The Prophet Is The First Creation & The Root Of All Blessings: Maulana Ashraf `Ali Thanawi

Note: This is a matter of the Prophetic merit (fadha’il), rank, and haqiqa and not strictly an aspect of `aqida.

Hakim al Ummah Maulana Ashraf `Ali Thanawi (May Allah santify his secret) said in his wa`az entitled Al Surur, which was initially a lecture delivered on the 12th of Rabi` al Awwal, 1333 Hijri, in the Jami`a Masjid of Thana Bhawan and transcribed by Maulvi `Abdullah Gangohi (Pg 3-4):

“Know that no Muslim doubts that all of Allah’s blessings are worthy of thanks, in specific the more select ones. Then, within them, there are blessings specifically related to the religion and within these religiously related blessings particularly those that exceed others in greatness. Then within them is the single blessing that is the root of all religious and worldly blessings. What is this blessing? The coming of the Master of the Worlds, the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace), whose religious bounties and blessings were disseminated and poured forth into the world. You are the fountain of all worldly blessings, not only for Muslims but the whole macrocosm. This is why Allah Most High said, ‘We have not sent you except as a mercy to the worlds.’ Notice, how the word ‘worlds’ does not specify human or non-human or Muslim or non-Muslim. Therefore, it can be gleaned that the existence of the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) is a mercy for everything regardless of whether it is flesh and blood or not or whether it is after the Prophet’s time or before.

It is not far-fetched to understand this for that which was after the Prophet’s (Allah bless him and grant him peace) time, but in order to be a mercy for that which came before him his existence was granted first. This existence was one of light and the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace), existing as this light, was the very first of creation. In the realm of the spirits this light was completed and cultivated until the final period when, in the good-fate of this ummah, this light was gloriously illuminated in bodily form in order to brighten the Universe.

Thus, the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) is the cause of mercy for all the worlds. Therefore, the existence of the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) being the basis and root for all other blessings is established both textually and intellectually.”

Qutb al din Maulana Rashid Ahmad Gangohi (May Allah santify his secret) stated in his Fatawa, when asked about the narration “The first thing Allah created was my light” and “If it were not for you I would not have created the universe”:

“These narrations are not present in any of the six books (the sihah) but Shaykh `Abd Al Haqq reproduced “The first thing Allah created was my light” and stated that it has some basis.” (Pg 111, Darul Isha`at: 2003)

Similarly, Maulana Thanawi when asked about the above, latter narration in his Imdad al fatawa (Vol:5, Pg 79) said:

“Your being the first of creation is established through many narrations…”

Among such narrations is what was mentioned by Imam Tirmidhi in his Sunan when the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) was asked when he was a prophet to which he replied:

قال ‏ ‏وآدم ‏ ‏بين الروح والجسد

“When Adam was between spirit and clay.”

(Also narrated by Ibn Sa`d, Aby Nu`aym in his Hilayat from Maysara, Tabarani in his Kabir from Ibn `Abbas with the wording “I was a Prophet when Adam was between spirit and clay.”)

Imam al `Asr Anwar Shah Kashmiri stated in his al `Urf al Shadhi Sharh Sunan Al tirmidhi, when discussing the narration “The first thing Allah created was…”:

في بعض الروايات : أن أول المخلوقات نور النبي – صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ – ، ذكره القسطلاني في المواهب بطريق الحاكم والترجيح لحديث النور على حديث الباب .

“In some of the narrations the first creation was the light of the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace). It was mentioned by Qastallani in his Mawahib from the path of Hakim, and preference is given to this narration of light over the narration of this section (s: which mentioned something else).” (Vol 2)

Hakim al Ummah further said in his wa`az entitled al Zuhur:

“Your light, which was present even before the realm of the spirits, can also be called “life” (s: part of the Prophet’s haya’ (life)) and it relates to the saying, ‘I was a prophet when Adam was between the spirit and body.'” […] Therefore, from this, we can conclude that the Prophet’s (Allah bless him and grant him peace) life is divided into four stages:

(1) The creation of your light till your birth,

(2) From your birth to your passing away from the world,

(3) From your passing away till resurrection i.e. the barzakhi life, and

(4) In heaven.

