Ahmed Raza Khan
Template:Infobox Philosopher Imam Ahmad Raza Khan was a prominent Muslim Alim from Bareilly, a city in Northern India during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. He is most well known for inspiring the Barelwi Islamic movement named after his birthplace. Aĥmed Riđā was also poet and writer, authoring nearly 1,000 books and monographs of varying lengths in Arabic, Persian and Urdu. He was a follower of Hanafi fiqh.
 Life history
 His Family and Childhood
Aĥmed Raza 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. Riđā 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 groups that would carry his name, his vision of Islam and Din (faith). At this time there were competing Pirs (Islamic Holy men) throughout northern India and Kashmir, each with their own dedicated group of followers. (Like the court of a Chassidic Rebbe in Judaism)
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 great 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 (Sunni religious law) particularly in the Hanafi school. He earned many degrees of authorization in Hanafi. 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 Riđā took the Qadiri path and was initiated in that Sufi order by Sayyid Abu’l Ĥusayn Nūrī of Mārahra (a town in northern India). He dedicated many tracts to the love of Muhammad, 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.
Aĥmed Riđā died in 1340 AH (1921 CE) at the age of 63.
 Competing Schools of Thought
Ahmad Raza came into conflict with some members of the Deobandi school whom he felt were influenced by the Wahabis. However mainstream Barelwis and Deobandiies consider each other Muslim and Sunni and in Pakistan the first purely religious political alliance was between Jamiat-e-Ulma-e-Islam (Deobandi) and Jamiat-e-Ulma-e-Pakistan (Barelwi). Later on, other schools of thought joined to form Muttahida Majlis Amal (MMA).But one should keep in mind that these alliances are for political reasons as for as the basics of creed and dogmas are concern the gulf is still widening.
He had many ijazahs (Degrees of authorization) in Hanafi fiqh, and by his own affirmation, the most important one is 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 Muhammad.
He had an authorization of hadith (Sayings of Muhammad handed down from generation to generation) transmission from the great Meccan scholar, Malik al-úlamā, Sayyid Ahmed Zayni Dahlan ash-Shafiyi.
He took the Qadiri path and was initiated in that Sufi order by Sayyid Abu’l Ĥusayn Nûrī of Mārahra (a town in northern India) when he turned 21 years of age. He was a great lover of Muhammad as is evident in his writings and endeavors. He was also a great poet who has to his credit abundant and sublime verse 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
- Kanz ul Iman Fi Tarjamatu'l Qu'ran (The Treasure of Faith: A translation of the Koran) - This is his Urdu translation of the Koran. It combines fluency of language with Koranic exegesis and is an explanatory translation, as opposed to a literal one.
- Ĥadāyiq e Bakh’shish (Gardens of Salvation) - This is his slim two-volume anthology of Urdu and Persian poetry, eulogizing the Prophet Muhammad (may Allah bless him and give him peace).
- 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.
- 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 Ahlus Sunnah and their opponents, notably the literalist Wahabi school.
 British Empire, Khilafat, and Jihad
From the period of the Crimean War to 1878, Britain encouraged a pro-Turkish policy for Muslim India. Aĥmed Riđā's stance followed this line. In one of his famous works, Tahzib Al-Akhlaq, he is on record as praising the reforms in the Ottoman Dominions.
He rejected the spiritual jurisdiction of the Ottoman Khilafah based on the accepted classical Sunni position that the caliph must be from Quraysh, the tribe of the Prophet to which the Ottomans did not belong. He held the view that the real Khilafah had ended with the first four caliphs (Khulafa al-Rashidun) and protested the ban imposed by Sultan Abd Al-Hamid II against discussions on this subject, which was entirely in accordance with Sunni traditional thought. Aĥmed Riđā rejected the jihad against the British occupation of India since in his view, British India was not Dar al Harb (an abode of war), and refused to cooperate with Hindus and other Muslims who used various other means of protest against the British Empire which were against the Shariah in his view. His stance was based on the principal that one must not cooperate with people of innovation in doctrine ahl ul bid'ah and thus disobey the Shariah for political gain. Personally, it appears he did not accept the jurisdiction of the British; an indication of this was his habit of affixing postage stamps with the head of the Queen upside down and his refusal to attend British court hearings.
However, when the Non-Cooperation Movement was launched in 1920 by an alliance of the Khilafat Movement and Gandhi, Aĥmed Riđā remained aloof. He objected to collaboration with Hindus in preference to collaboration with 'People of the Book', the British, based on sound Islamic legal edicts of the past.
