MAULANA ASHRAF ALI THANVI: The Greatest Authority on Sufism, BY Allamah Syed Sulaiman Nadvi
Maulana Thanwi was a top learned scholar, one who knew the entire Qur’an by heart, a reciter of Qur’an, a Professor, a commentator of Qur’an, and authority on Hadith, a jurisprudent, an orator, a Sufi, one who could argue his case, an administrator, a publisher, a literary figure and a Shaikh to Tariqah, and he used all his abilities in the reform of Tasawwuf. His educational and practical qualifications were given to him to perfect.
Tasawwuf which was full of innovation and run by worldly people. It was confined to some philosophical ideas and un-understandable ideas of Wahadatul Wujood and Wahdatush-Shohood. Tasawwuf was full of innovations, Shariah and Tariqah were regarded as two opposite camps with attempt to debase each other. The general Sufis had a few statements and a few innovatory principles and deeds which was wrongly called Tariqah.
The family of Sufis and their hereditary throne made a mockery of Allah’s blessings and gifts. The Khanqah only managed ‘Urs’ and Fateha and Songs, dances and Qawwali, on fixed dates some people used to do Fateha and eat sweets and shout Hoo-Haq to a singer, and Wahdatul Wujood poems were recited and shouted at. There were some secrets repeated unknowingly and unfollowingly. True Islamic beliefs, correct worship, revival of Sunnah and deeds and Islamic rights and duties were disappearing from everywhere. Apparent learned scholars were ignorant of the hidden things and so were not listened to by Sufis.
It cannot be said that true Ulama and true Sufis did not exist at all. At places their blessings were apparent as well as their teachings but these were for special people who were educated and trained but nowhere was Tasawwuf presented in the form of a book (as this is the case) or researches on problems made or notes compared with holy Qur’an and Sunnah or teachings compared with those of authentic saints.
Neither was any attempt to remove misunderstanding or misgiving on the part of learning Sufis, nor was any institution where the difficulties of the way were removed and training given to students of Tasawwuf. Nor was such a chair where Fiqh, Tafseer, Hadith were taught along side of the diseases of heart and their remedies which are present in Qur’an and Hadith. Nor was such a person who said Allah says and the holy Prophet says on the one hand and service deals and following the Sunnah on the other hand. From the minaret rules of prayers, fasting, Zakah, Hajj, etc, as well as the nature of soul and hearts activities were told. Allah appointed Mujaddid (Renovator) Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanwi sahib for this and took from him this work that was left undone for centuries.
Derived From: Shariah and Tariqah by Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanvi