Islamic Sufism Spirituality

Biography of Shaikh Abd Al‑Qadir Al‑Jilani

Posted on: June 10, 2008


HIS NAME:

His name was Abd al-Qaadir. His title was “Abu Muhammad” (father of Muhammad) s.a.w.s. He is famously known as Muhyi’d-Din, al-Ghawth al-A’zam, Sultan al-Awliya, Ghaus-e-Paak,etc. He was a descendant of the Holy Prophet Muhammad s.a.w.s. from both his mother’s (al-Husaini) and father’s side (al-Hasani). (Imam Hasan and Imam Husain r.a. being the grandsons of the Holy Prophet Muhammad – s.a.w.s. ). Sayyid Abu Saleh Moosa r.a. was his father and Sayyidah Ummul Khair Faatima r.a. was his mother.

PLACE OF BIRTH:

According to authentic narrations, Sayyiduna al-Ghawth al-A’zam Shaikh Abd al-Qaadir al-Jilani r.a. was born in a place called Neef, which is situated in Gilan (Persia). According to Imam Yaaqoot Hamwi r.a., Shaikh Abd al-Qaadir al-Jilani r.a. was born in a place called Bashteer. Most historians agree that Neef and Bashteer were differrent names for the same place. Since he was born in Gilan, al-Ghawth al-A’zam Shaikh Abd al-Qaadir r.a. is known as al-Jilani. Concerning his birth, al-Ghawth al-A’zam r.a. personally states the following in his “Qasida-e-Ghausia”: “I am a citizen of Jeel and my name is Muhyi’d-Din and the flag of my exaltedness is planted firm on mountains.”

ILLUSTRIOUS FAMILY HISTORY

SAYYIDI ABDULLAH SOOM’EE: He was the maternal grandfather of al-Ghawth al-A’zam Shaikh Abd al-Qaadir al-Jilani r.a. He was a very patient, humble, kind and sincere person. His home served as a place of refuge for the poor, needy and the orphaned. He was amongst the grand Mashaa’ikh of Jilan. He was known as a great “Sahib-e-Karamah”, meaning that he performed many miracles that were seen by thousands of people; from amongst whom many became his disciples by joining his spiritual order. Once, a few of his disciples (mureeds) were on a business expedition to Samarkand. Bandits stopped them. They immediately called out his name for assistance. Suddenly, they found him standing besides them saying, in a state of Jalaal, to the bandits: “Our Allah is Pure and free from defects. Bandits! Stay away (from my disciples).” When the bandits heard these words, they dispersed leaving the Mureeds safe and unharmed. When the mureeds searched for Sayyidi Abdullah Soom’ee r.a. after this incident, he was nowhere to be seen. When they disciples returned to Jilan, they informed the people there of this incident only to be told that the great Saint (Wali) of Allah had not been seen to leave the city of Jilan during that particular time period!

SAYYIDAH AISHA ZAAHIDA r.a.: She was the paternal aunt of al-Ghawth al-A’zam Shaikh Abd al-Qaadir al-Jilani r.a. She was a very kind and pious woman. Her entire life was spent in the remembrance of Almighty Allah. The people of Jilan were very familiar with her piety and her sincerity in Ibadah. They used to always go to her in times of need and hardship and request her to make Du’a. Once, there was a very lengthy drought in Jilan, which resulted in a severe shortage of food and water. The people of Jilan prayed to Almighty Allah for rain, but to no avail. Finally, they turned to Sayyidah Aisha Zaahida r.a. and requested her to pray for rain. After listening to their request she went into the courtyard of her humble home and began to sweep the dust into one corner. When she was finished sweeping, she said with great sincerity: “O’Allah! My job was to sweep up the dust. All that is left now is for You to do is the sprinkling.” She just completed saying these words, when dark clouds began to gather and it began to rain, thus breaking the lenghty drought in Jilan. She lived in the city of Jilan until her demise. May Allah shower His Mercy upon her.

SAYYIDI ABU SAALEH SAYYYIDAH UMMUL KHAIR FAATIMA r.a.: They were the blessed parents of Al-Ghawth al-A’zam Shaikh Abd al-Qaadir al-Jilani r.a. Shaikh Abu Saaleh r.a. was a very pious and humble person. He was also a master in the tactics of Jihad and it was due to this that he was given the title of “Jangi Dost”. Sayyidah Ummul Khair Faatima r.a. was also a great Aabida and Zaahida r.a. After reading the incident which led to the marriage (Nikah) of these two great personalities and the birth of Shaikh Abd al-Qaadir al-Jilani r.a., not only will the torch of Imaanbe re­kindled in our hearts, but we would be able to understand the lofty status of Shaikh Abd al-Qaadir al-Jilani r.a. through the greatness and pureness of his parents. It has been narrated that when Sayyidi Abu Saaleh r.a. was in the prime of his youth he would spend most of his time in Mujahida (Striving in the path of Allah).

Once, he was making Ibadah beside a river, he felt the need to eat as he had not eaten for three days and three nights. Whilst in this thought, he saw an apple floating down the river towards him. He reached into the river and took the apple. After he had eaten the apple, a thought crossed his mind concerning the origin of the fruit that he had eaten. He reasoned that although the apple flowed in the river, it had to belong to someone and that he had eaten this apple without the permission of the owner. He immediately began to walk along the bank of the river looking for the source of the apple, he walked for a long time until he came to an orchard. There he saw an apple tree. The branches of the tree were hanging over the river. The apples from the tree were falling into the river and were being carried downstream.

When he observed this he immediately realised that the apple, which he had eaten, had come from this very tree. He entered the orchard and queried concerning the owner of the orchard. He was informed that the owner was Sayyidi Abdullah Soom’ee r.a. He went to the owner and explained to him the incident concerning him eating the apple. He then asked Sayyidi Abdullah Soom’ee r.a. to forgive him for his mishap.

After listening to Sayyiduna Abu Saaleh r.a., Sayyidi Abdullah Soom’ee r.a. immediately realised that this was no ordinary young man. Without [a] doubt, he knew that he was a chosen servant of Almighty Allah. Shaikh Abdullah Soom’ee r.a. agreed to forgive him for eating the apple. But this, he told him, was subject to a condition. The condition being that Sayyidi Abu Saaleh r.a. would have to take care of the orchard, and make Mujahida there for ten years. Shaikh Abu Saaleh r.a. accepted this condition with great pleasure.

He served in the orchard for ten years and also made Mujahida. After ten years had passed, he went to Sayyiduna Abdullah Soom’ee r.a. to be pardoned. Shaikh Abdullah Soom’ee r.a. asked him to serve for another two years, which he accepted again without complaint. After these two years had passed, he went back to Sayyiduna Abdullah Soom’ee r.a. and asked to be pardoned. Shaikh Abdullah Soom’ee r.a. agreed to pardon him on one last condition.

He said, “O’ Abu Saaleh! I have a daughter whose feet are paralysed, her hands are crippled,and she is deaf and blind. I would like for you to marry her.”

When most persons would have rejected such a condition, Sayyidi Abu Saaleh r.a. even accepted this condition. After the Nikah, he went into his room to see his bride for the very first time. To his amazement, he saw a beautiful normal woman sitting in his room. He thought that there had been some mistake and that the wrong woman was in his room. He rushed out of the room and presented himself before Shaikh Abdullah Soom’ee r.a. On seeing him. Shaikh Abdullah Soom’ee r.a. smiled and then said, “Do not fear. It is she that is my daughter. All the qualities that I had explained to you concerning her are true. I said she was paralysed, because she has never taken even one step out of this house. I said she was crippled, because she has never done anything against Shari’ah. I said she was blind because she has never seen a Ghair Mahram and I said that she was deaf because she has never heard a single word against the Shari’ah.”

When Sayyidi Abu Saaleh r.a. heard these words, he knew that not one moment in twelve years was wasted, and every moment spent in the service of Sayyidi Abdullah Soom’ee r.a. was worth more than he could imagine. It was from these two pious servants of Almighty Allah and devotees of the Prophet Muhammad s.a.w.s. that al-Ghawth al-A’zam Shaikh Abd al-Qaadir al-Jilani r.a. was born.

PREDICTIONS OF HIS BIRTH

SHAIKH-UL-MASHAA’IKH, SAYYIDUNA JUNAID AL-BAGHDADI r.a.: He lived two hundred years before al-Ghawth al-A’zam Shaikh Abd al-Qaadir al-Jilani r.a. and foretold his coming in the following manner: r.a. Once, while Shaikh Junaid al-Baghdadi r.a. was in a state of spiritual ecstacy, he stated: “His foot is on my shoulders, his foot is on my shoulders.” After he had come out of this spiritual condition, his disciples questioned him concerning these words. He said, “I have been informed that a great Saint will be born towards the end of the fifth century. His name shall be Abdul Qaadir and his title will be Muhyi’d-Din. He will be born in Jilan and he will reside in Baghdad. One day, on the Command of Allah, he will say, ‘My foot is on the shoulders of all the Awliya Allah’. While in my spiritual condition, I saw his excellence and these words were uttered by me without my control.”

