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Random thoughts

February 8, 2016

Ghause Azam Abdul Qadir Gilani

Opinion

February 8, 2016

Random thoughts

We all know that, after the prophets, the Auliyae Karaam (saintly personalities) were instrumental in spreading the message of Islam. There are numerous such personalities in Islamic history. The most famous reference work in this respect is Tazkiratul Auliya by Shaikh Fariduddin Attar, written more than 800 years ago and giving insight into the lives and extraordinary powers/character of about 95 auliya.

Whoever finds time to read this wonderful book will notice that most of those auliya came from Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Syria, etc. In the Subcontinent we had giants such as Baba Tajuddin, Hazrat Nizamuddin Aoulia, Khwaja Moeenuddin Chisti and Data Sahib in Lahore, while there were others in Multan, Pakpattan, Jalalpur Shareef, Uch Shareef, etc.

The Muslims of the Subcontinent are quite fond of visiting the graves and tombs of these holy figures. They go in thousands, even in hundreds of thousands, to participate in annual celebrations and/or commemorations at tombs. There is definitely a respectful place for the auliyas and there is no harm in offering fateha at their graves or praying to Allah using the good names of these saints, but Islam forbids personal veneration.

Both Hazrat Karkhi and Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani had, in fact, advised Muslims to invoke their names when praying to the Almighty for acceptance of their prayers, but that is very different from venerating their persons.

Today I would like to mention some sources for a better understanding about the life of Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani of Baghdad. In the Quran the Almighty has ordained: “Behold! On the Aoulias of Allah there is no fear, nor shall they grieve.” (10:62) “For His Benevolence He specially chooses whom He pleases. For Allah is the Lord of bounties unlimited.” (11:73)

Ghause Azam’s full name was Abdul Qadir, tribal name Abu Muhammad and Mohiuddin, Ghause Azam – titles. He was born in 470 AH in Jilan, a suburb of Baghdad, and he died in 561 AH in Baghdad. The word Ghaus means “one who has the plight of others at heart and helps them”. Most Muslims consider him to be the helper, sympathiser and rescuer of the aggrieved, hence the title Ghause Azam – the great helper. From his father’s side he was a descendant of Hazrat Imam Hassan (RA) and from his mother’s side of Hazrat Imam Hussain (RA). His ancestors belonged to the religious notables of Jilan and Baghdad.

There are many reliable books and documents testifying that our Holy Prophet (pbuh) had given good tidings to Ghause Azam’s father, Abu Saleh, of the birth of his son in these words: “O Abu Saleh! The Almighty has blessed you with a son who is a saint; he is loved by the Almighty and me. He will have the same status amongst saints as I have amongst the prophets. All auliyas will be subservient to him and his foot will be on their necks” (meaning that they would have a much lower status than he did).

The most famous auliya to have forecast these good tidings were reported to be Shaikh Hassan Basri (RA), Hazrat Junaid Baghdadi (RA) and Shaikh Abu Baker (RA).

Maktab Al-Madinah Babul Madina, Karachi, has published a brief but invaluable booklet on the life and super human abilities of Ghause Azam. This booklet has so far had 60,000 copies published in eight editions. It consists of 108 pages and contains an invaluable treasure of information, giving complete details about Ghause Azam’s childhood, his education, knowledge, extraordinary kindness, his charitable and philanthropic nature, patience, super human abilities like knowledge of the unknown, curing the incurably ill and the general way of life by which he achieved such a high position in the eyes of the Almighty. Readers can learn much from it on how to lead a good, blessed, blissful life.

Of the many things written by Ghause Azam, I will name only one – Ghaniatul Taebeen (translated by Allama Muhammad Iqbal Qadri and published by Akbar Book Sellers, Zubaida Centre, Urdu Bazar, Lahore). It is a veritable treasure of invaluable knowledge. This book can be considered to be a simple but precise explanation of the Holy Quran and is very useful for those who have, so far, been reading it without translation. It allows for a much greater understanding of things we have read before without knowledge of its real meaning. I would strongly advise everyone to read this invaluable book of wisdom.

There were reports that Ghause Azam once went to the grave of Hazrat Maroof Karkhi (RA) and offered fateha. He then requested Hazrat Maroof Karkhi to pray for him, but a voice was heard coming from the grave saying: “Abdul Qadir, please pray for me for the Almighty has blessed you with a much higher status than mine – Alhamdulillah”.

My dear friend, a fine human being, a great social worker and philanthropist, Maulana Muhammed Bashir Farooq Qadri, is a great admirer of Ghause Azam. He is a living example of someone who practises what Ghause Azam preached and follows his instructions and advice on his way of life. Bashir Bhai is president of the International Saylani Welfare Trust, Karachi.

This organisation, under his guidance, provides lunch to at least 100,000 people every day, supplies meat regularly to poor families in the suburbs of Karachi, offers scholarships to deserving students, offers free medical care to thousands of poor people every day, provides financial support to people to start small businesses in order to be able to stand on their own feet, provides sewing machines to women to enable them to earn an honest living, runs vocational training centres for poor students, runs an excellent IT training institute and publishes thousands of books on Islam, manners, morals and ethics.

I have had the pleasure of attending some of their functions and it has always been heart-warming. May Almighty shower His unlimited blessings on Bashir Bhai and his colleagues for doing such fine humanitarian work in the same spirit as Ghause Azam Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani used to do and preach – Ameen.

Email: [email protected]