Qala'id Al-Jawahir - 1

Necklaces of Gems

by Shaikh Muhammad ibn Yahya at-Tadifi al-Hanbalion the Marvelous Exploits of the Crown of the Saints, the Treasure-trove of the Pure, the Sultan of the Saints, the Sublime Pivot, Shaikh Muhyi'd-din 'Abd al-Qadir al-Jilani (may Allah be well pleased with him). 


As for the friends of Allah,  surely no fear shall be upon them, nor shall they grieve. (10:62)
[a-la inna awliya'a 'llahi la khawfun 'alai-him, wa la hum yahzanun.]

In the Name of Allah, the All-Merciful, the All-Compassionate.

The following are the words of Muhammad ibn Yahya at-Tadifi, the poor servant [of the Lord], who acknowledges his sin and his shortcoming, and hopes for a hidden pardon from His tender grace. May Allah forgive his sins, and replace his sins with blessings.

Praise be to Allah, who has opened for His saintly friends [awliya'] the paths of right guidance, and has caused all kinds of good things to come about at their hands, and has delivered them from ruin. Those who follow their example will therefore be successful and guided aright, but those who swerve from their path will fail and be ruined. Those who seek their protection will prosper and travel safely, but if anyone shuns them with rejection, he will be cut off and destroyed. I praise Him with the praise of one who knows that there is no refuge from Him except toward Him. I thank Him with the thanks of one who is firmly convinced that favors [ni'am] and afflictions [niqam] alike are entirely at His disposal. I invoke blessing and peace upon our Master, Muhammad, and upon his family. May they enjoy the countless benefits and gracious favors of Allah.

As for the subject of the present work, my interest was aroused when I studied "History To Rely On for Accounts of the Bygone" [at-Ta'rikh al-mu'tabar fi anba' man ghabar], the compilation of the Chief Justice [Qadi 'l-qudah], Mujir ad-Din 'Abd ar-Rahman al-'Ulaimi al-'Umari al-Maqdisi al-Hanbali (may Allah encompass him with His mercy). I discovered that the author had given no more than summary treatment to the biography of our Master, our Patron, our Shaikh and our Guide to Allah (Exalted is He), Shaikh 'Abd al-Qadir al-Jili al-Hanbali (may Allah be well pleased with him), and that he had made only the slightest reference to his charismatic qualities and exploits [manaqib]. I found this quite astonishing, and I said to myself: "Perhaps he considered him a widely known celebrity (may Allah be well pleased with him), and therefore confined himself to this brief account. In deciding to keep it short, he may also have been influenced by the example of that most erudite scholar, Ibn al-Jawzi (may Allah bestow His mercy upon him)."

I then felt moved, by the wish to obtain good fortune, to gather together everything that I could find about the exploits of the Shaikh (may Allah sanctify his innermost being, and may He illuminate his mausoleum), in various books, from what I heard from trustworthy sources, and from what I held in my personal recollection. I resolved to follow this information, after having mentioned his noble genealogy, with accounts of his physical constitution [khalq] and his moral character [khulq], his work ['amal] and his knowledge ['ilm], his methods and his spiritual counsel, his speech and his action, the children whom Allah bestowed upon him, and his exaltation by the saints [awliya'] in recognition of his proper due. I also decided to make some mention of the charismatic qualities and exploits of these saints, as well as the exploits of those who trace their spiritual affiliation to his excellency.

It is necessary to persevere in standing at the threshold of his door, for the elevated nature of the act of following is determined by the nobility of the one who is followed, just as the copious extent of the rivers' flow depends on the magnitude of the spring that is their source.

