Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jilani Part 2
According to Shaykh Imam Taqiyyu 'd-din Muhammad al-Wa'iz al-Lubnani [the Lebanese] (may ALLAH bestow His pardon upon him), in his book entitled "The Garden of the Pious and the Virtues of the Excellent" [Rawdat al-Abrar wa Mahasin al-Akhyar], this is what happened- when he –Hazrat Shaikh Sayyed 'Abd al-Qadir Jilani (RA)- was about to enter Baghdad, he was stopped by Hazrat al-Khidr (peace be upon him), who prevented him from entering the city, and told him: "I have no instruction to allow you to enter for the next seven years." He therefore settled on the bank [of the River Tigris] for seven years, gathering vegetables of the kind permissible to eat, to the point where his neck was becoming tinged with the color green. Then he got up one night and heard a voice addressing him with the words: "O 'Abd al-Qadir, enter Baghdad!"
He thereupon entered the city. The night was rainy and cold, so he approached the convent [zawiya] of Shaykh Hammad ibn Muslim ad-Dabbas (RA), but the Shaykh said: "Lock the door of the convent, and put out the light!" Huzoor Sheikh Sayyed Abdul Qadir Jilani (RA) just sat down by the door, and ALLAH (Exalted is He) cast sleep upon him, so he fell asleep. When he awoke, he was in a state of major ritual impurity [due to the emission of semen], so he performed a total ablution. Then ALLAH (Exalted is He) cast sleep upon him again, and again he lost his state of ritual purity. This same experience was repeated seventeen times, and he performed a complete ablution in the wake of each occurrence. Finally, when the dawn was at hand, the door was opened and Huzoor Sheikh 'Abdul-Qadir Jilani (RA) stepped inside.
Huzoor Sheikh Syed Abdul Qadir Jilani Al-Hassani wal Hussaini- (RA) meets Shaykh Hammad ad-Dabbas (RA).
Shaykh Hammad (RA) came forward to welcome him, embraced him and gave him a hug. There were tears in his eyes as he said to him: "O my son, 'Abd al-Qadir, today it is our turn to be in charge here, but tomorrow it will be yourturn. So, when you have taken charge, deal fairly with this old head of gray hair!"
(This concludes the excerpt from "The Garden of the Pious and the Virtues of the Excellent" [Rawdat al-Abrar wa Mahasin al-Akhyar].)
The following is a quotation from "The Splendor of the Mysteries" [Bahjat al-Asrar], by Shaikh Imam al-Awhad Nur ad-Din Abu 'l-Hasan 'Ali ibn Jarir ibn Mi'dad ibn Fadl ash-Shafi'i al-Lakhmi:
--“All hail to a newcomer, upon whose arrival the first showers of blissful good fortune began to arrive, for a land in whose towns he alighted, and where the clouds of mercy came in succession, to the general benefit of its modern and its ancient districts, and right guidance was multiplied therein, so that light was shed by its spiritual deputies [abdal] and its mainstays [awtad], and the delegations of good tidings arrived there on one another's heels, so that all its propitious times and festivals [a'yad] dawned brightly, and the heart of 'Iraq began to glow with the light of his love, ecstatic with joy, while the tongue of its frontier access-road responded to the advent of his countenance by uttering encomiums in praise of ALLAH (SWT).”--
[In the words of a poet]:
Upon his arrival the clouds gave forth refreshing rain, and green grass covered the whole of 'Iraq Sinful transgression passed away, and the right direction was made quite clear.
Its palm trees flourished, its desert became a haven, its pebbles turned into pearls, and its lights shone plain to see.
Because of him, the bosom of 'Iraq swelled with an ardent longing, and in the heart of Najd his virtues were the cause of ecstasy.
In the East the sparks of his light were seen as lightning flashes, and in the West the mention of his splendor was heard as the clap of thunder.
(This concludes the excerpt from "The Splendor of the Mysteries" [Bahjat al-Asrar], quoted here in abridged form.)
The Sheikh’s Education
Huzoor Sheikh Syed Abdul Qadir Jilani Al-Hassani wal Hussaini- (RA) embarks on the quest for knowledge.
