Imam Ahmed Raza's Blessed Birth; His Blessed Name; Illustrious Family History; Imam Ahmed Raza's Piety as a Child; Imam Ahmed Raza's First Lecture; His Intelligence as a Child; Astonishing Events of Childhood
Imam Ahmed Raza Khan (radi Allahu anhu) was born on a Monday, the 10th of Shawaal 1272 A.H. (14th June 1856), at the time of Zohar Salaah in a place called Jasoli, which is in the city of Bareilly Shareef, India.
A few days before the birth of Imam Ahmed Raza Khan (radi Allahu anhu), his father, Allamah Mawlana Naqi Ali Khan (radi Allahu anhu), had a wonderful dream. He immediately disclosed this dream to his father, Allamah Mawlana Raza Ali Khan (radi Allahu anhu), who interpreted this dream by saying: "This is a sign that you are going to be the father of a child, a boy, who will grow up to be pious and knowledgable. His name will gain prominence from East to West."
This was the good news that was given to Allamah Mawlana Naqi Ali Khan (radi Allahu anhu) concerning the birth of none other than the "emerald from amongst the Treasures of Almighty Allah", the "sweet-scented rose from the fragrant garden of the Holy Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam)", Imam Ahmed Raza Khan (radi Allahu anhu).
The date of birth of A'la Hadrat (radi Allahu anhu) was extracted by himself from the Holy Quran. "These are they in whose hearts Allah has inscribed faith and helped them with a spirit from Himself." (58:2)
The name that was given to him at birth was the beautiful name of "Mohammed." The name corresponding to that year of his birth was "Al Mukhtaar." His grandfather, a great Scholar of the Ahle Sunnah Wa Jamaah, Allamah Mawlana Raza Ali Khan (radi Allahu anhu), also gave the young child the beautiful name of "Ahmed Raza." It was by this name that he was famously known. Much later in his life, A'la Hadrat (radi Allahu anhu) added the title "Abdul Mustafa" to his name signifying his great love and respect for Sayyiduna Rasulullah (salal laahu alaihi wasallam).
The Grand Mufti of Makkatul Mukarramah, Sheikh Hussain bin Saleh Makki (radi Allahu anhu), also gave him the title of "Zia'udeen Ahmed."
Imam Ahmed Raza Khan Al-Qaderi, was the son of Allamah Mawlana Naqi Ali Khan, who was the son of Allamah Mawlana Raza Ali Khan, who was son of Allamah Mawlana Mohammed Kaazim Ali Khan, who was the son of Allamah Mawlana Shah Mohammed Azam Khan, who was the son of Allamah Mawlana Sa'adat Yaar Khan, who was the son of Allamah Mawlana Sa'eedullah Khan (radi Allahu anhum ajma'in).
The great forefathers of A'la Hadrat (radi Allahu anhu) migrated from Qandhar (Kabul) during the Mogul rule and settled in Lahore. Allamah Mawlana Sa'eedullah Khan, the first forefather of A'la Hadrat (radi Allahu anhum), held a high government post when he arrived in the Indo-Pak sub-continent. His son, Allamah Mawlana Sa'adat Yaar Khan (radi Allahu anhu), after gaining victory in the city of Ruhailah, was elected as the Governor of that city.
Allamah Mawlana Hafiz Kaazim Ali Khan, the son of Mawlana Mohammed Azam Khan (radi Allahu anhum), was a Tax-collector in the city of Badayun. His son, Allamah Mawlana Raza Ali Khan (radi Allahu anhu), the illustrious grandfather of A'la Hadrat (radi Allahu anhu), did not serve in the Government. It was from this generation that the heads of the family began to adopt Tassawuf as their way of life.
We have included a very brief history of A'la Hadrat's (radi Allahu anhu) father and grandfather.
HIS FATHER: A'la Hadrat's (radi Allahu anhu) father, Hadrat Mawlana Naqi Ali Khan (radi Allahu anhu), received his education at the hands of his father, Allamah Mawlana Raza Ali Khan (radi Allahu anhu). He wrote more than 50 books, among them, "Suroorul Quloob fi Zikri Mouloodul Mahboob", which received a very high distinctive position amongst Islamic literature. The treatise is characteristic in its condemnation of the enemies of Islam, both internally and externally. A'la Hadrat's (radi Allahu anhu) father passed away in 1297 A.H. (1880) when he was 24 years old.
HIS GRANDFATHER: One of the greatest Sufis of his time, Allamah Mawlana Raza Ali Khan (radi Allahu anhu) was born in the year 1224 A.H. He was also a great warrior and fought with General Bakht Khan against English invaders in the year 1834. He received his early education at the hands of Molwi Khaleerur Rahman. At the age of 23, he had already completed his Islamic education, earning certificates of distinction in various fields of knowledge. He passed away in the month of Jamaadi-ul-Awwal in the year 1282 A.H. (1866). A'la Hadrat (radi Allahu anhu) was at this time only 10 years old.
