Alahazrat – Following the Prophetic Character
Alahazrat was pious, virtuous and mindful of the sunnah right from his childhood. He spent his entire life studying, researching, writing about and teaching Islām. He was exceedingly cautious and scrupulous in his affairs and strived to follow the sunnah in every word and deed. He was the epitome of simplicity and humility. His manner was modest and without affectation; many people who came from afar were astonished and could not believe that the plain looking man they encountered was the famous Imām Aĥmad Riđā Khān.
Once, a man from Kathiawad came to Bareilly and went straight to the mosque. He saw Alahazrat doing wuđū with water in an earthen jug. He greeted Alahazrat and said: ‘I have come to visit Aĥmad Riđā Khān. Where can I meet him?’ Alahazrat said: ‘I am Aĥmad Riđā.’ The man said, ‘I am not talking about you; I have come to meet Alahazrat Imām Aĥmad Riđā Khān.’ This was because Alahazrat did not wear imposing or expensive clothes, nor did he have a distinguishing attire, even though his ancestors were aristocrats and he had inherited a handsome fortune. He would wear a plain jubbah, loose and straight trousers, and an ordinary cap. He changed his clothes only on Fridays and Tuesdays, except for Eids or on the Prophet’s ﷺ birthday, for which he would change regardless of the weekday. He never roared with laughter, and if he had to yawn, he would slip his finger between his teeth to avoid making a noise. He walked softly, in the manner praised in the Qur’ān:
He was of medium height; and he was very frail and thin. He would usually squat on the ground with one thigh drawn up, unless he had to read or write, when he would squat with both knees drawn up. He did not spit or stretch his feet towards the Qiblah; he always wore the turban for obligatory prayers which he always prayed in the congregation in the Masjid. He would always keep his eyes lowered in accordance with the sunnah. He ate very little and his food was also simple; he did not waste time and was always busy in reading or writing.
He stayed indoors most of the time and came out only for obligatory prayers or to receive guests. However, he would sit in the courtyard after Áşr prayer until sunset [maghrib] – and this was also the time for common audience. He was obedient and respectful towards his parents and elders. After his father passed away and the inheritance was distributed, Alahazrat handed his entire share to his mother and allowed her to dispense with it as she pleased. Only when he wanted to buy books, he would request her for a grant and purchase books with her approval.