Islamic Personalities – Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jilani (RA)
by Shaykh Ahmed Abdul Mujeeb Qasmi Nadvi (translated by Muhammad Owais Jafrey)
This truth has been emphasized time and again that Allah (SWT)’s last Message is embodied in the Holy Qur’an as practiced by the living Qur’an, our beloved Prophet (SAW). His traditions serve as an explanation and elaboration of the Holy Qur’an. The guidance provided by these two sources is for all people and for all times to come. In there lies the complete code of life, the prescription of all the ills of this world and the salvation in the Hereafter. Man, who by nature is week can be easily victimized by the forces of evil and can get lost. Praise and glory to Allah alone that He has and will always raise people from time to time to revive His Deen, to reinvigorate the mission of the Prophet (SAW), and to rejuvenate the Islamic movement. Allah (SWT) says in Ayah 32-33 of Surah Taubah:
“He (SWT) is the One who has sent down His Messenger with guidance and the Faith of Truth, so that He makes it prevail over every faith, no matter how the Mushriks(polytheists) may hate it.”
5th century Hijrah witnessed the great intellectual splendor in the Islamic world. People of great caliber were born. The man of great learning Imaam Ghizali, the outstanding research scholar Abul Wafa ibn-e-Aqueel, the towering men of letters Abdul Qahir Jurjaani, the distinguished philologist Hareyri and many others men of repute flourished in that century. Belonging to this galaxy are the two personalities whose contribution to Islamic revival is unique and undisputed. One was Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jilani, and the other was Abdul Rahman ibn-e-Jawzi. Baghdad, the cradle of civilization was not only the state capital, but also the literary capital and academic nucleus of the then Islamic world. The city also became the seat of spiritual revival at the hands of these two great puritans.
Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jilani was born in Hijrah 470. He was lineal descendent ten generations down of Sayyidina Imam Hasan (RA). He was only eighteen when he came to Baghdad to receive education under the patronage of the most learned scholars of that time. Having the religious education and spiritual training, he devoted himself to the service of Deen. Soon the entire Baghdad citizenry was attracted to his discourses, lectures and sermons. He excelled the kings and royalty in commanding respect and popularity. The well known jurist of the Hanbali school of thought Ibne Qudamah says: “I did not see any one more respected than him. Kings and ministers considered it their honor to attend his lectures, not to mention the scholars and jurists. A minimum of 400 inkpots were used to record his discourses. Though he had a humble personality, yet he was awed for his knowledge and wisdom. He was Mustajaab-ud-dawaat, i.e., his supplications were always accepted.”
Sheikh-ul-Islam Izzuddin bin Abdus Salaam and Haafiz Ibn-e-Taimiyah said that Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jilani’s magnificence was predominant. His conversation was always engaging, effective to yield positive change in character and an elixir to enliven the dead hearts. Sheikh Umar Kaisani writes that there was not a single meeting of Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jilani, which did not witness non-Muslims embracing Islam, criminals making repentance and the misguided finding guidance.
History is full of Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani’s accomplishments. I would like to mention to you only a few of his teachings, which have an electrifying affect provided you can afford to listen carefully. If you read his works like Futuhul Ghaib, and Al-Fatha-Rabbani, you will find them radiant and fresh though much time has elapsed between now and when those monumental books were written.
Submission, obedience and (Tawheed) Oneness of Allah was the main theme of his teachings. This is how he taught disassociation with the non-Allah. He said:
“Look up to Him, Who looks after you. Keep facing Him, Who is in front of you. Love Him, Who loves you. Obey Him, Who invites you. Give your hand to Him, Who saves you from a fall…Loving hearts, spiritual contentment, forgiveness and mercy, are all from Allah (SWT).”
He said: “The entire creation is helpless. No one has power to good to you or harm you. Allah (SWT) only knows what is good and what is bad for you. Only he is brave, who has purified his heart from the non-Allah, and holds the sword of Tawheed and a guard of Shariah at the heart’s gate, so that no one from among the created find an entrance through it. Devote your heart to the One Who can change it. The Shariah beautifies the external, and Tawheed and its knowledge civilizes the internal self.”
At another occasion the Sheikh said: “Today you trust your own self, you trust the created, you trust the material wealth, and trust the ruler. Who ever you trust is your God, from whoever you are afraid of or have expectations from, is your God, who ever you think can benefit or hurt you is your God.”
In Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jilani’s sight, it was not forbidden to draw benefit from the world to the extent of necessities, but he always taught to abstain from the world beyond that limit. In fact he draws on this tradition of Prophet (SAW): “Verily the world has been created for you and you have been created for the Hereafter.”
The Sheikh also said: “Do not stand respectfully like a beggar before the world seeking what has already been destined for you thus allowing the world to have an upper hand. Make the world stand before you in respect like a slave stands with awe and submission before his master. The world serves him, who stands at the gate of Allah, and who ever stands at the gate of this world is always slighted and humiliated by the world.” On yet another occasion the Sheikh said: “It is alright to keep the world in hand, or in the pocket, but keep it only with good intention, but it is wrong to love it with all your heart. It is alright for the world to stand at the heart’s door, but its entrance through the door is improper and inflicts dishonor on you.”
The Sheikh once said: The dog survives on whatever little his master gives him to eat and drink, but the dog is always loyal, faithful and watchful for his master’s safety and committed to the security of his farm and the heard of cattle. You are so hard heartened that your Master gives you to your heart’s content an abundance of variety of food and gifts, but you are ungrateful in spire of all these blessings. Not only you are thankless, but on the top of it you violate His Shariah, and commit disloyalty and disobedience.”
The Sheikh said: “Do not follow people blindly, do not mix up with them with carelessness and ignorance, but keep in touch with them with knowledge, insight and have the right attitude. When you see something good in them, adopt it, when you see something bad in them, save yourself from it.”
He once said: “When you slack in prayers you break up your relationship with Allah (SWT). He quoted Prophet (SAW)’s tradition: “The slave is closest to his Creator, when he is in the state of prostration. (Muslim #215).
Sheikh Jilani once said: “If you have given up piety, make repentance. Giving up piety is a sin and a disease, and repentance is a medicine and cure. He again draws on this tradition of Prophet (SAW):
Once Prophet (SAW) asked his companions: “Shouldn’t I tell you your ailment and tell you its cure?” His companions submitted, please advise us Ya Rasul Allah.” He (SAW) said: “Sin is your disease, and repentance is the cure,” [Fath-e-Rabbani #145]
The early puritans have left for us a rich heritage to benefit from. Insha Allah in future I will bring to your attention the life and teachings of other revivalist of the Islamic movement. May Allah enable us to learn from their life and teachings! Aameen!
SWT = Subhanahu Wa Ta'Ala
SAW = Sallallaho Alaihe Wasallam
AS = AlehisSalam
RA = Radhiyallaho anhu
RAnha= Radhiyallaho anha
The Friday Khutbahs are published to enhance your knowledge of Islam. The references of Quran and Hadith are the approximate translation of the Arabic text. The editors have not verified the accuracy of the the English translation. The scholarly reader is encouraged to refer to the original Arabic script if there is any doubt. Kindly notify us if the translation can be enhanced.