Rabbi-uth-Thaani is a month of celebration and commemoration of the blessed life of Shaykh Abdul Qadri Jilani (RA), therefore Muslim Youth League Sisters took the initiative to host “The Sultan of Awliya 2014” event on Sunday 16th March 2014 at the Minhaj-ul-Quran Centre on 187 Manningham Lane in Bradford. The purpose of this event was to educate the audience on the life and teachings of Shaykh Abdul Qadri Jilani (RA) who is known to be the greatest saint of all times and also the eponymous founder of the Qadriyya Sufi order.
Nazia Aslam conducted the proceedings of the event and welcomed the audience followed by a brief introduction of Shaykh Abdul Qadri Jilani (RA) including his birth place, basic information regarding his ancestry and also how his life was at the epitome of spiritual perfection. Nazia explained how Shaykh Abdul Qadri Jilani (RA) had attained the spiritual proximity of the Almighty Lord which is why millions aspire towards his way of life. She then led the audience in a collective recital of Durood Sharif and Qasidah Burdah Sharif.
Soon after, Nazia invited Afsheen Shouket onto the stage for a melodious recitation of the Holy Quran. This was followed by manqabats by Mariya Qadri and Sister Amira who revived the atmosphere with their beautiful and melodious recitations.
Nazia invited Misbah Wahid to the stage to deliver her short, yet powerful, talk on the wondrous odyssey between Prophet Musa (AS) and Sayyedina Khidr (RA). Misbah explained how Sayyedina Khidr (RA) had attained the station of Wilayah and therefore, Prophet Musa (AS) was instructed to set out to search for him in order to learn some of the knowledge which Sayyedina Khidhr (RA) had been bestowed with. The story between both blessed personalities may appear to be simple and straightforward, however, it carries within it very profound spiritual elements and lessons for those who aspire towards becoming seekers of the Divine truth.
Misbah explained the importance of striving to seek the special kind of knowledge that is sent down by Allah as a mercy upon His special slaves. She also explained the first part of the journey which describes Prophet Musa’s (AS) quest for knowledge, along with his young disciple Yusha bin Nuun, and his zest to meet and attain the company of Sayyedina Khidr (RA) in order to learn some of the knowledge which Allah had taught him.
The second part of the story details the remarkable journey of knowledge undertaken by Sayyedina Khidr (RA) accompanied by Prophet Musa (as). One of the beautiful instances narrated by Misbah was that of a dead fish coming back to life and wriggling back into the sea. In this part of the story, one interpretation is that the sea represents Divine truth, and another greater allegory is the signs of Wilayah; that where a friend of Allah resides, even dead hearts become alive.
Prophet Musa (AS), in this story, represented the seeker of spiritual reality; Misbah explained the importance of adhering to a spiritual master in the path of seeking the Divine truth. And, moreover, that the journey of spiritual progress brings difficulties for the seeker, and the doors of Marifah (divine understanding) can only be opened to those who exhibit patience and the implicit following of the spiritual guide. Sister Misbah Wahid concluded by stating that the life of Shaykh Abdul Qadri Jilani is the embodiment of spiritual perfection.
Following on from this, sister Mariya Qadri delivered a powerful speech on the early life of Shaykh Abdul Qadri Jilani. Mariya explained how Shaykh Abdul Qadri Jilani (RA) is an inheritor of perfection from the Prophet Muhammad (saw) and perfect in all forms. It is for this reason that he is referred to as the Sultan of the Awliya; his ranking exceeds all the Awliya before him and after him. Mariya explained how the blessed ancestry of Ghous-ul-Azam was incredibly pure and pious. From a young age, Shaykh Abdul Qadri Jilani (RA) showed signs of piety and greatness; when he was just an infant, he refused to suckle as it was Ramadan. Shaykh Abdul Qadri Jilani (RA) sought knowledge from all over; he memorised the Holy Qur’an and also studied its interpretation.
Mariya explained how Shaykh Abdul Qadri Jilani (RA) was an authority in religious matters such as theology and law, and the leader of the Shafi’ and Hanbali branches of Islam. His prayers were immediately accepted, both when he prayed for good and when he prayed for punishment. He performed many miracles and was a perfect man of continuous consciousness and remembrance of Allah, meditating, thinking, and giving lessons. He had a soft heart, a gentle nature and a smiling face. He was sensitive and possessed the best of manners. He was aristocratic in character, generous and giving both of material things and of advice and knowledge. He spoke beautifully and he spoke the truth without fear, for he did not care whether he was praised or criticized. Through his influence, most of the immoral population of Baghdad repented and followed the good morals and prescription of Islam. Mariya explained that as a result of these great characteristics of the great Imam, whoever attaches themselves to Shaykh Abdul Qadri Jilani (RA) were always at peace and joyful.
