About the Book
Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanvi, as an expotent of Islamic Moral Philosophy and Tasawwuf, ranks high amongst the Muslim thinkers of his time and occupies a distinct position amongst them, He has practically left no field of Islamic learning and its different aspects in their varied shades of thought which he has not explored and explained.
Since Maulana had a self-contained and synthetic view of Islamic Shariat and held it as all embracing and comprehensive including his views on Tasawwuf and their varied implications and essentials, he brings them all within the scope of Shariat and gives his personal independent views calling it as meaningful jurisprudence, He brings all the stages, stations and states that a sufi undergoes, that is, Tariqat Haqiqat and Ma'rifat (to know the Real) within the fold of Islam as Din which covers the entire field of human activity in its difference domains inward in outward.
Promotion of consciousness of the historical role of Islam being one of the main objectives of the National Hijra Council, it was proposed during 1986 to highlight the thoughts and teachings of eminent Muslim sages and scholars of the South Asian Subcontinent. Towards this end, a plan was drawn up to project, in three volumes, biographies of distinguished leaders in religious, intellectual and political thought.
The first volume of the Series, The Muslim Luminaries: Leaders of Religious, Intellectual and Political Revival in South Asia, has already been published (1408 H./1988). The present monograph is a part of the series which was planned to project the ideas of eminent saint scholars in the domain of religion and tasawwuf. Professor Ahmad Ali Khawaja has attempted to outline the views of Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanavi on Religious and Moral Philosophy and Tasawwuf. The venerable Ashraf Ali Thanavi was a profound thinker in the tradition of Al-Gazzali. This monograph, at its best, is a preliminary survey of his ideas calling for a more detailed study and presentation by specialists in the subject. It is to be hoped flat the general reader will benefit by this brief presentation which is coached in simple style.
Maulana Ashraf'ali Thanavi, as an exponent of Islamic Moral Philosophy and Tassawwuf, ranks high amongst the Muslim thinkers of his time and occupies a distinct position amongst them. He has practically left no field of Islamic learning and its different aspects in their varied shades of thought which he has not explored and explained. He is a voluminous writer who had a deep insight into Islamic tenets and as such has dealt with them in details touching almost every aspect, i.e., social, economical, political, mental, moral and spiritual and has assigned to each its proper place, value and weight from the view point of directions of the Qur'an and Sunnah of Holy Prophet (M.P.U.H.) and the sayings of great saints and sages who had a deep insight into Islamic teach. figs.
His contributions in the field of Islamic thought in its varied directions are innumerable and extensive which range from 800 to 1000 in the shape of sermons, discussions, discourses, treatises and books of high standard and quality. His wroks on tasawwuf. jurisprudence, hadith, tafsir, mantiq, etc. are of outstanding nature. He had a deep insight into tassawwuf, its intricacies and subteties which he has analysed and explained minutely in his book 'Al-Takashshuf Min Muhamat-ul-Tasawwuf". He has another voluminous work to his credit on the same subject, nemely "Tarbiat-ul-Salik-um-Tanjihul Halik' which suggests the way-farer various practices of traming for his spiritual development and the adoption of the course of conduct which saves him from the pitfalls and destruction in the path of his journey.
Shariat and Tariqat must go together. They are inter-related and inter-connected. The one represents Islam's outward aspect and the other its inward aspect. There must be unity, uniformity, co-herence and co-ordination between the two sides. One's outward conduct must be motivated by pure and sincere intention from within to achieve the universal ends and thus to attain nearness to God (Taqarrub-Ilal lah ). Inner purity, self -surrender to His Will and to mould one's attitude towards life in' consonance with it is Tasawwuf in the real sense of the term. A Sufi does not want any thing else but God and God alone, and as such he mends his ways accordingly to attain the ideal and reach the destination. Before the seeker of Truth can reach that stage and state of Gnosis, he has to discipline himself by under-going certain esoteric practices in the shape of Mujahidah and Riyadat as a course of training for the attainment of an objective. Thus Maulana Thanvi deals with the varied phases of Tasawwuf, their intricacies and subtleties separately and independently, analyses their essentials and assigns to each stage and state its particular position and then on synthesis gives a comprehensive view about Tasawwuf which in other words he calls meaningful jurisprudence constituting integral part of Shariah.
Tasawwuf attaches significance, life and lustre to all outward religious performances to enable a man to become ripe from within and thus to live the life in conformity with Islamic injunctions animated with the real spirit. Unless a man is thus animated, no formal and conventional observances will fetch any intellectual and spiritual advantage and contribute in any way to his inner growth and development. Tasawwuf, according to Maulana, is, therefore, essence cf Islamic Shari'ah which, if bereft and devoid of that essential element, is a body without soul and does not elevate a man to higher levels to enable him to assert "I do not see any thing, but see God in it".
