Response to Barelwi Allegations about Mawlana Ashraf Ali Thanawi’s Interpretation of a Dream

September 25, 2017

Repeating an old Barelwi allegation, an individual writing online states the following:


A follower of Ashraf Ali Thanwi asked him:

“I fell asleep. After some time I have a dream that I am reading Kalima Shareef لا إله إلا الله محمد رسول الله but in the place of محمد رسول الله I am reading the name of Thanwi. Subsequently a thought occurred in my heart that I am mistaken in reading the Kalima Shareef. This should be read correctly. With this thought I read Kalima Shareef again. My heart is insisting that it is read correctly but my tongue is spontaneously saying Ashraf Ali instead of the name of the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم…

I turn over to lie on my other side and to rectify the mistake in the Kalima Shareef I read Durood Shareef upon the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم but then I say, ‘أللهم صل على سيدنا ونبينا ومولانا أشرف على’ WHILST I AM AWAKE NOW. IT IS NOT A DREAM.”

In answer to this question Ashraf Ali Thanwi thus answered:

“There was satisfaction in this incident because the one you are turning towards is, by the help of Allah تعالى, a follower of Sunnah.”

[Risala Al-Imdad Safar 1336 Hijri, page 35 — This answer was dated 24th Shawwal 1335 Hijri]

We seek refuge in Allah تعالى from such Kufr Deobandi beliefs معاذ الله. May He protect our Iman from misguidance.


The individual is referring to a question and answer found in Mawlana Thanawi’s journal al-Imdad. The question was from a Mureed who relates that he was once visiting Rampur and ended up staying with a local talib al-ilm who it turned out was also a Mureed of Mawlana Thanawi. He also learned that this student would receive copies of Mawlana Thanawi’s monthly journals al-Imdad and Husn al-‘Aziz. Naturally, he requested to read these journals, and he exclaims that upon reading them, “the elation that they spurred is beyond description.” One afternoon, he was reading Husn al-‘Aziz and was overcome by sleep. He turned on his side to sleep but realising the journal was now to his back, he decided to put it near his head out of respect.

Then he explains:

“I then fell asleep. After some time, I see a dream, that I am reciting the Kalimah Shareef, la ilaha illAllahu Muhammadur rasulullah, but I am taking Huzoor’s [Hazrat Thanawi’s] name in place of ‘Muhammadur rasulullah.’ Subsequently, a thought came to my heart that you have made a mistake when reciting Kalimah Shareef, so it should be recited correctly. With this thought, I started reading Kalimah Shareef a second time. In my heart, I am to recite it correctly, but on the tongue, involuntarily, in place of the name of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam), ‘Ashraf Ali’ emerges. Although I am aware that this is not correct, it emerged from my tongue involuntarily.

“Once this happened twice or thrice, I saw Huzoor [the Prophet] (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) appear before me, and there were other individuals next to Huzoor (sallallahu alayhi wasallam). However, I experienced a state in which because of being overcome by a brittleness [in my heart] I collapsed to the ground, and called out loudly, and I knew that I had no strength left inside me. Subsequently, I woke up, but my body was still numb just as I was (in the dream) and the effect of having no strength remained. However, while dreaming and awake, I was thinking of Huzoor (sallallahu alayhi wasallam). However, when the error of reciting the Kalimah Shareef came to mind while awake, I made the intention to remove this thought from the heart so that no such error occurs again. With this thought, I sat up, and then lying down on the other side, to rectify the mistake in [reciting] Kalimah Shareef, I began to recite Durood upon Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam), but even then, I am saying: ‘Allahumma salli ‘ala sayyidina wa nabiyyina wa mawlana Ashraf Ali’, even though I am now awake, not dreaming. But I have no control, I am compelled/helpless, my tongue is not in my control…” (al-Imdad, Safar 1336, p. 35)

Note, the questioner himself very explicitly states about the first occasion in which he read the kalimah erroneously in a dream state: “Although I am aware that this is not correct, it emerged from my tongue involuntarily” and about the second occasion when he recited the durood incorrectly while awake: “I have no control, I am compelled/helpless, my tongue is not in my control” – both are passages which the above individual conveniently missed out from his translation.

