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)
Madh'hab Hanbali
Born 1077 AD / 470 AH
Jilan, Iran
Passed away 1166 AD / 561 AH
Baghdad, Iraq
Resting place Baghdad, Iraq
Title(s)

Al-Ghawth al-A'zam

Al-Hasani wal Husseini

Piran-e-Pir

Sultan al-Awliya

The Rose of Baghdad

Hazrat Abu Muhammad Muhiyuddin Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jilani (ra) (also spelled Jeelani, Gilani, Gillani, Al-Gilani) was a Sufi Sheikh and the founder of the Qadiri Sufi order (Silsila). He was born in the month of Ramadan in 470 AH (1077-78 AD) 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.

Contents

Family & Lineage

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 Sheikh Abu Saleh Moosa (ra) who was a direct descendant of Imam Hassan Ra.gif. He was a very pious and humble person as well as a master in the tactics of Jihad and it was due to this that he was given the title of “Jangi Dost”. Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jilani (ra) was also blessed with direct lineage to the Holy Prophet ﷺ through his mother Sayyida Bibi Ummul Khair Fatima (ra) who was a direct descendant of Imam Hussein Ra.gif. She was also a very pious person. The circumstances surrounding the blessed marriage of Hazrat Abu Saleh Moosa (ra) and Hazrat Bibi Ummul Khair (ra) were quite miraculous to say the least.

Sayyidi Abdullah Sauma’ee was the maternal grandfather of Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jilani (ra) (ra). He was a very patient, humble, kind and sincere person. Sayyidah Aisha Zaahida (ra) was the paternal aunt of Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jilani (ra) (ra). She was a very kind and pious woman. Her entire life was spent in the remembrance of Almighty Allah.

Predictions of his Birth

Sheikh-ul-Mashaa’ikh, Sayyiduna Junaid Al-Baghdadi (ra): He lived two hundred years before Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jilani (ra) and foretold his coming in the following manner. Once, while Sheikh Junaid al-Baghdadi (ra) was in a state of spiritual ecstasy, 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 Qadir and his title will be Muhiyuddin. 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(ra): Sheikh Abu Muhammad (ra) states that before his demise, Imam Hassan Askari (ra) handed over his Jubba (Cloak) to Sayyiduna Imam Ma’roof Karki (ra) and asked him to pass it over to Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jilani (ra) Sheikh Imam Ma’roof Karki (ra) passed over this cloak to Sayyiduna Junaid al-Baghdadi (ra), who in turn passed it over to Sheikh Danoori (ra) . From here it was then passed down until it reached Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jilani (ra) in the year 497 A.H. (Makhzanul Qaaderiah)

Sheikh Abu Bakr Bin Haw’waar (ra): He lived before the time of al-Ghawth al-A’zam (ra) 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. Sheikh Ma’roof Karki (ra)
  2. Sheikh Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal (ra)
  3. Sheikh Bishr Haafi (ra)
  4. Sheikh Mansoor bin Amaar (ra)
  5. Sayyiduna Junaid al-Baghdadi (ra)
  6. Sheikh Sahl bin Abdullah Tastari (ra)
  7. Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jeeli (ra)

When he heard this, Sayyidi Abu Muhammad (ra), who was a mureed of Sheikh Abu Bakr (ra) asked, “We have heard and know six of these names, but the seventh, we have not heard of. O Sheikh! Who is Abdul Qadir Jilani?” Sheikh Abu Bakr (ra) replied by saying: “Abdul Qadir (ra) 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)

Sheikh Khaleel Balkhi (ra): He was a great Wali-Allah and had passed away before the time of Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jilani (ra). 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 (ra): He stated as follows in his distinguished work, “Nuzhatul Khawatir”: “From the era of Sheikh Abi Ali Hassan Yasaarajuwi (ra) up to the era of Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jilani (ra), every Wali that passed this earth, foretold the coming and the excellence of Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jilani (ra).” (Nuzhatul Khawatir)

Birth

According to authentic narrations, Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jilani (ra) (ra) was born in a place called Neef, which is situated in Jilan (Persia). According to Imam Yaaqoot Hamwi (ra), Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jilani (ra) (ra) was born in a place called Bashteer. Most historians agree that Neef and Bashteer were different names for the same place. Since he was born in Jilan, Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jilani (ra) (ra) is known as al-Jilani. Concerning his birth, he personally states the following in his “Qasida-e-Ghausia”: “I am Al Jilani, my name is Muhiyuddin, and my banners fly on mountain tops.”