Huzoor Sheikh Syed Abdul Qadir Jilani Al-Hassani wal Hussaini- (Radi ALLAH-u ta'ala anhu)had come to understand that the pursuit of knowledge ['ilm] is an obligatory religious duty [farida], incumbent on every Muslim, and that it is the cure for sick souls, since it is the most explicit route to true devotion, the most effective evidence thereof, the clearest guidance thereto, the highest of all the ladders of certainty, the loftiest of all the degrees of conviction, the most magnificent of all the ranks of religion, and the most splendid of all the stations held by those who are rightly guided. Because he understood this well, he rolled up the sleeve of earnestness and serious endeavor in the effort to acquire it, and wasted no time in the pursuit of its branches and its roots. He sought out the leading Sheikhs, the signposts of right guidance, the scholars of the Islamic community ['ulama' al-umma]. He embarked on the study of Islamic jurisprudence [Fiqh], after reading the Glorious Qur'an until he was thoroughly familiar with it.
In studying both the inner content and the obvious meaning of Islamic legal doctrine, he derived benefit from the wise instruction of Abu 'l-Wafa 'Ali ibn 'Uqail al-Hanbali, Abu 'l-Khattab Mahfuz al-Kaludhani al-Hanbali (RA)amongst other revered and respected Saints and sheikhs of their time and also, according to some accounts, Abu Saeed al-Mubarak ibn 'Ali al-Mukharrimi al-Hanbali(RA). He learned to recognize the established doctrine of a school of law [madhhab], as well as areas where expert opinions differ, and he mastered both the branches and the roots of the subject.He studied customary good manners [adab] under Abu Zakariyya' Yahya ibn 'Ali at-Tabrizi (RA), and heard the Prophetic Tradition [Hadith] from a number of experts.
Huzoor Sheikh Syed Abdul Qadir Jilani Al-Hassani wal Hussaini- (RA) embarks on the Spiritual Path [Tariqa].
Huzoor Sheikh Syed Abdul Qadir Jilani Al-Hassani wal Hussaini- (Radi ALLAH-u ta'ala anhu) became the pupil of Abu 'l-Khair Hammad ibn Muslim ibn Duruh ad-Dabbas (RA), and from him he acquired knowledge of the Spiritual Path [Tariqa]. From him he received his basic training, and with his help he set out on the spiritual journey. May ALLAH (SWT) be well pleased with them both.
Huzoor Sheikh Syed Abdul Qadir Jilani Al-Hassani wal Hussaini- (RA) took to wearing the noble patched cloak [khirqa], which he received from al-Qadi [the Judge] Abu Saeed al-Mubarak al-Mukharrimi (RA), to whom mention has previously been made. Al-Mukharrimi had worn it after receiving it from Shaikh Abu 'l-Hasan 'Ali ibn Muhammad al-Qurashi(RA), and al-Qurashi had acquired it from Abu 'l-Faraj at-Tartusi(RA), to whom it was handed down by Abu 'l-Fadl 'Abd al-Wahid at-Tamimi(RA), who had received it from the hand of his own Shaikh, Shaikh Abu Bakr ash-Shibli(RA). Ash-Shibli had acquired it from Shaikh Abu 'l-Qasim al-Junaid (RA), and al-Junaid had received it from his maternal uncle, as-Sari as-Saqati (RA), who upon whom it had been bestowed by Shaikh Ma'ruf al-Karkhi (RA). Al-Karkhi had received it from Dawud at-Ta’i (RA), who had obtained it from my master, Habib al-’Ajami (RA). It had been given to Habib al-'Ajami by Shaikh al-Hasan al-Basri(RA), and al-Basri had received it from our patron, the Commander of the Believers [Amir al-Momineen], Sayyedina Imam Ali ibn Abi Talib (may ALLAH ennoble his countenance and be well pleased with him), who had received it from the Chieftain of the Messengers, the Beloved of the Lord of All the Worlds, Muhammad (on him be the most excellent blessing, and the most perfect greeting of peace). As for Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) himself (ALLAH bless him and give him peace), he had received it from Gabriel (peace be upon him), and Gabriel had received it from the Lord of Truth (Magnificent is His Majesty, and Sanctified be His Names).
