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Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanwi
--: Biography of Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanwi :--

 Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanwi 


Maulana Ashraf 'Ali Thanwi (August 19, 1863 – July 4, 1943) was an Indian Islamic Sunni Hanafi scholar and Chishti Sufi master of the Deobandi school.
Thanwi graduated from the Darul Uloom Deoband in 1884. It is claimed that when Rashid Ahmad Gangohi, one of the founders of the institution, arrived for the graduation ceremony, Maulana Mehmud Hasan informed him Thanwi, an especially intelligent student was about to graduate. Gangohi wanted to test this student by asking the most difficult questions that he could think of. Thanwi's answers reportedly amazed and pleased Gangohi, who himself conducted the Dastārbandī Jalsa, the turban-tying ceremony marking graduation.
After his graduation, Thanwi taught religious sciences in Kanpur for fourteen years. Over a short period of time, he acquired a reputable position as a religious scholar, of Sufism among other subjects. His teaching attracted numerous students and his research and publications became well known in Islamic institutions. During these years, he traveled to various cities and villages, delivering lectures in the hope of reforming people. Printed versions of his lectures and discourses would usually become available shortly after these tours. Until then, few Islamic scholars had had their lectures printed and widely circulated in their own lifetimes. The desire to reform the masses intensified in him during his stay at Kanpur.
Ashraf Ali Thanwi was a prolific author. His literary contributions are in the order of eight hundred to one thousand in number, including sermons, discussions, discourses, treatises, and books. Syed Sulaiman Nadvi said, "Hazrat [Ashraf 'Alī Thānwī] was a translator and exegete (mufassir) of the Quran; he explained its injunctions and wisdoms. He removed doubts and answered questions pertaining to it." Thānwī was a scholar of hadīth (muhaddith) as well, and expounded its intricacies and subtleties. He was a jurist (faqīh) who issued thousands of legal rulings (fatwa) and addressed numerous legal problems in contemporary issues in Islamic law (fiqh). He was described as a moving orator (khatib) and hundreds of his speeches have been published and widely circulated.
 Maulana Thanvi authored about 1,200 publications ranging from small booklets to his widely known encyclopaedic works like ‘Bashisti Zevar’, which has seen millions of copies in print. He also translated the Qur’an and wrote its tafsir in Urdu. 
Maulana Thanvi ran a small seminary and a religious school. He used to answer all his mail everyday, which consisted of dozens and sometimes hundreds of pieces. He also taught many generations of scholars. 
Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanvi was a man of strict discipline and had a deep concern about accountability for time.
Thanwi died in Thāna Bhāwan on July 4, 1943. His funeral prayer was led by his nephew, Zafar Ahmad Uthmanī, and he was buried in the graveyard of 'Ishq-e-Bazan.
On December 17, 2006 the graves of Ashraf Ali Thanwi and three others were leveled and desecrated in Thana Bhawan, Muzaffarnagar, Uttar Pradesh, India. 
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