The aim of this short article is to inform about how the Mujaddid of the 14th Century, Imam Ahmed Raza Khan inspired us and showed us what true Love for the Prophet [sallAllahu alaihi wa sallam] is. Hence, this article will explore through the works and sayings of the great Imam, which give us a mere glimpse of his Ishq [Love] for our Master [peace and salutations be upon Him]. If it wasn’t for this great personality, we would probably be amongst those deviants [Allah Forbid!] who love to sing the song of “Shirk” and “Bid’ah” to those, whose hearts are drowned in love for the Best of Mankind [peace and salutations be upon Him] i.e. by celebrating the Mawlid.
Who was Imam Ahmed Raza Khan?
Al-hamdu li-Allah, every Sunni Muslim from the Indian subcontinent will know of this Great Wali [Friend] of Allah, due to his immense service in propagating the message of Islam, and defending the beliefs of the Ahlus Sunnah wal Jamaa’ah especially when they came under attack from heretics, disguised in the form of “Muslims”.
My initial intention was to provide the reader with a short insight into the life of the Imam, however this proved to be too difficult – it was just not possible to condense his blessed life to something of a suitable length for this article– it must be noted that many voluminous books have been produced on the Life of Imam Ahmed Raza Khan - namely, Hayat-e-Ala Hazrat, an Urdu biography which consists of 4 bulky volumes written by a close student of the Imam – Allamah Zafaruddin Bihari [also known as “Malik al Ulema” – King of the Scholars].
However, I have decided to present to the reader something that may be of extreme interest, which is what the Arab Ulema had to say about Ala Hazrat:
· “The absolute Shaykh of all teachers” - Shaykh Ismail Makki, Libarian of Makkah Haram Library
· “The encyclopaedia of all sciences” - Shaykh ‘Ali bin Hassan Maliki, Mufti of the city of Makkah
· “A giant Imam and well learned man who is an expert in the sciences” - Imam Yusuf Nabhani, Mujaddid of Sham & Mufti of Lebanon
The Definition of Iman [Belief]
Most people when queried about Iman, will reply that it is to recite the Kalimah Tayyibah, and to believe in it. But what does believing in it mean? Let us look what Sayyidi Ala Hazrat says with regards to the definition of Iman [Tamheed e Iman]:
“… mere recitation of the Kalima is not enough for your salvation. You will be tested. If you are up to the mark, you will be regarded as Muslims. For testing a thing it is seen whether it does or doesn't possess those qualities which are essential to its very existence. You have just now seen that the Quran and the Hadith have clearly stated that two things are essential for Islamic faith: Firstly, respect for Prophet [sallAllahu alaihi wa sallam] Muhammad; Secondly, a higher degree of love for Prophet [sallAllahu alaihi wa sallam] Muhammad than the entire world.”
SubhanAllah! Here Ala Hazrat informs us that merely reciting the Kalimah Tayyibah is not enough for one to be regarded as a believer [Mu’min]! The first and foremost attribute of a believer is that he has love for our Master as without it all his worship [Ibadah] will prove to be fruitless. The Prophet [sallAllahu alaihi wa sallam] of Allah himself said:
“None of you believes (truly), till I am dearer to you than his father, his child and all mankind”
The above hadith shows one must have love for the Prophet [sallAllahu alaihi wa sallam] to such an extent that he loves the Prophet [sallAllahu alaihi wa sallam] of Allah more than anyone, for him to be considered as a true believer. The Messenger of Allah should be the forefront of our lives, and one can only truly love someone if they follow their teachings, hence we must endeavour to follow every Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah, as preached by Imam Ahmed Raza Khan.
Ala Hazrat has written a whole book on the Definition of Imaan and how one cannot be a believer without Love of the Beloved of Allah. The book is titled “Tamheed e Imaan”, with an English translation also being released entitled as “Definition of Imaan”.
Eulogies in Praise of our Master
Imam Ahmed Raza Khan’s immense love for the Prophet [sallAllahu alaihi wa sallam] lead him to compose numerous poems, each singing the Praise of our Beloved in an unique and inspiring way. These were then later compiled into a book named “Hada’iq e Bakhshish” [Gardens of Salvation]. The beauty of the poetry is such that it is revered not only in the subcontinent, rather it is recited in every corner of the world by people who don’t even understand the language it is written in!
