Commencement of Islamic Education; A’la Hadrat’s First Fatwa; His Marriage and Blessed Children; Incident pointing to his Immense Knowledge; Branches of Knowledge studied by his Father’s Feet; Branches of Knowledge attained without the Assistance of any Teacher; Other Branches of Knowledge attained from Various Ulama
COMMENCEMENT OF ISLAMIC EDUCATION
During A’la Hadrat’s (radi Allahu anhu) “Bismillah Kwaani” or “Commencement of Islamic Education” a very strange incident occurred.
His respected teacher asked him to read the Tasmiyah, and then told him to read “Alif, Baa, Taa, . . . .” A’la Hadrat (radi Allahu anhu) began reading the “Alif, Baa, Taa, …” until he came to the word “Laam Alif” at which point A’la Hadrat (radi Allahu anhu) became silent. When his teacher asked him once more to read “Laam Alif”, he remained silent. The teacher instructed him, “Say, ‘Laam Alif'”. Sayyiduna A’la Hadrat (radi Allahu anhu), then replied, “I have already read them earlier on. What need is there for me to repeat it?”
Hadrat Allamah Raza Ali Khan (radi Allahu anhu), who was witnessing this incident, said,“Son! Listen to what your Ustaad is saying.” Upon further reflection, Hadrat Allamah Raza Ali Khan (radi Allahu anhu), realised the reason for the objection of the young A’la Hadrat(radi Allahu anhu). It was because the teacher was teaching A’la Hadrat (radi Allahu anhu)the lesson on single alphabets. A’la Hadrat (radi Allahu anhu) felt that how was it possible that a complete word like “Laam Alif” should be found in such a lesson that only dealt with single alphabets!
Hadrat Allamah Mawlana Raza Ali Khan (radi Allahu anhu) knew that it was a very delicate matter that could not be understood by a child. Nevertheless, he explained, “Son! It is true that which you are thinking of. But the ‘Alif’ which you had earlier read, in reality, is ‘Hamza’ and this which you are reciting now is ‘Alif’. ‘Alif’ is always ‘Sakin’ and one cannot commence with an alphabet which is ‘Sakin’. Therefore, it is for this reason that the alphabet ‘Laam’ is brought before the ‘Alif’.”
When A’la Hadrat (radi Allahu anhu) heard this answer, he replied, “If that be the case, then any other alphabet could be joined to the ‘Alif’. Why the ‘Laam’?” Mawlana Raza Ali Khan (radi Allahu anhu), out of sheer happiness and excitement, embraced A’la Hadrat(radi Allahu anhu) and made Dua for him. He then explained the answer to A’la Hadrat (radi Allahu anhu) in the following brilliant manner: “In looking at them they both appear to be very much alike, since they are both empty. Even when writing them together they look very much alike. When it comes to their qualities then ‘Laam’ is the heart of ‘Alif’ and ‘Alif’ is the heart of ‘Laam’.”
Hadrat Allamah Mawlana Raza Ali Khan (radi Allahu anhu) was in reality opening the doors and the treasures of knowledge and spiritual insight to A’la Hadrat (radi Allahu anhu).
