Ahmed Raza Khan Barelvi (احمدرضا خان بریلوی)
Ahmad Raza Khan Barelvi was a prolific writer and poet, and he wrote several books of poetry during his lifetime. Some of his notable poetry collections include:
Hadaiq-e-Bakhshish – A collection of Naats (poems in praise of the Prophet Muhammad) and other religious poetry.
Kalam-e-Raza – A collection of poems in Urdu, Persian, and Arabic.
Fazail-e-Durood – A book of poetry dedicated to the virtues of sending blessings upon the Prophet Muhammad.
Majmu’a Kalam-e-Aala Hazrat – A comprehensive collection of Ahmad Raza Khan’s poetry, including his Urdu, Persian, and Arabic works.
Khutbat-e-Ahmadia – A collection of Ahmad Raza Khan’s sermons and speeches, including some poetry.
These books of poetry by Ahmad Raza Khan Barelvi are widely read and revered by his followers and admirers around the world. They reflect his deep love and devotion to God and the Prophet Muhammad, and his unique style and language have influenced generations of poets and writers in the Urdu and Persian languages.
Ahmed Raza Khan Barelvi’s Biography
Ahmad Raza Khan Barelvi (1856-1921) was a prominent Islamic scholar and reformer in the Indian subcontinent during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. He was a leading figure in the Barelvi movement, which emphasized the traditional practices and beliefs of Sunni Islam and rejected the influence of modernity and reformism.
Early Life and Education
Ahmad Raza Khan Barelvi was born in 1856 in Bareilly, a town in the north Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. His father, Naqi Ali Khan, was a prominent Islamic scholar and leader of the Barelvi movement. Ahmad Raza Khan received his early education from his father and other eminent scholars in the region.
As a child, Ahmad Raza Khan showed exceptional talent in religious studies and quickly became known for his exceptional memory and intellect. By the age of 13, he had memorized the Quran, and at 19, he was awarded the degree of “Mujtahid” (a high rank in Islamic scholarship) by a council of leading scholars in Delhi.
Career and Contributions
Ahmad Raza Khan was a prolific writer and authored more than 1,000 books on a wide range of topics related to Islamic law, theology, and spirituality. His works were written in Arabic, Urdu, Persian, and Punjabi and are still widely read and studied by Muslims around the world.
One of his most significant contributions was his defense of the traditional Sunni belief in the finality of prophethood. In the late 19th century, the Ahmadiyya movement, founded by Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, began to propagate the belief that Ghulam Ahmad was a prophet after the Prophet Muhammad. Ahmad Raza Khan vehemently opposed this belief and wrote extensively in defense of the traditional Sunni belief that Muhammad was the final prophet and messenger of God.
Ahmad Raza Khan was also a staunch advocate of the Hanafi school of Islamic jurisprudence, which is the most widely followed school of Islamic law among Sunni Muslims. He wrote extensively on Hanafi jurisprudence and issued fatwas (religious rulings) on a wide range of issues, from dietary laws to marriage and divorce.
Another important aspect of Ahmad Raza Khan’s work was his focus on spiritual purification and devotion to God. He emphasized the importance of following the Sunnah (the example of the Prophet Muhammad) and the need to cultivate a strong relationship with God through prayer, fasting, and other acts of worship.
Ahmad Raza Khan was also known for his opposition to various social and cultural practices that he deemed contrary to Islamic teachings. He was critical of Sufi practices that he believed had deviated from the original teachings of Islam and were promoting un-Islamic beliefs and practices. He was also critical of the custom of talaq-e-bidat (triple talaq), which allowed a man to divorce his wife by pronouncing the word talaq (divorce) three times in quick succession, without any consideration for the welfare of the wife or the sanctity of marriage.
Legacy and Influence
Ahmad Raza Khan’s influence on the religious and cultural life of Muslims in India and Pakistan cannot be overstated. His emphasis on traditional Sunni beliefs and practices, his defense of the finality of prophethood, and his advocacy of the Hanafi school of jurisprudence have shaped the religious worldview of millions of Muslims in the region.
His followers, known as the Barelvis, continue to be a significant force in South Asian Islam and have spread to other parts of the world, including the Middle East, Europe, and North America. The Barelvis are known for their devotion to the Prophet Muhammad, their emphasis on Sufi practices, and their celebration of Islamic festivals, such as the Prophet’s birthday.
Ahmad Raza Khan’s impact on Islamic scholarship and religious thought is also evident in his extensive network of students and disciples. He founded several madrasas (Islamic schools) and spiritual centers in various parts of India, including Bareilly, Lahore, and Hyderabad. Many of his students went on to become leading Islamic scholars and activists in their own right, and his ideas and teachings continue to inspire generations of Muslims around the world.
Despite his influence and popularity, Ahmad Raza Khan was also a controversial figure during his lifetime. His opposition to the Ahmadiyya movement and his criticism of Sufi practices earned him the ire of some groups and individuals, who accused him of being too rigid and intolerant in his religious views. However, his defenders argue that his teachings were grounded in the traditional beliefs and practices of Sunni Islam and were intended to protect the integrity of the faith against perceived innovations and deviations.
Ahmad Raza Khan passed away in 1921 at the age of 65. His legacy as a leading Islamic scholar and reformer continues to be celebrated by his followers and admirers, who see him as a defender of the traditional beliefs and practices of Sunni Islam and a model of spiritual devotion and piety. His writings and teachings continue to be studied and debated by scholars and activists in the Islamic world, and his impact on Islamic thought and practice is likely to endure for generations to come.
Ahmad Raza Khan’s influence was not limited to the religious sphere. He was also involved in political and social issues of his time. He was a vocal opponent of British colonial rule in India and participated in several anti-colonial movements and protests. He believed that Muslims in India should work together with their Hindu and Sikh compatriots to achieve independence from British rule.
Ahmad Raza Khan was also a strong advocate of education and worked to establish several educational institutions in India, including the famous Islamic seminary, Jamia Rizvia, in Bareilly. He believed that education was essential for the progress and well-being of the Muslim community and encouraged his followers to seek knowledge and learning.
Despite his many accomplishments, Ahmad Raza Khan’s life was not without its challenges and setbacks. He faced criticism and opposition from various groups and individuals during his lifetime, and some of his writings and teachings were considered controversial or even heretical by some Islamic scholars.
However, his unwavering commitment to his beliefs and principles, his devotion to God and the Prophet Muhammad, and his extensive contributions to Islamic scholarship and activism have made him a revered figure in the Islamic world. His followers continue to honor his memory and teachings, and his influence on Islamic thought and practice continues to be felt around the world.
In conclusion, Ahmad Raza Khan Barelvi was a leading Islamic scholar and reformer in the Indian subcontinent during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. His emphasis on traditional Sunni beliefs and practices, his defense of the finality of prophethood, and his advocacy of the Hanafi school of jurisprudence have shaped the religious worldview of millions of Muslims in the region. His extensive writings and teachings continue to inspire generations of Muslims around the world, and his impact on Islamic thought and practice is likely to endure for generations to come.