Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani
The Possessor of Grand Titles
After the finality of Prophethood, the sacred Companions, the tabiun (generation of successor of Companions), tabi al-tabiun (successors of tabiun) and the Saints are the ones who kept the true religion alive with all its grandeur. Indeed every Saint who spreads beneficence for the creation of Allah by His orders is the beloved of Allah and is appointed at extremely high spiritual level. So Allah says in the Holy Quran about Saints like Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani:
اُنۡظُرۡ کَیۡفَ فَضَّلۡنَا بَعۡضَہُمۡ عَلٰی بَعۡضٍ ؕ وَ لَلۡاٰخِرَۃُ اَکۡبَرُ دَرَجٰتٍ وَّ اَکۡبَرُ تَفۡضِیۡلًا ﴿۲۱﴾
Meaning: See how we have exalted some of them above the others! And surely, the Hereafter (as compared to this world) is far greater in degrees and in terms of superiority (as well). (17:25)
Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani-Most Exalted Saint
No doubt! Allah has exalted some Saints above others. Among all Saints the most exalted one having the highest spiritual levels and the king of Saints is third Sultan-ul-Faqr Ghaus ul Azam Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani. If other Saints are like stars in the sky then, certainly, he is the moon. Indeed, His sacred essence is the reason why the Mohammadan Faqr is alive. As a matter of fact, in the world of Faqr and Mysticism the grandeur of Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani is never ending.
اَفَلَتْ شُمُوْسُ الْاَوَّلِیْنَ وَ شَمْسُنَا
اَبَدًا عَلٰی فَلَکِ الْعُلٰی لَا تَغْرُب
Explanation: The suns of earlier ones have set but ours will keep shining brightly forever on the sky of supremacy.
In all honesty, the beneficence of teachings and sermons of Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani for the revival of Mohammadan Faqr will continue till the day of judgement. And this is the evidence that no one can reach the level at which he is. That’s why even today the world calls him as “Syedna Ghaus ul Azam”. (The helping hand, the problem solver).
غوث الاعظم ؓ درمیان اولیا
چوں محمدؐ درمیان انبیا
Explanation: Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani is among the Saints as Prophet Mohammad is among Prophets.
Titles of Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani
To show the grandeur of Syedna Ghaus ul Azam to the world, Allah blessed him with many beautiful titles. These are:
- Sultan-ul-Faqr Third
- Ghaus ul Azam
- Piran-e-Pir Dastgeer
- Al-Sayyid al-Sanad
- Abu Saleh
- Hasni Abban, Hussaini Amman
- Hanbali Mazhaban
Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani-Sultan ul Faqr Third
The title of Syedna Ghaus ul Azam is Sultan-ul-Faqr Third. And so, we can determine the status and grandeur of Sultan-ul-Faqr by the fact that this is the highest and most superior among all the levels of Saints. Sultan Bahoo expounds about the Sultan-ul-Faqr souls in his famous book Risala Roohi Sharif:
“They have their steps on the heads of all the Saints, al-Ghawth and al-Qutb. It is absolutely correct to call them god, and if they are called men of God, it is fine as well. In fact, this secret is known only to those who recognize them. Doubtlessly, their station is Divine sanctuary of the Magnificent.”
Ghaus ul Azam
Among all the levels of Sainthood the highest level is of “Ghaus”. And when we call “Ghaus ul Azam” then it means the leader of Saints. Allah titled Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani as Ghaus ul Azam which actually means the Helper and the Redresser of grievances.
Verily! When Allah rewarded Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani with the title of Ghaus ul Azam He also blessed him with all the power of redressing grievances of the creation.
Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani says:
“Verily, I am the protector of my disciple, from everything that makes him afraid. Moreover, I defend him from every kind of evil and persecution.” (Fatooh-ul-Ghayb)
After analyzing the history, we come to know that before Ghaus ul Azam the Islamic world was covered with dark clouds of downfall. Although physically the Islamic kingdom became very vast, but spiritually it was deprived and unaware of Mohammadan Faqr. In fact, immorality, disobedience, political turmoil and moral decline had reached their limits. Along with religious declination, situation of spirituality had become the worst. In such times, there was the need of such a spiritual power that would get mankind out of moral deprivation and make them walk the path of real progress (the vision and closeness of Allah) and whose spiritual power would be a reflection of Allah Almighty. In this situation only Syedna Ghaus ul Azam was the sacred entity who gave Mohammadan Faqr a new life.
The spiritual authority, teachings and sermons of Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani are the proof of the fact that he took the Mohammadan Religion out of decline and gave it true ascendancy. That is why he is called with the name of Mohiyuddin which literally means ‘The Reviver of Religion.’