A’LA HADRAT (RADI ALLAHU ANHU) WAS ONLY 4 YEARS OLD WHEN HE COMPLETED THE RECITATION OF THE HOLY QURAN. DUE TO THE EXTRAORDINARY INTELLIGENCE BESTOWED UPON HIM BY ALMIGHTY ALLAH, A’LA HADRAT (RADI ALLAHU ANHU)COMPLETED HIS ISLAMIC EDUCATION AT THE VERY YOUNG AGE OF 13 YEARS, 10 MONTHS AND 5 DAYS. A’la Hadrat (radi Allahu anhu) states that, “I completed my religious education during the middle of the month of Shabaan in the year 1286 A.H. I was 13 years, 10 months and 5 days old at that time. It was also at this time that Salaah became Fard upon me and I began to have great interest in the Laws of Shariah”. (Al Ijaazatur Radawiyya)
A’la Hadrat (radi Allahu anhu) gained his basic knowledge at home. He later continued his studies under the guidance of certain noted teachers. He studied under his father, Hadrat Allamah Mawlana Naqi Ali Khan (radi Allahu anhu). He completed his primary education by Janab Mirza Ghulam Qader Baig, by whom he studied the book, “Mizaane Munsha’ab.” A’la Hadrat (radi Allahu anhu) also studied under the guidance of the following luminous personalities :
1. Hadrat Mawlana Abdul Ali Rampuri (radi Allahu anhu),
2. Sheikh-e-Kabeer, Hadrat Allamah Syed Shah Abul Hassan Ahmed Noori (radi Allahu anhu),
3. Sheikh-e-Tariqah, Hadrat Allamah Shah Ale Rasool Mahrahrewi (radi Allahu anhu),
4. Sheikh Ahmed bin Zain-e-Dahlaan Makki (radi Allahu anhu), 5. Sheikh Abdur Rahman Makki(radi Allahu anhu), and
6. Sheikh Hussain bin Salih Makki (radi Allahu anhu)
A’LA HADRAT’S FIRST FATAWA
In a letter sent to his illustrious Khalifa, Malakul Ulema, Hadrat Mawlana Zafaruddeen Bihaari, A’la Hadrat (radi Allahu anhu) wrote, “With the Grace of Almighty Allah, this servant wrote his first Fatawah at the age of 13. It is also at this age that I completed my religious education and gained a certificate of proficiency in this field. On this day, a question was put forward to me as to whether milk, if reaching the belly of a child, would prove fosterage or not? I replied that even if milk reached the child’s belly, either through the nose or mouth, fosterage would be proven, therefore, making it Haraam upon the child to marry this women”. (Al Malfooz, Part I, pg. 12)
His father was so amazed and delighted by this in-depth reply that he assigned the young A’la Hadrat (radi Allahu anhu) the task of issuing Fatawahs (Islamic Verdicts). For many years, thereafter, A’la Hadrat (radi Allahu anhu) carried this very important duty with absolute dignity and responsibility.
A’la Hadrat (radi Allahu anhu) began answering hundreds of Fatawas daily. He received them in all languages – Arabic, Urdu, Persian, English and many other languages.
Professor Dr J.M.S. Baljon, Department of Islamology, University of Leiden (Holland), when commenting about A’la Hadrat’s (radi Allahu anhu) answers to religious enquiries, said:“Indeed, a great scholar I must confess. When reading his Fatawas, I am deeply impressed by the immensely wide reading he demonstrates in his argumentations. Above it, his views appear much more balanced than I expected. You are completely right; he deserves to be better known and more appreciated in the West than is the case at present.”
HIS MARRIAGE AND BLESSED CHILDREN
In the year 1291 A.H. (1874), A’la Hadrat (radi Allahu anhu) married Sayyidah Irshaad Begum(radi Allahu anha) who was the beloved daughter of Sheikh Fadhl Hussain Sahib. He was 18 years old at the time of his Nikah.
Almighty Allah blessed A’la Hadrat (radi Allahu anhu) with 7 beautiful children – 2 sons and 5 daughters. Both his sons became eminent Islamic Scholars and great Awliyah Allah. A’la Hadrat’s (radi Allahu anhu) eldest son, Hujjatul Islam, Hadrat Allamah Mawlana Muhammad Haamid Raza Khan Noori Barakaati (radi Allahu anhu) was very much efficient in Arabic and various other religious sciences. His features resembled his illustrious father. Hujjatul Islam (radi Allahu anhu) left this mundane world on the 17th of Jamadi-ul-Awwal 1362 A.H., while in the state of Salaah. His Mazaar Shareef (Blessed Tomb) is in Bareilly Shareef, India.
