The Life and Legacy of Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jilani

Ghous e Azam – Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jilaniرَحْمَةُ الـلّٰـهِ عَلَيْه

Youm e Ghaus e Azam is a day dedicated to commemorating and celebrating the life, teachings, and spiritual legacy of one of the most revered figures in Islamic history, Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jilani رَحْمَةُ الـلّٰـهِ عَلَيْه, also known as Ghous e Azam or Ghous Pak. Sheikh Abdul Qadir Gilani رَحْمَةُ الـلّٰـهِ عَلَيْه was a prominent Islamic scholar, saint, and mystic who made significant contributions to the Sufi tradition and Islamic spirituality. While annual gatherings of commemoration are held for many other saints in the special month of Rabi’-ul-Aakhir, this month holds a unique significance for Sayyiduna Ghaus-e-A’zam رَحْمَةُ الـلّٰـهِ عَلَيْه. On the 11th of this month, a special annual gathering is observed in remembrance of Sayyiduna Ghaus-e-A’zam Shaykh Abdul Qaadir Jilani رَحْمَةُ الـلّٰـهِ عَلَيْه.

Biography Of Abdul Qadir Jilani – Seerat e Ghous e Azamرَحْمَةُ الـلّٰـهِ عَلَيْه

Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jilani رَحْمَةُ الـلّٰـهِ عَلَيْه was born on the 1st of Ramadan in a town near Baghdad called ‘Jilaan’. According to his paternal lineage, he رَحْمَةُ الـلّٰـهِ عَلَيْه is the 11th grandson of Imam Hassan Mujtaba رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ, the grandson of the Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم (Bahjat-ul-Asrar, p. 171). On his maternal side, he is the 12th grandson of the honorable Sayyiduna Imam Husayn رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ, (as mentioned by ‘Allamah Ali Qaari رَحْمَةُ الـلّٰـهِ عَلَيْه. (Nuzhat-ul-Khaatir Al-Fatir, p. 12)

Sayyiduna Shaykh Abdul Qaadir Jeelani رَحْمَةُ الـلّٰـهِ عَلَيْه is known by titles such as Muhyuddin, Mahboob-e-Subhani, Ghaus-e-A’zam, and Ghaus Al-Saqalayn, among others. His father is Sayyiduna Abu Saalih Musa Jangidost رَحْمَةُ الـلّٰـهِ عَلَيْه, and his mother’s name is Umm-ul-Khayr Fatimah رَحْمَةُ الـلّٰـهِ عَلَيْه. He رَحْمَةُ الـلّٰـهِ عَلَيْه belonged to the Hasani Sayyid lineage from his father’s side and the Husaini Sayyid lineage from his mother’s side, as mentioned in ‘Bahjat-ul-Asraar’.

Shaykh Abdul Qaadir Jeelani رَحْمَةُ الـلّٰـهِ عَلَيْه was one of the blessed individuals who were considered Wali from the moment of their birth. Consequently, miraculous events associated with his saintly nature began occurring immediately after his birth. Notably, being born on the 1st of Ramadan, he refrained from nursing during daylight hours, only taking milk after sunset.

Furthermore, at the age of five, during his بسم الـلّٰـه ceremony, he impressively recited 18 parts of the Holy Quran from memory for his teacher. This achievement was possible because he had already memorized these verses while still in his mother’s womb. Remarkably, at the time of his birth, his lips moved slowly, and the divine utterance of ‘Allah Allah’ was audible. On the very day of his birth, in the town of Jeelan, 1,100 male infants were born, and they all grew up to become Awliya of Allah.

Ghous e Azam History – Education & Early Life of Abdul Qadir Jilani رَحْمَةُ الـلّٰـهِ عَلَيْه

Following his early education, Sheikh Abdul Qadir Gilani رَحْمَةُ الـلّٰـهِ عَلَيْه journeyed to Baghdad in 480 A.H., where he pursued further learning under the guidance of esteemed teachers and scholars of his time. Among his notable instructors were renowned and highly regarded figures such as Abu Al-Wafa Ali Ibn Aqeel Hanbali, Abu Zakariyya Yahya Ibn Ali Tabraizi, Abu Al-Ghalib Muhammad Ibn Hasan Baqillai, and Abu Sa’eed Muhammad Ibn Abdul Kareem رَحِمَهُمُ الـلّٰـهُ.