During his stay in Baghdad, he established, by his conduct, that he was truthful and extremely charitable. During his stay, although he had to endure great hardships, by his natural talents and devotion, he very soon became the Master of Quran, Fiqh, Hadith and Arabic literature, with all its connected branches.
He was once teaching Quran and a verse was read. Several interpretations of the verse citing previous interpretations were quoted. In addition to these interpretations, so many other aspects and meanings of the verse were explained in detail, that Sheikh Jamal-din bin Jowzi, who was amongst the audience and was himself a renowned author of his time, admitted to a companion of his, that he knew of only eleven out of the forty different explanations of the verse given by Hazrat Ghaus-ul-A’zam (RA). Someone asked my master, Shaykh 'Abd al-Qadir Jilani (RA) what he had received from the Lord of Truth (Glorious and Exalted is He), and he replied: "Knowledge ['ilm] and good manners [adab]."
Life In Baghdad
The most attractive part of the life of a Wali is that which deals with his manners and customs as corresponding to those of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) and is in accord with the “Sunnah”. Hazrat Sheikh-ul-Islam, from the very beginning was devoted towards divine love and was engaged also in the service of mankind. He spent practically his whole life in such service to making especially in the educational and spiritual spheres.
In early life as a student during a year of famine in Baghdad- one day he felt very hungry. But he did not have any money to buy food. He was obliged therefore, to proceed towards the bank of the river Tigris to pick up some vegetables to satisfy his hunger. When he found something edible, he did not run ahead of the other hungry persons, who were around him, to first take and have it for himself. Such was his exemplary conduct, even when starving.
Once having been unsuccessful in his attempt to find any food, he returned to Baghdad in an exhausted condition and entered a mosque to take rest. There he found a stranger eating something. The stranger invited him to join and share the food, but he declined though he was on the point of starvation.
The stranger however requested Hazrat again to share his meal for the sake of ALLAH. Then only, he joined him. In the course of conversation the stranger learnt that he was Abdul Qadir of his own town Jilan, and was perturbed. He confessed to Hazrat that his mother had given him eight dinars to be given to him, but as he could not locate him in Baghdad and as he had no food for the last two days, he had that day purchased the meal out of that fund under such extreme circumstances.
He apologized and placed before Hazrat the balance in hand. Hazrat not only pardoned him, but returned to him the balance tendered, thereby depicting his benevolence.
Once in Baghdad deprived of substantial food for 20 days, he proceeded to the ruins of Aewan-I-Kisra to see if he could find any vegetable or edible roots. He preferred such search to seeking help from anyone, under anycircumstances. When he reached there, he found about seventy Walis already there in that same search for food. He returned to town and did not consider it proper to remain there and thereby reduce the quantity that may be found. Upon reaching back to the town, he met an unknown person from his native place. The stranger delivered him some pieces of gold and silver stating that those were sent by the mother of Hazrat Sheikh, to be delivered to him. He took them and immediately went back to the ruins of Kisra and distributed these pieces of gold and silver to those Walis, retaining one, with which he purchased food, which he shared with other needy persons. What a rare example of benevolence indeed.
Shaikh 'Abd al-Qadir's (RA) generous hospitality and his remarkable patience.
Every night, Shaikh 'Abd al-Qadir (may ALLAH be well pleased with him) would order the spreading of the table mat. He would eat with guests, and sit in the company of the handicapped. He was very patient with seekers of knowledge, so that no one who sat with him could imagine himself being treated more generously by anyone else. He would miss any friends who were absent, and would make enquiries about their situation, preserving his affection for them, and pardoning their bad deeds. If someone made him a solemn assurance, on oath, he would take him at his word, while concealing what he actually knew about him.
