By Muhammad Qasim Zaman
Ashraf `Ali Thanawi (1863-1943) was once probably the most widespread non secular students in Islamic background. writer of over one thousand books on assorted points of Islam, his paintings sought to shield the Islamic scholarly culture and to articulate its authority in an age of momentous non secular and political swap. during this authoritative biography, Muhammad Qasim Zaman deals a finished and hugely available account of Thanawi's multifaceted occupation and suggestion, while additionally delivering a priceless advent to Islam in smooth South Asia.
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Remarkably for a movement launched in defense of specifically Muslim symbols – and ones that existed outside the Indian subcontinent – the Khilafat Movement received strong support from the Indian National Congress, the avowedly secular Indian political organization, and from one of its most influential leaders, M. K. Gandhi (d. The Congress had many Muslim members, though it was dominated by a Hindu political leadership, and Gandhi’s political discourse was, in particular, laced with motifs and themes from the Hindu tradition.
This crisis continued for several months, making him physically ill and unable to teach, and eventually leading him to abandon Baghdad for many years of travel and reclusive living (Ghazali 1969, 35–39;Watt 1998, 56–63). In the end, Ghazali found solace in Sufi practice which offered precisely the sort of “intuitive cognition” (Moosa 2005, 234–235) of the truth he could not find through any other means. Thanawi’s biographer, ‘Aziz al-Hasan, is, like Gangohi, clearly mindful of parallels between this poignant account and Thanawi’s own experiences, and since this “official” biography was largely written with Thanawi’s cooperation, so, too, was Thanawi himself.
His own fatwas are reckoned to number more than two hundred thousand (Shafi‘ 1999, 29). There was, first, the community of the scholars of Deoband. Thanawi was among the earliest products of the Deoband madrasa, and he has indisputably remained its most influential scholar. This influence is due not just to his own prolific writings and fatwas, however, but also to the scholars whose work he commissioned and shaped, and who in turn emerged as important figures in Muslim scholarly circles. A second, closely intertwined community revolved around Thanawi’s position as a Sufi master at his Khanaqah in Thana Bhawan.