As an introduction – the concept of Mawlood/Mawlid refers to the events that take place in the Mubarak and honourable name of Nabi ﷺ with justifications presented in order celebrate the birth date of Nabi ﷺ.
In the prime of Hadhrat Moulana Ashraf Ali Thaanwi Rahmatullahi Alaihi’s youth and the beginning of his student days- Hadhrat would be a participant in the Mawlood gatherings (which was free from all the haraam that occurs now) and through this act, would understand it to be an opportunity to transmit virtues of Ahle-Islam, correct beliefs and actions and the establishment of its truth to the general public and selected ones. To further emphasize this, Hadhrat Moulana Thanwi Rahmatullahi Alaihi would present (the example of) his spiritual leader and guide Hadhrat Haaji (Imaadudullah) Saheb as a proof.
Due to this Hadhrat Moulana Rashid Ahmed Gangohi Rahmatullahi Alaihi, after constantly cautioning through lengthy correspondences, maintained a non tolerable approach to this matter and submitted his plea to his leader and guide (Haaji Imadaadullah Rahmatullahi Alaihi)
Hadhrat Moulana Gangohi Rahmatullahi Alaihi respectfully lodged this concern to his honourable Sheikh in the following manner:
فیا سیدي للہ ان تقبلوا عذري بخلقکم العظیم و لا تصغوا الی کل ھماز لمّاز مشاء بنميم و لا تخرجوني من الجماعة – فإني ارجوا ان اكون معكم يوم تأتي الساعه لكن لا تطيق همتي أن انابذ بالمخالفة مع الإعلان عسى أن يكون من الله تعالى بمكان …..نعم التمزت على نفسي إنكار طريق بمخالفة السنة و الكتاب على رأس المنبر و بطن المحراب
O my leader! With all respect to your noble countenance, for Allah Ta’ala’s sake, accept my excuse and don’t give in to every defamer, derider who goes about with calumnies and do not expel me from the group. I have hope I will be with you till that day when the final hour arrives.
However I have committed myself to denying a path at the top of the Mimbar (pulpit) and the belly of the Mihrab (such a path) that which contradicts the Sunnah and the Quraan (Tadhkeeratur-Rasheed)
Hadhrat Gangohi comments further on his answer:
“Thus if any Sheikh acts contrary to the Shari’ah, it will not be permissible to submit oneself to his practices however it becomes compulsory upon the mureed (disciple) to correct the Sheikh as upon every two persons there are rights which they should fulfill respectively and the Shuyookh are not angelic and as long as a Sheikh acts contrary to a matter that is clearly against the Shari’ah provided they are substantiated with solid shari’ proofs then don’t pay any attention- there is no permission whatsoever to accept that (which is contrary to the Shari’ah) (Tadhkiratur-Rasheed)
Hadhrat Moulana Ashraf Ali Thaanwi Rahmatullahi Alaihi retracted his initial stance.
Lesson: This teaches us that despite their honourable positions, their search for the truth did not stop them from retracting any matter when the truth became clear, infact they would embrace the truth and immediately leave that which is contrary to it.