The third Sultan-ul-Faqr status is adorned by the beloved soul of the chief of all the Qutabs, Abdals and Awliya Hazrat Mahboob-e-Subhani Ghaus-ul-Azam Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jillani Razi Allah Anhu. His grandeur and splendour in the world of Sufism and Faqr does not require any introduction as his dignity and honour is brighter than sun, and his attributes and virtues are countless.
Ghaus-ul-Azam Hazrat Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jillani Razi Allah Anhu was born on Friday the first of Ramadan in 470 Hijri (1078 A.D). His lineage goes back to Hazrat Mohammad Sall Allahu Alayhi Wa'alihi Wasallam from faternal as well as maternal side. His father Hazrat Abu Saleh Musa Jangi Rehmat-ul-Allah Alayh was a Hassani Syed and his mother Umm-ul-Khair was a Hussaini Syed. He got the heritage of Faqr from Hazrat Mohammad Sall Allahu Alayhi Wa'alihi Wasallam through blood as well as soul. He was the complete manifestation of the reality of the Divine resplendent innerself of Mohammad Sall Allahu Alayhi Wa'alihi Wasallam. All the virtues and attributes of his holyself were evident from Hazrat Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jillani Razi Allah Anhu. The grandeur of his status was visible since birth.
He was born on the night of first Ramadan. The next day was the first fast of Ramadan. He didn't take motherfeed during the day the whole month and only drank milk after Maghrib and before Fajar prayer. Next year appearance of the moon of Ramadan was doubtful due to clouds. It was the 29th of Shaban. The next day when Ghaus-ul-Azam didn't take any milk his mother understood that it was the first of Ramadan. Afterwards it was confirmed through reliable witnesses. His son Hazrat Shaikh Abdul Razzaq Rehmat-ul-Allah Alayh states that once his father Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jillani Razi Allah Anhu was asked that when did he come to know that he had got the status of beloved friend of Allah? He answered, "when I was ten years old I used to go to a religious school. On the way I used to see angels around me, when I reached the school I heard them saying "let the beloved friend of Allah sit, leave place for him". When this happened many times, I was assured that Allah has blessed me with the honourable status of his friend (a Wali)".
Although Hazrat Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jillani Razi Allah Anhu was well aware of his grand status, yet he suffered hard mystic exercises and devoted himself to unbearable endeavours to break the veil of nafs completely to reach closest to Allah and attain the highest degree of Oneness with Him. No other Sufi, Saint or Wali had the courage to go through such hardships and endeavours as he had gone through only for Allah, that is why his foot is on the neck of every Saint i.e. he is the king and leader of all the Saints and Sufis and has got an unmatched and unparalleled status among them. His grand status is undoubtedly accepted by the whole spiritual world of Tasavvuf, Tareeqat and Faqr. All the Saints, Sufis and Walis obey him and seek guidance and bounties from him, whether it be jins or humans.
Ghaus-ul-Azam Razi Allah Anhu had learnt 18 chapters of the Holy Quran in the womb of his mother. At the age of 4 years his preliminary education started. By the age of 10 years he had full command over all the basic branches of knowledge. For further education he went to Baghdad in 488H and got admission in Madrasah Nizamia. Abu Al-Wafa bin Aqeel, Abu Zikria Yahya bin Ali Tabraizi, Abu Saeed bin Abdul Kareem, Abu Saeed Mubarik Makhzoomi and Abu Al-Khair Hammad bin Muslim Dabbas were some of his honourable teachers. Hazrat Abu Saeed Mubarik Makhzoomi Rehmat-ul-Allah Alayh was also his spiritual guide and Mentor (Murshid) from whom he got the cloak of Khilafat and the Trust of Faqr. He accomplished excellence in all the branches of religious knowledge like exegesis of Quran, Islamic laws and jurisprudence, knowledge of Hadith, Tareeqat and Faqr and much more.
He had to face very arduous conditions during his early stay in Baghdad. He could not adopt any means of earning because he was so much busy in getting education, meanwhile Baghdad had a famine. He either lived without food for most of the days or ate weeds and herbs grown on the bank of river Dajla. He neither had any place to live nor extra clothes to change. A robe of course cloth and a small turban was his only dress. He used to spend the day at Mudrassah and in night he used to go to the jungle, bare earth was his bed and bricks were his pillow. Rains, storms, severe cold or hot weather, he was indifferent to everything around him. His only concern was his search for the Divine reality. He used to wander barefooted in the jungle, absorbed in his craze for his beloved Allah, forgetting everything else. His only pleasure lies in getting education about the true religion and seeking closeness of Allah.
