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An Analytical Study of Imam Ahmed Raza and his Academic and Scientific Services

As a fact world is full of qualitative people who made their revolutionary contributions through their work. One of them is Imam Ahmad Raza Khan who brought the confidence among Muslim students and made them to think something innovative to develop Muslim world by knowledge, wisdom and capabilities.

Imam Ahmad Raza Khan Qadri (1856-1921) the great Mujaddid of 20th century is the name of such versatile personality which attracted a large number of men of letters from each field of knowledge throughout the globe. Imam Ahmad Raza was such a personality who was having command over more than hundred spheres of knowledge like translation (tarjama), analysis holy Qura'an (tafseer), hadees and all other Islamic fields and was also expert in modern science and due to this he became central figure of 20th century.

Besides his work and research on Islamic studies he also worked on the fields like Creativity, Psychology, Fluid dynamics, Light theory, Auditory theory, Atomic theory, Medical physiology (Gastro intestinal physiology), Homeostatic, Leprosy Medical embryology and Static theory of earth. Imam Ahmad Raza was a scholar who spread real combination of principles of Sufism and Sharia according to Qura'an and Sunnah.

He cleared lot of misconceptions which were centuries old and existing among Muslims regarding the status of Prophet (PBUH). Imam Ahmad Raza was having a great hold over fiqah and wrote more than fifteen hundred books over the different spheres of knowledge. By his inborn creative nature he was also a great poet and wrote over more than hundred poem only for the love of Prophet (PBUH). According to him Muslims can touch the stars and can fly over the sky but they strongly should be attached to Prophet (PBUH) with love. During his whole life he proffered that people who are Muslims should be perfect in every aspect of life because our beloved Prophet (PBUH) was perfect in every aspect of life.

Writing works of Imam Ahmad Raza:
Imam Ahmad Raza gained proficiency in more that hundred branches of knowledge. With this, he wrote many books on various aspects of Islam. He was a genius writer. He wrote numerous books and treatises in Arabic, Persian and Urdu on diversified topics. To date, it has not been fully ascertained as to exactly how many books he wrote, for in doing so, requires research and many personnel. There has risen, over the past years, many Islamic Scholars in the Indo-Pak Sub-Continent and in other parts of the world, who are making serious attempts in studying or translating the works of this great Mujaddid of Islam.

In 1887, at the age of 30 years, he had completed 75 books and treatises. In 1909, at the age of 43 years, this number increased up to 500. However, it has been estimated that the number of books written by him exceed 1000 on more than 100 branches of knowledge. Apart from these contributions, he had written annotations and commentaries on more than 150 books pertaining to various branches of learning. Professor Dr. Muhammad Hassan, Shaikh-ul-Adab, Islamia University, Bhawalpur, said: "Maulana Ahmad Raza was a prolific writer. He wrote a large number of treatises. It is due to the fact that his head and heart had surging waves of knowledge which were hard to restrain."

Topic on which books was written by him:
  • Tafseer of the Quran: 11
  • Aqaa'id (Belief): 54
  • Hadith and Principles of Ahadith: 53
  • Fiqh, Principles of Fiqh, Dictionary of Fiqh Faraa'idh and Tajweed: 214
  • Tassawwuf, Wazifas, Morals: 19
  • Reviews of Books: 40
  • Language, Arabic Grammar, Dictionaries, History, Poetry and Special Benefits, Travelling : 55
  • Inspired Knowledge (Jafar): 11
  • Logarithms: 8
  • Astronomy, Astrology: 22
  • Mathematics, Geometry: 31
  • Philosophy, Sciences, Logistics: 7
  • Algebra: 4
Professor Abdul Shakoor Shad, (Kabul University,Afghanistan) said: "The research works of Imam Ahmed Raza Khan are worth presenting. There is due need that Historical and Cultural Societies of India, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran together with other such institutions keep all his writings duly catalogued in their libraries."

