Imam Ahmed Raza Khan (Cleric, poet, and jurist)
Imam Ahmed Raza Khan was an Islamic philosopher, theologian, ascetic, and jurist who was also known as Ahmed Rada Khan and “Ala-Hazrat.” In British India, he was also a well-known Sufi, an Urdu poet, and a social reformer. Ahmed also wrote on diverse topics, such as law, philosophy, religion, and the sciences. He became the leader of the Barelvi in South Asia and influenced millions of people.
The Barelvi movement was created by Ahmed Raza Khan and centered on undivided devotion to the Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H). The movement also emphasized the blending of Shari’ah and Sufi rituals. Ahmed also wrote books on a wide range of subjects, including law, philosophy, religion, and science.
He issued numerous “fatwas” (religious rulings) during his lifetime. The ‘Fatawa Razaviyya’ and the ‘Kanzul Iman’ are two of his most famous works. He identified as a Sunni Muslim. People in India, Pakistan, and many other South Asian countries remember him, and his followers continue to survive to this day.
Ahmed Raza Khan Barelvi’s father, Naqi Ali Khan, was the son of Raza Ali Khan. Ahmed Raza Khan Barelvi was a Pushtun from the Barech tribe. The Rohilla Pushtuns of North India, who built the state of Rohilkhand, formed a tribal grouping known as the Barech. During the Mughal era, Khan’s ancestors relocated from Qandahar to Lahore.
Muhammad was his given name when he was born. Khan was born in Mohallah Jasoli, Bareilly Sharif, in the North-Western Provinces on June 14, 1856. “Al Mukhtaar” was the name he was given the year he was born.
Before writing his name in communication, Khan used the title “Abdul Mustafa” (servant of the chosen one). When he finished reciting the Quran, he was just four years old. He completed his Islamic education, at the age of 13, following which he began issuing Fatwas.
Khan witnessed Muslims’ intellectual and moral decline in British India. The barelvi movement was a significant group dedicated to the defending of Sufism in general. The movement, however, has supporters in Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Turkey, Afghanistan, Iraq, Sri Lanka, South Africa, the United States, and the United Kingdom, among other countries. Over 200 million people have joined the movement. When it first started, the movement was mostly a rural phenomenon, but it is now popular among urban, educated Pakistanis and Indians, as well as the South Asian diaspora around the world.
Khan’s teachings, which emphasize the importance of Islamic law above Sufi traditions and personal devotion to the prophet Muhammad, are taught in many religious schools, organizations, and research institutions.
Khan wrote books in Arabic, Persian, and Urdu, including Fatawa Razaviyya, a thirty-volume fatwa compilation, and Kanzul Iman (Qur’an Translation and Explanation). His works have been translated into a number of European and South Asian languages.
Khan died in his Bareilly house on October 28, 1921 CE (25th Safar 1340h) at the age of 65. He was laid to rest in the Dargah-e-Ala Hazrat, the venue of the annual Urs-e-Razavi.