He is Hasani and Husaini
The most universally acclaimed saint of all times and the most celebrated, in all the aalameen (worlds), among jinnn and men as well as among the arwaah (souls) and the malaika (angels), the beloved of AllahTa'ala who throughout history has been showered the titles of muhyudeen (reviver of faith), qutbRabbani and ghauth-al-a'zam (the greatest helper), Sayyidi wa Imami Shaykh-ul-AkbarAbu Muhammad Abdul Qadir Jilani, Radhu Allahu Anh was born in Ramadan 470 A.H/1077 CE in Jilan, Persia. His father's name was Abu Salih, a man of taqwa (piety) and a direct descendant of Hadrat Imam Hasan ibn Ali Rady Allahu Anh. His mother Ummul-Khair Fatima was a saintly daughter of a saintly father Shaykh Abdullah Sawma'ee who was a direct descendant of Hadrat Imam Husain ibn AliRady Allahu Anh.
Thus Muhyudeen Shaykh Abdul Qadir Jilani was both Hasani and Husaini, a descendant of the Holy Prophet, Sallallahu alaihi wa Sallam. For this reason, the Sindhis for example, lovingly call him "putarmithe mahboob jo" (the blessed son of the sweet beloved Holy Prophet), Sallallahu alaihi wa Sallam.
Yaa Hayyu Yaa Hayyu
He Reached The State of Siddiqeen
The Holy Prophet MuhammadMustafaSallallahu alaihi wa Sallam is the last Prophet, there is no prophet after him. But people can still aspire to spiritual progress, acquire taqwa (piety) and saintliness and become Awliya Allah (friends of Allah). And the highest spiritual state after anbiya (prophets), belongs to the Siddiqeen (the truthful) that is why the Holy Prophet taught us to make the dua:Allahummaj 'alna min-as-Siddiqeen (O Allah make us among the truthful). Well, Shaykh Abdul Qadir Jilani Rady Allahu Anh manifested to the world that he ranked among the siddiqeen at the ripe age of 18. At that age, his thirst for knowledge and eagerness for the company of the Awliya Allah took him to the city of Baghdad.
It is related that as he was about to leave home on this momentous journey, his widowed mother sewed forty gold coins inside his coat as part of his inheritance, and as parting advice told him to be forever truthful. The caravan with which he was travelling had gone as far as Hamadan when it was attacked by a gang of robbers. In the course of their loot, one of the robbers asked him whether he had anything with him and he truthfully replied that he had forty gold coins sewn in his coat. The robber obviously thought he was joking and narrated this incident to his chief who decided to come and see this young man. When his coat was torn open, sure enough there were forty gold coins. The gang leader was astounded. He asked Shaykh Abdul Qadir Jilani as to why he revealed this when he could have very well kept it secret. Shaykh Abdul Qadir Jilani told him that his mother had advised him not to lie and he was duty bound to obey his mother, Hearing this, the gang leader was overpowered with remorse, repented, accepted Shaykh Abdul Qadir Jilani as his Shaykh and so did all his followers and they went on to acquire wilayah (sainthood) themselves. This is how Shaykh Abdul Qadir Jilani came to be ranked among the Siddiqeen. Allahummaj 'alna min-as-Siddiqeen, Aameen Yaa Rabbal 'Aalameen.
Sayyid Hajji Abdul Raheem Bin Sayyid Muhammad Ismail Shirazi has captured the essence of this incident most beautifully in the following verses of his Urdu poem on the Gauth-al-A'zam:
Choron pay tum nay kar kay tawajjoh Abdaal banaaya 'aali shaan Yaa Gauth-al-A'zam ajab tumhaaree shaanFocussing your spiritual glance at the thieves You turned them into great saints O, the great helper, your stature is truly astounding (Gulzare Tayyiba, vol 3, p 18)
Yaa Hayyu Yaa Hayyu
Sharia, Tariqa and Haqeeqi Ma'rifa
In matters of Shariah (sacred Muslim law), Shaykh Abdul Qadir Jilani Rady Allahu Anh followed the Hanbal Madh-hab (school of sacred Muslim law) but was an authority on the Shafi-i-Madh-hab as well, and a chief exponent of the Ahl us-Sunnah wal Jama'ah (the people who follow the Sunnah of the Holy Prophet and the Jama'ah of his blessed companions). The way to draw nearer to Allah Ta'ala is through additional voluntary prayers day and night, through constant remembrance (Zikr), unceasing salawaat (Durood) on the Holy Prophet Sallallahu alaihi wa Sallam, Sunnah fasting, charity, zuhd (abstinence) and juhd (exertion in the way of Allah Ta'ala) as exemplified by the Holy Prophet himself. This then is the tariqa (spiritual path leading to Allah Ta'ala) which is rooted in sharia (sacred Muslim Law).
