Shaykh Abd al-Qadir al-Jilani: The Erudite Mufti

Shaykh ʿAbd al-Qādir al-Jilānī:

The Erudite Mufti

Hafiz Hafeez ul-Rahman Attari Madani

The Pole of the saints and the eponymous imam of the Qādirī Way is our master Shaykh ʿAbd al-Qādir al-Jilānī رَحْمَةُ الـلّٰـهِ عَلَيْه . A man of extraordinary achievements, his appellations testify to his erudition in both scholarly and spiritual domains. He is hailed as the “reviver of the faith” (muyī al-Dīn), acclaimed as the “beloved of the transcendent God” (maḥbūb-i-subḥānī), and recognised as the “helper of men and jinn” (ghawth al-thaqalayn). Although he excelled in every field of Islamic scholarship, his exemplary prowess as a jurisconsult of the Hanbalite school of jurisprudence is especially notable. Shaykh Abū al-Qāsim ʿUmar al-Bazzāz  رَحْمَةُ الـلّٰـهِ عَلَيْه states: “Shaykh ʿAbd al-Qādir al-Jilānī رَحْمَةُ الـلّٰـهِ عَلَيْه would be asked many questions by the people of Iraq and other areas. We never saw him hesitate or pause to look for the answer to a question. He would read the question and immediately deliver the answer. The great scholars and muftis of the time were amazed at his competency.”[1]

ʿAbd al-Wahhāb al-Shaʿrānī رَحْمَةُ الـلّٰـهِ عَلَيْه adds: “Shaykh ʿAbd al-Qādir al-Jilānī would issue rulings in the presence of the scholars of Iraq. They were amazed at his level of knowledge and expertise and said: ‘Pure and blessed is He who has bestowed him with such knowledge.’”[2]  

He spent many years serving Islam by teaching and issuing legal edicts. Many scholars took blessings from him. ʿAbd Allah Asʿad al-Yāfiʿī رَحْمَةُ الـلّٰـهِ عَلَيْه (d. 768 AH) writes: “Many scholars and jurists gathered and sat with him رَحْمَةُ الـلّٰـهِ عَلَيْه to acquire blessings.”[3] He was an expert exegete of the Quran, an excellent scholar of hadith, and a seasoned jurist. He answered complex questions in the simplest of manners which amazed the scholars of the time. Here, are some examples of his erudition:

1.   Simple answer to a difficult question: The scholars of Iraq received the following question: a man swore an oath to divorce his wife three times unless he worships Allah in such a way that when he is engaged in said worship, no one else will be worshiping Allah like him. Which worship should he perform to prevent the divorces from occurring? The scholars were perplexed by this question. They presented the question to Shaykh ʿAbd al-Qādir al-Jilānī who answered at once, “He should go to Makkah and clear the place of tawaf for himself. Then he should circumambulate the Kaʿba seven times and fulfil his oath.” The scholars of Iraq were absolutely amazed by this perfect answer as they themselves had been unable to answer the conundrum.[4]

2.   Answering the questions of 100 jurists: Shaykh ʿAbd al-Haqq al-Dihlawī رَحْمَةُ الـلّٰـهِ عَلَيْه writes: “Sayyidunā Mufarraj al-Shaybānī رَحْمَةُ الـلّٰـهِ عَلَيْه states: ‘When Sayyidunā Shaykh ʿAbd al-Qādir al-Jilānī رَحْمَةُ الـلّٰـهِ عَلَيْه became famous, 100 noble jurists رَحْمَةُ الـلّٰـهِ عَلَيْهم decided to ask different questions pertaining to various sciences that he رَحْمَةُ الـلّٰـهِ عَلَيْه would be unable to answer. They prepared their questions and visited him.’ Shaykh Mufarraj رَحْمَةُ الـلّٰـهِ عَلَيْه states that he was in the Shaykh’s presence too. As they sat down, Shaykh ʿAbd al-Qādir Al-Jilānī رَحْمَةُ الـلّٰـهِ عَلَيْه lowered his head and a ray of light appeared from his chest. Everyone saw it in the manner Allah decreed for it to be shown. The ray of light moved to the chests of the scholars and the questions they prepared had disappeared from their minds. They screamed out of worry and despair. After that, Shaykh ʿAbd al-Qādir al-Jilānī رَحْمَةُ الـلّٰـهِ عَلَيْه ascended the pulpit, and the scholars gathered around bare headed. The Shaykh hugged the scholars and addressed them individually, ‘This was your question, and this is the answer.’ Shaykh Mufarraj رَحْمَةُ الـلّٰـهِ عَلَيْه states: When the gathering finished, I asked the scholars: What just happened? They explained that as they arrived and sat down, they immediately forgot everything they knew which is why they had screamed. When Shaykh ʿAbd al-Qādir al-Jilā رَحْمَةُ الـلّٰـهِ عَلَيْه hugged us, our knowledge was restored. What is even more unbelievable is that Shaykh ʿAbd al-Qādir al-Jilānī رَحْمَةُ الـلّٰـهِ عَلَيْه answered the questions which we ourselves had just forgotten.”[5]

Allah Almighty have mercy upon him and forgive us without accountability for his sake. اٰمین

[1] Bahjat al-Asraar, p. 225

[2] al-Tabaqat al-Kubra lil-Sha’rani, vol. 1, p. 179

[3] Mirāt al-Jinan, vol. 3, p. 267

[4] Bahjat al-Asraar, p. 226, al-Tabaqat al-Kubra lil-Sha’rani, vol. 1, p. 179

[5] Qalaaid al-Jawahir, p. 33, Bahjat al-Asraar, p. 185




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