The main purpose of this website is to present the life and works of Imām Aĥmad Riđā Khān al-Baraylawī (aka Alahazrat). One of the most important objective of this website is to provide an organised and easy to access to the works of Alahazrat and books written on his life, his works, his scholarly contribution, his revival of Sunni Islam in the subcontinent and his poetry. This website aims to be a comprehensive catalogue of all the books available in digital format, listed in the Downloads section. We will add reviews and notes about some books in the future.
In the 1960s, it was not easy to find Alahazrat’s books and even the famous Fatawa Ridawiyyah was not fully published [See here and here for a historical background of the publication of his Fatawa], upon which, some of his enemies sneered that Alahazrat’s followers had made a big fuss about something that doesn’t exist. May Allah reward our scholars who worked tirelessly, as individuals and in teams towards the collective goal of publishing Alahazrat’s work. In the meantime, another group of scholars and researchers worked on the critical appreciation of his works. Al-Hamdulillah, hundreds of works are published today and freely available in digital format.
Disclaimer: I have listed and included all the books that I could find on the Internet. We may have listed a book whose author might have been criticised for some reason or the other. The mere listing of a book does not mean that we endorse every idea of the author or agree to everything he says or does. Wa billahi’t tawfīq.
About Me: I am a student of Islamic sciences and Sacred law; a Sunni Muslim, Ĥanafī-Māturīdī and an aspirant of and a seeker upon the Qādirī path, and an admirer and follower of Imām Aĥmad Riđā Khān al-Baraylawī. I translate bits and pieces from well-known works of Sunni ulama which can be found on sunniport.com and tanwir.org. I have also translated and written some books (and some infographics) which can also be freely downloaded on ridawipress.org. I write under the nom de plume Abu Hasan.
والحمد لله رب العالمين والصلاة والسلام على سيدالأنبياء والمرسلين وعلى آله وصحبه ومن تبعهم بإحسان إلي يوم الدين
ونسأل الله العافية
A deviant was debating a Sunni scholar and he asked him: “Do you categorise yourself as a Barelvi”
The Shaykh replied: “No. A Sunni. Ahl al-Sunnah wa’l Jama’ah”.
If I were asked this question, I would have replied thus:
I would first ask him what he meant by ‘Barelwi’. If he meant that a Barelwi follows and respects Imām Aĥmad Riđā Khān, an imām of Ahl al-Sunnah and the Reviver of Religion, then indeed, I am a Barelwi (or Baraylawī); just as someone would calls himself as an Ashárī. Surely, the Ahl al-Sunnah did not start with Imām Abu’l Ĥasan al-Asharai. But he was its foremost defender when the Sunni creed was attacked and when heretics were having a field day. This was to differentiate from those who called themselves as People of Truth (Ahl al-Ĥaqq) but in truth, they were not. So an Ashárī was automatically identified as Sunni and was not an anthropomorphist, Mútazilī, Jahmite, Kharijite or a Shiite.
Similarly in the 20th century India, when various shades of Wahābīs posed as Sunnis, the identifying label of a non-Wahābī, nor-Rāfiđī Sunni who adheres to any of the four madh’habs became ‘Barelwi’ indicating an association with Imām Aĥmad Riđā Khān.
Thus, a Barelwi in today’s parlance is someone who is a Sunni (mostly Māturīdī, or some Ashárīs as well) AND who is not a Wahābī, nor an admirer of Ibn Taymiyyah He is not a Rāfiđī, not a Tafđīlī, not a quasi-Wahābī (Deobandī), nor a modernist Wahābī (like Maududī’s Jamāát e Islamī), not a perennialist or a syncretist such as Sir Syed Aĥmad Khān of Aligarh and his Naturalist movement (Neycharī) or Prof. Tahir Jhangvi of Pakistan (founder of Minhaju’l Qur’an). Such a person is neither an anti-Madh’hab freethinker, nor does he accept the false sufis or their innovations. A Barelwi is completely vehemently rejects and refutes innovations and demands strict adherence to the sharīáh. Such a person is often a Ĥanafī. But come to think of it! If you are a Sunni (Ashari/Maturidi), follow one of the four madh’habs and dislike Wahabis and detest Rafidis, you can call yourself a Barelwi!
