Sheikh Muhyiddeen Abdul Qadir Gilani , Abdul Qadir al-Gilani or Abdul Qadir el-Gilani
(Arabic: عبد القادر الجيلانى
(1077 – 1166 CE) was a mystic scholar and saint of Islam. He
was the luminary of his time in the Islamic spiritual sciences and in the disciplines of the Divine Law (He
was a follower of the Hanbali school of law). His contribution and renown in the sciences of Sufism and Sharia was so immense
that he became known as the spiritual pole of his time, al-Gauth al Azam.
His writings were similar to those of al-Ghazali in that they dealt with both the fundamentals of Islam
and the mystical experience of Sufism. Many of his works take the form of sermons which he delivered to his students (whom
he had many) The most popular of his books are the Ghunyat, a collection of books that deal with the 5 pillars of Islam.
Later a Sufi order, the Qadariyya(Qadiri) based upon his teachings, formed.
Shaykh Abdul Qadir Jilani's Genealogy
The most universally acclaimed saint of all times and the most celebrated in all the alamin (worlds),
among jinn and men as well as among the arwaah (souls), the malaaika (angels), and the rijaal ul ghayb (men of the unseen),
the beloved of Allah Ta'ala who throughout history has been showered the titles of Muhyiddin (reviver of the faith), Qutb
Rabbani (the spiritual axis established by the Lord), and Ghawth al A'zam (the greatest helper, the greatest saint), Sayyidi
wa Imami Abu Muhammad Abdul Qadir Jilani, Rahmatulla was born in Ramadan 470 A.H/1077 C.E in Jilan, Persia. His father, Abu
Salih, was a man of taqwa (piety) and a direct descendant of Sayyidina Imam Hasan ibn Ali Rady Allahu Anhu. His mother, Ummul
Khayr Fatima was a saintly daughter of a saintly father Shaykh Abdullah Sawma'i who was a direct descendant of Sayyidsh shuhadaa
Imam Husayn ibn Ali Rady Allahu Anhu.
Thus Muhyiddin Shaykh Abdul Qadir Jilani was both Hasani and Husayni, a descendant of the Holy Prophet
Muhammad, Sallallahu alayhi wa Sallam from his beloved daughter Sayyidatina Fatima az-Zahra, Rady Allahu Anha. For this reason,
the Sindhis for example, lovingly call him "putar mithe mahbub jo" (the blessed son of the sweet beloved Holy Prophet), Sallallahu
alayhi wa Sallam.
The genealogical roots of Shaykh Abdul Qadir Jilani Rady Allahu Anhu can be traced to Habib
ul Azam Sayyidina Muhammad, Sallallahu alayhi wa Sallam, as follows:
Gawth al Azam Sayyidina Shaykh Abdul Qadir Jilani, son of As-Sayyid Abu Salih Musa Jangi Dost, son
of As-Sayyid Abdallah al-Jili, son of As-Sayyid Yahya as-Zahid, son of As-Sayyid Muhammad, son of As-Sayyid Dawud, son of
As-Sayyid Musa, son of As-Sayyid Abdallah, son of As-Sayyid Musa al-Jawn, son of As-Sayyid Abdallah al-Mahd, son of As-Sayyid
al-Imaam al-Hasan al-Muthanna, son of Sayyidina al-Imam al-Hasan, Rady Allahu Anhu, son of Imam ul mashariqi wal magharib,
Sayyidina Ali ibn Abi Talib, Rady Allahu Anhu, and of Sayyidatina Fatima az-Zahra, Rady Allahu Anha, the blessed daughter
of Khaatam an-Nabiyyin Habibi Rabalaalamin Sayyidina wa Mawlana Muhammad ibn Abdillah, Nurin min Nurillah, Allahumma Salli
wa Sallim wa Baarik alayh.
How Shaykh Abdul Qadir Jilani Spread Islam
Shaykh ‘Abdul Qadir Jilani, Rady Allahu ‘Anhu 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 teaching and preaching 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 the translation of Sirr al-Asrar (The Secret of Secrets, p XXXI). Shaykh ‘Abdul Qadir Jilani says in the 35th Discourse
(khutba) in Al-Fath-ur-Rabbani (The Endowment of Divine Grace) that this was among the blessings of our beloved Prophet Muhammad,
peace and blessings of Allah be upon him.