IMAM HASSAN ASKARI r.a.: Shaikh Abu Muhammad r.a. states that before his demise, Imam Hassan Askari r.a. handed over his Jubba(Cloak) to Sayyiduna Imam Ma’roof Karki r.a. and asked him to pass it over to al-Ghawth al-A’zam Shaikh Abd al-Qaadir al-Jilani r.a. Shaikh Imam Ma’roof Karki r.a. passed over this cloak to Sayyiduna Junaid al-Baghdadi r.a., who in turn passed it over to Shaikh Danoori r.a. . From here it was then passed down until it reached Shaikh Abd al-Qaadir al-Jilani r.a. in the year 497 A.H. (Makhzanul Qaaderiah)

SHAIKH ABU BAKR BIN HAW’WAAR r.a.: He lived before the time of al-Ghawth al-A’zam r.a. and was amongst the distinguished Mashaa’ikh of Baghdad. Once, while he was sitting in his majlis, he said, “There are seven Aqtaab (High-Ranking Awliya) of Iraq:

  1. Shaikh Ma’roof Karki r.a.

  2. Shaikh Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal r.a.

  3. Shaikh Bishr Haafi r.a.

  4. Shaikh Mansoor bin Amaar r.a.

  5. Sayyiduna Junaid al-Baghdadi r.a.

  6. Shaikh Sahl bin Abdullah Tastari r.a.

  7. Shaikh Abd al-Qaadir Jeeli r.a.

When he heard this, Sayyidi Abu Muhammad r.a., who was a mureed of Shaikh Abu Bakr r.a. asked, “We have heard and know six of these names, but the seventh, we have not heard of. O Shaikh! Who is Abd al-Qaadir al-Jilani?” Shaikh Abu Bakr r.a. replied by saying: “Abd al-Qaadir r.a. will be a non-Arab (and a) pious man. He will be born towards the end of the fifth century Hijri and he will reside in Baghdad.” (Bahjatul Asraar)

SHAIKH KHALEEL BALKHI r.a.: He was a great Wali-Allah and had passed away before the time of al-Ghawth al-A’zam Shaikh Abd al-Qaadir al-Jilani r.a. Once while he was seated with his disciples, he said: “A pure servant of Allah will become apparent in Iraq towards the end of the fifth century. The world will gain brightness from his presence. He will be the Ghaus of his time. The creation of Allah will be obedient to him, and he will be the Leader of the Awliya Allah.” (Azkaarul Abraar)

IMAM MUHAMMAD BIN SA’EED ZANJANI r.a.: He stated as follows in his distinguished work, “Nuzhatul Khawatir”: “From the era of Shaikh Abi Ali Hassan Yasaarajuwi r.a. up to the era of Shaikh Abd al-Qaadir al-Jilani r.a., every Wali that passed this earth, foretold the coming and the excellence of al-Ghawth al-A’zam Shaikh Abd al-Qaadir al-Jilani r.a. ” (Nuzhatul Khawatir)

EVENTS RELATING TO HIS BIRTH

There are two narrations concerning the date of birth of al-Ghawth al-A’zam Shaikh Abd al-Qaadir al-Jilani r.a. The first narration is that he was born on the 1st of Ramadaan 470 A.H.. The second narration is that he was born on the eve of the 2nd of Ramadaan 470 A.H. The second narration seems to be the one more favoured amongst the learned scholars. The birth of al-Ghawth al-A’zam Shaikh Abd al-Qaadir al-Jilani r.a. was a great blessing to the Ummah. It was the arrival of the Sultaanul Awliya (King of the Awliya), which had been foretold for centuries before his birth. Sayyidah Ummul Khair Faatima r.a. was 60 years old when Shaikh Abd al-Qaadir al-Jilani r.a. was born. It is widely known that women at this age are usually incapable of having children. This alone was one of the astounding facts relating to the birth of the great Saint.

MIRACULOUS EVENTS SURROUNDING HIS BIRTH: Apart from this, there were many other miraculous events surrounding the birth of Shaikh Abd al-Qaadir al-Jilani r.a. Shaikh Sayyiduna Shahabud-Din Suharwardi r.a. quoted the following five miracles (Karamahs) relating to the birth of al-Ghawth al-A’zam r.a. in his distinguished book, “Manaqib-e-Ghausia”: (1). On the eve his birth, his father saw the Holy Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.s. ) in his dream. The Holy Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.s. ) gave him the following glad tidings: “O Abu Saaleh! Almighty Allah has blessed you with a pious son. He is my beloved and the beloved of Almighty Allah. He is the most exalted amongst the Awliya and Aqtaab”. (2). When he was born, he had the impression of the footprint of Rasoolullah, s.a.w.s. on his shoulder. This alone was the proof of his Wilayah (Sainthood). (3). Almighty Allah gave glad tidings to his parents in their dream that their son would be the Sultaanul Awilyahand those who oppose him would be Gumrah (misled). (4). On the eve of his birth, approximately eleven hundred males were born in Jilan. Every one of them was a Wali Allah. (5). He was born on the eve of Ramadaan and during the entire month of Ramadaan he never drank milk after the time of Sehri and before the time of Iftaar. In other words, he kept fast from the day he was born. His mother said that he never cried for milk for the entire day and he would only drink milk at the time of Iftaar!

HIS EARLY CHILDHOOD

DEMISE OF HIS FATHER: After the demise of his father, his grandfather, Shaikh Abdullah Soom’ee, r.a., took care of him. It was his grandfather that was responsible for the marriage of the parents of the great Saint. He moulded Shaikh Abd al-Qaadir al-Jilani r.a. from childhood into the personality that he was to be. He blessed Shaikh Abd al-Qaadir al-Jilani r.a. with gems of spiritualism. He nurtured him with gentleness and showered him with words of wisdom.

VOICE FROM THE UNSEEN: Al-Ghawth al-A’zam Shaikh Abd al-Qaadir al-Jilani r.a. was not like other children who spent their time in play and amusement. From a tender age he spent his time in the remembrance of Almighty Allah. If he at any time ever intended to join the other children, then a Voice from the Unseen would be heard to say, “Come towards Me, O blessed one.” At first, Shaikh Abd al-Qaadir al-Jilani r.a. would become afraid when he heard this voice. He would go to his mother and sit on her lap. As time passed, he became accustomed to this voice. Instead of going to his mother, he would abandon the thought of playing and occupy himself in the remembrance of Almighty Allah.

COMMENCEMENT OF ACADEMIC STUDIES: When al-Ghawth al-A’zam Shaikh Abd al-Qaadir al-Jilani r.a. was four and a half years old, and according to certain narrations, five years old, his mother enrolled him into a local Madrassa in Jilan. He studied at this Madrassah until the age of ten. During this period, a certain amazing event occurred. Whenever Shaikh Abd al-Qaadir al-Jilani r.a. would enter the Madrassa he would see bright figures walking ahead of him saying, “Give way to the Friend of Allah.” His son, Sayyidi Abdur Razzaq r.a., reports that once Shaikh Abd al-Qaadir al-Jilani r.a. was asked when he first came to know of his Wilayahand the great Ghaus r.a. replied: “When I was ten years old, I found Angels walking beside me on my way to the Madrassa. When we reached the Madrassa I would hear them say, ‘Give way to the Wali Allah, Give way to the Wali Allah.’ It was when this continued that I knew that I had been blessed with Wilayah”.

DEMISE OF SAYYIDI ABDULLAH SOOM’EE r.a.: Shaikh Abd al-Qaadir al-Jilani r.a. was still a student at the Madrassa in Baghdad when his grandfather, Shaikh Abdullah Soom’ee r.a. passed away. After the demise of his grandfather, the responsibility for his education fell upon his mother. She fulfilled this responsibility with great patience, sincerity and dedication. Shaikh Abd al-Qaadir al-Jilani r.a. was about 18 years old when this incident took place. One day, he left his home for a walk. As he walked along the streets of Jilan he saw an ox in front of him. He walked behind it for some time. The ox then turned around and spoke to him in the language of humans. It said: “You have not been created for this and you have not been commanded to do this.” He immediately returned home and explained this incident to his mother. He requested permission from his mother to journey to Baghdad in order to complete his academic studies and seek more spiritual knowledge. His mother, who was now 78 years old, acceded to this noble request without a second thought.

HIS MOTHER’S ADVICE: It was such a time where parents in their old age usually depend on their children for moral and financial support, but this pious and pure servant of Allah only wanted the pleasure of Almighty Allah and His Rasool (s.a.w.s.). Whilst she was very attached to Shaikh Abd al-Qaadir al-Jilani r.a., she did not let her personal feelings come before the pleasure of Allah. She wanted her son to be a man of knowledge and wisdom. In those days, people used to travel either by foot or by camel or another animal. The roads passed through dense forests and jungles and there was always the danger of travellers being robbed and killed by bandits. Sayyidah Ummul Khair Faatima r.a. knew of the dangers but still supported her son’s. She wished him well with her Du’as. She said: “O my dear son! I have now become very old and I do not think I will ever get to see you again, but my Du’as will always be with you. May Almighty Allah grant you success in your quest for academic and spiritual knowledge.”