The Barelwi is a staunch sunni who considers as his leaders among later scholars: Imām Aĥmad Fārūqī al-Sirhindi as a Reviver, Shāh Ábdu’l Ĥaqq Muĥaddith Dihlawī, Shāh Waliyullāh and his sons, especially Shāh Ábdu’l Ázīz Dihlawī, Shāh Fađl al-Raĥmān GanjMurādābādi as elders of this ummah and wholeheartedly accepts their fatāwā concerning celebration of Mawlid or Urs (in memoriam saints); tawassul, istighātha etc as accepted by Sunnis worldwide.So Alahazrat Imām Aĥmad Riđā Khān (1272-1340 / 1856-1921) was the imām of Ahl al-Sunnah, and if you accuse him of being not – then you must present evidence of this claim.
Deobandis probably do not fear Allāh or probably do not believe in the day of Judgement – else, why would they lie and shamelessly lie repeatedly even after debunked in the past hundred years? When they do not have anything against the Imām or his pure manhaj, the Deobandis invent lies and slander.
WHAT A BARELWI IS NOT
If you mean that ‘Barelwi’ is some sort of a new sect apart from Ahl al-Sunnah – then you must first prove this claim. And the permission for these practises and beliefs should come from the imām of that group. So Barelwi is not a sect apart from Ahl al-Sunnah. Instead, it is a label to correctly identify Ahl al-Sunnah among pretenders such as Deobandis (who are Wahābīs – but hypocrites will hide this in front of Arab scholars).
If you accuse Alahazrat Imām Aĥmad Riđā Khān to be a founder of a sect, then please list the points among his opinions, fatāwā, beliefs or actions that contradict the Ahl al-Sunnah. When someone has written so much and is publicly available, surely you can pick out dozens of things? Like we can show numerous fatāwā and opinions of Deobandī elders where they contradict the Ahl al-Sunnah and sit cozily in the lap of Wahābīs.
The Deobandis would always refer to themselves as ‘Úlamā of Deoband’ and they do it to this day. Alahazrat and his followers always referred to themselves as Ahl al-Sunnah. So the Deobandis began to address Sunnis pejoratively as ‘Raza-Khanī’ or ‘Barelwi’. But eventually, this term came to be associated with a follower of Imām Aĥmad Riđā Khān.
Yes, Alahazrat was Barelwi, just as Imām Muĥammad ibn Ismāýīl was ‘Bukhārī’ and demonyms of other luminaries such as Qushayri, Nisābūrī, Rāzī, Ţaĥāwī, Jurjānī, et al, because he was born in the city of Bareilly.
Allah ta’ala knows best.
Am i a Barelwi?
Why, yes, of course.
“But on occasions, you have said that you are a Sunni and not a Barelwi – so why the change of heart?”
There is no change of heart. Alahazrat Imām Aĥmad Riđā Khān is a Barelwi by his domicile. By association, his followers are also known as Barelwi Sunnis. Alahazrat was an imām of Ahl al-Sunnah and he always identified himself as a Sunni. Anyway, as it happens often in this world, certain appellations catch on, and Sunnis are known as Barelwis in the subcontinent.
The enemies of Ahl al-Sunnah – the Wahābīs and their subcontinental cousins Devbandis etc. – first began to use the term ‘Barelwi’ as a pejorative and tried to push it as a term for a sect, implying that they have deviated from the right path of Ahl al-Sunnah. In fact, antics of sufi-claimants and ugly innovations are usually attributed to ‘Barelwis’ without second thought and Deobandis have heavily invested in this technique of association.
If a person calls himself a Barelwi and prostrates in front of graves, this cannot be considered as the belief or permission by Alahazrat. First you create a label ‘Barelwi’ and associate that with people who follow Alahazrat. That means the group should be judged by the sayings and writings of Alahazrat – it is dishonest and libellous to malign the group and the leader citing actions of individuals who claim to belong to the group.
For example a heretic, a humbug like Tahir Jhangvi (founder of the organisation Minhajul Quran) is termed a Barelwi and all his misdemeanours are blamed on ‘Barelwis’, whereas such actions were neither permitted by Alahazrat, and nor does the person himself (i.e. Tahir) wish to be called a Barelwi! This no different than the Islamophobes worldwide who blame Muslims and Islām for the acts of terrorism of a handful of deviants who claim to be acting on behalf of Islām and Muslims. If a ‘Barelwi’ is considered to be a follower of Alahazrat, then look at what Alahazrat has said and written and that should be the standard to judge them. Many lazy academics are also guilty of spreading this canard about Barelwis – and we ask Allāh táālā to give them sense and prevent them from this injustice.
When ISIS or some other terrorist group commits an outrage, non-Muslims routinely blame Islam and Muslims. People takes pains to make the differentiation between true Islam and the ‘Islam-claimed-by-terrorists’.
Alahazrat or ‘Barelwis’ should be known by the fatāwā of their imam and not by what some claimants to be his followers do or say.