His Divinely bestowed intelligence was such, that when he completed a quarter of any given book at the feet of a teacher, he used to study and memorize the remainder of the book by himself. It is recorded that he completed an Arabic commentary on the book, "Hidaayatun Nahw", on Arabic Syntax, when he was only 8 years old!

As mentioned above that imam Ahmad Raza has worked in many fields here are some fields and references mentioned:
  1. Psychology and Imam Ahmad Raza:
    Psychology is the scientific study of human behavior, as a science psychology is comprised of systematized knowledge that is gathered by carefully observing and measuring events according to Clifford T. Morgan psychology is defined as the science of human and animal behavior. It is a well known fact that it is one of the oldest sciences that is why it has been expressed by many religious scholars as per Quran every human is born on right nature.

    Imam Ahmad Raza, a creative thinker of 20th century constructed a model of personality structure with three interlocking part in his MALFOOZAAT-Part 3 before 1921 as NAFS as ID QALB as EGO and RUH as super Ego. Before this he has said when any person's eyes are deviated then his heart and mind both are deviated. As we know psychology teaches us how a person can behave good or bad and Imam Ahmad Raza gave a principle on controlling ones behavior.
  2. Imam Ahmad Raza and fluid dynamics:
    As we know this subject gives us understanding about how liquids move. How they behave and how and in which manner they are to be used. Liquids and their classification is on behalf of their viscosity. As we are aware of the fact that the fourth state of matter plasma is also because of this viscosity but now the recent research have identified many kinds of liquids. There are many scholars like Sir George Stock and G. T Taylor who have worked on fluid dynamics.

    This renowned personality and theologian of 20th century Imam Ahmad Raza has also worked in this field as he wrote a book named Al-Diqat-I-Wattibian LA-ilm-riqat-I-Wassailan and discussed about leaner blood flow in 1886.

    In 1915 he discussed about fluid dynamics (especially Hydrodynamics) regarding continuity of flow, viscosity of various fluids, drag force, streak line flow various characteristics of water and kinds of water, classification of solutions like saturated solutions super saturated solutions binary solutions so on.

    In this book regarding ablution (wazu) he has discussed in detail about Hydrodynamics he explained 306 kinds of water out of which only 160 kinds of water through which ablution is permissible. There are about 146 kinds of water through which ablution is not permissible. Now researchers are discovering this but Imam Ahmad Raza explained it a century before.
  3. Imam Ahmad Raza and light theory:
    Today scientists view light as having dual nature. It is important to note that light shows many phenomenon like reflection, refraction and interference etc. Imam Ahmad Raza explained them also as Newton or any other scientist said. Ahmad Raza wrote light and it's nature and all these phenomenon in his fatwa named as fatwa e Razaviya in volume 3rd from page no 240 he says, when light hits a plane surface of mirror it bounces off at a regular angle this is called regular reflection.
We can show it by shining a thin beam of light onto a mirror and marking where it's reflection leads. According to him some angles are made there in this phenomenon one is incident and another is reflection angle. These angles are equal to each other, reversal image total internal reflection and many other phenomenon are also discussed in this part of book (fatawa-e-razvia).

Once a question was asked to Imam Ahmad Raza by Sir Zia-ud-din, Vice chancellor Aligarh Muslim University of that times that what is the reason that the light appears before the sun rises and the light remains even the sun has fallen below the horizon. Imam Ahmad Raza a creative theologian replied in detail and explained in a comprehensive manner and satisfied Sir Zia-ud-din by performing an experiment. Dr. Zia-ud-din was astonished and acknowledged in words that Imam Ahmad Raza deserve for the title of Nobel Prize because imam Ahmad Raza solved a complicated problem of mathematics.

Here is what Imam Ahmad Raza answered: He said it is only due to the fact that light coming from sun when entering atmosphere has to bent due to the process of refraction and has to travel through the layers of the air continuously. When the rays reach the eyes of observers eyes follow them back along the direction from which they appear to have come.

