When British came to India, they brought forward some individuals to divide the Muslims and strengthen their rule. Mirza Ghulam Ahmed Qadyani and Ahmed Raza Khan Beralwi were among those individuals. Both gave fatwas that it is haram to fight the British. Anyone who was against the British rule, Ahmed Raza Khan & co made their takfeer.
These individuals also supported the British in their fight against the Ottoman Empire. These people wrote books in support of Sharif of Makkah while he was revolting against the Ottomans. They opposed any movement that was set up for the benefit of Muslims. Ahmed Raza opposed Khilafat Movement which purpose was to save the Ottoman Empire. He also opposed Non-cooperation Movement.Ahmad Rida Khan from Bareilly, was born in the year 1856 and died in the year 1921 CE. His father's name was Naqi Ali Khan and his grandfather's name was Rida Ali KhanWhile in the Arab lands, Ahmed Zayni Dahlan was a British agent as mentioned by Dr. Allamah Khalid Mahmood in Mutaliya-e-Beralwiat. Ahmed Zayni Dahlan was also against the Ottomans and sided with Sharif of Makkah. British also took a fatwa from Ahmed Zayni Dahlan that India is Dar al-Islam and W. Hunter has quoted this fatwa in his book Our Indian Musalmaans." Since Ahmed Zayni Dahlan didn’t have much influence on the masses of the sub-Continent, British looked to someone at home who could further their interests and who could have been a better candidate than Ahmed Raza Khan Beralwi.Ahmed Raza Khan had met Ahmed Zayni Dahlan in Makkah and from there it was decided that Ahmed Raza will work for the British goals in India while Ahmed Zayni Dahlan will do the same in the Arab lands. Dr. Allamah Khalid Mahmood mentions that in this meeting between the both, it was decided that Ahmed Raza Khan will compile a takfeeri document [Hasaam al-Haramain] against the akabir of Deoband and then through the help of Ahmed Zayni Dahlan, some Ulama were duped into signing this document. Mawlana Manzur Ahmad Naumani [r.h] has mentioned that Ahmed Zayni Dahlan made false accusations in his books. Even Egyptian scholar Rashid Rada mentions that Ahmed Zayni Dahlan used to propagate false rumors about anyone who was opposed his interests at the order of his masters.Ahmed Raza Khan writes in his Al-Mahajjat al-Mutamana p, 208:“Jihad is not obligatory for us, the Muslims of India, on the basis of the Quran. He who holds that it is obligatory is an opponent to the Muslims and intends to harm them.”Now let us analyze the history of Beralwi school of thought, its founder and how it stood against Dar-ul-Uloom Deoband in the eyes of un-biased historians.Famous British Francis Robinson , author of numerous books on the Muslims of South Asia, writes: “The actions of one learned man, the very influential Ahmed Rada Khan, Bareilly, present our conclusion yet more clearly. He was the foremost supporter of unreformed Sufism in India…At the same time he supported the colonial government loudly and vigorously, through out World War I, and the Khilafat Movement…Adherence to local, custom-centered Islam, and opposition to Internationally conscious reformed Islam, seemed to go hand in hand with support for colonial rule.” In his another book, Separatism Among Indian Muslims: The Politics of the United Provinces' Muslims, 1860-1923 (Paperback, 2007) Series: Cambridge South Asian Studies, Francis Robinson writes: “It is not clear where the Berailly school had its strongholds but Mashriq of Gorakhpur and Al-Bashir usually took notice of pro-government fatwas of Ahmed Raza Khan, and it seems that school’s permissive thinking on Islamic practice appealed especially to certain low status groups in Islamic society. The school adhered to corruption of Islam such as saint worship and intercession at tombs; these were common among converts, particularly in the rural areas, where often there were considerable similarities between Hindu and Muslim practices.”On p422 on the same book, Robinson writes about Ahmed Raza Khan:“Nevertheless his normal stand was of support for the government and he supported it throughout World War I, he opposed the Khilafat Movement, and in 1921 organized a conference