Ahmed Raza Khan Barelvi

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Not to be confused with revolutionary Islamist Syed Ahmad Barelvi
Ahmed Raza Khan Barelvi
ا حمد رضا خا ن بریلوی
احمد رضا خان
Title Ala Hazrat
Born 14 June 1856[1]
Bareilly, North-Western Provinces, British Indian Empire
Died 28 October 1921(1921-10-28) (aged 65)
Muhallah Sodagraan, Bareilly, UP, British Indian Empire
Nationality British India
Era Modern era
Region South Asia
Religion Islam
Jurisprudence Hanafi[2]
Creed Sunni[2]
Main interest(s) Aqeedah, Fiqh, Tasawwuf

http://www.markaznews.com ,

http://imamahmadraza.net/, http://www.raza.org.za, http://www.alahazrat.net , http://www.irshad-ul-islam.com/
Part of a series on
The Barelvi movement
Tomb of Imam Ahmed Raza Khan Qadri
Founders and Central figures

Ahmed Raza Khan Barelvi
Peer Jamaat Ali Shah
Hamid Raza Khan
Mustafa Raza Khan Qadri
Maulana Abdul Hamid Qadri Badayuni
Muhammad Karam Shah al-Azhari
Mohammad Abdul Ghafoor Hazarvi
Shah Turab ul Haq


All India Sunni Conference
Tehreek-e-Khatme Nabuwwat
Shaheed Ganj Mosque
Movement against Shuddhi
Shah Bano Movement

Notable Scholars

Khwaja Qamar ul Din Sialvi
Shah Ahmad Noorani
Abdul Sattar Khan Niazi
Arshadul Qaudri
Shamsul-hasan Shams Barelvi
Sarfraz Ahmed Naeemi
Sahibzada Haji Muhammad Fazal Karim
Nurul Islam Farooqi

Ashraf Asif Jalali
Khadim Hussain Rizvi
Qamaruzzaman Azmi
Ameen Mian Qaudri
Sheikh Aboobacker Ahmed
Syed Shujaat Ali Qadri
Muhammad Arshad Misbahi
Hamid Saeed Kazmi
Yaseen Akhtar Misbahi
Mukarram Ahmad
Muhammad Saeed Noori
Akhtar Raza Khan


India Jamiatur Raza Bareilly
Manzar-e-Islam Bareilly
Al Jamiatul Ashrafia Azamgarh
Al-Jame-atul-Islamia Mau
Jamia-tul-Madina Global
Jamia Markazu Ssaquafathi Ssunniyya Kerala
Jamia Nizamia Hyderabad,

Pakistan Jamia Naeemia Lahore
Jamia Amjadia Rizvia
'United Kingdom Jamia Al-Karam
Al-Mustafa Islamic Cultural Centre Ireland

Literature and Notable Works

Kanzul Iman, Fatawa-e-Razvia
Bahar-e-Shariat, Husamul Haramain

Dawat e Islami

World Islamic Mission
Jamiat Ulema-e-Pakistan
Jamaat Ahle Sunnat
Sunni Tehreek
Sunni Ittehad Council
Majlis-e-Tahaffuz-e-Khatme Nabuwwat
Tanzeem ul Madaris
Raza Academy
Dargah-e-Ala Hazrat

Ahmed Raza Khan Barelvi (Urdu: احمد رضاخان بریلوی‎, Hindi: अहमद रज़ा खान, 14 June 1856 CE or 10 Shawwal 1272 AH – 28 October 1921 CE or 25 Safar 1340 AH), was a Sufi Muslim scholar and reformer in British India,[3] and the founder of the Barelvi movement.[4][5][6] Raza Khan wrote on numerous topics, including law, religion, philosophy and the sciences. He was a prolific writer, religious poet, Sufi mystic, Mufti (jurist) producing nearly 1,000 works in his lifetime.[5]

Early life and family[edit]

Ahmed Raza Khan Barelvi's father Naqi Ali Khan was the son of Raza Ali Khan.[7][8] Ahmed Raza Khan Barelvi, Naqi Ali Khan (Father),[9] and Raza Ali Khan (Paternal grandfather).[9] Ahmed Raza Khan Barelvi belonged to the Barech[7] tribe of Pushtuns. The Barech formed a tribal grouping among the Rohilla Pushtuns of North India who founded the state of Rohilkhand. The ancestors of Ahmed Raza Khan migrated from Qandahar during the Mughal rule and settled in Lahore.[7][8]

Ahmad Raza Khan was born on 14 June 1856 in Mohallah Jasoli, Bareilly Sharif, British India. His birth name is Muhammad.[10] Khan used the appellation "Abdul Mustafa" (slave [or servant] of Mustafa) prior to signing his name in correspondence.[11]

Bareilvi Sunnis Ahmed Raza Khan Barelvi, by his writings and fatwas, defended Sufi practices and traditional Islam.[12] His writings, work of his students and their organizations defended the peaceful-Sufi version of Islam. Ahmed Raza Khan is regarded as Imam-e-Ahl-e-Sunnat (Leader of the Ahl-e-Sunnat) and Ala'hazrat.