A Shaykh, musk-scented in shariah, tariqa and haqeeqi-ma'rifa (knowledge of Allah Ta'ala) is able to ascertain the spiritual level of a mureed (disciple) and can assign additional awraad and azkaar (voluntary prayers) to be performed to attain spiritual progress. Shaykh Abdul Qadir Jilani learned tariqa at the hands of Shaykh Hammad Bin Muslim al-Dabbas, Rahmatullahi alaih. Traditionally when someone is appointed a khalifa of a Shaykh in tariqa, he is given a khirqa. Shaykh Abdul Qadir Jilani was bestowed the khirqa by ShaykhQadi Abi Said al-Mukhrami, Rahmatullahi alaih.
The tariqa followed by Shaykh Abdul Qadir Jilani Rady Allahu Anh came to be called after him the Qadiriyya tariqa and it came to be universally accepted as a divinely-guided path to spiritual progress through zikr of Allah to polish one's heart of all evil, to lead a virtuous life, to attain the love of the Holy Prophet, Sallallahu alaihi wa Sallam, the love of the sahaba (companions) and the Ahle Bayt (the Prophet's blessed household), the love of the awliya (saints), and to follow the sharia (sacred Muslim law) according to the teachings of any one of the four Imams of madh-hab, that is Imam Abu Hanifa, Imam Shafi-i, Imam Malik and Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal, may Allah Ta'ala be pleased with them all.
Any tariqa has a silsila or spiritual chain linking the teachings of the Shaykh to the teachings of Rasulullah Sallallahu aliahi wa Sallam. The spiritual geneology of Shaykh Abdul Qadir Jilani RadyAllahu Anh is traced back to the Holy Prophet as follows:
Shaykh Abdul Qadir Jilani,
Allahumma Salli wa Sallim wa baarik alaih.
The names in this silsila (spiritual chain) are given in the Tawassul of Qadiriyya in the kitab Abdul Qadir Fee Eedahittasawwuf compiled by Nuriddeen ibn Shaykh Husain Mahmud al-Ghasani as well as in the biography of the Shaykh by Dr. Zahurul Hasan Sharib.
Yaa Hayyu Yaa Hayyu
Shaykh Abdul Qadir Jilani Rady Allahu Anh taught Muslims and preached to non-Muslims in Baghdad. His Khutbas (sermons) and Nasiha (advice) have been compiled and handed down through centuries as classics of Muslim spirituality.
His major spiritual works in the field are:
1. Sirr al-asrar
(The secret of secrets)
Besides the Qur'an Kareem and Hadith Shareef, these are required minimum reading for someone who aspires to be an aalim (learned). As we read his masterpieces, we are struck by the fact that his style of expression is different from that of any other Shaykh, aalim or wali. He is so much saturated with the spiritual power of Tawheed that his exposition and its flow has a spiritually confident personality all its own so that anyone who reads his khutbas spontaneously admits that he is the qutb-al-aqtaab, the Shaykh-ul-Mashaaikh, the Gauth-al-A'zam and much more.... a Shaykh who epitomised mujaddidiyya (faith revival) and wilayah (sainthood).
Yaa Hayyu Yaa Hayyu
Azkaar, Salawaat and Qasida
The Qadiriyya tariqa is a tariqa of Zikrullah, remembrance of Allah. The plural of Zikr is azkaar. The azkaar and awraad (daily voluntary prayers) of Shaykh Abdul Qadir JilaniRady Allahu Anh have been compiled in many kitaabs (religious books), one of which is Fuyudhaatur-Rabbaniyya, compiled by al-Hajj Ismail Ibn Sayyid Muhammad Sa'eed Al-Qadiri. It gives the awraad and azkaar of Shaykh Abdul Qadir Jilani for each day of the week as well as for various special occasions.
