Ashraf Ali Thanwi

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Ashraf Ali Thanvi
Ashraf Ali Thanwi.jpg
Born (1863-08-19)19 August 1863[1]
Died 20 July 1943(1943-07-20) (aged 79)[2]
Resting place Thana Bhawan[2]
Nationality Indian
Ethnicity Indian
Era Modern era
Occupation Islamic scholar
Religion Islam
Jurisprudence Sunni islam
Movement Deobandi
Main interest(s) fiqh, sunni islam, sufism
Notable idea(s) islamic fiqah
Notable work(s) Bahishti Zewar
Alma mater Darul Uloom Deoband
Disciple of Haji Imdadullah

Ashraf 'Ali Thanwi (August 19, 1863 – July 4, 1943) was an Islamic Indian scholar of the Deobandi movement.

Early life and career[edit]

Ashraf Ali Thanwi lost his mother at a young age and was raised by his father, his father took great pains in teaching him and his younger brother discipline and good character.[2]

Thanwi went to Darul Uloom Deoband, India for his religious education, he became a student of Haji Imdadullah and considered him his mentor and teacher.[2]

After his graduation, Thanwi taught religious sciences in Kanpur,[2] over a short period of time, he acquired a reputable position as a religious scholar of Sufism among other subjects.[3][2][4] 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 usually became 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.[2]

Eventually, Thanwi retired from teaching and devoted himself to reestablishing the spiritual centre (khānqāh) of his shaikh in Thāna Bhāwan.[2]

Fatwa 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 fatwa was also signed by other scholars including from Hijaz.[5][6][7][8]

The founding scholars of Deoband used to change their names while travelling on trains and other transportation because of threats to their lives due to the fact that their interpretations of Islam had detractors.[9][10]

Political Ideology[edit]

Ashraf Ali Thanvi was a strong supporter of the Muslim League,[11] he and his pupils gave their entire support to the demand for the creation of Pakistan.[12] During the 1940s, most Deobandi ulama supported the Congress in contrast to the Barelvi who largely and only supported the Muslim league, although Ashraf Ali Thanvi and some other leading Deobandi scholars including Muhammad Shafi and Shabbir Ahmad Usmani were in favour of the Muslim League.[13][14] Thanvi resigned from Deoband's management committee due to its pro-Congress stance.[15]

See also[edit]


  1. ^, 'Islamic Years Converted to AD years' on the Conversion Chart on website, Retrieved 25 March 2017
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h, Profile of Ashraf Ali Thanwi on website, Published 9 November 2014, Retrieved 25 March 2017
  3. ^ Ali Abbasi, Shahid. (2008, January–March)
  4. ^ 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.)
  5. ^, 'Arabic Fatwa against Deobandis', Sufi Manzil website, Published 3 May 2010, Retrieved 25 March 2017
  6. ^ Ahmad Raza Khan. Hussam-ul-Harmain
  7. ^ Fatawa Hussam-ul-Hermayn by Khan, Ahmad Raza Qadri
  8. ^ As-samare-ul-Hindiya by Khan, Hashmat Ali
  9. ^ Madsen, Stig Toft; Nielsen, Kenneth Bo; Skoda, Uwe (2011-01-01). Trysts with Democracy: Political Practice in South Asia. Anthem Press. ISBN 9780857287731. 
  10. ^ Riaz, Ali (2008-01-01). Faithful Education: Madrassahs in South Asia. Rutgers University Press. ISBN 9780813543451. 
  11. ^, 'What's wrong with Pakistan?', Dawn newspaper, Published 13 September 2013, Retrieved 25 March 2017
  12. ^ Shafique Ali Khan (1988). The Lahore resolution: arguments for and against : history and criticism. Royal Book Co. 
  13. ^ Ingvar Svanberg; David Westerlund (6 December 2012). Islam Outside the Arab World. Routledge. p. 224. ISBN 978-1-136-11322-2. 
  14. ^ Rajshree Jetly (27 April 2012). Pakistan in Regional and Global Politics. Taylor & Francis. pp. 156–. ISBN 978-1-136-51696-2. 
  15. ^ John Hutchinson; Anthony D. Smith (2000). Nationalism: Critical Concepts in Political Science. Taylor & Francis. pp. 930–. ISBN 978-0-415-20112-4. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]