i. Qutbul Aalam Hazrat Moulana Shah Fazlur Rahman Saheb Ganj Muradabadi He was a Buzrug who received abundant kashf and he would remain completely absorbed in divine-contemplation. He was independent in disposition and free thinking. He would not keep anything in his mind, nor would he turn to anyone. His dress, appearance and lifestyle were plain and unrestricted [to custom and trend]. Although there was no show and make-belief in his temperament at all, however his tone was somewhat harsh and stern in view of his total simplicity and instinctiveness. He was neither in the habit of giving anyone special treatment, nor would he exaggerate in praise of anyone. But the degree of respect he had was that when mentioning Buzrugs he would emotionally stand up. Hazrat Moulana Ashraf Ali Thanwi was yet a youth when he graduated from Darul Uloom Deoband and came to Kanpur as Mudarris of Madrasah Faiz-e-Aam. However, after just two months when he quit employment and made preparations to return to Thanabawan, he thought of going to Ganj Muradabad for ziyaarat of Moulana, lest he did not receive the opportunity of coming that way again. At once he took a student and set out. Unaware of the way he wandered and drifted until he reached at such a time when Isha Namaaz was over and Moulana had returned to his quarters. He sent a message with the khaadim. Moulana called him inside and unexpectedly asked angrily: “Who are you? Where have you come from?” Respectfully and briefly he replied: “I am a Taalib. I have come from Kanpur for ziyaarat.” Not knowing the reason for the delay Moulana again spoke in that harsh tone: “Is this, time for ziyaarat! If one comes early then the host can prepare some food.” The embodiment of respect and culture that was Hazrat Moulana Thanwi, however, took it to be disrespectful to offer any excuse for the delay and stood as an accused. Moulana asked: “Do you have money with you?”“Yes”, he replied. He instructed: “Go buy something from the bazaar and eat. And tomorrow leave.” He told the khaadim to put him up in a certain room. Hazrat Thanwi interpreted this severity to be care and upbringing and he left thinking about going to the bazaar. He had just come outside when he was called back. Perhaps Moulana Ganj Muradabadi Saheb received kashf of Hazrat Thanwi’s status. He ordered Hazrat to sit. Instead of sitting on the bed he sat down on the straw-mat. Moulana seated him on the bed. He arranged for food to be brought from home and placed it in front. He got up himself and brought some fruit which he served. He praised his [Hazrat Thanwi’s] Ustaad, Moulana Muhammad Ya’qoob Saheb highly and engaged in conversation for quite some time. When he completed his meal then Moulana, against his usual practice, accompanied him to his resting quarter. In the morning he put Hazrat’s goods on a pony and bid him farewell. Although Moulana’s state of istighraaq [absorption in divine-contemplation] was such that after meeting a person if the same person appeared before him after a short while he would never recognize that this is the same person that came just now, but remembrance of this Taalib-e-Ilm of Thanabawan became so embedded in his heart that he would now and again send salaams to him via people visiting. Several years thereafter Hazrat Moulana Ashraf Ali Thanwi found the opportunity to come to his service during Madrasah closure. As a gift he took along with him the beautiful, sweet tasting and fragrant pairas [a kind of sweetmeat] of Kanpur. Although this was not a favourite of Moulana, but contrary to his standard practice he accepted it very happily, as Hazrat’s lofty position then and in future dawned upon him. He said: “This is something we can do with. We are going to drink its sharbit.” That day Hazrat Thanwi was fasting. The same time another travelling companion of his, an elderly man, arrived. Moulana asked him: “Are you fasting?” He replied: “Yes”. Moulana became angry over this and said: “Travelling and fasting in such intense heat! Go away right now.” Apprehension of being rebuked gripped Hazrat Thanwi and Moulana turned to him and asked: “Are you fasting?” Disregarding rebuke he honestly said: “Yes”. Moulana became very happy and said: “Right! Very good! You are young. Fasting is appropriate for you.” Now he treated him with compassion and affection and he spoke very intimately. For instance, he said: “It’s not something to say, but I will tell you. When I go into sajdah then it is like Allah Ta'ala is embracing me lovingly. Bhai! The pleasure of Jannat is true. The pleasure of Hauz-e-Kauthar is true. But the pleasure that is in Namaaz is not found in anything else. Bhai! We will just read Namaaz in the qabr. We make du’aa that Allah Ta’ala gives permission, that: ‘Go ahead. Just read Namaaz.” When after a day or two Hazrat Thanwi sought permission to return, Moulana said: “Why the hurry! Madrasah is still closed. Stay on longer.” As no one even received permission to stay there, Hazrat took advantage of this concession and stayed on several days. Not only did Moulana serve him lavish meals during this time, he in fact gave him a treat of Ilm and Ma’rifat [knowledge and divine mysteries].
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