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Ahmed Rida Khan

Ahmad Raza Khan or Ahmed Rida Khan (1856-1921) was a Sunni Muslim scholar and founder of Barelwi school of thought. He written many books on a vast range of topics covering religion, science and philosophy. A collection of fatwas by the title of Fatawa Ridawiyya, is his magnus opus.

Early Life

Ahmad Raza Khan was born in 14th of June, 1856 CE 1272 AH in Bareilly, Rohilkhand, British India, a city now in Uttar Pradesh, India. His mother named him Amman Miyān, father Ahmed Miyān while grand father named Ahmed Raza but he didn't satisfy on any of these names and personally called and written himself Abdul Mustafa in various occasions and in correspondences.

His father, Mawlānā Naqī Áli Khān, was an Alim of his time. He studies Islamic sciences and complete the traditionl dars-e nizami course under the supervision and tutelage of his father. He did not proceed to take a formal course at any dar al-ulum.

Intellectual and Literary Achievements

Translation of Quran

Ahmad Raza Khan has translated the Quran into Urdu first published in 1912 under the title of Kanz al-Iman fi Tarjuma al-Qur’an. The original manuscript is preserved in the library of “Idara Tahqiqat-i-Imam Ahmad Riza”, Karachi.

The translation provides simple, idiomatic and appropriate Urdu. The Sunni savants of the entire world recognize his translation as a standard one.

Many sholars managed and complied dozen books on the comparative study of "Kanz al-Iman". Few names are giving below:

1. Allama Ghulam Rasùl Saeedi 2. Qari Riza-ul-Mustafa Azmi 3. Prof. Dr. Majeedullah Qadri of Karachi University

Compilation of Hadiths

Ahmad Raza Khan has written several books on the subject of collection and compilation of Hadiths.

The savants of Arabic have accepted the intellect of Ahmad Raza in this field. Applauding the ability of Ahmad Raza in the science of Hadith, Shaykh Yasin Ahmad Khyari al-Madni has observed about Ahmad Raza as "Huwa Imam-ul-Muhadduthin" (the leader of Muhaddethin). Allama Muhammad Zafar al-Din Rizawi has compiled a collection of traditions quoted by Ahmad Raza in his books in several volumes. The second volume has been published from Hyderabad, Sindh with the title of "Sahih al-Bihari" in 1992 containing 960 pages. Mr. Khalid al-Hamidi of Jamia Millia of Delhi writing his doctoral dissertation of ulamà of sub-continent to Hadith literature. In this dissertation the author has mentioned more than forty books/treatises of Ahmad Raza on Hadith literature.

Fatwas

Ahmad Raza Khan was a mufti of international repute. Questions for fatwa from every corner of the world were received by Ahmad Raza Khan, who replied them explicitly with ample references and quotations from Qur'an, Hadith and other authentic books of Islamic religion and science. In this field, Ahmed Raza Khan has written a number of books and booklets on a number of issues. But his masterpiece is Fatawa Ridawiyya which runs in 12 volumes and each volume is spread over 1000 pages. It can be called a dictionary of Fatwas and an encyclopedia of Muslim jurisprudence.

Dr Hasan Raza Khan presented his thesis on "The place of Ahmad Raza Khan in Islamic jurisprudence", which was accepted by Patna University, India and a degree of doctorate was conferred on Dr. Hasan Raza Khan. Conceding the intellect of Ahmad Raza Khan, Justice D. F. Mulla, a Parsi Judge of Bombay High Court observed that in India and Pakistan, two great books were written on Fiqh - one "Fatawà-i-Alamgiri" and the other Fatawa Ridawiyya. An uncommon feature of Fatawa Ridawiyya is that it is hailed by among friends and foes alike.

Claims about authoring 1000 books

Even after writing a single book on a single subject, one becomes an author. Those who have had to their credit a dozen of books or so, they are usually known as great authors. But about Ahmed Rida Khan, who has written hundreds of books on various subjects? More or less, he has written one thousand books and treatises on fifty-five subjects as revealed by Mufti Ijaz Wali Khan Shaykh al-Hadith Jami‘a Nizamiyya Rizawaiyy, Lahore, in al-Mu‘tamid al-Mustanad, (Turkey).

