Sheikh Muhi Uddin Abdul Qadir Jilani (a.k.a Gilani) has been famous for centuries as the most popular and revered Saint of Islam. He was the founder of the Qadriya order, the most tolerant and charitable of the Sunni order of the dervishes.">
Sheikh Muhi Uddin Abdul Qadir Jilani (a.k.a Gilani) has been famous for centuries as the most popular and revered Saint of Islam.
He was the founder of the Qadriya order, the most tolerant and charitable of the Sunni order of the dervishes. This order claims countless followers throughout the Muslim world. His adherents, who knew him as ‘Ghaus-e-Azam' (the highest in the hierarchy of Saints) revere him for his piety, humility, learning and gentleness of spirit.
Sheikh Abdul Qadir was born in 1077 in Nif, a village in the district of Gilan , Persia (to the north of current Iran ). On his father's side, his ancestry can be traced back in the direct line to Hazrat Imam Hassan and hence The Prophet Muhammad . His mother was a saintly lady and also the daughter of a famous saint of that time.
Sheikh Abdul Qadir left his home at the age of eighteen in the pursuit of knowledge and he went to Baghdad, the great centre of learning. He attended the classes held by Tibrizi, the well-known Arab Philologist of the age. There he was initiated into the Sufism of the Abul Khair Muhammed School. This was a special mode of religious thinking and feeling. A Sufi lives rather a retired life in voluntary poverty in order to be better able to meditate on the Holy Qur'an by seeking to draw closer to Allah in prayer.
Sheikh Abdul Qadir received the Sufi dress called the ‘Khirka', from his leader and patron Sheikh Qazi Abu Sa'ad Mubarak, head of the Muslim School of the Hambalite law. Not long afterwards, a Khanqah ( monastery ) was built for him. In 1134, the school of Mubarak al Mukharrini was enlarged by public subscription and the popular Sheikh was appointed as its head.
The Sheikh was a great theologian and an earnest, sincere and eloquent preacher. He prayed for all of mankind without distinction of race or creed. His sermons which he gave regularly in the School on Friday mornings and Monday evenings, and in the Khanqah on Sunday Mornings, breathed the spirit of charity and philanthropy. Some of his sermons which are entitled ‘Futuh al Ghaib' are considered to be among the best pieces of Islamic literature ever written due to its matter and style and one of the great educative values to Muslims and non-Muslims alike. A considerable number of Christians and Jews were deeply influenced by his preaching and accepted the Divine faith.
His fame as a scholar and theologian spread far and wide. People from all parts of the world addressed him with their queries on religious and legal problems, and he never failed to answer these to their entire satisfaction. Many people including rulers and wazirs figured among his disciples venerated the Saint for his unaffected simplicity, deep humanity and steadfastness of purpose.
In his childhood, his saintly mother had always counselled him to remain truthful, frank and honest whatever might happen, and like a dutiful son he made his mother's advice his watchword for life and acted upon his mother's advice.
Once, when he was going on a journey, she gave him a few gold pieces. The caravan was overtaken by robbers. When they asked him about what valuables he had with him, he showed them the gold pieces. The robbers were taken aback and asked him why he did not try to hide his money. He replied, “I hold the noble advice of my mother dearer than these few pieces of gold.” The robbers were so moved by the noble spirit shown in this answer that they gave back all the property they had taken from him.
Sheikh Abdul Qadir is considered the patron Saint of the Kurds and is held in great veneration by the Muslims of the Indo-Pak sub-continent. The members of the Qadriya order may be counted in tens of thousands in central Asia, China, Java and Sumatra.