He also pledged allegiance and received Khilafat (permission to initiate disciples in a specific spiritual order or successorship) from Sayyiduna Shaykh Abu Sa’eed Mubarak Makhzoomi رَحْمَةُ الـلّٰـهِ عَلَيْه. Regarding the spiritual exercises and the arduous challenges, he faced in the path of Allah Almighty, he رَحْمَةُ الـلّٰـهِ عَلَيْه personally attested: I faced the most severe hardships and difficulties in the path of Allah Almighty. If the same hardships fell on a mountain, it would crumble. (Qalaaid Al-Jawahir)

Quoting Shaykh ‘Abdul Qaadir Jilani رَحْمَةُ الـلّٰـهِ عَلَيْه, ‘Allamah Imam Sha’rani قُـدِّسَ سِـرُّہُ الـرَّبَّـانِی, in his book Tabqat-ul-Kubra, writes: ‘At the beginning, I faced many hardships; when these hardships reached their peak, I lay on the ground and kept reciting verses 5 and 6 of Surah Alam Nashrah which are as follows:

فَاِنَّ مَعَ الْعُسْرِ یُسْرًاۙ(۵)  اِنَّ مَعَ الْعُسْرِ یُسْرًاؕ(۶)

So indeed, with hardship, there is ease. Indeed, with hardship, there is ease.

[Kanz-ul-Iman (Translation of Quran)] (Part 30, Surah Alam Nashrah, verse 5, 6)

By the blessing of these verses of the Holy Quran, all those difficulties were resolved. So if you ever get into any trouble, you should also have patience and pray to Allah عَزَّوَجَلَّ instead of wailing and complaining.

Gyarvi Sharif – Commemorating Ghous-e-Azam’s Legacy

The commemorative gathering held on the eleventh day following the passing of Hazrat Syedna Ghous-e-Azam رَحْمَةُ الـلّٰـهِ عَلَيْه with the intention of seeking spiritual rewards is commonly referred to as “Gyarvi Sharif.” This anniversary occurs on the 11th day of Rabi’-ul-Aakhir. During these gatherings, various activities take place in his honor, including the Holy Quran recitations, the recitation of Naats, speeches, the remembrance and discussion of righteous figures, as well as the provision of food and the recitation of Fatiha.

These events are conducted with the aim of earning spiritual blessings, and offerings are made at the revered shrine of Hazrat Syedna Ghous-e-Azam رَحْمَةُ الـلّٰـهِ عَلَيْه. It is firmly established through references in the Holy Quran, Hadith, and the teachings of Islamic scholars and pious predecessors that such gatherings serve as a means to earn spiritual rewards. Importantly, there is no specific requirement regarding the timing or location for Giyarahween Shareef; it can occur at any time and in any place, be it a mosque, a school, a private residence, or at the shrine of a saint.

The Glory & Greatness of Ghous Pak رَحْمَةُ الـلّٰـهِ عَلَيْه

Allah Almighty bestowed great honor upon Ghaus-ul-Azam, may the mercy of Allah be upon him. The greatness of Ghaus-ul-Azam lies in the fact that he was a saintly figure from birth, a chosen friend of Allah (Wali). (Tafrih al-Khatar, p. 58, paraphrased). Ghaus-ul-Azam’s greatness is also evident in the fact that he began observing fasting from birth. He would have milk for his pre-dawn meal (Suhur) and then break his fast at sunset. (Risala Munnay Ki Lash, p. 4).

The greatness of Ghaus-ul-Azam is also reflected in the fact that at the age of five, he recited the Bismillah (In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful) and 18 portions of the Quranic verses in Arabic. He said, “I remembered it after hearing it from my mother (may Allah’s mercy be upon her).” (Bahjat al-Asrar, Dhikr Turuq, p. 164).

The greatness of Ghaus-ul-Azam is further exemplified by his habitual acts of worship, devotion, and Quranic recitation. For fifteen years, he completed the recitation of the entire Quran every night. (Bahjat al-Asrar, Dhikr Fusul Min Kalamih… etc., p. 118, summarized). He also used to perform one thousand units of Nafl prayers daily. (The States of Ghaus-ul-Azam, p. 32).