True dreams are not always taken at face-value, but may have a hidden meaning or interpretation (ta’beer). So while the dream may appear to be evil, its hidden meaning may be positive. A good example is the dream of Imam Abu Hanifah in which he saw himself digging up the grave of the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam). Naturally, he became frightened by what he saw, but when it was related to Ibn Sirin, he explained that the dream means that he will dig up the reports of Allah’s Messenger. (Tarikh Baghdad, 15:458-9)

Does Ibn Sirin’s interpretation mean he is endorsing digging up the grave of the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) – na’udhu billah?! Of course not! But that is the logic of the above individual. Because Mawlana Thanawi gave a positive interpretation of the dream, the individual concludes he endorsed the actual contents/actions in the dream, which is of course absurd.

In a subsequent publication, when asked about his interpretation, Mawlana Thanawi explains that when someone has the strong feeling in a dream that he is seeing the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) but the appearance is of someone else, according to dream-interpreters (ahl ta’beer), this means the individual he saw is a follower of the Sunnah. Mawlana Thanawi states that the same interpretation can be made in this case, where in place of saying “Rasulullah”, another name is mentioned. He further states: “I don’t insist [on this interpretation]. If this dream was waswasa from shaytan, or caused by mental illness, and this is not its interpretation – that is also possible. However, to give a wrong interpretation is [merely] an error in one’s intuitive feeling (wijdan), for which no blame can be given.”

Moreover, although the words the individual mentioned are words of kufr (disbelief), his action was not an action of kufr. This is because a statement of kufr that is said involuntarily, when one has no control over what he says, is not taken into consideration. It is only when one says it deliberately and consciously that it will amount to kufr.

It states in Fatawa QadiKhan:

الخاطئ إذا جرى على لسانه كلمة الكفر خطأ بأن كان يريد أن يتكلم بما ليس بكفر فجرى على لسانه كلمة الكفر خطأ لم يكن ذلك كفرا عند الكل

When a statement of kufr occurs on the tongue by accident, in that one intended to say something that is not kufr but a statement of kufr occurred on his tongue by accident, that is not kufr according to everyone.” (Fatawa Qadi Khan, Fatawa Hindiyyah)

Notice, this is exactly what happened here. The Mureed in question knew the correct durood and had in mind that he will recite it correctly, but involuntarily recited something else. Hence, this is not kufr by consensus. He had no doubt that what he said was mistaken. Hence, there was of course no need for Mawlana Thanawi to point this out to him.

The individual who made the above allegation states: “Ashraf Ali Thanwi endorses kufr kalima” and he refers to “such Kufr Deobandi beliefs.” As explained, Mawlana Thanawi was not “endorsing” the “kufr kalima”, but merely gave a positive interpretation to the dream (which in no way entails taking the dream at face-value, let alone endorsing any statement said by accident in it!). Moreover, it is not clear what the “kufr Deobandi beliefs” are that emerges from this incident. Hence, this accusation appears to be another one of those shameless Barelwi lies.


Knowledge of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) – al-Jurjani

September 12, 2017

Courtesy of Maulana Zeeshan Chaudri

واختلف العلماء في أهل الاجتهاد، زعم من لا فقه له ولا بصيرة في الشريعة أنه ينبغي أن يكون المجتهد عالما بجميع العلوم، أصوليا وشرعيا، ولغويا وطبيا، ونجوميا وهندسيا وفلسفيا، وحسابيا وتاريخيا، والا ربا في سائر الفنون حتي الصناعات، وهذا جهل اذ لم يُحط علم نبي من الانبياء بجميع ذلك فما ظنك بالأمة (يوسف الجرجاني الحنفي (م.522) خزانة الأكمل في فروع الفقه الحنفي 4/125)

The Hanafi scholar Yūsuf al-Jurjānī (d.522) criticises those who have made the conditions of ijtihād so high that it requires a mastery of the Islamic sciences as well as secular sciences! He responds by saying ‘this is ignorance, as not even the knowledge of any Prophet encompassed all of those [sciences], so what do you assume regarding the ummah’.