He had a supply of wheat, cultivated as lawful food [halal] by one of his companions from the rural outskirts, who planted it for him every year. Another friend of his used to grind it and bake it for him, producing four or five flat loaves of bread, which he would bring to him at the end of each day. The Shaikh (may ALLAH be well pleased with him) would then distribute some of the bread among those present in his company, piece by piece. Then he would store the rest for his own purposes. His manservant, Muzaffar, would stand at the door of his house, holding the bread on a tray in his hand, and calling out: "Who would like some bread? Who would like to eat supper? Who would like a place to shelter for the night?" If the Shaikh received a gift, he would distribute it, or part of it, among those present in his company, and he would find some way to compensate the giver. He would also accept a votive offering, and eat some of it himself. May ALLAH be well pleased with him.
In his Ta'rikh [History], the highly erudite scholar Ibn Najjar informs us that it was al-Jubba'i who said:
"Shaikh 'Abd al-Qadir Jilani (RA) once told me: 'I made a thorough scrutiny of all human actions, and I did not find any deed amongst them more meritorious than the providing of food, nor anything more noble than good moral character. I would love to hold this world in my hand, so that I could feed it to the hungry!' He also said to me: 'All I need is a sieve that keeps nothing from passing through. If a thousand dinars [gold coins] came my way, they would not even spend the whole night in my company.'"
It was Ahmad ibn al-Mubarak ar-Marfa'ani who said: "Among those who took tuition in Islamic jurisprudence [Fiqh] from Shaikh 'Abd al-Qadir Jilani (RA) , there was a Persian called Ubayy. He was totally absentminded, devoid of intellectual capacity, and he could hardly understand a thing, except after wearisome trouble and toil. He was there in our class one day, reading aloud to the Shaikh, when in came Ibn as-Samhal, who had just arrived to pay the Shaikh a visit. The visitor was amazed at the Sheikh’s patience with his student, and as soon as Ubayy had got up and left the room, Ibn as-Samhal turned to the Shaikh and said: 'I am truly astonished by your patience with this would-be jurist [mutafaqqih]!' To this the Shaikh replied: 'My tiresome labor with him will be soon be over. Before the week is out, he will have passed on to ALLAH (Exalted is He).' We were so surprised to hear him say such a thing, that we took to counting thedays, one by one, until Ubayy died, on the last day of the week. Ibn as-Samhal was in attendance that day, in orderto join his funeral prayer, and he expressed his amazement at the Sheikh’s announcement of his death, before the arrival of his appointed term. May ALLAH bestow His mercy upon him, and may He be well pleased with our Shaikh!"
Shaikh 'Abd al-Qadir Jilani (RA) entertains the chieftains of Mount Qaf.
Shaikh al-Bata'ihi also said: "When I entered the presence of our master and our very own Shaikh, Shaikh 'Abd al-Qadir (may ALLAH be well pleased with him), one day in his private apartment, I discovered in his company four individuals whom I had never seen before that moment. I therefore stood in my place, until they got up and took their leave of him, at which point the Shaikh said: 'Go and catch up with them, and ask them to offer a prayer of supplication [du'a] on your behalf!' So I caught up with them in the courtyard of the schoolhouse, and asked them to offer a prayer of supplication on my behalf. One of them said to me: 'You deserve our most hearty congratulations! You are the loyal servant of a man by whose blessed grace ALLAH preserves the earth intact, with its level fields and its rugged terrain, its continents and its oceans. In response to his prayer, ALLAH bestows His mercy on all creatures, be they pious or dissolute. We, and all the other saints [Awliya'], are within the safekeeping of the breaths he breathes, under the protection of his foot, and within the orbit of his command.' Then they departed, though I did not see where they went, so I returned to the Shaikh in a state of bewilderment. Before I had told him anything, he said to me: 'O 'Abdu'llah [Servant of ALLAH], you must not let anyone know what they said to you, so long as I am still alive.' 'O my master,' said I, 'who are those men?' and he replied: 'They are the chieftains of Mount Qaf, and they must be back in their own places by now. May ALLAH be well pleased with them!'"
Shaikh 'Abd al-Wahhab describes how his father, Shaikh 'Abd al-Qadir Jilani (RA), conducted his public speaking.
