Islamic Sufism Spirituality

Necklaces of Gems – Part 10

Posted on: September 1, 2009


Shaikh ‘Abd al-Qadir’s son, Shaikh ‘Abdu’llah, was present when his father made his famous declaration.

[Shaikh Majid al-Kurdi added]: “When I asked Shaikh ‘Abdu’llah, the son of our master Shaikh ‘Abd al-Qadir (may Allah be well pleased with him): ‘Were you present at the session [majlis] at which your father said: “This foot of mine is upon the neck of every saint of Allah,”‘ he replied: ‘Yes I was, and those in attendance at that session included approximately fifty Shaikhs, from among those most highly distinguished.'”

“He also said: ‘When Shaikh ‘Abd al-Qadir left the session and entered his own apartment, the only Shaikhs remaining were Shaikh Mukarim, Shaikh Muhammad al-Khass and Shaikh Ahmad al-‘Arini, so we sat together and talked.

“‘It was Shaikh Mukarim who said: “Allah showed me, on that day, that there was not one single exception-out of all those with whom He had contracted the bond of saintship [wala’ al-wilaya] in the nearest and farthest regions of the earth-who did not witness the banner of Cardinal Poleship [Qutbiyya] paraded in front of Shaikh ‘Abd al-Qadir, and the crown of Helpership [Ghawthiyya] placed upon his head. There was not one who did not see upon him the robe of honor of complete managerial disposition [tasrif] in the realm of existence and its people, with the authority to appoint and dismiss, and this robe was marked with the embroidered insignia of the Sacred Law [Shari’a] and Reality [Haqiqa].

“‘I heard him say: “This foot of mine is upon the neck of every saint of Allah,” and each and every one of them bowed his head and humbled his heart toward him, at one and the same moment, including the ten spiritual deputies [abdal], the E9lite of the kingdom, the Sultans of the age.’ When I asked him who they were, he replied: ‘Baqa ibn Batu, Abu Sa’id al-Qailawi, ‘Ali ibn al-Hiti, ‘Adi ibn Musafir, Musa az-Zuwali, Ahmad ibn ar-Rifa’i, ‘Abd ar-Rahman at-Tafsunji, Abu Muhammad ibn ‘Abd al-Basri, Hayat ibn Qais al-Harrani, and Abu Madin al-Maghribi.’

“‘Muhammad al-Khass and Shaikh Ahmad al-‘Arini said to Shaikh Mukarim: “You have told the truth,” and two brothers of mine, Shaikh ‘Abdu’llah al-Jabbar and ‘Abd al-‘Aziz, were also in full agreement with him in that respect.'” May Allah be well pleased with them all!

It was Shaikh al-Qudwa [the Exemplary Guide] Abu Sa’id al-Qailawi who said: “When Shaikh ‘Abd al-Qadir (may Allah be well pleased with him) declared: ‘This foot of mine is upon the neck of every saint of Allah,’ the Lord of Truth (Almighty and Glorious is He) made Himself manifest upon his heart, and a robe of honor was conveyed to him from Allah’s Messenger (Allah bless him and give him peace), through the agency of a party of the angels who are brought near [to the Lord].

“He donned this robe in the presence of all the saints [awliya’], those of former times and those more recent, those still alive in their physical bodies and those [physically] dead [but alive] in their spirits. The angels and the men of the Unseen [rijal al-Ghaib] were circling around his session, stationed in the air in ranks, so that the horizon was obstructed by them. There was not a single saint [wali] anywhere on the earth, who did not bend his neck toward him. May Allah be well pleased with him!”

More reports concerning Shaikh ‘Abd al-Qadir’s declaration, and how the saints responded to it, including those who were in distant lands at the time.

Shaikh Khalifat al-Akbar [the Senior] has told us: “I once saw Allah’s Messenger (Allah bless him and give him peace) in a dream, so I said to him: ‘O Messenger of Allah, Shaikh ‘Abd al-Qadir has declared: “This foot of mine is upon the neck of every saint of Allah.”‘ ‘Shaikh ‘Abd al-Qadir has spoken the truth,’ he told me, ‘and how could he not do so, when he is the Cardinal Pole [Qutb] and I keep him under my wing?'”