There are two narrations concerning the date of birth of Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jilani (ra). The first narration is that he was born on the 1st of Ramadan 470 AH. The second narration is that he was born on the eve of the 2nd of Ramadan 470 AH. The second narration seems to be the one more favoured amongst the scholars. His birth was a great blessing for the Ummah. It was the arrival of the Sultan al-Awliya (King of the Awliya), which had been foretold for centuries before his birth.

Miracles Surrounding his Birth

  • At the time of his birth his mother was nearly 60 years old, an age when women are usually unable to have children.
  • On the night of the Mi'raaj (Ascension), the Prophet Muhammad's ﷺ blessed foot stepped on the neck of Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jilani (ra) to mount al-Buraq. When he was born, the impression of the footprint of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ was present on Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jilani (ra). This alone was proof of his Sainthood.
  • On the eve of his birth, approximately eleven hundred males were born in Jilan and every one of them became a Wali of Allah.
  • Hazrat Abu Saleh Moosa (ra), Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jilani (ra)'s (ra) 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 is akin to my rank among the Prophets.

  • Almighty Allah gave glad tidings to his parents in their dream that their son would be the Sultan al-Awliya and those who oppose him would be Gumrah (misled).
  • During Ramadan, news had spread that the infant refused to take milk from dawn until sunset, thereby implying that the newborn child was observing the fast. During the following year, when the moon could not be sighted due to heavy clouds, the people decided to observe Ramadan on the basis of whether Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jilani (ra) had accepted milk during the day or not.

Early Life

Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jilani (ra) was not like other children who spent their time playing. From a tender age, he spent his time in the remembrance of Allah. If he at any time intended to join the other children, then he would hear a voice saying, “Come towards Me O blessed one.” At first, on hearing this voice, he would become afraid and go to his mother. As the time passed, he became accustomed to this voice and instead of going to his mother, he would abandon the thought of playing and occupy himself in the remembrance of Allah.

When Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jilani (ra) was four years old, his mother enrolled him into a local madrassa in Jilan. He remained there until the age of ten when an astonishing event occurred. Whenever he would enter the madrassa he would see angels walking ahead of him proclaiming, "Give way to the friend of Allah, give way to the friend of Allah." It was then that he realised that he had been blessed with Sainthood (Wilaayat).

He was very young when his father passed away and was taken under the care of his illustrious grandfather Hazrat Abdullah Sauma’ee. After his grandfather had passed away, the responsibility of his education fell to his blessed mother. By the time he was 18 years of age he had memorised the Quran and was well-versed in Islamic theology.

On one occasion, he went for a stroll in the streets of Jilan where he found himself walking behind a bull. Astoundingly, the bull looked at him and said, "O Abdul Qadir! You weren't created for this." Startled, the young Sheikh returned home and explained this incident to his mother. He then requested permission to journey to Baghdad in order to complete his academic studies and seek more spiritual knowledge. Despite knowing she would not see him again on account of her old age, she consented to his noble request. On seeing how intent he was she began to weep and brought him forty gold coins which she sewed into a pocket in the armpit of his jacket. On setting off from his home town for Baghdad his blessed mother gave him the following advice:

  1. Obey God’s Commandments
  2. Abstain from forbidden things
  3. Be always pleased with the decree of providence
  4. Always be truthful

A famous incident which illustrates his obedience to his mother occurred shortly after him leaving for Baghdad when his caravan (Qafila) was attacked by a sixty man band of highwaymen.