It was our master, Shaikh 'Abd al-Wahhab (may ALLAH bestow His mercy upon him), who said: "My father [Shaikh 'Abd al-Qadir] used to give lectures three times a week: twice at the schoolhouse [Madrasa]-early in the morning on Friday, and in the evening on Tuesday-and once in the guesthouse [rabita], early in the morning on Sunday. His lectures were regularly attended by the religious scholars ['ulama'], the jurists [Fuqaha'] and the Sheikhs, as well as many others. His public speaking was maintained for a period of forty years, starting in the year [A.H.] 521, and ending in the year [A.H.] 561. As for the period during which he also engaged in academic teaching [tadris] and the issuing of legal opinions [fatwa], that lasted for thirty-three years, starting in the year [A.H.] 528, and ending in the year [A.H.] 561. "In the course of his regular public session [majlis], some of the brethren used to perform Qur'anic recitation [qira'a], in a plain and simple style, without the modulations of chanting [alhan]. Qur'anic recitation was also performed at his session by ash-Sharif Mas'ud al-Hashimi.
"It was often the case that two or three men would die during his session.
"Four hundred inkwells were used, by learned men and others, to write down what he was saying in his discourse.
"He would often walk through the air, at some point during his session, taking several steps over the heads of his audience, then returning to the lectern. May ALLAH be well pleased with him!"
Jews and Christians embraced Islam at the hand of Shaikh 'Abd al-Qadir, in the course of his public sessions.
The companions of Shaikh Hammad ad-Dabbas are puzzled by the droning sound he makes during the night, so they ask Shaikh 'Abd al-Qadir Jilani (RA) to seek an explanation from him.
It was Shaikh Abu 'n-Najib 'Abd al-Qahir as-Suhrawardi (may ALLAH bestow His mercy upon him) who said: "A droning sound, like the droning of bees, could be heard every night, in the vicinity of Shaikh Hammad ad-Dabbas. Hiscompanions said to Shaikh 'Abd al-Qadir, one day in the year [A.H.] 580, when he was present in his company: 'Ask him about that!' So he asked him, and Shaikh Hammad told him: 'I have twelve thousand pupils, and I mention them all by their names every night. I beg ALLAH (Almighty and Glorious is He) to attend to the need of each and every one of them. If a pupil of mine is smitten so hard by a sin, that the appetite for it will not become exhausted, I ask Him to relent toward him, and to tolerate with compassion his persistence in that condition.'
"On hearing this, Shaikh 'Abd al-Qadir said: 'If ALLAH (Exalted is He) grants me a station of honor in His sight, I shall obtain from my Lord (Blessed and Exalted is He) a covenant on behalf of my pupils, binding until the Day of Resurrection, to the effect that not one of them will die without being in a state of repentance, and that I must be a guarantor for them in that regard.' Shaikh Hammad then said: 'I bear witness that ALLAH will surely grant him that commitment, and that he will spread the shade of his noble dignity over them. May ALLAH be well pleased with them all.'"
When Shaikh 'Abd al-Qadir Jilani (RA) sneezes, one Friday, the reigning Caliph is terror-stricken by the popular response.
Ibrahim ad-Dari once said: "Every Friday, when our own Shaikh, Shaikh 'Abd al-Qadir (may ALLAH be well pleased with him), was passing by on his way to the congregational mosque [jami'], the people in the markets used to pause from doing business, in order to beg ALLAH to satisfy their needs for his sake. He possessed a great prestige [sit] and a great voice [sawt], a dignified bearing [samt] and an impressive silence [samt]. When he happened to sneeze, one Friday, the people commiserated with him so loudly that a tumultuous clamor was heard, as those in the congregational mosque joined the chorus of voices crying: 'May ALLAH bestow His mercy upon you, and may He make you the instrument of His mercy! The reigning Caliph, al-Mustanjid-bi'llah, was in a special compartment [maqsura] in the mosque, and when he asked: 'What is all this din and clamor?' he was told: 'Shaikh 'Abd al-Qadir happened to sneeze.' This had a terrifying impact on the Caliph!"
Shaikh 'Abd al-Qadir Jilani (RA) hears unseen speaker urging him to apply for a loan.