The end result is that the sun is seen to be above the horizon even after it has fallen below or appear before the sun rises. Besides, this Imam Ahmad Raza has worked in auditory theory also. He wrote a book especially about sounds. The name of book is AL Kashf-I-Shifa Hukum I.

Ahmed Raza Khan For all:
  • Ahmed Raza is the brilliant Muslim scientific theologian who made rich creative contributions regarding nature of light and physical optics covering the topics of wave and corpuscular theory of light, reversal image and formation of ultrasound machine. These topics are precisely covered in his three books named as "As-sumsam-ala Mushaquk -fe-Ayia ulum-il-Arham 1896", "AlKalem-tul-Mulhamah-fe-Hikma-til-Muhkamah 1919"
  • The book discussing collision, harmonic motion, sound theory, wave theory with the laws of collision and Telecommunication System: "Al Kashf-e-Shafia_Hukm-e-Phono-Gharaafia"
  • Fluid Dynamics, Viscosity, Stoke's law and Bernoulli's Equation has been discussed in his book "Addiqatu-wat-Tibyyan leilm-e-Riqqat-e-Wassailan" 1915. This book discusses 306 kinds of water and classification of different solutions.
  • The Atomic Theory was first discussed by him from the verses of Quran (Reference 19:39, 7:34) in the book "Al-Kalemat-ul-Mulhama-fil-Hikmat-il-Muhkamah 1919". The same theory is referred by Dr. Muhammad Maalik in his book "The Quran Atomic Program"
  • His book on medical contribution "Maqmae Al-Hadeed" discussing gastrointestinal physiology covering the topics of Ingestion of food, Storage and digestive function of stomach, lubricating and protective properties of GIT, Chyme Digestive and absorptive function of small intestine, Hepatic circulation, Metabolic functions of the liver, Liver Blood flow, Portal Venous system, Formation of bile. The Medical Embryology has been discussed in his book "As Samsam-Ala-Mushkkik-Fe-Ayah-Uloom-il-Arham 1896"
  • The Psychology branch of science deals with mental process and human behavior in his era is same as discussed by Psychologist Sigmund Freud same as Imam Ahmed Raza in "Malfuzat Part III" enlightening ID, Ego and Super Ego.
  • The gravitation and earth theory deeply explained and discussed in two of his books "Nuzool-i-Ayat-i-Furqan Besukoon Zameen-o-Aasman 1919" & "Mueen-i-Mubin Bahar Daur Shamas-o-Sukoon-I-Zameen 1919" (Eng-translation: A fair guide on the revolving sun and the static earth, also commented by Dr.Abdul Qadeer Khan).
  • The book "Kashf-ul-ILaa-An-Simt-ul_Qibla" with applications of pure Mathematics discussing the direction of Qibla from deep calculations.
Dr. Barbara D. Metcalf, (Department of History, Barkley University, United States of America) said : "He was outstanding from the very beginning on account of his extraordinary intelligence. He enjoyed a divine gift of deep insight in Mathematics"

Imam Ahmad Raza Khan Never Separated Islam And Science:
Prof. Hakim Ali (d. 1364/1944) was a teacher of mathematics at the Islamiyya College, Lahore. He was exceptionally brilliant in his field and Aqa-i-Bedar, Principle of Dar al-Ulum Al-Sina al-Sharqiyya in Lahore was a disciple of the former. Professor Hakim Ali had reverence for Ahmad Raza and used to visit him and exchange thoughts on intellectual matters. Both had correspondence with each other about the rotation of the earth.

On 14 Jamadi al-Awwal 1339/1921, Prof. Hakim Ali wrote a letter to Ahmad Raza and from this letter it could be inferred that both were carrying on correspondence regarding science for a long time. The Professor wrote to Imam Ahmad Raza: "If you kindly agree with me, Allah willing, Science and the Scientist could be Muslimized."

