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These are the oldest members of the Rafai family on AncientFaces.
Rafai Surname History
One of the illustrious bright lights of this line of saints was Syed ul Auliya Muhiuddin Abu Al Abbas Hazrat Syed Ahmad Kabeer Rifai Sha’fai, a true example of faith and one of the great inheritors of the perfection of the Prophet of Islam.
Muhiuddin is the pen name of Hazrat Syed Ahmad Kabeer. One of his ancestors was Rifa’a, therefore he is also known as Rifai and since he was a follower of Hazrat Imam Sha’fai (may Allah be pleased with him) he is also called Sha’fai.
The venerable Hazrat Syed Ahmed (may his soul be sanctified) was a direct descendant of Syed ul Shuhada, Hazrat Imam Hussain(May Allah be pleased with him) due to which he is known as Hussaini. Hazrat Ahamed’s father was Hazrat Syed Ali.
Hazrat Syed Ahmed Rifai Alayhi Rahma was born on Rajab 15th in the year 512 (Hijri) at Hasan which is situated near the city of Umme Ubaida in IRAQ. It was a time Mustarshid Billah was the Abbasid Caliph of the Muslim world. Prophet Muhammad (May peace & blessings of Allah be upon him) had foretold the birth of Hazrat Syed Ahmed Kabeer to his maternal uncle Hazrat Mansur Bitahi. Forty days before the birth of Syed Ahmed, Shaikh Mansur had seen the blessed Prophet in the dream telling Shaikh Mansur that his sister will give to a son who will be the chief of saints (Syed ul Auliya) and who should be named Ahmed. Shaikh Mansur was also instructed by the blessed Prophet to depute his yet to be born nephew for education under Shaikh Ali Qadri Wasti. Exactly forty days after this dream, Syed Ahmed Kabeer was born AT Hasan.
Syed Ahmed Rifai Alayhi Rahma was brought up by his parents at Hasan until he was seven years of age when his father Hazrat Syed Ali died in Baghdad. After the death of the father Syed Ahmed came under the care of his maternal uncle Hazrat Shaikh Mansur Bitahi (May Allah be pleased with him) who arranged for his education and upbringing.
Syed Ahmed Rifai Alayhi Rahma had read & memorized the holy Qur’an as Hasan under Shaikh Abdul Sami Harbuni. He now came under the care of Shaikh Abul Fazal Wasti at Wasta. The gifted Shaikh Wasti took great interest in Hazrat Ahmed’s education and by the age of twenty, Syed Ahmed had mastered Hadith, religious literature, philosophy etc.
After completion of his religious education & instruction and having obtained degree & permission, Hazrat Syed Ahmed began his preaching. At the same time he began to acquire the knowledge of the secrets (uloome Batini) from his uncle Hazrat Mansur Batayhi (May Allah be pleased with him) and mastered the science of the secrets in a short time.
In the beginning, his God-gifted abilities and sagacity made him very popular with the people and established ulema and other scholars began to attain his sermons for their own benefit. And when his piety became known all around he was appointed resident (Sajjada Nasheen) at the Khan’qah of Umme Ubaida to serve as people’s guide & instructor, by his uncle Hazrat Mansur Batayhi.
As his fame spread far and wide, huge crowd began to assemble in the Khan’qah of Umme Ubaida and hundreds and thousands of ulema and other scholars of religion began to reside in the Khan’qah. Hazrat Syed Ahmed Rifai Alayhi Rahma provided for their boarding & loading so that the seekers of knowledge devoted their full time in the praise and remembrance of Allah.
Many authoritative sources claim that on certain day’s attendance at the Khan’qah used to be about ten thousand and all were fed and looked after by Hazrat Ahmed’s public kitchen. (Albayan Almushaiyad p.7)
Yet Hazrat Syed Ahmed Rifai Alayhi Rahma showed no signs of arrogance for his popularity. According to Allama Ibne Jauzi’s grandson Shamsuddin Abul Muzaffar Yusuf, when he visited Hazrat Shaykh Syed Ahmed Rifai Alayhi Rahma on 15th of Sha’aban he witnessed a congregation of about one hundred thousand people. When he expressed his surprise at such a large gathering, Hazrat Shaykh Syed Ahmed Rifai Alayhi Rahma is reported to have said:
If in my heart, there is any trace of arrogance or pride, for leading this congregation, then I may meet the same fate as that of Hamaan.
(Qalaid al Jawahir p. 290)
Hazrat Tadni (May Allah be pleased with him) states that Shaikh Ahmed was a personage of wonders, his status was most eminent and his popularity was immense.
It is believed that Shaykh Syed Ahmed Rifai Alayhi Rahma was one of the four great AIMMAs who, with Allah’s grace, restored eyesight to the blind, health to the sick and resurrected the dead.
In every town and village the venerable Shaikh had countless followers and hi Khan’qahs were spread across the length and breadth of the entire Muslim world.
In the science and practice of religion he was a great master of his time. He knew about invisible and mysterious things. His sermons were very erudite and noble and in Sufism he had amazing command and fame. At the same he was a magnanimous and humble soul. (Qalaid al Jawahir p.289)
Syedul Auliya Hazrat Shaykh Syed Ahmed Rifai Alayhi Rahma (May Allah be pleased with him) was a true copy of Prophet Muhammad (May peace & blessings of Allah be upon him), by attitude, behavior face & personality, kindness and prayers too. He possessed the qualities of humility, modesty, humbleness and gentleness. He used to say that he had seen and considered other ways of conduct but had come to the conclusion that civility and modesty were the best. Hazrat Syed Ahmed was a steadfast follower of the sunnah of the Prophet. He disliked those sufis who were busy reaping the fruits of this world. He led a simple life befitting a Fakeer. He disliked formalities & comforts and was a man of few words. Bashful modesty dominated his personality. When he departed from this world, he left behind no worldly possessions. (Bahjat ul Asrar p. 23)
Inspite of the vast knowledge in the literature of the sharia and other religious texts, Shaikh Ahmed paid little attention to compilation and composition of what he preached. However his disciples and devotees took notes from his sermons and out of these some books were compiled such as: Majalis al Ahmedia; Kitab ul Hukum, Asrar al Nafe, and Al burhan al Mueed. This book is based on the extracts of Al burhan a Mueed.
Hazrat Syed Ahmed Kabeer Rifai devoted 66 years of his life in the service of Allah’s children by teaching them righteous guidance. He left this mortal world in the year 578 (Hijri) and was laid to rest in the sameKhan’qah of Umme Ubaida where his ancestors were buried. The venerable Shaikh declared before his death: I am the shaikh of the undoubting; I am the destination of all those goats who have separated from their flock; And I am Shaikh of all those who have no shaikh.
Great grandfather of Sayed Ahmed Kabeer Al Rafai was known as Abu – al Makarim Rafaah Hassan Al Makki, was a great saint in makkah Mukarrama, from this name only the family name has began Al Rifai. Rafai is an Arabic word & the meaning is Boost, Hike, Lift, Promote etc.
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Rafai Country of Origin, Nationality, & Ethnicity
Rafai Meaning & Etymology
Rafai Life Expectancy
According to our database of 2 people with the last name Rafai that have a birth and death date listed:
Rafai Family Tree
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Most Common Rafai First Names
According to our database of 21 people with the last name Rafai that have a first name listed, these are the most common first names:
- Maria 33.3%
- Abraham 33.3%
- Saïd 4.8%
- Mohammed 4.8%
- Ahmed 4.8%
- Peter 4.8%
- Giuseppe 4.8%
- Santo 4.8%
- Elizabeth 4.8%
Rafai Pronunciation & Spelling Variations