Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani
The Reviver of Islam
There was a lot of trouble in Islamic world towards the end of 5th Century AH. European historians call this the darkest periods in Islamic history. The state of Islam was very weak throughout the Islamic world. Evil practices were at their peak. And the good was nowhere to be seen. A ‘Perfect Arif’ was direly needed who could correct such a distorted society. A perfect Fakir through whose spiritual powers, the evil forces could be eradicated and darkened inwards could be lit with Divine Light. Allah Almighty chose Ghaus al-Azam Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani for this great cause. Allah, passed him through such circumstances throughout his life to prepare him as the reviver of Islam. He eliminated the evil forces and filled the inwards of people with the light of gnosis of Divine Essence.
The Waning State of Islam
At the time of birth of Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani, the state of Islamic rule was deteriorating day by day. The central command of Islamic rule in Al-Andalus had been disbanded. There was ‘Sultanate Batniyah’ in Egypt that Al-Suyuti termed as Satanic rule. The rule of descendants of Sultan Mehmood was on decline in India and Palestine was under the siege of Christians. The Abbasid Caliphate had shrunk to the suburbs of Baghdad. The followers of Hassan ibn Sabah were ruining the areas in Iran and Iraq and the whole Christian world had united against Muslims. (Peeran e Peer)
On the other hand, Muslim umma had split into 10 sects. These are listed below:
- Ahl e Sunnat
Out of these, only Ahle Sunnat had one sect, all other had multiple sub sects. For example, Khawarij had 15, Mo’tzila had 6, Marjia had 12, Shia had 32, Mushbiha had 3, Dhararia, Kalabia, Najaria and Jamiha had one sub sect each. In total, there were 73 different sects. Fake spiritual guides occupied the shrines of Saints and started their Sufi orders. These include, Khululia, Halia, Auliaya, Shimrania, Habiya, Abahia, Mutkasila, Mutjahila, Wafqia and Ilhamia. (Hayat e Taleemat Syedna Ghaus ul Azam)
The inwards of Muslims were becoming void of the love of Allah and Prophet Mohammad (pbuh). At such a time, Allah sent Ghaus al-Azam Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani. He was born on Friday 1st of Ramadan 470 H (17th March 1078) in Jilan province of Iran. It is because of this, people refer to him as ‘Jilani’.
All saints agree on the fact that Ghaus al-Azam Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani was a born saint.
Revival of Islam
As a result of Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani’s spiritual beneficence and preaching, ‘Sultanate Batniyah’ in Egypt ended. Great Muslim Mujahids such as of Sultan Noor ud Din and Salauddin Ayyubi established their Sultanates. In India, Ghauri rule was established. The Mongols invaded Muslim lands, and despite the massacres they carried out, in the end their own inwards were enlightened with the light of faith. No doubt, it was Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani’s spiritual powers that Mongol ruler Hulagu Khan embraced Islam. Following him, other Mongol rulers also embraced Islam. Thus, revival of Islam began. (Peeran e Peer)
Grandeur Of Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani
Every Saint of Mohammadan umma is honourable and worthy of respect. However, the grandeur and spiritual status of Ghaus al-Azam Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani is beyond all other saints and Fakirs. He is the vicegerent of Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) outwardly as well as inwardly. Shaikh Shahab ad-Din Suhrawardi quotes Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani’s saying about his extremely exalted status and describes it as following:
Every saint is spiritually connected to and a follower of a prophet. And he is the vicegerent of that prophet. Such as, someone gets acquainted with the attributes of Prophet Moses, while others are blessed with the attributes of Prophet Jesus or Prophet Abraham. But Allah has honoured me with the spiritual succession of Prophet mohammad (pbuh). I exactly follow each and every step of Prophet Mohammad (pbuh).
He (Ghaus ul-Azam) further said:
I am the deputy of Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) and his spiritual successor.