In reply to this letter, Ahmad Raza wrote the treatise 'Nuzul-i-Ayah-i-Quran Bi Sukun-i-Zamin-o-Asman' in 1338/1920. In this he discussed the movement of the earth and opposed the views of Prof. Hakim Ali. His views about the modern and ancient Philosophies, were not imitative or apologetic, but it was very creative and sincere. He had unshakable faith in Quran and the Hadith, and no vicissitudes of time could affect him. Once he wrote to Prof. Hakim Ali:

"My friend! It is obligatory that our hearts be filled with honor of Sahaba, the Companions of the Holy Prophet (Allah's grace and peace be upon him). They learnt Quran from the Holy Prophet (Allah's grace and peace be upon him) and understood its meaning from him. Before them we appear to be unlettered, my friend! If we think that meaning we have understood of Quran is correct, and the honor of Sahaba, particularly Hazrat Huzayfa and Hazrat Abdullah Ibn-i-Masud understood them wrongly, the Sahaba is slighted. I give you in the protection of Allah that even such a thought passes through your heart.

After This, Imam Ahmad Raza Khan Continued In This Letter:
"My friend! Science would not be Islamised by adjusting problems and ayah to science. In this way, May Allah save us, Islam accepted science and not vice versa. If science is to be made Muslim, all the Islamic problems with which science is apparently in contradiction, have to be highlighted inquiring into the weakness and reason of science. Science should be employed to emphasize the positive features of Islamic stand and rebut the un-Islamic views of modern science. This is not difficult for an intelligent man like you. You love such things."

If we had accepted the approach of Imam Ahmad Raza (may Allah be pleased with him) our educated youth today would not have been so enamored with modern thoughts and skeptical about Islamic views. If scientists had sought guidance from the Quran they would have reached centuries ago where they are now.

Life in plants, echoes of sound in space, speed of light, mysteries of land and ocean, the colorfulness of the earth and heaven, and the disintegration that goes on in the universe are not new for a student of the Quran. In fact they are very ancient. It is the magical spell of the West that even the acquainted appears quaint.

Properties of sound were discovered much later, but Muslim Sufis and ulema had discovered these quite early and pointed out things which would perhaps be surprising to modern man.

Imam Ahmad Riza wrote a treatise 'al-bayan-i-Shafia li-Phonographia' (Phonographia) in 1326/1008. This subject outwardly appears to be the Fiqh (Islamic Jurisprudence), but in truth it is scientific. All the discussions of this treatise are related to science. In this treatise he pointed out the difference between photography and phonography. He wrote two preludes, discussing phonography.

In the first prelude he discusses:
  1. What is sound?
  2. How it is produced?
  3. How it is heard?
  4. After its production, whether it remains or disappears?
  5. Whether it exists outside the ear or originates within the ear?
  6. What is its relation to the soniferous (one that makes sound). Whether it is intrinsic property or extrinsic?
  7. Whether it continues to exist or not after its disappearance?

In the second prelude he discussed:
  1. Existence in the eyes
  2. Existence in the mind
  3. Existence in the print
  4. Existence in the book

Imam Ahmad Raza (Allah's grace and peace be upon him) introduced the wave theory of sound and proved experimentally that the following qualities are necessary for hearing of sound:
  1. Vibrating organ
  2. Medium e.g. air/water
  3. Propagation of waves
  4. Receiver e.g. the ear (ear/drum/tympani membrane)
He had special expertise in Ilm al-Tawqit (chronometry). Zafar al-Din Rizawi collected the speeches of Imam Ahmad Raza (may Allah be pleased with him) in ilm al-tawqit and published them in the form of a treatise under the name, Al-Jawahir wal-Yawaqhith Fi Ilm al-tawqit. This treatise is also known as Tawzih al-tawqit and was printed and published by Naimi press, Moradabad (India).

Among the letters of Imam Ahmad Raza (may Allah be pleased with him) we find his research on various branches of arts and sciences. In one letter written on fifth Saffar 1333/1915, he discussed Asr-i-Hanafi in about 10 pages. Maulana Zafar al-Din Rizawi (may Allah be pleased with him), shedding light on his mastery of Ilm-al-tawqit, writes:

"Along with astronomy, his mastery of Ilm al-tawqit was so great that it could be apt if he were called the fore-runner in this subject. Students from Hijaz and Russia used to come to Ahmad Raza to study modern subjects. Maulana Sayyid Hussain Madani (son of Sayyid Abdul Qadir Shami) came from Madina and stayed with him for 14 months and learnt ilm-taksir.