Allama Zafar al-din Rizawi had presented the bibliographical data of A'lahazrat in his book al-Mujmal al-Mu‘addid li Talifat al-Mujaddid (1327/1909), Dr. Hasan Riza ‘Azami also has given details of writings (Urdu, Persian, Arabic) of A‘lahazrat in his doctoral dissertation an A‘lahazrat. Dr. Majeedullah Qadri of Karachi University (Sindh, Pakistan) has given the details of A‘lahazrat’s contribution to various rational and traditional branches of knowledge in his doctoral dissertation on A‘lahazrat. Dr. Muhammad Mas‘ud Ahmad has collected the titles of books and treatises of A‘lahazrat. This list may exceed to one thousand books/treatises after completion. Mawlana Abdul Mubin Nu‘mani of al-Majma‘ al-Islami (Mubarakpur, India) has also compiled a book on the academic and literary contributions of A'lahazrat — rational and traditional branches of knowledge. The monthly al-Mizan (Bombay) and the monthly Qari (Delhi) have given the same details in their special issues on A‘lahazrat in 1976 and 1989 respectively. And now some scholars are collecting the data of those scholars and writers who have written or are writing on A‘lahazrat. Dr. Muhammad Mas‘ud Ahmad, R.B. Mazhari, Prof. Fayyaz Ahmad Khan Kawish, Ijaz Ashraf Anjum etc., are prominent compilers. In the light of these researches we came to this conclusion that A‘lahazrat was a unique author of his time. Hardly would there be any savant throughout the world except Imam Al-Suyuti, who might have written so many books.

Research Works

Ahmed Rida Khan has researched in various fields. Whatever he went into, he went to the full depth of it.

(1) Wuzu is the act of washing the parts of the body, which are generally exposed, in a prescribed manner. For making Wuzu, water is required. But water is a wide term. Which type of water is fit for making Wuzu and which type of water is unfit for the purpose. Such a question came up for consideration before Ahmad Raza Khan. In 1915, he wrote a separate treatise over this issue. He has described 160 kinds of water; the Wuzu is permissible to make with. Besides, the water with which Wuzu cannot be made; he has given 146 kinds thereof. Thus, in all, he has described 306 kinds of water.

(2) Tayammum is an alternative of Wuzu or ghusl (bath) made without water under certain circumstances. Ahmad Raza Khan has drawn a list of 181 things fit to be used for Tayammum. He has given a separate list of 130 things unfit for the purpose.

(3) Mawlana Zafar al-din Rizawi has written a biography of Ahmad Raza Khan, in which he states that “he himself was able to fill up the "Naqsh-i-Murabba" (a sixteen column quadrilateral) by 1152 methods”. He further states that Ahmad Raza from whom he learnt this art, knew to fill it up by 2300 methods. Nowadays, the position is that one who knows to fill it even by 16 types, thinks himself to be a perfect Master. The Mawlana has written a book in which he has practically shown 1152 different ways of filling up the Naqsh.

(4) Once someone asked Ahmad Raza Khan if there were only 99 names of Muhammad. He replied: "About 800 names of Holy Prophet are usually found in the books. I have been able to gather up to 1400 names and God knows better the exact number."

(5) Hazrat Imam Hussain proceeded from Mecca for Kerbala Iraq on 3rd Zilhij and reached there on 2nd of Moharram. Some of the people raise an objection to it. According to them, it was impossible for Hazrat Imam Hussain to reach Kerbala from Mecca within such a short time, particularly when in those days the caravans used to proceed only on horses and camels.

On this point, Ahmad Raza Khan made a full research. He pointed out that the caravan of Hazrat Imam Hussain proceeded on horses. He also pointed out the various kinds of horses. He even pointed out the number of horses in the fleet, their individual races, and various routes through which the caravan proceeded. He went to the extent of pointing out the respective distances and the aggregate distance from Mecca to Kerbala, the different kinds or routes, the holy caravan, passed through — sandy, stony and otherwise. He pointed out the different speeds of different horses. He pointed out their speeds vis-à-vis the kinds of routes. He pointed out the time to be taken by a particular horse of a particular race on a particular route. Thus, after making a thorough research, the "thorough-bred researcher" proved fully that the caravan of Hazrat Imam Hussain having proceeded from Mecca on 3rd Zilhij carrying horses of such and such races passing through such and such routes, must have reached Kerbala only on 2nd Moharram and so it came to be.

Works in Physics

The earth moves constantly about its own axis and also round the sun, which is stationary. This theory espoused by Nicolaus Copernicus, Johannes Kepler and Galileo Galilei, gained popularity all over the world. The theory says that the speed of rotation of earth is 1036 miles per hour i.e. 17.26 miles per minute i.e.30389 yards per minute i.e.506.4 yards per second. Against this theory, nobody could speak. It was A‘lahazrat who challenged it and declared:-

"The Islamic principle is that the sky and earth are stationary and the planets rotate. It is sun that moves round the earth; it is not earth that moves round the sun."

In order to substantiate it, A‘lahazrat put forward two-tier arguments. First, he quoted a number of verses from Qur’an and Hadith, the translation of some of which is given below:

1. The movement of Sun and Moon is according to a course.

2. The sun and the moon are sailing within a circle.

3. The moon and the sun were besieged for you which are constantly moving.

[For detailed study, please see "Nuzool-i-Ayat-i-Furqan Besukoon-i-Zameen-o-Aasman" of A‘lahazrat written in 1339 A.H, published from Riza Academy, Bombay.]