I also mention his birth and the completion of his earthly life, and I conclude that with something concerning his charismatic qualities and exploits, and what has been said about him, keeping that fairly concise, for fear of causing boredom and ennui. I have entitled the book:

Necklaces of Gems: Concerning the Charismatic Qualities and Exploits of Shaikh 'Abd al-Qadir [Qala'id al-Jawahir fi Manaqib ash-Shaikh 'Abd al-Qadir]

The Shaikh's Genealogy

I turn to Allah for help, for He is all I need, and how excellent is the Helper! Then I go on to say [concerning the subject of this book]:

He is our Master, the Shaikh of Islam, the exemplar of the splendid saints [awliya'], the signpost to right guidance. Those who trace their spiritual affiliation to him are among the blissfully fortunate. He is the Lordly Cardinal Pole [al-Qutb ar-Rabbani], the incomparable, the universal, the everlasting, the pure foundation, Muhyi 'd-din Abu Muhammad 'Abd al-Qadir, the son of Abu Salih Jangi Dost (some say Janga Dost) Musa, the son of Abu 'Abdi'llah, the son of Yahya az-Zahid, the son of Muhammad, the son of Dawud, the son of Musa, the son of 'Abdu'llah, the son of Musa al-Jawn, the son of 'Abdu'llah al-Mahd (also known by the epithet al-Mujall [the Venerable], derived from the term ijlal [veneration]), the son of al-Hasan al-Muthanna, the son of the Commander of the Believers [Amir al-Mu'minin], Abu Muhammad al-Hasan, the son of the Commander of the Believers, 'Ali (may Allah be well pleased with him), the son of Abu Talib, the son of 'Abd al-Muttalib, the son of Hashim, the son of 'abd Manaf, the son of Qusayy, the son of Kilab, the son of Murra, the son of Ka'b, the son of Lu'ayy, the son of Ghalib, the son of Qahr, the son of Malik, the son of an-Nadr. the son of Kinana, the son of Khuzaima, the son of Mudrika, the son of Ilyas, the son of Mudar, the son of Nadhdhar, the son of Ma'd, the son of 'Adnan. [His surnames are] al-Qurashi al-Hashimi al-'Alawi al-Hasani al-Jili al-Hanbali.

He is the grandson [on his mother's side] of our master, the famous 'Abdu'llah as-Sawma'i az-Zahid [the Ascetic Hermit], who was one of the Shaikhs of Jilan and one of their leading ascetics. Shaikh 'Abdu'llah was endowed with lofty spiritual states [ahwal] and conspicuous charismatic talents [karamat]. He met with a group of the the outstanding Shaikhs of the Persians [al-'Ajam] (may Allah be well pleased with them). It was Shaikh Abu 'Abdi'llah Muhammad al-Qazwini who said: "Shaikh 'Abdu'llah as-Sawma'i was one whose supplication was always answered. When he was angry [with someone], Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He) was Swift in exacting retaliation, and when some business was to his liking, Allah (Exalted is He) would carry it out as he preferred. In spite of his physical weakness and his advanced age, he performed many acts of supererogatory devotion [nawafil], and constantly practiced remembrance [dhikr]. He was noticeably humble, and patient in preserving his spiritual state, while paying careful attention to his moments of opportunity. He used to give notice of something before it occurred, and it would happen just as he had said it would."

Shaikh Abu 'Abdi'llah Muhammad al-Qazwini went on to say: "One of our companions told us how they once set out as traders in a caravan, and were attacked by horsemen in the desert of Samarqand. He said: 'So we cried out to Shaikh 'Abdu'llah as-Sawma'i, and there he was, standing in our midst. He uttered the call: "All-Glorious, All-Holy [Subbuh Quddus] is our Lord, Allah! Be gone from us, O you horsemen!" He thereby scattered them up onto the mountains peaks and down into the valleys, making us safe from their assault. But when we looked for the Shaikh amongst us, we could not find him, and we did not see where he had gone. Then, when we returned to Jilan and told the people there about it, they said: "By Allah, the Shaikh (may Allah be well pleased with him) has never been away from here!"'"