From the above we can see clearly the beliefs of the Deobandi akabir regarding the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace).

Blessings on the Prophet, his family, and companions.



Filed under Hadith, Tasawwuf

28 responses to “The Prophet Is The First Creation & The Root Of All Blessings: Maulana Ashraf `Ali Thanawi

  1. basair

    Excellent post.
    Allahuma zid fazid.

  2. farah

    masha allah, excellent, absolutely excellent.

  3. Abdullah

    If you will help us out, dear Salman, can you post your next post answering the following questions:

    [1] What exactly is kashf or firasa – how does this relate to Allah being the only one who knows the ghayb?

    [2] What authorities claimed the ruh could come back to the world, do we believe in ghosts, and what is the proofs?

  4. Salamu `alaykum

    Yes, Insha’Allah, I will be putting up Mufti Lajpuri al Deobandi’s fatwa on the possibility of the return of the soul to the world. He quotes narrations from books such as Imam Ibn Qayyim’s Al Ruh and others. Also, I will translate some incidents Maulana Thanawi mentioned in relation to the return of the soul of the awliya. Im sure Sidi Basair could also help with this.

    Maulana Thanawi has some detailed answers relating to Kashf which I planned to translate. For starters, here is an excellent and detailed answer on the issue:'S%20KASHF

    Please try to read the whole thing.

  5. basair


    It is essential to differentiate between ‘ilmul ghayab’ , ‘amba-ul ghayab’ and ‘kashaf’. Technically their meaning and rulings are different.

    Not differentiating between them leads to nonsense ranting like “Zazala” of Mr Arshad Qadri saheb. This 200-300 page book, considered by Baraelwis to be a life saver against Deobandis does not hold any credibility at all for those who understand these terms clearly.

    Also, for lay people like me, it is extremely bad adab to talk about our master Prophet sallalahoalehey wasalam’s knowledge or its limitations. Scholars who did speak regarding it did for a reason but not for public debates.

    For Molvi Syed Salamn sahib: not all questions require an answer. Stupid, non-practical and those questions the answers to which can not be understood and assimilated by the inquirer should be ignored. This is the Thanawi maslak.

  6. basair

    It is “Zalzala” of Mr. Arshad Qadri saheb

  7. Salamu `Alaykum

    You are right Sidi Basair. Maulana Thanawi makes this clear in many places, such as the book al Khataab, that one is not required to answer all questions asked, especially those that serve no purpose.

    However, I feel it would be beneficial to translate Maulana Thanawi’s answers on Kashf wherein he shows that the true karama is istiqama, and although kashf is established for the awliya, it is not a sign for kamaliyyat. I believe this is a very valuable and important lesson that the akabir taught.

    For now, I will leave the topic on the return of the ruh because as you said it is a matter that many cannot comprehend.


  8. basair

    Yes! It will be very beneficial to translate Maulana Thanawi ra’s answers on Kashf.

  9. Imran

    Assalaamu’alaikum. Sidi Salman, as someone ignorant of this matter could you please explain the issue regarding attributing the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him) with ilmul-ghayb and referring to him (may Allah bless him) as aalimul-ghayb.

    Thank you, wassalaamu’alaikum.


  10. Salamu `Alaykum

    Sidi Imran: You are better off asking a reliable scholar on such an issue.

    One of my teachers said, “What is qat`i (decisive) is that the knowledge of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) is beyond that of all creation, in every significant way, and unimaginably so.”

    The above is me personal i`tiqad on the issue.

    The “how much” is irrelevant.


  11. Imran

    Wa’alaikum’assalaam sidi.