In light of Qur’an and Hadith, the theory of rotation of earth is absolutely wrong. Such arguments were more than enough for Muslims but for Muslims only. For others, A‘lahazrat presented a number of arguments based on scientific understanding — technical and otherwise. A‘lahazrat wrote several books on this subject. In 1920, he presented his book "Fauz-i-Mubin Dar Radd-i-Harkat-i-Zamin", Published from Idara Sunni Dunia, Saudagran, Bareilly. This book contains 105 arguments, dozens of diagrams and lots of calculations in refuting the said theory. Out of 105, I am giving below gist of only five logical and axiomatic arguments which are quite easy and which can be understood by a man of average intelligence.

1. If a heavy stone is thrown up straight, it would fall on the same place from where it was thrown, whereas according to the theory of movement of earth, it must not happen. According to it, if the earth were moving towards east, the stone would fall in west because during the time it went up and came down, that place of earth from where the stone was thrown up, due to movement of earth, would slip away towards east. Suppose, the process of stone going up and coming down took a time of 5 seconds, then according to the said speed of movement of earth, that is, 506.4 yards per second, the earth would slip away towards east by 2532 yards i.e. about one and a half miles In other words, the stone must fall in the west of that place (place of throwing up the stone) at a distance of about one and a half miles but actually it would fall on the same place from where it was thrown up. It shows that the said theory of movement of Earth is wrong.

2. If two stones are thrown away at the same time and with the same power — one towards east and the other towards west, then what should happen according to the said theory of movement of earth, is that the stone going towards west must appear to be going very fast and that the stone going towards east very lazy. Suppose the power of throwing the stone is 19 yards within three seconds, then the respective stones would fall in the east and west at a distance of 19 yards only but according to the said theory, by the time the westward stone would cover a distance of 19 yards in three seconds, the place from where the stones were thrown, would slip away towards east by 1519 yards (506.4 x 3) In this way, it must fall at a distance of 1519+19 i.e. 1538 yards, whereas it would actually fall only at a distance of 19 yards. Similarly, the other stone going towards east must fall in the west at a distance of 1519-19 i.e. 1500 yards, whereas actually it would fall in the very east at a distance of 19 yards only. It shows that the said theory of Movement of Earth is wrong.

3. Suppose, from a tree, two birds fly with equal speed and for equal period, one of them goes towards east and the other towards west. Now if their flying speed is equal to the speed of movement of earth, that is, if they fly at a speed of 1036 miles per hour, then according to the said theory, bird going towards west must fly at a speed of 1036+1036 i.e. 2072 miles per hour (being its own speed added by the speed of movement of earth), while the bird going towards east would not be able to move even an inch as its speed after adjusting the speed of movement of earth (both being equal) would become zero. On the contrary, what would actually happen is that the bird going eastward would go in the east to a distance of 1036 miles during an hour and the bird going westward would go in the west at a distance of 1036 miles. It shows that the said theory of movement of Earth is wrong.

For a bird, the abnormal speed of flight of 1036 miles per hour has been assumed only to bring it parallel to the speed of movement of earth and simply to prove that according to the said theory, the bird flying towards east would not be able to cover any distance even if it comes abreast of a plane in the matter of speed and flies at a rate of 1036 miles per hour.

4. If it is intended to kill a bird appearing at a distance of 10 yards in the air from a particular place and suppose it takes two seconds in stringing the bow and shooting the arrow, then by the time the arrow is shot, that particular place would slip away within these two seconds at a distance of 1013 yards at a speed of 506.4 yards per second being the speed of movement of earth and thus the arrow can never reach the target, whereas it may be taken for granted that the arrow would hit the target. It shows that the theory of movement of Earth is wrong.

5. If a bird is sitting on a pillar near its nest just at a distance of one yard, even then it can never reach the nest, because in order to reach the nest, the bird shall have to fly — may it be for a second or part thereof. The fact is that, the bird can never surpass the speed of 1036 miles per hour, which is said to be the speed of movement of earth. It shows that the theory of Movement of the Earth is wrong.

Need you go yet for further arguments? Go on thinking over plane, gun, cannon, missile squad and so forth.

Thus, it's easy to come to the conclusion that a person who challenged the great scientists like Copernicus, Kepler, Galileo, Newton etc, must have been a great scientist himself. What is required to disprove the theories of these scientists, A‘lahazrat has done ahead of it but sooner or later its credit will be bagged by someone else who will win the fight in the name of a scientist for, Ahmed Rida Khan is better known as a Muslim theologian rather than a scientist.