Arrival in Baghdad & Education

Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jilani (ra), arrived in Baghdad during the reign of the Abbasid Caliphate in 488 AH (1095 AD) at a time where there was chaos and disunity in the Islamic world. The Muslim rulers had lost all sense of duty and paid no heed to Islamic teachings.

In Baghdad, he took admission in Madrassa Nizamiya, which was the most prestigious and world-renowned educational institution of its time. Under the tutelage of some of the best teachers in the Islamic word, he reached an outstanding level of understanding in the following sciences:

  1. Fiqah (Jurisprudence)
  2. Tafsir (Commentary of the Holy Qur’an)
  3. Sunnah of the Holy Prophet
  4. Hadith (Traditions of the Holy Prophet(saw))
  5. Arab Literature

He studied the Hanabli Fiqah in particular under prominent Hanabli jurist Hazrat Abu Saeed al-Mukharrami(referred to as Al-Makhzumi or Al-Makhrimi in some texts). He was taught Tafsir, Sunnah and Hadith by Hazrat Abu Ghalib Ahmad and Hazrat Abu Qasim Ali. He also studied and Arab Literature under Hazrat Abu Zakariya Yahya Tabrizi – the principal of Madrassa Nizamiya.

Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jilani (ra) experienced much hardship during his years acquiring education. The 40 dinars that his mother had given him depleted quickly and he had reached the point of starvation.

One day, extremely weak with hunger, he went and sat in a masjid. A young non-Arab man entered the masjid with some bread and meat and sat himself down in a corner and began eating. When the man saw the Sheikh he approached him, offered him some food and asked where he was from. The Sheikh said that he was from Jilan and had come to Baghdad to acquire knowledge. The young man asked him if the Sheikh knew a young man by the name of Abdul Qadir from Jilan upon which the Sheikh responded that that was him.

The young non-Arab man became very anxious and said that he had been searching for the Sheikh because his mother had sent some money for him. However, no one had been able to give the young non-Arab man the whereabouts of Sheikh Abdul Qadir. The young non-Arab man went on to explain that when he ran out of his own provisions, after having not eaten for three days, he was forced to buy some food from the money that Sheikh Abdul Qadir's mother had given for Sheikh Abdul Qadir and this was the food that he was offering him at that moment. This made Sheikh Abdul Qadir the real owner of the food as it had been bought with his money and the young non-Arab man was his guest. The Sheikh was delighted and consoled the young man and partook in the eating. After completing his academic studies, Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jilani (ra) did not stop in his quest for in-depth spiritual knowledge. To quench this spiritual thirst, he was presented with the opportunity of gaining spiritual knowledge under the guidance of Sheikh Hammad bin Muslim Ad Dabbaas who was amongst the greatest Sheikhs of Baghdad.

There came a time in Baghdad when there was abundance of trouble. Since he did not want any part of this, he decided to leave Baghdad for a more peaceful environment. Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jilani (ra) said,

I made my intention to leave Baghdad due to the unsuitable conditions and was on my way out of Baghdad, when from the unseen, some great strength pushed me so hard that I fell to the ground. Then from the unseen I heard a voice say, 'Do not leave here. The creation of Allah will gain benefit via you.' On hearing this I said, 'What do I have to do with the people? All I want is to protect my Deen (Imaan).' The voice then said, 'No, it is of utmost importance for you to remain here. No harm will come to your Imaan.

I then immediately changed my mind and for the pleasure of Allah, I remained in Baghdad. 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 Abdul Qadir, what did you ask from your Creator yesterday?' With these words, 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 not, he would have not known of what had happened the previous day. I went in search of his door, but was unsuccessful. After this, I would look for him wherever I went, until one day I saw him in a gathering and from then on I stayed in his company. This personality was Sayyid Hammad bin Muslim Ad Dabbaas.