    The reason I was asking was that you mentioned in one of your posts “i did not say the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) is “`alim al ghayb” but merely that he was given `ilm al ghayb. There is a *huge* difference.”

    I was just wondering what that ‘huge’ difference was…

    However, no worries sidi…


  12. “[s: Maulana] Rashīd Gangohī similarly attempts to defend the charge of shirk for whoever would attribute the Prophet
    صلي الله عليه و سلم
    as do the Ulema of Ahl al-Sunna a notion of knowledge of the unseen (.ilm al-ghayb): .Knowledge of the unseen belongs exclusively to Allāh !. To use this word in any way for anyone else, I feel, is not free of shirk.. (.ilm ghayb
    khās Haqq Ta.ālā kā hey is lafz ko kisī tāwīl se dusre par itlāq kar nā ayhām shirk se khālī nahī).

    Hence, on this, all of the four Imāms of the Schools and the Ulema agree that the Prophets do not have knowledge of the unseen. (pas is me har chār a.imma madhāhib o jumla .ulama. muttafiq hey ke anbiyā .alayhimus-salām ghayb par mutla. nahī hey).”

  13. Salamu `Alaykum

    No need to get into an arguement over this, and I will not allow a debate regarding this on my blog.

    However, as a Muslim, firstly, you should have some husn al dhann towards the fatwa of Maulana Gangohi (May Allah be well pleased with him). Secondly, if ta`wil is possible, then you should attempt to do so for your own satisfaction.

    The simple fact is that Maulana Gangohi is speaking of ghayb haqiqi as opposed to ghayb idhafi. Maulana Thanawi discusses this in his Imdad al fatawa, which you are welcome to look up. The former is not possible for anyone except Allah Most High for reasons which I feel no need to get into.

    Over here a key point that both Barelwi’s and Deobandi’s should keep in mind is the principle “there is no arguing when it comes to usage (istilah)” because the usages of people differ. All in all, this debate is getting rather repetitive and serves no purpose.


  14. Imran

    Assalaamu’alaikum sidi salman.

    Sidi, regarding your above post, I would love to learn more about this and benefit more from you. Can I ask here or can you mail me?


  15. Salamu `Alaykum

    Sidi Imran, its really of no benefit.


  16. Imran

    Wa’alaikum’assalaam sidi.

    Oh sidi, I’m sure you could help to clarify writings, similar to the above post, regarding Moulaana Gangohi (may Allah be pleased with him) which I’ve read on the web. You’ve already begun to clarify Sidi Abdul Nabi’s post.

    I hope you can help 🙂


  17. Salamu `Alaykum

    Sidi: Learn your basic fiqh and `aqida, Insha’Allah. That is where good lies.


  18. basair

    One of the web gurus of the traditional Islamic sites says;

    “The aqida positions on the link (this site) that I posted are positions that the Barelwis (Ahl al-Sunnah in general) have held and continue to hold and yet they are validated by a Deobandi. This is a giant step towards unity. The question then has to arise as to why many modern day Deobandis don’t agree with these positions?”

    Respected Molvi Salman saheb is this true?

    I am aware that ignorance is rampant on both the sides. However, to best of my knowledge Molvi Raza Ahmed Khan sahib and his followers have the aqida that our most beloved Prophet sallalaho alehey wasalam has the same knowledge as that of Allah SWT. Only difference is that Allah SWT’s knowledge is his own and Prophet’s is a gift from Allah SWT. It is because of this aqida the debate regarding knowledge occured.

  19. Salamu `Alaykum

    Most of the positions I mentioned are agreed upon by both the Deobandi’s and Barelwi’s because most of them relate to generalities and not specifics. Also, i tried to avoid polemical issues and phrases that may lead to sectarianism. Things like ilham, kashf, sama’, travelling to visit the prophet, superiority of the land he is resting on, and so forth arent issues of divide amongst Deobandi’s and Barelwi’s.

    So these are really position everyone (sunni) holds for the most part.

