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Ahmed Rida Khan ;The Neglected genius of the East

26 Jul

 

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Islamic scholar
Medieval era
Name Ahmed Raza Khan
Birth 1856
Death 1921
School/tradition Sunni
Main interests Aqeedah, Fiqh, Tasawwuf
Notable ideas Love of Holy Prophet
Influenced by Shaykh Abdul Qadir Jilani, Rumi, Shami, Shah Abdul Haq Muhaddith Dehlavi, Moulana Fazl-e-Haqq Khayrabadi
Influenced Crores of Sunni Muslims in the indian sub continent

Ahmad Raza Khan (1856-1921) was a Sunni Muslim scholar and sufi from Bareilly, a city in Northern India. He was a great writer, authoring nearly 1,000 books and monographs of varying lengths in Arabic, Persian and Urdu. He was a follower of Hanafi jurisprudence. His “magnus opus” is his fatawa Ridawiyya which comprised of 40 Volumes.

 Life history

 His Family and Childhood

.

Ahmad Rida Khan was born in 1272 AH (1856 CE) into a family of Alims (legal scholars). His father, Mawlānā Naqī Áli Khān, was an alim of his time. His mother named him Amman Miyān. He studied Islamic sciences mainly under the tutelage of his father. He undertook the traditional dars-e nizami course under his father’s supervision and thereafter was largely self-taught. He did not proceed to take a formal course at a dar al-ulum.

 Adolescence and start of his ministry

At the age of 14, Ahmad Raza, was given the responsibility of writing Fatawa (written answers to Islamic legal problems). It was through this path of life that he communicated to the masses to be steadfast to mainstream Islam – The Ahle-sunnah wal Jama’at. At this time there were many Pirs (Islamic Holy men) throughout northern India and Kashmir, each with their own dedicated group of followers. Most of these known Pirs and Saintly men were very impressed with the teachings (The Ahle-sunnah wa Jama’at) of Imam Ahmad Raza al-Qaadiri and looked at him as their role model and security against the corrupt cults that emerged within Islam.

 Adulthood

At 21 he received the blessing of one of the most outstanding Pir’s of the area and sent him out to make Sufi’s from anyone worthy. At 22 years of age while on Hajj with his father, he received many honours from some of the Sufi teachers of his time. Hajj was a turning point in his life. It inspired Imam Raza Khan to make followers throughout India and impart his teachings and knowledge on them. During his lifetime he wrote over 1000 books.

Aĥmed raza studied many sciences and fiqh (jurisprudence) particularly in the Hanafi school. He earned many authorizations to teach — by his own affirmation, the most important one was from the Mufti of Makkah, Shaykh Ábd ar-Raĥmān as-Sirāj ibn Ábdullāh as-Sirāj. This chain of transmission is claimed to reach back to Abu Hanifah.

Aĥmed Raza Khan took the Qadiri path and was initiated in that Sufi order by the Noble Sufi Master, Sayyid Khatimul-Akaabir Sha Ale-Rasul Ahmadi al-Husaini al-Qaadiri Barkaati of Mārahra (a town in northern India). He dedicated many tracts to the love of [[Aaqa Salal Laho Alaihe-wasalam], as is evident in his writings and endeavors.

In 1904 he founded a school, the Madrasa Manzar al-Islam. The position of chief administrator of this school was later to become a hereditary one within the Riza family for the next four generations. Raza died in 1340 AH (1921 CE), at the age of 65.

Authorization

He had many ijazahs (certificate of authority, authorization) in Hanafi fiqh including one from the Muftī of Makkah, Shaykh abd ar-Rahmān as-Siraj ibn Abdullāh as-Siraj (The Master of the Kaba or place of hajj). This chain of transmission reaches Imām Abū Hanifah in twenty seven links and in further four to Aaqa Salal Laho Alaihe-wasalam.