This movement was founded when Ahmed Raza Khan Qadri saw an intellectual and moral decline of Muslims in British India.[13] It was a mass movement, defending popular Sufism, which grew in response to the influence of Deobandi and Wahabi extremist movement.[14]

Today the movement is spread across the globe with a huge number of followers in Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, South Africa, United States, and UK among other countries. The movement now has followers over 200 million[15] Muslims. Many religious schools, organizations and research institutions have been established that work on the teachings of Ahmed Raza Khan.[16]

The movement of Ahmed Raza Khan emphasizes primacy of Islamic law over adherence to Sufi practices and personal devotion to the Prophet Muhammad. Since partition of India and Pakistan in 1947, has addressed leading political issues for Muslims. The movement was largely a rural phenomenon when begun, but currently popular among urban, educated Pakistanis and Indians as well as South Asian diaspora throughout the world.[17]



Ahmed Raza Khan wrote several books on various topics in Arabic, Persian and Urdu, including the thirty-volume fatwa compilation Fatawa Razaviyya, and Kanzul Iman (translation of the Qur'an). Several of his books have been translated in other European and South Asian languages.[18][19]

Classification of 549 recovered books written by Ahmed Raza Khan:

Alt text

His main works include:

Kanzul Iman (translation of the Qur'an)[edit]

Kanzul Iman (Urdu and Arabic: کنزالایمان) is a 1910 Urdu paraphrase translation of the Qur'an by the Imam of Sunni Muslims Ahmad Raza Khan. It is associated with the Hanafi jurisprudence within Sunni Islam[20] and is considered widely read version of translation in the Subcontinent. It has been subsequently translated into other European and South Asian languages including English, Hindi, Bengali, Dutch, Turkish, Sindhi, Gujarati and Pashto.[19]

Husamul Haramain[edit]

Title Cover of Husamul Haramain

Husamul Haramain or Husam al Harmain Ala Munhir kufr wal myvan (The Sword of the Haramayn at the throat of unbelief and falsehood) 1906, is a treatise written by Ahmad Raza Khan which declared infidels the founders of Deobandi, Ahle Hadith and Ahmadiyya movement on basis of what he considered to be the proper veneration of the Prophet Muhammad and finality of Prophethood in their writings and various book.[21][22][23][24] In defense of his verdict Imam Ahmad Raza Khan obtain confirmatory signatures from 268 traditional Sunni scholars in the South Asia,[25] and also got agreement from a number of ulama in Mecca and Medina. The treatise is published in Arabic, Urdu, English, Turkish and Hindi languages.[26]

Fatawa Radawiyyah[edit]

Fatawa Radawiyyah

Fatawa-e-Razvia or Fatawa-e-Radaviyyah is the main fatwa (Islamic verdicts on various issues) book of his movement.[27][28] It has been published in 30 volumes and in approx. 22,000 pages. It contains solution to daily problems from religion to business and from war to marriage.[29][30]

Hadayake Bakhshish[edit]

Book Title of Poetry by Ahmed Raza Khan.

He wrote devotional poetry in praise of Prophet and always discussed him in present tense.[31] His Na`at (Islamic poetry) is compiled in the book named Hidayake Bakhshish.[32] It includes the poems, which deal for the most part with the qualities of the Prophet, often have a simplicity and directness.[33] His emphasis on the spiritual life of the Prophet created a favorable climate for na'at writing.[34] His Urdu couplets titled, Mustafa jaane rahmat pe lakhon salaam (Millions of salutations on Mustafa, the Paragon of mercy) is read in movements mosques. It contains praise of the Prophet, his physical appearance (verses 33 to 80), his life and times, praise of his family and companions, praise of the awliya and saleheen (the saints and the pious).[35][36]

His other works include:[5][19]

  • Ad Daulatul Makkiya Bil Madatul Ghaibiya
  • Al Mu'tamadul Mustanad
  • Al Amn o wa Ula
  • Alkaukabatush Shahabiya
  • Al Istimdaad
  • Al Fuyoozul Makkiyah
  • Al Meeladun Nabawiyyah
  • Fauze Mubeen Dar Harkate Zameen
  • Subhaanus Subooh
  • Sallus Say yaaful Hindiya
  • Ahkaam-e-Shariat
  • Az Zubdatuz Zakkiya
  • Abna ul Mustafa
  • Tamheed-e-Imaan
  • Angotthe Choomne ka Masla


