Prof. Dr. Muhammad Masood Ahmed 


Imam Ahle Sunnat Ahmad Raza Khan Qadiri (may his soul be sanctified) executed his last breath in 1921, which was a time when Muslims in India were adrift in Non-corporation Movement, bereft of any patience, forethought for any sense of consequence. Even Qaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah and Dr. Muhammad Iqbal appeared muted in this emotionally charged atmosphere. But without caring Ahmad Riza spoke the truth with such vehement conviction that not to speak of strangers, even dear ones became his adversaries. In the interest of Islam he never cared for anybody. In these circumstances how could it be expected that anything about him worth mentioning would b published after his death.

It is only possible when time puts a seal on truth on what he spoke, and for which he braved the criticism and censure of the people with a smile, and eventually submitted his noble soul to Almighty Allah. When that time came the critics and his cronies both praised him and admired him.

After his death there appeared a long poem in 1921 by Mahmud Jan Jodhpuri on his life, under the name, ‘Zikr-i-Raza’. Again in 1938 there seem not anything worth mentioning. In 1937, Maulana Muhammad Zafar al-Din Rizawi (may his soul be sanctified) started writing the biography of Ahmad Raza and it was completed in 190 in 4 volumes. Till now, only the first volume has been published and the other 3 are with his son Dr. Mukhtar al-Din Arzu (Head of the Department of Arabic, Muslim University, Aligarh) which now is with Mahmud Ahmad Qadiri in Bihar (India). I have seen the first volume. It is authentic because the major part of the book is devoted to personal observations, but from the point of editing, it lacks much and could not be called a scholarly work. It is for this reason it was not well received in erudite circles.

Between 1950 and 1968, there was no book on Ahmad Riza worth recalling except Hayat-i-Alahazrat (Vol1) by Muhammad Zafar al-Din Rizawi. Between 1968 and 1971, late Qazi Abd al-Nabi Kokab’s ‘Maqalt-i-Yom-Riza’ in three volumes, comprising of articles, impressions and views of scholars and thinkers, was published. After that Markazi Majlis-i-Raza, Lahore, Pakistan and various scholars in India. Various institutions have collected and published considerable material on his life and work such as:

  1. Idara-I-Tariqat-I-Imam Ahmad Raza, Karachi
  2. Idara-I-Tasnifat-I-Imam Ahamd Raza, Karachi
  3. Riza Academy, Lahore
  4. Riza Foundation, Lahore
  5. Sunni Razvi Society International
  6. Sunni Dar al-Ishaat, Mubarakpur, India
  7. Riza Dar al-Ishaat, Bhairi (Bareilly), India
  8. Markazi Majlis-I-Raza, Lahore
  9. Idara-I-Ishaat Tasnifat-I-Raza, Bareilly
  10. Riza Academy, Bombay
  11. Riza Academy, Stockport, UK
  12. Majma al-Islami Mubarakpur (Azamgarh, India)
  13. The Imam Raza Academy, South Africa, etc, etc

Much research work on his life has been done only in Urdu. Riza Azami Muhammad Hasan received his Ph.D degree (Patna University) for his thesis on the place of Imam Raza in jurisprudence.

Dr Muhiyy al-Din Alwai (Ahl-i-Hadith), Professor of Azhar University Cairo wrote an erudite article in Arabic on Ahmad Raza, which published in ‘al-Sawt al-Sharqh’ (Cairo, 1975). Prof. Mufti Sayyid Shuja’t Ali Qadiri wrote a book on Ahmad Raza in Arabic called ‘Mujaddid al-Ummah’ discusses all aspects of his life in comprehensive detail.

Chief Justic of Afghanistan, Mufti Muhammad Nasrullah Khan also wrote an important treatise Faqih al-Asr in Arabic (Karachi:1993).

Dr. Muhammad Majeedullah Qadiri has been awarded the degree of Ph.D on Imam Raza (RA) on his translation of the Holy Quran, Kanzul Iman from Karachi University (Pakistan) and Dr. Abd al-Bari Siddiqui has been awarded Ph.D on Life and Work on Ima Raza from Sindh University Jamshoro (Pakistan) in 1993. Dr. Abd al-Naim Azizi will shortly be awarded his Ph.D on the Urdu poetry on Imam Raza from Rohail Khand University (Bareilly, India). Many scholars were awarded the degrees of M.Phi/M.Ed on Ahmad Riza from the following Universities:

  1. Punjab University, Lahore (Pakistan)
  2. Sindh University, Jamshoro (Paksian)
  3. Bahauddin Zakariyya University, Multan (Pakistan)
  4. Karachi University, Karachi (Pakistan)
  5. Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh (India)
  6. Usmania University, Hyderabad (India)
  7. A. Devi University, Indore (India)

Much work has NOT been done in English on Imam Ahmad Raza. I wrote a short treatise in English on him. Mr Zahur Afsar has also written a book (Bareilly 1992) in English, which has been published from Karachi in 1994. The ‘Orientalists’ in the West were not much aware of the personality of Imam Ahmad Raza. Dr. J.M.S. Baljon, Professor of Islamologyic Studies, Leiden University, Holland, wrote in a letter to me:

"I confess I am not even aware of the name of Ahmad Raza Khan".