One such poem written by Ala Hazrat is the Salaam “Mustafa Jaan e Rehmat Pe Laakhon Salaam”, an eulogy which consists of 171 love-filled couplets. It has not only been lauded as a work for its unique composition and style but by leading religious scholars for its beautiful distillation of core Islamic Beliefs. The famous Salaam touches on countless topics such as Islamic Creed [Aqa’id], the Prophet [sallAllahu alaihi wa sallam]’s virtues, particularities [Khasaais], blessed physique [Khilq] and character [Khulq] as well as narrating and describing his numerous miracles and major events. The nature and complexity of the Salaam, as well as the vast topics touched on, has led to many lengthy explanations being published, which after reading one can definitely conclude that Ala Hazrat was a person who had unmatchable love for the Prophet [sallAllahu alaihi wa sallam] . Ala Hazrat himself said “By the grace of Almighty Allah, if my heart split up into two parts – on one of them you would see “Laa illaha illAllah” and on the other “Muhammadur RasoolAllah” .
Let us look at the first stanza of the Salaam:
Mustafa Jaan e Rehmat Pe Laakhon Salaam
Shama e Bazm e Hidayat Pe Laakhon Salaam
Upon the Chosen Paragon of Mercy a multitude of salaam
Upon the light of all Prophet [sallAllahu alaihi wa sallam]s a multitude of salaam
(Very Small) Selection of verses from other Naats, illustrating the Love the Great Imam has for the Prophet [sallAllahu alaihi wa sallam] :
terey to wasf áyb e tanāhī se haiN barī
hayrān huN mere shāh maiN kya kya kahūN Tujhe
Your are free from the defect of having an end,
I am perplexed my Master! What shall I call thee?
gūnjh gūnjh uthe haiN nag’māte razā se baustāN,
kyūn na ho kis phūl kī mid’ĥat maiN wa-minkār hai
The melodies of Razā echo resoundingly in the gardens
And why not? Does he not sing the praises of the majestic flower?
maiN tu mālik hee kahūn ga ke ho mālik ke ĥabīb,
ya’anī meĥbūb-aw-muĥibb maiN nahīN mera terā
I will say that, you to be the Master, for you are the beloved of The Master (Allah).
For between the Beloved and One who loves Him, there is no mine and yours.
Due to his immense love and respect of the Prophet [sallAllahu alaihi wa sallam] , the Imam commonly used to refer to himself as “Abd al-Mustafa”, especially in his fatawa.
Here, the word Abd can be translated to have two literal meanings – worshipper and servant. Whenever Abd is used with Allah’s name it has the former meaning ‘worshipper’ whereas when Abd is used with a noun other than Allah, it takes the latter meaning, ‘servant’. Hence, Abd al-Mustafa means ‘Servant of Mustafa’.
Some heretics claim that it is not permissible to have names such as “Abd al-Mustafa”. Their Jihalaat leads them to attribute it as Shirk. This [their ignorance] is further proved by the fact that they [the enemies of the Imam] falsely translate the aforementioned name/title as “Worshipper of Mustafa”. Without a doubt, such an objection is baseless and has no truth in it whatsoever. One such person, Janab Sayyid Muhammad Sha Sahib, Deputy Principal of Nadwa, son of Molvi Sayyid Hasan Shah Muhaddith Rampuri objected to this, in a conversation between him and Imam Ahmed Raza:
(Note: Mia refers to Janab Sayyid Muhammad Sha Sahib, and Imam Ahmed Raza Khan has been shortened to “Imam”.)
Mia: What about you who write Abd al-Mustafa (servant of Mustafa) with your name?
Imam: This is the beauty of having good thoughts about a Muslim. Allah states in the Holy Quraan,
وَأَنْكِحُوا الْأَيَامَىٰ مِنْكُمْ وَالصَّالِحِينَ مِنْ عِبَادِكُمْ وَإِمَائِكُمْ
Marry those among you who are single, or the virtuous ones among your slaves, male or female
What do you say about this? Label this too as Shirk! (Ala’ Hadrat has written in his Qaseedah-e-Ak’seer-e-A’zam which is a commentary of Sharh-e-Mujeer-e-Mo’azzam that Sha Waliullah has recorded a Hadith Shareef in his Izalatul-Khafa. Sayyiduna Omar Al-Farooq refers himself in the sacred court of the glorious Prophet [sallAllahu alaihi wa sallam] in these words:
I was in the company of Sayyiduna RasoolAllah in the state that I was his slave and servant.
