Alahazrat didn't write volumes

Discussion in 'Biographical Notes' started by Aqdas, Jul 20, 2019.

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  1. Aqdas

    Aqdas Staff Member

    Someone wrote on Facebook that Alahazrat didn't really write major works. My reply:

    #Alahazrat Imam Ahmad Rida Khan Baraylawi was a mufti. He spent 54 years writing fatawa. From 1286-1340AH.

    His fatawa are in 30 volumes but even then, these don't contain those written in the first 20 years or so.

    On top of this, his collection doesn't include repetitions. He himself says in one place [paraphrased]: 'if I had ten fatawa that were similar, I only included one of them in Fatawa Ridawiyyah.'

    When these factors are accounted for, one can easily see that the collection would be much larger, perhaps 3 times as much.

    Furthermore, Alahazrat faced dozens of fitnahs that kept him busy in writing refutations. Where would he find time to pen volumes?

    Moreover, because of his strenuous regime and sitting on the ground every day for decades and spending most of the day writing, Alahazrat became very weak. He was often ill. This took a toll on his written output too. Again, when did he actually have time to write volumes?

    I said to one scholar, 'Imam Suyuti wrote hundreds of works. He was prolific.' He responded, 'for sure. But Imam Suyuti had time to do that. He didn't face fitnahs so could spend his hours authoring works on hadith, etc.'

    That was quantity. Now quality.

    The researcher, Mawlana Muhammad Ahmad Misbahi says, 'at times, half a page of Alahazrat's is more valuable than entire works of others.'

    So why didn't Alahazrat pile up volumes?

    A scholar recently mentioned Mawlana Abdul Hayy Lakhnawi and his output of Arabic works, especially in hadith and mentioned Alahazrat.

    If Alahazrat wanted, he could have also written multi-volume works in hadith and tafsir. But as I told this scholar, 'Alahazrat was the people's scholar. He was the people's champion.'

    What does that mean? It means, he was astute and well aware of what a scholar of his calibre needed to be doing.

    Yes, he could have compiled 10 volumes each for commentaries on all 6 canonical hadith books, that's 60 volumes right there. He could have written 20 volumes of tafsir. He could have penned a 10 volume sirah. But who would read them? Mostly ulama.

    The star of Bareilly was the people's champion. So, instead, he wrote fatawa for the common man, which, as I've mentioned above, would perhaps reach 90 volumes if every last one were gathered. His own son, Mufti Mustafa Rida Khan's fatawa reach 70 volumes.

    And he wasn't a compiler or copyist, a nāqil. No. He was a mujtahid. It isn't difficult for someone who is well read to take bits from here, bits from there, and gather volumes. But ijtihad? That is reserved for the elite who we see centuries apart.

    Alahazrat was a visionary. He had foresight, as is the mark of the believer. Yes, he could have piled up volumes, in Arabic, in every discipline. But like I said, who would read them?

    Secondly, this vision and foresight allowed him to see that his students and disciples will gather the volumes. Gathering volumes can be done by others. But answering questions that would perplex even the greatest minds, that is the work of the mujaddid, the mujtahid.

    I have recently been perusing the first volume of Fatawa Ridawiyyah, Kitab al-Taharah. And if anyone wants to see a hanafi mujtahid in the 20th century, look no further than this volume.

    Regardless, writings aren't measured by volume, rather it's the impact they have. Yes, Alahazrat didn't pile up Arabic volumes. He wrote in Urdu. Again, why? Because he was writing for the people and not so he achieves fame and builds his profile as an Arabic commentator. And his works sometimes are booklets or glosses. But the impact? Mawlana Hashmat Ali Khan says, 'I don't know how many he converted to Islam but I do know he saved millions from becoming kafirs.' Now I ask, would authoring voluminous works in Arabic have achieved this?

    This foresight of his should be paid homage to. He recognised the need of the hour and wrote fatawa. He slept 2-3 hours a day only to fulfil this task. He says, 'at times, up to 500 letters at a time are received as questions.'

    And the renown for not compiling volumes? He is more well known than any other of his era and thereafter.

    Yes, he wrote fatawa. He cared for the faith of the common man.

    The people's scholar. The people's champion.
    Nabeela and chisti-raza like this.

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