Sultan al-Awliya Abdul-Qadir al-Gilani (1078-1166)

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The great Islamic scholar and teacher Abdul-Qadir al-Gilani was born in the Persian province of Gilan in 1078.

Abdul-Qadir Gilani was a sayyid and a sharif and was also known by the names al-Ghawth al-Azam (the greatest helper and saint), Qutb al-Rabbani (the devout Qutb), Sultan-al-Awliya (Sultan of all the saints) and Qutb- al-Azam (the greatest Qutb).

Al-Gilani was well trained in the disciplines of the hadith, jurisprudence and tasawwuf  by some of the leading scholars in Baghdad. He soon attained a wide knowledge, and after completing his education began preaching and teaching.

The lectures and sermons he gave in the madrassa of his teacher Abu Said Mahzumi were so popular that the madrassa proved to be too small,  and the crowds overflowed onto the streets; the madrassa therefore had to be enlarged, taking in houses in the surrounding area. The people of Baghdad were of great assistance in this enterprise, the wealthy providing money, and the poor providing labor.

After teaching and describing the truth and the signs leading to faith for a while, al-Gilani then abandoned teaching and preaching and withdrew into seclusion. He later began living in the Baghdad ruins of Kerh, spending all his time in worship.

The superior fame he won in a short space of time spread very rapidly, and he became a leading scholar and imam of the time. Many scholars also emerged from those who continued to attend his classes.

Al-Gilani was the sole authority on scholarship of the time, and taught tasawwuf in a manner accessible to all. He began teaching and issuing Islamic rulings at the age of 28 and continued until the age of 60.

Al-Gilani also gave his name to the "Qadiri"  Sufi order. Thousands of the students who studied under him then went on to preach Islam in a number of different countries.

Abdul Qadir al-Gilani issued many warnings against heedlessness, thus recalling people to their proper duty. Some of these are as follows:

"If these virtues are absent from someone who acts as a guide, then he cannot be a guide. To be forgiving and cover up people’s flaws, to be affectionate and gentle, to speak the truth and be good, to command what is good, to forbid evil, to be hospitable and worship at night when others are asleep, to be scholarly and courageous."

"Know that our life is an opportunity for so long as you are alive. After a time, the door of life will be closed and you will depart this world. Seize this opportunity while the door of repentance is open. Strive to do good with all your might. Repent. Pray while you still have the opportunity. Take the opportunity to be with virtuous people."

Because of the way he had an immediate effect on people he met, al-Gilani was also known as “al-Baz Allah”(the Falcon of Allah) and “al-Baz al-Ashab” (The Falcon Who Never Misses His Prey).

People who had repented their sins, repentant brigands, assassins, sinners and those with flawed religious beliefs, as well as Jews and Christians who had converted to Islam were often to be found at his assemblies. It is related that he was instrumental in more than 5.000 Jews and Christians embracing Islam, and in more than 100,000 thieves and brigands repenting.

Abdul Qadir al-Gilani was of average stature, with broad shoulders, a slim body and a ruddy complexion. He grew his hair long enough to cover his shoulders. His voice was thick and majestic. He dressed very well, and he would take nothing from anyone, not even his students.

AL-GILANI, A LOVER OF THE MAHDI, SAID THIS IN THE 60TH COUNCIL OF HIS WORK AL FATH AR- RABBANI

“NOTHING CAN HOLD BACK WHOEVER LIVES TO SEE THIS PERSON FROM THE GATE OF ALLAH, THE GREAT AND GLORIOUS. THE BANNER OF THE MAHDI CANNOT BE LOWERED, HIS TROOPS CANNOT BE DEFEATED, HIS VOICE CRYING OUT THE TRUTH CANNOT BE SILENCED, AND THERE CAN BE NO BOUNDS TO THE SWORD OF MONOTHEISM. HE WILL WALK WITH SINCERE STEPS AND NEVER TIRE AND NO WORK CAN WEARY HIM. NO GATE CAN REMAIN CLOSED BEFORE HIM, NOR BE CLOSED AFTER IT HAS OPENED. THE SHUTTERS OF ALL DOORS WILL FLY APART AND THEY WILL OPEN UP ON ALL SIDES. NOBODY CAN STOP HIM UNTIL HE COMES INTO THE PRESENCE OF THE ALMIGHTY ALLAH.

Al-Gilani spent 73 of his 91 years in Baghdad. He lived to see five Abbasid Caliphs. He spent his whole life teaching and waged a powerful struggle on behalf of the truth.

By means of this holy work, Islam spread to many parts of Africa, Indonesia, the Indian Ocean, Anatolia and many other regions, and its pure and immaculate nature conquered many hearts.

Abdul Qadir al-Gilani died in Baghdad in 1166. His mausoleum is in Baghdad. The following words about him are well-known:

"Abdul Qadir al-Gilani, the Sultan of all the saints was born with love, lived a pure life and was united with our Lord with a pure love."

2012-04-20 21:56:18

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