The Reviver of Religion
It is written in Bahjat-ul-Asrar that once Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani told about this famous title:
“Once in 511 AH, on a Friday I was returning to Baghdad barefooted from a travel. On the way I saw an old man who was sick, leaned and in a very distressed condition. He greeted me and I answered. Then he said, ‘Raise me up.’ Hence I raised him. Suddenly he became strong and healthy. It surprised me extremely. He said, ‘Do not be surprised! I am the religion of your great ancestor Prophet Mohammad and I was getting weak. Now Allah has given me a new life because of you. Thus you are Mohiyuddin.”
He further stated:
“I left and headed to the mosque. A man gave me his shoes and addressed me as Mohiyuddin. After the Friday salat people gathered around me in a large number and started kissing my hand while chanting Mohiyuddin. Before that no one had ever called me by this title.”
The meaning of Baaz is falcon and Ashab means greyish. So Baaz-e-Ashab actually means the grey falcon which is the fastest among all other kinds of falcon.
Baaz-e-Ashab is in fact, the title of Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani in heavens. This title depicts the great spiritual powers of Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani. Syedna Ghaus ul Azam says in Qaseeda Ghausia Sharif:
بلاد اللہ ملکی تحت حکمی
Meaning: All of Allah’s cities are under my control and government.
A Saint says about Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani’s title Baaz-e-Ashab that “The sainthood of Syedna Ghaus ul Azam is stronger than the falcon. Don’t try to evade the slavehood of Baaz-e-Ashab (Ghous e Azam). No doubt, If you evade his love and slavehood then eventually you will be deprived of your faith and finally you will be left faithless.” (Allah Kay Wali)
“Pir” means spiritual guide and “Piran-e-Pir” means the spiritual guide of all the spiritual guides while “dastagir” means one who holds the hand and patronizes. Al Ghaus al Azam is also famous by the title of Piran-e-Pir Dastagir. It owes to his greatness and perfect disposition that he is the spiritual guide and patronizer of all the Saints, Gawths and Qutbs.
Shaikh Abu al-Barkat bin Sakhar says, “Ghaus ul Azam observes the physical and spiritual states of all the Saints and no Saint can exercise his authority without his permission. Even the Saints who are designated at the great level of conversing with Allah cannot dare without the permission of Hazrat Ghaus ul Azam (ra). To say, all Saints remain under his authority throughout their life and even after death. (Zabda-tul-Asrar abridged form of Bahjat-ul-Asrar)
Shaikh Abi Mohammad Qasim says about Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani being the spiritual guide and patronizer of all Saints, “I asked Khidr about Syedna Ghaus ul Azam, he replied that he is the ‘loved one’ of this era. No Saint can attain elevated status without his sanction. No Saint is approved unless he acknowledges the greatness of Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani. (Zabda-tul-Asrar abridged form of Bahjat-ul-Asrar)
Hasni Abban, Hussaini Amman
Hasni Abban means that his family tree reaches Hazrat Imam Hassan from the paternal side while Hussaini Amman means that his maternal side relates to Hazrat Imam Hussain. Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani is a Sayyid possessing nobility from both bloodlines. His family tree from paternal side reaches Hazrat Ali in eleven steps while from maternal side it reaches him in fourteen steps.
His paternal lineage is as: Syedna Ghaus ul Azam Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani son of Syed Abu Saleh Musa Jangi son of Syed Abdullah son of Syed Yahya Zahid son of Syed Mohammad son of Syed Dawood son of Syed Musa Sani son of Syed Abdullah Sani son of Syed Musa al-Joon son of Syed Abdullah al-Mehz son of Syedna Hasan al-Muthanna son of Imam Hasan bin Ali.
From the maternal side his family tree is as: Syedna Ghaus ul Azam Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani the son of Syeda Umul Khair Fatima ra daughter of Syed Abdullah al-Soomai son of Syed Jamalddin son of Syed Mohammad son of Syed Mahmood son of Abu al-Ata Abdullah son of Syed Kamaluddin Isa son of Abu Alauddin Mohammad al-Jawad son of Syedna Imam Ali Raza son of Syedna Imam Musa Kazim son of Syedna Imam Jafar Sadiq son of Syedna Imam Baqir son of Syedna Zain-ul-Abideen son of Syedna Imam Hussain. (Hayat-o-Talimat Syedna Ghaus ul Azam)
Shaikh literally means guide, teacher or leader. Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani is the ultimate Shaikh of Islam. Who can evaluate the knowledge and wisdom of such a holy entity in whose mouth the Holy Prophet-the leader of the universe and light of Hoo-and Hazrat Ali-the gateway to Faqr and knowledge- put their sacred saliva! There were immeasurable treasures of wisdom and gnosis in every word of Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani. He spread infinite beneficence of Mohammadan Faqr with his wisdom and insight. His holy inward contained treasures of Faqr and Knowledge. Whenever he would speak about a topic, his tongue divulged pearls of gnosis. No one is his parallel in Faqr and Sufism, knowledge and wisdom, understanding and instinct, Fiqh and insight. This is why people also call him as “Shaikh-ul-Islam”.