Works in Astronomy

Thrilling news appeared in the English Daily "Express" of 18th October 1919 published from Bankipur, Patna (Bihar). It was regarding a unique and dreadful forecast made by Prof. Albert of USA, who happened to be an astronomer and mathematician of international repute. Its gist was as under:-

"On 17th December, 1919, six planets which are most powerful viz. Jupiter, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Saturn and Neptune will be in conjunction and the Sun will come in opposite direction of these planets. These planets will fetch the sun towards them with all their gravity. The result will be that the magnetic properties of these planets will pierce into the sun and it will inflict a hole into the sun, which will be in the shape of a big dagger. And, such a stain on the sun will be visible which everybody would see on 17th December 1919 with naked eyes. Prof. Albert further predicted that conjunction of such planets, which was not witnessed for the last twenty centuries, would cause disorder in the air and it would bring about big storms, terrible rains and powerful earthquakes. The earth will return to its normal position after several weeks."

The news spread like wild fire. Panic gripped the whole world. Some of the Muslims fell prey to it as well. Mawlana Zafaruddin of Bihar, a disciple and caliph of A‘lahazrat apprised A‘lahazrat of such forecast of Prof. Albert. Thereupon, A‘lahazrat wrote an article belying the forecast tooth and nail brandishing it as baseless and bogus, which was published in the Monthly "Al Riza" from Bareilly. This contradictory article too gained equal publicity. A‘lahazrat was challenging Prof. Albert. A Mawlawi was challenging an astronomer. An Indian was challenging an American. It was towards the middle of November and the people were waiting impatiently for 17th December. In order to allay the fear on the part of his Muslim brethren, A‘lahazrat rose to the occasion and chose to get his article published. A‘lahazrat consoled the frightened Muslims and advised them:-

"Muslims: be afraid of Allah. Don't be afraid of Albert. His forecast is false and baseless. It is neither desirable nor permissible for you to pay any heed to it". Interestingly enough, A‘lahazrat gave as many as seventeen arguments to disprove the said forecast. The arguments advanced by A‘lahazrat are astronomical and technical. Men of common understanding cannot understand. So, it is of no use to reproduce them in full. However, those who can and those who wish to make a deep study of these arguments, may please go through the booklet "Prof. Albert F. Porta Ki Peshin Goi Ka Rad" published from Maktaba Gharib Nawaz, Allahabad.

However, to present something for a common man, it would be apt to point out that A‘lahazrat argued vehemently that the very basis of such a forecast was wrong. The forecast was based on the principle that "sun is stationary and the earth moves around the sun". In the light of Holy Qur’an, A‘lahazrat declared:- "The sun and moon do move according to their course. They are sailing within a circle. It is earth (not sun) that is stationary around which the sun and other planets revolve".

According to the working of Prof. Albert, the mutual distance of six planets as on 17th December 1919 worked out to 26 degree, whereas A‘lahazrat presented a detailed chart depicting the real position of such planets as on 17th December, according to which, such mutual distance worked out to 112 degree. There was such a lot of difference between the two.

Prof. Albert gave all the weight to Law of Gravitation. Confuting it, A‘lahazrat argued that the said conjunction did not conform with the Law of Gravitation as well. Either of the two shall have to be discarded then. Have all the planets made a pact to attack the sun alone? Why will they not attack each other, A‘lahazrat quipped. If the Law of Gravitation is correct, it is bound to affect all — more effect upon what is nearer and sharper effect upon what is weaker. When the attack of six planets can cause such an injury to the sun, then why the Saturn could not be destroyed by the gravity of the remaining five planets, especially when the Saturn is smaller than Sun by thousand times, A‘lahazrat asked.

Mars is smaller than Saturn. Mercury is the smallest of all. So in this way, these are bound to be shattered into pieces. What an absurd it is to believe that the weaker might not suffer at all and the strongest (sun) will lose the battle, A‘lahazrat argued. Even on the basis of the Law of Gravitation, there can be no such conjunction of planets, A‘lahazrat declared. That is, A‘lahazrat beat Albert from both ends.

By and by, the time passed and the crucial day of 17th December arrived. As the sun rose, the panic-stricken people began to take it as Doomsday event. The routine life went to standstill. Clouds of horror hovered heavily. Some people laid hope in Albert. Some people laid hope in A‘lahazrat. The names of Albert and Ahmed Rida Khan were running on the lips and tips of one and all. By grace of Allah, the day went off peacefully, the sun set setting the pandemonium at rest. Nothing untoward took place anywhere. The position of Albert was all burst.

Everybody witnessed that what A‘lahazrat had observed and declared, came true word by word. It bagged three cheers for A‘lahazrat. Prof. Albert also conceded the talent of A‘lahazrat in the field of astronomy.

