Neglected genius of the east
Mawlana Ahmed Raza Khan radi Allahu Ta'ala anhu, popularly known as "Alahazrat" in the Islamic world, was born at Bareilly (India) in 1272/1856. His father Mawlana Naqi Ali Khan (d. 1297/1880) and grandfather Mawlana Raza Ali Khan (d. 1282/1866) were celebrated theologians recognized as such by academic circles of the entire subcontinent. Due to the extraordinary intelligence bestowed upon him by Almighty Allah, Alahazrat (radi Allahu anhu) completed his Islamic education at the very young age of 13 years, 10 months and 5 days. Mawlana Ahmed Raza Khan was well versed in more than fifty branches of learning pertaining to Ancient Sciences, Modern Sciences, Current Sciences and Oriental Learnings and left contributions in all these academic disciplines.
In 1294/1877 he went with his father to visit Shah Al-e-Rasul (d. 1297/1879). He was admitted to the Qadiriyya Order and was permitted to enrole and train neophytes. He had similar authority in thirteen other orders. In 1295/1878 he went with his father for the first pilgrimage and got diplomas from famous Arab scholars at Mecca. In 1323/1905 he proceeded for his second pilgrimage. During his stay at Mecca and Madina he won the respect of noted scholars who visited him and received from him diplomas and Fatawa.
On 14th Sha'ban 1286/1869 he started issuing Fatawa and gave verdicts on Muslim jurisprudence. At that time he was only a boy of less than 14 years old. Afterwards he attained such eminence in this field that the scholars of the Indo-Pak subcontinent and also of the Islamic World acknowledged him as a great Jurist. He had full command over Muslim Jurisprudence. Dr. Muhammad Iqbal highly praised his scholarship and command over Muslim Jurisprudence saying :
"Such a genius and intelligent jurist did not emerge."
Though he was well versed in scores of branches of knowledge yet in the later years he restricted his interest in the following branches of religious learnings :
He reviewed and revolutionized the Muslim Society, especially the Muslims of Indo-Pak Sub-continent, that is why the Arab scholars like Shaykh Isma'il bin Khalil and Shaykh Musa Ali Shami commended him as the Revivalist of the 14th Century A.H. Lean and thin yet he possessed a gigantic personality. He left a profound influence over his epoch. None among his contemporaries was so powerful as to influence the majority of Muslim population of Indo-Pak Sub-continent all alone from East to West and from North to South. Ahmed Raza Khan infused the zeal of preaching and missionary work to his Caliphs, disciples, and pupils.
Although he did not take any active part yet he paved the way for freedom with his brilliant philosophy based on the Holy Quran and Hadith. He was against Hindu-Muslim Unity. This was the basic idea that can rightly be called the foundation of Pakistan.
In 1920, when the Islamia College, Lahore, was entangled in non-co-operation movement, with the suggestion of Dr. Muhammad Iqbal (the Poet of the East) and the Members of Anjuman-e-Himayat al-Islam, Prof. Hakim Ali the Vice Principal of Islamia College, presented an Istifta before Ahmed Raza Khan. He was seriously ill at that critical juncture but he gave his verdict undauntedly which was published as a treatise with the title of "Al-Muhadjdja-al-Mu'tamina". This treatise can be called a precious and valuable document for freedom fighters. It paved the way and changed the ideas of the great politicians like Dr. Muhammad Iqbal and Qua'id-e-A'zam Mohammad Ali Jinnah.
His caliphs, disciples and pupils took active part in freedom movement. In 1946/1366 an ideal Sunni conference was held at Benares (India). Hundreds and thousands 'Ulemas (followers of Ahmed Raza Khan) from all over Indo-Pak Sub-continent attended this conference. A resolution was unanimously passed in favor of Pakistan and thenceforward his caliphs, disciples and followers expanded and enhanced their political activities all over Indo-Pak Sub-continent. Historians of the world especially of Indo-Pak Sub-continent should draw their attention to this most significant aspect of freedom movement.