The Birth of Shaikh 'Abd al-Qadir

According to the two Qur'an-memorizers [hafizan], adh-Dhahabi and Ibn Rajab, Shaikh 'Abd al-Qadir's father was Abu Salih 'Abdu'llah, the son of Jangi Dost. Allah knows best! The name Jangi Dost is a Persian expression, meaning "he who loves fighting." Anyway, Allah (Glory be to Him and Exalted is He) is indeed the One who knows best!

His mother was Umm al-Khair [Mother of Goodness] Amat al-Jabbar [Maidservant of the All-Compelling One] Fatima, the daughter of Shaikh 'Abdu'llah as-Sawma'i al-Husaini az-Zahid. She had an abundant share of goodness and righteousness. It is related of her that she used to say: "When I gave birth to my son, 'Abd al-Qadir, he would not suck my breast during the daytime of Ramadan. The new moon of Ramadan was hidden by clouds, so people came and asked me about him, and I told them: 'He has not sipped a breast today.' It thus became obvious that the day was the first of Ramadan." The word then spread throughout the towns of Jilan, that a son had been born to the nobles, and that this was a child who refused to be suckled during the daytime in Ramadan. It was also said that his mother had become pregnant with him when she was sixty years of age. It is said that no woman of sixty carries a child, unless she be a woman of Quraish, and no woman of fifty carries a child, unless she be an Arab woman.

When she gave birth to him (may Allah be well pleased with him), he was received by the hand of gracious favor, and he was surrounded by enabling guidance, behind him and in front of him. He never ceased to be nurtured (may Allah be well pleased with him) in the lap of noble kindness, nourished with the milk of blessings, guarded in safekeeping, watched over with providential care.

Shaikh 'Abd al-Qadir leaves home and sets out for Baghdad

His upbringing continued thus, until he set out for Baghdad, in the year when at-Tamimi died. That was the year [A.H.] 488, when he had reached the age of eighteen. At that time, the Caliph in Baghdad was al-Mustazhir bi'llah Abu 'l-'Abbas Ahmad ibn al-Muqtadi bi-Amri 'llah Abu 'l-Qasim 'Abdu'llah, the 'Abbasid (may Allah the Exalted bestow His mercy upon him).

According to Shaikh Imam Taqiyyu 'd-din Muhammad al-Wa'iz al-Lubnani [the Lebanese] (may Allah bestow His pardon upon him), in his book entitled "The Garden of the Pious and the Virtues of the Excellent" [Rawdat al-Abrar wa Mahasin al-Akhyar], this is what happened then: When he [Shaikh 'Abd al-Qadir] was about to enter Baghdad, he was stopped by al-Khidr (peace be upon him), who prevented him from entering the city, and told him: "I have no instruction to allow you to enter for the next seven years." He therefore settled on the bank [of the River Tigris] for seven years, gathering vegetables of the kind permissible to eat, to the point where his neck was becoming tinged with the color green. Then he got up one night and heard a voice addressing him with the words: "O 'Abd al-Qadir, enter Baghdad!"

He thereupon entered the city. The night was rainy and cold, so he approached the convent [zawiya] of Shaikh Hammad ibn Muslim ad-Dabbas, but the Shaikh said: "Lock the door of the convent, and put out the light!" Shaikh 'Abd al-Qadir just sat down by the door, and Allah (Exalted is He) cast sleep upon him, so he fell asleep. When he awoke, he was in a state of major ritual impurity [due to the emission of semen], so he performed a total ablution. Then Allah (Exalted is He) cast sleep upon him again, and again he lost his state of ritual purity. This same experience was repeated seventeen times, and he performed a complete ablution in the wake of each occurrence. Finally, when the dawn was at hand, the door was opened and Shaikh 'Abd al-Qadir stepped inside.


Shaikh 'Abd al-Qadir meets Shaikh Hammad ad-Dabbas.