He took the Qadiri path and was initiated in that Sufi order by Allama Sayyid Shah Aale Rasool Hussaini Qadri Barkati Al-Hanafi ( Student of Allama Abdul Aziz Mohaddith e Dehalwi Al-Hanafi ) of Mārahra (a town in northern India) when he turned 21 years of age. He was a great lover of the Prophet Muhammad as is evident in his writings and endeavors. He was also a great poet who has to his name many and verses in Arabic, Persian and Urdu. The anthology of his Urdu and Persian verse is presented in a slim volume with two parts and named: ‘Hadayiq e Bakh’shish’ meaning ‘Gardens of Salvation’.

His works

Ahmed Raza was the author of nearly 1,000 books[citation needed] and monographs of varying lengths, as well as poetry, in Arabic, Persian and Urdu. Amongst the most well-known are the following:

  1. Kanzul Iman Fi Tarjamatu’l Qu’ran (The Treasure of Faith: A translation of the Quran) – This is his Urdu translation of the Quran. It combines fluency of language with Quranic exegesis and is an explanatory translation, as opposed to a literal one.
  2. Ĥadāyiq e Bakh’shish (Gardens of Salvation) – This is his slim two-volume anthology of Urdu and Persian poetry, eulogizing the Prophet Muhammad Peace Be Upon Him.
  3. Al- Átāyā an-Nabawiyyah fi’l Fatāwā ar-RiĎawiyyah (also known as Fatāwa ar-RiDawiyyah or Fatāwā Razwiyah) – His magnum opus, this is a collection of books, monographs and edicts on all aspects of Hanafī fiqh. The latest edition runs into 24 large volumes.
  4. Al-Dawlatul Makkiyah (The Meccan Treasure) – This is amongst his masterpieces and was written in a few days. It discusses, in great detail, the Prophet’s Knowledge of the Unseen ( ‘ilm al ghayb), one of the contentious issues between the Brailwees (ahlus sunnah wal jama’ah) and their opponents, notably the Deobandis.
  5. Husamul Haramain[1]

He also made several poems about Aaqa Salal Laho Alaihe-wasalam such as Lam Yati Nadhiruka Fi Nadharin (in Arabic Urdu, Hindi, and in Persian) and Zamin-o-Zaman which can be found in Ĥadāyiq e Bakh’shish.

Some famous books of Ahmad Raza: 1- Fatawa Radhvia (12 volunes) 2. Husamul Harmain 3. Fatawa Harmain 4. Addaulatul Makkiah 5. Fatawa Africa 6. Ahkame Shariat 7. Subhanussubbuh 8- Al-Amno-wal-ola 9- Dawamul Aish 10- Al Mohajjatul-Motamnah 11- Kiflul Faqihil Fahim 12- Alsamsaam 13- Samsamul Haidari 14- Saiful Mustafa 15- Maqale- Urafa 16- Badrul Anwar 17- Fauze Mobeen 18- Moine Mobeen 19- Alkalimatul Mulhama 20- Al-Aalamul -Aalam 21- Tadbeer Falaho Najateo Islah 22- Munabbehul Munia 23- Saltanete Mustafa 24- Nutque Hilal 25- Nafi-ul-Fai 26- Almobeen Khatamul Mobeen 27- Raddur Rafza 28- Kaifare Kufre Aarya 29- Kashful Illa 30- Risala Dar Ilmi Muthullath 31- Risala Dar Ilmi Takseer 32- Risala Jabro Muqabila 33- Risala Fi Ilm-il- Jafar 34- Taaje Tauqeet 35- Al Nahiul- Nameer 36- Hashia Usule Taba’ee 37- Al- Matrus Sayeed 38- Kanzul Iman 39- Hadaique- Bakhshish 40- Khalisul Itqad 41- Muneerul- Ain 42- Al Istimdad 43- Khatmul Nabuwah 44- Jiddul Mumtar 45- Tamheede Iman etc.

Branches of Knowledge

It is found that Ahmad Raza had proficiency in more than fifty branches of knowledge Arab scholars like Shaykh Ismail bin Khalil & Shaykh Musa Ali Shami while commenting on his reputation and his knowledge, Dr. Jamil Jalibi, Vice Chancellor, Karachi University (Pakistan) said:

“Mawlana Ahmed Raza Khan Barelvi was a Jurist, scholar, Naa’tia poet, an observer of Islam. His crowning scholarship can be imagined by the fact that he had knowledge of various sciences and humanities. He left behind more than a hundred booklets.”

