During the course of writing this biography wonderful and amazing things unfolded. After living for ages with Hazrat Moulana Ashraf Ali Thanwi, the Prince of the Court of Hazrat Ashraf, Khaajah Azeezul Hasan Saheb Majzoob came to the conclusion that:
ہم جس پہ مر ر ہے ہیں ، وہ ہے بات ہی کچھ اور
“Who we are dying over, there is something else about him.”
عالم میں تم سے لاکھ سہی ،تم مگر کہاں
“There may be in the world millions of others, but where you!”
He was adamant at this. In fact he repeatedly would say:
بسیار خوباں دیدہ ام ، لیکن تو چیزے دیگری
“I have seen many beautiful people, but you are something else.”
The portrait sketcher of the humanity of Hazrat Moulana Ashraf Ali Thanwi, the famous writer and philosopher Moulana Abdul Maajid Saheb Daryabadi, notwithstanding being the mureed of a Buzrug with different ideals, would ecstatically proclaim:
اب نہ کہیں نگاہ ہے ، اب نہ کوئی نگاہ میں
“Now the eyes are not elsewhere; now no one is in the eyes.”
And he would often say:
نہ ٹھہرا جاۓ ہے مجھ سے، نہ بھاگا جاۓ ہے مجھ سے
“I cannot stop (praising Moulana Thanwi), nor can I run away (from his praise).”
He came to this conclusion:
“In my lengthy experiences and encounters I found him to be an excellent human being.”
However, I [Munshi Abdur Rahman Khan Saheb, the author] came to this conclusion after diving into this ocean which has no shore, that just as the speech of Nabi-e-Kareem (Sallallahu alaihi wasallam) was pure wahi and his character was the practical commentary of the Qur’aan, similarly every statement and act of Hazrat Moulana Ashraf Ali Thanwi was an illumination and explanation of the Kitaab and Sunnat and taking this into regard, Hazrat Moulana Ashraf Ali Thanwi was not only “an excellent human being” he was also in this age an unmatched human being. Every page of the book of his life enjoys the status of a lesson on life. The destination and road becomes clear through it. No statement or action of his can be seen not to throw light on some aspect or the other of life and not to open up the pathways of ilm and amal.
Another amazing point learnt was that Hazrat Moulana Ashraf Ali Thanwi was the first to present the Vision of Pakistan. Hazrat had already drawn up a programme for its formation and preservation and he had proposed the sketch of its running when Pakistan’s idealists, viz. Iqbal and others had not even thought about it.
The third mystery which unfolded was that Hazrat Moulana Ashraf Ali Thanwi sent delegations of tableegh and letters to Qaaid-e-Azam [Muhammad Ali Jinnah] making him punctual on Namaaz in the Masnoon way and engendering in him some understanding of the Deen. The Islamic colour seen in Qaaid-e-Azam’s final years was the product of Hazrat Moulana Ashraf Ali Thanwi’s spiritual benefits.
The fourth clue that came to light was that top ranking governors, nawaabs, leaders, judges and attorneys kept their islaahi ta’alluq with the Court of Ashraf. An account of them is given in Ashrafus Sawaanih without their names being disclosed. I wished to write about them stating their names but Moulana Shabbeer Ali Saheb Thanwi stopped me from doing that. According to him, when Hazrat never disclosed their names for some reason or the other than why should I disclose their names. It is possible that they prefer not to have their names published. For this reason I, in obedience, left their names under the veil of secrecy.
Among the pious remnants of Hazrat Moulana Ashraf Ali Thanwi are outstanding scholars and writers who are unmatched in their knowledge and excellences. If they had directed their attention to this task then with certainty they would have accomplished it in a better and more beautiful way and they would have included their personal knowledge, observations and revelations. This was, however, not possible for me because when my ears heard the auspicious name of Hazrat Moulana Ashraf Ali Thanwi, a year thereafter he departed from this abode. In consequence, I was not honoured with his ziyaarat. I saw his dignity and awe and his beauty and perfection on the mirror of this biography and I have seen it with such fervour that regret for not visiting remains no more. Yes, however, in this mirror I see my Deeni appearance and I see each and every blemish and stain on it which drowns me in the ocean of shame.