A man came to visit Shaikh al-Qudwa [the Exemplary Guide] Hayat ibn Qais al-Harrani (may Allah be well pleased with him) on Friday, the third of Ramadan, in the year [A.H.] 599, in the congregational mosque [jami’] of Harran. He asked the Shaikh to accept him as a a committed disciple, but the Shaikh said to him: “You seem to bear the stamp of someone other than myself.” “Yes,” he replied, “I did invoke the name of Shaikh ‘Abd al-Qadir (may Allah be well pleased with him), but I did not receive a tattered robe [khirqa] from him, nor from anyone else.”

Shaikh Hayat then said: “We lived for a long time in the protective shade of the life of Shaikh ‘Abd al-Qadir (may Allah be well pleased with him), and we have drunk salubrious goblets from the fountains of his spiritual insight [‘irfan]. The breath of truthfulness emanated from him, and the rays of his light blazed on all the horizons. Those who experienced spiritual states [ashab al-ahwal] were thereby enabled to glean secrets from him, in accordance with their levels of development. Then, when he received the commandment to declare: ‘This foot of mine is upon the neck of every saint of Allah,’ Allah (Exalted is He) provided all the saints with even more light in their hearts, with even more blessed grace in their stores of knowledge, and with even higher advancement in their spiritual states, through the blessed grace of their lowering of their heads.

“Now he has passed on to Allah (Exalted is He), attired in the splendid garb of his predecessors, among the Prophets [Nabiyyin], the champions of the Truth [siddiqin], the martyrs [shuhada’] and the righteous [salihin]. May Allah be well pleased with them, each and every one!”

Shaikh Lu’lu’ al-Armani [the Armenian] used to speak while having to gasp for breath. He once said: “When Shaikh Abu ‘l-Khair ‘Ata’ al-Misri noticed the intense effort I was making, he said to himself: ‘To which of the Shaikhs is he affiliated, I wonder?’ I knew what he was thinking, so I told him: ‘O ‘Ata’, my own Shaikh is Shaikh ‘Abd al-Qadir, the one who declared: “This foot of mine is upon the neck of every saint of Allah,” and to whom three hundred and thirteen saints of Allah bowed their heads, on all the horizons of the earth. At that very moment, seventeen of them were at the two Noble Sanctuaries [Haramain], while sixty were in ‘Iraq, forty in Persia, thirty in Syria, twenty in Egypt, twenty-seven in the Far West, eleven in Ethiopia, seven at the Dam of Gog and Magog [Sadd Juj wa Majuj], seven in the Valley of Sri Lanka [Wadi Sarandib], forty-seven on Mount Qaf, and twenty-four on the islands of the great encircling ocean.

“‘More than one of them asserted that Shaikh ‘Abd al-Qadir did not utter this declaration without having received a command [from the Lord] to do so. Among those who made this assertion are:

*Shaikh ‘Adi ibn Musafir *Shaikh Abu Sa’id al-Qailawi *Shaikh ‘Ali ibn al-Hiti *Shaikh Ahmad ibn ar-Rifa’i *Shaikh Abu ‘l-Qasim al-Basri *Shaikh Hayat al-Harrani. “‘They also maintained that he was given permission to dismiss [from their position of sainthood] any of the saints [awliya’] who might find fault with him for making his declaration.'”

According to another report, Shaikh Lu’lu’ al-Armani said: “I saw the saints in the East and the West, all bowing their heads in profound humility, with the solitary exception of a man in Persia. He did not do it, so his spiritual state evaporated and deserted him. Among those Shaikhs who did bend their necks at that moment, we should mention:

