As-Shaykh As-Sayyid Yusuf Hashim Al-Rifa’i (hafizahullah) on Sayyidi Ala Hadrat Imam Ahmad Rida Khan (RA)

May 23, 2006

In the name of Allah Al Rahman Al-Raheem

Al-Allama Al-Kabir As-Shaykh Ahmad Ridha Khan Al-Barelwi (alayhi ar-rahma)

By the pen of the distinguished spiritual guide and teacher, the esteemed:

As-Shaykh As-Sayyid Yusuf Hashim Al-Rifa’i (hafizahullah).

Born in 1272 A.H. (1856 C.E.), (Shaykh Ahmad Ridha Khan (rahmatullah alay)), indeed from an early age he occupied himself in the study of the sacred sciences, distinguishing himself until he became capable of issuing fatawa (formal legal opinions) at an early age. (13 years 10 months 5 days, on the 15th Sh’aban 1286 A.H. (1864 C.E.) ‘Rasa’il Ridhwiyya’ Vol 2 pg 301/315 Maktaba Hamidiyya Lahore 1988), since he was raised in a noble religious environment, indeed his father (Allama Naqi Ali Khan (rahmatullah alayh)) and his grandfather (Allama Ridha Ali Khan (rahmatullah alayh)) were from amongst the ranks of the most eminent ulama and ascetics.


Born in the town of Bareilly, Uttar Pradesh, in India, he thus became known as the Barelwi (‘al-Barelwi’) referring to his relationship with this region, as is the custom of the ulama and the famous personalities of Hind.

Religious services:

After completing his familiarisation with the various sacred sciences and receiving the cloak of succession and deputyship (khirqat ul khilafa) in the Qadiri tariqa, in particular, alongside the Naqshbandi, Chistiyy and Suharwardi tariqas the Shaykh (rahmatullah alayh) occupied himself with teaching, issuing legal rules, writing, delivering sermons, spiritual instruction and reformation of the Muslim Ummah.

His many precious works:

The Shaykh authored approximately 1,000 works in the various different religious sciences and other fields in Arabic, Urdu and Farsi, most of them published, and to Allah is all praise. Possessing tremendous genius, lively minded, swift in writing, the knowledge and cognizance came to him continuously from the help of Allah and the blessings of His Messenger (salAllahu alayhi wa salam) and there is much that bears testimony to that, and any who peruses his numerous, beneficial works perceives that.

His character:

The Shaykh (rahmatullah alayh) was of outstanding character and distinguished morals.  He loved for the sake of Allah and became angry for the sake of Allah.  The Shaykh had an intense sense of honour in all what concerned Allah (jalla jalaluhu) and His Messenger (salAllahu alayhi wa salam)

His love for the Prophet (SalAllahu alayhi wa salam)

The Shaykh (rahmatullah alayh) was a great lover of our Liege-Lord Al Mustafa (SalAllahu alayhi wa salam).  To the extent that due to his intense love and following of the noble Prophet (SalAllahu alayhi wa salam) he named himself the slave of the Prophet (SalAllahu alayhi wa salam) (Abd ul Mustafa) and he would conclude his sittings of zhikr with the famous qasida he composed on the praise, extolling, eulogy and declaration of the station of the Prophet (SalAllahu alayhi wa salam) with the opening verses: ‘ A hundred thousand salawat and salams upon you O Messenger of Allah (SalAllahu alayhi wa salam) O Soul of the Mercy of Allah to mankind)

The Shaykh’s connection to Tasawuff:

As we have mentioned the Shaykh (rahmatullah alayh) took his spiritual path from the eminent Gnostic scholars of his time, who saw him worthy and deserving of succession (khilafa), instruction and purification after they passed onto the next world.  And indeed he performed this duty admirably, and he would zealously protect the shari’ah and tariqa together and rejected separation between them and he would say: ‘ Verily the shariah is the foundation and tariqa is a branch.  The shari’ah is a source head and the tariqa is an ocean bursting forth from this spring.  It is not possible to arrive to Allah except by suluk upon the shar’iah and who proceeded on a way other than the way of the shari’ah is destroyed and strays from the way of truth”.

This method of the shaykh clarifies the lies, the deceit, falsehood and slander of his opponents who contradicted the saying of Allah (t’ala):  ‘O you who believe! If a Fasiq (liar – evil person) comes to you with any news, verify it, lest you should harm people in ignorance, and afterwards you become regretful for what you have done.’ (Surah Al Hujurat (42) Verse 6).  Indeed most definitely he was a lover of the Master Al Mustafa (SalAllahu alayhi wa salam) with a complete love and a complete following of the Shar’iah al Mustafawiyyah upon Him (SalAllahu alayhi wa salam) be the best of salawat and salam.

His Jihad:

At the time of Indian Revolution, in 1857 C.E., the Shaykh (radhiyAllahu anhu) issued a legal ruling prohibiting association, mutual relations and friendship with the English colonialist disbelievers.  He gave fatwa that friendship was absolutely haram with every mushrik whether it be a compliant non-Muslim or one’s own children or father or brother or close relative.

His piety and scrupulousness: 

The Shaykh (rahmatullah alayh) was diligent on the 5 prayers with congregation, God fearing and scrupulous, remembering Allah in all his states.  Indeed he visited the two holy sanctuaries in 1295 A.H. (1878 C.E.) to carry out the obligation of Hajj and visitation of the grave of his beloved Al-Mustafa (SalAllahu alayhi wa salam) and indeed seized the opportunity and gathered with the gnostic scholars and the muhadithin in those blessed lands and mutually exchanged with them ijazat in the Shar’iah Sciences and in suluk and tasawuff.  He then returned to the two holy sanctuaries again for Hajj and Ziyara and realisation of benefits, spiritual and knowledge based.

His status and rank:

Many consider the Shaykh (rahmatullah alayh) the reviver of the age (Mujaddid Al-Asr) to the Muslim Ummah and in  particular in the land of Hind where he became known as the reviver of the ummah (Mujaddid al Ummah), confirming the statement of the Prophet (SalAllahu alayhi wa salam):  ‘Verily Allah sends for this Ummah at the head of every century, one who revives for it it’s Deen’.  And verily the great majority  (As-Sawad Al A’zam) from Ahl as Sunnah in the Indian subcontinent (comprising Pakistan, India and Bangladesh) consider him to this day their Imam and Spiritual Guide and constantly repeat his sincere, delightful qas’aid and eulogies to the Master, the Prophet (SalAllahu alayhi wa salam) in their sittings, celebrations, in particular their celebration of the birth of the Noble Prophet (SalAllahu alayhi wa salam).  And the Shaykh did not travel onto Allah from this world until he had fulfilled his exalted mission in the renewal of the religion and awakening of the soul and sense of honour for Islam and for the Messenger (SalAllahu alayhi wa salam) in the hearts and minds of the Muslims.

May Allah have mercy on him, a wide mercy and establish him in his spacious paradise and benefit the Muslims with his knowledge and his sincere, ample spiritual overflowing, Amin.

And may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon our Liege Lord Muhammad and upon his family and companions

As-Shaykh As-Sayyid Yusuf Hashim Al-Rifa’i (rahmatullah alayh).

8th Dhul Hijjah 1409 A.H. 11 July 1989 C.E. (Kuwait).

Translated from the original Arabic:

Pg 5-8 “Al Khutut Ar-Ra’isiyyah lil Iqtisad al Islami”

By Al-Imam Al-Mujaddid Ahmad Ridha Khan (rahmatullah alayh) (1272 AH – 1340 AH)

Published by Idarat tahqeeq Imam Ahmad Ridha (rahmatullah alayh) Karachi.


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