Imam Ahmad Raza: A Versatile Personality

Introduction : The aim of this short article is to inform about how the Mujaddid of the 14th Century, Imam Ahmed Raza Khan inspired us and showed us what true Love for the Prophet (sallAllahu alaihi wa sallam) is. Hence, this article will explore through the works and sayings of the great Imam, which give us a mere glimpse of his Ishq (Love) for our Master (peace and salutations be upon Him). If it wasn’t for this great personality, we would probably be amongst those deviants (Allah Forbid!) who love to sing the song of “Shirk” and “Bid’ah” to those, whose hearts are drowned in love for the Best of Mankind (peace and salutations be upon Him). Who was Imam Ahmed Raza Khan? Al-hamdu li-Allah, every Sunni Muslim from the Indian subcontinent will know of this Great Wali (Friend) of Allah, due to his immense service in propagating the message of Islam, and defending the beliefs of the Ahlus Sunnah wal Jamaa’ah especially when they came under attack from heretics, disguised in the form of “Muslims”. Imam Ahmed Raza Khan was born on a Monday, the 10th of Shawal 1272 A.H (14th June 1856), at the time of Zuhr Namaz in a place called Jasoli, which is in the city of Barelvi Sharif, India. A few days before the birth of Imam Ahmed Raza Khan, his father, Allamah Mawlana Naqi Ali Khan, had a wonderful dream. He immediately disclosed this dream to his father, Allamah Mawlana Raza Ali Khan, who interpreted this dream by saying, “This is a sign that you are going to be the father of a child, a boy, who will grow up to be pious and knowledgeable. His name will gain prominence from East to West.” This was the good news that was given to Allamah Mawlana Naqi Ali Khan concerning the birth of none other than the ‘Emerald from amongst the Treasures of Almighty Allah’, the ‘Sweet-scented Rose from the fragrant Garden of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w)’, the great Imam Ahmed Raza Khan.
His Blessed Name: The name that was given to him at birth was the beautiful name of Mohammed. The name corresponding to that was Al Mukhtar. His grandfather, a great Scholar of the Ahle Sunnat wal Jamaat, Allamah Mawlana Raza Ali Khan, also gave the young child the beautiful name of Ahmed Raza. It was by this name that he was & still is famously known. Much later in his life, Ala Hazrat added the title of Abdul Mustafa to his name, signifying his great love and respect for Sayyiduna Rasulallah (s.a.w).
Imam Ahmed Raza’s Piety as a Child : Ala Hazrat was a child of 4 years when the following incident took place. On this particular day, he was dressed in a long Kurta (shirt). As he stepped out of his house, a few female prostitutes walked past him. In order to cover his eyes, Ala Hazrat quickly held the bottom of his Kurta with both his hands and lifted the Kurta over his face. When one of the prostitutes saw what he did, she said, “Well! Young man, you covered your eyes, but allowed your Satr to be shown.” With his face and eyes still covered, the young Ala Hazrat replied, “When the eyes are tempted, then the heart becomes tempted. When the heart is tempted, then the concealed parts become tempted.” So shocked and affected was this woman on hearing such a reply from a child that she lost consciousness. Another incident, which happened in the Month of Ramadan, also shows Ala Hazrat’s piety and fear of Allah. It should be known that for a little child to keep fast in India during the summer season is very difficult. The average temperature on a summer’s day rises to approximately 50 degrees Celsius. Fasting was not Farz (obligatory) upon him because he was still a child, but on this day he intended to keep fast. The heat of the sun that day was intense. Hazrat Allamah Naqi Ali Khan took his young son, Ala Hazrat (R.A), into a room where sweets were kept. He closed the door and said, “There, eat the sweets.” Ala Hazrat replied that he was fasting. His father then said, “The fasting of children is always like this. The door is closed and no one is looking. Now you may eat.” On hearing this, the young Ala Hazrat respectfully said, “Through Whose command I am fasting, He is seeing me.” On hearing this answer from a small child, tears began to flow from the eyes of Hazrat Allamah Naqi Ali Khan (R.A). He then left the room with Ala Hazrat (R.A).
