Mawlānā Naqi Álī Khān al-Baraylawī was born in either Jumādā al-Ākhirah or Rajab of the year 1246 AH /1830 AD in Zakhīrah area in Bareilly.
His father, Mawlānā Riđā Álī Khān raĥimahullāh was a prominent scholar of his time and a gnostic. Mawlānā Riđā Álī was born in 1224 AH. He completed his studies in Tonk under Mawlānā Khalīl ar-Raĥmān ibn Mullā Írfān Rāmpūri. He received the degree of authorization at the age of 23, and again in the year 1247 AH. He was a master of Fiqh and Tasawwuf. He was also a very able orator. He passed away on the 6th of Jumādā al-Ūlā, 1286 AH. He was also was a patron of literature – thus, in poetry he was a student of Sadruddīn Āzurdah who has compiled an anthology of poetry. A couplet penned by him:
āah hum par huwā musallaţ wabāl e farangiyāñ
humīñ haiñ mālik aur hameñ ānkheñ dikhāyī jātī haiñ?
Alas, we are subject to the misery of [being under] the British;
Though we are the masters, yet they threaten us!
Mawlānā Naqī Álī studied under his illustrious father and learnt all the Islamic sciences from him. He was pious and virtuous from a very young age and he soon became a mufti in his father’s instruction. He was very intelligent and had a deep knowledge of Islamic sciences. He kept aloof from rulers and wealthy folk. He was generous, kind, honorable, contented, well-respected and awe-inspiring. In the year 1294AH/1879CE, he was initiated in the Qādri path by Mawlānā Sayyid Aāl e Rasūl Aĥmadi al-Marahrawī.
His mastery of sciences included Hanafī fiqh and the fiqh of other madh’habs; Qur’ānic sciences, Qur’ānic exegesis, Hadīth, Principles of Hadīth, theology, grammar, morphology, logic, philosophy, rhetoric, polemics, arithmetic, geometry, taşawwuf, biographies, history, literature and Islamic inheritance. Imām Aĥmed Riđā adds:
yīñ na baĥr yīst ke dar kūzah e taĥrīr āmad
this is an ocean that cannot be contained in a cup
Imām Naqī Álī Khan passed away in Dhu’l Qaádah at the age of 51 in the year 1297AH / 1880AH. Among his disciples and students is his eldest son, Imām Aĥmed Riđā Khān Baraylawi.
1. Al-Kalām al-Awđah fī Tafsīri A-Lam Nashraĥ
2. Wasīlatu’n Najāt
3. Surūr al-Qulūb fī Dhikri’l Maĥbūb
4. Jawāhiru’l Bayān fī Asrāri’l Arkān
5. Usūl ar-Rashād li Qamýi Mabānī al-Fasād
6. Hidāyatu’l Bariyyah ilā’sh Sharīáti’l Aĥmadiyyah
7. Idhāqatu’l Āthām li Māniýi Ámal al-Mawlidi wa’l Qiyām
8. Fađl al-Ílm wa’l Úlamā
9. Izālatu’l Awhām
10. Tazkiyatul Īqān [Radd Taqwiyatu’l Īmān]
11. Al-Kawkab az-Zahrā fī Fađāyil al-Ílmi wa Ādāb al-Úlamā
12. Ar-Riwāyatu’r Rawiyyah fi’l Akhlāqi’n Nabawiyyah
13. An-Naqādatu’n Naqawiyyah fi’l Khaşāyişi’n Nabawiyyah
14. Lumátu’n Nibrās fī Ādāb al-Akli wa’l Libās
15. At-Tamakkun fī Taĥqīqi Masāyil at-Tazayyun
16. Aĥsanu’l Wiáā li Ādāb ad-Duáā (Imam Ahmad Rida has written a gloss on this work)
17. Khayru’l Mukhāţabah fi’l Muĥāsabati wa’l Murāqabah
18. Hidāyatu’l Mushtāq ilā Sayri’l Anfusi wa’l Āfāq
19. Irshād al-Aĥbāb ilā Ādāb al-Iĥtisāb
20. Ajmal al-Fikr fī Mabāĥith adh-Dhikr
21. Áyn al-Mushāhadah li Husni’l Mujahadah
22. Nihāyatus Sáādah fī Taĥqīqi’l Himmati wa’l Irādah
23. Aqwā adh-Dharīáh ilā Taĥqīqi at-Ţarīqati wa’sh Sharīáh
24. Tarwīj al-Arwāĥ fī Tafsīri Sūrat al-Inshirāh