A'la Hadrat (radi Allahu anhu) was a child of 4 years when this incident took place. On that particular day, he was dressed in a long Kurta. As he stepped out of his house, a few female prostitutes walked past him. In order to cover his eyes, A'la Hadrat (radi Allahu anhu) quickly held the bottom of his Kurta with both his hands and lifted the Kurta over his face. When one of the prostitutes saw what he did, she said, "Well! Young man. You covered your eyes, but allowed your Satr to be shown." With his face and eyes still covered, the young A'la Hadrat (radi Allahu anhu) replied, "When the eyes are tempted, then the heart becomes tempted. When the heart is tempted, then the concealed parts become tempted." So shocked and affected was this woman on hearing such a reply from a child that she lost consciousness.
Another incident which happened in the Month of Ramadaan also s hows A'la Hadrat's (radi Allahu anhu) piety and fear of Allah. Fasting was not Fardh (obligatory) upon him because he was still a child, but on that day he intended to keep fast. It should be known that for a little child to keep fast in India during the summer season was very difficult. The average temperature on a summer's day rises to approximately 50 degrees Celsius. On that day, the heat of the sun was intense. Hadrat Allamah Naqi Ali Khan (radi Allahu anhu) took his young son, A'la Hadrat (radi Allahu anhu), into a room where sweets were kept. He closed the door and said, "There, eat the sweets." A'la Hadrat (radi Allahu anhu) replied that he was fasting. His father then said, "The fasting of children is always like this. The door is closed and no one is looking. Now you may eat." On hearing this, the young A'la Hadrat (radi Allahu anhu) respectfully said, "Through Whose command I am fasting, He is Seeing me." On hearing this answer from a little child, tears began to flow from the eyes of Hadrat Allamah Naqi Ali Khan (radi Allahu anhu). He then left the room with A'la Hadrat (radi Allahu anhu).
Sayyiduna A'la Hadrat (radi Allahu anhu) delivered his first lecture at the age of 6 years. It was during the glorious month of Rabi-ul-Awwal. A'la Hadrat (radi Allahu anhu) stood on the Mimbar (Pulpit) and delivered a lecture before a very large gathering which also consisted of Ulema. His lecture lasted for approximately 2 hours. A'la Hadrat (radi Allahu anhu) spoke on the Wilaadat (Birth) of Sayyiduna Rasulullah (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam). He brightened the hearts of the listeners with the love of Sayyiduna Rasulullah (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam). The people listening were thoroughly impressed by the maturity and eloquence of this lecture which was being delivered by a 6 year old child!
A'la Hadrat (radi Allahu anhu) was so gifted and intelligent that there was no need for him to study beyond the fourth Kitaab of his course under the tutorship of any of his teachers. He studied the remaining Kitaabs by himself and used to later ask his teachers to test him.
Once, his teacher asked him, "Mia! Are you a Jinn or a human being? It takes me much time to teach a lesson, but it does not take you much time to learn the same lesson." A'la Hadrat (radi Allahu anhu) answered, "Praise be to Allah that I am a human."
When he was 8 years old, A'la Hadrat (radi Allahu anhu) wrote a Mas'ala concerning Fara'idh (Fards). When his father looked at the answer, he happily remarked, "If only some adult could answer in this manner."
At the age of 10, when he was studying the Kitaab, "I'lm-us- Thuboot," under the guidance of his father, he noticed a few objections and answers of his father on the side of the page. A'la Hadrat (radi Allahu anhu) studied this book carefully and wrote such a well- explained footnote that even the need for an objection was ruled out. His father came across his research on that objection. He was so delighted that he stood up and held the young A'la Hadrat (radi Allahu anhu) to his heart and said, "Ahmad Raza! You do not learn from me, but you teach me."
Professor Dr Ghulam Mustafa Khan, Head of Department: Urdu, Sindh University, Sindh (Pakistan) said: "Allamah Hadrat Ahmed Raza Khan is among the outstanding scholars. His deep learning, intelligence, vision and acumen, surpassed that of great contemporary thinkers, professors, renowned scholars and orientalist. Indeed, there is hardly any branch of learning that is foreign to him."
At the age of 3, A'la Hadrat (radi Allahu anhu) was once standing outside the Raza Musjid in Bareilly Shareef. An "unknown" person, attired in an Arabian garb, approached him and spoke to him in the Arabic language. Those who were present and witnessed this incident heard the young A'la Hadrat (radi Allahu anhu) converse with the person in pure Arabic. They were surprised. The person who spoke to A'la Hadrat (radi Allahu anhu) was never seen again in Bareilly Shareef!
A Majzoob (one drowned in his love for Almighty Allah) by the name of Hadrat Basheeruddeen Sahib (radi Allahu anhu) used to live at the Akhoon Zada Musjid in Bareilly Shareef. He spoke harshly to anyone who visited him. A'la Hadrat (radi Allahu anhu) wished to meet this Majzoob. One night, at about 11 o'clock, he set off alone to meet him. He sat respectfully for about 15 minutes outside the Majzoob's house. After some time, the Majzoob became aware of him and asked, "Who are you to Mawlana Raza Ali Khan (radi Allahu anhu)." A'la Hadrat (radi Allahu anhu) replied that he was the grandson of Hadrat Raza Ali Khan (radi Allahu anhu). The Majzoob immediately embraced him and took him into his little room. He asked A'la Hadrat (radi Allahu anhu) if he had come for any specific matter, but A'la Hadrat (radi Allahu anhu) said that he had come to ask him to make Dua for him. On hearing this, the Majzoob, for approximately half an hour, made the following Dua: "May Allah have mercy on you, May Allah bless you."