She then said: “Your deceased father left eighty Dinars from which I am giving you forty Dinars for your journey and forty Dinars I will keep for your younger brother, Sayyid Abu Ahmad Abdullah.” She took the forty Dinars and sewed them under the arm of his coat. She once again made Du’a for him. On bidding him farewell, she gave him the following advice: “O’ my beloved son! Let this advice, which I am about to give you be an important part of your life. Always speak the truth! Do not even think of lies.” The young Shaikh Abd al-Qaadir al-Jilani r.a. said, “My dear mother! I promise from my heart that I will always act upon your advise.” Sayyidah Faatima r.a. then embraced the apple of her eye with love and motherly gentleness for the last time, and with the words, “Go! May Allah be with you. It is He who is your Helper and Protector”. The journey to Baghdad began.

ADHERENCE TO HIS MOTHER’S ADVICE: After bidding farewell to his mother, Shaikh Abd al-Qaadir al-Jilani r.a. joined a caravan, which was on its way to Baghdad. In those days, people travelled in groups for the sake of safety. The caravan of al-Ghawth al-A’zam r.a. reached the city of Hamdaan without incident. After leaving Hamdaan, they journeyed further. The journey took them into a vast forest wherein they were attacked by sixty bandits. The leader of this band of robbers was a very notorious person called Ahmad Badwi. The travellers did not have the means to defend themselves against the bandits and were forced to surrender their belongings and valuables to them. After raiding the travellers, the bandits gathered together all the loot and began to distribute it amongst themselves. Whilst all this was happening, al-Ghawth al-A’zam r.a. was standing very calmly amongst the travellers. None of the bandits approached him as he was regarded as just a young boy, until one of them decided to approach him. He went up to Shaikh Abd al-Qaadir al-Jilani r.a. and asked him if he had any valuables. Shaikh Abd al-Qaadir al-Jilani r.a. said that he had in his possession forty Dinars. When he heard this, the robber laughed at the young Shaikh Abd al-Qaadir al-Jilani r.a. and walked away, thinking that he was lying.

After some time, another robber asked him the same question and he received the same answer. He too dismissed the reply of al-Ghawth al-A’zam r.a. as a joke. When the bandits gathered together, then both these bandits began to joke about the young boy who said he had forty Dinars. Their leader, Ahmed Badawi, asked them to bring the young Shaikh Abd al-Qaadir al-Jilani r.a. to him. When he was brought before Ahmed Badawi, the leader of the bandits asked him if he had any valuables in his possession. The young Shaikh Abd al-Qaadir al-Jilani r.a. replied that he had forty Dinars on him.

Ahmed Badawi asked for the forty Dinars and Shaikh Abd al-Qaadir al-Jilani r.a. showed him where he had hidden it. When they tore open the coat of Shaikh Abd al-Qaadir al-Jilani r.a. they found the forty Dinars sewn under the armpits. When they saw this, Ahmed Badawi and his bandits were taken aback. Ahmed Badawi asked: “O young man, none of us knew that you had any money. Knowing that we are bandits, why did you still tell us where the money was hidden?”

The young Shaikh Abd al-Qaadir al-Jilani r.a. replied by saying: “When I had left on this journey, I had promised my elderly and pious mother that I would never lie. How then could I break this promise just for the sake of sixty bandits?” When Ahmed Badawi heard this, he felt great shame and, in tears, said, “Oh young boy! You are so loyal in your promise to your mother. Shame on me, that for years I have been disloyal to my promise with my Creator Almighty Allah.”

After saying these words, the bandit cried bitterly and then fell to the feet of al-Ghawth al-A’zam Shaikh Abd al-Qaadir al-Jilani r.a. and repented for his sins. When his accomplices saw this, they too did likewise and repented sincerely from all their sins. They then returned all the belongings of the travellers and escorted them out of the jungle.

It has been stated that the tauba (repentance) of these bandits was so sincere that they were blessed with Wilayah, through the Sadqa of al-Ghawth al-A’zam Shaikh Abd al-Qaadir al-Jilani r.a. Referring to this incident, Shaikh Abd al-Qaadir al-Jilani r.a. stated: “This was the first tauba (repentance) that a group of misled persons had made at my hands.”

Shaikh ABD AL-QAADIR AL-JILANI ENTERS BAGHDAD: The city of Baghdad was blessed with the presence al-Ghawth al-A’zam Shaikh Abd al-Qaadir al-Jilani r.a. in the year 488 A.H. When he arrived in Baghdad, Shaikh Abd al-Qaadir al-Jilani r.a. already spent the forty Dirhams given to him by his mother. Without any money, he began to spend his days in hunger and poverty. Due to immense poverty, he went towards the Arcade of Chosroes in search of Halaal food. When he reached the Arcade, he found that there were already seventy Awliya Allah in search of Halaal food. Since he did not wish to be in their way, he returned to Baghdad.

On his way back, he met a traveller from Jilan. When he heard that Shaikh Abd al-Qaadir al-Jilani r.a. was from Jilan, he asked him if he knew a young man by the name of “Abd al-Qaadir”. Shaikh Abd al-Qaadir al-Jilani r.a. informed him that he was Abd al-Qaadir. The traveller then handed a block of gold to Shaikh Abd al-Qaadir al-Jilani r.a. saying that it had been sent to him by his mother. When Shaikh Abd al-Qaadir al-Jilani r.a. heard this, he immediately made the Shukr of Almighty Allah. He then returned to the Arcade of Chosroes where he presented most of the gold to the Awliya Allah who were in search of food. He then took a little for himself and returned to Baghdad.

On his return to Baghdad, he prepared meals and fed the poor and then shared this meal with them. This alone shows the character of the great Ghaus that even though he was without food, he first gave most of his gold to the Awliya Allah, then fed the poor before eating the the food himself. Without doubt, this is the sign of a true servant of Allah.

It was in this manner that the life of al-Ghawth al-A’zam Shaikh Abd al-Qaadir al-Jilani r.a. commenced in the holy city of Baghdad.

ATTAINING AND COMPLETION OF ACADEMIC KNOWLEDGE

After a few days in Baghdad Shareef, al-Ghawth al-A’zam Shaikh Abd al-Qaadir al-Jilani r.a. enrolled for academic studies at the famous Jamia Nizamia, which was the centre of learning and spiritualism in the Islamic world. Teachers of great calibre and piety tutored here.

Shaikh Abd al-Qaadir al-Jilani r.a. studied with great sincerity and dedication.

Amongst his teachers were: Abul Wafa Ali bin Aqeel, Abu Zakariyah Yahyaa bin Ali Tabrezi, Abu Saeed bin Abdul Kareem, Abul Anaa’im Muhammad bin Ali bin Muhammad, Abu Sa’eed bin Mubaarak Makhzoomi, and Abul Khair Hamaad bin Muslim Al Dabbas r.a. He attained the knowledge of Qirah, Tafseer, Hadith, Fiqh, Shari’ah and Tareeqah from the above-mentioned Ulama.

He also excelled in all these subjects. In the field of Adab, his teacher was Allama Abu Zakariyah Tabrezi r.a. who was a great Aalim of his time. He was also the author of various Kitaabs such as “Tafseerul Quraan Wal E’raab”, “Sharah Qasaa’idul Ashr”a“Sharah Diwaan Abi Tamaam”. In the field of Fiqh and Usool-e-Fiqh, his teachers were: Shaikh Abul Wafa bin Aqeel Hambali, Abul Hassan Muhammad bin Qaazi Abul Ulaa and Shaikh Abul Khataab Mahfooz Hambali, and Qaazi Abu Sa’eed Mubaarak bin Ali Makhzoomi Hambali r.a.

In the field of Hadith, he attained knowledge from the following Ulama: Sayyidi Abul Barkaat Talhaa Al Aaqooli, Abul Ana’im Muhammad bin Ali bin Maimoon Al Farsi, Abu Uthmaan Ismaeel bin Muhammad Al Isbihaani, Abu Ghaalib Muhammad bin Hassan Al Baaqilaani, Abu Muhammad Jaafar bin Ahmad binil Husaini, Sayyidi Muhammad Mukhtaar Al Haashmi, Sayyidi Abu Mansoor Abdur Rahmaan Al Qaz’zaaz, Abul Qaasim Ali bin Ahmad Ban’naan Al Karghi After intense studies, Shaikh Abd al-Qaadir al-Jilani r.a. qualified from Jamia Nizamia. During this period, there was no Aalim present on the earth who was more knowledgeable and pious than Shaikh Abd al-Qaadir al-Jilani r.a.

HARDSHIPS FACED DURING STUDIES

While studying in Baghdad, he faced many hardships and was tested severely by the life of Baghdad. Shaikh Abd al-Qaadir al-Jilani r.a. himself used to say: “The hardship and difficulties that I faced in Baghdad during my studies were so severe that if they had to be placed on a mountain, then even the mountain would split in two.” He also used to say: “When the hardships and difficulties would become unbearable, then I would lay on the road and continuosly recite the Ayah of the Holy Quran, ‘Then without doubt there is easiness with shortages, without doubt there is easiness with shortages’. By making takraar of this Ayah I used to find great tranquillity and peace.”

After adjourning from classes, he used to wander into the jungles and forests of Baghdad where he used to spend the entire night in the Zikr of Almighty Allah. He did this regardless of the weather conditions or season. If he become tired and weak, he would rest for a while making the ground his bed and a boulder his pillow. During these nights of Zikr, he would dress in a small turban and a thin cloak. If he became hungry, he used to go towards the river Euphrates and eat whatever vegetables he could find beside the river. He always said that he gained much pleasure in this way of life and it caused him to gain closeness to Almighty Allah.

