Around 1100, a Sufi teacher (Shaikh Abu'l-Khair Hammad ibn Muslim al-Dabbas) inspired al-Jilani to pursue the mystical path. Al-Jilani abandoned Baghdad and wandered in the desert regions of Iraq. After twenty-five years as a desert recluse, al-Jilani reappeared in Baghdad in 1127 to become one of the most popular preachers and teachers that Islam has ever known. In the morning, he taught hadith and tafsir, and in the afternoon held discourse on mysticism and the virtues of the Qur'an.
Al-Jilani established a school and inspired an order that eventually set up branches in every Muslim country. The order came to bear his name of Qadiriyya. His tomb in Baghdad has remained one of the most frequented sanctuaries of Islam.
'Abd al-Qadir al-Jilani studied Islamic law in Baghdad and was introduced to Sufism rather late in life, first appearing as a preacher in 1127. His great reputation as a preacher and teacher attracted disciples from the entire Islamic world, and he is said to have converted numerous Jews and Christians to Islam. His achievement as a thinker was to have reconciled the mystical nature of the Sufi calling with the sober demands of Islamic law. His concept of Sufism was that of a holy war or jihad waged against one’s own will in order to conquer egotism and worldliness and to submit to God’s will. Numerous legends of his saintliness arose after his death, and he retains a popular following among those who consider him a divine mediator.
'Abd al-Qadir al-Jilani ('Abd al-Qadir al-Gilani) was born the first day of Ramadan, 470 A.H. (1077 C. C.), in Naif (Nif), District of Gilan, Mazandaran Province, Iran (Persia). He died on 11 Rabiʿ ath-Thani 561 A.H. (1166 C. C.), in a small town of Gilan Province. 'Abd al-Qadir was an Islamic Sufi religious figure, teacher, preacher and writer. 'Abd al-Qadir is considered to be a patron saint of Kurds and is also held in veneration by Sufi Muslims of the Indian subcontinent where his followers call him "Ghaus-e-Azam".
Al-Jilani was born in the latter part of the 11th century of the Christian calendar. His father was Abu Salih Musa al-Hasani, a descendant of Hazrat Imam Hasan, the eldest son of 'Ali, Muhammad's first cousin, and the husband of Fatima, Muhammad's daughter. Al-Jilani's mother was the daughter of 'Abdullah Sawmai, a descendant of Imam Husain, the younger son of 'Ali and Fatima. Thus, al-Jilani was both a Hasani and Hussaini.
Within al-Jilani's full name, al-Sayyid Muhiyudin Abu Muhammad Abdal Qadir al-Jilani al-Hasani wal-Hussaini, the word Sayyid denotes his descent from Muhammad. The name Muhiyudin describes him as a "reviver of religion". The phrase, al-Jilani refers to al-Jilani's region of birth. However, al-Jilani also carried the epithet, al-Baghdadi referring to his residence and burial in Baghdad. The phrase al-Hasani wal-Hussaini affirms his lineal descent from both Hasan ibn 'Ali and Hussein ibn 'Ali, the grandsons of Muhammad.
Al-Jilani (Al Gilani) spent his early life in Naif (Nif), the town of his birth. In 1095, at the age of eighteen years, al-Jilani went to Baghdad. There, he pursued the study of Hanbali law. Abu 'Ali al-Mukharrimi gave al-Jilani lessons about fiqh. He was given lessons about hadith by Abu Bakr ibn Muzaffar. He was given lessons about tafsir by Abu Muhammad Ja'far, a commentator. In tasawwuf, his spiritual instructor was Abu'l-Khair Hammad ibn Muslim al-Dabbas. After completing his education, al-Jilani left Baghdad. He spent twenty-five years as a reclusive wanderer in the desert regions of Iraq.
In 1127, al-Jilani returned to Baghdad and began to preach in public. He joined the teaching staff of the school belonging to his teacher al-Mukharrimii and was popular with students. In the morning he taught hadith and tafsir, and in the afternoon held discourse on the science of the hearts and the virtues of the Qur'an.
From 1127 (521 A.H.) to 1166 (561 A.H.), al-Jilani resided in Baghdad. During this period, hundreds of thousands of people converted to Islam because of him and he organized several teams to go abroad for dawah purposes.
Al-Jilani was a great Sufi scholar and a heart touching author. His books Ghuniyat Attalibeen and Fatooh ul Ghaib became very popular among the Muslim religious circles.
Al-Jilani died in 1166 (11 Rabi'us sani 561 A.H.). His body was entombed in a shrine within his madrassa in Babul-Sheikh, Resafa (East bank of the Tigris) in Baghdad, Iraq. Worldwide, the Sufi orders celebrate "Ghouse-al-azham day" on the date of al-Jilani's death.
Al-Jilani continued the spiritual chain of Junayd Baghdadi. His contribution to Sufi thought in the Muslim world earned him the title Muhiyuddin, meaning, "the reviver of the faith". Al-Jilani, along with his students and associates laid the groundwork for the society which later produced stalwarts like Nur ad-Din and Saladin.
The works of 'Abd al-Qadir al-Jilani include:
The works of 'Abd al-Qadir al-Jilani include:
- Al-Ghunya li-talibeen tariq al-haqq wa al-din (Sufficient provision for seekers of the path of truth and religion)
- Al-Fath ar-Rabbani (The Sublime revelation)
- Malfuzat (Utterances)
- Futuh al-Ghaib (Revelations of the unseen)
- Jala' al-Khatir (The removal of care)
- Sir Al-Asrar (Secret of secrets) (English translation)
Alternative names include:
'Abd al-Qadir al-Gilani'Abd al-Qadir al-Jilani
Abdul Khadir GilaniAbdul Qadir
Abdul Qadir al-Kilani
Al-Gauth al Azam
Al-Gilani, 'Abd al-Qadir
Al-Jilani, 'Abd al-Qadir
Al-Sayyid Muhiyudin Abu Muhammad Abdal Qadir al-Jilani al-Hasani wal-Hussaini
Gauth al Azam, al-
Gilani, 'Abd al-Qadir al-
Gilani, Abdul Khadir
Hussaini, al-Sayyid Muhiyudin Abu Muhammad Abdal Qadir al-Jilani al-Hasani wal-
Jilani, 'Abd al-Qadir al-
Kilani, 'Abdul-Qadir al-
Reviver of Religion
Reviver of the Faith
Sayyid Muhiyudin Abu Muhammad Abdal Qadir al-Jilani al-Hasani wal-Hussaini, al-
The Supreme Helper
wal-Hussaini, al-Sayyid Muhiyudin Abu Muhammad Abdal Qadir al-Jilani al-Hasani wal-Hussaini