(A critical View of the Blame on Imam Ahmad Raza Khan of being a Pro-British) A HISTORICAL REALITY
BY : Prof. Dr. Muhammad Masood Ahmed
Translated into English By : Prof. M.A. Qadir
PREFACE (TO THE ENGLISH EDITION)
Imam Ahmad Raza of Bareilly (1856-1921) was a genius
and a versatile scholar of Islamic World. I started my research on this saint in 1970. At that time our intellectual and academic circles were not well-acquainted with this genius. I also was not fully aware of this gigantic personality. I carried on my research work which has been in progress for the last 20 years.
DEDICATION IN THE NAME OF THOSE FREEDOM FIGHTERS
Who sacrificed their honor and lives for the preservation of Islam.
Who did not how their heads before the British but adored Allah who is one.
Who never admired the British but dedicated their lives for singing the songs about Mustafa (Allah’s Grace and Peace be upon him)
Who neither loved the Britishers nor their toadies.
Who extricated the Muslims from the snares of the infidels.
Who sacrificed their honor and lives for the sake of Islam.
Who removed thorns from the paths of Islam and strewn them with flowers.
Who sacrificed their all for the sake of Islam, not for its evil wishers?
Whose fringes remained untainted with Hindu friendship.
Who lighted the lamp of hope in the dark nights of slavery.
Who sustained a declining nation and rescued national ark from sinking.
Islam is proud of them but polytheism moans on them.
Whose Love was full of warmth and whose hatreds were pathetic.
Who were thoroughly sincere and were free from duplicity.
Whose tongues described what felt their hearts and the heart testified to their every thing.
Who had sympathetic heart and tearful eyes.
They were like the effulgent moon sought by the nights.
They were blazing sun awaited by the morning.
(MUHAMMAD MASOOD AHMED)
PREFACE (TO THE ENGLISH EDITION)
Imam Ahmad Raza of Bareilly (1856-1921) was a genius
and a versatile scholar of Islamic World. I started my research on this saint in 1970. At that time our intellectual and academic circles were not well-acquainted with this genius. I also was not fully aware of this gigantic personality. I carried on my research work which has been in progress for the last 20 years. I contributed research articles on this genius to the following:
1. Encyclopedia of Islam (Urdu) Punjab University, Lahore (Pakistan).
2. Encyclopedia of Islam (English) Supplement Volume, Paris (France).
3. Pakistan National Hijra Council. Islamabad (Pakistan)
4. Islamic Research Institute Islamabad (Pakistan).
5. Encyclopedia Islamica Foundation Tehran (Iran)
6. The Royal Academy for Islamic Civilization research. Amman (Jordan).
7. Imam Ahmed Raza Research Institute. Karachi (Pak.
8. Pakistan National Hijra Council, Islamabad (Pakistan)
Besides these research articles, I compiled 20 books, wrote several treatises and contributed more than 50 general articles. I express my gratitude to the following institutions/organizations, who fully co-operated with me, published this literature and circulated it world—wide.
1. Markazi Majlis-e-Raza, Lahore (Pakistan).
2. Idara-e-Tahqeeqat-e-Imam Ahmed Raza, Karachi (Pak.
3. Islamic Academy, Mubarakpur (India).
4. Raza Academy, Lahore (Pakistan).
5. Jamiat Ahle-Sunnat Pakistan, Hyderabad (Pakistan).
6. Sunni Razavi Society, Durban (South Africa).
7. Raza International Academy, Sadiqabad (Pakistan).
8. Raza Academy, Bombay (India).
9. Raza Academy, Manchester (U.K.)
10. Markazi Majlis-i-Imam Azam, Lahore (Pakistan).
As a result of these literary performances and efforts Imam Ahmed Raza became known in the academic circles of the different parts of the world. The scholars were attracted towards this peerless versatile figure of his times and research works were undertaken in the following Universities/Institutes by the research scholars as well as the professors of various departments etc.