In Eight years (from 488 H to 496 H) Ghaus-ul-Azam Hazrat Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jillani Razi Allah Anhu got perfect command over all the branches of knowledge. Afterwards he devoted himself to mystic exercises. For the next twenty five years (496 H to 521 H) he went through such hardships and endeavours that were unbearable for even a person of strongest nerves. He states, "if a mountain had to suffer hardships that I've gone through, it would've burst. When troubles and afflictions attacked me and became unbearable for me, I used to lie on earth and start reciting the verse
Meaning: Certainly there is ease with every hardship, there is ease with every hardship.
The recitation of this verse gave satisfaction to my heart and when I rose up from the earth, all my pain had gone.
Once during a sermon he said, "I had been wandering in the forests and wilderness of Iraq for twenty five years, offered the Fajar prayer with the ablution of Isha prayer and continued this practice for forty years, for fifteen years I had been reciting the whole Quran in the Isha prayer standing on one leg. And usually I had spent thirty to forty days without eating or drinking anything".
Shaikh Abu Al-Masood bin Abu Bakr Hareemi Rehmat-ul-Allah Alayh states that Hazrat Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jillani Razi Allah Anhu once told him that "I had been putting my nafs to very harsh trials for several years. I used to spend one year without drinking water and eat potherbs or any eatable thrown by people, next year I didn't eat anything and lived only on water, after that I used to spend a complete year without eating or drinking anything and even abstained from sleeping. I had spent many years in the old empty quarters of Karkh in Baghdad, during this period my only food was a herb named "kondal". People thought that I was a lunatic. I used to wander In the deserts, wept bitterly and rolled myself on thorns until all my body was wounded. People took me to some clinic. There I used to have a fit of agony of death. They thought that I was dead. Then they prepared for my funeral and burial and when they put me on a board for my last ablution, I woke up".
After twenty five years of very hard mystic devotions and exercises Hazrat Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jillani Razi Allah Anhu attained such heights of closeness and Oneness with Allah that no one can even think of reaching there. Now it became his obligation to persuade and guide people on the way to Allah. In 521H he came back to Baghdad and held the Throne of Spiritual Guidance and Persuasion on the orders of the Holy Prophet Sall' Allahu Alayhi Wa'alihi Wasallam. He started giving spiritual guidance and knowledge to people through sermons. His sermons were so thought provoking and effective that a large number of people were attracted to attend these sermons. Common people, scholars, saints, sufis of that time came to listen to his sermons. He devoted the last forty years of his life guiding the people on the way to Allah. During the sermons, descent of Divine refulgence was visible from his sacred self, sometimes his voice rose very high and face became red. It became impossible for common people to tolerate the intensity of these refulgences, some of them even lost their senses in severe ecstatic state.
One day during sermon while being in the state of deep engrossment, he announced by the will of Allah that
Meaning: My foot is over the neck of every saint !
At once this status of his was announced in the whole universe and every saint, either living or dead, was ordered to obey him. Listening to this all the saints, sufis and friends of Allah present there as well as those who were not physically present there, live or dead, bowed their heads and accepted his superiority over them with heart and soul. Even the saints in the world of jins joined this obedience. This statement and its unanimous acceptance by all the saints is frequently quoted in all the books written on his marvellous personality.
Many miracles of his sacred self are stated in his biographies but his greatest miracle was the revival of Islam in its true and original form as it was brought and taught by the Holy Prophet Mohammad Sall'Allahu Alayhi Wa'alihi Wasallam. His sermons, lectures, teachings, books, personal meetings with devotees and while their spiritual guidance all his struggle revolved around the revival of Islam with its true essence.
Before him the Muslim world was divided into many sects, the knowledge about the true religion was found nowhere. Muslims had also weakened politically. Sectarianism and disunion ruled everywhere. He has mentioned 73 sections of Muslims present at that time in his book Ghuniat-ul-Talibeen. Most of these sections were heretic and schismatic. Muslim scholars were indulged in useless discussions and arguments. Those who claimed to be mystics and saints were also away from the true religion, and had only the superficial knowledge of mysticism and sufism. As a result the system of spiritual chains and orders had also weakened.
