6.1 Moulana Muhammad Qaasim Saheb Nanotwi
Hazrat Moulana Ashraf Ali Thanwi did not acquire any prescribed and particular education by him. However, he would occasionally join Moulana Qaasim Saheb’s Jalaalain Class out of good faith, eagerness and in pursuit of Ilm. Moulana passed away just a year after his admission. Yet, Moulana picked out this Rising Star of the Madrasah early on in his studies. He recognized him to possess some natural and inborn wonders. Therefore, he directed his special care to him.
He taught him one lesson which forever remained his way. That was when one day Moulana asked him: “What kitaabs are you studying?” He was so awed and overwhelmed with respect for Moulana that he forgot the kitaabs’ names. To remove this fear Moulana changed the subject, and he opened up. Then Moulana said to him:
“See! One is parhna [to learn] and one is gunna [to master]. Mere learning is not sufficient. There is a need for mastering as well.”
To illustrate this Moulana said:
“There was an Aalim who memorized Hidaayah. Another Aalim who was not a Hafiz of Hidaayah, however he studied Hidaayah properly with understanding, mentioned a mas-alah to the Hafiz of Hidaayah. The Hafiz of Hidaayah asked: ‘In which kitaab is this mas-alah?’ The Aalim replied: ‘In Hidaayah’. The Hafiz of Hidaayah said: ‘No! I know Hidaayah by heart. It is nowhere in Hidaayah.’
The non-hafiz of Hidaayah replied: ‘This mas-alah is in Hidaayah’. He called for a copy of Hidaayah and opened up to a passage and showed the Hafiz of Hidaayah. The mas-alah was not cited explicitly, but it was inferred from the passage.
After elucidating, the Hafiz of Hidaayah conceded: ‘Really this is Hidaayah’s mas-alah.’ With much regret he exclaimed: ‘Really, Hidaayah, in actual fact, you have studied. It is as if I did not study Hidaayah! What purpose does mere memorization serve?!’
After relating this anecdote Hazrat Nanotwi said:
“This is precisely the difference between parhna and gunna.”