Works in Mathematics

Prof. Zia al-din was the Vice Chancellor of Aligarh Muslim University and Sayyid Sulayman Ashraf was Professor of Islamic Studies. Prof. Zia al-din was a noted Mathematician of India. Once he got confused over a question of Mathematics. The question was so complicated that despite all efforts, it remained unsolved. Insofar as, Prof. Zia al-din made up his mind to go to Germany in order to consult his German counterparts. Meanwhile, Prof. Sulayman Ashraf advised him to approach A‘lahazrat at Bareilly on this issue. Prof. Zia al-din raised certain queries about A‘lahazrat. On being told that A‘lahazrat was Mawlānā(Mawlawi), he paid no heed and began to make all arrangements for his trip to Germany.

However, Prof. Sulayman Ashraf did not change his stand and went on insisting that he should visit Bareilly. Upon this, Prof. Zia al-din said: "I admit what you say. I admit that he is a great man. But it is not a question of Islamic science; it is a question of mathematics. What has a Mawlawi to do with mathematics? What a deriding it is to go to him for such a question which is a gordian knot even for mathematicians." Even so Prof. Sulayman Ashraf did not retract at all and argued: "As compared to Germany, Bareilly is at an arm’s length and direct train is there. What ails you if you go there first for my sake? If you get satisfaction, all well. If not, you are at liberty to proceed to Germany or anywhere you like." Then, Prof. Zia al-din said: "If you so insist, let me see A‘lahazrat".

Finally both the gentlemen reached Bareilly and met Ahmed Rida Khan. A‘lahazrat was running somewhat indisposed. However, A‘lahazrat asked Prof. Zia al-din, "What brings you here?" "In connection with a question of mathematics", he replied. "What is that", A‘lahazrat asked. Prof. Zia al-din said: "The question is not so easy. I shall tell you when you are at ease," "Even so, what is that?" — A‘lahazrat remarked. Prof. Zia al-din then went on putting up his lengthy and uphill question. By the time the question was finished A‘lahazrat replied forthwith: "Its answer is such and such." Hearing the answer at such a slip shod, Prof. Zia al-din was all-agape. He was overwhelmed with the charisma of A‘lahazrat’s talent. He said: "I heard of Ilm-i-Ladunni(inspired knowledge) but today I have seen it with my own eyes. Glorious mathematicians are vainglorious. The real genius is A‘lahazrat who took no time to solve an insoluble question for which I have been languishing since long." Prof. Zia al-din, thus, took a sigh of relief and thanked Prof. Sulayman Ashraf for his kind and fruitful guidance.

Works in Economic Field

Economics is the science of wealth, as says Adam Smith, who is called the Father of Economics. Adam Smith wrote a book entitled "Wealth of Nations" which was published in 1776. For centuries, this subject was taken as dry and no interest was shown in it. It was only around 1940 when this subject gained popularity. International depression was the main cause behind it. During the time of A‘lahazrat (1856-1921) Economics was a subject, which was not given much importance. Nevertheless, A‘lahazrat through his book published in 1912, presented four peerless points for the economic development of Muslim brethren. These are:

1. Barring the affairs wherein Government is involved, the Muslims should decide all their disputes mutually so that millions of rupees, which are being spent over litigations, may be saved.

2. The affluent Muslims of Bombay(Mumbai, Calcutta, Rangoon, Madras and Hyderabad should open banks for other poor Muslims.

3. Muslims should not purchase anything from anybody except Muslims.

4. The sciences of Islam should be propagated and publicized.

At the instance Prof. Rafiullah Siddiqui Chairman Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education Hyderabad (Sindh), has written an article "Fazil-i-Bareillvi Kay Char Ma‘ashi Nikaàt", published from Maktaba-i-Chashm-i-Rahmat, Balrampur (UP), India. Prof. Siddiqui has beautifully explained all the four points at length; I have had all the appreciation for Prof. Siddiqui and his article.

Through his first point, Ahmed Rida Khan has propounded the theory of savings. He has realized the significance of savings and has made people to realize it. In most of the under-developed countries, the rate of saving varies from 5 to 8%. Now the economic experts have declared that for economic development of the country, saving to the tune of 15% of the national income is a must. The importance of savings over-shadowed the world in 1936 when Lord J.M. Keynes of England presented his "Theory of Savings & Investment", which proved successful in overcoming the international depression. In short, according to Keynes, saving is all. It is equal to investment according to his Equation. Thus, more saving, more investment; more investment, more development. For this theory of Saving & Investment, Prof. J. M. Keynes was honored by England and the most prestigious title of "Lord" was conferred on him. Prof. Rafiullah Siddiqui has so nicely and so rightly quipped that Prof. J. M. Keynes was honored in 1936 for what was already pointed out by A‘lahazrat in 1912. Who deserved and who bagged the honor, is thus to be seen. Yet, it may be taken for granted that A‘lahazrat would not accept such an honor from British even if he were presented one.