An Excerpt from Al-Malfuz Shareef in which Imam Ahmed Raza addresses a dis-respecter of the Prophet [sallAllahu alaihi wa sallam] on the issue of Ilm al Ghayb:
“A person whose leaning was towards Wahabism ideology, asked a question pertaining to the knowledge of the unseen [ilm al-ghayb] of Sayyiduna RasulAllah sallAllahu alayhi wa sallam. The noble imam thus replied,
Do you ask about the general ‘ilm al-ghayb or the knowledge of maa’yakoon [happenings in the future]? I will answer to according to the question.
“I accept that Sayyiduna RasulAllah sallAllahu alayhi wa sallam is the most high and excellent creation and i also believe that he is roshan zameer. But I do not accept that he is aware of theintentions in the hearts of people.”
roshan zamir itself means to know the conditions of the heart. Allah almighty states in the blessed Qur’an,
Allah will not leave the believers in the state in which you are now, until He separates what is evil from what is good. nor will Allah almighty disclose to you the secrets of the Unseen, but He almighty chooses of His Messengers [for the purpose] whom He pleases. so believe in Allah almighty and His Messengers; and if you believe and do right, you will have a reward without measure.
Another ayah states,
He [Alone] knows the Unseen, nor does He make anyone acquainted with His Mysteries, except a Messenger whim He has chosen, and then He makes a band of watchers march before him and behind him.
Allah almighty not only exposes it, but also gives it to His chosen Prophet [sallAllahu alaihi wa sallam]s. it is the consensus of the ulama of Ahl as-Sunnah that whatever excellence was granted to other Prophet [sallAllahu alaihi wa sallam]s of Allah was all given in a higher scale to Sayyid al-Alameen sallAllahu alayhi wa sallam. Whatever excellence any Prophet [sallAllahu alaihi wa sallam] possessed was actually granted to him by Sayyiduna Muhammad sallAllahu alayhi wa sallam. This he granted by the Divine Grace of Allah Almighty. It is in the Sahih of Bukhari and Muslim,
And verily, I am the distributor, and Allah Almighty the Provider.”
woh razā ke neza kī maar ĥai, ke ‘adūw ke seena maiN ghār ĥai,
kisse chāra jaw’yī ka waar ĥai, ke yeh waar waar se paar ĥai
such is strike of Raza's spear, that it pierces the enemy's chest ample and deep;
who wants to make an wound that can be healed? this is a strike that shall send the enemy beyond gallows [death] once and for all!
 For more, one may refer to al Dawlah al Makkiyah and Hussam al Haramain
 Tamheed e Iman – Definition of Iman in Light of Qur’an and Hadith by Imam Ahmed Raza Khan
 Sahih al Bukhari; Book of Faith; Chapter 8
 From “Mustafa The Paragon of Mercy” an explanation to “Mustafa Jaan e Rehmat” in Urdu by Mufti Muhammad Khan, rendered into English by Sajid Younus (one can find inside this publication an English explanation to the stanza mentioned above)
 sarwar kahuN ke mālik o maulā kahūN tujhe (translated by brother Abu Hasan - sunniport.com)
 muzhda bād ae ‘âasiyau! shāf-e shahe abrār hai (translated by brother Abu Hasan - sunniport.com)
 wāh kya juud-aw-karam hai shah-e butĥa tera (translated by brother Abu Hasan - sunniport.com)
 Recorded in Malfuzat e Ala Hazrat / Al Malfuz Shareef
 Surah Nur ; Verse 32
 Shah Wali Allah Muhaddith Dehlawi records in his Izalat al-Khifa citing from al-Riyyad al-Nadarah that Amir al-Mo’minin Sayyiduna Umar al-Faruq made the above statement from the Mimbar of Musjid al-Nabawi Shareef.
 Al Malfuz Shareef p. 27-28
 naẓar ik chaman se do chaar hai (translated by brother Abu Hasan - sunniport.com)