The love of Holy Prophet (S.A.S.) is the summum bonum of Islamic politics and has played important role in the history of Muslim World. Ahmed Raza Khan was the torchbearer of this love in the Indo-Pak Sub-continent. The only Motto of his life was the "love of the Holy Prophet" (S.A.S.) and he could leave no stone unturned in defending this love. Throughout his life and in all his works he maintained this Motto and in this respect he could not compromise with any.
Ahmad Raza Khan was a poet of high caliber. He adopted Naat, the most difficult of all the branches of poetry, but all the same he reached at the highest pinnacles. His mental and spiritual qualities elevated his poetry and made it highly ecstatic, lucid and profusely rich with rhetoric. The first impression that one gathers from his poetry is that of his devout love for the Holy Prophet of Islam and secondly one is struck by his vastness of knowledge, sublimity of thought and excellence of expression. It is regretted that the Urdu literature has been the target of sectarianism, that is why he was deliberately neglected in Urdu literature by the latter historians and biographers. And even today the scholars hesitate to appreciate his poetry with open heart due to sectarian bias.
Ahmed Raza Khan was a genius writer. He started writing from
his early age. He wrote numerous books and treatises in Arabic, Persian,
and Urdu on diversified topics. There are estimated more than
1000 on more than 50 branches of knowledge. His books and treatises
are lying unpublished at Bareilly. Very few have been published yet.
The most voluminous work is the collection of Verdicts
i.e. Fatawa-e-Ridawiyya. In 1324/1904, he had
completed its 7 volumes, which afterwards increased upto 12 volumes of 26x20/8
size each volume containing more than 1000 pages.
When Shaykh Ismail Khalil, the Curator of Library at Mecca read the specimen of these Fatawa (Verdicts) he was puffed up with joy and said:
By God if Abu Hanifa Nu'man would have gone through these Fatawa undoubtedly it could have been his heart's delight and granted its writer among his pupils.
Even the antagonists of Ahmed Raza Khan referred to these Fatawa. For instance, the great Mufti of his opposite camp Mawlvi Kifayat Allah (d. 1372/1952), consulted and ratiocinated these Fatwa and admitted that Mawlana Ahmed Raza Khan had full command over the subtleties of Muslim Jurisprudence.
The second important work, which Ahmad Raza Khan contributed
towards religious knowledge, is the translation of the Holy Quran
in Urdu language. Many people have translated the Holy Quran into
the Urdu language, but the translation of the Holy Quran presented by AlaHazrat
(radi Allahu anhu) - called
"Kanzul Imaan" is proven to be the most unique translation in the Urdu language. In his translation one sees that AlaHazrat (radi Allahu anhu) used only those words in his translation that are worthy for the Attributes and Qualities of Almighty Allah and of His beloved Rasool (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam).It is said that the translation of the Holy Quran by AlaHazrat (radi Allahu anhu) is not merely a literal translation, but is also the commentary of the Holy Quran.
AlaHazrat (radi Allahu anhu) was well versed in the ancient and modern branches of sciences. After observing his insight in science and mathematics ,Dr. Sir Ziauddin Ahmed remarked that Ahmed Raza richly deserved the Nobel Prize. Ahmad Raza has studied and criticized the views of Newton, Einstein and Galileo Galilee and has presented his researches before the modern world. His books Mu'een Mubeen, Nuzule Ayaat-e-Quran , Fauz-e-mubeen, and Al kalimatulmulhima, are concerned with such research. One of his famous books, Fauze mubeen dar rade harkate Zameen, using the Holy Quran 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. AlaHazrat (radi Allahu anhu) also disproved these theories. The Holy Qur'an is the Book of guidance as well as the Book of wisdom. In the epoch when the subdued Muslim intellectuals were trying to prove the scientific theories to be correct by making far fetched interpretations of the Qur'anic verses and were viewing the Qur'an in the light of science, it was only Imam Ahmed Raza who advised the world to view science in the light of The Holy Qur'an.
On Friday 25th Safar 1340/1921, he left this mundane world
for heaven. His mausoleum is situated at Bareilly (U.P., India)
His death anniversary is commemorated all over Indo-Pakistan Sub-continent on
24th and 25th Safar, and special issues of newspapers and periodicals are published.
May Almighty Allah shower his choicest blessings upon the Mazaar-e-Anwar of this great Saint of Islam.