*Shaikh Baqa ibn Batu *Shaikh Abu Sa’id al-Qailawi *Shaikh ‘Ali ibn al-Hiti *Shaikh Ahmad ibn ar-Rifa’i, who stretched out his nape and exclaimed: ‘[That foot is] upon my neck!’ When someone asked him what he was doing, he explained: ‘Just now, in Baghdad, Shaikh ‘Abd al-Qadir has declared: “This foot of mine is upon the neck of every saint of Allah.”‘ *Shaikh ‘Abd ar-Rahman at-Tafsunji *Shaikh Abu ‘n-Najib as-Suhrawardi, who tilted his head so low that it almost touched the ground, as he exclaimed: ‘[That foot is] upon my head!’ *Shaikh Musa az-Zuwali *Shaikh Hayat al-Harrani *Shaikh Abu Muhammad ibn ‘Abd *Shaikh Abu ‘Umar wa ‘Uthman ibn Marzuq *Shaikh Abu ‘l-Karam *Shaikh Majid al-Kurdi *Shaikh Suwaid an-Najjari *Shaikh Raslan ad-Dimashqi, who bent his neck in Damascus, and told his companions about what had happened. Then he said: ‘To Allah be attributed the excellence of one who drinks from the oceans of holiness [quds], who sits on the carpet of intimate knowledge [ma’rifa], and who witnesses the mystery of the magnification of Lordship [Rububiyya] and the glorification of Uniqueness [Wahdaniyya], so that his personal nature is annihilated in the beholding of Grandeur [Kibriya’], and his personal existence becomes extinct in the direct experience of reverential awe. For upon him is conferred the garment of intimate friendship [uns], and he ascends through the degrees of providence [‘inaya], until he reaches the station of the permanent abode [maqam al-qarar], and is wafted to the spot made fragrant by the breezes of the Spirit of Eternity [Ruh al-Azaliyya]. Then he utters words of wisdom from the sources of radiant lights, and, in the deepest folds of his innermost being [sirr], he mingles with the hidden mysteries. He is in the state of present awareness as long as he is conscious, and in the state of consciousness even when his ordinary faculties are obliterated. He maintains an attitude of modesty, rejoices in well-mannered behavior, and speaks with humility. He acts boldly when the need arises, and approaches every individual with specific care and attention. He receives his guests with respectful hospitality, for his Lord has endowed him with the most excellent greeting and salutation.’ When someone asked Shaikh Raslan: ‘Are there any in existence who match this description?’ he replied: ‘Yes indeed, and Shaikh ‘Abd al-Qadir (may Allah be well pleased with him) is their leader!’

*Shaikh Abu Madin al-Maghribi, who inclined his neck to the West [Maghrib] and said: ‘Yes, and I am one of them. O Allah, I call upon You to bear witness, and I call upon the angels to bear witness, that I have heard and obeyed!’ *Shaikh ‘Abd ar-Rahman al-Maghribi *Shaikh Abu ‘Umar wa ‘Uthman ibn Marwaza al-Bata’ihi *Shaikh Mukarim *Shaikh Khalifa *Shaikh ‘Adi ibn Musafir. “It is also worth noting that, at the time of the Shaikh’s pronouncement, a company of saintly beings became visible on all the horizons, flying toward him at the command of al-Khidr (peace be upon him), in order to be present for that special occasion.

“From that time on, Shaikh ‘Abd al-Qadir was addressed by the saints [awliya’], after the initial greeting of felicitation, with salutations like:

*O King of the Age! *O Commander of the Realm! *O Viceroy by the Command of the All-Merciful [ar-Rahman]! *O Inheritor of the Book of Allah, and Deputy of Allah’s Messenger (Allah bless him and give him peace)! *O he for whom the heaven and the earth are spread as his table [ma’ida]! *O he for whom all the people of his time are his own household! *O he for whom the rain descends in answer to his prayer, and the udders flow with milk through his blessed grace!

“They never presented themselves in his company without bowing their heads. As for the invisible contingent [ghaibiyya], its members stood in front of him in rows, with seventy men to each row. He bore an inscription on the palm of his hand, stating that he had received a firm assurance from Allah, to the effect that He would never treat him craftily. The angels were constantly walking around him, when he was only ten years of age, hailing him with the good tidings of sainthood [wilaya].” (Here ends this report.)

Shaikh ‘Abd al-Qadir uses his staff to check the rising level of the River Tigris.

