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How Shaykh Abdul Qadir Jilani Spread Islam

Shaykh Abdul Qadir Jilani, Rady Allahu ‘Anhu as the model of a Sufi saint, through his nasiha, azkaar and salawaat, through giving a living reality to Islam, in his complete surrender to the Will of Allah and in his showing of tawakkul (trust in Allah) and through his teaching and preaching converted more than five thousand Jews and Christians to Islam while more than a hundred thousand ruffians, outlaws, murderers, thieves and bandits repented and became devout Muslims and gentle dervishes, explains Shaykh Tosun Bayrak al-Jerrahi al-Halveti in his “Introduction” to the translation of Sirr al-Asrar (The Secret of Secrets, p XXXI). Shaykh Abdul Qadir Jilani says in the 35th Discourse (khutba) in Al-Fath-ur-Rabbani (The Endowment of Divine Grace) that this was among the blessings of our beloved Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him.

Shaykh Abdul Qadir Jilani, Rady Allahu ‘Anhu had four wives, each a model of virtue, and devoted to him. He had forty-nine children, twenty-seven sons and twenty-two daughters. Four of his sons, Shaykh Abdul Wahhab, Shaykh Isa, Shaykh Abdul Razzaq and Shaykh Musa became famous for their education and learning, and they and their descendants spread Islam in other parts of the world.

Shaykh Abdul Qadir Jilani Rady Allahu ‘Anhu passed away with the zikr of Allah on his lips on 11 Rabiu’l Akhir 561 A.H, 1166 C.E, at the age of 91. A special zikr session is held that night. It is variously known as Khatm Gawthiyya, Ziyara Shaykh ‘Abdul Qadir Jilani, ‘Urs Shareef, or Gyarween Shareef. In Eastern Africa, a whole night zikr session is held in congregation ending with Fajr salah after which breakfast is served. In some places, zikr sessions continue for days. These zikr sessions draw murideen (spiritual seekers) in their thousands who come out spiritually rejuvenated, with their characters transformed and refined, ready to sacrifice everything they have for the sake of Allah. And these halaqa (gatherings) of zikr in Tariqatul Qadiriyya have continued to attract millions of people to Islam through centuries and will continue to do so, Insha-Allah, till the Day of Judgement, Aameen.

Besides this annual zikr congregation, zikr sessions are also held on the eleventh of every month (hence called Gyarween Shareef in Urdu), as well as every Thursday night, as the night before Jumua is considered auspicious. The murideen (spiritual seekers) also do zikr everyday individually in a mosque or at home. This then is one of the enduring legacies of Shaykh Abdul Qadir Jilani, Rady Allahu ‘Anhu.

Other mashaayikh (spiritual masters) came who continued with the work of Shaykh Abdul Qadir Jilani. A few examples suffice to illustrate this. The first example is that of Khawaja Mu'inuddin Chishti Ajmeri Rahmatullahi ‘alayh (passed away 627 A.H/1230 C.E), who acknowledged Shaykh Abdul Qadir Jilani as his Shaykh and spread Islam in India. He achieved such a high spiritual status that he is called Sultanu’l Hind (the sultan of saints in the Indian sub-continent) and all the saints in that region are under his banner while he is under the banner of the Gawth al A'zam. In the same way Shaykh Uways ibn Muhammad Rahmatullahi ‘alayh (1263-1326 A.H, 1847-1909 C.E) of Somalia became a khalifa (vicegerent) in Tariqatul Qadiriyya at the shrine of Shaykh Abdul Qadir Jilani in Baghdad and spread Islam in the whole of Eastern Africa through congregations of zikr. And Shaykh Hamzah Fansuri, Rahmatullahi ‘alayh, considered to be one of the greatest saints in Indonesia in the 16th century C.E. proudly proclaimed that he learned Islam from Shaykh Abdul Qadir Jilani.

It can truly be said that the muhibbin (loving disciples) of Shaykh Abdul Qadir Jilani Rady Allahu ‘Anhu have spread Islam throughout the world through zikr. The barakaat (blessings) of zikr are truly unending. May Allah Ta'ala make us among the zakirin (those who remember Him), Aameen.

And the granting of wilayah (the status of a saint) by Allah Ta'ala to the zakirin (those who remember Him), ‘abidin (those who worship Him), salihin (pious), and muhibbin (those who love Him and the Holy Prophet Muhammad) is in all instances mediated by the Holy Prophet Muhammad Sallallahu ‘alayhi wa Sallam, Shaykh Abdul Qadir Jilani and one's own Shaykh. After all, the awliya Allah (Friends of Allah) and the ‘ulama (learned scholars) are the Khalifatullah, vicegerants of Allah. Allahummaj’alnaa fee zumratil awliya was salihin (O Allah! Keep us in the company of the saints and the pious), Aameen Yaa Rabbal ‘Aalamin.

Yaa Hayyu Yaa Hayyu Yaa Qayyum
Yaa Hayyu Yaa Hayyu Yaa Qayyum

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