Ghaus-ul-Azam Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jillani Razi Allah Anhu, through his marvellous knowledge of the true Islam and his unparalleled status in the spiritual as well as the apparent world, put an end to all the schismatic sections and spiritual orders. All the actual and real spiritual orders which had started from Hazrat Ali Karam Allah Wajhul Karim and spread through Hazrat Imam Hassan Basri Razi Allah Anhu again united and gathered in the holyself of Hazrat Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jillani Razi Allah Anhu. He reconstructed the system of spiritual orders, leaving out the wrong innovations and schisms which had developed in them through time and had deshaped them. Four spiritual orders then originated from his sacred self, Qadri, Chishti, Soharwardi and Naqshbandi. Qadri order is headed by his ownself while the other three orders are headed by saints who had got beneficence from him. His Qadri order is superior to all other orders just as he is superior to all other saints. It is rightly said that:
Meaning: Ghaus-ul-Azam Razi Allah Anhu has got the same status among the sufis and saints as Mohammad Sall'Allahu Alayhi Wa'alihi Wasallam has got among the Prophets.
Shah Wali Allah Muhadath Dehlwi Rehmat-ul-Allah Alayh describes his grandeur in his book "Hum a'at", which is a complete history of Tasavvuf, in these words:
"after Hazrat Ali Karam Allah Wajhul Kareem starts a series of sacred sufis and saints, the most powerful and superior of all the saints and the one who travelled the mystic path with utmost excellence through the actual Awaisi way is Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jillani Razi Allah Anhu. That is why it is said about him that he is as powerful in his grave as he was when alive". (Ham a'at)
Once Hazrat Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jillani Razi Allah Anhu was asked that what is the difference between the follower of your spiritual way and the follower of other ways? He answered:
Meaning:An egg (a new disciple) of mine is equal to thousand birds of others and no one can match it.
He still guides the disciples and followers of the Sarwari Qadri Order himself first and then hand them over to a spiritual guide and mentor.
Hazrat Sakhi Sultan Bahoo Rehmat-ul-Allah Alayhi says about his Sarwari Qadri order:
- A Sarwari Qadri is so powerful and courageous that he rides a lion and heads all the ghaus and qutabs. By the grace of Allah the Sarwari Qadri disciples and devotees attain such spiritual heights on the very first day that the whole universe comes in their view. The reality of Sarwari Qadri Faqeer is that he can make disciples of every order spiritually perfect and accomplished, because the saints and derveshes of all the other orders and ways are imperfect and unaccomplished as compared to him. The utmost limit of all the other orders remains inferior to the beginning of Sarwari Qadri way, even if one devotes one's whole life to very hard mystic exercises or lengthy prayers. (Muhik-ul-Faqr Kalan)
Due to the most supreme status of Ghaus-ul-Azam Razi Allah Anhu in Faqr and Spirituality, the Holy Prophet Sall'Allahu Alayhi W'alihi Wasallam has blessed him with complete authority over Faqr. Without his permission and approval no one can acquire Faqr and saintliness.
Sultan-ul-Arifeen Hazrat Sakhi Sultan Bahoo Rehmat-ul-Allah Alayh states his grandeur in these words:
- Everyone who is blessed with the honour and grace of saintliness, mysticism, righteousness and the status of dervesh, ghaus or qutab is blessed from the celestial court of Hazrat Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jillani Razi Allahu T'ala Anhu because he has got complete command over both the worlds. Whoever disapproves his grand status is cursed and rejected by Allah like the depraved Satan. Every true muslim of the ummah of the Holy Prophet Sall'Allahu Alayhi Wa'alihi Wasallam who is or was a real momin, or a saint, sufi, ghaus, qutab is a disciple of Ghaus-ul-Azam Razi Allah Anhu. No one is out of his discipleship. Whoever turns away from his discipleship can never have the Gnosis and Recognition of Allah. (Muhik-ul-Faqr Kalan)
Hazrat Baha-ud-Din Naqshband Rehmat-ul-Allah Alayh says:
Meaning: Ghaus-ul-Azam Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jillani Razi Allah Anhu is the King of both the worlds and the leader of progeny of Adam. All the humans, angels and jins are full of praise for him.
He has written many books for the guidance of seekers of Allah. The most famous among these are:
- Al-Fatah Rabbani
- Sirr'ul Asrar
- Risala Al-Ghausia
- Deewan-e-Ghausia (Persian poetry)
Ghaus-ul-Azam Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jillani Razi Allah Anhu died at the age of 91 years on 11th Rabi-us-Sani in 561 H in Baghdad. He passed on the treasure of Faqr to his son Hazrat Shaikh Abdul Razzaq Jillani Razi Allah Anhu who holds the status of fourth Sultan-ul-Faqr.