Ghousul Waqt, Huzoor Mufti-e-Azam-e-Hind, Ash Shah Imam Mustapha Raza Khan Noori Barakaati (radi Allahu anhu), the younger son of A’la Hadrat (radi Allahu anhu)studied primarily under the guidance of his elder brother. He also received education at the blessed feet of his father and earned himself a certificate of proficiency in religious sciences.Huzoor Mufti-e-Azam-e-Hind (radi Allahu anhu) has approximately ten millions Mureeds (Disciples) around the world. He is also regarded as a Mujaddid (Reviver) of Islam of the 15th Century. He left this mundane world on the eve of the 14th of Muharram 1402 A.H. (1981). His Mazaar Shareef is also in Bareilly Shareef.
INCIDENTS POINTING TO HIS IMMENSE KNOWLEDGE
Speaking about A’la Hadrat’s (radi Allahu anhu) immense knowledge, Dr Sayyid Muhammad Abdullah, Chairman: Department of Encyclopedia of Islam, University of Punjab, Lahore (Pakistan) said: “The scholar is said to be the mind and spokesman of the nation, especially that scholar who derives inspiration, throught and vision form the Holy Quran, and the Holy Prophet’s (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam), traditions, a narration of divine knowledge, and exponent of divine scheme. He is the voice of the Creator, a benefactor of mankind. It is not an over statement of exaggeration, but acceptance of truth to say that Ahmad Raza is such a scholar.
“He, indeed, is a renowned scholar, great philosopher, eminent Jurist, man of vision, interpreter of the Holy Quran and the Holy Prophet’s (peace be upon him) traditions, and a spell binding orator.”
A few days after the Nikah of A’la Hadrat (radi Allahu anhu), a certain person came to Bareilly Shareef. He presented a Fatawa of Mawlana Irshaad Hussain Mujaddidi (radi Allahu anhu) to Hadrat Allamah Mawlana Naqi Ali Khan (radi Allahu anhu) for an answer. The Fatawa bore the signatures of many Ulema.
Hadrat Allamah Naqi Ali Khan (radi Allahu anhu), instructed the messenger with the following words: “Go into the room. Moulvi Sahib is there. He will answer your question.” The messenger entered the room and only saw A’la Hadrat (radi Allahu anhu) sitting there. He returned to Hadrat Allamah Naqi Ali Khan (radi Allahu anhu) and said, “There is no Moulvi Sahib there. All I see in the room is a young lad.” Hadrat Allamah Naqi Ali Khan (radi Allahu anhu) told the messenger: “Give the Mas’ala to him and he will answer it.” The messenger went to A’la Hadrat (radi Allahu anhu) and handed him the Fatawa. He studied it and realised that the answer on the Fatawa of Mawlana Irshaad Hussain (radi Allahu anhu) was incorrect. A’la Hadrat (radi Allahu anhu) wrote the correct answer to the Fatawa and respectfully presented it to his father. His father verified his (radi Allahu anhu) answer as being correct.
The very same Fatawa was then taken to the Governor of Rampur. After studying the Fatawa of A’la Hadrat (radi Allahu anhu), the Governor requested the presence of Mawlana Irshaad Hussain Sahib (radi Allahu anhu). When the said Mawlana appeared before the Governor, the Fatawa was shown to him. Mufti Irshaad Hussain Sahib (radi Allahu anhu)humbly acknowledged that his Fatawa was incorrect and that the Fatawa from Bareilly Shareef was the correct answer. The Governor of Rampur then said, “If the Fatawa of Bareilly is correct, then how is it that all the other Ulema verified and endorsed your Fatawa?” Mawlana Irshaad Hussain (radi Allahu anhu) replied, “THEY ENDORSED MY FATAWA BECAUSE I AM PROMINENT, BUT THE TRUE FATAWA IS THE ONE WRITTEN BY THE MUFTI OF BAREILLY.”