Imam-ul-Auliya Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani
Imam-ul-Auliya means leader of all Saints.
سروں پر لیتے ہیں جسے تاج والے
تمہارا قدم ہے وہ یا غوث الاعظم
Explanation: O Ghaus ul Azam! Your step is so sacred that even the kings feel honoured to have your step on their heads.
Syedna Ghaus ul Azam is the Imam of all the Saints. No one can achieve leadership and sainthood without his order. He has complete control over the state of every Saint. This is why he was well-known among the people of insight even before his arrival in the world.
One day, Shaikh Abu Bakr Bin Hawar said in his congregation that there will be seven Saints in Iraq:
- Maroof Karkhi
- Ahmad Bin Hanbal
- Bishar Hafi
- Mansur bin Ammar
- Junaid Baghdadi
- Sahl bin Abdullah Tustri
- Abdul Qadir Jilani
The disciple of Shaikh Abu Bakr, Shaikh Abu Muhammad Shanki who was present in the congregation says that everyone was surprised on listening to the Shaikh as they had never heard about Abdul Qadir Jilani the seventh Saint. Hence he asked Shaikh Abu Bakr, “O respected! Who is Abdul Qadir Jilani?”
He answered “In fact Abdul Qadir will be a pious non-Arab who will come near the end of fifth century AH. He will reside in Baghdad and will announce ‘My step is on the neck of every Saint’.”(Imam-ul-Auliya)
Shaikh al-Shayukh Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani
Shaikh al-Shayukh means Shaikh of all the Shaikhs. Ghaus ul Azam is also known by the title of “Shaikh ash-Shayukh”. Thousands of Shaikhs joined his sermon for benediction and not only did they enlighten their inwards with the Divine light but they also served him for the sake of Divine union.
It is related that Shaikh Abu Umar Usman, Shaikh Baqa bin Batu, Shaikh Ali bin al-Haiti and Shaikh Abu Saeed Qelwi used to go to Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani’s madrassah and they would sweep the floor infront of his door. So much so, they would not visit him without his permission. Moreover, when they did go and he would tell them to sit, they firstly asked, “Is there peace for us?” When Syedna Ghaus ul Azam would say “Yes these is” then they would sit respectfully. When he forbade them from asking this, they would plead, “We seek proximity of Allah from this”. (Imam-ul-Auliya)
Al-Sayyid As-Sanad Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani
The title of “Sayyid” is specific for the progeny of Hazrat Ali (ra) and Hazrat Fatima (ra). “Sayyid” means leader which is due to the connection with the Holy Prophet (pbuh). Syedna Ghaus ul Azam is the holy entity who is also honoured with the grand title of “Al-Sayyid As-Sanad”. His pure lineage links to Imam Hassan bin Ali (ra) form the paternal side and links to Imam Hussain bin Ali (ra) from the maternal side.
Qutb-e-Uhad Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani
Qutb-e-Uhad means the unique Qutb. Qutb is the highest rank of Saints. Shaikh Abu Saeed Qelwi says:
“Qutb is the person stationed at ultimate sainthood, he holds all the responsibilities of sainthood and all arrangements of the universe are under his authority.” (Ghaus-o-Qutb Alqab Ki Sharyee Haisiyat)
Qutb is also called Ghaus, and Ghaus are the only people of Allah who have all the authorities by the grace of Allah. Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani knows all the levels and statuses of sainthood and has access to the status of all the Saints. By the order of Allah, no one can achieve any level of sainthood without his permission. This is why he has been given the title of ‘Qutb-e-Uhad’.
Zaeem-ul-Ulema Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani
Zaeem-ul-Ulemma means the chief of all scholars. Without any doubt, the majesty of Ghaus ul Azam is the most remarkable. Allah Almighty has bestowed him with worldly and spiritual superiority. No one is peer to him in the knowledge of Quran, Fiqh and Hadith. Four hundred scribers remained present in his assemblages to compose his sermons. Even now the beneficence of his knowledge is satiating the seekers of Allah and the true scholars.
Qandeel-e-Lamakani Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani
Qandeel means chandelier while Lamakan refers to the station of no station. So Qandeel-e-Lamakani means the chandelier of station of no station.
حدِ ادراک سے آگے ہیں سلسلے تیرے
بجز خدا کے نہ جانے کوئی بھی مرحلے تیرے
Explanation: Your grandeur is beyond the limit of perception. No one other Allah knows your status.