1. Berkeley University, (U.S.A.)
2. Columbia University New York, (U.S.A)
3. Lyden University, Lyden, (Holland)
4. Durban University, Durban, (South Africa)
5. Patna University, Patna, (India)
6. Muslim University, Aligarh, (India)
7. Usmania University, Hyderabad, (India)
8. Sindh University, Jamshoro, (Pakistan)
9. Karachi University, Karachi, (Pakistan)
10. Punjab University, Lahore, (Pakistan)
11. Bahauddin Zakaria University, Multan, (Pakistan)
12. Imam Ahmad Raza Research Institute, Karachi, (Pak1
13. Madinatul Hikmat, Hamdard Foundation, Karachi,
14. Jami Millia Islamia University. New Delhi.(India)
15. Hamdard University, New Delhi, (India)
16. Bermingham University, (U.K)
17. New Castle University, (U.K)
18. World Islamic Mission Centre, Karachi, (Pakistan)
19. Allama Iqbal Open University, Islamabad, (Pakistan)
20. Calcutta University, Calcutta, (India)
21. Al-Azhar University, Cairo, (Egypt)
22. Mohammad Bin Saud University, Riyadh, (Saudi Arabia)
It has also been learnt that some Scholars, working on Imam Ahmed Raza, have either been registered or have applied for registration at the following Universities of India:-
It is noteworthy that various allegations had been piled up against Imam Ahmed Raza, which centre around the following two blames fabricated against him by his opponents:-
1. He was Pro-British;
2. He was addicted to issuing fatwa’s declaring the
As regards the first allegation, this treatise is a critical analysis of the blame, placed face to face with the reality. The readers by going through the contents can judge by themselves, the fabrication and falsity of the allegation in the light of the historical facts and proofs presented to illuminate the situation. As far as the second blame is concerned, although the issue is not within the purview of this treatise, the author has reasons to believe that Imam Ahmed Raza never issued a Fatawa of Takfir-i-Muslim without a sound ground. He had never been a professional Fatwa giver nor he exulted in issuing Fatawa regarding apostasy of the Muslim brethren. Imam Ahmad Raza was not a man of ordinary calibre. He was genius of his time — and an eminent scholar, a far-sighted statesman and a broadminded Muslim leader. He was deadly against the narrow-mindedness of Ibn-i-Abdul Wahab Najdi who not only issued Fatwa of Takfir-i-Muslims but also shed their blood in Najd and Hijaz on the pretext that they were pagans. Following Ibn-i-Abdul Wahab, Syed Ahmed Bareilvi and Ismail of Delhi also shed blood of Muslims on the same pretext in NWFP (Pakistan).
This is a very pathetic story. Our historians for political reasons did try their best to conceal the massacre and bloodshed of the Muslims at the hands of those So-called reformers but the historical facts do not remain buried for ever. They shine out and speak for themselves, sooner or Later. Imam Ahmed Raza had issued Fatwas against those Ulema who were the disciples or co-thinkers of Ibn-i-Abdul Wahab of Najd. Any-how this allegation of Takfir-i-Muslim can be analyzed in the light of historical facts and lam confident that some scholars will come forward to investigate the matter to its profound depth and bring such realities to the fore-front in a lucid and rational style which will not only appeal the modern reader but also exonerate Imam Ahmed Raza of this false accusation that he ever preferred to declare apostate any simple true Muslim.
I wrote the present treatise in Urdu in 1980. Its first, second and third editions were published from Lahore by Markazi Majlis-i-Raza and afterwards by several other organizations, enumerated in the third paragraph of this preface. Thus several thousand copies of this treatise have spread far and wide. Nevertheless, dire need was being felt by the intellectuals for its translation into English, so that its text may also be circulated, understood and disseminated among English-knowing readers and scholars in different continents of the World.
My respected colleague Prof Muhammad Abdul Qadir Ex-Principal Government Degree College and Post Graduate Studies Centre Sukkur, Sindh, very kindly translated this treatise. I am highly indebted to him. I am also thankful to the office Bearers of Imam Ahmed Research Institute, Karachi i.e. Syed Wajahat Rasool Qadri (Vice President), Prof. Majeedullah Qadri (General Secretary), Mr. Manzoor Hussain Jillani (Treasurer) etc, for their kind co-operation in getting this treatise published.
