How many Students of Ilm quenched their thirst at the Fountain of Ilm at Jaami’ul Uloom during Hazrat Moulana Ashraf Ali Thanwi’s fourteen year stay in Kanpur? The exact number could not be ascertained. What is certain is that there were many. The author of Ashrafus Sawaanih has produced the names of fifty four students in the light of a list compiled from papers of Hazrat Thanwi’s period of being head-teacher. These names were of fifty four such students who even after graduating continued to draw from the Blessings of Ilm and spread the Light of Ilm. Those that glittered like radiant stars in the Firmament of Ilm are mentioned here with some particulars:
8.2 Radiant Stars
i. Moulana Muhammad Ishaaq Saheb Burdawani
He possessed a phenomenal memory and was an excellent Aalim. He completed Hifz of the entire Qur’aan in just six months. In his student days he memorized entirely the famous Nahw kitaab Kaafiyah. After Hazrat Thanwi relinquished his teaching post Moulana became Hazrat’s successor and the head teacher. He furthermore maintained the beautiful system of Hazrat Thanwi fully. After some time he became the lecturer of Deeniyaat at Madrasah Aaliyah, Calcutta and from there he went on to become Mudarris of Madrasah Aaliyah in Dhaka receiving a monthly income of five hundred rupees. Thereafter he taught Uloom-e-Deeniyaat without pay; Liwajhillah. In the Path of Tasawwuf Hazrat Thanwi authorised him as Khaleefa-e-Mujaaz.
ii. Moulana Muhammad Rasheed Saheb Kanpuri
He was brilliant and very intelligent. His perception and character were of a high degree. He was a humble Aalim. He became a Mudarris before the eyes of Hazrat Thanwi and he ascended to the number two Mudarris. Due to affinity with Ilm-e-Fiqh, the work of Ifta was entrusted to him. He discharged it fairly well. Finally he received promotion to Madrasah Aaliyah, Calcutta.
iii. Moulana Ahmad Ali Saheb Fatahpuri
He was an embodiment of Uloom-e-Zaahiri and Baatini [academic and spiritual knowledge] and a Buzrug of excellent attributes. He was well-versed in Fiqh. He was the first Khaleefa-e-Mujaaz of Hazrat Moulana Ashraf Ali Thanwi. He compiled the first five parts of Behshti Zewar under the auspices of Hazrat Thanwi and to this day countless of Muslims are reaping the benefits of it. He taught Ilm-e-Deen in his hometown of Fatahpur and in Barah Banki.