Secondly, A‘lahazrat presented the theory of opening banks. Needless to mention that banks in the eyes of A‘lahazrat were meant to be interest-free banks. History of banking is known to all of us. A‘lahazrat suggested and talked of opening banks at a time when banks played no significant role in the country. In 1912, there were only a few banks in India, in big cities, and nobody could foresee then that after a lapse of three or four decades, the importance of banks would assume so much proportion. No doubt, it was A‘lahazrat who was able to peep into future and suggest boosting up the banking industry before hand.

A bank is an institution through which the savings of the masses are deployed over productive investment. It is bank that collects pennies but provides pounds. Banks help the people create tendency of saving. Being a great economist. A‘lahazrat well realized the hazards of hoarding and advocated for the development of the banking industry.

The third point of A‘lahazrat is that Muslims should purchase each and every thing from Muslims only. Apparently, this point appears to be based on somewhat narrow-mindedness. But it is not so, if we go deep. What A‘lahazrat says is that Muslims should purchase from Muslims only. It is not restricted to a particular place, locality or province. It means that Muslims countries should purchase from Muslim countries only. It means that A‘lahazrat has opposed the free-trade theory as espoused by Adam Smith and suggested Trade Protection so as to withstand the competition in the international market. Fredrick List, a noted German economist has emphatically supported the Trade Protection Policy. Prof. Rafiullah Siddiqui has very much appreciated this point of A‘lahazrat. According to him, A‘lahazrat wanted to provide economic protection to Muslims but the Muslims neglected the economic acumen highlighted by their own savant, A‘lahazrat.

To the misfortune of Muslims, what was pinpointed by A‘lahazrat for the benefit of Muslims, was utilized by non-Muslims. World War II had badly ruined Germany, France, Italy etc. The economy of these European countries was crippled. European Common Market (E.C.M) consisting of six European countries came into existence. It achieved marvelous success and the entire World witnessed that it changed the entire story. The staggering economy of these countries mustered a sudden boom and the German mark became the powerful currency of the world. After all, what was this E.C.M.? It was a practical shape of the guidelines given by A‘lahazrat just on the lines that Muslims should make purchases from Muslims only. Even today, if the Muslim countries unite and follow such a policy, luck will smile upon them.

The fourth point, the point is all the more important. Everybody knows that there is much difference between theory and practice. Implementation is an upheaval task. The first three points of A‘lahazrat provide a theoretical approach. The fourth one provides a pragmatic approach. It must be borne in mind that A‘lahazrat has introduced what we may call Muslim Economics. He has talked of benefit and betterment of only Muslims. From this angle, all the four points are inter-connected. The first point of A‘lahazrat is regarding mutual settlement of their disputes. The idea is so nice but its implementation is fairly difficult. As says Adam Smith, "man is the born servant of self interest". Everybody wants to gain. Nobody wants to lose. In quest of gain, man runs after the courts headlong. He runs and runs towards the courts till he gets a gain what he calls justice. Such a race towards the gain makes the litigation time-consuming as well as money-consuming. Now A‘lahazrat speaks of preaching and teaching Islamic sciences to the people. He means to say that spirit of Islam must prevail upon the Muslims. A‘lahazrat goes to say that such an abrupt race of litigation can be controlled only with the spirit of Islam. Under true spirit of Islam, Muslims shall prefer to get their disputes decided only by their Muftis whom they would consider as heirs of Holy Prophet and regarding Holy Prophet (Allah’s Grace and Peace be upon him), the Holy Qur’an declares as under:-

"By Allah, they shall not be Muslims unless they make you Hàkim in matter of their disputes and unless they accept your decision by heart and feel no hindrance whatsoever there from in their hearts."

Thus, a true Muslim shall be duly satisfied with the decision of a Mufti regardless of the fact whether he remains a gainer or loser. He would accept the decision by heart. Nor would he take it as point of prestige, as a true Muslim wants nothing but what Allah and His Holy Prophet (Allah’s Grace and Peace be upon him) want for him. He would not knock at the doors of the court at all. A short meeting with a Mufti can solve a long dispute. Thus, it would be seen that the fourth point advanced by A‘lahazrat is very much linked with the theory of mutual settlements Muslims by avoiding litigation with a view to ensuring large savings.

The second point is of opening Muslim banks. Muslims would like to help Muslims only when they are taught to help them in terms of Islamic sciences, that is, in light of Holy Qur’an and Hadith. Interest is a prize of exploitation. Muslims would refrain from accepting interest if they are told that usury is haram (strictly forbidden) according to Holy Qur’an and whosoever accepts interest, should be ready to fight with Allah on the Day of Judgment. Only through the injunction of Islamic spirit, which flows from the knowledge of Islamic sciences attained through the study of Islamic books or through the company of Islamic savants, Muslims can agree to opening of interest-free banks and usury can be put an end to. If the rich people open banks out of their riches, the poor people will get rid of their poverty to a great extent. First, the poor will be able to get employment in various projects financed by banks. Secondly, the poor section will be able to secure interest-free loans from the banks, which they would get otherwise at a heavy rate of interest. Thus, the second and fourth points of A‘lahazrat are well linked together.