Shaykh ‘Abdul Qadir Jilani, Rady Allahu ‘Anhu 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, and
they and their descendants spread Islam in other parts of the world.
Shaykh ‘Abdul Qadir Jilani Rady Allahu ‘Anhu passed away with the zikr of Allah on his
lips on 11 Rabi’ u’l Akhir 561 A.H, 1166 C.E, at the age of 91. A special zikr session is held that night. It
is variously known as Khatm Gawthiyya, Ziyara Shaykh ‘Abdul Qadir Jilani, ‘Urs Shareef, or Gyarween Shareef. In
Eastern Africa, a whole night zikr session is held in congregation ending with Fajr salah after which breakfast is served.
In some places, zikr sessions continue for days. These zikr sessions draw murideen (spiritual seekers) in their thousands
who come out spiritually rejuvenated, with their characters transformed and refined, ready to sacrifice everything they have
for the sake of Allah. And these halaqa (gatherings) of zikr in Tariqatul Qadiriyya 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.
Besides this annual zikr congregation, zikr sessions are also held on the eleventh of every month (hence
called Gyarween Shareef in Urdu), as well as every Thursday night, as the night before Jumu’a is considered auspicious.
The murideen (spiritual seekers) also do zikr everyday individually in a mosque or at home. This then is one of the enduring
legacies of Shaykh ‘Abdul Qadir Jilani, Rady Allahu ‘Anhu.
Other mashaayikh (spiritual masters) came who continued with the work of Shaykh ‘Abdul Qadir
Jilani. A few examples suffice to illustrate this. The first example is that of Khawaja Mu'inuddin Chishti Ajmeri Rahmatullahi
‘alayh (passed away 627 A.H/1230 C.E), who acknowledged Shaykh ‘Abdul Qadir Jilani as his Shaykh and spread Islam
in India. He achieved such a high spiritual status that he is called Sultanu’l 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 Gawth al A'zam.
In the same way Shaykh Uways ibn Muhammad Rahmatullahi ‘alayh (1263-1326 A.H, 1847-1909 C.E) of Somalia became a khalifa
(vicegerent) in Tariqatu’l 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, Rahmatullahi ‘alayh, considered
to be one of the greatest saints in Indonesia in the 16th century C.E. proudly proclaimed that he learned Islam from Shaykh
‘Abdul Qadir Jilani.
It can truly be said that the muhibbin (loving disciples) of Shaykh ‘Abdul Qadir Jilani Rady
Allahu ‘Anhu have spread Islam throughout the world through zikr. The barakaat (blessings) of zikr are truly unending.
May Allah Ta'ala make us among the zakirin (those who remember Him), Aameen.
And the granting of wilayah (the status of a saint) by Allah Ta'ala to the zakirin (those who remember
Him), ‘abidin (those who worship Him), salihin (pious), and muhibbin (those who love Him and the Holy Prophet Muhammad)
is in all instances mediated by the Holy Prophet Muhammad Sallallahu ‘alayhi wa Sallam, Shaykh ‘Abdul Qadir Jilani
and one's own Shaykh. After all, the awliya Allah (Friends of Allah) and the ‘ulama (learned scholars) are the Khalifatullah,
vicegerants of Allah. Allahumma’j’alnaa fee zumrati’l awliya wa’s salihin (O Allah! Keep us in the
company of the saints and the pious), Aameen Yaa Rabba’l ‘Aalamin.
The Shaykh's Names & Titles
Shaykh :- A term applied throughout the Islamic world to respected persons of recognized
seniority in learning, experience and wisdom. Its basic meaning in Arabic is "an elder; a man over fifty years of age. (The
spellings Sheikh and Shaykh may also be encountered in English language publications.)
'Abd al-Qadir :- This is the author's personal name, meaning "Servant [or Slave] of the
All-Powerful." (The form 'Abdul Qaadir, which the reader may come across elsewhere, is simply an alternative transliteration
of the Arabic spelling.) It has always been a common practice, in the Muslim community, to give a male child a name in which
'Abd is prefixed to one of the Names of Allaah.