Then he wrote in another letter:

"It is really surprising that W.C. Smith in his book ‘Modern Islam in India’ and M. Mujib’s book ‘The Indian Muslims’ do not mention Ahmad Raza Kham anywhere in these books".

Again he wrote in another letter:

"Certainly much research is to be done in this regard. It is regrettable that the advance made with regard to Islam in the sub-continent of Indo-Pak is generally ignored by our scholars and researchers".

In some English books, we see the mention of Ahmad Riza. For example we find in the following books:

1. Leonard Binder: Religion and Politics in Pakistan [Los Angeles 1961 Pg. 31-33]

2. S.M. Ikram: Modern Muslim India and the birth of Pakistan, Lahore, 1976. Pg.116

3. Nikki R. Keddie: Scholars, Saints and Sufis: Muslims Religious Institutions since 1500 – London, 1972

4. Dr. I.H. Qureshi: Ulema in Politics, Karachi, 1973

5. Abd al-Rashid: Islam in Indo-Pak subcontinent, Lahore 1978

6. Anwar Ali: Mystics and Monarchs, Karachi, 1979, etc

A few years ago Dr. Barbara Metcalf, a scholar from the Department of History, California University (USA) wrote her doctoral dissertation under the title "The Reformist Ulema: Muslims Religious Leadership in India 1860-1900 (Berkeley: 1974). In the 8th chapter of her thesis, the writer has discussed Ahmad Raza and his religious views in about 19 pages.

Dr. Usha Sanyal has been conferred her Ph.D from Columbia University (USA) in 1991 on her doctoral dissertation on "Maulana Ahmad Raza Khan Bareilwi and Ahl-i-Sunnah wa al-Jama Movement". She has written a book called "Devotional Islam and Politics in British India: Ahmad Riza Khan Bareilwi and His Movement 1870-1920" published by Oxford India Paperbacks.

Prof. G.D. Qureshi from Birmingham University (UK) is doing his Ph.D on the religious poetry of Imam Ahmad Raza.

In short, Ahmad Raza, his sons, Khulfa and disciples have done a valuable service to Islam, Their sincere services deserve the attention of scholars and researchers of the world. Alahazrat Imam Ahmad Raza Khan Qadiri (may his soul be sanctified) undoubtedly, was a unique genius, a versatile savant and steadfast statesman of the Islamic World.

Excerpt from the book ‘The Reformer of the Muslim World by Prof. Dr. Muhammad Masud Ahmed’ published by Al-Mukhtar Publications, Karachi.

Prof. Dr. Muhammad Masood Ahmed started writing Research Papers in 1958 which were published in the leading journals of the Sub-continent, thus up to 1966 he was the famous scholar in the Sub-Continent in the academic circle as confessed by Khawja Hassan Sani Nizami of Delhi (Monthly Munadi, Delhi, Dec.1966). Afterwards he started his research on Imam Ahmed Raza, the neglected Genius of the East. No doubt he is Prof. Dr. Muhammad Masood Ahmed who removed the thick sand of misconceptions and misunderstandings from the great personality of Imam Ahmed Raza (may Allah be pleased with him). He started his work on Imam Ahmed Raza since 1970 on purely research basis and contributed nearly 30 books on Imam Ahmed Raza, as well as 120 articles, 50 prefaces and introduction of Imam Ahmed Raza up to 1992

Prof. Dr. Muhammad Masood Ahmed has Ijaza in Naqshbandiyya as well as Qadiriyya orders. His caliphs are twenty in number and his neophytes (Mureeds) are spreading in the subcontinent, Arabia, Canada, USA, UK, UAE. etc. Prof. Dr. Muhammad Masood Ahmed was spiritually blessed by two late great figures of Naqshbandiyya order, his father Mufti Azam Hind Hazrat Shah Muhammad Mazhar Ullah (Delhi, India) and Hazrat Muhammad Mahmood Alwari (Hyderabad, Pakistan) and in Qadiriyya order from Hazrat Syed Zain ul-Abidin Shah Qadiri (Nurai Shareef, Sindh, Pakistan) [may Allah be pleased with them].