That beautific state of mind, the ideal, the desired destination and objective can only be achieved if one's outlook is inspired with that spirit. In case one is not so inspired he is left in the middle or at the initial preliminary stage of the journey without being able to reach and realise the real spiritual destination.
Shari'at and Tariqat are not contradictory to one another, but are complementary, consistent and compatible processes and afford mutual aid and assistance to the seeker of the Truth to comprehend the REALITY and get its glimpses.
Islam, as an ideal and dynamic force, believes in the progressive uplift and advancement of an individual and the whole human race in every phase of life and has, therefore, laid down such principles to be followed in actual practice which enable him to attain great heights, to meet the challenges of the ever varying and ever changing conditions of time, to secure adjustment and to be able to keep peace with them.
It is on this account that the institutions of Ijtehad and Ijma have been introduced as next to Quran and Hadith as fundamental sources of Islamic Law and as a measure of solution to every day's varied problems which are arising and with which the Muslim World is being confronted. Islam, as a universal and natural religion which encompasses and combines within its fold the entire field of human activities in its varied phases and forms, gives guidance and provides principles for the utilisation of one's God-given faculties ... in the 'right channels, prescribes and lays down the criteria of right course of conduct so as to make his living successful and thus to realise the sanctity, sacredness and genuinness of Islamic values in the depths of one's consciousness. Islamic teachings and tenets are, therefore, workable today as they were workable in foregone times and will remain practicable for all times to come and provide practical solution to all human problems which may confront the humanity at large.
Islamic Tasawwuf is such a vast subject that if one were to go into its detailed discussion, volumes will be needed to deal with its different schools of thought and their respective implications.
The author has, however, confined himself in his research to the main points dealt with by Maulana Thanvi and described them in briefly.
Since Maulana had a self-contained and synthetic view of Islamic Shari'at and held it as all embracing and comprehensive including his views on Tasawwuf and their varied implications and essentials, he brings them all within the scope of Shariat and gives his personal independent views calling it as meaningful jurisprudence. He brings all the stages, stations and states that a Sufi undergoes, that is, Tariqat, Haqiqat and Ma'rfat (to know the Real) within the fold of Islam as Din which covers the entire field of human activity in its different domains inward and outward. In other words, it is coextensive with life and nothing is outside it and that the terms Shariat and Tariqat are not contradictory to one another but are complementary processes for knowing the reality. The object is the same, the goal is the same, the destination is same, only the ways of approach vary.
The author is highly grateful to his patron, teacher and guide, Dr. A.J. Halepota, presently Chairman, Islamic Ideology Council, Islamabad, and Professor emeritus, University of Sind, and formerly Chairman and Head of Department of Comperative Religion and Islamic Culture, University of Sind, who has been extending his scholarly assistance from the very start of this work and who has greatly helped the author in designing the scheme of the subject of this theme. The author is also very much indebted to Late Mr. A.K. Brohi, a famous and eminent scholar and philosopher and an advocate of international repute who happened to be the teacher of the author at secondry level and who inspired, encouraged and extended his moral support to him to undertake this adventure. But for the moral assistance of Mr. Brohi and able guidance of Dr. A.J. Halepota, this humble work would not have come to the lime-light.
The author has every hope that this book published for the first time in English, if read with unbiased and open mind, representing Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanavi's views on varied Islamic topics will go a long way in solving the controversial and contested issues which exist between different schools of thought amongst Muslims and will bring about harmony and reconciliation amongst them.
If this is done, the purpose of writing this book will adequately be fulfilled.
I gratefully acknowledge all the support extended by the National Hijra Council and their inclusion this book under the Council's programme of publications. I am particularly indebted to Dr. N.A. Baloch, Advisor of the National Hijra Council, for reading through the manuscript and for his valuable suggestions and guidance which have enabled me to effect qualitative improvements.
Life and Works of Maulana Ashraf
His Views on Shariat & Tariqat.
His conception of Ethics.
The Praise Worthy Conduct.
Motive and Intention and Their Respective
Purity of Intention and Sincerity
Resignation to the Will of God.
Hope in God's Mercy.
Rida (Joyous submission to His Will).
Zuhd (Abstience or Continence).
Love and Affection.
Higher Ethics (Tasawwuf)
The Self Accountability and Self
The State of Ecstasy.
Refulgence or Splendour.
Rancour of Malice.
Love for Pomp & Dignity.
Love for the World.
Belief in the Unity and Uniqueness
of God as the Basis of Ethics and
Monism (Pantheistic view About
Ultimate REALITY or GOD).
Categories of Saints.
Categories of Saints and Their
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