When the Governor learnt that Imam Ahmed Raza Khan (radi Allahu anhu) was only 20 old, he immediately had the great yearning to meet him. It so happened that A’la Hadrat (radi Allahu anhu) once visited Rampur. The Governor went and met A’la Hadrat (radi Allahu anhu).The Governor was overwhelmed and as a mark of respect offered him a silver chair to sit on. A’la Hadrat (radi Allahu anhu) refused to sit on the silver chair saying that the use of silver furniture is Haraam. Feeling ashamed, the Governor requested A’la Hadrat (radi Allahu anhu)to sit on the bed.
While conversing with A’la Hadrat (radi Allahu anhu), the Governor commented that since he was so brilliant at such a young age, that A’la Hadrat (radi Allahu anhu) should study a few books in Logistics under the supervision of Moulvi Abdul Haq Kheyrabaadi.
Coincidently, Moulvi Abdul Haq Kheyrabaadi arrived. They were both introduced to one another. After getting acquainted, he questioned Sayyiduna A’la Hadrat (radi Allahu anhu)concerning the books that he had studied in the field of Logistics. A’la Hadrat (radi Allahu anhu) told the Moulvi that he had studied the Kitaab, “Kazi Mubaarak.” Moulvi Abdul Haq Kheyrabaadi did not believe A’la Hadrat (radi Allahu anhu) because he felt that he was too young to study “Kazi Mubaarak”. He then, very sarcastically, asked, “Have you studied ‘Tahzeeb’?” A’la Hadrat (radi Allahu anhu) also answered in a very sarcastic manner by saying, “Is ‘Tahzeeb’ taught after ‘Kazi Mubaarak’ at your institution?”
After listening to the answers of A’la Hadrat (radi Allahu anhu), he began questioning himabout his qualifications. A’la Hadrat (radi Allahu anhu) said that he preferred teaching, engaging in Fatawa work and writing books. He further asked A’la Hadrat (radi Allahu anhu)concernin his field of expertise. A’la Hadrat (radi Allahu anhu) replied by saying that HE SPECIALISED IN ANY FIELD THAT WAS NECESSARY AT ANY GIVEN TIME, AND THIS INCLUDED DEBATING THE WAHABIS.
When Moulvi Abdul Haq heared this reply from A’la Hadrat (radi Allahu anhu), he remarked,“That crazy person from Badayoun is also in this fanaticism.” (He was referring to Mawlana Abdul Qaadir radi allahu anhu). On hearing this, Sayyiduna A’la Hadrat (radi Allahu anhu)became offended and said, “Your father, Mawlana Fadhl-e-Haq Kheyrabaadi (radi Allahu anhu), was the first person to debate the Wahabis, and he was the one responsible for writing a book against Isma’il Delhwi. He called this book ‘Al Fatawa Fi Butali Taghwa’.”
Mawlana Abdul Haq Kheyrabbadi then said, “If, in my presence, you answer me in this way, then it will be impossible for me to teach you.” A’la Hadrat (radi Allahu anhu)replied by saying, “I have already decided not to study under you, since for me to study under you will be an insult to the Ulema-e- Ahle Sunnah”.
Mawlana Mufti Mazharullah said: “Once, I enquired from A’la Hadrat about the holy sacrifice offered by Muslims. He, in his reply, described innumerable kinds of sheep which was a matter of surprise for me. I kept his letter with me. It so happened that Mawlana Kifaayatullah came to see me and by chance he saw the letter. He was astounded and said,‘No doubt his learning and knowledge knows no boundaries’.”
