Barelvi is a misnomer or a slur term for Ahle Sunnat Wa Jamaat, the mainstream Sunni Hanafi school of Islamic jurisprudence. In the late nineteenth century, when an already existing movement Ahle sunnat wal Jamaat was going through its rough times, it was revived by Aala Hazrat Imam Ahmed Raza Khan Qadri Hanafi Barkati in an Indian town of Bareilly, Uttar Pradesh.

Dargah E Aalahazrat Bareilly Sharif


The term Ahlesunnat wal Jamaat is an Urdu-Arabic or Persian-Arabic term which means, Peoples following the Sunnah (way) of Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him). The term "Barelvi" for the movement is seen as the hazardous invention of various Deobandi/Wahhabi Mullahs of the past. Neither Aala Hazrat Imam Ahmed Raza Khan used this term nor any important Sunni Scholar after him approved the term. So the correct etymology for the movement is Ahle Sunnat wal jamaat, not derogatory "Barelvi".


The movement is identified by the recitation of special salutation to honor Prophet Hazrat Muhammad (Peace and blessings upon him). 

Ya Nabi Salam Alaika 

Ya Nabi Salam Alaika

Ya Rasool Salam Alaika

Ya Habeeb Salam Alaika

These are the famous couplets from the poetry which are regarded as Salam in India and Pakistan and "Dharaya Milad Kiyam" in Bangladesh. This is one of the important tradition of the followers of Ahle Sunnat wal jamaat, which includes honoring the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) by standing and reciting this Salam collectively. In India, Salam is recited in every Sunni mosque after Fajr prayer and after the weekly Friday prayer.

The similar traditions of reciting Salam are seen in many mosques of Bangladesh but with different Bangla term, "Dharaya Milad Kiyam" which means "Reciting Milad while standing" in an honor of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him). This is the common tradition which is practiced in Every division of Bangladesh. Even the Wahabi/Deobandi dominated region of Bangladesh, "Mymensingh" has not remained untouched with this tradition, one can observe this tradition in various Sunni Mosques of Mymensingh, such as "Sunni Masjid", Kazir Shimla, and mosque associated with lalkuthi Pak Darbar Sharif of Mymensingh.

Muslims of Guyana also follow this tradition. Whereas Indonesian Muslim call it as "Sholowat ya Nabi Salam alaika". It is recited in many notable Sunni Religious organizations of the country like bustanul asyiqin.

Calling Ya Rasul allah

Calling to the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) by saying "Ya Rasul Allah" is the common practice of the Sunni Muslim of the Indian Subcontinent. It is based on the belief that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) can listen to the call of Ummah. It is widely supported belief by the scholars of  Ahlesunnat  wal jamaat, including Aala Hazrat Imam Ahmed Raza Khan Qadri because of its permissibility in Islam.

Kissing the thumb on hearing the name of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him)

Sunni Scholars consider the act of kissing thumb on hearing the name of the Prophet (peace be upon him). Other Sunni scholars mentioned its supremacy (fazilat) like According to one of the Sunni scholar, Sayyed Aminul Qadri, the one who listens the name of Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) and kisses his thumb then he will never be blind. According to Darul Ifta Ahle Sunnat, Hazrat Abubakr Siddiq RadiaAllahu Taala Anhu kissed his thumb on hearing the name of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) during the Azan. So it is considered as an act of Ta’zim (respect).

Durood Taj

Durud e Taj or Encomium of the Crown in praise of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him ) is the Durud Sharif (a phrase complimenting Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him). Sunni Muslims give special emphasis on the recitation of Durud e Taj. Many Sufi leaders and Sunni Ulema mentioned its Fazilat (Supremacy), and asked their followers to recite in a particular manner. As we can see how Aala Hazrat mentioned its fazilat by saying  that one should recite Durood e Taj 3 times for the closeness of  the Prophet. Many Sunni Muslims Keep this in their home as a wall art or Tughra. The 108 feet calligraphy of this Durud sharif can be seen at the Mazar Mubarak of Hazrat Data Ganj Bakh Rahmatullah Alaih. Although author Habibi attributed this Durud Sharif to Abul Hasan Shazli in their book but the senior scholar of Ahlussunnah, 'Shah Turab Qadri',  had clear that, "we cannot find its author's name anywhere". Author Khalil Rana mentioned in his book, "Durud e Taj aur Data Ganj Bakhsh", that Durud e Taj was one of the favorite Durud Sharif of Hazrat Data Gunj Bakhsh, Rahmatullah Alaih.


Typical Mazar Sharif

The term Urs which means wedding is adopted to stand for the commemoration of a Sufi saint who crushed him/her individuality in the worship of Allah and His Prophet.While it may turn out curious, Urs is surely a qualifying term as death but is a starting point. It is the period when the lover (saint, who loves Allah) , released from the confines of this worldly prison, comes to the Indicated Land, and picks up to sleep, the sleep of a bridegroom.  The Urs of Hazrat Baba Tajuddin Muhammad Badruddin alias Tajuddin Baba is celebrated annually at his dargah in Nagpur. The Urs festival in any Mazar includes many Sufi practices, the most common and seen in every Mazar, is "Ghusl" which means, bathing the grave of saint, with rose water, the rose water that comes from the grave after its bathing considered as the "tabarruk" by the devotees, they used to store that water and take it to their homes to give it them to their family members for drinking. Urs e Razvi an important  festival commemorating Sarkar Aala Hazrat Imam Ahmed Raza Khan Qadri Barkati  is celebrated in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh , United States of America, United Kingdom, Spain, Turkey, Australia, Holland, United Arab Emirates, Mauritius, etc. Many Sufi shrines organize Rang Mehfil on the occasion of Urs. Usually Qawwalis are sung in the Rang Mehfil, but using this term for a Naat Mehfil, (Rang e Raza in 2017 of Owais Raza Qadri on the occasion of Urs e Razvi) witnessed use of the term "Rang" for Manqabat also.


Raza Academy

Notable organization of the movement in  Maharashtra, Raza Academy protest against the French  Cartoonist Charlie Hebdo who print the controversial caricatures of Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him). In July 2021, Academy proposed "Prophet Muhammad bill" in front of the state Government to stop hatred speeches against Islamic prophets and religious chiefs and leaders of other religions.

The movement is known for its  patriotic nature along with its peaceful nature. Its patriotic  nature can be observed by its various steps towards anti-terrorism, various announcements from Dargah e Aalahazrat (movement's  headquarter) to the community to follow various genuine laws of the country. The movement was in news when it appealed to the community to not use the prohibited animals for Qurbani/sacrifice (the announcement was regarding cow's sacrifice during Bakrid.)

In March 2021 when ex-shia Waqf Chief Wasim Rizvi moved to file the petition seeking removal of 26 verses from the Quran, strong opposition was made by the movement's organization, Jamat Raza e Mustafa as an attempt to hamper community's tranquility, vice president of the organization demanded government to send Wasim Rizvi  to jail. 

Many Sunni clerics of the movement is continuously regarded as the most influential Muslim of the World. The former Grand Mufti of India, Akhtar Raza Khan aka Azhari Miyan had ranked 22nd in 2014. The other religious Scholar such as Shakir Ali Noori (Amir of Sunni Dawateislami), current Grand Mufti of India Kanthapuram A. P. Aboobacker Musliyar aka Sheikh Abubakr Ahmad, Allama Qamruzzama Azmi, Ilyas Qadri is constantly featuring in the book "The 500 Most Influential Muslims".


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