Ashraf Ali Thanwi
|Ashraf Ali Thanvi
اشرف علی تھانوی
|Born||19 August 1863|
|Died||4 July 1943(aged 79)|
|Resting place||Thana Bhawan|
|Nationality||Indian (British subject)|
|Main interest(s)||fiqh, sunni islam|
|Notable idea(s)||islamic fiqah|
|Alma mater||Darul Uloom Deoband|
|Disciple of||Haji Imdadullah|
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. 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
Thanwi’s students and disciples settled in all parts of South Asia. They include:
- Abdul Hai Arifi
- Qari Muhammad Tayyib Qasimi, grandson of the founder of Dar al- ‘Ulum Deoband, Muhammad Qasim Nanotvi, and head principal of Dar al- ‘Ulum Deoband for over 50 years, from the early 1930s to the early 1980s
- Maseehullah Khan Sherwani (founder of Madrasa Miftah al- ‘Ulum in Jalalabad, India, and a leading spiritual figure of the past century)
- Muhammad Shafi Usmani, head mufti of Dar al-‘Ulum Deoband and later founder of Dar al-‘Ulum Karachi
- Abdul Bari Nadvi (renowned theologian and philosopher in India who taught modern philosophy at Osmania University in Hyderabad and translated the books of Western philosophers such as Descartes, into Urdu and left behind many literary tracts)
- Sulaiman Nadvi, researcher and student of Shibli Nu ‘mani who turned to Thanwi for spiritual reformation
- Muhammad Ilyas al-Kandhlawi, founder of Tablighi Jamaat
- Ahmed Khan Khalifa Majaz Molana Muhammed Masihulah Khan, Hyderabad, Pakistan
Fatwa of best parson and its refutation
The scholars of Deoband wrote The Sword on the Disproved (Al-Muhannad ‘ala al-Mufannad) in reply, seeking to refute Reza Khan's allegations. The fatwa was countersigned by many other ulama, which would have included some from Hijaz.
Views on politics
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.
- 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.)
- Fatwa of Kufr (originally issued 1900 C.E.), posted at SufiManzil.org
- Ahmad Raza Khan. Hussam-ul-Harmain
- Fatawa Hussam-ul-Hermayn by Khan,Ahmad Raza Qadri
- As-samare-ul-Hindiya by Khan,Hashmat Ali
- Zaman, Muhammad Qasim, Ashraf `Ali Thanawi: Islam in Modern South Asia (Makers of the Muslim World), Oneworld, 2007.
- Ahmed, Muniruddin, 
- A Short Bio on Ashraf Ali Thanwi at Haqislam.org
- Collection of Ashraf Ali Thanwi in PDF-format
-  themajlis.co.za Muhannad
- Shaykh Nuh expanded on the takfir (calling muslims disbelievers) made by Barelvi
- answer to allegations made against Ashraf Ali Thanwi and the Scholars of the School of Deobandanswers to hussam alharamayn on others]