(Quoted from book Maqaam Syedna Ghaus ul Azam Aur Itiba’e Uswae Mustafa, Warafana Laka Zikrak ka hai Saya Tujh Par)
Similarities between Holy Prophet (pbuh) and Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani
Many miracles took place at the time of holy Prophet’s birth. Similarly, at the birth of his spiritual successor, Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani many marvels took place. Some are described below:
At the night of holy Prophet’s birth there was a hoard of angels on the shoulders of Abd al-Muttalib (grandfather of Prophet Mohammad). Whereas at the birth of Ghaus al-Azam Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani, his father Syed Abu Salih Musa saw that the Holy Prophet (pbuh) accompanied by Companions, Perfect Fakirs and saints arrived at his house and gave him the good news:
O my son Abu Salih! Allah has blessed you with a son who is also my son and beloved as well as the beloved of Allah. His status and grandeur among saints would be like I am amongst the Prophets and Messengers.
Holy Prophet’s aunt Safia (from parental side) relates that: “When the holy Prophet (pbuh) was born we saw the seal of Prophethood on his back between the two shoulders.”
Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani had the imprint of holy Prophet’s foot on the back between his shoulders. It was because of this seal that Ghaus al-Azam has his foot on the neck of all the saints (past and the ones yet to come).
Marvel of Ghaus al-Azam at Birth
The holy Prophet (pbuh) bowed his head in prostration straight after birth. Whereas Ghaus al-Azam Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani fasted on the very first day.
When Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) was born, Allah blessed every pregnant woman throughout that year with a boy. Whereas on the other hand, the night when Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani was born, 1100 boys were born the same night and through his spiritual beneficence, all of them became accomplished saints.
The year when Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) was born was known as the year of joy and happiness. The month of birth is called Rabi al-Awwal. Rabi means happiness and Awwal means first, so Rabi al-Awwal means first ever happiness. Ghaus al-Azam Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani was born in the month of Rabi al-Thani which means second happiness. So his birth was the moment of second joy and happiness for the universe.
The Possessor of the Power of ‘Kun’
Allah blessed his beloved (Prophet Mohammad) with power and kingship. His tongue is key of ‘Kun’ (means when he says something or orders something it happens). Ubadah ibn al-Samit relates that the holy Prophet (pbuh) said:
Angel Gabriel gave me glad tidings that Allah helped me and gave me victory (over non-believers) through Angels.
The whole universe and whole of creation is under the rule of holy Prophet (pbuh). Every word from his sacred tongue has the efficacy of ‘Kun’. Similarly, Allah blessed his deputy Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani with grandeur and (spiritual) kingship. He used to say, “I have the authority of the word ‘Kun’.”
He says in Qasida Ghausia:
“My order prevails in every situation and during every age. If I cast my shadow (of secret), it would make the oceans dry up, fire to distinguish, mountains would crumble, dead would rise and the months and years would change with my order.”
He further said about his spiritual authority: “All the cities are under my authority and rule. My spiritual power existed even before my physical birth.” All this grandeur, exalted status and authority was due to his special relation with the Holy Prophet (pbuh). (Wara Fa’ana Laka Zikrak Ka hai tujh par saya)
The Title: Ghaus al-Azam
It is narrated in Risala tul Ghausia that Allah addressed Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani with the title Ghaus al-Azam. The literal meaning of Ghaus is saviour or someone who helps someone in response to their call. Ghaus is a very exalted status amongst saints. And Ghaus al-Azam is that person who is manifestation of Divine Essence. The title ‘Ghaus’ suits someone who has completed the journey of Faqr and has become one with Divine Essence. This station grants him the authority to answer the calls of people and fulfil their needs. He becomes aware of secrets of Allah at this station, the Guarded Tablet is within his sight. Ghaus al-Azam Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani is stationed at such as extremely exalted spiritual station that no one else ever has or will ever reach. Indeed, he is truly ‘Ghaus al-Azam’.
Ghaus al-Azam helps sincere devotees
He helps his devotees in every situation, be it a worldly matter or spiritual. If a seeker of Divine path gets stuck at a station and if he or she calls Ghaus al-Azam with sincerity and conviction, he comes for their help.