PATIENCE DURING A SEVERE DROUGHT: Once, while he was studying, the city of Baghdad experienced a severe drought. The conditions in Baghdad became so desperate that people became dependant on every grain that they could find. When there was no more grain, people began to eat plants and leaves from trees. During this time, al-Ghawth al-A’zam r.a. used to also go out in search for food. But when he saw others in search of food, he would return to the city empty-handed, as he did not feel it appropriate to impose by disturbing others whom he thought needed food more than he did. Many days had passed by without him eating.

Due to intense hunger, he was compelled to go out in search of food towards a market in Baghdad known as Sooqur Raihaanain”. As he entered the market, his hunger had made him so weak and tired, that be could not stand anymore. He saw a Musjid nearby and slowly dragged himself towards it. He entered the Musjid and sat against one of the walls of the Musjid to support his now tired and weak body. He sat there for a while. Then he saw a person enter the Musjid. The person sat in one corner and opened a parcel in which there was fried meat and bread. Shaikh Abd al-Qaadir al-Jilani r.a. reported this incident that the person then began to have this meal. Shaikh Abd al-Qaadir al-Jilani r.a. says: “The intensity of my hunger was so great that every time the person lifted a morsel of food to his mouth, my mouth would open uncontrollably with his and would wish that I also had something to eat.”

When this continued happening, al-Ghawth al-A’zam r.a. turned to his nafs and said, “Do not be impatient. Have trust and faith in Almighty Allah.” After saying these words he did not feel this way anymore. After a little while, this person came to Shaikh Abd al-Qaadir al-Jilani r.a. uninvited and offered him some food. Shaikh Abd al-Qaadir al-Jilani r.a. kindly declined, but the person insisted. Upon such insistence, Shaikh Abd al-Qaadir al-Jilani r.a. joined him in his meal.

Whilst eating, the person asked al-Ghawth al-A’zam r.a. about himself. He explained to him that he was from Jilan and that he was in Baghdad to attain knowledge. The person then said that he was also from Jilan and asked if he knew the person of the name of Abd al-Qaadir al-Jilani r.a. Shaikh Abd al-Qaadir al-Jilani r.a. answered by saying, ‘My name is Abd al-Qaadir al-Jilani.”

When the man heard this, with tears in his eyes, he stood before Shaikh Abd al-Qaadir al-Jilani r.a. and said, “Please forgive me for I have misused that which was given to me in trust.” Shaikh Abd al-Qaadir al-Jilani r.a. asked the stranger to explain what he meant. The stranger then said: “When I was leaving Jilan, I met an old woman, who gave me eight Dirhams in trust that I should give it to her son, Abd al-Qaadir, who is studying in Baghdad. O Abd al-Qaadir! The food that I was eating was from the eight Dirhams that your mother had given for you. I had been searching for you but could not find you and due to this, my stay in Baghdad was extended. This caused my money to run out and out of extreme hunger, I used some of your money to purchase this food that we ate. O Abd al-Qaadir! It is not I that fed you, but it is you that fed me. Please forgive me for abusing that which was given to me in trust (Amaanah).”

Shaikh Abd al-Qaadir al-Jilani r.a., with great gentleness and affection, held the stranger to his heart and praised him for his honesty and his sincerity. He then gave the remainder of the food and a portion of the eight Dirhams to the stranger and bid him farewell.

This incident indicates in clear terms that Shaikh Abd al-Qaadir al-Jilani r.a. was concerned more with the needs of others than those of his own. Notwithstanding his dire need in the circumstances, he remained sensitive to the plight of this stranger. This act of selflessness alone is a lesson in the behaviour that one should adopt.

A LION OF ALLAH: Shaikh Abdullah Salmi r.a. states that he heard the following astonishing incident from Al-Ghawth al-A’zam Shaikh Abd al-Qaadir al-Jilani r.a. The Great Ghawth said: “Once during my studies in Baghdad, I had nothing to eat for many days. One day, in this condition, I was on my way to a small street called ‘Qat’eeya Sharfiya’. Here, there was a Musjid, which used to be empty. I used to sit there by myself and revise my lessons for the next day. On my way to Mohalla Qat’eeya, I met a stranger who gave me a piece of paper and asked me to take it to a certain shop. Very surprised, I did as he asked. When I got to the shop, I gave the piece of paper to the owner, who in turn kept this piece of paper and gave me roti (bread) and halwa (sweets). I took this roti and halwa and went into the Musjid where I used to revise my lessons. I sat down for a while and decided to eat a piece of bread and some halwa when I saw a piece of paper beside the wall.

I picked it up and saw the following words written on it, ‘Almighty Allah has stated in one of the past Books, that the Lions of Allah have no desire for the pleasures of this world. Desires and pleasure (in food) are for the old and weak who depend on this to gain strength for Ibadah. When I read this my entire body began to tremble in the fear of Allah causing all the hair on my body to stand on end. I immediately removed the desire of eating from my mind and read two Rakahs of Salaah and then left the Musjid without eating.”

ENCOUNTER WITH A PIOUS SERVANT OF ALLAH

It was a common practice during harvesting season in Baghdad Shareef for students to get together at a nearby village called “Baaqooba” and to ask the farmers for some grain from their annual harvest. In those days, the people showed great respect to students and happily gave them grain. On one occasion, the students, who were in the class of Shaikh Abd al-Qaadir al-Jilani r.a., insisted that he accompany them to the village of Baaqooba. Since he did not want to disappoint them, he accompanied them to the village. When they reached there, Al-Ghawth al-A’zam r.a. heard that a pious servant of Allah, by the name of Shareef Baaqoobi lived in this village. Shaikh Abd al-Qaadir al-Jilani r.a. decided to meet this pious servant to obtain his blessings. When Shareef Baaqoobi saw Al-Ghawth al-A’zam r.a. Shaikh Abd al-Qaadir al-Jilani r.a., he immediately recognised that this was the Qutb-e-Zaman. He told him: “0 my son! Those who strive in the path of Allah do not sketch their hands out to anyone but Allah. You seem to be amongst the chosen servants of Allah. For you to ask for grain (from the people of Baaqooba) is contrary to your status.”

Shaikh Abd al-Qaadir al-Jilani r.a. states: “From that day onwards, I never accompanied anyone on such trips and I never asked anything from anyone again.”

ASSISTANCE FROM THE UNSEEN: One day, the Great Ghawth r.a. was studying in the jungle when he heard a voice from the Unseen call to him: “O Abd al-Qaadir! You have not eaten in days and most of your time is being spent in studies. Go to someone and get something on credit. It is the Sunnah of the Ambiya.”

When Al-Ghawth al-A’zam r.a. heard this, he replied that he could not take anything on credit, as he had no means of repaying this credit. The voice answered: Do not worry about this. Repaying your credit is Our responsibility.”

After receiving this message, he went to a shop and requested the shopkeeper for some food on credit. He said: “I would like for you to give me one and a half rotis (slices of bread) daily on credit, which I will repay when I have the means, and if I die before this, then you should pardon my credit.”

The shopkeeper, being a pious servant of Allah, began to cry when he heard these words of Al-Ghawth al-A’zam r.a. He repled: “Take anything that you wish to take from my shop and whenever you wish to do so.”

From that day onwards, he used to take one and a half rotis (bread) daily. The days passed by rapidly and Al-Ghawth al-A’zam r.a. began to worry about the money that he owed. One day, he was engrossed in this thought when the same Voice from the Unseen called to him and said: “O Abd al-Qaadir! Go to a certain place and whatever you find there, give it to the shopkeeper”.

Shaikh Abd al-Qaadir al-Jilani r.a. went to that spot that he was commanded to go to. There, he found a piece of gold. He took this piece of gold and gave it to the shopkeeper thus paying off his credit.

ATTAINMENT OF SPIRITUAL KNOWLEDGE

After the completion of his academic studies, Al-Ghawth al-A’zam r.a. did not cease in his quest for in-depth spiritual knowledge. To quench this spiritual thirst, Almighty Allah presented him with the opportunity of coming under the guidance of Shaikh Ham’maad bin Muslim Ad Dab’baas r.a. He was amongst the superior Mashaa’ikh of Baghdad Shareef.

Shaikh Abd al-Qaadir al-Jilani r.a. states that there came a time in Baghdad when there was an abundance of fitna (fighting) and fasaad (trouble). Since he did not want any part of this, he decided to leave Baghdad Shareef for a more peaceful environment. Al-Ghawth al-A’zam r.a. says: “I made my intention to leave Baghdad due to the unsuitable conditions and I was on my way out of Baghdad, when from the Unseen, some great strength pushed me so hard that that I fell to the ground. Then, I heard a Voice from the Unseen say, ‘Do not leave here. The creation of Allah will gain benefit through you.’ On hearing this, I said, ‘What do I have to do with the people? All that I want is to protect my Deen (Imaan).’ The Voice then said, ‘No, No, It is of utmost importance for you to remain here. No harm will come to your Deen (Imaan).’

“I immediately changed my mind and I remained in Baghdad for the Pleasure of Allah. The very next day, as I was passing through a street, a man opened the door of his house and called to me. He said: ‘O Abd al-Qaadir! What did you ask from your Creator yesterday?’ With these words and in great Jalaal, he closed the door of his house. I walked for some time and then realised that I had made a grave error. This person was a Wali. If he wasn’t then he would not have known what had happened the previous day. I went in search for his door but was unsuccessful. Thereafter, I looked for him wherever I went, until one day I saw him in a Majlis. I stayed in his company from then onwards. This personality was Sayyidi Ham’maad bin Muslim Ad’ Dab’baas r.a.