Muslims should make purchases from Muslims only — is the third point. It does not purport to say that Muslims should sell to Muslims only. A‘lahazrat is restricting outgoings only of Muslims. Unless the Muslims are taught of their religion, nothing can be achieved in this field. A person, who has no knowledge of Islamic studies, is western-minded, would hardly purchase anything from Muslims. He would be addicted to using foreign goods and would not hesitate to purchase them from any corner. Nowadays, it is seen that those who have craze for using foreign goods, may it be, cigarette, wine or anything like that, help the foreign companies earn a lot of foreign exchange. A Muslim would make purchases from Muslims only when it is impressed upon him that Holy Qur’an declares:

(Space for Arabic script) "Innam al-Mo’minoona Ikhwatun"

That is, "Muslim and a Muslim are brethren." Unless he treats the other Muslim as his brother, he would not extend him a brotherly-treatment. Moreover the teachings of Islam shall bear wide repercussions on the standard of trade. No trader would like to give short weight as it is forbidden in Islam. No trader would make any adulteration of any kind, as it is forbidden in Islam. No trader would try to conceal defect, if any, in his commodity as it is forbidden in Islam. No trader would resort to unnecessary hoarding of stock as it is forbidden in Islam. No trader would allow unnecessary bargaining in price as it is forbidden in Islam. In this manner, under the yoke of Islam, trade will wear a bloomy look. If Muslims undertake to make purchases from Muslims only and if Islamic spirit prevails, then a Muslim will not be able to get wine, because no Muslim would like to sell it as it is forbidden in Islam. In this way, not only the trade will flourish but it will also bring about a flawless society.

So, it is evident that all the four points of A‘lahazrat are coherent and co-related insofar as Muslim Economics is concerned.

Works in field of Education

Just like how a tree is known by the fruits it produces, a teacher is known by the students he has taught and inspired to go forward, develop and spread the teachings he has received from his master. Ahmed Rida Khan taught a number of persons. Yet it cannot be said with certainty as to how many persons in all were taught by A‘lahazrat. The reason is that at that time, no pomp and show was in vogue. Service to religion was the only motto. The number of students was not remembered, students were remembered.

Some of his prominent pupils are Mawlana Hasan Riza Khan, Mawlana Mohammad Riza Khan, Mawlana Hamid Riza Khan, Mawlana Sayyid Mohammad Jilani Muhaddith-i-‘Azam of India of Pilibhit, Mawlana Sayyid Nùr of Chittagong, (Bangla Desh) and Mawlana Hashmat Ali Khan of Pilibhit. Some of his prominent caliphs are Mawlana Abd al-Hayy of Africa, Shaykh Swaleh Kamal, Sayyid Ismail Makki of Saudi Arabia, Mawlana Ziauddin Ahmad, Hujjatul Islam Mawlana Hamid Riza Khan, Mufti-i-‘Azam Mawlana Mustafa Riza Khan, Mawlana Amjad Ali (Writer of Bahar-i-Shari‘at), Mawlana Naimuddin Moradabadi, Mawlana Didar Ali of Lahore, Maulana Abdul Aleem Siddiqi (father of Shah Ahmad Noorani of Pakistan), Idul Islam Mawlana Abdul Salaam of Jabalpur, Mawlana Burhanul Haq of Jabalpur, Mawlana Lal Mohammad of Madras etc.

Great from great, each and every pupil of Ahmed Rida Khan emerged to be a great savant. Now the position is that every Sunni savant all over the world, how great he may be, wishes to be called a servant of A‘lahazrat. He takes it as a great honor. Such is the honor of the noble Ahmed Rida Khan.

A‘lahazrat learnt Islamic studies by leaps and bounds. When he was four, he completed the Nazra (oral recitation) of the Holy Qur’an. At five, he delivered his first speech, at twelve, he wrote his first book in Arabic, a commentary of "Hidayat-un-Nahav". At the age of thirteen, on 19th November 1869, Dastàr (accomplishment of Islamic studies) was conferred on him. On this very day, he wrote a Fatwa on the issue of foster-brotherhood and presented it to his respected father, Hazrat Naqi Ali Khan, who found it absolutely correct. Looking to the talent of his son, Hazrat Naqi Ali Khan authorized him to work as a Mufti (one who issues Islamic verdicts) since then. Thus, at 13, A‘lahazrat became full-fledged Mufti. Much to our surprise, A‘lahazrat achieved so much within such a short period. Yet, what is most surprising is that he became a Mufti while he was teenager. It is a fact that savants of vast experience and high calibre only are authorized to work as a Mufti.

