Language Issue
Sheikh Abdul Qadir Al Jilani in Folklore
Sheikh Abdul Qadir Al Jilani in Folklore
Issue 14

Muhyiddin Kharayif ( Tunisia )

Sheikh Muhyiddin Abdul Qadir Al Jilani was born in 470 AH (1077 AD) in Gilan, a village on the shores of the Caspian Sea in northern Iran. He grew up in a decent family. His father Abu Salih Musa, a religious ascetic, was popularly known as ‘the lover of Jihad’ because he spent his life battling his ‘lower self’.

 

Sheikh Abdul Qadir, who was to become famous, was his parents’ last child; his mother conceived him just before menopause. His father died shortly after he was born and he grew up in the household of his maternal grandfather, Abdullah Al Sawmai. He was called by his grandfather’s name while he was in Gilan.
Sheikh Abdul Qadir grew up under the protection of his pious mother and his religious grandfather, and he was raised with piety, good morals and righteousness. Like his family, he was an ascetic, devoted to worship and obedience to the Lord Almighty.

At the age of eighteen in 488AH (1095 AD), Sheikh Abdul Qadir traveled to Baghdad, the capital of culture under Al Mustadhir’s rule, to study Islamic teachings and the Islamic law. He lived there for seventy-three years, through the reign of five of the Abbasid Caliphs. The last Abbasid Caliph was Al Mustanjid, who ruled from 555 to 566AH (1160-1171AD), during a time when the foundations of the Abbasid state had been undermined and the Seljuk Sultans were the de facto rulers.

Sheikh Abdul Qadir pursued knowledge diligently and he lived in great poverty, homeless, surviving on food he found on the banks of the Tigris and walking barefoot on sand and stones.

One day, Abdul Qadir went to the Yassin mosque in the spice market. A young stranger arrived with bread and grilled meat and started to eat. The young man noticed Abdul Qadir and invited him to eat with him, saying “In the name of Allah, my brother.” Abdul Qadir demurred at first, then, at the man’s insistence, he started eating.  
While they were eating, the young man asked where he was from and what he did, and Abdul Qadir said that he was from Gilan. The young man shouted happily, “I am from Gilan, do you know a young ascetic named Abdul Qadir Al Jilani?”
Abdul Qadir answered, “I am the one you seek.”
The young man looked uncomfortable, and said, “Oh Allah, I arrived in Baghdad with some money to cover expenses, and I searched for you in vain. I spent the last of my money three days ago, so I bought this bread and meat with some of the money that your mother gave me for you. Enjoy what is yours, I am now your guest.”
 Abdul Qadir asked, “What money are you talking about?”
The young man said, “Your mother sent eight dinars for you”.

Then Abdul Qadir welcomed him and treated him kindly, giving him the rest of the food and some of the money.
In Baghdad, Sheikh Abdul Qadir Al Jilani studied Hanbali law under several teachers and spent time in the ‘Majlises’ of education. He became a scholar of thirteen branches of language and religious sciences and many students who wished to learn philology and language and to interpret and recite the Holy Quran sought him out. He became a reference of fatwa on the doctrine of Imam Shaafi’i and Imam Ahmad Ibn Hanbal.

Imam Al Nawawi praised him, saying, “We have never known anyone more dignified than Baghdad’s Sheikh Muhyiddin Abdul Qadir Al Jilani, may Allah be pleased with him, the Sheikh of Shaafi’is and Hanbalis in Baghdad. In his time, he was very knowledgeable and he taught many of the greatest scholars.”

Sheikh Abdul Qadir followed the Hanbali doctrine, adhering to the Quran and Sunnah in all instances. He used to stress the importance of doing so in his lessons and speeches and while preaching. He told his companions, “Follow, do not invent heresies, obey and do not dissent, be patient and do not fear, and wait, do not despair.”

Sheikh Abdul Qadir passed away in 561AH(1066). He spent his life giving and worshipping, and he did not suffer from any serious illnesses until the fatal illness that lasted just one day and one night. He was over ninety years old when he died.

Just before Sheikh Abdul Qadir died, his son Abdul Wahab sought his advice, so he said, «You must fear Allah, do not fear anyone but Him, do not make requests of anyone but Allah, all your needs should be addressed to Him. Do not depend upon anyone but Him, ask Him for everything, and trust no one but Him.»
His son asked, “Where do you feel the greatest pain in your body?»
Sheikh Abdul Qadir, (may Allah be pleased with him), replied, «My whole body hurts but for my heart, which feels no pain while with Allah the Almighty.»

‘Qadiriyah’, which is attributed to Sheikh Abdul Qadir, has spread over almost the entire Arab and Islamic world. In all Islamic countries, one can find followers of Qadiriyah who learn it from their sheikhs, generation after generation.
His discipline is characterized by clear, straightforward duties derived from the Holy Quran and Sunnah. All the praises that are recited as part of Qadiriyah follow what Allah has commanded and forbidden.