Hazrat Abu Muhammad Muhiyuddin Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jilani
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.
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 . 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 . 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). He was a very patient, humble, kind and sincere person. Sayyida Aisha Zaahida (ra) was the paternal aunt of Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jilani (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:
- Sheikh Ma’roof Karki (ra)
- Sheikh Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal (ra)
- Sheikh Bishr Haafi (ra)
- Sheikh Mansoor bin Amaar (ra)
- Sayyiduna Junaid al-Baghdadi (ra)
- Sheikh Sahl bin Abdullah Tastari (ra)
- Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jilani (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)
According to authentic narrations, Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jilani (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) 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) 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 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.
Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jilani (ra) was not like other children who spent their time in play and amusement. From a tender age he spent his time in the remembrance of Almighty Allah. If he at any time ever intended to join the other children, then a Voice from the Unseen would be heard to say, “Come towards Me, O blessed one.” At first, Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jilani (ra) would become afraid when he heard this voice. He would go to his mother and sit on her lap. As time passed, he became accustomed to this voice. Instead of going to his mother, he would abandon the thought of playing and occupy himself in the remembrance of Almighty Allah.
Passing on of Sheikh Abu Saleh Moosa (ra)
After the passing on of his father, his grandfather, Sheikh Abdullah Sauma’ee (ra) took care of him. It was his grandfather that was responsible for the marriage of the parents of the great Saint. He moulded Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jilani (ra) from childhood into the personality that he was to be. He blessed Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jilani (ra) with gems of spiritualism. He nurtured him with gentleness and showered him with words of wisdom.
Commencement of Academic Studies
When Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jilani (ra) was four and a half years old, and according to certain narrations, five years old, his mother enrolled him into a local Madrassa in Jilan. He studied at this Madrassa until the age of ten. During this period, a certain amazing event occurred. Whenever Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jilani (ra) would enter the Madrassa he would see bright figures walking ahead of him saying, “Give way to the Friend of Allah.” His son, Sayyidi Abdur Razzaq (ra), reports that once Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jilani (ra) was asked when he first came to know of his Wilayah the great Ghaus (ra) replied: “When I was ten years old, I found Angels walking beside me on my way to the Madrassa. When we reached the Madrassa I would hear them say, ‘Give way to the Wali Allah, Give way to the Wali Allah.’ It was when this continued that I knew that I had been blessed with Wilayah”.
Passing on of Sheikh Abdullah Sauma’ee (ra)
Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jilani (ra) was still a student at the Madrassa in Baghdad when his grandfather, Sheikh Abdullah Sauma’ee (ra) passed away. After the demise of his grandfather, the responsibility for his education fell upon his mother. She fulfilled this responsibility with great patience, sincerity and dedication. Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jilani (ra) was about 18 years old when this incident took place.
One day, he left his home for a walk. As he walked along the streets of Jilan he saw an ox in front of him. He walked behind it for some time. The ox then turned around and spoke to him in the language of humans. It said: “You have not been created for this and you have not been commanded to do this.” He immediately returned home and explained this incident to his mother. He requested permission from his mother to journey to Baghdad in order to complete his academic studies and seek more spiritual knowledge. His mother, who was now 78 years old, acceded to this noble request without a second thought.
It was such a time where parents in their old age usually depend on their children for moral and financial support, but this pious and pure servant of Allah only wanted the pleasure of Almighty Allah and His Rasool ﷺ. Whilst she was very attached to Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jilani (ra), she did not let her personal feelings come before the pleasure of Allah. She wanted her son to be a man of knowledge and wisdom. In those days, people used to travel either by foot or by camel or another animal. The roads passed through dense forests and jungles and there was always the danger of travellers being robbed and killed by bandits. Sayyida Ummul Khair Fatima (ra) knew of the dangers but still supported her son’s. She wished him well with her Du’as. She said: “O my dear son! I have now become very old and I do not think I will ever get to see you again, but my Du’as will always be with you. May Almighty Allah grant you success in your quest for academic and spiritual knowledge.”
She then said: “Your deceased father left eighty Dinars from which I am giving you forty Dinars for your journey and forty Dinars I will keep for your younger brother, Sayyid Abu Ahmad Abdullah.” She took the forty Dinars and sewed them under the arm of his coat. She once again made Du’a for him. On bidding him farewell, she gave him the following advice: “O’ my beloved son! Let this advice, which I am about to give you be an important part of your life. Always speak the truth! Do not even think of lies.” The young Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jilani (ra) said, “My dear mother! I promise from my heart that I will always act upon your advice.” Sayyida Fatima (ra) then embraced the apple of her eye with love and motherly gentleness for the last time, and with the words, “Go! May Allah be with you. It is He who is your Helper and Protector”. The journey to Baghdad began.
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.
When he arrived in Baghdad, Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jilani (ra) already spent the forty Dirhams given to him by his mother. Without any money, he began to spend his days in hunger and poverty. Due to immense poverty, he went towards the Arcade of Chosroes in search of Halaal food. When he reached the Arcade, he found that there were already seventy Awliya Allah in search of Halaal food. Since he did not wish to be in their way, he returned to Baghdad.
On his way back, he met a traveller from Jilan. When he heard that Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jilani (ra) was from Jilan, he asked him if he knew a young man by the name of “Abdul Qadir”. Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jilani (ra) informed him that he was Abdul Qadir. The traveller then handed a block of gold to Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jilani (ra) saying that it had been sent to him by his mother. When Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jilani (ra) heard this, he immediately made the Shukr of Almighty Allah. He then returned to the Arcade of Chosroes where he presented most of the gold to the Awliya Allah who were in search of food. He then took a little for himself and returned to Baghdad.
On his return to Baghdad, he prepared meals and fed the poor and then shared this meal with them. This alone shows the character of the great Ghaus that even though he was without food, he first gave most of his gold to the Awliya Allah, then fed the poor before eating the food himself. Without doubt, this is the sign of a true servant of Allah.
It was in this manner that the life of Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jilani (ra) commenced in the holy city of Baghdad.
Attaining Academic Knowledge
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:
- Fiqah (Jurisprudence)
- Tafsir (Commentary of the Holy Qur’an)
- Sunnah of the Holy Prophet
- Hadith (Traditions of the Holy Prophet(saw))
- 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.