Allah Almighty has bestowed Syedna Ghaus ul Azam with the highest level of Qutb and grand sainthood. Hence entire creation whether angels or humans recognize his perfection, majesty and glory. Allah Almighty has given him the keys of the treasures of forgiveness as well as all the physical authorities and their requisites.
Story of the Flying Saints
Syed Abdul Qadir Arbali, the writer of Tafreeh al-Khawatir relates from Shaikh Abu al-Qasim Bataikhi, “I was residing in mountain of Lebanon. Shaikh Abdullah Jilli was already living there since long. One day I asked him, ‘Hazrat, how long have you been residing here?’ He answered ‘Sixty years.’ Then I asked ‘Tell if you have seen anything strange here.’ He said, ‘I often see some strange mountainous people with celestial faces gather here on the full moon night and fly towards Baghdad in groups. So I asked one of them where do they go?
He told me, ‘We have been ordered to go to Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani’s court in Baghdad.’ I also expressed the wish to accompany them and he allowed. Eventually we reached Baghdad on a full moon night. Countless Saints were standing respectfully in front of Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani. Wherever he looked, Saints would bow. When he would give them permission with a gesture, the Saints would respectfully fly back to their respective countries. When he announced by the order of Allah:
قَدَمِیْ ھٰذِہٖ عَلٰی رَقَبَۃِ کُلِّ وَلِیِّ اللّٰہ
Meaning: My foot is on the neck of all the Saints.
We all bowed instantly. (Hayat-o-Talimat Syedna Ghaus ul Azam)
Sultan-ul-Auliya Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani
Sultan-ul-Auliya means the Sultan of all Saints. As regards to the stations of sainthood Syedna Ghaus ul Azam is the Sultan of all the Saints.
Shaikh Abu al-Fatooh Yahya relates, “When Shaikh Musa Zouli came to Baghdad after hajj, I and my father were with him. The three of us went to meet Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani and we had never seen Shaikh Musa Zouli respect anyone as much as he respected him. Afterwards, when we were alone, my father asked him, ‘I have never seen you respect anyone as much as Shaikh Abdul Qadir.’ So he replied, ‘Shaikh Abdul Qadir is the best of the people in our time and he is the Sultan-ul-Auliya and Syed-ul-Arifeen (Leader of all Mystics) of our era. How can I not respect the one who is respected even by the angels?’.” (Imam-ul-Auliya)
Mahboob-e-Subhani Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani
Syedna Ghaus ul Azam is the soul of gnosis, crown of sainthood and superior to all the Shaikhs. No Saint can reach the level of belovedness at which Allah designated Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani. His words: “My foot is on the neck of all the Saints” are undoubtedly a proof of him being Allah’s most beloved and near one.
The author of “Iqtabas ul-Anwar” Shaikh Mohammad Akram Qadoosi writes, “Shaikh Abu al-Barkaat relates that he asked his father ‘Has any other of the Saints who came before and after Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani said so?’ He answered ‘No.’ Then he asked, ‘Did Allah order Ghaus ul Azam to say this?’ He answered, ‘It was definitely an order and the bowing of all the Saints was also due to this order. Do you not know that angels also prostrated before Prophet Adam on the order of Allah?’”
Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani-Abu Saleh
Abu Saleh means father of the pious. Syedna Ghaus ul Azam came at a time when the Islamic and societal system was paralyzed. Moreover, the world considered the illegitimate as legitimate. Only so-called Muslims were left and the soul of Islam was gradually leaving the inwards. Consequently every part of society had indulged in moral decline resulting from affluence, lust and debauch.
Countless salutations on the chastity and greatness of Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani that in spite of such an undesirable situation he kept himself pure of all evil. Not only did he keep his chastity and honor intact from the time he was a student till the end, but he also trained the people in the same manner. He directly affected the soulless and pointless lives of people with his great deeds and pure morality in such a way that his devotees call him by the title Abu Saleh the father of pious.
Qutb-e-Rabbani Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani
Qutb-e-Rabbani means the holy pivot. When Syedna Ghaus ul Azam started delivering sermons by the order of the Holy Prophet and Hazrat Ali Ibn Abi Talib, people from all around the world started gathering the celestial pearls of his words. His sermons were full of divine majesty and the light of gnosis. His style of delivering sermons was very enthusiastic and charming. No one would dare to move during his sermons. He used to say, “The inwards of people have been stained and it will not be removed unless rubbed hard.”
His sermons continued for forty years from 521 AH till 561 AH. According to a tradition, more than five thousand Jews and Christians accepted Islam due to his preaching. (Bahjat-ul-Asrar)
We pray Allah to make us reach the high levels of Faqr under the patronage of the spiritual heir of Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani, Sultan-ul-Ashiqeen Sultan Mohammad Najib-ur-Rehman and through the mediation of Ghaus ul Azam. May we always remain in the circle of slavery of all the perfect Fakirs. Ameen.