Sultan Bahoo expressed this in his Punjabi poetry beautifully as below:
سن فریاد پیراں دیا پیرا، میری عرض سنیں کن دَھر کے ھوُ
بیڑا اَڑیا میرا وِچ کپراندے، جتھے مچھ نہ بہندے ڈر کے ھوُ
شاہِ جیلانیؓ محبوبِ سبحانی، میری خبر لیو جھَٹ کر کے ھوُ
پیر جنہاندا میراںؓ باھوؒ، اوہی کدھی لگدے تَر کے ھوُ
O Saint of saints! Listen to my plea. Listen to my plea. I have reached the highest station of Faqr which is difficult for any lover to achieve. Here I desperately need your help as I cannot progress any further. No one can help me in this trial but you. Consider my imploration. Bahoo! Do not be aggrieved. Those whose spiritual guide is Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani, only they reach the destination of, “When Faqr is accomplished that is Allah.”
Saying of Ghaus al-Azam: My Foot is on the neck of all saints
Ghaus al-Azam Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani is the spiritual vicegerent of the holy Prophet (pbuh) and therefore he is the leader of all the saints. He proclaimed this by saying:
قَدَمِیْ ھٰذِہِ عَلٰی رَقَبَۃِ کُلِّ وَلِیِّ للّٰہ
My foot is on the neck of all the Saints.
When he proclaimed this on the order of the Allah Almighty, Allah sent a special theophany on his inward and the holy Prophet (pbuh) sent a special cloak through the angels who wore this cloak on Ghaus al-Azam in front of all the saints – living saints were present with their physical bodies, the past and future saints were present with their souls. There was not a single saint on the day who did not bow his neck in response to his proclamation. Instead, they all said:
نَعَمْ یَا شَیْخَ وَ لِمَنْ قَالَ
Meaning: O Shaikh! We greatly honour your order.
In addition, the jinns also followed his command. They came to his court and presented their regards. (Wara Fa’ana Laka Zikrak Ka hai tujh par saya, Hayat e Taleemat Syedina Ghaus ul Azam)
Status of Sultan ul Faqr
Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani is famous on heavens by the title Baaz-e-Ashhab, ‘the Grey Falcon’ and on earth by the title of the ‘Mohiuddin’ – reviver of religion. Mystics and Fakirs are ranked and stationed higher than the Saints but the most honoured even among them are Sultan-ul-Faqr (Sultan of Faqr). Sultan-ul-Faqr is actually perfect manifestation of Divine Essence. Sultan Bahoo says in Risala Roohi Sharif:
Know! When the Noor-e-Ahadi (Noor of The One), coming out of His isolated Oneness, intended to manifest Himself in multiplicity, He graced (all the worlds) with the splendid sight of His Pure Divine Beauty. Both the realms started burning like a moth on the candle of His Blazing Beauty.
Then, the Noor of Ahad concealed in the veil of (M) of Ahmad and manifested Himself as Ahmad. He then shook Himself seven times due to the abundance of Divine passionate Will, with that seven purgated souls of Fakirs, annihilated in Allah, immortal with Allah, absorbed in The Divine Vision, all core without any flesh or body, drowned in the unfathomed ocean of The Divine Beauty appeared on The Divine Eternal Tree of Pure Transparent Belief seventy thousand years before the birth of Adam. Neither did they see anything except The Divine Essence since pre-existence till eternity, nor did they hear anyone other than Allah. They ever remained as such an ocean of Union in The Divine Sanctuary which has no decline.
Grandeur of Souls of Sultan ul Faqr
At times, they endeavoured in glorification and purgation with their body of Noor. Sometimes they are a drop in the ocean and sometimes the ocean in a drop. They are blessed with the cover of Beneficence of (when Faqr is accomplished that is Allah). Hence, they have got an eternal life and are honoured and exalted with the Crown of (Faqr demands nothing from Allah or anyone other than Allah). Neither they are aware of the birth of Adam nor about the occurrence of the Doomsday. They have their steps on the heads of all the Saints, Ghaus and Qutbs. It is absolutely correct to call them Allah, and if they are called Men of Allah, it is fine as well. This secret is known only to those who recognised them. Their station is The Divine Sanctuary of The Magnificent.
They never ask Allah for anything except Allah Himself. They never paid heed towards the petty world, the blessings of the hereafter or the houries and castles of the heaven. The single Divine Theophany with which Prophet Moses got perplexed and the Mount Sinai crushed into pieces, the same Theophanies of Passion of The Essence fell upon them seventy thousand times every moment, yet they do not object or lament. Rather they say, (Is there any more!). They are the Sultan-ul-Faqr (King of Faqr) and Syed-ul-Kaunain (Lord of all the worlds).