Spiritual Journey

By the year 496 AH, Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jilani (ra) had completed his academic and spiritual studies. Between 496 AH and 521 AH, he underwent a period of deep reflection and seclusion during which he distanced himself from all worldly affairs. His twenty-five year long spiritual journey saw him travel across the barren desert and ruins in the area around Baghdad living in complete seclusion where he would experience extreme physical hardships. During this time he would be in constant remembrance of Almighty Allah.

Sheikh Abul Mas’ood bin Abu Bakr Hareemi reports that Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jilani (ra) 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 physician. 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.

Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jilani (ra) states regarding his experiences:

During the early stages of my Mujahida 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 realize 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 Sheikh Abdul Qadir. You should not be astonished when something like this happens to you.

Meeting with Hazrat Khidr (AS)

Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jilani (ra) states that when he had just commenced his spiritual exercises in the jungles of Baghdad, he met a person who was very handsome and had a pious and bright face. The person asked him if he would like to stay with him. Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jilani (ra) said that he would. The person then said that this could only be done if Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jilani (ra) promised to be obedient to his commands, and to never question his sayings or actions. Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jilani (ra) immediately agreed to this.

This person then commanded Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jilani (ra) to sit at a prescribed spot and not to move until he returned. The person left and only returned after one year to find Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jilani (ra) still seated at the prescribed spot. He spent a few moments with him 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 Hazrat Khidr (Alaihis Salaam) and I have been asked to share this meal with you.” They sat together and ate this blessed meal. Hazrat Khidr (Alaihis Salaam) then asked, “O Abdul Qadir! What did you eat for the three years while sitting in one spot?” He replied, “Whatever the people had thrown away.”

Encounter with Shaytaan

Sheikh Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jilani (ra)’s son, Sheikh Ziauddeen Abu Nasr Moosa states the following regarding his father’s encounter with Shaytaan during his time in seclusion:

My father, Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jilani (ra) 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 its brightness. He said that he then saw a figure in the cloud which said, “O Abdul Qadir! I am your Creator. I have made everything Halaal for you.” He said that when he heard this, he read the Ta’awooz and the light disappeared immediately and turned into darkness. A voice then said, “O Abdul Qadir! You have been saved because of your knowledge and piety otherwise I have misled many Mystics, with this trap.”

Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jilani (ra) answered by saying, “Verily, it is the Grace of my Creator, which is with me and which has saved me from you.”

I then asked my father how he had known that this was Shaytaan, and he replied, “His saying that he has made that which is Haraam, Halaal upon me, because Allah Ta’ala does not command wrong.”

Places Visited During Journey

Karkh

Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jilani (ra) usually visited the secluded fields of Karkh which were located on one side of Baghdad. This was an ideal place for prayers and devotional practices.

Shustar

For eleven years Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jilani (ra) lived in Shustar, a place twelve days journey from Baghdad. Here, the Sheikh spent his time in prayer and devotional exercises. It was here that Shaytaan attempted to fool the Sheikh, but to no avail.

Burj-Ajami

Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jilani (ra) lived in a tower for eleven years called Burj-Ajami where he fasted and vowed that he would not eat or drink unless food was put into his mouth. The Sheikh narrates:

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 to 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 Sheikh Abu Saeed Al-Mukharrami was passing by me. With his spiritual strength, he heard the noise from inside my stomach. He came close to me and said, “O Abdul Qadir! 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 Hazrat Khidr (Alaihis Salaam) arrived and said, “Stand up and go to the house of Abu Saeed Al-Mukharrami.” Thus, I stood up and went to the house of Sheikh Abu Saeed Al-Mukharrami and found him standing at the door of his house. On seeing me he said, “O Abdul Qadir! Was my saying not sufficient for you that Hazrat Khidr (Alaihis Salaam) had to command you to come to my house?” Saying this, he then took me into his house and fed me with his own hands until I had eaten and drank enough.”

Sheikh Abu Saeed Al-Mukharrami bestowed Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jilani (ra) with a Khirqa (Sufi robe), blessed him with the highest spiritual status and the rank of Khalifa.

