Abdul-Qadir Jilani

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Abdul Qadir Jilani
Hazrat Abu Muhammad Muhiyuddin Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jilani
Tomb of Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jilani.jpg
Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jilani's mausoleum in Baghdad.
Order Qadiri (founder)
Born 1077 AD / 470 AH
Jilan, Iran
Passed away 1166 AD / 561 AH
Baghdad, Iraq
Resting place Baghdad, Iraq

Al-Ghawth al-A'zam

Al-Hasani wal Husseini

Hazrat Abu Muhammad Muhiyuddin Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jilani was a Sufi Sheikh and the founder of the Qadiri Sufi order (Silsila). He was born in the month of Ramadan in 470 A.H. (1077-78 C.E.) in the Persian province of Jilan (Iran), south of the Caspian Sea. His contribution to Sufism and Sharia was so immense that he became known as the spiritual pole of his time, al-Ghawth al-A'zam (the "Supreme Helper" or the "Mightiest Succor").



One of his many titles is ‘al-Hasani wal Husseini’ because he was blessed with direct lineage to the Holy Prophet ﷺ through his father Hazrat Abu Saleh Zangi Dost, who was a direct descendant of Imam Hassan Ra.gif; and also through his mother Hadhrat Bibi Ummul Khair Fatima who was a direct descendant of Imam Hussein Ra.gif. The circumstances surrounding the blessed marriage of Hazrat Abu Saleh and Hazrat Bibi Ummul Khair were quite miraculous to say the least.


Many prophecies regarding Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jilani were made before his birth by renowned Sufi Saints. These had emphasis on his birth, eminence and spiritual attainments.

Hazrat Abu Saleh Zangi Dost, Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jilani's father, had a dream in which he saw our Beloved Prophet ﷺ who said to him:

O my son Abu Saleh, Allah, Most High has given you a child who is my beloved son and also the beloved of Allah. His ranking among the Awliya (Friends of Allah) is akin to my ranking among the Prophets.


Abdul-Qadir ibn Abi Salih Musa ibn Abdullah ibn Yahya ibn Muhammad ibn Abu Muhammad AbuBakr Dawud ibn Musa ibn Abdullah ibn Musa Jawni ibn Abdullah ibn Hassan al-Muthanna ibn Hassan ibn Ali ibn Abi Talib , and this on his father side so you can see why they call him al-Hassani due to his tracing up to Muhammad's grandson Hassan ibn Ali. On his mother side, she is the daughter of a saintly person Abdullah Sawmai who was a direct descendant of Imam Husain ibn Ali making the Shaykh also al-Husayni due to this.

Al-Gilani was born in 1078 AD (471 AH) in a small town of Iranian Gilan Province. His ancestors were Syeds who settled in Gilan (arabacized to Jilan) hence the epiphet of al-Jilani.[1][2]

Sayyid Abu Muhammad Abdul Qadir R.A was born in Naif in the District of Gilan in Persia (Iran) in the month of Ramadan....His father's name was Abu Salih, a God-fearing man and a direct descendant of Hazrat Imam Hasan R.A., the eldest son of Ali R.A, the Holy Prophet's (SAW) first cousin, and of Fatima R.A his beloved daughter. His mother was the daughter of a saintly person- Abdullah Sawmai who was a direct descendant of Imam Husain A.S, the younger son of Ali R.A and Fatima R.A. Thus Sayyid Abdul Qadir was both a Hasani and Hussaini[3]

His complete name Al-Syed Muhiyudin Abu Muhammad Abdal Qadir al-Gaylani al-Hasani wal-Hussaini,[4][5] Syed denoting his honorific title of descendancy from the Islamic prophet Muhammad,[6] Muhiyudin his title for being known popularly as "the reviver of religion",[7] Abu Muhammad his Kunya or nick name (meaning 'father of Muhammad'), al-Gaylani denoting the region he hailed from[8][9] although however he also had the epiphet al-Baghdadi. [10][11][12] (denoting also the city of Baghdad where he was now residing in and therefore also geographically recognised through, eventually being buried there), and al-Hasani wal-Hussaini affirming his lineal descent from both Syed Imam Hasan and Imam Hussain, the grandsons of Muhammad.[4][13]

His father, Syed Abu Saleh Musa al-Hasani[14] was a direct descendant of the Syed Imam Hasan.[13][15] He was an acknowledged saint of his day "..and was popularly known as Jangi Dost, because of his love for Jihad"[16] Jangi dost thereby being his sobriquet[1][17]

His mother Ummal Khair Fatima,[18] daughter of Syed Abdullah Sawmai az-Zaid a descendant of Syed Imam Hussain[13][19] through Imam Zain ul Abideen,[20] he was known himself as a "great saint of his time and a direct descendant of Hazrat Imam Husain, the Great Martyr of Karbala"[21]


