7. Teaching

7.1 Taking the Seat at Faiz-e-Aam

The oldest Deeni Institution in Kanpur was Madrasah Faiz-e-Aam.  [Faiz-e-Aam literally means: widespread Deeni or spiritual effulgence.] Its head-teacher was Moulana Ahmad Hasan Saheb (Rahmatullahi alaih) who was among the renowned Ulama of his time. He was an expert in the rational sciences and very popular among students.

Since Haq Ta’ala wished to place Hazrat Thanwi on the ‘Seat of Beauty’ [the position of Ustaad/in the place of Moulana Ahmad Hasan], Muqallibul Quloob [the Rotator of Hearts] put something in the heart of Moulana Ahmad Hasan Saheb due to which he left the Madrasah very bitterly and established his own Madrasah by the name of Darul Uloom.

In view of the fame of his knowledge and virtues no one had the courage to take his place and rug. Hazrat Thanwi was totally unaware of developments there. So when a request from there came for a Mudarris [teacher], he left under the instruction of his Asaatiza-e-Kiraam and with the permission of his honourable father towards the end of Safar 1301 Hijri. He commenced teaching there. Thus, after graduating from Madrasah he was firstly honoured with being a Mudarris which is the most respected and honourable profession.

7.2 The Effect of Noor-e-Ilm

Not only was Hazrat Moulana Ashraf Ali Thanwi adorned with jewels of Ilm. In fact, together with outward beauty and inner perfection he possessed a passion to serve the Deen and a tongue that flowed with wisdom. In view of this, in spite of his youth and early manhood he received great acclaim among all the mudarriseen and city-folk. He became so much adored that Moulana Ahmad Hasan Saheb, the one whose place no one dared take, also started meeting Hazrat Thanwi with affection and dignity. This enhanced his position and status among people all the more.

7.3 Encouragement from the Unseen

The difference between studying and teaching is like the difference between the heavens and the earth. For an Ustaad who previously has not been trained in teaching, to be seated as an Ustaad and handed the higher kitaabs to teach immediately after being a student, it only follows that he will be overcome with worry. Similarly, Hazrat Thanwi was initially very apprehensive with this task. He thought: “Yaa Allah! How am I going to teach these kitaabs?”

In this state of concern he raised his hands before Allah Ta’ala, and conforming to:

اجابت از در حق بہر استقبال می آيد
Acceptance from the Portal of Allah Ta’ala has arrived,

after making Du’aa when he sat to teach then through the Grace of Allah Ta’ala he experienced no difficulty and with extreme ease he went about teaching.

Besides this, occasionally from the Unseen he would be consoled and encouraged as is clear from his true dreams mentioned hereunder. It is reproduced from Sidqur Ru’ya in Hazrat Thanwi’s own words:

1. “When ahqar commenced dars of Hadeeth then I was honoured with ziyaarat of my Ustaad, Hazrat Moulana Muhammad Ya’qoob Saheb (Rahmatullahi alaih). It was like this that before me there was a class of Saheeh Bukhari students. A copy of Bukhari was in front of me and I am teaching from it. Beside me my celebrated Hazrat Ustaad was seated. In front of him there was perhaps a copy of Bukhari Shareef too. The lecture I would impart was approved by Moulana…

2. I saw a place, such as the small printing office in Kanpur of Janaab Abdur Rahman Khan Saheb, the founder of Madrasah Jaami’ul Uloom Kanpur. There, alongside the well Hazrat Ibn Abbaas (Radhiyallahu anhu) was standing and I was close by. Thereupon I sensed strongly that I will become well-versed in Tafseer.”