Aiwan Kasra

Sheikh Abu Muhammad Talha bin Muzaffer (may mercy of Allah be upon him) narrates:

Once the Sheikh, talking about the days of his spiritual exercise, revealed: “I once had nothing to eat for 20 days. During this period, I proceeded to the ruins of the palace of Aiwan Kasra in search of fruit or something permitted. There I found 70 saints already searching for some food."

Having seen this, I returned to Baghdad. On my way I met a person who gave me some money and revealed that it was sent by my mother. I took the money and went straight to those 70 saints whom I had previously seen. I kept a little with me and distributed the rest among them. With the rest of the money that I had kept, I purchased some food and shared it with the poor and hungry.”

Madain

The Sheikh also lived and spent his time in devotion in the ruins of Madain.

Return to Baghdad

Before his return, he saw in a vision that he was walking along a street in Baghdad, where a sick and emaciated man lying on the roadside greeted him. When the Sheikh answered the salutation, the man asked him to help him to sit up. On the Saint's giving him the help asked for, the man sat up and began to grow miraculously big in stature. Seeing the Saint frightened at the phenomenon, the stranger allayed his fear saying, "I am the religion of your grandfather. I became diseased and miserable, but God has revived me through your help. This event fore-shadowed the future career of the Sheikh in terms of reviving the religion of Islam.

He was over fifty years old by the time he returned to Baghdad, in 521 AH /1127 AD, where he began to preach in public. Hazrat Abu Saeed Al-Mukharrami appointed Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jilani (ra) his successor as Principal of the School of Hanbalite Law (Madrassa Babul Ajaz), a post which he held for over thirty years.

On returning to Baghdad from his spiritual journey Sheikh Abdul Qadir faced a tribulation which was overcome with majestic wisdom. Many of the Islamic elite of Baghdad were perturbed by the return of Sheikh Abdul Qadir who, due to his great reputation and spiritual status, had amassed a large following of disciples. The scholars gathered and devised a way by which they could send a clear message to Sheikh Abdul Qadir indicating their displeasure at his presence in Baghdad.

They ordered a large vessel be filled to the brim and sent it to the quarters of Sheikh Abdul Qadir. The container represented Baghdad and the water represented the scholars in Baghdad. This indicated that Baghdad hadn’t any more room for a new Sheikh.

With an ingenious stroke of wisdom and demonstrating his extraordinary powers, the Sheikh plucked a rose which he placed on top of the water. He then ordered the vessel be taken back to the senders who on seeing it, immediately acknowledged the great spiritual wisdom of the Sheikh and assigned him the title ‘The Rose of Baghdad’.

During the month of Shawwal, 521 AH, Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jilani (ra) saw Allah’s Messenger ﷺ in his dream advising him to make a speech in order to impart his knowledge to others.

Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jilani (ra) asked to be blessed with the eloquence of an Arab, as he was an Ajmi (non-Arab). Allah’s Messenger ﷺ recited the following verse seven times and blew on the face of the Sheikh:

Yusuf Ali: Invite (all) to the Way of thy Lord with wisdom and beautiful preaching; and argue with them in ways that are best and most gracious: for thy Lord knoweth best, who have strayed from His Path, and who receive guidance.

The same day after Zuhr prayer, Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jilani (ra) mounted the pulpit and addressed the people with a sermon. The audience was entranced by his words. When Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jilani (ra) spoke he was prompted by the Grace of Allah causing the miraculous and revolutionary impact of his words.

Hazrat Abu Abdullah Abdul Wahab, the son of Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jilani (ra) reports:

The Sheikh delivered his sermons thrice in a week. Once on Friday and Saturday or Tuesday in his madrassa (academy) and in his Ribat (guesthouse) on every Sunday. His assemblies were packed to full capacity by men of high stature, religious teachers, guides, leaders, divines, saints, mystics etc. He performed this sacred duty for a full forty years. Four hundred men remained engaged throughout in recording his speeches. When there was no space left in the hall, his audience took his chair to a vast field to quench the spiritual thirst of men in thousands. As per Akhbar-ul-Akhyar the number of those in the audience at times reached 70 thousand. His sermons made such an impact upon their hearts that some of them would fall unconscious. Hundreds of Jews and Christians would embrace Islam. Akhbar-ul-Akhyar, Tuhfa-e-Quadiria, Fauz-ul-Matalib etc. report that 500 Jews and the Christians had embraced Islam only under the influence of his sermons. Thousands of wrong-doers and transgressors returned to the path of guidance and righteousness after seeking forgiveness from Almighty Allah."