Then we have the salawaat (durood) on the Holy Prophet Sallallahu alaihi wa Sallam recited by the Gauth-al-A'zam and we have to read Fuyudhaatur-Rabbaniyya as well as his major classics to appreciate how profuse Shaykh Abdul Qadir Jilani was in sending salawaat and salaam on the Holy Prophet, Allahumma salli wa sallim alaih. His most famous salaat is called As-Salatu Gauthiya after him while he also recited As-Salatul Kubra (The big salaat) and kibritil ahmar (the philosopher's stone). Kibritil ahmar is given in both Fuyudhaatur-Rabbaniyya as well as in Miskaatus-Salawaat of Mawlana Muhammad Elias Burney. "The pholosopher's stone" means something very rare to find.
His emphasis in immersing yourself in the Asma Allah-ul-Husna (the most Beautiful Names of Allah Ta'ala) until they run through your veins is breathtaking. He has woven a qasida (hymn) of 63 verses around these Asma-ul-Husna whose opening verses are:
Shara'tu Bi Tawheedil
(transliteration from Fuyudhaatur-Rabbaniyya, p 52)
I start the Tawheed
Allah with Bismillah.
And his qasida Gauthiya is universally popular. It is chanted from Rabat to Lahor and from Mombasa to Toronto. Shaykh Abdul Qadir Jilani Rady Allahu Anh passed away on 11 Rabi-ul-Akhir 561 A.H/1166 C.E, at the age of 91. Those in the Qadiriyya tariqa recite Qur'an Kareem and do Zikr on that night. In the Indian sub-continent, it is called Gyaarween shareef, or the blessed eleventh night of the month. Qasida Gauthiya is also recited. In it, ShaykhAbdul Qadir Jilani gives us some of the secrets of his own spiritual stature. Consider the spiritual force with which the opening lines burst upon you:
Saqaanil hubbu kaasaatil
When we read the classics of Shaykh Abdul Qadir Jilani Rady Allahu Anh like Sirr al-asrar, Futuh al-ghayb, Ghunyat al-talibin, Al-Fat'hu Rabbani, and qasida Gauthiya and recite the awraad and salawaat that he recited, we begin to understand why he is considered to be the Gauthul A'zam (greatest saint). But the initiate sometimes wonders why he revealed so many spiritual secrets when most other Shaykhs are reticent. To answer that question, we will need to turn to Sayyidi wa Imami Mawlana Abdullah ibn Alawi al-Haddad, Rady Allahu Anh. In Gifts for the Seeker, he explains that Shaykh Abdul Qadir Jilani, Rady Allahu Anh had received permission to divulge these spiritual secrets-"for the man who receives such permission is under an order which he can but obey-and the secret of the permission granted in such matters is itself one that cannot be divulged." (Gifts for the Seeker, translation by Dr. Mostafa al-Badawi, p.11).
Yaa Hayyu Yaa Hayyu
Spread of Islam Through Sufi Saints
Shaykh Abdul Qadir Jilani, Rady Allahu Anh as the model of a Sufi saint, through his nasiha, azkaar and salawaat, through giving a living reality to Islam, in his complete surrender to the Will of Allah and in his showing of tawakkul (trust in Allah) and through his teachings and preachings converted more than five thousand Jews and Christians to Islam while more than a hundred thousand ruffians, outlaws, murderers, thieves and bandits repented and became devout Muslims and gentle dervishes, explains Shaykh Tosun Bayrak al-Jerrahi al-Halveti in his Introduction to Sirr al-asrar, p xxxi. And the halaqa of Zikr (Zikr congregations) which he instituted have continued to attract millions of people to Islam through centuries and will continue to do so, Insha-Allah, till the Day of Judgement, Aameen.
A few examples suffice to illustrate this. The first example is that of Mawlana Mu'eenuddin ChishtiRahmatullahi alaih who acknowledged Shaykh Abdul Qadir Jilani as his Shaykh and spread Islam in India among the Hindus. He achieved such a high spiritual stature that he is called Sultanul Hind (the sultan of saints in the Indian sub-continent) and all the saints in that region are under his banner while he is under the banner of the Gauth-al-A'zam. In the same way Shaykh Uways ibn Muhammad Rahmatullahi alaih of Somalia became a khalifa in Tariqatul Qadiriyya at the shrine of Shaykh Abdul Qadir Jilani in Baghdad and spread Islam in the whole of Eastern Africa through congregations of Zikr. And Shaykh Hamzah Fansuri, considered to be the greatest saint in Indonesia and Malaysia proudly proclaimed that he learned Islam from Shaykh Abdul Qadir Jilani.