Ahmed Rida Khan learnt a few books of Urdu and Persian from Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Qadir Beg. He also learnt a little from Hazrat Mawlana Abdul Ali of Rampur (d. 1885). A‘lahazrat learnt 21 subjects from his respected father, Hazrat Naqi Ali Khan (d. 1880). Besides, he was also taught by his Shaykh, His holiness Shah Al-i-Rasùl of Marehrah Sharif (d. 1879) and H.H. Shah Abul Hasan Nùri of Marehrah Sharif (d. 1906).

Thus, this talented student who later on proved himself at home in so many subjects, learnt most of the subjects at home.

Antagonism towards Mirza Ghulam Ahmad

Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian, claimed to be the promised Messiah and Mahdi awaited by the Muslims. These claims proved to be extremely controversial among Muslims and he was branded as a heretic and apostate by many religious scholars of the time, including Ahmed Rida. To prove his point, when Ahmed Rida visited Mecca and Madina for pilgrimage in 1905, he prepared a draft document entitled "AlMotamad AlMustanad" (The Reliable Proofs) for presentation to the eminent scholars of Mecca and Madina-E-Pak. Ahmed Raza collected opinions of the Ulama of Hejaz and compiled them in a compendium written in Arabic language with the title, Husam al Harmain (The Sword of two sanctuaries), a work containing the thirty-three Ulamas’ thirty -four verdicts (20 Meccan and 13 Medinese Ulama). The overall import of this work was that Ghulam Ahmad's beliefs were blasphemous and tantamount to apostasy.

Secularism

During the period of the Indian Khilafat Movement, Gandhi was advised that he should meet with Aĥmed Riđā. When he was told that the Gandhi wished to meet and speak to him, Aĥmed Riđā said, "What would he speak about? Religion or worldly affairs? If it is worldly affairs, what can I partake in, for I have abstained from the world and have no interest in it.

Criticism

  • He is well known for often giving Fatwas against other Muslim religious group such as Deobandis and Wahabbis after accusing them of being disrespectful towards Muhammad.

Deobandi and Salafi scholars believe that Ahmed Raza Khan has made these accusations due to his "exaggeration" in loving the prophet and therefore disobeyed the following hadith: Umer narrates :

I heard the Prophet saying, "Do not exaggerate in praising me as the Christians praised the son of Mary, for I am only a Slave. So, call me the Slave of Allah and His Apostle."

All Muslims show immense love for Muhammad but innovations are no way of showing love. The followers of Barelwi school of thought respond to this that the Christians exaggerated in praising Jesus to the level that they considered him to be either a God, son of God or a partner of God. Hence, it will be completely unlawful and disbelief to elevate the status of Mohammed in a manner that one considers him to be a God, son of God or a partner of God as indicated by Imam Hafidh Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani. Hence, one should send blessings on him and praise him as much as possible. It is a sign of being a Muslim as indicated in Qur'an. Teachings of Ahmed Rida Khan are the same and it says, nor should one ever compare the most respectfully honored personality to Muslims after God, who is undoubtedly Muhammad in any manner nauzibillah with the children, lunatics and animals as done by Ashraf Ali Thanvi of deobandi sect in his book Hifzul Emaan. How in any respect can the animals', lunatics' and the children's knowledge equate Muhammad's knowledge? This is one reason why Ahmed Rida Khan categorically attacked these groups as it was apt to do so.

  • Robinson writes :

The Bareilawi died of pleurisy. Reports tell us that shortly before his death he made a number of wills. These bequests have been collected in an independent tract and published under the name 'Wasaya Shariff'. In this tract he bequeathed his party as follows: 'Hold fast to my faith and doctrine which is apparent from my works. Hold fast to it and remain honest to it, for it is the most significant duty among the duties.

  • He is in support of Sufi concept of caste system in Muslims. He has written in his book Fatawa Ridawiyya about this. Many Muslim scholars consider this an act against basic Islamic principles.

If a un-touchable muslim becomes a alim, he is not equal to syed, sheikh, pathan (surfah key kufu nahin).

  • In another place, Ahmed Raza Khan wrote:

If you are embarrassed in your affairs, seek help from the inmates of the tombs.

  • He also writes about Abdul Qadir Jilani's power on this world which many Muslims consider it an act of shirk :

Shaikh Abdul Qadir has the power of disposition in the universe. He has been granted permission and he has the authority. He is the conductor of the affairs of the world.

References

  • Baraka, A - A Saviour in a Dark World (Article) The Islamic Times, March 2003 Stockport, UK

Haroon, M The World of Importance of Imam Ahmad Raza Kazi Publications, Lahore 1974

See also

External links

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