Ghaus-ul-Azam’s greatness is evident in his teaching of thirteen different sciences. At his prestigious school, people studied Tafsir (Quranic exegesis), Hadith (Prophetic traditions), Fiqh (Islamic jurisprudence), Kalam (theology), Usul (principles), and Nahw (Arabic grammar), among other subjects. He taught people Tafsir, Hadith, Fiqh, Kalam, Usul, and Nahw before and after noon. In the afternoon, he would teach Tajweed and Quranic recitation along with the Quran itself. (Bahjat al-Asrar, p. 225, summarized).

Ghaus-ul-Azam’s greatness is also evident in the fact that more than five hundred non-Muslims embraced Islam through his miraculous interventions. Additionally, over a hundred thousand thieves, robbers, sinners, and wrongdoers repented and sought forgiveness due to his blessed hands. (Bahjat al-Asrar, Dhikr Wa’zah, p. 184).

Family Tree of Abdul Qadir Jilani رَحْمَةُ الـلّٰـهِ عَلَيْه

Shaykh Abdul Qaadir Jilani رَحْمَةُ الـلّٰـهِ عَلَيْه maternal grandfather, Sayyiduna Abdullah Sawma’ee رَحْمَةُ الـلّٰـهِ عَلَيْه, who was a revered saint from Jilan. Apart from his remarkable piety, he was known for his outstanding virtues and accomplishments. He رَحْمَةُ الـلّٰـهِ عَلَيْه was Mustajaab-ul-Da’waat, his supplications were readily accepted by Allah, and if he ever became displeased with someone, Allah Almighty would avenge that person. Whoever he was pleased with, Allah Almighty would honour that person with reward and respect.

Despite his physical weakness, he رَحْمَةُ الـلّٰـهِ عَلَيْه devoted himself to abundant voluntary prayers (Nawafil) and the remembrance of Allah Almighty. He رَحْمَةُ الـلّٰـهِ عَلَيْه also had a gift for foretelling future events, which would unfold exactly as he had predicted. (Bahjat-ul-Asraar, p. 172).

Shaykh Abdul Qaadir Gilani رَحْمَةُ الـلّٰـهِ عَلَيْه had a paternal aunt named ‘Aaishah Bint Abdullah,’ whose epithet was ‘Umm-e-Muhammad.’ She was a pious woman known for her saintly miracles, and people would seek her out for help in fulfilling their needs and requesting her prayers.

Additionally, Sheikh Abdul Qaadir رَحْمَةُ الـلّٰـهِ عَلَيْه had a younger brother named Sayyid Abu Ahmad Abdullah. Although he passed away at a young age, he had acquired a significant amount of knowledge and piety. The entire family of Shaykh Abdul Qaadir Jilani رَحْمَةُ الـلّٰـهِ عَلَيْه, including his maternal grandfather, paternal grandfather, father, mother, paternal aunt, brother, and sons, were all known for their piety and righteousness. Consequently, they were referred to as the ‘noble family’ by those who knew them.

Karamat e Gause Azam رَحْمَةُ الـلّٰـهِ عَلَيْه

Ghous e Azam, Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani رَحْمَةُ الـلّٰـهِ عَلَيْه, is renowned for his numerous miracles, or karamat, which have been documented and celebrated for centuries. These miracles serve as a testament to his exceptional spiritual stature and divine connection. Here are some notable examples:

  1. Rescuing a Drowning Man: One of the most famous miracles attributed to Gause Azamرَحْمَةُ الـلّٰـهِ عَلَيْهinvolves him rescuing a drowning man. When a desperate call for help reached him, he رَحْمَةُ الـلّٰـهِ عَلَيْه extended his hand from a distant location, miraculously pulling the drowning man to safety.
  2. Feeding the Hungry: On several occasions, heرَحْمَةُ الـلّٰـهِ عَلَيْهmiraculously multiplied food to feed the hungry, demonstrating his compassion and ability to provide for those in need.
  3. Healing the Sick: Ghous e Azam’sرَحْمَةُ الـلّٰـهِ عَلَيْهtouch was believed to have the power to heal the sick. Many sought his intercession for physical and spiritual ailments, and countless miraculous healings were reported.
  4. Control Over Nature: It is said that heرَحْمَةُ الـلّٰـهِ عَلَيْهhad the ability to control natural elements. There are accounts of him calming storms and bringing rain during times of drought through his supplication to Allah Almighty.
  5. Walking on Water: Witnesses claimed to have seen him walking on water, showcasing his mastery over the physical world.
  6. Knowledge of the Unseen: Gause Azamرَحْمَةُ الـلّٰـهِ عَلَيْهwas known to possess knowledge of the unseen and could often foresee events before they happened.