He spent his early life in the town of his birth. At the age of eighteen he went to Baghdad (1095), where he pursued the study of Hanbali law under several teachers. The Shaikh received lessons on Fiqh from Abu Ali al-Mukharrimi, Hadith from Abu-Bakar-bin-Muzaffar, and tafsir from the renowned commentator, Abu Muhammad Jafar. When he was on the way going to "Baghdad" with a large convoy (Qafila), a group of thieves attacked the convoy and took all of their precious belongings, one of the thieves came to him (Sheikh Abdul-Qadir Gilani) and asked him "Boy, tell me what you have in your luggage". He replied "I have forty dinars." The thief searched all of his luggage and could not find the dinars. He then took the boy to his sardar (master) and told him that this boy (Sheikh Abdul-Qadir Gilani) claims he has forty dinars, but after searching his belongings I could not find the dinars. The sardar (master) then asked, "Boy, do you lie?" He replied "No, I am not lying, the dinars were sewn by my mother into my shalwar." Then one of the thieves checked and found the money. The sardar then asked him. "Boy, you could have lied to us and could have saved your money, why you didn't you lie?" Sheikh Abdul-Qadir Gilani replied "Before I started my journey, my mother advised me to tell the truth even if someone tries to kill me as Allah frowns upon those who do not speak the truth." After listening to this the sardar began to cry, as this little boy had so much fear of Allah that he did not lie in such a situation. He felt guilt for all his wrongdoings and felt the fear of Allah so the sardar then gave back all of the looted things to their owners.

In Tasawwuf (the sciences of the heart), his spiritual instructor was Shaikh Abu'l-Khair Hammad bin Muslim al-Dabbas. From him, he received his basic training, and with his help he set out on a spiritual journey.

After completion of education, Abdul-Qadir Gilani abandoned the city of Baghdad, and spent twenty-five years as a wanderer in the desert regions of Iraq as a recluse.[22]

Later life

He was over fifty years old by the time he returned to Baghdad in 1127, and began to preach in public. He moved into the school belonging to his old teacher al-Mukharrimii; there he engaged himself in teaching. Soon he became popular with his pupils. In the morning he taught hadith and tafsir, and in the afternoon held discourse on science of the hearts and the virtues of the Qur'an.

He busied himself for forty years in the service of Islam from 521 to 561 AH. During this period hundreds of thousands of people converted to Islam because of him and organized several teams to go abroad for dawah purposes.

He was also the teacher of Ibn Qudamah whom he also designated as a Caliph of his Qadri order (amongst others). Ibn Qudamah also later fought as a general in Sultan Saladin Ayyubi's army and conquered Jerusalem from the Christian dominance. His work and jurisprudent works influenced Ibn Taymiyyah who referred to both Ibn Qudamah and Shaikh Al-Gilani as his Shaikhs with full honorifics.


The sheikh died on Saturday night 1166 (8th Rabi' al-Awwal 561AH) [23] at the age of ninety one years (by the Islamic calendar), and was entombed in a shrine within his Madrassa in Baghdad.[24][25][26] His Shrine and Mosque are in what used to be the school he preached in, located in Babul-Sheikh, Resafa (East bank of the Tigris) in Baghdad, Iraq. Worldwide the Qadiriyyah celebrate Ghawth al-a'tham day on Wednesday closest to his birthday not his death-date for respect and elevation of their Shaykh which is 10th of Rabi at-Thani in the islamic calendar[23]

Al-Gilani succeeded the spiritual chain of Junayd Baghdadi. His contribution to thought in the Muslim world earned him the title Muhiyuddin (lit. "The reviver of the faith"), as he along with his students and associates laid the groundwork for the society which later produced stalwarts like Nur ad-Din and Saladin. His Sufi order named after him is generally thought to be one of the most popular Sufi orders of the Islamic world.[27]


The Shaikh had four virtuous wives and forty-nine children, twenty-seven sons and twenty-two daughters.[citation needed] The most famous of his sons are Shaikh Abdul-Wahab, Sheikh Abdul-Razzaq, Shaikh Abdul-Aziz, Shaikh Isa, Shaikh Musa, Sheikh Yahya, Sheikh Abdullah, Sheikh Muhammed and Sheikh Ibrahim. His sons and grandsons reached the Indian sub-continent throughout the years preaching Islam in his method (Arabic=Tareqa,طريقة). As they have reached the Western part of the Arab world of North Africa and Morocco, and parts of the Horn of Africa (Ethiopia, Eritrea, and Somalia (a country that predominantly professes to the Qadiriyyah order only in the Sufi sect though small patches of Ahmed ibn Idris' order is found) ). In Somalia the order is subdivided to Zaylaiyyah order and Uwaisiyyah order.