نسأل الله العافية
When a terrorist attack is perpetrated, people proudly proclaim that they stand together with the victims and proclaim, for example: ‘We are all Parisian’. When Ahl al-Sunnah is attacked by defaming and slandering ‘Barelwis’ or the followers of Alahazrat; and by implication, the imām of Ahl al-Sunnah – Sunnis should stand together in solidarity with the Sunnis from the subcontinent.
So, yes. I am a Barelwi.
Are you defined by Alahazrat?
In my case, yes. I am defined by Alahazrat, the imām of Ahl al-Sunnah, Shaykh al-Islām Aĥmad Riđā Khān al-Barelwi (rađiyAllāhu ánhū)
Who am I? I am a nobody
But still; who am I? I am a follower of Alahazrat Imām Aĥmad Riđā Khān. Try this with any Sunni in the subcontinent. If you tell them that I am a follower of Alahazrat, immediately an association with Ahl al-Sunnah will be made – they will instantly expect me to be a non-Wahābī and non-Rāfiđī.
Who is Alahazrat?
He is a Ĥanafī and Māturīdī imām – an authority of Ĥanafīs and Maturidis in the 14th century AH. A faqih, whose super-commentary on Ibn Áābidīn’s Marginalia runs in five volumes, whose own rulings are published in 30 volumes. He is the imām who stood steadfast against the fitna of Wahābīs and Anti-Madh’hab heretics in the previous century. He is the imām who clarified the correct position of Ahl al-Sunnah, when heretics tried to poison the ummah with an ugly belief that “It is possible for Allāh to lie; falsehood is in His Divine Power”.
So who is Alahazrat, again?
He is the imām of Ahl al-Sunnah. The vanquisher of bidáh and heresies. One of the most prolific Ĥanafī muftis in the past 200 years. He is the successor of our elders salaf – endowed with immense knowledge and piety. Allāh táālā had bestowed upon him such love of RasūlAllāh şallAllāhu álayhi wa sallam, and he had imbibed the hadith: “none of you has believed until I have become more beloved than your father, your sons and everyone other human” – that he taught us how to love and respect the Prophet şallAllāhu álayhi wa sallam. Even his enemies acknowledge this, and they do this EVEN in their accusations: “Aĥmad Riđā? He exaggerated the love of the Prophet şallAllāhu álayhi wa sallam”.
In the subcontinent, one can easily tell a Wahābī from a Sunni by the mere poetry of Alahazrat; if he recites “Muşţafā jān e raĥmat pe lākhoñ salām”, he is most likely a sunni and definitely not a Wahābī. You mention Alahazrat and his face lights up, you know he is a sunni. If he frowns or goes silent, you know that he could be a Wahabi or Devbandi or Maududian or Rāfiđī or some other heretic.
Alahazrat has many favours on us; and if nothing but one – the awareness of respect and honour due to RasūlAllāh and to love him SallAllahu alayhi wa sallam is not just a part of faith, but faith itself. This teaching alone is enough for me to be sold as Aĥmad Riđā Khān’s slave in the open market.*
True, one may say: “Alahazrat alone does not define you.” And i reply: I am happy with, and find it sufficient to be ‘defined’ by Alahazrat alone, because he was the imām of Ahl al-Sunnah, and as a representative and defender of Ahl al-Sunnah, it is as if he was the jamāáh personified.
و ليس على الله بمستنكر :: أن يجمع العالم في واحد
In the above passage from Sharh Fiqh al-Akbar, Mulla Ali al-Qari says: “Ever if there remains a single faqih (upright Sunni scholar) who is on a mountain peak, it is as if HE is the jama’ah. That is, since he is the representative of the jama’ah, it is as if he is HIMSELF the jama’ah personified; as said in the verse: “Indeed Ibrahim was a Nation” and it is about such people it is said:
It cannot be denied that it is possible for Allah
to gather a universe in one individual
Allāh táālā knows best.
Ibn Taymiyyah was asked about this saying and whether it was a ĥadīth: “I am the slave of one who teaches me..” In his typical literalist interpretation, he went off on a tangent, explaining the rulings of a slave, the rules governing a slave and so forth. The man couldn’t comprehend that the expression actually meant to praise the high station of the teacher. Ibn Taymiyyah wrote: “This is against the Ijmāá of Muslims because one cannot become a slave of someone by merely teaching him something…” I could help laughing at his poor understanding of ĥadīth, and I mention this because his followers may make a mountain of molehill when I said the above: “I am Alahazrat’s slave..”