Besides giving sermons, every day in the morning and afternoon the Sheikh gave lessons in Quran Tafsir, Hadith, principles of Islamic law and other allied subjects. After midday prayers he was seen issuing fatwas or verdicts on legal questions presented to him from all parts of the world. Every evening before Maghrib prayers, he would distribute bread among the poor. After the evening prayers it was his habit to sit for dinner because usually he fasted during the day throughout the year. Before every such meal it was his practice to have it proclaimed that anybody who needed food in the neighbourhood could come and join him. After Isha prayers, in the manner of all saintly persons, he would retire to his chamber and spend the greater part of the night in the worship of God, a practice recommended by the Holy Quran for all who would claim to be in close spiritual relationship with the Holy Prophet ﷺ. As a true follower of the Holy Prophet ﷺ, he used to serve humanity during the day and serve his Creator during the greater part of the night.

Miracles

Among the Awliya-Allah, Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jilani (ra) performed the greatest number of miracles.

Family

Up until 521 AH, at age of fifty-one, he never thought of marriage. He even regarded it as a sort of impediment in the path of spiritual efforts. But as he came to establish contact with the people, in obedience to the commandment of the Holy Prophet ﷺ and in deference to his example, he married four wives, all of whom were models of virtue and devoted to him:

  • Sayyida Bibi Madina
  • Sayyida Bibi Sadiqa
  • Sayyida Bibi Mu'minah
  • Sayyida Bibi Mahboobah

He had forty-nine children; twenty-seven sons and twenty-two daughters. Many of his sons became famous for their education and learning, and they and their descendants spread Islam in other parts of the world:

  • Sheikh Saifuddin Abdul Wahab
  • Sheikh Sharfuddin Abu Muhammad Issa
  • Sheikh Hafiz Abdul Razzak Tajuddin
  • Sheikh Abu Bakr Abdul Aziz
  • Sheikh Sirajuddin Abdul Jabbar
  • Sheikh Yahya
  • Sheikh Musa
  • Sheikh Abul Fazl Muhammad
  • Sheikh Abu Ishaq Ibrahim
  • Sheikh Abdullah
  • Sheikh Abdur Rehman
  • Sheikh Abu Nasser Musa

Final Advice and Passing On

When the Sheikh was suffering from illness, his son Abdul Wahab asked him: "Give me a parting admonition on which I should act after you have left this world." The Sheikh replied:

You must observe your duty to Allah, fear no one but Allah, pin your hopes on no one but Allah, and entrust all your needs to Allah. Do not rely on anyone but Him, address all your requests to Him, and put your trust in no one other than Allah. Affirm His Oneness. All is contained within the affirmation of His Oneness.

It is further reported that his son, Sheikh Abdul Aziz, asked him about his disease. On this he said:

Surely no one, neither any man nor any jinn, nor any angel knows or understands my disease. The knowledge of God is not diminished by the command of God. The command changes but the knowledge does not change. The command may be abrogated but not knowledge. God causes to pass away and establishes what He pleases, and with Him is the basis of the Book:

Yusuf Ali: He cannot be questioned for His acts, but they will be questioned (for theirs).

It has also been reported that his son Sheikh Abdul Jabbar asked him: "Which part of your body gives you pain?" He replied :

All my organs are hurting me except my heart. There is no pain there, for it is with Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He).