Imam Ahmed Raza’s First Lecture: Sayyiduna Ala Hazrat delivered his first lecture at the age of 6 years. It was during the glorious month of Rabiul Awwal. Ala Hazrat stood on the Mimbar (Pulpit) and delivered the lecture before a very large gathering, which also consisted of various Ulema. His lecture lasted for approximately 2 hours. Ala Hazrat spoke on the Wilaadat (birth) of Sayyiduna Rasulallah (s.a.w). He brightened the hearts of the listeners with the love of Sayyiduna Rasulallah (s.a.w). The people listening were thoroughly impressed by the maturity and eloquence of this lecture, which was being delivered by a 6 year old child! His Intelligence As A Child Ala Hazrat was so gifted and intelligent that there was no need for him to study beyond the fourth Kitaab of his course under the tutorship of any of his teachers. He studied the remaining Kitaabs by himself and used to later ask his teachers to test him. Once, his teacher asked him, “Mia! Are you a Jinn or a human being? It takes me much time to teach a lesson, but it does not take you much time to learn the same lesson.” Ala Hazrat answered, “Praise be to Allah that I am a human.” Astonishing Events Of Childhood: At the age of 3, Ala Hazrat was once standing outside the Raza Masjid in Barelvi Sharif. An unknown person, attired in an Arabian garb, approached him and spoke to him in the Arabic language. Those who were present and witnessed this incident heard the young Ala Hazrat converse with the person in pure Arabic. They were surprised. The person who spoke to Ala Hazrat was never seen again in Barelvi Sharif!A Majzoob (one who is drowned in his love for Almighty Allah), by the name of Hazrat Basheeruddin Sahib, used to live at the Akhoon Zada Masjid in Barelvi Sharif. He spoke harshly to anyone who visited him. Ala Hazrat wished to meet this Majzoob. One night, at about 11 o’clock, he set off alone to meet him. He sat respectfully for about 15 minutes outside the Majzoob’s house. After some time, the Majzoob became aware of him and asked, “Who are you to Mawlana Raza Ali Khan (R.A).” Ala Hazrat replied that he was the grandson of Hazrat Raza Ali Khan (R.A). The Majzoob immediately embraced him and took him into his little room. He asked Ala Hazrat if he had come for any specific matter, but Ala Hazrat said that he had come to ask him to make Dua for him. On hearing this, the Majzoob, for approximately half an hour, made the following Dua: “May Allah have mercy on you. May Allah bless you.” ACADEMIC SERVICES: Proficiency in over fifty branches of knowledge: If we study the life of Ala Hazrat (R.A), we will discover that his proficiency in various subjects total over fifty-four branches of knowledge. Is it possible today, to find an Islamic scholar or even a non-Muslim professor, scientist, educationist or a Nobel Prize owner who possesses such qualifications? Arab Scholars like Sheikh Ismail bin Khalil and Sheikh Musa Ali Shami (R.A) commended Ala Hazrat as the Revivalist of the 14th Century A.H.: “if he is called the revivalist of this century (Mujaddid), it will be right and true.” Commenting on Ala Hazrat’s reputation and his knowledge, Dr Jamil Jalibi, Vice Chancellor, Karachi University (Pakistan) said: “Mawlana Ahmed Raza Khan Barelvi was an eminent jurist, leading scholar, scientist, Naa’tia poet, a keen observer of Shariah and a Saint. His crowning scholarship can be imagined by the fact that he had commanding knowledge of about 54 branches of various sciences and humanities. He has contributed valuable works in almost all of them. He left behind more than a thousand treatises.” Professor Dr Wahid Ashraf, Baroda University, in Baroda said: “There is no shortage of renowned personalities in the history of Islam who made rich contributions to various fields of knowledge through their divine-gifted qualities of learning, wisdom and insight. Ibn Sina, Umar Khayyam, Imam Razi, Imam Ghazzali, Al Beruni, Farabi and Ibn Rushd are a few rich names that shall always be remembered with pride. Among them, some are renowned for Philosophy and Medicine, some other famous for Mathematics, another in Astrology, another is known for Moral Philosophy, and another is an expert in Greek beliefs etc., but the most outstanding personality was born in India and passed away in the present century. He was Ahmed Raza Barelvi who enjoyed such a command in various branches of knowledge that only experts of the special faculty can discuss fully and successfully.”
Arab Scholars like Sheikh Ismail bin Khalil and Sheikh Musa Ali Shami (R.A) commended Ala Hazrat as the Revivalist of the 14th Century A.H.: “if he is called the revivalist of this century (Mujaddid), it will be right and true.”