Al-Jilani :- A surname ending in -ii will often indicate the bearer's place of birth. Shaikh
'Abd al-Qaadir was born in the Iranian district of Giilaan, south of the Caspian Sea, in A.H. 470/1077-8 C.E. (In some texts,
the Persian spelling Giilaanii is used instead of the arabicized form al-Jiilaanii. The abbreviated form al-Jiilii, which
may also be encountered, should not be confused with the surname of the venerable 'Abd al-Karim al-Jiilii, author of the celebrated
work al-Insaan al-Kaamil, who came from Jiil in the district of Baghdaad.)
Let us now consider a slightly longer version of the Shaikh's name, as it occurs near the beginning
of Al-Fath ar-Rabbaanii [The Sublime Revelation]: Sayyidunaa 'sh-Shaikh Muhyi'd-Diin Abuu Muhammad 'Abd al-Qaadir (Radiya'llaahu
Sayyidunaa 'sh-Shaykh :- "Our Master, the Shaykh." A writer who regards himself as a Qaadirii,
a devoted follower of Shaikh 'Abd al-Qaadir, will generally refer to the latter as Sayyidunaa [our Master], or Sayyidii [my
Muhyi'd-Diin :- "Reviver of the Religion." It is widely acknowledged
by historians, non-Muslim as well as Muslim, that Shaikh 'Abd al-Qaadir displayed great courage in reaffirming the traditional
teachings of Islaam, in an era when sectarianism was rife, and when materialistic and rationalistic tendencies were predominant
in all sections of society. In matters of Islamic jurisprudence [fiqh] and theology [kalaam], he adhered quite strictly to
the highly "orthodox" school of Imaam Ahmad ibn Hanbal.
Abu Muhammad :- "Father of Muhammad." In the Arabic system of nomenclature, a man's surnames
usually include the name of his first-born son, with the prefix Abuu [Father of–].
Radiya'llaahu 'anh :- "May Allaah be well pleased with him!" This benediction is the one
customarily pronounced–and spelled out–in writing after mentioning the name of a Companion of the Prophet (Allaah
bless him and give him peace). The preference for this particular invocation is yet another mark of the extraordinary status
held by Shaikh 'Abd al-Qaadir in the eyes of his devoted followers.
Finally, we must note some important elements contained within this even longer version: al-Ghawth
al-A'zam Sultaan al-Awliyaa' Sayyidunaa 'sh-Shaykh Muhyi'd-Diin 'Abd al-Qaadir al-Jiilaanii al-Hasanii al-Husainii (Radiya'llaahu
Al-Ghawth al-A'zam :- "The Supreme Helper" (or, "The Mightiest Succor").
Ghawth is an Arabic word meaning:
(1) A cry for aid or succor.
(2) Aid, help, succor; deliverance from adversity.
(3) The chief of the Saints, who is empowered by Allaah to bring succor to suffering humanity, in response
to His creatures' cry for help in times of extreme adversity.
Sultaan al-Awliyaa' :- "The Sultan of the Saints." This reinforces the preceding title,
emphasizing the supremacy of the Ghawth above all other orders of sanctity.
al-Hasanii al-Husainii:- "The descendant of both al-Hasan and al-Husain, the grandsons of the
Prophet (Allaah bless him and give him peace)." To quote the Turkish author, Shaikh Muzaffer Ozak Efendi (may Allaah bestow
His mercy upon him): "The lineage of Shaikh 'Abd al-Qaadir is known as the Chain of Gold, since both his parents were descendants
of the Messenger (Allaah bless him and give him peace). His noble father, 'Abdullaah, traced his descent by way of Imaam Hasan,
while his revered mother, Umm al-Khair, traced hers through Imaam Husain."
As for the many other surnames, titles and honorific appellations that have been conferred upon
Shaikh 'Abd al-Qadir al-Jilani, it may suffice at this point to mention al-Baaz al-Ashhab [The Gray Falcon].