It is narrated that someone asked the great saint, “We know the state of your good followers and what awaits them in the hereafter, but what about the bad ones?” He answered, “The good ones are devoted to me and I am devoted to saving the bad ones.”
A girl who was a follower of Huzoor Ghous-e-Azam (RA) lived in Ceylon, one day she was attacked in a lonely place by a man intending to dishonour her. Helpless she shouted “Save me, O my Shaykh ‘Abdul Qadir!” At that moment, Huzoor Ghous-e-Azam (RA) was performing ablution in Baghdad, people saw him stop, angrily grab his wooden shoe and throw it in the air. They did not see the shoe fall down. The shoe fell on the head of the wretched man who was attacking the girl in Ceylon and killed him. It is said that the shoe is still there and kept as a relic!
Soon after, Sister Afsheen took to the stage to deliver a comprehensive and dynamic talk on Shaykh Abdul Qadir Jilani (RA) as a teacher. After his own academic studies, Shaykh Abdul Qadri Jilani (RA) did not stop in his quest for in-depth spiritual knowledge. Under the tutelage of some of the most eminent teachers in the Islamic world he emerged as a leading scholar and master of the religious sciences of his times.
Amongst beautiful narrations, one awe inspiring example of how the whole of the creation respected Ghaus-e-Azam was the incident of the king of jinns: Bushair bin Mahfooz stated his daughter suddenly vanished from the roof of his house. In a worried state he consulted Shaykh Abdul Qadri Jilani (RA) and requested for help. The Shaykh instructed him to go to Karkh and sit in the desert throughout the night and form a fort around himself. Upon acting on the instruction of Shaykh Abdul Qadri Jilani (RA), the father of the young girl sat in the ruins of Karkh and waited for the king of jinns to pass by to whom he would eventually request to search and return to him his missing daughter. It was soon realised that a Chinese jinn had abducted the young girl after falling in love with her. The king of jinns instructed for the specific jinn to be beheaded and for the daughter to be returned to the worried father. The king of jinns stated “I swear upon Allah when Ghaus Paak looks towards us, the jinns start to tremble. When Allah nominates a Qutub of an era then all the jinn and humans are ordered to follow him.”
Afsheen then quoted another beautiful instance narrated by Sahl ibn Abdullah who states that the followers of Shaykh Abdul Qadri Jilani (RA) once lost him. When they were searching for the Imam they saw him walking on the river and the fish were jumping out of the river to greet him!
Shaykh Abdul Qadri Jilani (RA) dedicated his life to the devotional practices as he was well aware of his grand status as an Awliya and would often endeavour towards the mystical way of life. He devoted himself to tireless efforts to progress through the path of Zuhd (spiritualism) and reach the highest proximity to the Almighty Lord.
Shaykh Abdul Qadri Jilani once stated, “For 40 years, I performed my Fajr Salaah with the Wudhu of Esha and for 15 years I used to stand on one foot until Fajr and complete (the recitation of) the entire Quran; during this time, I spent between three and forty days without eating even a morsel.”
The struggle undertaken by Ghaus ul Azam was immense and helped him achieve an unmatched and unparalleled status as an Awliya which is why he is the leader of all saints. His grand and esteemed status is accepted by all those who enter the spiritual realm whether they are jinn or human. Sister Afsheen concluded her talk by stating that our intentions should be pure before we see the Awliya so that we are also able to gain spiritually from their blessed company and also reiterated the importance of a link with Shaykh Abdul Qadri Jilani (RA) with those who want to embark on a spiritual journey.
Sister Misbah thanked the audience for taking time out to attend the event also urged everyone to visit the literature and membership stall before they left; the stall had literature of Shaykh-ul-Islam Dr Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri and the opportunity to sign up with MYLUK-S.
The event concluded with Sister Rubina, a senior member of Minhaj-ul-Quran Womens League, saying a few words, followed by a beautiful manqabat recited in honour of Ghaus-e-Azam and Dua.
MYLUK-Sisters would like to convey their deepest gratitude to all team members who dedicated their time to plan and organise this event. We would also like to thank the President of MQI Bradford, Seerat Ali Khan, for assisting and supporting MYLUK-S in this noble initiative. We pray Allah Almighty blesses them all in abundance through the intermediation of His most beloved Messenger (peace and blessings be upon Him), Ameen.
Reported by Misbah Wahid, Local Coordinator Bradford
Edited by: Sweba Majid Khan, Vice President MYLUK-S