9.5 Approach of Buzrugs of the Same Path
Although Hazrat Thanwi in his status as mureed of Hazrat Haji Imdaadullah Saheb was tightly knitted to the principle:
يک درگير ومحکم گير
Grab hold of one door and hold on tightly,
nevertheless he did not regard that relationship as an obstacle to associating and visiting the Buzrugs of the time. And neither did his Shaikh, Hazrat Haji Saheb ever take offence at this. In consequence, he became the centre of attention of both types of Buzrugs – ham maslak and mukhtaliful mashrab [of the same path and of different school].
Among Buzrugs of the same path and same order, previously the names of Hazrat Moulana Muhammad Qaasim Saheb Nanotwi, Hazrat Moulana Muhammad Ya’qoob Saheb Nanotwi and Hazrat Moulana Mahmoodul Hasan Saheb Deobandi (Rahmatullahi alaihim) have been mentioned. Besides them, the illustrious personalities from whom he would derive spiritual training were:
i. Hazrat Moulana Rasheed Ahmad Saheb Gangohi
He was the Grand Khaleefah of Hazrat Haji Imdaadullah Saheb Muhaajir-e-Makki (Quddisa Sirruhu). He was the Qutbul Irshaad of his time, a Muhaqqiq Aalim and perfect Durwaish. Already during student days Hazrat Thanwi was so much drawn by his [Hazrat Gangohi’s] special tawajjuh that he requested Moulana for ba’it. But, he could see that: ‘This is not my mureed; this will be my peer-bhai.’ He thus turned down the request. Nevertheless he went out of his way for him. In spite of being the senior in all regards he would treat him in a way one treats one’s esteemed seniors.
Early on when Hazrat Thanwi took up residence in Thanabawan he once went to meet Hazrat Moulana Gangohi. Moulana was at that moment on a chaarpai [traditional Indian bed with wooden framework] and the rest of the gathering were seated on the ground out of respect. Hazrat Thanwi sat with the rest of the gathering on the ground. The moment he sat on the ground Moulana too got off the chaarpai and sat below on the ground where others were sitting. This caused him much embarrassment and he humbly said:
“Hazrat! Now the opportunity to be present will be more and I will present myself in the way of a khaadim. Therefore, adopt the way as shown to a khaadim.”
Moulana removed his embarrassment by saying: “No, I was reclining for quite some time. That is why I came to sit down.”
Thereafter, whenever he came Moulana did not change his posture, however he showed utmost honour and respect to him. A khaadim of Moulana thus said: “Hazrat! He regards himself to be an inferior khaadim of Hazrat, whereas he is shown treatment given to a Peer!”
Moulana replied: “You may be blind; I am not blind.”
[Hazrat Moulana Gangohi (Rahmatullahi alaih) alluded to spiritual blindness. Whilst Hazrat Moulana Gangohi could see with his spiritual eyes the lofty status of Hazrat Thanwi, the other khaadim was blind to this.]
Hazrat Moulana Ashraf Ali Thanwi furthermore had love and good faith in Hazrat Moulana Gangohi, just as he had for his Shaikh. Hence he would say:
“I never saw such an all-round practical and spiritual Buzrug. For this reason my faith in others is through reasoning whilst in Moulana self-evident. My mind refuses to think of reasons. It says that Moulana is obviously a Buzrug. There is no need to furnish reasons about it.
آفتاب آمد دليل آفتاب
The rising of the sun is proof of the sun
In fact, thinking of reasons [for his greatness and saintliness] seems to be disrespectful. I had even sought permission from Hazrat Moulana Gangohi (Quddisa Sirruhu) of asking any problem I experience; academic or spiritual. However, all my life only on three or four occasions did the need arise to ask. Then, the barkat of Moulana’s answers were such that by virtue of it all problems would be solved. There was no need to question further.”