I had a stockpile of so many of Hazrat’s ilmi capital that a separate kitaab could be written on every aspect and every quarter of his life with the available material. I, therefore, did not take from those ilmi memoirs which are preserved by Hazrat’s khuddaam. However, for clarification of the afore going revelations which are to be found in Hazrat’s written publications, but not detailed, I had to refer to Hazrat’s sincere and trustworthy devotees: Moulana Shabbeer Ali Saheb Thanwi, Moulana Zafar Ahmad Saheb Uthmaani, Moulana Abdul Maajid Saheb Daryabadi, Nawab Jamshed Ali Khan Saheb and Nawab Muhammad Isma’eel Khan Saheb who were acquainted with it.
For fear of transcending limits and exaggeration I, as far as possible, abstained from their lengthy expositions and details of review and their critical examination of the episodes and anecdotes presented so that the volume of the kitaab does not increase and that it is not considered to be the recruiting agency of Hazrat Moulana Ashraf Ali Thanwi. Due to the rarity or prolificacy of the episodes and anecdotes, in drawing and formulating, repetition like other common biographies has been avoided. Yes, you will certainly find incidental topics of a similar nature appearing in various chapters. However, you will find the episodes mentioned thereunder completely of a different flavour casting light on approximately all aspects and quarters of his life.
In view of Ashrafus Sawaanih being the fundamental capital of Seerat-e-Ashraf, its passages have therefore been documented without reference and in most places the wording has been borrowed from it. However, the passages taken from Hazrat’s or his devotees’ and disciples’ printed matter have been documented with reference. Although these additions may raise the eyebrows of Hazrat’s old-fashioned khuddaam, yet if they reflect over its worth and benefit then they will, out of urgency and impartiality, find me on the path of rectitude.
To the best of my ability I remained within the confines of Hazrat’s stipulated parameters of caution in compiling this biography and as a further measure of caution of authenticity I entrusted it for further examination to the righteous Khaleefah of Hazrat Moulana Ashraf Ali Thanwi, Hazrat Moulana Khair Muhammad Saheb (Mudda thilluhu) and Molvi Abdur Rasheed Saheb Naseem, a graduate of Deoband. I adopted their suggestions in deed. After this, if somebody’s notion is that I have not honoured Hazrat’s bequest or that I have overstepped his stipulated parameter, then just as Hazrat said to those personalities:
مجھ کو پہچانا نہیں گیا
“I have not been recognized,”
similarly, I humbly say that he has not gained ma’rifat of the essence of Hazrat’s statements.
The circumstances which constrained an unworthy person as me in writing on this subject have been presented to the dear reader with all sincerity and the painstaking effort with which I compiled it you will evaluate from the layout. Thereafter, if you find this biography of interest then consider it to be the Fazl of Moula-e-Kareem. If you benefit from it then understand it to be the faiz of Hazrat. And if you see deficiencies and irregularities in it, then forgive me for it, as I am neither a historian nor a literary master and nor do I really have the sophistication of authoring. Therefore, instead of looking at the good and bad of my writing, look at the statements and anecdotes of the biographical figure whose introduction is the purpose. And do make du’aa that Moula-e-Kareem accepts and grants acceptance to this insignificant effort and that He raises the readers to the correct level of humanity just as the personality of the biography. Aameen, thumma Aameen!
اَلسَّعْىُ مِنَّا وَالْاِتْمَامُ مِنَ اللهِ
“Effort is from our side and completion is from Allah Ta’ala.”
Chehlake, City of Multan
14th August 1955 AD
The lowest of servants
Abdur Rahman Khan