The level of the River Tigris [ad-Dijla] kept rising for several years in succession, until it threatened to flood the city of Baghdad. The townspeople were thoroughly convinced that disaster was close at hand, so they came to Shaikh ‘Abd al-Qadir (may Allah be well pleased with him), appealing to him for help and seeking refuge with him. He responded by picking up his staff, and heading for the bank of the river, where he planted the staff at the water’s edge. “Up to this point, but no higher!” said he. The water-level diminished from that moment on. May Allah be well pleased with him!

Shaikh ‘Abd al-Qadir uses his staff to satisfy a pupil’s curiosity.

It was ‘Abdu’llah adh-Dhayyal who said: “I was standing beside the schoolhouse of Shaikh Muhyi ‘d-Din ‘Abd al-Qadir (may Allah be well pleased with him), one day in the year [A.H.] 560, when he emerged from his private apartment with a staff in his hand. It occurred to me that he might show me some charismatic power [karama] contained within this staff. ‘Watch this!’ he said to me, with a smile on his face. Then he planted it in the ground, and-lo and behold!-it turned into a light, gleaming ever brighter as it beamed toward the sky, and the whole atmosphere was soon aglow with it. There it remained for a fairly short space of time, then he picked it up, and it returned at once to its previous condition. He turned to me and said: ‘O Dhayyal, was that what you wanted to see?’ May Allah be well pleased with him!”

According to Shaikh ‘Abd al-Qadir, there was only one saint of Allah, in his day and age, who belonged to the Hanafi school [madhhab] of Islamic doctrine.

It was Shaikh Abu ‘t-Taqi Muhammad ibn al-Azhar as-Sirafini who said: “I spent one whole year asking Allah (Exalted is He) to let me see one of the men of the Unseen [rijal al-Ghaib]. Then, one night in my dream, I saw myself paying a visit to the tomb of Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal (may Allah be well pleased with him). I noticed a man beside the tomb, and it occurred to me that he might be one of the men of the Unseen. I woke up at that point, and then I conceived the hope of seeing him again in my waking state, so I set out at once and went to the tomb of the Imam. There I saw that very same man, the one I had seen in my dream, so I made haste to perform my visit, in order to catch him before he left. He did leave ahead of me, however, so I followed him until he reached the Tigris. The two edges of the river rolled together for his convenience, until they were no further than a step apart, so he stepped over the narrow gap and passed across to the other side.

“Uttering a solemn oath, I entreated him to pause and speak to me, so he stopped in his tracks, and I said to him: ‘What is your school of Islamic legal doctrine [madhhab]?’ To this he replied: “I am a man of pure faith [hanif], one who has surrendered [to Allah] [muslim], and I am not one of those who attribute partners [to Allah] [mushrikin].’ It occurred to me, as I moved away, that he must belong to the Hanafi school of Islamic doctrine. Then I said to myself: ‘Let me go and visit Shaikh ‘Abd al-Qadir (may Allah be well pleased with him), and tell him about all that I have seen.’ I went at once to his schoolhouse, and stood by his door. He did not open the door, but I heard him calling to me from inside his private apartment: ‘O Muhammad, nowhere on earth, from the East to the West in this day and age, is there any saint of Allah (Exalted is He) who belongs to the Hanafi school of Islamic doctrine-apart from the one you encountered (may Allah be well pleased with him).'”

Here ends the excerpt from “Necklaces of Gems”, which has been presented in 10 parts.  It comprises about one third of the biography of the Shaikh.
May Allah be pleased with him!

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1 Response to "Necklaces of Gems – Part 10"

Salam Sheikh Sohail
Mashallah for this great, well written article. I also wish to congratulate you for the methodology, data accuracy and the variety of sources cited. I also thank you for allowing us to know more about the great shaikh Sultan Al awliya Abd Qadr Jilani. May Allah reawrd you insha Allah. I was so impressed that I wondered if by any chance you would have an arabic version of this article ? Indeed I would like to sahre it with a friend who does not speak english ? I hope you can kindly assist
many thanks in advance

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