Shaikh Abd al-Qaadir al-Jilani r.a. gained deep spiritual knowledge from Shaikh Ham’maad r.a., who was originally from Syria. He was born in a village near Damascus. He travelled to Baghdad and lived in a place called Muzaffariyyab until his demise in 525 A.H. His Mazaar is in the Shawneezia Cemetery in Baghdad Shareef.

Apart from Sayyidi Ham’maad r.a., al-Ghawth al-A’zam r.a. also gained spiritual education from Shaikh Abu Saeed Mubaarak Makhzoomi r.a. This will be detailed a little later in this book.

HIS STRIVING ENDURANCE IN THE PATH OF ALLAH

By the year 496 A.H., al-Ghawth al-A’zam r.a. completed his academic and spiritual studies. Thereafter he engaged in Mujahida and Riyazaat (spiritual exercises and endeavours in the path of Allah) from 496 A.H. until 592 A.H., a period of 25 years.

During these 25 years, he engrossed himself in such intense spiritual exercises that just by reading about them one can only but marvel at the dedication of this Great Saint. His sincerity and dedication in controlling his nafs took him swiftly to the levels of “Fana-fi Rasool” and “Fana Fi Allah”.

He was now totally drowned in the sea of love of Allah and His Rasool (s.a.w.s.) He turned himself into a strong mountain of patience and firmness that could not be moved. The notable events that took place during this part of his life are numerous. If they are recorded, then this alone would fill volumes. To give us some appreciation of his spiritual condition during these 25 years, a few incidents are quoted hereinunder:

SUPPRESSING HIS NAFS: Once while delivering a lecture, Shaikh Abd al-Qaadir al-Jilani r.a. said, “For 25 years, I roamed the jungles of Iraq. For 40 years, I performed my Fajr Salaah with the Wudhu of Esha and for 15 years I used to stand on one foot until Fajr and complete (recitation of) the entire Quran.

During this time, I sometimes spent between three and 40 days without eating even a morsel”. Shaikh Abul Mas’ood bin Abu Bakr Hareemi r.a. reports that al-Ghawth al-A’zam r.a. once said to him. “Year after year, I spent struggling with my nafs by putting myself through various strenuous and intense tests. For one year, I ate only vegetables and drank no water. The following year I only drank water and ate nothing and the year after that, I did not eat and drink for the entire year. There were times when I did not sleep a wink.

During this time I used to put myself through various spiritual exercises. There were times when I would be so drowned in struggling against my nafs, that I used to roll on thorns until my entire body would be severely bruised and cut, and I would become unconscious. People would pick me up and take me to the Haakim. He would certify me dead. Thinking that I was dead, they would prepare for my Ghusal and kaffan. When they used to place me on the bathing board to give me Ghusl, I used to awake from this spiritual condition and walk away.”

Once al-Ghawth al-A’zam Shaikh Abd al-Qaadir al-Jilani r.a. stated: “During the early stages of my Mujaahida I used to, on many occasions, be unaware of my own condition. I never used to even know where I was and how I got there. Once, in a village close to Baghdad, I entered into such a spiritual condition, which caused me to be totally unaware of my physical self. In this condition, I began to run. When I regained my normal senses, then only did I realise that I had been running for 12 days without stopping. I was amazed at what had happened to me. Then a woman passed by me and said, ‘You are Shaikh Abd al-Qaadir. You should not be astonished when something like this happens to you.’”

MEETING WITH HADRAT KHIDR a.s.

Sayyiduna al-Ghawth al-A’zam Shaikh Abd al-Qaadir al-Jilani r.a. states that when he had just commenced his spiritual exercises in the jungles of Baghdad, he met a person who was very handsome, had a pious and bright face. The person asked him if he would like to stay with him. Shaikh Abd al-Qaadir al-Jilani r.a. said that he would. The person then said that this could only be done if Shaikh Abd al-Qaadir al-Jilani r.a. promises to be obedient to his commands, and to never question his sayings or actions.

Shaikh Abd al-Qaadir al-Jilani r.a. immediately agreed to this. This person then commanded al-Ghawth al-A’zam r.a. to sit at a prescribed spot and not to move until he returned. The person left and only returned after one year to find Shaikh Abd al-Qaadir al-Jilani r.a. still seated at the prescribed spot. He spent a few moments with al-Ghawth al-A’zam r.a. and then asked him to sit there and wait for him to return once more. This person left and returned after another year. He once again spent some time with the great Saint and then left again giving him the same command as he had done twice before. He returned after another year, this time bringing with him milk and roti (bread). He then said, “I am Hadrat Khidr a.s. and I have been asked to share this meal with you.” They sat together and ate this blessed meal. Hadrat Khidr a.s. then asked, “O Abd al-Qaadir! What did you eat for the three years while sitting in one spot?” He replied, “Whatever the people had thrown away.”

HIS FIRST HAJJ: Shaikh Abd al-Qaadir al-Jilani r.a. performed his first Hajj in the prime of his youth. It is recorded in the distinguished book “Azkaarul Abraar” that al-Ghawth al-A’zam r.a. stated: “I performed my first Hajj in the prime of my youth. On my journey for Hajj, I came to the ‘Tower of Quroon’, where I met Shaikh Adi bin Musaafir r.a. He was also very young during this time. He asked me if he could accompany me on my journey. I happily agreed. Thus, we both began to travel together.

“After some time, I saw an Abyssinian woman in a veil standing in front of me and looking at me very attentively. She then asked my name and origin. I replied by giving her my name and old her that I was from Jilan. She then said, ‘O Young man! You have made me tired searching for you. I was in Abyssinia when I was spiritually informed that Almighty Allah has filled your heart with His Noor (Light) and has blessed you with such excellence that no other Wali Allah has ever received. After I was informed of this, I left in search of you. Now that I have seen you, my heart desires that I should travel with you today and make Iftaar with you. “When evening came, I saw that a tray descend from the skies. On this tray were six rotis, gravy and vegetables.

When the Abyssinian woman saw this she said, ‘O Allah! You have protected my respect. Usually You send two rotis for me every night, but today You sent enough for all three of us. After we had eaten, the tray ascended into the skies, and another tray descended with three containers of water. This water was sweet and delicious and I have never before nor since tasted such water. After this, the lady left. Shaikh Musaafir and myself continued our journey till we reached Makkatul Mukarramah.

Once, while making Tawaaf in the Haram, the Noor of Allah descended on Adi bin Musaafir causing him to fall unconscious. By looking at him, it seemed as if he had passed away. I was still going towards him when I saw the same pious Abyssinian woman beside him. She shook him and said, ‘That Allah Who caused you to die, is the same Allah Who will bring you back to life; that Allah before Whose Noor, none is equal. The world would have not come into existence and cannot exist without His Command. All this never was before He created it. Now, the Light and Power of Allah has filled the hearts and minds of the People of Intelligence and knowledge and this has caused their eyes to close’.

Just as she said these words, Shaikh Adi came back to his senses and stood up. “Then, while making Tawaaf Almighty Allah sent his blessed rays of light on me and I heard a voice from the Unseen which said, ‘O Abd al-Qaadir, forget the physical world and remember your Creator. We will show you signs from amongst Our wonders. Do not join your worldly thoughts with Our thoughts. Remain steadfast. Do not look for the pleasure of none other than that of Mine. Be prepared to be of benefit to the creation of Allah, since they are certain chosen servants of Mine who will reach Me through your Wasila’. “When this happened,

I heard the voice of the Abyssinian woman saying, ‘O Abd al-Qaadir! You have been blessed with a great gift today. I see an umbrella of light above your head and I see Angels all around you. Today, all the Awliya Allah are looking towards you’. After saying these words, she disappeared and was never to be seen again.”

HIS BATTLES AGAINST EVIL FORCES: Shaikh Abd al-Qaadir al-Jilani r.a. states that during his life he had encountered various attacks from Shaitaan and his partners. Through the assistance of Almighty Allah he was always victorious over Shaitaan. Almighty Allah always protected him from this even when his nafs would try and force him into certain desires. When the Shayateen would attempt with vigour to sway the great al-Ghawth al-A’zam r.a., he would hear a voice saying, “O Abd al-Qaadir! Stand firm and challenge them. Our help is with you.”

Shaikh Abd al-Qaadir al-Jilani r.a. states that when he used to hear this, then he would stand firmly and challenge the Shayateen and become victorious over them. He says that at times the Shayateen would take daring and frightening forms and come towards him, and he would say in Jalaal, “La Howla walaa Quwatta Ilaa bil laahil Aliyil Azeem” and firmly strike the face of the Shaytaan, who would then disappear.

HIS FIRST ENCOUNTER WITH SHAITAAN: He says that once Shaitaan came to him in a very ugly form and with a foul odour emanating from that cursed presence. Shaitaan said, “I am Iblees. You have exhausted my students and me in our attempts to mislead you. I would now like to become your servant”. On hearing this, the great Ghawth said, “O Cursed One! Leave here at once.” After this command of Shaikh Abd al-Qaadir al-Jilani r.a. Shaytaan still refused to leave. A Hand came from the Unseen and hit Shaitaan on his head with such force that it caused him to sink into the ground.