Ahmed Raza Khan was A Muslim scholar, belonging to Sufi traditions. He supported Tawassul, Mawlid, Knowledge of Unseen for Prophet and other Sufi practices which were opposed by Wahabi and Deobandis.[31] [37] [38]

In this context he supported the following beliefs:

  • Muhammad, although insan-e-kamil (perfect human), possessed a nūr or "light" that predates creation. This contrasts with the Deobandi view that Muhammad, was only a insan-e-kamil ("complete man"), a respected but physically typical human just like other humans.[39][40]
  • Muhammad is haazir naazir (can be present in many places at the same time by the power given by Allah, :[41]

We do not hold that anyone can equal the knowledge of Allah Most High, or possess it independently, nor do we assert that Allah's giving of knowledge to the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) is anything but a part. But what a patent and tremendous difference between one part [the Prophet's] and another [anyone else's]: like the difference between the sky and the earth, or rather even greater and more immense.

— Ahmed Raza Khan, al-Dawla al-Makkiyya (c00), 291.

He passed following judgements with regard to certain practices and faith in his book Fatawa-e-Razvia.[42][43] [44]

  • Islamic Law Shari'ah is the ultimate law and following it is obligatory for all Muslims;
  • To refrain from Bid'ah is of utmost importance;
  • A Sufi without knowledge or a Shaykh without actions is a tool in the hands of the devil;
  • It is impermissible to imitate the Kuffar, to mingle with the misguided [and heretics] and to participate in their festivals.

Opposition to other sects[edit]

Khan declared as infidels the founders of Deobandi, Ahle Hadith, Wahabi and Ahmadiyya sects on the basis of what he considered to be the proper veneration of the Prophet Muhammad and finality of Prophethood in their writings and various book.[21][22][23][24] In defense of his verdict Imam Ahmad Raza Khan obtained confirmatory signatures from 268 traditional Sunni scholars in the South Asia,[25] and also got agreement from a number of leading ulama in Mecca and Medina.[23]


Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian claimed to be the Promised Messiah and Mahdi awaited by some Muslims as well as a Ummati Nabi, a subordinate prophet to Muhammad who came to restore Islam to the Pristine form as practiced by Muhammad and early Sahaba.[45][46] Ahmed Raza Khan branded Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Qadiani a heretic and apostate and called him and his followers kuffar.[47]


When Ahmed Raza visited Mecca and Medina for pilgrimage in 1905, he prepared a draft document entitled Al Motamad Al Mustanad ("The Reliable Proofs"). In this work, Ahmad Raza branded Deobandi leaders such as Ashraf Ali Thanwi, Rashid Ahmad Gangohi, and Muhammad Qasim Nanotwi and those who followed them as kuffar. Ahmed Raza Khan collected opinions of the ulama of the Hejaz and compiled them in an Arabic language compendium with the title, Husam al Harmain ("The Sword of Two Sanctuaries"), a work containing 34 verdicts from 33 ulama (20 Meccan and 13 Medinese). This work, initiated a reciprocal series of fatwas between Barelvis and Deobandis lasting to the present.[48]


Khan wrote various books against beliefs and faith of Shia community and declared various practices of Shia as Kufr (Infidelity).[49] According to Imam Ahmad Raza, most Shiites of his day were apostates because they, according to him, repudiated necessities of religion.[50][51]


Ahmed Raza Khan declared Wahabis as Kuffar and collected many fatwas of various scholars against the Wahabbi Movement founded by Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab who was predominant in the Arabian peninsula, just as he had done with the Ahmadis and Deobandis.[52]

Political views[edit]

Unlike other Muslim leaders in the region at the time, Khan and his movement opposed the Indian independence movement due to its leadership under Mahatma Gandhi, who was not a Muslim.[53]

Khan declared that India is darul Islam and here Muslims enjoys religious freedom, they are free to practice Islam. He said that Government has not imposed restrictions and prohibitions to follow Islam. According to him those arguing the contrary merely wanted to take advantage of the provisions allowing Muslims living under non- Muslim rule to collect interest from commercial transactions and had no desire to fight Jehad or perform Hijrat.[54] Therefore, he opposed labeling British India to be Dar al-Harb ("land of war"), which meant that waging holy war jehad and migration from India Hijrat were inadmissible as they would cause disaster to the community. The Fatawa of Deobandi Ulema on the other hand were ambiguous and contrary. Qasim Nanotwi declared India darul harab for the obligation of hijrat but darul Islam for the purpose of usury transactions. Rashid Ahmed Gangohi's decree are also confusing and non committal. This stand of Imam Ahmed Raza Qadri was similar to another reformer Sir Syed Ahmed Khan and Ubaidullah Ubaidi Suharwardy.[55]