    I dont think Maulana Ahmad Ridha held the belief that the knowledge of the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) was the same as Allah, except that Allah had it independently whereas the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) was given it. I think this is not an accurate representation of what he believed, from my personal reading. If you really wish to know the position of Maulana Ahmad Ridha then his work al Dawla al Makiyya outlines his beliefs. If it had such beliefs then i seriously doubt that `ulema such as Shaykh Qadhi Yusuf Nabhani (Allah be well-pleased with him) would have endorsed the book (Maulana Thanawi has an abridgement of one of Qadhi Nabhani’s books entitled Jamal al Awliya wherein he praises the Qadhi).

    There have been `ulema that stated the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) had knowledge of the “five”, which includes the time of Qiyama. This is why Maulana Thanawi, in his Shaq al Habib, states that the belief that the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) did not know the time of Qiyama is the opinion of the Jamhur but there is no ijma` on it. Holding the belief that he did know these things (such as the time of Qiyamat), at max, does not go beyond the realm of innovation according to Maulana. So it seems like this is masa’ala khilafiyya especially keeping in mind that scholars like Ibn Hajar Haythami and Imam Bajuri held this position, two major scholars.

    From what I have read, Maulana Ahmad Ridha constantly reiterates that there is no comparison between Allah’s knowledge and the Prophet’s (Allah bless him and grant him peace).


  20. It is worth reading what Hazrat Mufti-e-Azam Mawlana Rafi Usmani (damat barakatuhum) says about the issue of ilmul ghayb in his Urdu commentary on Sahih Muslim.

    He states that in substance, this is a khilaf lafzi (disagreement in words only)….

  21. Salamu `alaykum

    Alhamdulilah, yes, that is why the principle that there is no arguement when it comes to istilah (usage) is so important for people to understand.

    Barakallah feek


  22. there is disagreement on istilah as Thanwi compares the Ilm e Ghayb to that of mentally deranged people and animals! Come on Salman you can do a better job you are taking it one step further than your mate Ibn Adam in burying your head under the sand!

    see Ibn Adam’s Mawlid Fatwa where he thinks Taqi Usmani permits Mawlid. Hope you don’t delete my post

  23. Imran

    Assalaamu’alaikum sidi abdul nabi.

    Brother, regarding your above post, would it not be much more polite to address ‘Thanawi’ as Moulana Thanawi (who has passed away now) and then add (may Allah be pleased with him) even if you believe he said some things wrong. Similarly don’t you think, brother, it would be more polite to address ‘Ibn Adam’ as Mufti Adam and ‘Taqi Usmani’ as Muft Taqi Usmani – as a mark of respect, even if you don’t agree with them.

    I think we all want to learn and benefit from Sidi Salman’s understanding. Thus isn’t it more appropriate to address those he respects and reveres with politeness as we are guests here at his ‘home.’ Also, sidi, Moulana Thanawi has passed away now and we all want him (may allah be pleased with him) to be in the best of companionship in the hereafter.

    ps. I’m not a deobandi or a barelwi.

    your brother

  24. Salamu `Alaykum

    Sidi `Abdul Nabi

    [1] I dont cater to such types of comments on my blog,
    [2] I dont appreciate you speaking of my akabir in such ways, and
    [3] It is clear that you only mean to spread fitna – without sufficient knowledge of the religious sciences.

    Therefore, I feel no need to answer your constant barage of questions.


  25. why has my post been deleted where is your knowledge that mad men have to defend your Akabir (s: Allah be well-pleased with them) now! you liar

  26. Imran


    Sidi Salman/Sidi Mohibbullah: regarding your posts about the issue of ilmul’gayb being a khilaf lafdhi and ‘that there is no argument when it comes to istilah (usage)’ – could you please elaborate when you have time.

    Thank you.


  27. Muslim

    :-O Abdul Nabi?

  28. excellent post.

    For knowing the reality of Tasawwuf, please go to

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