Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jeelani(RA) also called al-Hasani wa’l-Husayni, known by the title of Sheikh-ul-Islam, and widely known as Gous-ul-Azam is the 11th-century Sufi saint, who was undoubtedly a very good orator, a mystic, Hanbali Sunni Muslim preacher, austere, Sayyid, and a theologian. Before devoting himself to asceticism and spiritual lessons , Gous ul Azam(RA), as a young man, developed proficiency in the intellectual disciplines of Islam. Al-Ghunyah and Futooh al-Ghayb are his two classic works. He settled in Baghdad in the long run where his addresses and sermons regularly attracted addressees to a great extent (Sufi school.org). Qadri order is named after him (Godlas, n.d.) or he is the founder of the Qadiriyya Order of Sufism (Encyclopedia Iranica).
Gous ul Azam(RA) was appreciated and valued as a great saint by the people of his times and was recognized as Jangi Dost, the one who loves God (Fadil & Faid, 1997). He sought Sufi guidance from Abu’l-Khair Hammad ibn Muslim al-Dabbas (Ruthven, n.d.). The great saint tells us to listen to our heart and shun our ego for it prompts us to claim of hopeless proclamations and avowals to find the splendor and beauty of this world. He quotes: ‘‘Listen to your heart and not your ego. Your ego prompts you to boast of vain assertions to obtain the glory of this world. Turn away from vanity and seek Him in the recesses of your heart and soul (goodreads.com).’’ We must turn away from pride and arrogance. According to him, pride and arrogance are retarders of heart and soul so we must reduce it.
Gous ul Azam(RA) studied the hadith, Islamic jurisprudence, Tasawwuf (Sufism) from different experts and teachers par excellence. Acquisition of more and more wealth is not good and lust for power is the main cause behind the degradation of the man, according to the great Sufi saint . He advised us not to hunt for our possessions and material assets; instead we should welcome and sit among the poor and be kind to them and Allah. He quotes: “If you come to me but do not put my teachings into practice you would only be a nuisance to the audience. As long as you are in your shop, you continue to think of your failing business, and when you come to me it is only to comfort yourself. No matter how many times you come to listen, it is as if you heard nothing. O property owner! Forget about your property and come and sit among the poor and be humble to Allah and to them (goodreads.com).” He further quotes: “O my Beloved, in both worlds, the best place is that where I can prostrate myself upon Thy feet and wherein words of love, you and I can converse (goodreads.com).” Gous ul Azam’s(RA) writings and quotes depict his love for Allah and his divine connection with him at the same time.
Sheikh Abu Masood bin Abi Bakr Harimi (RA) reports that Sheikh Ahmed Jaam (SA), a very great Saint, used to tour on a lion wherever on the earth he traveled. It was his routine practice to ask the people of every city he visited to send one cow for his lion’s mealtime. He went to one city on some occasion and demanded a cow for his lion’s meal from the Saint of that city. While sending the cow to him, the Saint said, “If you ever go to Baghdad, your lion will receive a welcome invitation.” On his arrival to Baghdad, Sheikh Ahmed Jaam (RA) sent one of his disciples to Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jeelani (RA) and ordered that a cow be displayed before him as food for his lion.
Gous ul Azam (RA) was already conscious of his approaching and therefore prepared for a cow to be held in reserve for the lion. The sheikh sent one of his pupils with a cow to him on the command of Sheikh Ahmed Jaam (RA). While the cow was being taken by the disciple, a feeble and old stray dog which used to be seated outside the home of Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jilani (RA) kept an eye on the pupil and followed him. Sheikh Ahmed Jaam (RA) was presented with the cow by the pupil. And , a lion was directed to embark on feeding.
The moment the lion jogged in the direction of the cow, this wandering dog attacked the lion and trapped it by its gullet and slaughtered it by ripping open its abdominal. The dog then and there pulled the lion and showcased it before Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jilani (RA). On seeing the power and respect of the dog for Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jilani (RA), Sheikh Ahmed Jaam (RA) was very ashamed. He and requested for mercy for his egotistical and big-headed behavior. This event displays many moral lessons but it particularly depicts the power and strength of a stray dog that simply takes a seat outside the doors of Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jilani (RA) and it gives a picture of the spiritual affinity (Nisbat) between the two.
The word Nisbat in Arabic means empathy or construction between two persons. In the Sufi jargon, the affinity that is cultivated between God and human beings is what we call Nisbat. A person should develop some excellence or quality to such a notch that it should infuse and pervade that person’s existence completely. It is this attribute which is heart and soul of Nisbat and the moment such a characteristic becomes an essential constituent for one’s being we can call it divine and mystical affinity. The accomplishment of this spiritual empathy is the objective of the Sufism , in general, and the Sufi quest, in particular (Sufi school.org).
This was due to its Nisbat to the sacred of the great Saint that it became all-powerful in front of the lion, indicating that even animals distinguish and are dedicated to the Awliya. In one of his expressive poetic verses Hazrat Sheikh Imam Ahmed Raza al-Qadiri (RA) describes the aforementioned incident in the following words: “Kya Dab’be Jis Pe Himayat Ka Ho Panja Tera, Sher Ko Khatre me Laata, Nahi Kut’ta Tera.”
There is a need for the understanding of Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jilani’s (RA) moral way of life for he is not only the person who advocated moral values but practiced them in letter and spirit by way of his devotion in practicing Islam , its pillars and canons. He is one of the top Sufi saints of all times to come. His notions are closer to the Sunnah, and by and large, are based on the Qur’an with a special reference to endeavors of the heart or religiousness. Gous ul Azam(RA) directs us to ask our Creator for a doctor who can treat the diseases, infections, and bugs of our hearts. Consequently, the crux of his religious philosophy is purity of heart. If we succeed in purifying our heart, we may succeed here and in the Hereafter. Therefore, there should be a paradigm shift from material purity to inner purity. This approach is necessary for becoming a pious Muslim. We, therefore, need to reconsider and imbibe the religious teachings of Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jilani (RA).
Encyclopædia Iranica. (N.d.). Abdul Qadir Gilani. Retrieved from http://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/abd-al-qader -jilani.
Godlas, Alan. (N.d.) Sufism, Sufis, and Sufi Orders: Sufism’s Many Paths”. Retrieved from http: //islam .uga .edu /sufismorders.html.
Khan, Muhammad Fadil and Ahmad, Faid. (1997) Mihr-e-munir: biography of Hadrat Syed Pir Meher Ali Shah.
Hazrat Abdul-Qadir Jilani Quotes Retrieved from https: //www .good reads .com /author /quotes /13762067 .Ha zrat _Abdul_Qadir_Jilani
Malise Ruthven, n.d. Islam in the World, p 243. ISBN 0195305035
School of Sufi Teaching. (N.d). Spiritual Affinity (Nisbat). Retrieved from https: // www .sufi school .org / practices / nisbat.html
The author is a Research Scholar, Department of Economics, at the Central University of Kashmir, an Academic Counsellor, IGNOU STUDY CENTRE 1209,S.P. College, Srinagar. She is also Editor in EPH – International Journal of Business and Management Science & Asian Journal of Managerial Science and an Ezine Articles Expert Author; IJRULA title awards, 2018 winner (Best Researcher, 2018). She can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org