Among the Sufis, who came to India from Baghdad, and who belonged to the family of Shaykh Abd-ul-Qadir Jilani Hz. Shah Badr Dewan whose real name was Hasan, and whose honorific title was Badr-ud-Din, is one of the top most Sufis. He stayed near Batala, and laid the foundation of Masania, a kind of inn in his times, but later populated by his children, grand children and great grand children, became a village of its own culture. The progeny of Baba Shah Badr Dewan is one of the biggest Syed Families, whose origin goes straight to Shaykh Syed Abd-ul-Qadir Jilani


Some of Jilani's more well known works include:

  • Al-Ghunya li-talibi tariq al-haqq wa al-din (Sufficient Provision for Seekers of the Path of Truth and Religion)
  • Al-Fath ar-Rabbani (The Sublime Revelation)available for download (urdu)
  • Malfuzat (Utterances)
  • Futuh al-Ghaib (Revelations of the Unseen) available for download (urdu) (English)
  • Jala' al-Khatir (The Removal of Care)
  • Bahajja-Tul Asrar (Ground Secerets)



  1. 1.0 1.1 [1]
  2. History of Multan: from the early period to 1849 A.D. Ashiq Muhammad Khān Durrani, 1991, p31
  3. The Election of Caliph/Khalifah and World Peace by Khondakar G. Mowla, 1998, p180
  4. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named Sufis_2002.2C_p123
  5. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named Syed_Abdul_Qadir_Jilani_2000.2C_p24
  6. Muslim communities of grace: the Sufi brotherhoods in Islamic religious life by Jamil M. Abun-Nasr, 2007, p94
  7. Mihr-e-munīr: biography of Hadrat Syed Pīr Meher Alī Shāh by Faid Ahmad, Muhammad Fādil Khān, 1998, p21
  8. Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics: Volume 1. A - Art. Part 1. A - Algonquins By James Hastings, John A Selbie Published by Adamant Media Corporation, 2001. pg 10:"and he was probably of Persian origin"
  9. J. Spencer Trimingham, John O. Voll, "The Sufi Orders in Islam", Edition: 2, reprint, illustrated, revised Published by Oxford University Press US, 1998. pg 32: "The Hanbali Qadirriya is also included since 'Abd al-Qadir, of Persian origin was contemporary of the other two
  10. Devotional Islam and politics in British India: Ahmad Riza Khan Barelwi by Usha Sanyal, 1996, p144
  11. Cultural and Religious Heritage of India: Islam by Suresh K. Sharma, Usha Sharma, 2004, p321
  12. Indo-iranica‎Iran Society (Calcutta, India) 1985, p7
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 The Election of Caliph/Khalifah and World Peace by Khondakar G. Mowla, 1998, p176
  14. Historical and political who's who of Afghanistan‎ by Ludwig W. Adamec, 1975, p177
  15. The Sultan of the saints: mystical life and teaching of Shaikh Syed Abdul Qadir Jilani, Muhammad Riyāz Qādrī, 2000, p19
  16. Mihr-e-munīr: biography of Hadrat Syed Pīr Meher Alī Shāh by Faid Ahmad, Muhammad Fādil Khān, 1997, p27
  17. Encyclopaedia of Sufism, Volume 1 By Masood Ali Khan, S. Ram
  18. Hadrat Sultan Bahu: life and work‎ Sayyid Ahmad Saīd Hamdānī, 2001, p66
  19. Mystical discourses of Ghaus-e-Azam Hazrat Shaikh Syed Abdul Qadir Jilani‎Muhammad Riyāz Qādrī 2002, p66
  20. Biographical encyclopaedia of Sufis: Central Asia and Middle East by N. Hanif, p123
  21. Ghous ul Azam Dastgir: by Abdul azīz Urfī, 1973, p2
  22. Abd-al-Haqq, Akbar, p.11
  23. 23.0 23.1 The works of Shaykh Umar Eli of Somalia of al-Tariqat al-Qadiriyyah
  24. Al-Ghunya li-talibi tariq al-haqq wa al-din (Sufficient Provision for Seekers of the Path of Truth and Religion), (Arabic), PartI,II, Abd Al-Qadir Al-Gaylani, Pub.Dar Al-Hurya, Baghdad, Iraq, 1988. ,Al-Ghunya li-talibi tariq al-haqq wa al-din (Sufficient Provision for Seekers of the Path of Truth and Religion) (Arabic), Introduced by Dr. Majid Irsan Al-Kilani, Pub. Dar Al-Khair, Damascus-Bairut, 2005
  25. Majid 'Ursan al-Kilani, Nash'at al-Tariqat al-Qadiriyah
  26. The Qadirya Shrine, Baghdad (PDF)
  27. A brief history of Islam‎ by Tamara Sonn, 2004, p60
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