Shaikh Hammad came forward to welcome him, embraced him and gave him a hug. There were tears in his eyes as he said to him: "O my son, 'Abd al-Qadir, today it is our turn to be in charge here, but tomorrow it will be your turn. So, when you have taken charge, deal fairly with this old head of gray hair!"

(This concludes the excerpt from "The Garden of the Pious and the Virtues of the Excellent" [Rawdat al-Abrar wa Mahasin al-Akhyar].)

The following is a quotation from "The Splendor of the Mysteries" [Bahjat al-Asrar], by Shaikh Imam al-Awhad Nur ad-Din Abu 'l-Hasan 'Ali ibn Jarir ibn Mi'dad ibn Fadl ash-Shafi'i al-Lakhmi:

All hail to a newcomer, upon whose arrival the first showers of blissful good fortune began to arrive, for a land in whose towns he alighted, and where the clouds of mercy came in succession, to the general benefit of its modern and its ancient districts, and right guidance was multiplied therein, so that light was shed by its spiritual deputies [abdal] and its mainstays [awtad], and the delegations of good tidings arrived there on one another's heels, so that all its propitious times and festivals [a'yad] dawned brightly, and the heart of 'Iraq began to glow with the light of his love, ecstatic with joy, while the tongue of its frontier access-road responded to the advent of his countenance by uttering encomiums in praise of Allah.

[In the words of a poet]:

Upon his arrival the clouds gave forth refreshing rain, and green grass covered the whole of 'Iraq.

Sinful transgression passed away, and the right direction was made quite clear.

Its palm trees flourished, its desert became a haven, its pebbles turned into pearls, and its lights shone plain to see.

Because of him, the bosom of 'Iraq swelled with an ardent longing, and in the heart of Najd his virtues were the cause of ecstasy.

In the East the sparks of his light were seen as lightning flashes, and in the West the mention of his splendor was heard as the clap of thunder.

(This concludes the excerpt from "The Splendor of the Mysteries" [Bahjat al-Asrar], quoted here in abridged form.)


Shaikh 'Abd al-Qadir embarks on the quest for knowledge.

Shaikh 'Abd al-Qadir (may Allah be well pleased with him) had come to understand that the pursuit of knowledge ['ilm] is an obligatory religious duty [farida], incumbent on every Muslim, and that it is the cure for sick souls, since it is the most explicit route to true devotion, the most effective evidence thereof, the clearest guidance thereto, the highest of all the ladders of certainty, the loftiest of all the degrees of conviction, the most magnificent of all the ranks of religion, and the most splendid of all the stations held by those who are rightly guided. Because he undertood this well, he rolled up the sleeve of earnestness and serious endeavor in the effort to acquire it, and wasted no time in the pursuit of its branches and its roots. He sought out the leading Shaikhs, the signposts of right guidance, the scholars of the Islamic community ['ulma' al-umma]. He embarked on the study of Islamic jurisprudence [fiqh], after reading the Glorious Qur'an until he was thoroughly familiar with it.

In studying both the inner content and the obvious meaning of Islamic legal doctine, he derived benefit from the wise instruction of Abu 'l-Wafa 'Ali ibn 'Uqail al-Hanbali, Abu 'l-Khattab Mahfuz al-Kaludhani al-Hanbali, Abu 'l-Hasan Muhammad ibn al-Qadi Abu Ya'li Muhammad ibn ibn al-Husain ibn Muhammad al-Farra' al-Hanbali, the Qadi [Judge] Abu Sa'id, and also, according to some accounts, Abu Sa'id al-Mubarak ibn 'Ali al-Mukharrimi al-Hanbali. He learned to recognize the established doctrine of a school of law [madhhab], as well as areas where expert opinions differ, and he mastered both the branches and the roots of the subject.

