Hazrat Moulana Rafee’ud Deen Saheb (Rahmatullahi alaih) was the Khaleefah of Hazrat Moulana Shah Abdul Ghani Dehlwi who was among the Asaatizah of Moulana Rasheed Ahmad Saheb Gangohi and Moulana Muhammad Qaasim Saheb Nanotwi (Rahimahumullahu Ta’ala). During the period of Hazrat Moulana Ashraf Ali Thanwi’s pursuit of Ilm in Darul Uloom Deoband, he [Moulana Rafee’ud Deen Saheb] was the principal. Although he was not an Aalim, yet he was a paragon of spiritual insight and an administrator of the highest calibre. He viewed Hazrat Moulana Ashraf Ali Thanwi with great favour. One day, Hazrat Thanwi went to meet him. Moulana Rafee’ud Saheb, the Muhtamim [Principal] was sitting on a chaarpai [the traditional bed in India with wooden framework] in such a manner that there was barely any place left at the feet side. Out of respect Hazrat went to sit at the feet side [as sitting at the head side is reserved for elders]. Moulana took his hand and drew him to the head side. Hazrat politely excused himself. However, Moulana stated: “One should obey one’s elders. Where they seat one, one should sit there.” Thereupon Hazrat sat at the head side, albeit reluctantly. On this occasion Moulana related to Hazrat the story of Dara Shakooh and Aalamgeer [the sons of Shah Jahaan the fifth Mughal Emperor of India] when they went to meet a Buzrug. Both of them, one after the other, went to request Du’aa for ascendancy to the throne. Dara Shakooh never sat at the Buzrug’s seat in spite of the Buzrug persisting and out of respect he sat below. When he requested Du’aa, the Buzrug replied: “I wished to place you on the throne, however, you did not accept.” He was now overcome with much regret. He, however, did not disclose this incident to Aalamgeer. When Aalamgeer presented himself then the Buzrug told him to sit in his place. Immediately, in compliance to the instruction he sat. And when he too requested Du’aa for ascendancy to the throne and being crowned the king, the Buzrug replied: “I have placed you on the throne. As far as the crown is concerned, it is not in my control. It is in the hands of so-and-so attendant of yours.” In this subtle way Muhtamim Saheb gave glad tidings to Hazrat of Deeni honour which, besides Hazrat, no one in this age received. This was due to that Buzrug of insight perceiving that this student is pious by birth. He would, therefore, take him along on journeys now and again. In fact, often he would appoint him as the Imaam of the Masjid and he would read Namaaz behind him. Hazrat considered it to be lack of respect for him to have such a Buzrug as his muqtadi and hence he would put forward excuses. To avoid insistence he started reading his Namaaz in another Masjid. In short, by virtue of the pupil being saalih [pious], the student too received such accomplished Asaatizah.
6.19 Underlying Reason for the Honourable Treatment
These perfect personalities, however, did not show respect and honour for their righteous pupil solely on account of his piety. Rather, it centred on a peculiarity which will be mentioned in the Chapter of Mujaddidiyyat. Otherwise, in his class Hazrat Thanwi had such fellow students who shone like the sun and moon in the sky on account of their knowledge, excellences, abstinence and their piety. They, however, did not receive that special attention as Hazrat Moulana Ashraf Ali Thanwi received.