These karamat e ghous e azam رَحْمَةُ الـلّٰـهِ عَلَيْه are not only a source of inspiration for his followers but also a testament to the divine grace and spiritual depth of Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jilani رَحْمَةُ الـلّٰـهِ عَلَيْه, whose legacy continues to inspire countless individuals on their own spiritual journeys. His life and miracles remind us of the profound connection between faith, devotion, and the extraordinary.

Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jilani رَحْمَةُ الـلّٰـهِ عَلَيْه Books

Some of Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jilani رَحْمَةُ الـلّٰـهِ عَلَيْه well known works include:

  1. Futuh al-Ghaib (Revelations of the Unseen)– 78 discourses, fairly short and to the point but very powerful.
  2. Al-Fath ar-Rabbani (The Sublime Revelation)– 62 discourses definitely longer, given in the Ribaat and Madrasa in Baghdad AH 545-546.
  3. Jala’ al-Khawatir (The Removal of Cares)– 45 discourses, also in the same locations, given in the year AH 546.
  4. Kitab Sirr al-AsrarwaMazhar al-Anwar– The Book of the Secret of Secrets and the Manifestation of Lights
  5. Malfuzat (Utterances)– This is a collection of various sayings of Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jilaniرَحْمَۃُ اللہِ تَعَالٰی عَلَیْہِ. Generally, it is found at the end of the hand copied Arabic manuscripts of Fath ar-Rabbani.
  6. Al-Ghunya li-Talibi Tariq al-Haqq (Sufficient Provision for Seekers of the Path of Truth)– also known in the Indian sub-continent as Al-Ghunya li-Talibin. These five volumes, written by the Sheikh, at the request of one of his murids, is a comprehensive guide to all aspects of Islam, both the inward and the outward.
  7. Khamsata ‘AsharaMaktuban (Fifteen Letters)– These are 15 letters originally written in Persian by Sheikh Abdul Qadir to one of his murids.
  8. Al-Fuyudat al-Rabbaniyya(Emanations of Lordly Grace)
  9. Bashair al-Khairat (Glad Tidings of Good Things)– A Salawat by Sheikh Abdul Qadir by way of inspiration from Allah.
  10. Answers to Various Important Questions– Contains many concise answers to very important questions regarding a variety of topics.
  11. Special Prayers– Contains many special invocations taught to us by the Sheikh for their special blessings.


The revered spiritual leader of the Qadiriyyah Sufi order, Syed Abdul Qaadir Jeelani رَحْمَةُ الـلّٰـهِ عَلَيْه, passed away on the 11th of Rabi-us-Saani, 561 A.H., in Baghdad, at the age of 91. His funeral prayer was led by Sayyid Sayfuddeen Abdul Wahhab رَحْمَةُ الـلّٰـهِ عَلَيْه and was attended by a multitude of people. His blessed shrine, located in Baghdad, continues to be a place of constant visitation, attracting visitors’ day and night.

The tomb of Ghous e Azam رَحْمَةُ الـلّٰـهِ عَلَيْه is a revered shrine located in Baghdad, Iraq. It is the final resting place of Sheikh Abdul Qadir Gilani رَحْمَةُ الـلّٰـهِ عَلَيْه. Devotees from around the world visit this sacred site to pay their respects and seek spiritual blessings, making it an important center of religious devotion and reverence.

May Allah Almighty bestow His abundant blessings upon the shrine of Syed Abdul Qadir Jilani رَحْمَةُ الـلّٰـهِ عَلَيْه, grant us the guidance and ability to follow his teachings, forgive us generously for his sake, and resurrect us among his devoted followers on the Day of Judgment. Ameen!

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