It was Shaikh Abu Muhammad al-Jubba'i who said: "Shaikh 'Abd al-Qadir (RA) once told me: 'I was sitting one day on a spot in the desert, going over my lessons in Islamic jurisprudence [Fiqh]. I found it difficult to concentrate on my studies at that time, since I was suffering great hardship due to poverty. Suddenly, I heard someone speaking to me, though I could not see his physical form. He said: "You should borrow enough to help you in the study of jurisprudence," or maybe he used the expression, "the pursuit of knowledge." To this I responded by saying: "How can I expect to get a loan, when I am a pauper, and have no means of paying it back?" He then said: "You just do the borrowing, and we shall accept responsibility for settling the debt incurred." I thereupon went to a man who sold groceries, and I said to him: "I must ask you to do business with me on the following terms: Whenever ALLAH makes things easy for me, I shall give you [what I owe you], and if I die, you will consider me clear of any obligation. Each day, you will give me one whole loaf of bread, as well as some garden cress [rashad] in another half-loaf."
"'As soon as he heard my proposal, the grocer burst into tears, and he said: "O my master, I am entirely at your disposal, whatever you may wish!" He insisted on treating me as if he was my servant, so I used to receive from him, each and every day, one whole loaf of bread and some garden cress in another half-loaf. I kept this up for a certain period of time, but a day came when I felt a pain in my breast, because of my inability to give him anything. At that point I heard myself told: "Go to such-and-such place, and whatever you happen to see there, lying on the pile ofrubble, take it and hand it over to the grocer," or the invisible speaker may have used the expression, "settle your debt with it." When I went to that place as instructed, I noticed a big chunk of gold on the pile of rubble, so I picked it up and gave it to the grocer.'"
In 521 Hijri, Hazrat Abu Saeed Mubarik Bin Mukharrimi gave over his Madrasa to Huzoor Sheikh Syed Abdul Qadir Jilani Al-Hassani wal Hussaini- (RA), In the beginning, there were only very few students; but soon his fame for learning, piety, inner illumination, veracity, and strict adherence to Sharia spread far and wide and people from all over the world began to flock round him to reap the benefits of his lectures and sermons. Gradually the existing building proved too small for the ever-increasing students, and in 528 AH, adjacent houses had to be acquired. For thirty-three years between 528 and 561, he devoted himself to the cause of Education. He himself taught Muslim Law, commentaries on the Quran, Hadith, Syntax (grammar) and other Islamic subjects. Students from every part of Iraq and all over the Muslim world came to his Madrasa, where they received free education with boarding and lodging provided.
He sought the company of holy men and was intimate with them. After completion of his studies, he became more severe on his own self. He began to deny himself the many cravings of life, except the barest minimum merely to sustain life.
When his devotion towards "Mujahida" increased, he left Baghdad and went to a place called Sauster. Hazrat has said “Do not expect to be included in the company of spiritual people, unless you have become an enemy of your whole-self and have become absolutely separated from all the organs of your body and all your limbs, and have cut off all connections with your existence, your movements, your speaking your hearing and seeing, with your efforts and your intelligence, and with every thing that proceeds from you, before your spiritual existence come into being with you”.
He explained "All that will be found in you, after spiritual existence is breathed into you, because all these things constitute a screen between you and your Lord. You should consider your whole being and your parts as idols together with the rest of the creation and you should not obey any of them. Then you will learn the secrets of divine knowledge and acquire extraordinary powers".
"Then you will truly become a manifestation of the powers of God; you will hear, see, speak, and understand through God, and will have comfort and rest through HIM. Thus you will be blind and deaf to any thing besides ALLAH, so that you will not find anything existing besides Him".
It was Abu 's-Sa'ud al-Huraimi who said: "I once heard our master, Shaikh 'Abd al-Qadir (may ALLAH be well pleased with him), say:
"'I stayed in the deserts and ruined areas of 'Iraq for twenty-five years, as a solitary wanderer. I did not get to know my fellow creatures, and they did not get to know me. My only visitors were groups of the men belonging to invisible realm [ghaib], as well as some of the jinn. I used to show them the way to ALLAH (Almighty and Glorious is He)