Ashraf Ali Thanwi
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Ashraf Ali Thanwi
|Died||1943 (aged 80–81)|
|Resting place||Thana Bhawan, Muzaffarnagar|
|Notable idea(s)||Reformation, Moderation, and Islamisation of every aspect of life.|
|Notable work(s)||Bayan Ul Quran, Bahishti Zewar|
|Alma mater||Darul Uloom Deoband|
|Disciple of||Imdadullah Muhajir Makki|
Ashraf Ali Thanwi (1862–1943) was an Indian Sunni Islamic scholar, author, jurist and a Sufi mentor of the Chishti order. He was an alumnus of the Darul Uloom Deoband, and authored several hundred books including Bayan Ul Quran and Bahishti Zewar.
Opposition by Barelvis
In 1906, Ahmad Raza Khan and other scholars issued a fatwa against Thanwi and other Deobandi leaders entitled Husamul Haramain (Urdu: Sword of The two Holy Mosques), calling them unbelievers and Satanists.
Deobandi elders, including those accused in the fatwa, prepared a reply to questions sent to them by the scholars of Hijaz to clarify the matter in Khalil Ahmad Saharanpuri's al-Muhannad 'ala al-Mufannad (transl. "The Sword on the Disproved"), which was written in Arabic and signed by all Deobandi scholars including Thanvi. His disciple Murtaza Hasan Chandpuri also wrote articles and leaflets in defence of Thanwi.
Thanwi stressed adopting the complete way of Islam to attain salvation. He shunned Sufis who emphasised voluntary worshiping but neglected other important commandments of Islam, including fair dealings and fulfilling the rights of others.
At times, he would caution and stress towards matter that are generally thought to be not related to Islam and spirituality but he would explain the forgotten and ignored link. For example, once he encouraged the son of his close disciple, Mufti Muhammad Shafi, to improve his handwriting so that others may read it with ease, and thereafter remarked that he was nurturing him to become a "Sufi".
Thanwi was a strong supporter of the Muslim League. He maintained a correspondence with the leadership of All India Muslim League (AIML), including Muhammad Ali Jinnah. He also sent groups of Muslim scholars to give religious advice and reminders to Jinnah.
During the 1940s, many Deobandi ulama supported the Congress but Ashraf Ali Thanvi and some other leading Deobandi scholars including Muhammad Shafi and Shabbir Ahmad Usmani were in favour of the Muslim League. Thanwi resigned from Deoband's management committee due to its pro-Congress stance.
Death and legacy
His edicts and religious teachings have been deemed authoritative even by many of his opponents. Muhammad Iqbal once wrote to a friend of his that on the matter of Rumi's teachings, he held Thanwi as the greatest living authority.
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- Al Muhannad 'ala Al Mufannad Urdu.
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- Mawlānā Ashraf Ali Thanwi. Hifz al-Iman. Dar al-Kitab, Deoband. p. 19.
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- Talhah, Sayyid (5 August 2018). "Handwriting and Spirituality". Pearls for Tazkiyah. Retrieved 28 September 2019.
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- Maqalat-e-Iqbal; Compiled by Syed Abdul Wahid Mueeni
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- Various Urdu editions of al-Muhannad ala al-Mufannad by Shaykh Khaleel Ahmad Saharanpuri on Archive.org
- Various translations of al-Muhannad ala al-Mufannad by Shaykh Khaleel Ahmad Saharanpuri on Archive.org
- Ahmed, Muniruddin.