imam Ahmed Raza Khan Barelvi رحمۃ اللہ علیہ Books
Ala Hazrat رحمۃ اللہ علیہ authored around 1000 books covering various subjects. He penned millions of Islamic rulings (Fatawa) between the years 1286 AH to 1340 AH. Additionally, he wrote hundreds of books in Arabic, Persian, and Urdu.
Notable works include the extensive 30-volume collection of Fatawa known as Fatawa Razaviyya, as well as the translation and explanation of the Holy Quran known as Kanzul Iman. Many of his books have also been translated into European and South Asian languages.
The latest edition of Fatawa Razawiyyah consists of 30 volumes, totaling 21,656 pages, featuring 6,847 question-answer pairs and 206 booklets. By delving into his Fatawa, one can truly grasp his profound knowledge of the Holy Quran, Hadith, Jurisprudence, Logic, and more. Each Fatwa is like an ocean of proofs. Imam Ahmed Raza Khan Barelvi رحمۃ اللہ علیہ is an author of the multiple books:
1. Risala Taziyadari
3. Al Wazifatul Karimah
4. Wasaya Shareef
5. Tareef Per Inam
6. Taisar ul Maaon
7. Shariat o Tareeqat
8. Khutbaat e Razavia
9. Irfan e Shariat
10. Hadaiq o Bakshish
11. Fatawa Africa
12. Barakat ul Imdad
13. Anwaar ul Mannan
14. Ahkam e Shariat
Ala Hazrat رحمۃ اللہ علیہ passed away on a Friday, the 25th of Safar, 1340 AH, which corresponds to the 28th of October, 1921 CE. It was 2:38 pm in India (2:08 pm in Pakistan) when Imam Ahmad Raza Khan رحمۃ اللہ علیہ breathed his last. This happened just as the call for Friday prayers was announced. His final resting place is in Bareilly, India, and many people visit his shrine there throughout the year.