of anti-non-cooperation Ulama at Bareily. He had considerable influence with the masses but was not favored by educated Muslims.”From the above we know that Ahmed Raza was only popular among un-educated and ignorant. This was not the case with Deoband as it is clear from the quote provided below.Another famous British Historian Peter Hardi on p171 of The Muslims of British India paints a clear picture about different schools that were present at that time in the sub-Continent. He writes:“The collection of fatawa by Deobandi Ulama are of immense importance for understanding the pre-occupation of the Indian Muslims. The Ulama of Deoband prided themselves on being Ahl al-Sunnah wal-Jama, accepting the authority of the four orthodox Sunni mazahib, opposed to the Ahle Hadith, to the Ulama of Bariely schools, with their acceptance of intercession of saints and worship at the tombs and their ascription of semi divine qualities to the prophet, to the teaching of Sir Syed Khan Ahmed and the Ahmadiya.” He continues:“The prestige of Deoband as the active, confident and watchful guardian of the Sunni Islam was enhanced by its struggle against a new interpretation of Islam, which appeared in the late nineteenth century – the Ahmadiya – what engaged orthodox opinion was Mirza Ghulam’s Ahmed apparent challenge to the fundamental doctrine of KHATAM-E-NABUWWAT.” And on p170, he writes:“The most vital school of Ulama in India in the second half of the nineteenth century was centered upon Deoband, the Dar-ul-Uloom founded in 1867.”In the same book on p272, he goes on to say:“For every Alim [scholar] who issued a fatwa that India was Dar-ul-Harb, there would be one who declared that it was Dar-ul-Islam. Deoband represented the first response.” Now what did he have to say about founder of Beralwi madhab? “Ahmad Raza Khan of Bereily issued fatwa declaring India to be Dar-ul-Islam, making it a sin to associate with infidels [Hindus, against the British].”Ahmed Raza Khan had found few individuals who carried onto his mission even after his death. Two of those individuals were Abdul Hamid Badawni and Abdul Majid Badawani. Ahmed Raza Khan has highly praised Abdul Majid Badawani and his brother. Now what did P. Hardi had to say about these two brothers? He writes on p272 on the same book:“For their activates the brothers. Abdul Hamid and Abdul Majid were well rewarded by the government. Medals denotation the title of Shams-ul-Ulama dangled from their turbans, while for his anti-Khilafat work Abdul Majid was one of the most rewarded men in the province. At a provisional durbar in 1922, he received from the Harcourt Butler both a robe and a sword of honor.”Sadly, Ahmed Raza Khan died in 1921 or he would have also been invited to his court and honored with valuable gifts. When members of Majlis Maeed al-Islam sent their envoy to meet the Viceroy in 1917, who was part of that mission? P. Hardi writes:“Abdul Majid of Badaun, Wiliyat Hussain of Allahabad, Ahmed Raza Khan of Bariely and the two leading Shia Mujtahids of Lukhnow.”“The deputation was to include Shia Mujtahids as well as Wilayat Hussain of Allahabad and Ahmed Raza Khan of Bariely. The Deobandis characteristically objected to coming in with the Lukhnow lot.”So from above it is clear that Beralwis supported the British along with Shias and Qadyanis. Lastly, let us look at the role of Deobandi scholars against the British occupiers and their efforts to save the Ottoman Empire. P. Hardi writes on p86-187:“Despite Meston’s complacency in 1915 some Muslims from among the Ulama did engage in fifth column work against the British during the war of 1914-18. A leading alim belong to Deoband Mahmud al-Hassan Shaykh al-Islam [1851-1920] left for the Hijaz in 1915 in order to contact Turks. After meeting with Enwar Pasha [1881-1922] and Jamal Pasha [1861-1922] he was detained by Shareef Hussain’s men when they rose in revolt against the Turks and handed over to the British who interred him in Malta between 1917-1920. One of his aids Mawlana Ubaidullah Sindi went to Afghanistan and worked with German and Turkish agents there to stir up the tribesmen against the British in the North Frontier.”