He studied customary good manners [adab] under Abu Zakariyya' Yahya ibn 'Ali at-Tabrizi, and heard the Prophetic Tradition [Hadith] from a number of experts, including Abu Ghalib Muhammad ibn al-Hasan al-Baqilani, Abu Sa'id Muhammad ibn 'Abd al-Karim ibn Khashisha, Abu 'l-Ghana'im Muhammad ibn Muhammad ibn 'Ali ibn Maimun al-Farsi, Abu Bakr Ahmad ibn al-Muzaffar, Abu Ja'far ibn Ahmad ibn al-Husain al-Qari as-Sarraj, Abu 'l-Qasim 'Ali ibn Ahmad ibn Bannan al-Karkhi, Abu Talib 'Abd al-Qadir ibn Muhammad ibn Yusuf, his paternal cousin 'Abd ar-Rahman ibn Ahmad, Abu 'l-Barakat Hibatu'llah ibn al-Mubarak, Abu 'l-'Izz Muhammad ibn al-Mukhtar, Abu Nasr Muhammad, Abu Ghalib Ahmad and Abu 'Abdi'llah Yahya ([these last three being] the sons of al-Banna'), Abu 'l-Hasan ibn Mubarak ibn at-Tuyuri, Abu Mansur 'abd ar-Rahman al-Qazzaz, Abu 'l-Barakat Talha al-'Aquli, and yet others besides.


Shaikh 'Abd al-Qadir embarks on the Spiritual Path [Tariqa].

Shaikh 'Abd al-Qadir (may Allah be well pleased with him) became the pupil of Abu 'l-Khair Hammad ibn Muslim ibn Duruh ad-Dabbas, and from him he acquired knowledge of the Spiritual Path [Tariqa]. From him he received his basic training, and with his help he set out on the spiritual journey. May Allah be well pleased with them both.

Shaikh 'Abd al-Qadir (may Allah be well pleased with him) took to wearing the noble patched cloak [khirqa], which he received from al-Qadi [the Judge] Abu Sa'id al-Mubarak al-Mukharrimi, to whom mention has previously been made. Al-Mukharrimi had worn it after receiving it from Shaikh Abu 'l-Hasan 'Ali ibn Muhammad al-Qurashi, and al-Qurashi had acquired it from Abu 'l-Faraj at-Tarsusi, to whom it was handed down by Abu 'l-Fadl 'Abd al-Wahid at-Tamimi, who had received it from the hand of his own Shaikh, Shaikh Abu Bakr ash-Shibli. Ash-Shibli had acquired it from Shaikh Abu 'l-Qasim al-Junaid, and al-Junaid had received it from his maternal uncle, as-Sari as-Saqati, who upon whom it had been bestowed by Shaikh Ma'ruf al-Karkhi. Al-Karkhi had received it from Dawud at-Ta'i, who had obtained it from my master, Habib al-'Ajami. It had been given to Habib al-'Ajami by Shaikh al-Hasan al-Basri, and al-Basri had received it from our patron, the Commander of the Believers [Amir al-Mu'minin], 'Ali ibn Abi Talib (may Allah ennoble his countenance and be well pleased with him), who had received it from the Chieftain of the Messengers, the Beloved of the Lord of All the Worlds, Muhammad (on him be the most excellent blessing, and the most perfect greeting of peace). As for Muhammad himself (Allah bless him and give him peace), he had received it from Gabriel (peace be upon him), and Gabriel had received it from the Lord of Truth (Magnificent is His Majesty, and Sanctified be His Names).

Someone asked my master, Shaikh 'Abd al-Qadir what he had received from the Lord of Truth (Glorious and Exalted is He), and he replied: "Knowledge ['ilm] and good manners [adab]."

With regard to the patched cloak [khirqa], its transmission is also traced by another route, going back to 'Ali ibn Musa ar-Radi. (In the case of the patched cloak, it should be explained, transmission is not verified by reference to an isnad [chain of reliable verbal reports], as required in the case of Prophetic Tradition [Hadith]. The only factor to be considered is the existence of companionship [suhba] between the Shaikhs concerned.)


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