I hope the readers and scholars who aspire to study the history in its true perspective will feel enlightened, Insha Allah.
(Dr. Muhammad Masood Ahmad)
Despite the fact that I have been continuously writing since 1957, I must offer an apology that I could not study Imam Ahmed Raza upto 1969, merely for the reason that excepting my father, Hazrat Mufti-e-Azam Muhammad Mazharullah, all my teachers belonged to the Clique who was against Imam Ahmed Raza but when I commenced study of Ahmed Raza in 1970, 1 was disillusioned. The real and factual situation was quite different from what I was previously told. A gradual study of Imam Ahmed Raza was augmenting my astonishment objective perusal and observation is the best medium of distinguishing between what is true and what is false. The malicious propaganda may misguide the public and conceal the truth, but not for ever. When the curtains of prejudice are torn by objective research and study, the horizon becomes clear and all misgivings give way to correct appreciation. It is a matter of content that the people have begun to write about Imam Ahmed Raza. The various writers, research institutions and publishers have already brought out literature about Imam Ahmed Raza in the shape of articles, magazines and books. Now research work is being done on Imam Ahmed Raza in a number of Universities. Questions are being set on Imam Ahmed Raza in the papers of M. A. examination. Research work is also being done on Imam Raza in the world Universities etc
The humble writer wrote on different aspects of the life of Imam Ahmed Raza in the past decade, but the aspect ‘herein dealt with, was yet untouched. In 1979 Muhammad Ilyas, Secretary, Majlis-e-Raza, Manchester suggested that an analytical monograph be written to refute the charge on Imam Ahmed Raza of being a lover of the British. As I was busy in compiling the biography of Imam Ahmed Raza (Waseet)1and I generally avoid indulging in polemics, so I expressed my inability to undertake the job. In the beginning of 1980 when. I finished compilation of the book, my friend from Manchester reminded me and insisted that the monograph be written. In November, 1980 after finishing an article on ancient and modern sciences and Imam Ahmed Raza, I paid attention to the present topic. The reason for writing on this topic was that the learned segment of society was indulging in this unnecessary blaming on account of misunderstanding. It was thought imperative to remove the misapprehensions and throw light on the black-out practised by the historians and research scholars in this field. I relate only one incident to illustrate the above noted fact
Prof Muhammad Ayub Quadri in writing foreword to a book2 expressed this idea about Imam Ahmed Raza and Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanvi:
“The British got counter-Fatwas issued in their favour to reverse the public opinion3A noteworthy feature of those days is that Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanvi(d.1943) and Maulana Ahmed Raza Khan (d.1921) although belonging to different schools of thought, issued separately fatwas against the Non-cooperation Movement which were published and distributed in lacs on the behest of the British Government”4
On the other hand, Dr. I H Qureshi has said that Thanvi and Barelvi schools were not at all enamoured of the British, but they were highly apprehensive about the intentions of the Hindus. They did not like that Muslim leadership should be dominated by Mahatma Gandhi and the Indian National Congress. They were also perturbed by the fact that muftees of Islam were in search of Qur’anic verses and the traditions of the Holy Prophet in support of the manifesto of Mahatma Gandhi and the policies of the Indian National Congress.5
In view of these facts, the humble writer, in the second edition of his book “Fazil Barailvi and Tark-e-Mawalat”6
While reviewing the stand taken by Prof Muhammad Ayub Quadri had written that a writer of Pakistan, Prof Muhammad Ayub Quadri expressed such strange view at one place.7 The writer sent this edition to one of his old friends who occupied high position in the Government of Pakistan.
