An ode to Imam Ahmad Raza Khan (r.a)
If my heart would be split into two parts, you will find, ‘there is no God, but Allah engraved on one part and’ Prophet is his messenger’ on the other (malfuzat e Raza). It is not easy for anyone to assert himself in such a way. However, in 14th century Islamic world witnessed a personage namely Ahmad Raza Khan who stated so firmly. Ahmad Raza Khan, admirably known as ‘Ala-Hazrat’ was an extraordinary scholar, philosopher, jurist, theologian, and above all nonpareil lover of Beloved Muhammad (pbuh) in modern times.
Born in an enlightened family of Mufti Naqi Ali Khan on 14 June 1856 in Bareilly, India, Ahmad Raza Khan is one among few personages who have achieved eternity through their great religious contribution. In a brief lifespan of 65 years, he procured prominent status among Muslim scholars and left for heavenly abode on 28 October 1921. His tomb, located in Bareilly (a city in Uttar Pradesh) India is the spiritual center and focal point for Sunni Muslims of South Asia.
Owing to the home environment, Ala’hazrat showed vehemence for religion and astoundingly learned entire Quran at early childhood. At the age of 13, Ala’hazrat completed all traditional Islamic disciplines under the guidance of his father and wrote the first fatwa at this tender age. On reviewing the fatwa, his father Mufti Naqi Ali Khan authorized him to issue decrees and this continued until his demise. Many writers have mentioned in their books that Ala’hazrat had propensity for geometry in his childhood but father advised him to develop expertise in religious education that would inturn enhance his proficiency in all other fields. And later Ala’hazrat earned appreciations for his competence in other subjects as well, which include; mathematics, geography, economy etc. According to many writers, Ala’hazrat mastered about 70 different sciences. Ala’hazrat’s intellectual brilliance led noted scholar Dr. Ziya-ud-din to say, “So far I had only heard about ‘ilm’e ludni’ (Knowledge of non-manifested world) but today I have seen with my own eyes’ after getting the mathematical problem solved with Ala’hazrat’s assistance. However, Ala’hazrat achieved recognition worldwide for religious philosophy and his deep-rooted affection for Prophet (pbuh).
He has in his credit three distinguished works written in Urdu and partly in Arabic these are; Urdu translation of the Holy Quran titled as Kanz ul Iman, his voluminous Fatawa-ur-Rizwiyah- a collection of judicial opinions, and his anthology in the praise of Allah and His messenger Muhammad (pbuh). His Quranic translation is radically distinctive and without equal, which has been endorsed and appreciated by scholars around the globe. Many scholars wrote their thesis for Karachi University on his Quranic translation. Fatawa Ridviyah is another masterpiece of Ahmad Raza Khan that is divided into 12 volumes, each containing thousands of pages. Fatwa-e-Razvia is a glaring example of his command over all branches of Islamic studies, old and new sciences. The last one is his collection of religious poetry; Hadaiq-e-Bakhshish. Mian Syed Aal’e Rasool Nazmi writes; when we turn the pages of Hadaiq’e Bakhshish, we enter into the new world of language and expression. He further writes; Poets usually engaged into hairs of their beloved but what Ala’hazrat wrote is undoubtedly interpretation of Quran and Hadith. Ala’hazrat himself writes “Quran say meinnay naat goyi seekhi; yaney rahey ahkaam’I Shariat malhooz (I have learned Naatia poetry from the Quran, so that Islamic laws are kept in view).
In fact, Ala’hazrat utilized his poetic talent not for gaining popularity in literary circles, not to give pleasure to any materialistic entity, and not to give vent to worldly emotions, but only to please beloved Muhammad (pbuh). Literally, his only aim of life was to acquire closeness to Allah and His beloved. Once, various poets wrote poems in praise of the Duke of nanpara (District Bahraich, UP, India). Some people requested Ala’hazrat to do same, I.e., write a poem in duke’s reverence. To every one’s surprise, he wrote a Naat (Praise of Prophet Pbuh) with closing couplet; “Karun Madh’e ahl’e duwal Raza padey is bala mein meri bala; Mayn gada hun apnay Kareem ka mera deen para-e-naan nahein. Meaning- why should I admire the rich? I am a beggar of the court of the benevolent Rasool (Pbuh). A piece of bread is not my religion. Therefore, I will not flatter the worldly rulers, as I do not want to get anything from them’’.
Love of Prophet (Pbuh) has reflected in every aspect of his life, every angle of his thought, and every line of his writing. Ala’hazrat vigorously opposed the thought that he sensed sacrilegious towards Prophet (SAW). He forcefully confuted blasphemous statements. He wrote books as well spoke to disapprove every blasphemous opinion of blasphemers and always took an extreme stand against them as he writes; “Dushmaney Ahmad Pay Shidat Kijiye’’ (Castigate the foes of Prophet (pbuh).For this reason, some people often describe him ‘extremist’ .But factually, this ‘extremism’ is a sign of Ala’hazrat’s greatness. This ‘extremism’ is the indication of his committed love for Prophet (pbuh). Through his tough standpoint, as he mentions “Shrik Thehrey jis mein Tazeem’e Habeeb; Us Burey Mazhab pay lanat kijiye’, (Curse that religion where honoring Prophet (pbuh) is termed as polytheism) he clarified to the world that there could not be compromise over the act of disrespecting Prophet (pbuh). Even Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanwi, against whom Ala’hazrat issued decree of infidelity, agreed with the fact that it was Prophet’s (SAW) love that persuaded Ala’hazrat to write against us. Maulana Thanwi prayed for Ala’hazrat after news of his demise broke. Someone asked Maulana, are you praying for a person who issued a fatwa against you? .In reply to this, Maulana said, no doubt, Ala’hazrat has declared us ‘Infidel’ by wrongly considering us blasphemers, in true sense base of his fatwa is Prophet’s (pbuh) love, thus deserves an honor. Apart from Maulana Thanwi, many other scholars of different schools of thought exhibited deep reverence for him. Few of them are Maulana Anwar Shah Kashmiri, Abu ala Madudi, Allama Shabir Ah Usmani etc.
Although, even at present Ala’hazrat is most celebrated personality worldwide, yet he is considered as one of the most controversial figures. His personality has never been contentious but the people whose (false) claims were gainsaid by him have launched a malign campaign against him. They are busy in creating doubts about his credibility to keep their people aloof from the truth. In addition, those who have named their sect after Ala’hazrat’s name are also playing part in his defamation, indirectly. Rather than highlighting his religious contribution and his role in eradicating irreligious customs and traditions, they project him as a designer of every unlawful practice through their approach. Instead of spreading his message and striving for implementation of his teaching, they are making bread and butter by using his name. Otherwise, there is no doubt that Ala’hazrat is the torchbearer of truth. His mission is righteous, resting on the Islamic principles. Anyone who follows him ardently can justly achieve closeness to Allah and His beloved Messenger (Pbuh).
The writer tweets @zeeshan_rk, email id; firstname.lastname@example.org