It can truly be said that the mureedeen and muhibbeen (loving disciples) of Shaykh barakaat Abdul Qadir Jilani Rady Allahu Anh have spread Islam throughout the world through Zikr. The (blessings) of zikr are truly unending. May Allah Ta'ala make us among the Zaakireen, Aameen.
And the granting of wilayah (the stature of a saint) by Allah Ta'ala to the Zaakireen (those who remember Him), aabideen (those who worship Him) and muhibbeen (those who love the Holy Prophet) is in all instances mediated by the Holy Prophet Sallallahu alaihi wa Sallam, Shaykh Abdul Qadir Jilani and one's own Shaykh. After all the awliya and the ulama (learned) are the Khalifatullah, vicegerants of Allah. And one must always aspire to wilayah so that one becomes 'Aarif Billah (knower of Allah). Allahummaj 'alna minal 'aarifeen, Aameen Yaa Rabbal Aalameen.
Yaa Hayyu Yaa Hayyu
His aqeeda (beliefs) was that of the Ahl us-Sunnah wal Jam'ah based on the Qur'an, and the Sunnah of the Holy Prophet Sallallahu alaihi wa Sallam. All the Sufi Saints through centuries have expounded on and lived by this aqeeda. Its cornerstone is Tawheed (Unity of Allah), its nurturing is with Asma ul Husna and Ishq (love) of the Holy Prophet; its daily life is governed by shariah (sacred Muslim law); its growth and spread is through nasiha (good advice), zikr of Allah Ta'ala and salawaat and salaam on the Holy Prophet, Sallallahu alaihi wa Sallam, its peak is jihad and its ultimate is Fana Fillah (annihilation of oneself in the Love of Allah Ta'ala) after which Allah Ta'ala showers you with Baqa Billah (spiritual life everlasting) in His Ridha (pleasure).
So you start with Ridhal Waalidain (in the pleasure of your parents) and end with Ridhallah (pleasure of Allah Subhanahu wa Ta'ala). And the sahaba (companions) of the Holy Prophet are referred to as Rady Allahu Anhum wa Radhu Anh (Allah is well pleased with them and they are pleased with Him). And according to Shaykh Abdul Qadir Jilani, his own position is equal to the dust under the feet of the sahaba. If that is the case, what of the stature of the blessed sahaba of the Holy Prophet, Sallallahu alaihi wa Sallam? Their spiritual stature derives from the fact that they were blessed with the opportunity of beholding the Holy Prophet with the eyes of imaan (faith). That being the case how can anyone be capable enough to explain in full the sifat (attributes) of Muhammad-e-Arabi, Rasule-Rabbil Aalameen, Rahmatullil Aalameen. Only Allah Rabbul Izzat is well aware of what he bestowed on His beloved Prophet, Allahumma Salli wa sallim alaih.
Yaa Hayyu Yaa Hayyu
His Daily Life and Teachings
Imam Shihabuddeen Umar Bin Muhammad Suhrawardi Rahmatullahi alaih in his universally acclaimed classic Awariful Ma'arif refers to Shaykh Abdul Qadir Jilani as "Our Shaykh". He writes that according to Shaykh Abdul Qadir Jilani, the Shaykh has to cultivate these qualities:
Of Allah Rabbul Izzat
(to cover up and forgive)
(Awariful Ma'arif, translated by Wilberforce Clarke, p 162)
Imam Ibn Kathir Rahmatullahi alaih described the admonitions of Shaykh Abdul Qadir Jilani saying: "He enjoined the people to do what is good and abstain form what is evil. His admonitions addressed caliphs, ministers, people in authority, judges, companions and the masses. Standing on the pulpits of the mosques, he reprimanded them in the presence of witnesses as well as during his public addresses. He disavowed the civil appointment of any unjust person, chose Allah's blessings over anyone else's wrath, and was not affected by any reproach."
In his book Zail Tabaqat Al-Hanabila, Ibn Rajab quoted Shaykh Muwaffaq Al-Deen, author of the book Al-Maghni, saying: "I have never heard of anyone having as many noble deeds and miraculous blessings (Karamat) as those attributed to Shaykh Abdul Qadir Jilani".