This old friend after studying my book expressed certain ideas which indicated the misapprehensions and misunderstandings of the elite of India. They are as follows:
“Although on Page 75 you have mentioned the queer idea of Prof Muhammad Quadri, but did say nothing in reply to his weighty objection. If this palpable blame is proved that Fazil Barailvi had issued a fatwa against ‘Non-Cooperation Movement’ on the behest of the British, it will be a great sin in the eyes of God, because the British nation was most inimical to the Muslims and Islam. The pages of history testify to it. So if the people of India like Hindus, Muslims and the Sikhs entered into a political agreement to achieve e political independence from the British regime, it does not according to Shariat tantamount to the Hindu-Muslim unity, against which Fazil Brailvi wrote vigorously and other Ulema like Maulana Ashraf Mi issued Fatwas. You should have tried to refute this serious blame with historical and documentary proofs. The profundity of Fazil Bareilvi’s erudition is well established. His impartiality and good intentions would have been proved so that the blame which Prof Quadri leveled due to some cogent reason8could be refuted.”9
At another place he says:
“Why any joint action, undertaken to achieve the independence of India was condemned, while, on the other hand, the Ulema sold their conscience at the behest of the British.”10 These ideas were expressed in 1973. The rejoinder to the charge was not published as the humble author does not attach any importance to baseless charges and gives preference to constructive, innovative and positive activities. Generally, it has been seen that instead of accepting the truth, the opponent wants to come out, equipped with new arguments and his approach is always negative. He gives many arguments to justify his stand. Honest difference of opinion should be respected and tolerated, but some intellectuals even ignore friendship and oppose their opponents vehemently,11 as if the historical facts possess such similitude with religious beliefs, that any one opposing them should be killed. The writer believes in treating historical facts and dogmas separately. In case of difference of opinion, one can be convinced by means of arguments provided history is studied in its true perspective. If the difference of opinion is elevated to the status of a dogma and the opponent persists that his stand is correct, then the situation will worsen and an interminable battle of mutual incriminations will begin which will result in bad blood. So the writer has reserved himself for positive research, although some critics dislike it. Owing to my natural bent of mind, I did not write anything since 1973 up-till-now to refute this charge on Imam Ahmed Raza. But the campaign of unhealthy tirade and blaming by certain intellectuals continued unabated, so the writer had to pay attention to this deplorable issue. What ever has been written is not to refute the opponents of Imam Ahmed Raza., because when opposition takes the shape of a dogma it cannot be helped. Only God’s guidance may show the right path. Whatever has been written is for those critics who want to grasp the real situation and for those young men who want to see the true picture of history. I hope this article will satisfy the lovers of truth. May God give us the capacity to accept the truth and to tread on the right path, Amen. Allah may shower His benedictions on our Holy Prophet, Hazrat Muhammad (Allah’s Grace and Peace be upon him).
9h December, 1980.
Mohammad Masood Ahmed
Principal, Govt. Degree College, &
Post Graduate Studies Centre,
Sukkur, Sindh, (Pakistan).
1. Maktaba-e-Nomania is publishing this book from Sialkot. It is also intended to compile the biography of Imam Ahmed Raza (may Allah be pleased with him). The matter has been collected. This work will be undertaken when God wills. (Masood).
2. Khurshid Ahmed - “Pakistan main Ain Ki Tadveen Aur Jumhuriat Ka Mas’ela”.
Published at Karachi, 1970, P-14.
3. Prof. Syed Jamaluddin (Dept. of History) Jam-e-Millia, Delhi. In his unpublished article (written in English) on Khilafat Movement and Non cooperation Movement Prof Jamaluddin has discussed the role of Imam. Ahmad Raza in the two Movements, but he had failed to furnish such evidence as may prove that Imam Ahmed Raza issued any fatwa, directly or indirectly on the request of the British Govt.
For the sake of argument, let it be conceded that Imam Ahmed Raza issued a fatwa on the request of the British Govt. A person undertakes a risky job in the hope of some gain. But history tells us that Imam Ahmed Raza did not get any reward from the British Govt. More ever, he died in 1921 during this Movement. Even his sons were not favoured by any rewards from the British Government. It is an Enigma of our history that one who never stooped to the British was stigmatized as their well wisher, while his opponents who were in league with the British were said to be the opponents of the British.
4. Khurshid Ahmed - “Pakistan Main Ain Ki Tadveen” Page No.14.
6. Its first edition was published by the Markazi Majlis-e-Raza, Lahore in 1971. After that five subsequent editions have come out (Masood).