For him Ahmad Riza wrote the treatise on ilm-i-taksir, called Ataib al-Iksir fi Ilm al-Taksir. His letter, dated 27 Muharram 1306/1888 addressed to Zafar al-Din Rizawi are full of discussions on Ilm-i-Taksir of six pages. Ahmad Raza had a keen insight in ilm-i-Jafr also. Abd al-Ghaffar al-Bukhar (may Allah be pleased with him) came from Russia and stayed with him to learn this science from him. Ahmad Raza's treatise Safr al-Sarf-an-al-Jafr bi al-Jafr is about this topic."

Sayyid Riyasat Ali Qadiri brought from Bereilly 40 Arabic, Persian and Urdu manuscripts of treatises, annotations and commentaries, etc. Dr. Prof. Masud Ahmed read these notes cursorily. Sayyid Riyasat Ali Qadiri has published from Karachi, the annotations on logarithms in 1980 and for knowledgeable people they are worth reading. On Trigonometry there are also notes that he intends to publish. There is nobody in Pakistan who can understand his Arabic and Persian books on Mathematics.

Dr. Prof. Masud Ahmed drew the attention of the Nobel laureate Prof. Add al-Salaam but he pleaded his inability and said, I shall be happy but can't understand Arabic.

Imam Ahmad Raza propounded his own formulae of Mathematics also explained his sets of laws in his own unique way.

Once Imam Ahmad Raza (may Allah be pleased with him) solved successfully a complicated problem on Mathematics. The vice-chancellor of Muslim University, Aligarh (UP, India), Dr Sir Ziauddeen was so impressed and astonished and pleased that he cried spontaneously:

Imam Ahmad Raza deserves a Nobel Prize
Sir Ziauddeen, a famous Mathematician, was in a predicament with regards to part of his research in the mathematical field. He had to go to Berlin in Germany to seek a solution to this intricate problem. It so happened that a certain Maulana from the famous Aligarh University advised Sir Ziauddeen to visit Imam Ahmad Raza to seek a solution for his mathematical problem. But, Sir Ziauddeen, not sounding very confident said:
"What will an ordinary Maulana like Ahmed Raza be able to solve? He hasn't even gone out of his city to gain knowledge, so it is obvious that his knowledge is very limited." Nevertheless, after some convincing, he agreed to visit Ahmad Raza.

When he arrived in Bareilly, he immediately went to Imam Ahmad Raza (may Allah be pleased with him) presenting the intricate mathematical problem to him, he said, "I am now going to Germany. I will come back for the answer, that is, if you do manage to solve it." As he was speaking, Ahmad Raza was busy writing and listening to him at the same time.

As Sir Ziauddeen was about to leave, Ahmad Raza handed him a sheet of paper. When Sir Ziauddeen read what was written on this paper, he realized that it contained the solution to his mathematical problem that had him so confused. Sir Ziauddeen then said, "Today I believe that there is something known as Ilm-e-Laduni (inspired knowledge).

Sir Ziauddeen was later recorded to have said about Imam Ahle Sunnat Shah Ahmad Raza Khan Qadiri (may Allah be pleased with him):
"He was an unassuming man of pleasant manners and morals, had deep insight into Mathematics, although he was not formerly educated by a teacher. It was an inner divine-gifted inherent knowledge. My query pertained to a theory of knotting problems of Mathematics, but his manner and explanation was spontaneous as if he had already carried out a research in it. Now, there is nobody so well versed in India.

Such a great scholar, I think, there is none. Allah has bestowed upon him such a knowledge that is amazing. His insight in the fields of Mathematics, Euclid, Algebra and Timings is astonishing. A mathematical problem that I could not solve despite my best of efforts, this learned genius explained in a few moments."