HIS SECOND ENCOUNTER WITH SHAITAAN: Shaikh Ghaus-e­A’zam r.a. states. “Once Shaytaan came to me and in his hand he had balls of fire, which he threw towards me. While this was happening, a veiled person on a white horse appeared and gave a sword in my hand. The moment I took the sword in my hand, Shaytaan turned and began to run.”

HIS THIRD ENCOUNTER WITH SHAYTAAN: The great Saint r.a. states: “Once again I saw Shaitaan, but this time in a very sad state. I saw him sitting on the ground putting sand on his head. When he saw me he said, ‘O Abd al-Qaadir, you have made me very sad and disillusioned.’ I then said, ‘O Cursed One! Go away. I am always asking protection from you (in Allah).’ On hearing this, he said, ‘These words hurt me even more.’ He then spread enormous amounts of traps around me. I asked what this was and he said, ‘These are the traps and nets of this world in which we trap people like you.’ After this, for one year, I gave thought to these traps of the world until I broke every one of them”.

HIS STEADFASTNESS ON SHARI’AH: After gaining in-depth academic and spiritual knowledge, Shaikh Abd al-Qaadir al-Jilani r.a. was not only the most pious and knowledgeable personality, but he was a guiding light to the misguided and a firm mountain when it came to speaking against that which was incorrect. He always said that even until Qiyamah, none can change the Shari’ah. Any person who goes against the command of the Shari’ah is an evil person (Shaitaan). His son, Shaikh Zia-ud-deen Abu Nasr Moosa r.a. states:

My father, Shaikh Abd al-Qaadir Jilani r.a. once told me that he was one day making Mujahida in the jungle when he began to feel very thirsty. Suddenly, a cloud appeared above him and drops of cold rainwater fell over him. He drank and quenched his thirst, as this was the Mercy of Allah. “He said that after some time another cloud appeared over him giving out light so powerful that the ends of the sky became lit up with the brightness. He said that he then saw a figure in the cloud which said, ‘O Abd al-Qaadir! I am your Creator. I have made everything Halaal for you.’ He said that when he heard this, he read the Ta’ooz and the light disappeared immediately and turned into darkness. A voice then said, ‘O Abd al-Qaadir! Allah has saved you from me because of your knowledge and piety otherwise, I have misled many Mystics, with this trap.’ Al-Ghawth al-A’zam Shaikh Abd al-Qaadir al-Jilani r.a. answered by saying, ‘Verily, it is the Grace of my Creator, which is with me.’ I then asked my father how he had known that this was Shaitaan, and he replied, ‘His saying that he has made that which is Haraam, Halaal upon me because Allah does not command wrong.”

FIRMNESS ON HIS WORD: After this incident with Shaitaan, Al-Ghawth al-A’zam r.a. continued his striving in the path of Allah with even more faith and piety. He would sit in an old tower on the outskirts of Baghdad where he would make Ibadah and engross himself in the Zikr of Almighty Allah. Once while seated here, he entered into a deep spiritual condition in which the following incident took place. Al-Ghawth al-A’zam Shaikh Abd al-Qaadir al-Jilani r.a. himself narrates this incident. He says: “While sitting in the tower outside Baghdad, I once entered into a deep spiritual condition in which I made a vow with Almighty Allah that I will not eat or drink anything unless somebody puts a morsel of food or a drop of water into my mouth with their own hands. “After taking this oath, forty days had passed without me eating or drinking anything. After forty days, a stranger arrived with some curry and bread. He placed it in front of me and left. Due to intense hunger, my nafs wanted to have the food, but my soul stopped me and reminded me of my vow with Allah. Then, I heard a huge noise inside me saying, ‘I am hungry, I am hungry.’ I paid no attention towards this as it was my nafs, and I continued making the Zikr of Almighty Allah.

It was during this time that Shaikh Abu Saeed Makhzoomi r.a. was passing by me. With his spiritual strength, he heard the noise from inside my stomach. He came close to me and said, ‘O Abd al-Qaadir! What is this noise?’ I replied, ‘This is the impatience of the nafs, otherwise, the soul is satisfied.’ He then said, ‘Come to my house’ and left. “In my mind, I said that I would not go until I am made to do so. Just then Hadrat Khidr a.s. arrived and said, ‘Stand up and go to the house of Abu Saeed Makhzoomi r.a.

Thus, I stood up and went to the house of Shaikh Abu Saeed Makhzoomi r.a. and found him standing at the door of his house. On seeing me he said, ‘Abd al-Qaadir! Was my saying not sufficient that Khidr a.s. had to command you.’ Saying this, he then took me into his house and fed me with his own hands until I had eaten and drank enough.”

THE COURT OF HIS PEER-O-MURSHID r.a.

BAI’AT (SPIRITUAL ALLEGIANCE): Shaikh Abd al-Qaadir al-Jilani r.a. gained his spiritual training in Baghdad from two of the greatest Mystics of their time – Shaikh Sayyidi Abul Khair Ham’maad bin Muslim Ad Dabbaas r.a. and Shaikh Qaazi Abu Saeed Mubaarak Al Makhzoomi r.a. Although he had gained many blessings from both these personalities, he had not yet pledged his spiritual allegiance to a spiritual guide (Peer-o-Murshid).

Finally, the time had come and according to the Will of Almighty Allah, he presented himself in the court of Shaikh Qaazi Abu Saeed Al Makhzoomi r.a. and became his disciple (Mureed) thus joining his Halqa and spiritual order. Shaikh Abu Saeed r.a. showed much love and attention to this unique disciple and blessed him with gems of spiritualism and mysticism.

Once while Shaikh Abd al-Qaadir al-Jilani r.a. and others where seated in front of the Shaikh, he asked Shaikh Abd al-Qaadir al-Jilani r.a. to fetch something. While he was gone, Shaikh Makhzoomi r.a. addressing those present said, “One day, the foot of that young man will be on the shoulders of all the Awliya Allah and all the Awliya of his time will humble themselves before him”.

INITIATION INTO THE SPIRITUAL ORDER: After Sayyidi Abu Saeed Makhzoomi r.a. admitted Shaikh Abd al-Qaadir al-Jilani r.a. into the spiritual order, he fed him a meal with is own hands. Concerning this, Shaikh Abd al-Qaadir al-Jilani r.a. says, “For every morsel of food that my Shaikh-e-Tareeqat put into my mouth, my heart began to fill with the light of Marifah.”

Shaikh Abu Saeed Makhzoomi r.a. then dressed Al-Ghawth al-A’zam r.a. in the Garb of Sainthood (Khirqa) and said: “This Khirqa was given to Sayyiduna Ali-e-Murtaza r.a. by Sarkaar-e-Do Aalam, s.a.w.s. He in turn gave it to Khwaja Hassan Basri r.a. and from him through generations it reached me”. Once Shaikh Abd al-Qaadir al-Jilani r.a. had been dressed in this Garb, the rays of Noor could be seen descending upon him. The Khirqa (Saintly Garb) that was bestowed upon the great Saint had been handed down from generation to generation. A tree depicting how the Khirqa Mubarak reached Shaikh Abd al-Qaadir al-Jilani r.a. is shown below.

SARWAR-E-KAUNAIN SAYYIDUNA RASOOLULLAH s.a.w.s.

  • ASADULLAH SAYYIDUNA ALI-E-MURTAZA r.a.

  • KHWAJA HASSAN BASRI r.a.

  • Shaikh HABEEB AJMI r.a.

  • Shaikh DAWOOD TA’EE r.a.

  • Shaikh MA’ROOF KARGHI r.a.

  • Shaikh SIRRI SAQTI r.a.

  • Shaikh JUNAID-E-BAGHDADI r.a.

  • Shaikh ABU BAKR SHIBLI r.a.

  • Shaikh ABDUL WAAHID TAMEEMI r.a.

  • Shaikh ABUL FARAH TARTOOSI r.a.

  • Shaikh ABUL HASSAN ALl BIN MUHAMMAD AL QARSHI r.a.

  • Shaikh ABU SAEED MUBAARAK BIN ALI MAKHZOOMI r.a.

  • SAYYIDUNA Shaikh ABDUL QAADIR JILANI r.a.

REFORMING THE MUSLIMS OF BAGHDAD

As it has been stated earlier in this book that Shaikh Abd al-Qaadir al-Jilani r.a. had come to Baghdad when it was a city full of corruption and misled persons. It was also during this time that the misled sought to “debate” their contention that the Holy Quran was allegedly “a creation”. It was a very testing time for Muslims all over the world, since the Crusades had begun, where the entire Christian world was bent on destroying the Muslim Empire. The passage of time during which al-Ghawth al-A’zam r.a. had completed his studies and undertaken twenty-five years of spiritual exercises, had resulted in the condition in Baghdad becoming even worse.