7. Mohammad Masood Ahmed:.” FaziI-e-Barelve Aur Turk-e-Mawalat”Lahore 1971, PageNo.75,
8. The nature of the letter indicates inclination towards the other side. The plaintiff has been exempted from producing evidence and the defendant is pressed to produce witnesses. On the one hand, there is misconception that the fatwa was issued at the instance of the British, while on the other hand; there is wishful thinking that the blame was levelled due to some strong reason. All this is based more on sheer propaganda, than impartial enquiry. (Masood).
9. Letter dated April, 12, 1973, from Karachi.
10. ibid - Now the cat is out of the bag. The blame, for which arguments and witnesses were demanded, has now been conceded unconditionally. We are from Allah and we have to return to Him (ultimately).
11. The writer is faced with a similar situation. One of his old friends holding a PhD Degree is angry with him as to why he is doing research work on Imam Ahmed Raza. He writes in one of his letters.
“Do you not posses’ ability to write on any topic other than Ahmed Raza Khan”. Letter dated 26-1 2-1 980, Islamabad.
Perhaps the critic does not know that during the last 24 years the writer has written on more than 100 topics. (Masood).
(1) The Sun Rises Society and Religion
An important Fatwa of Imam Ahmed Raza’s Youth.
Abstain from marrying European girls.
Abstain from eating meat slaughtered by the English.
An objection of a Christian priest on Quran and Imam
(2) Government and Judiciary
Imam Ahmed Raza against Anti Shariat’ Agreement with the British.
Hatred against British Regime.
Testimony of Maulana Moinuddin Ajmeri.
Queen Victoria, Edward VII and George V, Hatred against the pictures of,’
Hatred against English Court of Law.
(3) Education and Culture
Hatred against English education.
Hatred against English culture.
Severe Criticism on English Culture by Maulana
Hamid Raza Khan.
(4) Thoughts and Criticism
Criticism on Newton Criticism on Albert Einstain Criticism on Albert F, Porta.
(5) Supporters, Followers and Lovers of the Christians.
Pamphlet of Imam Ahmed Raza against Mirza Ghulam Ahmed Qadiani.
Pamphlet of Maulana Hasan Raza Khan, the brother of Imam Ahmed Raza.
Pamphlet of Maulana Hamid Raza Khan, the son of Imam Ahmed Raza.
The role of the followers of Imam Ahmed Raza Khan in the Khatm-e-Nubuwwat Movement.
Criticism on Sir Syed Ahmed Khan.
Criticism on Nadvat ul Ulema.
(6) Private Life and Social Engagements
Hatred from the Face of the Britishers.
Liking for Maulana Abdul Qadir Badauni, a Mujahid brother in the war of Independence.
Liking for Maulana Kifayat Au Kafi, a martyr of the war of Independence
(7) Blames and their Causes
Imam Ahmed Raza & Khilafat Movement.
Imam Ahmed Raza and Non-Cooperation Movement.
The dislike of Hindu hegemony by Imam Ahmed Raza.
(8) Reply and Confirmation of Reply
The historical reply of Imam Ahmed Raza
The evidence of Muhammad Jafar Shah of Phulwari Sharif.
The evidence of Syed Altaf Ali Barelvi.
The ideas and critical remarks of Imam Ahmed Raza about Christians, Christian ideas and Christian civilization, and their approval by his Contemporaries.
According to technical reality the Christians are indeed polytheists as they believe in Trinity and do not believe in Prophet hood.
(Imam Ahmed Raza, A ‘alam Al-A ‘alam Bi An Hindustan Darul Islam. 1306 H/1888, published at Bareilly 1345 11/1927, Page No.9).
Good God! This nation is irrational and emotional. It is a pity that these people have become so audacious as to blaspheme against Allah and the Muslims hear their trash Quietly “We are from God and we have to return to Him.”
(Imam Ahmed Raza: Al-Samsaam Ala Mushakkak Fee Ayat Uloom-Ul-Arham, written in 1315 H/1897 AD published at Lahore Page No.19, 20.)