Until just before the dawn of the British Raj, the Muslim League mobilized the Muslim masses to campaign for Pakistan[56] and many of Ahmed Raza Khan's followers played a significant and active role in the Pakistan Movement at educational and political fronts.[57]


  • On 21 June 2010, Muhammad al-Yaqoubi, a leading cleric and Sufi from Syria, declared on Takbeer TV's programme Sunni Talk that the Mujaddid of the Indian subcontinent was Ahmed Raza Khan Barelvi, and said that a follower of Ahlus Sunnah wal Jamaah can be identified by his love of Khan, and that those outside of that those outside the Ahlus Sunnah are identified by their attacks on him.[58]
  • Muhammad Iqbal (1877–1938), renowned poet and philosopher, said: "I have carefully studied the decrees of Imam Ahmed Raza and thereby formed this opinion; and his Fatawa bear testimony to his acumen, intellectual caliber, the quality of his creative thinking, his excellent jurisdiction and his ocean-like Islamic knowledge. Once Imam Ahmed Raza forms an opinion he stays firm on it; he expresses his opinion after a sober reflection. Therefore, the need never arises to withdraw any of his religious decrees and judgments. With all this, by nature he was hot tempered, and if this was not in the way, then Shah Ahmed Raza would have been the Imam Abu Hanifa of his age."[59] In another place he says, "Such a genius and intelligent jurist did not emerge."[60]
  • Yusuf an-Nabhani (1849–1932), Mufti of Lebanon, upon reading the judgments of Khan, declared that he was a "giant Imam" and well learned man who was an expert in the sciences. Ismail Makki, Librarian of the Makkah Haram Library, said that Khan was the absolute Shaykh of all teachers. ‘Ali bin Hassan Maliki, Mufti of Mecca, called Khan the encyclopaedia of all religious sciences.[44]


Ahmed Raza Khan barelvi died on 28 October 1921 CE (25th Safar 1340h) at the age of 65, in his home at Bareilly, India city on Friday.[44]

Legacy and Influences[edit]

Spiritual successors and Silsila Qadriya Razaviya[edit]

Ahmed Raza Khan holds ijaza (permission to add people in a Silsila) in many Sufi salasils recorded as 8,[64] however the most important of them he held was of the Qadri silsila.

He was bayt under the hands of Shah Aale Rasul of Mahrera, India in the Qadriya Barkatiya silsila and this made him add Qadri at the end of his name.

Many of the followers of Ahmed Raza also bayt in the same Qadri silsila as that of him, known primarily as the Qadriya Razavia sislila.These includes the Mufti azam of India Akhtar Raza Qadri, famous Dawateislami founder Ilyas Qadri , founder of SDI Shakir Noorie and others.

There were many Mureeds (Disciples) and Khulafa (successors) of A'la Hadrat. They are 35 are in the other parts of the world and 30 in Indo-Pak Sub-Continent.[65][66] All of these sum up to more than 200 successors.[67]

Few of his Successor are:

  • Maulana Hasan Raza Khan (The younger brother)
  • Maulana Muhammad Raza Khan (Do)
  • Maulana Hamid Raza Khan (elder son)
  • Maulana Syed Ahmad Ashraf
  • Maulana Zafruddin
  • MUhaddithe Azam-e-Hind Syed Muhammad Kichhauchhavi.
  • Maulana Abdul Ahad
  • Maulana Hasnain Raza Khan (Nephew)
  • Maulana Sultan Ahmad
  • Maulana syed Ameer Ahmad
  • Maulana Hafiz Yaqeenuddin
  • Maulana Abdul Kareem
  • Syed Noor Ahmad Chaatgami
  • Maulana Munauwar Hussain
  • Maulana waizuddin
  • Maulana Abdul Rasheed
  • Maulana Ghulam Muhammad Bihari
  • Hakeem Syed Aziz Ghaus
  • Nawab Mirza
  • Maulana Abul Hasnaat Qadri
  • Maulana Qalander Ali Suharwardi
  • Maulana Syed Ayub Ali Razvi
  • Arsalan Raza Qadri
  • Maulana Abul Barkaat Qadri
  • Maulana Muhammad Hussaini Firozpuri[68]

See also[edit]


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Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]