Once, Sir Zia al-Din, a famous mathematician, was in a predicament with regards to part of his research in a mathematical field which meant he had to go to Berlin (Germany) to seek a solution to an intricate problem. It so happened that a certain Mawlana from the famous Aligarh University advised Sir Zia al-Din to visit Ahmad Raza to seek a solution for his mathematical problem. But, Sir Zia al-Din, not sounding very confident said, “What will an ordinary Mawlana like Mawlana Ahmed Raza be able to solve? He hasn’t even gone out of his city to gain knowledge, so it is obvious that his knowledge is very limited.” Nevertheless, after some convincing, he agreed to visit Bareily.

When he arrived in Bareily , he immediately went to Ahmad Raza. Presenting the intricate mathematical problem to Ahmad Raza he said, “I am now going to Germany. I will come back for the answer, that is, if you do manage to solve it.” As he was speaking, Ahmad Raza was busy writing and listening to him at the same time. As Sir Zia al-Din was about to leave, he handed him a sheet of paper. When Sir Zia al-Din read what was written on this paper, he realised that it contained the solution to his mathematical problem that had him so confused. Sir Zia’ al-Din, was later recorded to have said the following about Ahmad Raza:

“He was an un-assuming man of pleasant manners and morals, had deep insight in mathematics, although he was not formally educated by a teacher. It was an inner gifted inherent knowledge. My query pertained to a theory of knotting problems of mathematics, but his manner and explanation was spontaneous as if he had already carried out a research in it. Now, there is nobody so well-versed in India. Such a scholar, I think, there is none. Allah has bestowed upon him such a knowledge, that is amazing. His insight in the fields of mathematics, euclid, algebra and timings is astonishing. A mathematical problem that I could not solve despite my best of efforts, this learned man explained in a few moments.”

He was so much effected by Ahmad Raza that he became a true Muslim with a beard on his face.[dubious ] .

Intellectual Life

Imam Aĥmed Razaā’s spiritual and religious involvements seemingly encompassed his life. However, he was also a self-taught scientist in many fields and a mathematician. He acted upon his sincere belief of the Quran and Hadith mentioning that Islam and science are intertwined within each other. He wrote several treatises on several scientific fields. [2].

 Secularism

During the period of the Indian Khilafat Movement, Gandhi was advised that he should meet with Aĥmed Riđā. When he was told that the Gandhi wished to meet and speak to him, Aĥmed Riđā said, “What would he speak about? Religion or worldly affairs? If it is worldly affairs, what can I partake in, for I have abstained from the world and have no interest in it.” (Al Mizaan, p. 335)

 Imam Ahmed Raza’s Final Advice before his demise

01. Nothing with photos of living objects should be near me when my Ruh (Soul) leaves.
02. Recite Sura Yaseen and Sura Ra’ad beside me.
03. Recite Durood in abundance.
04. Keep those who are weeping away from me.
05. Give my Ghusl according to the Sunnah.
06. Either Mawlana Haamid Raza or Allamah Amjad Ali should perform my Janaza Salaah. (radi Allahu anhum)
07. Do not delay my Janazah.
08. When taking my Janazah, recite “Kaabe ke Badru Duja”.
09. Do not read anything in my praise.
10. Place me softly in the grave.
11. My grave should be dug according to my height.
12. My Kafan should be according to the Sunnah.
13. The food of my Fatiha must be given to the poor.
14. Haamid Raza must give a fair share of everything to Chothe Mia (Huzoor Mufti Azam Hind). If not, my Rooh will be displeased. (radi Allahu anhum)
15. All of you must remain steadfast on my Deen. Do not leave the path of Shariah. Stay on the Deen on which I was.