English and other types of secular education which are not useful either in the religious or mundane sense, these systems have been devised to engage the (Muslim) students in irrational subjects so that they may become oblivious of religion and the idea of religious consciousness may not germinate in them. They may not know who they are and what their creed is
(Imam Ahmed Raza: Al Muhjat-ul-Mutamina
Fee Ayat-ul-Mumtahina, written 1339 A.H./1921 A.D. published Lahore 1396 A.H./1976 A.D. Page No.93.).
It is strictly prohibited to don European clothes. To offer prayers in those clothes is makruh-e-tahrimii-e- almost prohibited. If one does not repeat his prayer in prescribed (Islamic) clothes, he will be a sinner, liable to God’s chastisement. (May God forbid, the Powerful, the Forgiver).
(Imam Ahmed Raza: AlAtaya Al Nabawiyya Fil
Fataway-al-Rrazavia, Volume-3, published at Lyalipur, Page No.442.).
Freedom from English ways and fashion and deliverance from atheism and free thinking are heart pleasing things. May Allah guide us. But these things cannot be achieved by simply refusing aid or canceling affiliations, but by extinguishing the fire that Syed Ahmed Khan kindled and even now many seem to be affected by it.
(Imam Ahmed Raza: Al Muhjatul-Motianza Fee Ayat -ul-Mumtahina, published at Lahore, Page No,93),
I was not interested in Fazil Barelvi so long as the Non Cooperation Movement was in full swing. The Non-Cooperation had fabricated that he was a paid agent of the British Govt. and so against Non-Cooperation Movement. As a matter of Fact, some catch word is coined in every epoch to malign a person. I have observed several such developments in my life”
(Mohammad Jafar Phulwari, a member of the
Non-Cooperation Movement. C/o Muhiban-e-Raza, written by Mohammad Mureed Ahmed Chishti, published at Lahore, 1981, Page No.125).
“Politically speaking, Hazrat Maulana Ahmed Raza Khan was a lover of freedom. He disliked the English and the British Govt. He himself and his sons Maulana Hamid Raza Khan and Mustafa Raza Khan never hankered after a title like ‘Shams ul Ulama’ etc. They also remained absolutely unconnected with the rulers of states and the Government officers.
(Contemporary of Imam Ahmed Raza, Syed
Altaf Ali Barelvi, Secretary General, All Pakistan Educational Conference, Karachi, C.F. The Jung, Karachi, Dated 25th January 1979, Page 6, Column 4-5).
(May Allah’s displeasure descend on Liars). Who-so-ever did it, may suffer from the displeasure of Allah, His Holy Prophet and His saints, till the day of Judgment.
(Imam Ahmed Raza: c.f. Monthly, Al-Sawad-al-Azam, Muradabad, issue, Jamadi-ul-Awwal, 1339 A.H./ 1920 A.D. Page .30).
بلوح تربت من یافتند از غیب تحریرے کہ ایں مقبول راجز بے گناہینیست تقصیرے
There was found an inscription on the epitaph of my grave, written by an invisible hand: “There existed no blame on the murdered, except that he was sinless”.
When one loves a nation he loves every thing of that nation e.g. its religion, its culture, its kingdom, its law, its education, its system of education, its civilization, its ideas and philosophy; its protégés, its followers, its helpers, its lovers and its person and face.
It is said that Imam Ahmed Raza loved the British and responded to their behests. On close investigation, it was found that there was no such thing. The blamers were found to be the toadies of the British and the person blamed was found exonerated. This is the point where astonishment is astounded.
The matter was examined from various angles, but no clue about the love of the British was found.
Let us raise curtain from the truth. Let us all behold. Let us remove those doubts and misapprehensions which became entrenched in our minds with the passage of time and pushed us into the caves of misgivings and miscalculations which deprived us from our eye-sight and conscience.
(1) Society and Religion
Culturally, marriage with Christian women and the Christian ‘slaughter’ has been declared to be ‘Halal’ or permitted. In this context, an ‘AIim’ who is ‘Pro British’ is expected to declare this order of Islamic Shariat valid for the British, but the situation unfolded by evidences is quite different.
