Al-Syed Muhiyudin Abu Muhammad Abdal Qadir al-Gaylani al-Hasani wal-Hussaini, (Persian: عبد القادر گیلانی Abdolɢāder Gilāni) (also spelled Abdulqadir Gaylani, Abdelkader, Abdul Qadir, Abdul Khadir – Jilani, Jeelani, Jilali, Gailani, Gillani, Gilani,Al Gilani) (470–561 A.H.)(1077–1166 A.D.) was a Persian Hanbali (Hambali) preacher, Sufi sheikh and the figurehead of the Qadiri Sufi order. He was born on the 1st Ramadan in 470 A.H., 1078 A.D., in the Persian province of Gilan (Iran) south of the Caspian Sea.
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.
This Sultan al Auliya was born in the city of Jilan [Persia] in 1078 A.D [471 A.H]. Since childhood he exhibited traits of a unique personality. He did not play around casually with other children his age. Whenever he was tempted to join in with the other children gamboling in the streets, he would hear a Heavenly Voice calling out to him, “O’ Divinely Blessed, come to Me, I created you for My sake and not for play.” Frightened by the call from the unseen, he would run to the security of his mother’s lap. He was a shy and quiet lad, given to meditation and reflection. Having lost his father very early in childhood, he was looked after by his maternal grandfather. By the age of five he was left alone with his mother as his sole guardian. Ghous al Azam’s mother being a woman of exceptional piety herself, sowed the seeds of spiritual longing in her son’s heart. He completed his primary and further education in Jilan by the age of eighteen. One day on the eve of Eid al Adha, he went to the fields to till the farmland. While he was driving the oxen, one turned around and said “you are not created for this”. Terrified he ran back to the house and climbed the roof. Standing there in disturbed perplexity, he witnessed the gathering of the pilgrims in the plain of Arafat right before his eyes. From that moment, an uncontrollable fire raged in his heart and soul to travel to Baghdad [a great centre for spiritual learning at the time] for seeking further knowledge. The mother who was quite old by now, judging that she would not see her son again once he left, nevertheless, permitted him to continue as she did not want to hinder his search for God. Her parting words to the beloved son cautioned him to always speak the truth, to be diligent in the observance of Divine Commands, keep away from the unlawful and be content with the Divine Decree. Taking the forty dinars that his mother gifted him, Abdul Qadir left for Baghdad.
His journey to Baghdad is famous for the incident that led to the conversion of a band of robbers to the way of Islam. The brigands attacked and looted the caravan. Abdul Qadir, whose appearance amply reflected his modesty, was matter of factly asked whether he was carrying anything valuable. Much to the surprise of the robbers he replied that he had forty dinars on him that were stitched into the inner part of his sleeve. Out of curiosity, the chief ordered the boy to give proof of his frankness. The garment was cut open and the forty dinars retrieved. When the chief questioned Abdul Qadir as to why he divulged the truth about his hidden treasure whereas he could have easily kept it hidden, he replied that it was in keeping with the parting promise he had made to his mother that he could not lie. This confession moved the chief to tears and saying that “you cannot disobey your mother, and I have been disobeying the Lord all my life”, he repented and strengthened his spiritual resolve at the hands of Ghous al Azam. Such was the charismatic power and spiritual benediction of Abdul Qadir even at this young age.
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.
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 the spiritual journey.
After completion of education, Abdul Qadir Jilani abandoned the city of Baghdad, and spent twenty-five years as a wanderer in the desert regions of Iraq as a recluse.
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.
Gilani died on Saturday night 1166 (11th Rabi’ al-thani 561AH on the Islamic calendar) at the age of nighty one years, and was entombed in a shrine within his Madrassa in Baghdad. 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.
The Shaikh had four virtuous wives and forty-nine children, twenty-seven sons and twenty-two daughters. 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, Somalia, Eritrea).
He died on the 11th of Rabi’ al-thani. He was born in late Sha’aban or early Ramadhan for he was known as an infant to abstain from suckling during the day of Ramadhan.
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)
- Malfuzat (Utterances)
- Futuh al-Ghaib (Revelations of the Unseen)
- Jala’ al-Khatir (The Removal of Care)
Source: www.jinnahsequaid.com, www.nazr-e-kaaba.com