Translation and commentary of the Holy Qur’an : Many people have translated the Holy Qur’an into the Urdu language, but the translation of the Holy Qur’an presented by Ala Hazrat – called “Kanzul Imaan” – is proven to be the most unique translation in the Urdu language. In his translation one sees that Ala Hazrat used only those words in his translation that are worthy for the Attributes and Qualities of Almighty Allah and of His Beloved Rasul (s.a.w).It is said that the translation of the Holy Qur’an by Ala Hazrat, Kanzul Imaan, is not merely a literal translation, but is also the commentary of the Holy Qur’an. In the words of Hazrat Sayyiduna Muhaddith-e-Azam Hind (R.A), “it is not only the translation of the Qur’an, it is the Qur’an.” Authority in the field of Ahadith: Imam Ahmed Raza Khan was also a great authority of his time when it came to the subjects of Ahadith and Usool-e-Ahadith. He knew the names of almost every Hadith narrator. When he was questioned concerning details of a certain narrator, he was able to give a complete biography of the narrator. When he studied any Hadith, he was able to explain the type of Hadith, it’s benefits and the reasons behind that Hadith. He wrote many booklets on the topic of Ahadith. One of his books is entitled, “Hajizul Jarain An Jamma Bainas Salaatain,” which covered the Ahadith pertaining to “Jamma Bainas Salaatain” or the “Combination of Two Salahs in one time.” Dr Professor Mohiuddin, Azhar University, Cairo (Egypt) said, “Renowned scholar, Imam Ahmed Raza Khan, visited Arabia twice to perform Hajj at Makkah and paid homage to the Holy Prophet (s.a.w) at Madinah. During his stay, he visited various centres of learning and had extensive exchange of views with the scholars covering various branches of learning and religious issues. He secured permission from some authentics to quote them in reference to particular Ahadith, and in return, he allowed them to mention his authority in respect of some other Ahadith. “It is an old saying that scholarly talent and poetic exuberance rarely combine in one person, but Imam Ahmad Raza Khan was an exception. His achievements contradict this diction. He was not only an acknowledged research scholar, but also a great poet.” Imam Ahmed Raza’s I’lm-e-Jafar: “I’lm-e-Jafar” refers to “The Knowledge and the Art of Prediction.” Not all persons are blessed with such knowledge by Almighty Allah. It is a speciality for the Awliyah Allah, and Ala Hazrat too was blessed with the gift of I’lm-e-Jafar. Once, a certain person asked Ala Hazrat concerning the approach of Qiyamah and the arrival of Imam Mahdi in the future. Ala Hazrat said that Almighty Allah knows of this and His beloved Rasul (s.a.w) is also aware of this fact. After saying this, Ala Hazrat substantiated these facts by quoting many verses of the Holy Qur’an and Ahadith of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w). Ala Hazrat then said, “Through a certain type of knowledge, I feel that there is a possibility that in 1837 Hijra there will be no Islamic government left, and in 1900 Hijra Imam Mahdi will appear.” After hearing this answer, someone asked Ala Hazrat if he had gained this answer through I’lm-e-Jafar. He replied that he did. Ala Hazrat then said very sarcastically, “Eat the mangoes. Do not count the trees.”His knowledge of Philosophy and Science: Imam Ahmed Raza Khan was a great Scientist and Philosopher. He understood Science and Philosophy better than anyone in his time. He was a master of Ancient and Modern Sciences. He proved through research that various concepts of the modern day science are illogical and against the theories of the Holy Qur’an and the Ahadith. Ala Hazrat wrote many books on Science and Physics. One of his famous books, “Fauze Mubeen Dar Harkate Zameen,” using the Holy Qur’an as its guidelines, proves that the earth is not rotating but is stationary. He also proves that the entire Universe is revolving around the earth. Modern theories believe that the earth is rotating on its axis and that all the planets, including the earth, are revolving around the sun. Ala Hazrat also disproved the theories of Scientist such as Galileo Galilei and Sir Isaac Newton. Even today, many people in the Western world regard Sayyiduna Ala Hazrat as the “neglected genius of the east.” Knowledge of Astronomy and Astrology: Ala Hazrat gained great expertise in the field of Astronomy and Astrology. There was a person by the name of Mawlana Ghulam Hussain Sahib, who used to regard himself as an authority in Astrology. Once, Mawlana Ghulam Hussain Sahib visited Ala Hazrat (R.A). Ala Hazrat asked him, “So! What is the situation of the rain?” After working out the position of the stars, Mawlana Ghulam Sahib drew-up an astronomical table and said,” In this month there will be no rain. It will only rain in the following month.” Mawlana Sahib then handed over the astronomical table to Ala Hazrat (R.A). Ala Hazrat examined it and said, “All the Power is by Allah. If He pleases, then it may rain now.” Mawlana Ghulam Hussain then said, “Are you not observing the astronomical table?” Ala Hazrat said, “I am observing everything.” Ala Hazrat then looked towards the clock and asked, “What time is it?” Mawlana Ghulam Hussain said, “Quarter past eleven.” Sayyiduna Ala Hazrat said, “That means that there is three quarters of an hour left for twelve o’ clock.” Saying this, Ala Hazrat walked up to the grandfather clock that was in the room. With his finger, he moved the big needle of the clock