Falsehood and cults were beginning to spread at an alarming rate. The respect for knowledge and for the people of knowledge was wearing thin in the hearts of the people of Baghdad. It was a time of great deterioration in the following of the Sunnah. It was a time when there was a dire need for a Reformer of the ways of the people and a Reviver of the true Faith. This Reformer and Reviver was none other that Imam-ul-Awliya Shaikh Abd al-Qaadir al-Jilani r.a. He entered the arena at this time of corruption and conflict and within a short space of time, he once again turned the blessed city of Baghdad into the center of learning and spiritualism. The enlightened event that led to Shaikh Abd al-Qaadir al-Jilani’s r.a. first lecture to the people of Baghdad is detailed below:

ZIYARAH OF SAYYIDUNA RASOOLULLAH s.a.w.s.: On the 16th of Shawaal 461 A.H. Hijri, close to midday, the King of the Awliya, al-Ghawth al-A’zam Shaikh Abd al-Qaadir al-Jilani r.a. saw in his dream the King of the Ambiya and Rasool, Sayyiduna Rasoolullah s.a.w.s. The Holy Prophet s.a.w.s. said to him, “O Abd al-Qaadir! Why do you not lecture and give advice to the people so you may save them from being misled”?

He replied: “Ya Rasoolallah, s.a.w.s.! I am a non-Arab. What am I going to say in front of the fluent-speaking Arabs?” The Holy Prophet s.a.w.s. said, “Open your mouth”. He placed his blessed Saliva seven times into the mouth of Shaikh Abd al-Qaadir al-Jilani r.a. and then said, “Lecture and give advice to the people and bring them towards the path of Almighty Allah”.

HIS FIRST LECTURE: After waking from this spiritually enlightening dream, Shaikh Abd al-Qaadir al-Jilani r.a. performed his Zohr Salaah and sat down to deliver his first lecture to the people of Baghdad. At once, people began to gather around him. When he saw this, he paused. Just then he entered a spiritual condition in which he saw Sher-e-Khuda Sayyiduna Ali al-Murtadha (Kar’amallahu ta’aala Wajhahul Kareem) standing in front of him and saying, “Why are you not commencing your lecture?” Shaikh Abd al-Qaadir al-Jilani r.a. said, “I feel nervous”. Sayyiduna Ali r.a. then said, “Open your mouth!” and he placed his blessed saliva six times into the mouth of Shaikh Abd al-Qaadir al-Jilani r.a. Al-Ghawth al-A’zam r.a. then asked. Why did you not place your blessed saliva seven times into my mouth?” Sayyiduna Ali r.a. answered, “Out of respect for the Holy Prophet, s.a.w.s. Saying these words, Sayyiduna Ali r.a. disappeared. Shaikh Abd al-Qaadir al-Jilani r.a. then commenced his lecture in such pure and fluent Arabic that authorities of the Arabic language seated in his lecture where astounded by his lecture. Thus, commenced Shaikh Abd al-Qaadir al-Jilani’s r.a. reformation of the people of Baghdad.

HIS REFORMATION PROGRESSES: Shaikh Abd al-Qaadir al-Jilani r.a. usually delivered lectures thrice a week – on Wednesday evenings, Fridays,and on Sunday mornings. This blessed practice continued for forty years, from 521 A.H. to 561 A.H. At first, he began delivering lectures and teaching people in the Madrassah belonging to Sayyidi Shaikh Aby Saeed Makhzoomi r.a.

The people of Baghdad and neighbouring cities began flocking to the lectures of Shaikh Abd al-Qaadir al-Jilani r.a. in such great numbers that the Madrassah became too small for these gatherings. There would often be no place inside the Madrassah, forcing people to sit out on the streets to listen to his lectures and advice. In 568 A.H. a few houses around the Madrassah were purchased and incorporated to make the Madrassah bigger. After some time, even this proved to be too small. The Mimbar of Shaikh Abd al-Qaadir al-Jilani r.a. was then carried and placed in a massive open area (Eid Gaah) where more than 70,000 people would present themselves in each of his lectures. In each of his gatherings, there would be four people recording his lectures in writing and two Qaaris, who recited the Holy Quran. His lectures became so famous in a very short space of time that it attracted people from all parts of the world, thus making Baghdad Shareef the centre of learning and spiritualism once again.

EFFECTS OF HIS LECTURES: His lectures were full of knowledge and wisdom. They were so influential and powerful that listeners would go into spiritual ecstasy. Some of them would tear their clothes. Others would fall unconscious. On some occasions, certain listeners would become so lost in the gems of love for Allah and His Rasool s.a.w.s. that the great Saint presented in his lectures, that they would even pass away in this condition. On various occasions, even non-Muslims came to his lectures. After listening to his lectures they would find that they could not refute anything he said and they would willingly accept Islam. In addition to the ordinary members of the public, Rijaal-ul-Ghaib and Jinns also frequented his blessed gatherings. Akaabireen and Mashaa’ikh also frequented his gatherings. It was a training school for the young, a place to repent for the sinful, a place of guidance for the misguided, and a bank of spiritualism for the spiritually bankrupt.

His voice was very stern and sharp. One of the miracles of his Majlis was that each and every person sitting there heard him alike, even though in those times, there was no means of voice amplification, such as microphones and the like. Al-Ghawth al-A’zam’s r.a. close student, Sayyidi Abdullah Jabaa’ee r.a., states that during this era of his lectures, more than 100,000 sinners repented at the blessed hands of al-Ghawth al-A’zam r.a. and thousands of Jews and Christians accepted Islam at his hands.

All the great scholars agree that during that era the majority of the people in Baghdad repented from their wrongs at the hands of the great Saint and also became his disciples. Once, thirteen Christians accepted Islam in the Majlis of Shaikh Abd al-Qaadir al-Jilani r.a. When they were requested to explain their acceptance of Islam, they said that they heard of the religion of Islam and that their hearts were pleased with this Deen but they had been in search of a true servant of Allah who would, by looking at them, dispel the darkness of their hearts. While they were in search of this true servant of Allah, they heard a Voice from the Unseen saying, “Go to Shaikh Abd al-Qaadir in Baghdad and bring Islam on his hands, for it is he who will cleanse your hearts and fill it with light of Imaan (Faith)”. When the thirteen Christians received this message from the Unseen, they travelled to Baghdad and accepted Islam on the hands of Shaikh Abd al-Qaadir Jilani r.a.

On one occasion, a monk named “Sanaan” presented himself in the gathering of Shaikh Abd al-Qaadir al-Jilani r.a. and accepted Islam on the hands of the great Saint. After bringing Imaan, he stood up in the gathering and said: “O people! I am a citizen of Yemen and for many years I lived in seclusion as a Christian Monk. For some time now, I have realised the truth of Islam, but after looking at the ways of the present Muslims, I delayed my acceptance of Islam and made a vow that I will accept Islam on the hands of a person who is the most pious amongst people. After making this vow, one night, I dreamt of Sayyiduna Esa Masih a.s. who said, ‘O Sanaan! Go to Baqhdad and accept Islam on his hands. At the present moment, there is none on this earth that is more pious and firm on religion than he is, and there is none more exalted than him in this time.’ After this dream, I came here today and accepted Islam and I have found him to be as I have heard.

Al-Ghawth al-A’zam’s r.a. lectures were inspiring to all who frequented his Majlis. His words were kind but firm. He was not swayed by the power or status of anyone. If they were wrong, he did not hesitate to correct them in his Majlis or anywhere else. He feared none but Allah and made those who were in his Majlis aware of this. Once, one of the close ministers of the Khalifa Azeezud’deen came to the Majlis of Shaikh Abd al-Qaadir al-Jilani r.a. When he saw him, the great Saint said, “The condition of those like you is such, that one man is lost in the slaveship of another. Who then is the true slave of Allah?” He then addressed Azeezud’deen directly and said, “Stand up! Keep your hand on my hand so that you may distance yourself from this mundane world and run towards your Creator.”

HIS WIVES AND CHILDREN

HIS MARRIAGE AND WIVES: Once someone asked Shaikh Abd al-Qaadir al-Jilani r.a. why he had made Nikah in his unique and elevated spiritual condition. The great Ghawth r.a. replied: “I would not have married but my beloved forefather, Nabi Muhammad s.a.w.s. has commanded me to marry. It is on this basis that I have made Nikah. I was, in reality, afraid of making Nikah, for this reason that my time may be lost in other things rather than in the love of my Creator, but when the time came, then My Creator blessed me with four wives, and each one of them loved me dearly.” Due to his true and pure intention of Nikah, he never found any time lost from his Ibadah and from his services to the Deen even after marriage. All his wives were blessed with piety and deep knowledge. Shaikh Sayyidi Abdul Jabbar r.a., one of the sons of Shaikh Abd al-Qaadir al-Jilani r.a., states concerning his mother, “When my mother would enter a dark place, it would immediately become bright. Once my father Shaikh Abd al-Qaadir al-Jilani r.a. entered one such place where my mother was, and on his entrance, the light caused by her presence disappeared. On seeing this, my blessed father said, ‘This light is not enough. It has disappeared in my light. Let me make it more powerful’. From this day onwards, when my mother entered a dark place, then her light was like that of the full moon.”

HIS CHILDREN: Shaikh Sayyidi Abdur Razzaq r.a. [a son of] Ghawth al-A’zam r.a. states: “My father had forty-nine children in all, of which twenty-seven were boys and twenty-two were girls.”