In 1298 A.H/ 1880 A.D. when Imam Ahmed Raza was only 24 years old, one Mr. Mirza Au Baig of Badauni submitted an enquiry application to Imam Ahmed Raza containing the following three questions:
(1) Whether India is ‘Dar-ul-Harab’ or ‘Dar-ul-Islam1
(2) Whether the Jews or Christians are people of the book or Polytheists.2
(3) Whether the Rawafiz and their followers are apostates or not.3
The answer to first question as given by Imam Ahmed Raza is that India is Dar-ul-Islam, because Dar-ul-Harab is that country where Islamic laws and conventions cannot be promulgated. As such conditions do not obtain in India, so it is Dar-ul-Islam. This ‘Fatwa’ is purely Juridical not political there is no word in this reply which may indicate that Fatwa was given to please the British although it was an epoch when those who later on became against the British were loyal to Britishers.4 The reply to the second question ratifies our stand. As a matter of fact some ‘Ulema’ and wealthy persons wanted India to be declared Dar-ul-Harab so that USURY may become permissible in India, because one is permitted to take interest from an inhabitant of Dar-ul-Harab. In the reply Imam Ahmed Raza has criticized such persons and has written that they are ready to take interest after the declaration of India as Dar-ul-Harb but they are not ready to emigrate from it which is compulsory in case of Dar-ul-Harab. Thus the reply aims at providing a ‘Sharia’ Justification for not taking usury. It is not aimed at pleasing any body. Maulana Ashraf All Thanvi also agreed with Imam Ahmed Raza in the matter.5
Whatever Imam Ahmed Raza said in reply to the second query deserved our attention. This dispels all doubts. Imam Ahmed Raza says; “The Christians are polytheists as they believe in Trinity. Similarly, those Jews who think prophet Ezra to be the son of Allah are polytheists.6
After that he writes:
“The point at issue is that Allah distinguished the commandments for Jews or Christians in the Holy Scriptures from those of the idolaters and declared their women and slaughters to be legal for Muslims. The question arises whether the present day Christians who believe Jesus Christ to be God and those Jews who believe Ezra to be the son of Allah are to be included in the original category of the people of the book, or in the category of idolaters and their women and slaughter will be prohibited for the Muslims? 7
After raising this question Imam Ahmed Raza has mentioned the difference of opinion among the Ulema. Some Ulema have included such Jews and Christians among the people of the book, but some have considered them to belong to the ranks of idolaters. If Imam Ahmed Raza were enamored of the British, he would have reaped advantage from the difference of opinion among the Ulema and declared the British to be the people of the Book, but with great moral courage and precautions he gave his verdict at a time when it was very dangerous to speak against the British. He never cared for his own people or the aliens, but always upheld the sanctity of Sharia, and this is the distinguished feature of a truthful jurist. Imam Ahmed Raza gave this decision about the British;
“When there is difference of opinion among the Ulema and a Fatwa has been issued in this matter, so it is better to refrain from the slaughter of Christians and their women. If at present, such Jews are found who consider prophet Ezra to be the son of Allah, we should avoid their slaughter and women. Even if the Christians and Jews were the people of Book, there is no benefit for us in marrying their girls and in eating their slaughtered meat. It has not been made compulsory by Sharia, neither we require them. Even if they are people of the Book we should abstain. If the religious stand of the Ulema is correct, then marriage with their girls will be sheer adultery and their slaughter prohibited. May Allah save us from sin! A wise person should not indulge in an activity which is undesirable on one hand and absolutely prohibitive on the other.8
It is obvious from these excerpts that Imam Ahmed Raza favoured Non-cooperation with the Jews and Christians right from the beginning. He assumed realistic rather than emotional stand in this matter. He insisted that in attaining this purpose one should not supersede Sharia and so there should be no friendship with the idolaters of India, i.e. Hindus.