BRANCHES OF KNOWLEDGE STUDIED BY AT HIS FATHER’S FEET
A’la Hadrat (radi Allahu anhu) became proficient in the following branches of knowledge at the feet of his father:
1. TAFSEER OF THE HOLY QURAN
2. TAFSEER OF AHADITH
3. PRINCIPLES OF AHADITH (USOOL-E-HADITH)
4. ISLAMIC JURISPRUDENCE (ALL FOUR SCHOOLS OF THOUGHT)
5. PRINCIPLES OF JURISPRUDENCE (USOOL-E-FIQH)
7. QURANIC COMMENTARY
8. PRINCIPLES OF BELIEF
9. PRINCIPLES OF DEBATE
10. ARABIC SYNTAX
11. PRINCIPLES OF RHETORIC
12. LANGUAGE USAGE OF METAPHORS
13. SCIENCE DEALING WITH RHETORIC
16. PHILOSOPHY AND POLITICS
17. RHETORIC DEVICES
20. PHYSICAL ENGINEERING
In the book, “Al Ijaazatul Mutay’yanah”, on page 22, A’la Hadrat (radi Allahu anhu) has said the following in connection with the above mentioned 20 branches of knowledge. He says, “I LEARNT THESE TWENTY BRANCHES OF KNOWLEDGE, PERSONALLY AT THE FEET OF MY FATHER”.
OTHER BRANCHES OF KNOWLEDGE ATTAINED FROM VARIOUS ULEMA
He learnt QURANIC RECITATION, CORRECT RECITATION WITH TAJWEED, MYSTICISM, MYSTICAL INITIATION, ISLAMIC ETHICS, NAMES OF NARRATORS OF AHADITH, BIOGRAPHY OF THE HOLY PROPHET (SALAL LAAHU ALAIHI WA SALLAM), ISLAMIC HISTORY, IN-DEPTH STUDY OF ARABIC AND LITERATURE.
A’la Hadrat (radi Allahu anhu) states: “THESE TEN BRANCHES OF KNOWLEDGE, I ACHIEVED AT THE FEET OF THE FOLLOWING TEACHERS: SHAH ALE RASOOL MAHRAHREWI, MAWLANA NAQI ALI KHAN, SHEIKH AHMED BIN ZAIN DAHLAAN MAKKI, SHEIKH ABDUR RAHMAN MAKKI, SHEIKH HUSSAIN BIN SALEH MAKKI, SHAH ABUL HASSAN AHMED NOORI (ALAIHIMUR RAHMAH).”
BRANCHES OF KNOWLEDGE ATTAINED WITHOUT THE ASSISTANCE OF ANY TEACHER
A’la Hadrat (radi Allahu anhu) learnt ARITHMETIC, ALGEBRA, THE TWELVE BRANCHES OF MATHEMATICS, MODERN ASTRONOMY, SCIENCE OF INHERITANCE, SCIENCE OF PROSODY, ASTROLOGY, SCIENCE OF HISTORY, PROSE IN HINDI, PROSE IS PERSIAN, IN-DEPTH STUDY OF ARABIC AND IN-DEPTH STUDY OF PLAIN PERSIAN WRITING.
When A’la Hadrat (radi Allahu anhu) was questioned about his amazing capabilities in solving intricate and confusing Mathematical theories, and as to who his mentor was, he replied, “I DID NOT HAVE A TEACHER IN THIS FIELD. WHATEVER YOU SEE, I ACHIEVED WITHIN THE FOUR WALLS OF MY ROOM. THIS IS INDEED THROUGH THE GRACE OF SAYYIDUNA RASOOLULAH (SALAL LAAHU ALAIHI WA SALLAM).” (Al Mizaan, pg. 342)
The above are merely a few branches of knowledge in which A’la Hadrat (radi Allahu anhu)reached such great heights of proficiency that he was considered to be the inventor of that branch of knowledge! An example of this is to found in his book, “Ar Raudal Baheej fi Adaabut Takhreej”, dealing with the Principles of Chronomatic Recording of Ahadith.
Commenting on this, the famous Historian, Mawlana Rahmaan Ali, (M.P. Madya Pradesh) states, “If there are no books to be found on the subject of Chronomatic Recording of Ahadith, then A’la Hadrat (radi Allahu anhu) can be considered to be the very inventor of this branch of knowledge”. (Tazkerah Ulema-e-Hind, pg. 17)