Imam Ahmed Raza Khan (alaihir rahmah), popularly known as "A'la Hadrat" in the Islamic world, was born on the 10th of Shawaal 1272 A.H. (14 June 1856) in Bareilly Shareef, India. His father, Moulana Naqi Ali Khan (alaihir rahmah), and illustrious grandfather, Moulana Rida Ali Khan (alaihir rahmah), were great Awliya and celebrated theologians recognized as such by academic circles of the entire sub-continent.
Imam Ahmed Raza Khan Al-Qaadiri (alaihir rahmah) received his Sanads (Certificates of Proficiency) in Fiqh, Tafseer, Usool-e-Fiqha and Sihah Sitta (Six Authentic Books of Ahadith) from the learned Ulema of his period, including learned Arab Scholars from Makkatul Mukarramah.
A'la Hadrat (alaihir rahmah) achieved the status of a versatile scholar and obtained a high distinction in over 50 branches of learning pertaining to the Ancient Sciences, Modern Sciences, Oriental learning, Islamic Jurisprudence, Tassawuf, and numerous other branches.
On his visit to Makkatul Mukarramah and Madinatul Munawwarah, Imam Ahmed Raza Al-Qaadiri (alaihir rahmah) was treated with great dignity and was conferred the title of "Imam-e-Ahle-Sunnat" by eminent Ulema. He was also hailed as the Mujaddid "Revivalist" of the Century. Deadly opposed to fanatical extremism, he expounded the pure teachings of the Ahle Sunnah Wa Jamaah. He acted as a shield against those who wanted to assault the principles of the Ahle Sunnah Wa Jamaah.
As a devout Sufi, A'la Hadrat (alaihir rahmah) was awarded the Ijaazah and Khilafat (Certificate of Spiritual Successorship) in the Qaadiriya Silsila (Order), as well as in 13 other branches of Sufism. His Sheikh-ut-Tareeqah (Spiritual Master) was the celebrated Grand Master, Sayyid Sha Ale-Rasool Ahmadi Al-Qaadiri Al Barkaati (alaihir rahmah) of Mahrerah Shareef, India.
As an author, Imam Ahmed Raza Khan Al-Qaadiri (alaihir rahmah) has left to his credit more than a
1 000 (thousand) books on 50 different subjects ranging from Tafseer, Logic, Grammar, Literature, Islamic Jurisprudence, Education, Sociology, Astronomy, Mathematics, Physics, History, Science of History, Engineering, Biographies, Philosophy, Mysticism to Persian, Arabic, Urdu and Hindi Literature.
A'la Hadrat, Imam Ahmed Raza Khan Al-Qaadiri (alaihir rahmah) left behind many students and Khulafa (Spiritual Successors) who have achieved world-wide prestige for their contributions towards Islam and some, for their exemplary missionary activities. Among them were A'la Hadrat's (alaihir rahmah) two sons, Hujjatul Islam, Moulana Sha Haamid Raza Al-Qaadiri Barkaati Noori (alaihir rahmah) and Mufti-e-Azam-e-Hind, Moulana Sha Mustapha Raza Al-Qaadiri Barkaati Noori (alaihir rahmah); Muballigh-e-Islam, Moulana Abdul Aleem Siddique Al-Qaadiri (alaihir rahmah), Sadrush Sharee'ah Moulana Amjad Ali Al-Qaadiri (alaihir rahmah), Malikul Ulema Sayyid Sha Zafruddeen Behari (alaihir rahmah), Sayyidain Kareemain Abul Barkaat Sayyid Ahmed (alaihir rahmah) and Abul Hasanaat Sayyid Muhammad (alaihir rahmah), Ustaazul Ulema Moulana Sha Ahmed Mukhtaar Siddique Meerati (alaihir rahmah), Qutbe Madina Sheikh Ziauddeen Ahmed Siddique Al-Qaadiri Madani (alaihir rahmah) - to name, but a few.
A'la Hadrat, Imam Ahmed Raza Khan (alaihir rahmah) passed away on Friday, the 25th of Safar 1340 A.H. (28 October 1921), when the Mu'azzin was calling "Hayya alal Falaah" in the Azaan of Jummah Salaah. Inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi Raaji'un.
All in all: Imam Ahmed Raza Khan Al-Qaadiri (alaihir rahmah) was a multi-dimensional scholar, orator, teacher, author, spiritual leader and true servant of Islam. It can justifiably be said that the mission of A'la Hazrat (alaihir rahmah) has become a world-wide movement which is gaining popularity day-by-day. Insha-Allah! (Refer to "Neglected Genius of the East" by Prof. Dr. Masud Ahmed (Phd) for a more detailed life and works of this great Mujaddid of Islam)
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