Seven Souls of Sultan ul Faqr
These are the seven sacred souls. Sultan Bahoo revealed the names of five of them as below:
First is the sacred soul of the Queen of the Doomsday (Fatimah al-Zahra). Second is the sacred soul of Hasan al-Basri. Third is the sacred soul of our Spiritual Leader, The Divine Reality, The Absolute Noor, The Exact Manifestation of The Divine Truth, The Beloved of Allah Syed Mohiyuddin Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani. Fourth is the sacred soul of The Sultan of Divine Lights and The Secret of Eternal Divine Self Pir Abdul Razzaq, who is son of Pir Dastgir (Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani). Fifth is the soul of The Fountain Head of the Sight of HaHooiyat, The Secret of Secrets of The Divine Essence annihilated in Hoo Fakir Bahoo. Two among them are the souls of other Saints. (Risala Roohi Sharif)
It is Ghaus al-Azam Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani who revived Mohammadan Reality and the soul of Islam (Faqr). 14 different Sufi orders originated from Hasan al-Basri. But they all became very weak over time. Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani re-organised these and from there 4 Sufi orders began. These are Qadri order, Chishti, Suhrawardi and Naqshbandi orders. He is the Imam of all these orders. Out of these, Qadri order belongs to him. There is no precedence of the way he revived the soul of Islam. And therefore, he is known by the title of ‘Reviver of Deen’. It is not possible for a person to adequately describe his extremely exalted spiritual status.
Ghaus al-Azam describes his Grandeur
He himself says:
اَفَلَتْ شَمُوْسُ الْاَوَّلِیْنَ وَ شَمسْنَا
اَبَدًا عَلٰی فَلَکِ الْعُلٰی لَا تَغرُب
Meaning: The sun of previous saints have come and gone but the bright light of our sun (the blessings and beneficence of Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani) will never fade.
Sun here means his spiritual beneficence, and to disappear means the vanishing and stoppage of the beneficence. Ghaus al-Azam himself proclaimed that his beneficence will never cease. In today’s age, the present and 31st Shaikh of the Sarwari Qadri order Sultan ul Ashiqeen Sultan Mohammad Najib ur Rehman is spreading the beneficence of Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani. This will continue until the day of Judgement. In today’s age, Sultan ul Ashiqeen has truly revived the soul of Islam (i.e. Mohammadan Faqr). In recognition of his tremendous efforts, the Mohammadan Assembly awarded him the title of ‘Shabeeh-e-Ghaus al-Azam’ which means the manifestation of Ghaus al-Azam. This is testament to him being the spiritual successor of Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani.
- Risala tul Ghausia – Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani
- Risala Roohi Sharif – Sultan Bahoo
- Hayat e Taleemat Syedina Ghaus ul Azam – Sultan ul Ashiqeen Sultan Mohammad Najib ur Rehman
- Peeran e Peer – Professor Fiaz Khan
- Wara Fa’ana Laka Zikrak Ka hai tujh par saya – Sahibzada Mohammad Muhib ullah Noori
- Maqaam Syedina Ghaus al-Azam- Mohammad Ifroz Qadri Chirya Koti
This is English translation of Urdu blog یا غوثِ اعظم دستگیر which appeared in November 2021 issue of the Mahnama Sultan ul Faqr Magazine, Lahore. Mrs. Noreen Sarwari Qadri wrote the original article. Waheed Hassan Sarwari Qadri has translated it in English.
Who is Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani?
Ghaus al-Azam Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani is the most accomplished and elevated saint. He is the beloved of Allah and Prophet Mohammad (pbuh). No one ever has or ever will reach the extremely exalted spiritual status that he achieved. Upon the order of Allah, he proclaimed that his foot is on the neck of all saints (past or future). This means whoever is bestowed with the saint-hood is through him.
Who is Dastagir in Islam?
Dastagir means someone who helps in need. It is a title dedicated to Ghaus al-Azam Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani. Allah has granted such powers to Ghaus al-Azam that he answers his sincere and loyal followers even today. No matter where they are. If they call him for help with sincerity and conviction, he comes to their help.