Hazrat Sheikhul Hadith, Moulana Muhammad Zakariyya (rahimahullah), has compiled, from various articles, various aspects describing the manner in which Hazrat Moulana Ashraf Ali Thaanwi (rahimahullah) would spend his time during the blessed month of Ramadhaan. Some of these pertinent aspects regarding his Ramadhaan have been presented below:
During Ramadhaan, Hazrat Thaanwi (rahimahullah) himself used to recite the Qur’aan Majeed in taraaweeh. Without a genuine excuse, he never left out personally leading the taraaweeh. He would generally recite one-and-a-quarter paras every night for the first half of Ramadhaan, and would thereafter recite one para per night, thus completing the khatam on the 27th night.
The beauty of Hazrat’s (rahimahullah) recitation could be fully appreciated by listening to him recite. In taraweeh, he would recite the Qur’aan Majeed at the same pace that is normally recited in the fardh salaah. If he occasionally recited at a fast pace for some reason, then his recitation was still done with the correct pronunciation of the letters (tajweed), just as he would do when reciting slowly. The length of the ruku and the sajdah in his taraweeh was the same as the length during other salaahs.
As for his ‘waqfs’ (pausing the recitation in appropriate places) and his tune when reciting, then the high level of consideration that he showed to these aspects was such that it can be found among very few people.
Hazrat Thaanwi (rahimahullah) was also blessed with a good memory, and hence it was very seldom that he ever became confused by mutashaabihaat (verses that closely resemble one another with slight variations in the wording). He naturally had such a close attachment to the Qur’aan Majeed that when he recited (from memory), then from the beginning to the end of his recitation, it would seem as though he was reciting with the Qur’aan Majeed open before him. Similarly, if he was ever asked regarding where a certain verse could be found in the Qur’aan Majeed, he would be able to immediately and spontaneously give the correct answer.
In the pause between every four rakaats, Hazrat Thaanwi (rahimahullah) would recite durood shareef twenty-five times. When he was asked as to why he recited durood shareef twenty-five times during these pauses, he replied, “There is no zikr stipulated from the side of shari’ah to be recited in these pauses. I recite durood shareef upon Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) because in my opinion, it is most virtuous, and I recite it twenty-five times so that if someone has to depart to fulfil some need, such as drinking water, he will have sufficient time to return before we continue the salaah.”
Maghrib and Iftaar
During Ramadhaan, Hazrat Thaanwi (rahimahullah) would generally partake of iftaar in the madrasah together with his guests. The maghrib azaan would be called out as soon as the time set in. Iftaar was then eaten without haste, and after rinsing the mouth and washing the hands, the maghrib salaah was performed without any rush.
Such an amount of time was allowed to pass between the azaan of maghrib and the salaah that if anyone wished to perform his wudhu comfortably, he would still be able to get the first takbeer. Similarly, the people living in the vicinity of the musjid could eat their iftaar at home and still come to the musjid in time to join the salaah at the first takbeer.
After performing the maghrib salaah and reciting his wazeefas (duas), as was his normal practice, he would eat his evening meal. Hazrat (rahimahullah) would not eat a heavy meal at this time. Hazrat (rahimahullah) mentioned, “At iftaar time (i.e. after maghrib), you should eat very little so that at sehri time, you will be able to eat with a good appetite. If I eat anything extra, such as mangoes, etc., then I do so after taraaweeh so that I do not feel any heaviness and difficulty during taraaweeh.”
Tahajjud, Fajr and the Morning
Throughout the year, Hazrat Thaanwi (rahimahullah) would generally awaken for tahajjud at midnight, though he would occasionally awaken a little earlier or a little later. He would normally perform eight rakaats of tahajjud salaah, though he sometimes performed less or more than that.
In the month of Ramadhaan, Hazrat Thaanwi (rahimahullah) would recite one para daily in his tahajjud salaah, and he occasionally recited more than one para as well.
During his tahajjud salaah, Hazrat Thaanwi (rahimahullah) sometimes recited audibly and sometimes softly. While he was in i’tikaaf, if he was performing tahajjud salaah and one or two people happened to join him in the salaah, then he did not stop them. However, he never showed special importance to performing tahajjud salaah with jamaat.
After tahajjud, Hazrat Thaanwi (rahimahullah) would normally rest until the Fajr salaah. After Fajr, he would commence his normal activities of the day.
Hazrat Thaanwi (rahimahullah) was engaged in many important deeni khidmaat (services to deen and the Muslims), such as writing kitaabs, answering fataawa, conducting islaahi programs, etc. Many of these works continued during the month of Ramadhaan. As a result, Hazrat Thaanwi (rahimahullah) did not change his daily routine during the month of Ramadhaan compared to other times.
Hazrat Thaanwi (rahimahullah) said, “My ibaadaat in and out of Ramadhaan are the same. All my time is taken up by deeni work, and for this reason, I do not find any extra time to do anything extra. I remain busy in and out of Ramadhaan with the same deeni work.”
Commenting on this, Hazrat Sheikhul Hadith, Moulana Muhammad Zakariyya (rahimahullah) said, “Moulana Thaanwi (rahimahullah) was at all times engrossed in deeni works such as researching masaa’il and spreading deeni knowledge, as pointed out by Moulana Zuhoorul Hasan Saheb, which is very important indeed. Who can doubt that to be busy with such deeni works is so much more rewarding than the recitation of wazeefas?”
Hazrat Thaanwi (rahimahullah) sometimes performed i’tikaaf – at times for the full ten days, and at times for three days. During this period, immense barakaat and abundant noor would be perceived. While in i’tikaaf, his writing activities continued as before. For example, the kitaab ‘Qasd-us-Sabeel’ was written within eight days while Hazrat Thaanwi (rahimahullah) was in i’tikaaf, together with another kitaab, ‘AI Futooh Feema Yata Allaqu Bir Rooh’. (Akaabir ka Ramadhaan pg. 34-45)
May Allah Ta a’ala grant us the tawfeeq of emulating the Akaabir and spending our Ramadhaan with the spirit of the Sunnah, as they spent their Ramadhaan.