Aĥmed Riđā and his disciples were the main initiators of Movement of Pakistan as claimed by Barelvis, though no such references are present. Along with other prominent Muslim religious personalities of the period such as Pir as-Sayyid Jama'at Ali Shah an-Naqshbandi, the Shaykh of Quaid al Azam Shaykh Muhammad Ali Jinnah an-Naqshbandi, his sons Hujjat al Islam wal Muslimeen Shaykh Mawlana Hamid Riđā Khan and Mufti al Azam al Hind al-Imam Arif Billah Ghawth az-Zaman Shaykh Mawlana Mustafa Riđā Khan, and student by the name of Mawlana Sayyid Naeemuddin Muradabadi, organized Sunni conferences and supported ideas about a separate state of Muslims.
 Intellectual Life
Aĥmed Riđā'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 Koran and Hadith mentioning that Islam and science are intertwined within each other. He wrote several treatises on several scientific fields. .
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)
Hasan Nizami in an article called Kitabi Dunya (p. 2) when referring to the introduction to Dawam al-Aish (p. 18) said about Ahmad Rida Khan: "Most of his novices and followers separated from him for their disagreement with him on the Khilafat Movement."
Ahmad Rida Khan declared that in the time of British Imperialism in India, there was no Jihad against them! This led to his opponents to consider him to be a supporter of the British and some went to the level of accusing him to be funded by the British. Ahmad Rida Khan said in his al-Mahajjat al-Mu'tamana (p. 208): "Jihad is not obligatory for us, the Muslims of India, on the basis of the Qur'an. He who holds that it is obligatory is an opponent to the Muslims and intends to harm them!" He also said in his book: Dawam al-Aish (p. 46): "Jihad and fighting are not binding on the Muslims of India!"
 His last will
He made a statement that his followers should strictly abide to his doctrines and ideologies His statements have been collated by a Barelvi by the name of Hasnain Rida in a book entitled: Wasaya Sharif. Rida Khan said to his followers as recorded in the Wasaya (p. 10): "Hold fast to my faith and doctrine which is apparent from my works. Hold fast to it and remain honest to it, for it is the most significant duty among the duties." He also said: "I do not know how long I shall live among you. You are the naive sheep of Mustafa and the wolves have encompassed you from all sides. They want to lead you astray and create schism and dissent among you. They wish to carry you to the hell-fire. So keep away from them, especially the Deobandi's" (Al-Bastawi in his al-Bareilawi, p. 105).
 His Imapct in the world Today and Scholars Views about him
 Differences from other groups
Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian, claimed to be a "prophet" in what he claimed to be an allegorical sense. 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 Ahmad Rida. To prove his point, when Ahmad 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. Ahmad Rida 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 unanimous consensus was that Ghulam Ahmad's beliefs were blasphemous and tantamount to apostasy..
 His students
- Muhammad Haamid Raza Khan Noori Barakaati
- Mustapha Raza Khan Noori Barakaati
- Abdus Salaam Jabalpuri
- Na'eemuddeen Muraadabadi
- Sayyid Zafar'uddeen Bihaari
- Abdul Aleem Siddique
- Mufti Amjad Ali
- Zia'uddeen Ahmed Al Madani
- Burhaanul Haq
- Mawlana Mukhtar Ahmad Siddiqi Meerati
- Muhammad Abd al-Hayy
- Ahmad Khalil
- Ahmad Khudravi
- Muhammad bin Abi Bakr
- Muhammad Sa'id
- Mawlana Sayyid Ahmad Ashraf
- Mawlana Shah Sulayman Ashraf
- 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
 See also
- A Complete Encyclopedia about Ala Hazrat Ahmed Raza Khan.
- The Life and Works of the Muslim Revivalist, A'La Hadrat
- Research works on Imam Ahmad Raza Khan
- Online Books and Works of Imam Ahmed Rida Khan
- Fatawa and Works by Imam Ahmed Rida Khan
- SALAAM BY IMAM AHMED RAZA KHAN
- Audio Recitation of Al-Quran with English and Urdu Translations by Imam Ahmed Rida Khan
- A detailed website about the Imam's life and works
- and Works.htm.com Research work at Sounth Africa on the works of Ahmed Raza Khan.
- The Life and Work of Imam Ahmed Raza Khan.