Towards Mirza Ghulam Ahmad

Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian, claimed to be the promised Messiah and Mahdi awaited by the Muslims. These claims proved to be extremely controversial among Muslims and he was branded as a heretic and apostate by many religious scholars of the time, including Ahmed Rida. To prove his point, when Ahmed Rida visited Mecca and Madina for pilgrimage in 1905, he prepared a draft document entitled “AlMotamad AlMustanad” (The Reliable Proofs) for presentation to the eminent scholars of Mecca and Madina-E-Pak. Ahmed Raza collected opinions of the Ulama of Hejaz and compiled them in a compendium written in Arabic language with the title, Husam al Harmain (The Sword of two sanctuaries), a work containing the thirty-three Ulamas’ thirty -four verdicts (20 Meccan and 13 Medinese Ulama). The overall import of this work was that Ghulam Ahmad’s beliefs were blasphemous and tantamount to apostasy.[3].

 His students

Prominent Muslim alims from the Indian sub-continent who were amongst the students of Aĥmed Razā Kahn Bralevi Rahma tulALLAh Alaihe are as follows:

  1. Muhammad Hamid Raza Khan Noori Barkaati
  2. Mustafa Raza Qadri Noori Barkaati (teacher of Shaykh Muhammad ibn Alawi al-Maliki)
  3. Abdus Salaam Jabalpuri ( Eidul Islam )
  4. Sayyid Shah Na’eemuddeen Muraadabadi ( Sadrul Afazil ) (teacher of Shaykh Muhammad Karam Shah al-Azhari)
  5. Sayyid Zafar’uddeen Bihaari
  6. Abdul Aleem Siddique
  7. Mufti Amjad Ali
  8. Ziyauddin Ahmad al-Qadiri al-Madani (teacher of Shaykh Muhammad Alawi al-Maliki and Hazrat Abdul Wahab Siddiqi)
  9. Burhaanul Haq Jabalpuri ( Burhan e Millat )
  10. Mawlana Mukhtar Ahmad Siddiqi Meerati
  11. Muhammad Abd al-Hayy
  12. Ahmad Khalil
  13. Ahmad Khudravi
  14. Muhammad bin Abi Bakr
  15. Muhammad Sa’id
  16. Mawlana Sayyid Ahmad Ashraf Ashrafi
  17. Mawlana Syed shah Sulayman Ashraf Bihari
  18. Hashmat Ali Khan ( Sher Besha’e )
  19. Sayyid Rasûl Shâh Khâkî Chakwali

Student’s students are too numerous to number, some of the most famous in Pakistan include Muhaddith-e-Azam Pakistan Allama Sardar Ahmad Qadri and Shaykh-ul-Qur’an Allama Abdul Ghafoor Hazarvi.

Jis ne baatil ke sir ko juka diya. Uus Sher-e-Bareilly pe Lakho Salaam.

 References

  • Baraka, A – A Saviour in a Dark World (Article) The Islamic Times, March 2003 Stockport, UK

Haroon, M The World of Importance of Imam Ahmad Raza Kazi Publications, Lahore 1974

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3 Responses to “Ahmed Rida Khan ;The Neglected genius of the East”

  1. Sher-e-Ghousia July 30, 2008 at 12:08 am #

    Indeed, Imam Ahle Sunnat ash-Shah Ahmad Raza Khan (Alayhi Ramhma) is a great gift given to us by Allah Ta’ala.

    Faizan-e-AlaHazrat. Zindabad!

  2. peacebook August 20, 2010 at 2:47 pm #

    Allah says in quran….

    11|31|I say not unto you: “I have the treasures of Allah” nor “I have knowledge of the Unseen,” nor say I: “Lo! I am an angel!”

    7:188 say (o mohammad {pbuh}) ” I posses no power of benefit or hurt to myself except as allah wills, If i had the knowledge of the ghaib (unseen),I should have secured for myself, an abundence of wealth and no evil should have touched me, I am but a warner,and a bringer of glad tidings unto people who belive”.

    6|50|Say (O Muhammad, to the disbelievers): I say not unto you (that) I possess the treasures of Allah, nor that I have knowledge of the Unseen; and I say not unto you: Lo! I am an angel. I follow only that which is inspired in me. Say: Are the blind man and the seer equal? Will ye not then take thought?

  3. alia January 23, 2013 at 8:01 am #

    MashAllah
    Very informative. I love the kalam written by Ala Hazrat “Lam Yatee”, there is a point when I listen to it and have tears in my eyyes without knowing the translation . I wonder what I am going feel when I read the translation to “Lam Yatee”.

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