How the Great Scholars of Islam Praise Ghouse al A’zam
Imam Muhyiddin an-Nawawi (631-676 A.H) wrote the following about Shaykh ‘Abdul Quadir Jilani in his book entitled “Bustan u’l ‘Arifin” (Garden of the Spiritual Masters):
“In all that has reached us from trustworthy reporters, concerning the charismatic talents of the saints (Karamat al Awliya), we learn of none more numerous than the charismatic talents of the Cardinal Pole (Qutb), the Shaykh of Baghdad, Muhyi’d Din ‘Abd al-Quadir al-Jili.
He was the Shaykh of the principle Shafi’i and Hanbali authorities in Baghdad. Leadership in the sphere of knowledge devolved upon him in his day and age. More than a few of the notable figures received their education in his fellowship, and most of the preeminent Shaykhs of ‘Iraq became affiliated with him. His teaching was propagated by a host of those endowed with splendid spiritual states. His countless students included many of the masters of exalted spiritual stations. The Shaykhs and scholars were unanimous in declaring him worthy of the greatest honour and respect, in confirming his authority, in referrring to his statements, and in having recourse to his judgement…..
He had an exalted way of speaking about the esoteric sciences (‘Ulum al Ma’arif). His anger was intense whenever the sanctuaries of Allah Almighty were violated. He was openhanded and magnanimous in the most beautiful way. To put it in a nutshell, there was none like him in his day and age.”
Once Shaykh Abu Madyan Shu’ayb al-Maghribi asked Hadrat Khidr about Shaykh ‘Abdul Quadir Jilani which he replied:
“He is the leader of the champions of truth, and the competent authority of those who know by direct experience. He is a breath of life in the sphere of direct knowledge, and his business is intimate converse between all the saints (Awliya).”
The following is a very short excerpt of what Shaykh ‘Afif ud-Din al-Yafi’i al-Yamani had to say about Shaykh ‘Abdul Quadir Jilani in his Ta’rikh (History).
“He roamed inside the natures (Nufus) of human beings as freely as breaths roam in their breasts, and he made their hearts fragrant with the scent of gardens showered by rain. He cured their natures of their sicknesses, and cleared their minds of their illusions. No one who heard him failed to declare his commitment to repentance, or to make his eyelids sore from weeping.
How many a sinner he brought back to Allah Almighty! How many a fainthearted weakling he reinvogorated! How many drunkards he rescued from the wine of passion! How many prisoners he released from the shackles of their lower selves (Nufus)! How many mainstays (Awtad) and spiritual deputies (Abdal) did Allah choose because of him! On how many men did Allah confer a spiritual station because of him! The thoroughbred steeds of spiritual talents never ceased to ride toward him. My Allah Almighty bestow His mercy upon him!”
Shaykh al-Mu’ammar al-Jarrad once said:
“These two eyes of mine have never set sight on anyone of better moral character, nor of broader inner feeling, nor of nobler personality nor of kinder heart, nor of greater loyalty and affection, than Shaykh ‘Abd al-Quadir. Without regard for the majesty of his stature, the exalted nature of his rank, and the vast extent of his knowledge, he would support the lowly and challenge the great. He would always be the first to offer the greeting of peace (Salam), and treat the poor with humble respect, though he would not stand up for any of the high and mighty and the notables, nor would he go knocking at the doors of any minister (Wazir) or ruler (Sultan).”
Shaykh Baqa ibn Batu said that the tariqa (Spiritual Path) of Shaykh ‘Abd al-Quadir consists of “the unifications of word and deed, the unification of the self (Nafs) and the moment, the embracing of sincere devotion (Ikhlas) and submissive resignation (Taslim), harmonious compliance with the Book and the Sunna in every thought, every glance, every state, as well as steadfast constancy in relation to Allah Almighty.”
Imam Hafiz Imaduddin Ibn Kathir described the admonitions of Shaykh ‘Abdul Quadir Jilani in his Ta’rikh (History) entitled Al-Bidaya wa’n Nihaya, saying: “He enjoined the people to do what is good and abstain from what is evil. His admonitions addressed caliphs, ministers, people in authority, judges, companions and the masses. Standing on the pulpits of the mosques, he reprimanded them in the presence of witnesses as well as during his public addresses. He disavowed the civil appointment of any unjust person, chose Allah’s blessings over anyone else’s wrath, and was not affected by any reproach.”
Imam Shihabuddin ‘Umar ibn Muhammad as-Suhrawardi in his universally acclaimed classic “Awarif ul Ma’arif” (The gnosis of the gnostics) refers to Shaykh ‘Abdul Quadir Jilani as “Our Shaykh” and quotes his advice.
The Doctrine & Creed of Ghouse al A’zam
Ghouse al A’zam’s ‘Aqidah was that of the Ahl us Sunnah wal Jama’ah, based on the Qur’an, and the Sunnah of the Holy Prophet Muhammad. All the sufi saints and Mashayikh (Spiritual Masters) through centuries have expounded on and lived by this ‘aqida, foremost among them being Imam ul A’zam Imam Abu Hanifa (80-150 A.H), Imam Abu’l Hasan al-Ash’ari (260-324 A.H, 874-935 C.E), and Imam Abu Mansur al-Maturidi (passed away 332 A.H, 944 C.E), Shaykh ‘Abdul Quadir Jilani has explained it in “Al-Ghunya Li Talibi Tariqi’l Haqq” or “Ghunyat ut Talibin”.
The foundation of this Aqida is the belief that Allah Almighty is the only One worthy of worship and that Prophet Muhammad is His Divinely Ordained Final Prophetic Messenger (Rasul). Its nurturing is with Asma u’l Husna and Mahabba (Love) of the Holy Prophet Muhammad , his Pure Household and Blessed Companions. Its manifestation is the spontaneous pride felt in the achievements of the Khulafa ar-Rashidun, that is, Sayyidina Abu Bakr as-Siddiq , Sayyidina ‘Umar bin Khattab al-Faruq , Sayyidina ‘Uthman bin Affan Dhun-Nurayn and Sayyidina ‘Ali bin Abu Talib al-Murtada . Its daily life is governed by Shariyah (Sacred Muslim law). Its spread is through Nasiha (Good Advice), zikr of Allah Almighty and Salawat and Salam on the Holy Prophet Muhammad . And its ultimate is Fana Fillah (Annihilation of oneself for the sake of, and in the love of Allah Almighty), after which Allah Almighty showers you with Baqa Billah (Spiritual Life everlasting) in His Rida (Pleasure).
***Extracted & Presented by Basharath Ali Siddiqui Ashrafi***