Shaykh Mohiyadeen Abdul Al Qadir Al Jilani [RA] [Ghousul A'lam]

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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 'anh).

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 Master].

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 'anh).

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].