In Imam Ahmad Raza's (may Allah be pleased with him) book entitled "Foz-e- Mubin der Radd-e-Harkat-e Zamin" of 1338 AH/1919 AD in which he has eruditely analyzed and discussed the most important doctrines of modern Physics, such as the Law of Gravity, Einstein's Theory of (general) Relativity and Newton's laws of motion.

Some of the Eastern and Western philosophers and scientists of the Modern age have also worked on these ideas and doctrines, and have deduced different postulations, axioms and universal truth in the light of their observations and experiments.

In the field of Rationale (philosophy and logic) there are very few rare scholars who understand his written works. Modern philosophers and scientists are not acquainted with Arabic and Persian languages, and their terminology too. As a result they have an incomplete understanding of the works of Imam Ahmad Raza (may Allah be pleased with him).

Imam Ahmad Raza has written treatises on medical science. He has maintained the supremacy of Almighty Allah and explained that the development of science is the pinnacle of our times. Moreover, he has documented that the Holy Quran is a source of knowledge that is multidirectional, comprehensive and Universal.

He has discussed Genetics, Modern Embryology in detail, especially fetal development within three layers. As a Technologist and Engineer, Imam Ahmad Raza (may Allah be pleased with him) formulated the ultrasound machine on the basis of light (law of reflection and refraction).

He explained for the first time that Leprosy is a non-communicable disease in the light of Islamic thought. Now after more than 70 years medical research has accepted that fact. Dr. Chris Schmotzer of Germany has commented on the Islamic ideas about leprosy offered by Imam Ahmad Raza:

"As a psychologist he discussed the clinical psychology, and formation in 'Fatawa Rizzawia' and his 'Malfuzat' (utterances)". Being an educator Imam Ahmad Raza has discussed in detail the system of education, syllabus of education and ideas of education. He was one of the greatest Islamic luminaries of the Indo-Pak subcontinent. His contribution towards strengthening the foundation of faith and advancing the cause of education and scientific knowledge stands unexcelled in may aspects.

Imam Ahmad was a unique and strange personality of his age. He was above all a great universal genius and had a strong mind with encyclopedic knowledge. His IQ (intelligence quotient), from the very beginning was 200 and remained the same throughout his life.

Imam Ahmad Raza was outstanding from the very beginning on account of his extensive learning and superb intelligence. in1856. His maiden literary work in Arabic was at the age of 8 years. He completed his education at the age of 13 years 10 months and 5 days and at that time he was the author of few books. He continued writing so prolifically that his head and heart had surging waves of knowledge, which were hard to restrain.

According to the latest study, Imam Ahmad Raza had a full command over more than 100 faculties of knowledge (the highest diversity of knowledge in this century). He has written more than 1000 books including Islamic sciences and current sciences like: Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Psychology and Parapsychology, Phonetics and Phonology, Engineering and Technology, Astronomy and Astrology, and many others.

Regarding modern science, I have tried to aware the nation about the creative scientific work of Imam Ahmad Raza, the renowned scientific theologian of the 20th century, in various of spheres of knowledge. It is astonishing that such creative work was written one century ago when such type of facilities were hard to find in this subcontinent.

  1. Dr. Muhammad Malik, Scientific Work of Imam Ahmad Raza, Idara-Tahqeeqat-e-Imam Ahmad Raza​, pp. 34, 57, 68
  2. Muhammad Tasleem Raza & Isaa razavi, Faizaan-e-Aala Hazrat, Razavi Kitab Ghar, New Delhi, pp. 36, 39,
  3. Muhammad Aftab Qadri, Imam Ahmed Raza and his Academic and Spritual Services English, Kutub Khana Amjadia, pp. 92, 96
  4. access dated Augast 18, 2022
  5. access dated Augast 18, 2022
  6. access dated Augast 18, 2022
  7. access dated Augast 18,2022
Written By: Prof. Shaikh Moeen Shaikh Naeem

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