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The Biographies of Shaykh Abdul Qadir Jilani

Some scholars have written whole books of biography on Shaykh Abdul Qadir Jilani Rady Allahu ‘Anhu. Some have written articles on him while others have mentioned him in their writings by way of illustration. A preliminary survey reveals the following biographies of the Shaykh in various languages.

A: In Arabic

Biographies which deal with the virtues and the glorious deeds of a Muslim luminary are called manaqib in Arabic. Some of the learned scholars who have written the manaqib of Shaykh Abdul Qadir Jilani, expounding on his exemplary character, his achievements in piety, and his miracles are:

  1. Imam Muhyiddin an-Nawawi (631-676 A.H), in Bustan u’l Arifin (Gardens of the Spiritual Masters).

  2. Shaykh Abu’l Hasan Ali ash-Shattanawfi of Egypt (passed away 713 A.H, 1314 C.E), in Bahjat al-Asrar (Splendour of the Mysteries). This is the first major biography of the Shaykh from which others have benefited.

  3. Shaykh Afif u’d Din al-Yafii ash-Shafii of Yemen (718-768 A.H, 1318-1367 C.E), in Khulasat al-mafakhir fi’ktisar manaqib ash-Shaykh Abd al-Qadir (A Biography of Shaykh Abdul Qadir summarising his glorious qualities), and in Mir’at al-Jinan (The Mirrors of Paradises).

  4. Al-Hafiz Imad-ud-Din ibn Kathir (701-774 A.H, 1302-1373 C.E), in his Tarikh (History) entitled Al-Bidaya wa’n Nihaya (The Beginning and the End).

  5. Shaykh Muhammad ibn Yahya at-Tadifi (passed away 963 A.H, 1556 C.E), in Qalaid al-Jawahir (Necklaces of Gems), translated by Shaykh Muhtar Holland. In this major biography, Shaykh at-Tadifi records, in addition to the ones mentioned above, more than 40 great Imams and mashaayikh who have expounded on the spiritual achievements of Shaykh Abdul Qadir Jilani, among them being:
  6. - Shaykh As-Sayyid Ahmad ar-Rifai (passed away 578 A.H, 1182 C.E),

    - Shaykh Abu Madyan Shuayb (520-594 A.H, 1126-1198 C.E),

    - Shaykh Shihabuddin Umar as-Suhrawardi (539-632 A.H, 1145-1234 C.E),

    - Imam Ahmad ibn Hajar al-Asqalani (773-852 A.H)

    He also quotes from about a dozen biographies of the Shaykh by various well-known ‘ulama (learned scholars).

  7. Shaykh Hasan ibn Umayr ash-Shirazi in Iqd al-Iqyan. This is a manaqib (biography) of 17 chapters in poetic prose in which the verses alternatively rhyme in the letters “yaa”, and “alif”.

  8. Shaykh Abdur Rahman ibn Ahmad al-Qadiri az-Zaylai, entitled “Fayd ur Rahmani” (“The Grace of the Beneficent”), consisting of 11 chapters in Majmua Mushtamila (A Compendium of Writings).

  9. Habib Muhammad ibn ash-Shaykh Sidq Muhammad Ibrahim al-Qahiri, given in Al-Fuyudaat u’r Rabbaniyya (Emanations of Lordly Grace),

Rahmatullahi ‘alayhim ajma’een.

B: In Urdu, by

  1. Mawlana Muhammad Ilyas Attar Qadiri, in Jinnat Ka Baadshah (The King of Jinns and Other Marvels of Ghawth-e-Azam), in which he has primarily referenced the original source, that is the biography of the Shaykh entitled Bahjat al-Asrar of Shaykh ash-Shattanawfi. He also quotes a few verses from Shah Waliyullah Dehlawi Rahmatullahi ‘alayh (passed away 1176 A.H, 1762 C.E) in honour of the Shaykh.

  2. Miya Umar Din, in Anwar-e-Qadiriyya (The Lights of the Qadiriyya). This is a comprehensive biography of about 200 pages. In it, Miyan Umar Din has given an Urdu translation of 412 selected pieces of advice from the discourses of Shaykh Abdul Qadir Jilani which he considers constitute the core of this teaching. He has also included biographical accounts of the Shaykh written by

    - Mujaddid Alfi Thani Shaykh Ahmad Faruqi as-Sirhindi, Rahmatullahi ‘alayh (972-1034 A.H, 1564-1625 C.E) who has written about Shaykh Abdul Qadir Jilani in Maktub Number 123 in his Maktubat (Letters).

    - Shaykh Abdul Haqq Muhaddith Dehlawi Rahmatullahi ‘alayh (passed away 1052 A.H, 1642 C.E), in Akhbar ul-Akhyar (Narratives About The Chosen Ones). He translated the Futuh al-Ghaib of the Ghawth al-A’zam into Persian.

  3. Allamah Abdur Rahim Khan Qadiri, in Sirat-e-Ghawth-e-Azam (The History of the Ghawth al-Azam). This is another comprehensive biography of about 250 pages.

  4. Mawlana Ashiq Ilahi Mirthi, in the “Introduction” to his translation of Al-Fath-ur-Rabbani.

  5. Mawlana Sayyid Abd ud Daim Jilani , in the “Introduction” to his translation of Al-Ghunya Li Talibi Tariqi’l Haqq.

C: In Turkish, by

Shaykh Muzaffar Ozak Effendi, in Ziynet ul Qulub (The Adornment of Hearts), translated by Shaykh Muhtar Holland.

D: In English, by

  1. Dr. Zahurul Hasan Sharib, Rahmatullahi ‘alayh, entitled Ghawth ul Azam Pirane Pir (The Greatest Spiritual Helper, The Shaykh of Shaykhs).

  2. Dr. Muhammad Haroon, Rahmatullahi ‘alayh, “The World Importance of Ghawth Al Azam Shaykh Abdul Qadir Jilani”.

  3. Shaykh Tosun al-Jerrahi al-Halveti, in the “Introduction” to his translation of Sirr al-Asrar (The Secret of Secrets).

  4. Shaykh Muhtar Holland, in the “Introduction” to his translation of Futuh al-Ghaib (Revelations of the Unseen).

  5. Shaykh Muhammad al-Akili, in the “Preface” to his translation of Al Fath-ur- Rabbani (The Endowment of Divine Grace).

  6. Professor Shetha al-Dargazelli and Dr. Louay Fatoohi, in the “Introduction” to their translation of Jila al-Khatir (Purification of the Mind).

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

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