Imam Ahmed Raza never tolerated .interference by the Christians in the tenets of Islam and their objections to the Quran and traditions, but always hotly pursued it. Once a Christian priest asserted that the Quran says that no body knows whether embryo in the womb of a woman is a boy or girl, while they had invented a contrivance which could indicate the sex of the embryo. One, Mr. Qazi Abdul Waheed of Patna sent this objection of the priest to Imam Ahmed Raza in 1315 A.H/1897 A.D. in the shape of a query. In reply to this query Imam Ahmed Raza wrote a pamphlet in 1315 A.H./1897 A.D. named
(الصمصام علی مشکک فی ایۃ علوم الارحام )
In this pamphlet, Imam Ahmed Raza has thrown full light on every aspect of the problem and has advanced irrefutable arguments. In the end criticizing the irrational beliefs of the Christians, he writes: “It is deplorable that a strayed nation had the audacity to raise objection on Almighty Allah who is the Creator of the universe and is Omniscient, Omnipresent and Omnipotent:
Please do Justice, the Christians who are irrational, irreligious and fuel of Hell, who cannot distinguish between one and three, who believe in Trinity and then in unity. They attribute a wife and son to Allah, who is much above these satanic notions. They fabricated that Joseph, the carpenter was the husband of Virgin Mary. When she gave birth to Jesus Christ in the lifetime of Joseph, they declared him to be the son of Allah. After declaring him to be Allah and son of Allah, they got him crucified at the hands of the infidels. They are athirst for his blood. They eat bread taking it to be the flesh of Jesus Christ. They gulp liquor as the blood of Juses Christ. It is strange that their Allah was reunified and then consigned to Hell. The crucifixion in the presence of God Father is unthinkable.
The Christians assailed the innocent prophets with ridiculous blames. They fabricated diabolic notions and said they are divine revelations.9
“It is a pity that the Christians who are irrational and emotional question the creative premises of Almighty Allah and the Muslims pay heed to their satanic utterances. We are from Allah and to Him we shall ultimately return.10
If some body is loved then he is not criticized so vehemently. His beliefs are not subjected to such caustic criticism and he is not castigated like this.
Nationalist Ulema and Muslim erudite had firm political affiliations with the Hindus, so in their books they have eulogized Hindus in comparison with their Muslim opponents. You will find such instances in their works on history and politics, but Imam Ahmed Raza never, in his books, unduly praised any non Muslim personality.
Imam Ahmed Raza was not prepared to accept the judgment of the British Government against Islamic Sharia. The incident of Machhli Bazar, Mosque, Kanpur is an example.
In 1913, Government deliberately included a part of the said Mosque in extending the road. Upon this the Muslims agitated and protested. The British Government opened fire on Muslims, killing mercilessly several of them. At last on August 16, 1913 a delegation of distinguished Muslims consisting of Maulana Abdul Ban Farangi Mahli, Raja Sahib Mahmud Abad and Sir Raza All met the Governor of U.P! And on 14th October, 1913 these dignitaries settled the issue with the Viceroy of India on certain conditions on behalf of the Muslim Nation which also included the following conditions:”
As the level of the Mosque is several feet above the road level so the bathrooms will be rebuilt at their original sites, but on the lower ground the footpath will be constructed to enable the pedestrians to pass over it.11
When Maulana Mohammad Salamat Ullah Sahib (Vice President, Majlis Muid-ul-Islam, Frangi Mahal, Lucknow), sent a query about this agreement to Imam Ahmed Raza, he wrote back for clarification of certain points so that nothing may remain hidden. After utmost scrutiny of facts, the Fatwa was issued in which he showed no clemency to the British Government, nor to his friend Maulana Abdul Bari Farangi Mahli. Imam Ahmed Raza had no regard for the British but he had to be soft with his friend. But without caring for it he gave his verdict;
“I waited for some time. I also read the newspapers in an effort to find out a correct interpretation of this activity, but to no avail. So my verdict was against the friends, because it was essential to uphold the truth. My old friendly connection with Maulana Abdul Ban could not modify my stand.”12
As this condition was against the Islamic principle that wakf with compensation or without compensation is inalienable, so Imam Raza did not care a whit for the British Governor or the Viceroy, nor of his friend, Maulana Abdul Ban.