Then death came to him, as he was saying:

Seek help in the words: There is none worthy of worship but Allah, Glorified and Exalted is He, the Ever-Living, Who has no fear of passing away. Glory be to Him Who exults in His omnipotence, and subdues His servants with death. There is none worthy of worship but Allah. Muhammad ﷺ is Allah's Messenger.

His son Sheikh Musa told us that when death approached the presence of the Sheikh, he was trying to say the word "ta'azzaza" ["exults"], but could not get the pronunciation right, so he kept on repeating "ta-'az-za-za," slowly and emphatically, until his tongue shot it out. Then he said: "Allah, Allah, Allah," till his voice grew faint and his tongue was cleaving to the roof of his mouth. Then his noble spirit left his body.

Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jilani (ra) passed away in 561 AH (1166 AD), at the age of ninety-one (or ninety-two according to another narrative). It has been reported that such a large number of people had gathered for his funeral procession that his family members had to bury him during the night.

The day was the 11th of Rabi' al-Thani. This date is commemorated by his admirers up to this day and is known as Giarwin Sharif in the Indo-Pakistan sub-continent.

Works

Some of Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jilani (ra)'s well known works include:

  • Futuh al-Ghaib (Revelations of the Unseen) - 78 discourses, fairly short and to the point but very powerful.
  • Al-Fath ar-Rabbani (The Sublime Revelation) - 62 discourses definitely longer, given in the Ribaat and Madrasa in Baghdad AH 545-546.
  • Jala' al-Khawatir (The Removal of Cares) - 45 discourses, also in the same locations, given in the year AH 546.
  • Kitab Sirr al-Asrar wa Mazhar al-Anwar (The Book of the Secret of Secrets and the Manifestation of Lights)
  • Malfuzat (Utterances) - This is a collection of various sayings of Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jilani (ra). Generally it is found at the end of the hand copied Arabic manuscripts of Fath ar-Rabbani.
  • Al-Ghunya li-Talibi Tariq al-Haqq (Sufficient Provision for Seekers of the Path of Truth) - also known in the Indian sub-continent as Al-Ghunya li-Talibin. These five volumes, written by the Sheikh, at the request of one of his murids, is a comprehensive guide to all aspects of Islam, both the inward and the outward.
  • Khamsata 'Ashara Maktuban (Fifteen Letters) - These are 15 letters originally written in Persian by Sheikh Abdul Qadir to one of his murids.
  • Al-Fuyudat al-Rabbaniyya (Emanations of Lordly Grace)
  • Bashair al-Khairat (Glad Tidings of Good Things) - A Salawat by Sheikh Abdul Qadir by way of inspiration from Allah.
  • Answers to Various Important Questions - Contains many concise answers to very important questions regarding a variety of topics.
  • Special Prayers - Contains many special invocations taught to us by the Sheikh for their special blessings.
  • Gate of Poverty - Contains the story excerpted from Necklaces of Gems of the Sheikh’s struggle with the Devil Armies, Iblis himself, and his lower self (nafs).

Mausoleum

Because of Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jilani (ra)’s reputation and holiness, there is a great interest in his tomb, which is visited by thousands of people. The tomb was in a small room of the school but part of the building was transformed into a mosque that has been expanding over the years. A marvellous dome was built on the winter prayer room. The biggest dome in Iraq built in 941 AH/ 1534 AD is white and has impressive dimensions and splendid architecture and decorations which can be seen from afar. It has been repainted from time to time. In 1970, it was extensively restored; the blue dome was renewed and other domes, decorated with Qashani, were built close to the white dome.

This mausoleum is considered one of the largest holy places in Iraq, with its numerous internal and external additions. It has a big esplanade and a "musalla" (place of prayer) capable of welcoming 1,100 persons. It is surrounded by a building on two levels consisting of 66 modern, furnished rooms, serving as residences for the sheikhs. There are also other rooms for Zikr, that is usually held on Friday evenings, or on some religious occasions, such as the Mawlid (birthday of the Prophet ﷺ), or at the time of the burial of the sheikhs and eminent personalities.

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