Ashraf Ali Thanwi

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Ashraf Ali Thanvi
اشرف علی تھانوی
Ashraf Ali Thanwi.jpg
Born (1863-08-19)19 August 1863
Died 4 July 1943(1943-07-04) (aged 79)
Resting place Thana Bhawan
Nationality Indian (British subject)
Ethnicity Indian
Era Modern era
Occupation Islamic scholar
Jurisprudence Sunni islam
Movement Deobandi
Main interest(s) fiqh, sunni islam
Notable idea(s) islamic fiqah
Alma mater Darul Uloom Deoband
Disciple of Haji Imdadullah

Ashraf 'Ali Thanwi (August 19, 1863 – July 4, 1943) (Urdu: اشرف علی تھانوی‎) was an Indian scholar of the Deobandi school whose religious contributions are still useful to Deobandi scholars.


Thanwi graduated from the Darul Uloom Deoband in 1884. It is claimed[by whom?] that when Rashid Ahmad Gangohi, one of the founders of the institution, arrived for the graduation ceremony, Maulana Mehmud Hasan informed him that Thanwi, an especially intelligent student was about to graduate. Gangohi wanted to test this student by asking the most difficult questions that he could think of. Thanwi's answers reportedly amazed and pleased Gangohi, who himself conducted the Dastārbandī Jalsa, the turban-tying ceremony marking graduation.


After his graduation, Thanwi taught religious sciences in Kanpur for fourteen years. Over a short period of time, he acquired a reputable position as a religious scholar of Sufism among other subjects.[1] His teaching attracted numerous students, and his research and publications became well known in Islamic institutions. During these years, he traveled to various cities and villages, delivering lectures in the hope of reforming people. Printed versions of his lectures and discourses would usually become available shortly after these tours. Until then, few Islamic scholars had had their lectures printed and widely circulated in their own lifetimes. The desire to reform the masses intensified in him during his stay at Kanpur.

Eventually, Thanwi retired from teaching and devoted himself to reestablishing the spiritual centre (khānqāh) of his shaikh in Thāna Bhāwan.

Students and disciples[edit]

Thanwi’s students and disciples settled in all parts of South Asia. They include:

Fatwa of best parson and its refutation[edit]

In 1906 Ahmad Raza Khan issued a fatwa against Thanwi and other Deobandi leaders entitled Husam ul-Haramain (Urdu: Sword of Mecca and Medina‎), decrying them as unbelievers and Satanists.

The scholars of Deoband wrote The Sword on the Disproved (Al-Muhannad ‘ala al-Mufannad) in reply, seeking to refute Reza Khan's allegations.[2][3] The fatwa was countersigned by many other ulama, which would have included some from Hijaz.[4][5][6][7]

Views on politics[edit]

He was the murshid of Shabbir Ahmad Usmani and Mufti Muhammad Shafi who supported Mohammad Ali Jinnah during the Pakistan movement.[citation needed]


Thanwi died in Thāna Bhāwan on July 4, 1943. His funeral prayer was led by his nephew, Zafar Ahmad Uthmānī, and he was buried in the graveyard of 'Ishq-e-Bāzān.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Ali Abbasi, Shahid. (2008, January–March). Rethinking in Islam: Mawlana Ashraf 'Ali Thanawi on Way and Way-faring. Hamdard Islamic-us, 21(1), 7–23. (Article on Ashraf 'Ali's teachings on Sufism.)
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^ Fatwa of Kufr (originally issued 1900 C.E.), posted at
  5. ^ Ahmad Raza Khan. Hussam-ul-Harmain
  6. ^ Fatawa Hussam-ul-Hermayn by Khan,Ahmad Raza Qadri
  7. ^ As-samare-ul-Hindiya by Khan,Hashmat Ali

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]