until it was on the twelve, thus showing twelve o’clock. The clock began to chime. Ala Hazrat then said, “You said that it would take three quarters of an hour for the needle to come to twelve o’ clock.” The Mawlana Sahib replied, “But you were responsible for altering the position of the needle.” On hearing this, Ala Hazrat said, “Almighty Allah is All Powerful and He may alter the position of the stars whenever he wishes.” Ala Hazrat had not yet completed his sentence when it began to rain uncontrollably. A Mathematical Genius Ala Hazrat was also a great Mathematician. He used to solve the most difficult mathematical problems in a short span of time. His authority in the field of Mathematics will leave modern-day Mathematicians in complete awe. Algebra, Geometry, Calculus, Logarithms, and other branches of Mathematics which are normally handled with great difficulty even by mathematic students today, was like ordinary addition and subtraction to Imam Ala Hazrat (R.A)! Once, Sir Zia uddin, a famous Mathematician, was in a predicament with regards to part of his research in the mathematical field. He had to go to Berlin in Germany to seek a solution to this intricate problem. It so happened, that a certain Mawlana from the famous Aligarh University advised Sir Zia uddin to visit Ala Hazrat to seek a solution for his mathematical problem. But, Sir Zia uddin, sounding very unconvinced, 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 Ala Hazrat (R.A). When he arrived in Barelvi Sharif, he immediately went to Ala Hazrat (R.A). Presenting the intricate mathematical problem to Ala Hazrat 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, Ala Hazrat was busy writing and listening to him at the same time. As Sir Zia uddin was about to leave, Ala Hazrat handed him a sheet of paper. When Sir Zia uddin read what was written on this paper, he realised that it contained the solution to the mathematical problem that had him so confused. Sir Zia uddin then said, “today I believe that there is something known as I’lm-e-Laduni (inspired knowledge).” Sir Zia uddin, was later recorded to have said about Ala Hazrat (R.A), “He was an un-assuming man of pleasant manners and morals, had deep insight in Mathematics, although he was not formerly educated by a teacher. It was an inner divine-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 all of India. Such a great 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 efforts, this learned genius explained in a few moments.” His Love for the Holy Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w) Ala Hazrat spent every moment of his life praising the Holy Prophet (s.a.w). Everything he did was for the Pleasure of Almighty Allah and His Rasul (s.a.w). Professor Dr Abdul Wahid Halepota, Chairman, Council of Islamic Ideology, Government of Pakistan, said: “Ala Hazrat Mawlana Shah Ahmed Raza Khan is that ingenious personality of the Indo-Pak SubContinent whose academic position and legal insight has general recognition. His multifarious achievements deserve that they should be spread on an international level. His greatest deed is that he beautified the hearts of the Muslims with the love of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w) through his academic wonders, sweet speeches and most valuable Naatya Qalaam (Poetry in praise of the Holy Prophet s.a.w).”Love and Respect for the Descendants of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w). It is Ala Hazrat who showed the Muslim world how to respect the descendants or family of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w). His entire life is filled such with incidents. Many are aware of this famous incident. Once, Imam Ahmed Raza Khan was invited to the home of a certain person. In those days, the Ulema were carried in chariots as a means of transport. Ala Hazrat was sitting in one of these chariots that was carried by the chariot-bearers. As they proceeded along the way, Sayyiduna Ala Hazrat suddenly commanded the chariot-bearers to stop. He immediately alighted from the chariot and asked, “Who is a Sayyed from amongst you? I am receiving the scent of a Sayyed.” One of the chariot-bearer’s, who was a Sayyed, was too scared to speak. Nevertheless, when Ala Hazrat further prompted that person to reveal himself, he came forward and admitted that he was Sayyed. With tears in his eyes, Ala Hazrat fell at his feet and began asking for pardon. The Sayyed continuously asked Ala Hazrat to refrain from doing so but, Ala Hazrat continued asking for pardon, by saying, “Please forgive me. What would I do on the Day of Qiyamah if the Holy Prophet (s.a.w) asks me concerning this incident, and says to me that I showed disrespect to his family?” The Sayyed readily forgave Ala Hazrat (R.A). But this Aashiq-e-Rasul (s.a.w) was yet not satisfied. He commanded the Sayyed to sit on the chariot, and placing the chariot on his blessed shoulders, carried the Sayyed for the same distance for which he had been carried! Allahu Akbar! Those who had been witnesses to this incident could not believe that the Imam of the Ahle Sunnat wal Jamaat, the Mujaddid of Islam was carrying a chariot-bearer on his blessed shoulders. But to Ala Hazrat (R.A), that person that he was carrying was no ordinary chariot-bearer but a family member of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w)
(The author is pursuing LL.M at Central University of Punjab at Bhatinda. Views are exclusively his own)


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