BRIEF INTRODUCTION TO A FEW OF HIS CHILDREN

SAYYIDI Shaikh ABDUL WAHAB: Sayyidi Shaikh Abdul Wahab r.a. was the eldest son of al-Ghawth al-A’zam Shaikh Abd al-Qaadir al-Jilani r.a. He was born in the month of Shabaan in the year 523 A.H. in the city of Baghdad. He passed away in the month of Shabaan 593 A.H. and is buried in Baghdad. He attained proficiency in the fields of Hadith, Fiqh, etc. at his father’s feet. He also travelled abroad to study ancient medicine. At the age of twenty, he taught Islam under the watchful eye of his father. After the demise of Shaikh Abd al-Qaadir al-Jilani r.a. he continued lecturing and issuing Fatawa (Religious Decrees). Many people from far and wide gained benefit from his lectures and teachings. From all his brothers, he was the most pious and most learned. Indeed, he was the true successor of the great Ghawth. He wrote various books, including the subject of Tassawuf. He was also a very great and renowned Jurist of his time. Amongst the books written by him are also, “Jawaahirul Asraar” and “Lataa’iful Anwaar”.

SAYYIDI Shaikh EESA: He was also a very blessed and pious person. He attained all his education at the feet of his blessed father. He was a Master of Hadith and Fiqh and was well-versed in the field of Islamic Jurisprudence. He was also a great writer. He wrote many religious and mystical poems in the love of Allah and His Rasool , s.a.w.s. .

SAYYIDI SHAIKH ABDUR RAZZAQ: Shaikh Sayyidi Abdur Razzaq r.a. was born on the 18th of Zil Qaadah 528 A.H. He also attained his education at the feet of his blessed father. Besides his proficiency in Hadith and Fiqh he was also a dynamic debater. He was a Haafizul Hadith and a very wise Jurist. His kindness, generosity and humility were well known to the people of Baghdad. He used to stay away from the people to the best of his ability, as he preferred silent meditation in the Court of Allah. He, however, dearly loved those students who were in search of knowledge of the Deen. He passed away on a Saturday, the 7th of Shawaal 613 A.H. in the city of Baghdad. The crowd that arrived at the Janazah of Sayyidi Abdur Razzaq r.a. when it was announced was so vast that there was no place in the city. The Janazah had to be performed outside the city so that all the people could join in the prayer. It was performed at various places for the benefit of the thousands of people attending.

Shaikh SAYYIDI Shaikh ABU BAKR: He was born on the 28th of Shawaal 536 A.H. and passed away on the 28th of Rabi-ul-Awwal 603 A.H. He was a great worshipper and a well-known Mystic. Many great and learned Ulama are amongst his distinguished students and disciples. He moved to a place called Jibaal in 570 A.H. and his descendants are present there even up to this day.

Shaikh SAYYIDI YAHYA: Shaikh Sayyidi Abdul Wahab r.a. states: “Once al-Ghawth al-A’zam Shaikh Abd al-Qaadir al-Jilani r.a. had taken very ill and we were all very worried that it was the time for him to leave this world. It was then that he said, ‘Do not fear. I am not going to pass away now. I will be fine. I still have Yahya in my spine. His birth is necessary.’ We thought that due to his intense illness he is saying things that may not be making sense so we did not take heed to his words. After some time, he recovered from his illness, and our brother Yahya was born.” Sayyidi Yahya r.a. was born in 550 A.H. and passed away in the year 600 A.H. He is buried beside his brother, Shaikh Abdul Wahab r.a. in the Musaafir Khana (Guest-house) of Shaikh Abd al-Qaadir al-Jilani r.a.

HIS BOOKS AND TREATIES

Al-Ghawth al-A’zam r.a. was also the author of various books on many subjects. His books flow with seas of knowledge, wisdom and mysticism. Two of his most famous books are “Ghuniyatut Taalibeen” and “Futuhul Ghaib”. With the exception of these, various great scholars that presented themselves in his gatherings recorded many of his lectures in writing. Many of these transcripts are still preserved in their original form up to this day, in various parts of the world.

INCIDENTS RELATING TO HIS DEMISE

ADVICE TO HIS CHILDREN: Just before al-Ghawth al-A’zam’s r.a. demise, his son, Shaikh Saifud’deen Abdul Wahab r.a., requested his father for advice. On his request, Shaikh Abd al-Qaadir al-Jilani r.a. said, “Fear Almighty Allah. Fear none but Allah. Always turn towards Him. Ask all your wishes from Allah. Do not turn to any besides Allah. Do not have faith in any but in Allah. Remain firm on Tauheed (belief in One Allah). There is no salvation without Tauheed. When the heart becomes linked with Allah then nothing else seems to look good to him. I have reached the level of True Love. It is a domain where worldly love has no place”.

PRESENCE OF OTHER BEINGS: Just before his demise, he turned to the rest of his sons and said, “Move away from me. Right now, you seem to be before me, but in reality you are not the only ones here. With the exception of your selves, there are other creations of Allah here as well. Give enough space for them. Show respect to them. Give way. This is now a place of exalted pardon and forgiveness. Do not crowd this place.” After saying these words, he would continue saying, “And may there be peace, blessings and Allah’s Mercy upon you. May Allah forgive us all and may He bestow His Mercy upon us.” This was his reply to the greetings of the Angels that had presented themselves before him. It is stated that he replied to their greetings for a full twenty-four hours.

ALLEGIANCE TO AHLE SUNNAT: Shaikh Abdur Razzaq r.a. and Shaikh Moosa r.a. both sons of r.a. al-Ghawth al-A’zam r.a. state: “Shaikh lifted both his hands towards the sky and said, ‘May there be peace, blessings and Allah’s Mercy upon you. Repent sincerely from your hearts and join the Sawaad-e-A’zam (Huge Jamaat or Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat). It was for this reason that I was sent. In other words, I was sent to command you to follow and be obedient to our Beloved Nabi Muhammad s.a.w.s. Always be gentle.” He then said, “The distance between you, I and all the creation is like the distance between the skies and the earth. Thus, you should not think of anyone equal to me, or think or me equal to any other”. HIS CONDITION: During this time, his son, Sayyidi Abdur Rahman r.a., asked concerning his condition, and he answred: “None of you should question me concerning anything. Listen! My condition is continuously changing in the Exalted Court of Allah. My status is being elevated as every moment is passing by.”

HIS ILLNESS: His son, Sayyidi Abdul Aziz r.a., asked him concerning his illness and what type of illness be had. He replied: “None of you know about my illness. No person, Jinn or Angel even is aware of the kind of illness I have”.

THE CONDITION OF HIS HEART: His son, Sayyidi Abdul Jabbar r.a., asked him if he was in any pain and discomfort. He said: “My entire body is in pain except my heart. My heart is protected as it is the treasure chest of the remembrance of Allah Almighty and the Madina (City) of the Rays of the Holy Prophet s.a.w.s.”

HIS LAST MOMENTS: In his last moment on this physical earth, Sayyidi r.a. Shaikh Abd al-Qaadir al-Jilani r.a. said: “I ask assistance from Allah. I bear testimony that there is none worthy of worship but One Allah. He is the Exalted and the only True Existing Who does not die. Pure is He, Who through His Powers is superior over His servants, and has caused death for them. There is none worthy of worship but Allah. Muhammad (s.a.w.s. ) is the Prophet of Allah”.

HIS DEMISE: On the eve of his demise, Shaikh Abd al-Qaadir al-Jilani r.a. said: “I am sorry for you all. Do you know who I am? I fear no man, Jinn or even the Angel of Death. O Angel of Death! Take me into the Exalted Court of My Creator, Who has given me the opportunity of being his chosen servant (Wali) and Who is the Superior One Who is responsible for my commands.”

In the month of Rabi-ul-Aakhir 561 A.H. (as per various narrations, either on the 11th or 17th), the Beloved of the Holy Prophet s.a.w.s.,the Bright Shining Star of Sayyidina Ali r.a. the Comfort of the Heart of Sayyidah Fatima r.a., the Splendour of Imam Hassan r.a., the Beaming Light of Imam Husain r.a., the Light of the Eyes of Sayyidi Abu Saaleh r.a. and Sayyida Ummul Khair Faatima r.a., the Torch of Guidance and Knowledge, the Representative of the Beloved Nabi, s.a.w.s., the Point of Salvation for all Disciples, the Qutb of Qutbs, The Ghawth of all Ghawth’, The Saint of Saints, The King and Greatest of all Saints, The Reviver of the Religion, The Ghawth of both Humans and Jinns, Ghawth al-A’zam, Shaikh Sayyidina Shaikh Muhiy’yuddeen Abd al-Qaadir al-Jilani al-Baghdadi r.a. shone for the last time on this physical earth. The Luminous And Distinguished Saint had travelled from this world over the bridge of death, which causes the Lover (Devotee) to meet the Beloved. “Inna lil laahi wa inna alaihi Raaji’oon”

HIS BLESSED TOMB: His blessed tomb (Mazaar) is situated in the city of Baghdad in Iraq. It is frequented throughout the year, by devotees, great and learned scholars and, no doubt, by the Awliya of their times. May Almighty Allah keeps us firm on the path of the Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat. May we always truly love al-Ghawth al-A’zam Shaikh Abd al-Qaadir al-Jilani r.a. and remain as his and our Master’s loyal servants. Aameen.

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1 Response to "Biography of Shaikh Abd Al‑Qadir Al‑Jilani"

masha allah.
allah akbar

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