The knower of the hidden secrets, excellent scholar and jurist, master of the Naqshbandī path, Hadhrat Shaykh Hāfiz Muftī Razā Alī Fārūqī Banārasī Hanafī Naqshbandī, may Allāh be pleased with him, was a deputy of Hadhrat Shāh Ahmad Sa’īd Mujaddidī Naqshbandī quddisa sirruhū.
He was from the descendants of the second caliph of Islam Hadhrat Sayyidinā Umar ibn al-Khattāb al-Fārūq radiyAllāhu anhu. His chain of forefathers is as follows.
Shaykh Razā Alī was son of Shaykh Sakhāwat Alī, son of Mufti Ibrāhīm, son of Mullā Umar, son of Ghawth Muhammad, son of Muhammad Sa’īd, son of Nūr Muhammad, son of Abd al-Karīm, son of Ma’rūf, son of Sulaimān, son of Sa’d ad-Dīn, son of Qādī Ibrāhīm, son of Qādī Ilāhdād, son of Qādī Manjhalī, son of Khwāja Muhammad Kabīr, son of Abu al-Fadl, son of Shaykh Sharf ad-Dīn Bukhārī, son of Shaykh Alā’ ad-Dīn, son of Qutb ad-Dīn, son of Ghiyāth ad-Dīn, son of Azīm-Allāh, son of Ahmad, son of Muhammad, son of Uthmān, son of Hadhrat Abdullāh, son of Sayyidinā Umar ibn al-Khattāb, may Allāh be pleased with them all.
Muftī Razā Alī was born on Sunday 16 Safar 1240 AH (10 October 1824 CE) in a small town near the city of Vārānāsī (or Banāras), India. His father Shaykh Muftī Sakhāwat Alī Fārūqī Banārasī Hanafī was a great scholar, who was born in 1219 AH and died in Jumādā al-Ākhirah 1281 AH. He lived in Lucknow and was educated by his father, and later migrated to Banāras.
Shaykh Razā Alī learned the traditional Islamic education in Persian and Arabic, and graduated as a qualified scholar in 1262 AH. He memorized the whole Qur’ān by heart in only 96 days. Among his teachers was his father and his uncle Shaykh Wājid Alī in Lucknow.
In 1275 AH, he traveled for Hajj to the holy cities of Makkah and Madīnah and performed the pilgrimage. He again performed the Hajj again the next year, in 1276 AH.
He visited the holy city Madīnah, where he met his master Hadhrat Shāh Ahmad Sa’īd Mujaddidī quddisa sirruhū. He took allegiance with him in the Sufi order and was trained in the spiritual path, reaching the sublime spiritual stations of sainthood and prophetic excellences. Finally, his shaykh awarded him deputyship in the Naqshbandī Mujaddidī Path and ordered him to guide the new spiritual seekers. He also received permission of the book Al-Hisn al-Hisīn from his shaykh, who had received it from Shaykh Abd al-Azīz Muhaddith Dihlawī. He received permission for the books “Qasīdat al-Burdah” and “Dalāil al-Khayrāt” from Shaykh Yūsuf Jarīdī.
He was awarded with the blessed turban of his shaykh that was last used by the shaykh. While in Madinah, he used to lead the Tarāwīh prayer as Imam in the presence of his shaykh.
He then came back to India, where he guided the spiritual seekers and traveled in many cities for preaching and spreading the blessings he had received from his master.
He was also an excellent Islamic scholar and a jurist in the Hanafī school of law. Being a qualified Muftī, he issued rulings on religious questions asked by the people. His rulings were collected and compiled as a book by his students. He strictly followed the Hanafī school and the pure Sunnī creed, and strongly condemned and refuted the newly formed Wahhābī doctrines that were spreading in India. He wrote a short book for affirming the validity of Mawlid and Qiyām titled “Mazāhir al-Haqq Fī Asbāt al-Mawlid wal-Qiyām”. His students also wrote many books in Arabic for refuting the Ahl al-Hadīth sect.
He wrote in a fatwā issued against the the Wahhābī teachings of Molvī Ismā’īl Dahlawī and Molvī Ishāq Dahlawī, in which he wrote that:
Once I asked my master and shaykh (Shāh Ahmad Saʻīd Mujaddidī) about Ismā’īl Dahlawī in Madīnah. He replied that
“I and other scholars of Delhi convinced him at Jame’ Masjid Delhi and he agreed to correct Taqwiyat al-Īmān.” My shaykh said at Tonk that “my master and shaykh (Hazrat Shāh Ghulām Alī) used to say that all the irreligiousness (Be-Dīnī), bad faith and corruption in the Muhammadī Deen that has occured in India, occured because of this person Molvī Ismā’īl.”
(Saif-ul-Jabbār by Mawlana Fazl-e-Rasool Qadrī, 1973, page 211)
Besides his intellectual and spiritual excellence, he also possessed athletic skills and was a splendid swimmer and wrestler.
Shaykh Razā Alī quddisa sirruhū left this mortal world on Sunday 21 Sha’bān 1312 AH (17 February 1895 CE). He was buried the next day. His blessed tomb lies in his hometown Vārānāsī (or Banāras) India, besides the Eīdgāh in the Alīpura neighborhood.
He left behind many spiritual seekers and some deputies, among them are the following:
- Hadhrat Shaykh Abd-Allāh, buried in Kerākat, Jaunpur district, India
- Hadhrat Mawlānā Sayyid Abd al-Halīm Sīwānī (d.1912) whose silsila is still active
- Hadhrat Mawlānā Ismā’īl
He had two sons and a daughter. His younger son, who was a great mystic saint, died in young age. His elder son married but had no children.
- Faid al-Malik al-Wahhāb (Arabic), by Shaykh Abd as-Sattār Siddīqī
- Tazkirah Mashāikh Mujaddidiyah volume 3 (Urdu), by Muftī Āfāq Ahmad Mujaddidī, 2004.
- Nuzahat al-Khawatir (Arabic), by Mawlana Abd al-Hayy Lakhnawi
- Saif al-Jabbār al-Maslūl, by Mawlānā Fazl-e-Rasūl Qādrī Badāyūnī
- Shāh Ahmad Sa’īd Mujaddidī and the Indian Wahhābism