Dr. Muhammad Haroon of the Raza Academy has described these in detail in "The World Importance ofGhaus al Azam Hadrat Sheikh Muhyiddin Abdul Qadir Jilani". To gain baraka (blessings), let us at this juncture recall one of these miracles. It is related that as it was cloudy, the new moon of Ramadan had not been sighted and people were confused whether or not to fast the next day. They came to Ummal-Khayr and asked if the child had taken food that day. As he had not, they surmised that the fast had begun. His mother relates; "My son 'Abdul Qadir was born in the month of Ramadan. No matter how hard I tried he refused to suckle in the daytime. Throughout his infancy he would never take food during the month of fasting." (Sirr al-asrar, Introduction by Shaykh Tosun al-Jerrahi al-Halveti, p xiii)
Shaykh Abdul Qadir Jilani,Rady Allahu Anh had four wives, each a model of virtue and devoted to him. He had forty-nine children, twenty-seven sons and twenty-two daughters. Four of his sons, Shaykh Abdul Wahhab, Shaykh Isa, Shaykh Abdul Razzaq and Shaykh Musa became famous for their education and learning. This is how Sheikh Tosun al-Halveti explains about the daily life of Shaykh Abdul Qadir Jilani,Rady Allahu Anh: "He himself had given all of himself to Allah. His nights passed with little or no sleep in secluded prayer and meditation. He spent his days like a true follower of the Prophet in the service of humanity. Three times a week he would deliver public sermons to thousands of people. Every day in the morning and the afternoon he gave lessons in Quranic commentary, Prophetic traditions, theology, religious law and sufism. He spent the time after the midday prayer giving advice and consultation to people, whether beggars or kings, who would come from all parts of the world. Before sunset prayers, rain or shine, he took to the streets to distribute bread among the poor. As he spent all his days in fasting he would eat only once a day, after sunset prayer, and never alone. His servants would stand at his door asking passers-by if they were hungry, so that they could share his table." (Sirr al-Asrar, p XLIV)
Yaa Hayyu Yaa Hayyu
Qasaid on the Shaykh
Given these realities of history, is it any wonder then to find that more qasaid (poems) have been written in praise of Shaykh Abdul Qadir Jilani Rady Allahu Anh than on any other saint? Gulzare Tayyiba in Urdu for example contains 17 poems in his honour while the Diwan (in Arabic) in Taraqatul Qadiriyya has 27. In a short article like this, it is not possible to do full justice to all the poetry in honour of the Shaykh. It suffices to give a sprinkling from Champay Dhee Bootee of Sultan Arifeen ShaykhSultan Bahu in Punjabi, from the poetry of Shaykh Hamzah Fanzuri of Indonesia in Malay, from the salaam of Iman Ahmed Raza Khan in Urdu and from the Diwan in Tariqatul Qadiriyya in Arabic, in that order.
We begin with the translations of the abyaat (couplets) of Sultan Bahu in Champay Dhee Bootee, a classic in Kalaame Ma'rifat:
Talib Gauthul A'zam
Followers of the Gauthul
Lucky in both worlds are
(Sultan Bahu, Champay Dhee Bootee, (The Jasmine Plant), p 33) (Translation by Maqbool Elahi, The Abyat of Sultan Bahu, p 103)
Next, let us savour the following four lines in Malay form Shaykh Hamzah Fansuri as given in Syed Naguib al-Attas' Some Aspects of Sufism as Understood and Practiced Among the Malays, p 22
Hamzah nin asalnya
I Hamzah who am of Fansur
A'la Hadrat Imam Ahmed Raza Khan wrote Salaams on the Holy Prophet Sallallahu alaihi wa Sallam in which after profuse salutations on the Holy Prophet, he also sent salaams on the Ahle-Bayt and the sahabaRady Allahu Anhum, as well as on the Imams of madh-hab, the awliya and the saleheen, Rahmatullahi alaihim ajma'een.
Consider just two verses from A'la Hadrat on the Gauth-ul-A'zam to appreciate his love for the Shaykh.
Gauthul A'zam Imam-ut-tuqaa
Imam of saints and the pious
It is fitting to the end with the chorus of the Qasida in Arabic in the Diwan of Qadiriyya.
Bi Rasulillahi wal
For the sake of the Holy
Prophet and Shaykh Jilani
(O Allah hear our prayers)
Tazkiratul Awliya (the Zikr of the friends of Allah) is truly unending. May Allah Subhanahu wa Ta'ala forgive us and give us the hidaya (guidance) to live Islam according to the Qur'an and the Sunnah of Rasulullah, Sallallahu alaihi wa Sallam as explained and exemplified by Gauth-ul-A'zamShaykhAbdul Qadir Jilani, Rady Allahu Anh, Aameen Yaa Rabbal Aalameen.
Yaa Hayyu Yaa Hayyu