Hazrat Syedena Abu Mohammad Abdul Qadir Jilani (R.A), the greatest saint of Islam, was born on Sunday, the 1st of the Holy month of Ramadan, 470 A.H, corresponding to 18 March, 1098 A.D, in the early hours of the day before the crack of dawn at Naif, a town in the province of Gilan (Iran) south of the Caspian Sea.He is commonly known as Hazrat Ghaus-ul-Azam (the greatest helper).
Born in the month of Ramadan, the month of fasting, Hazrat Ghaus-ul-Azam did not suck a single drop of milk during the day. He observed the fast in accordance with true Islamic tradition. It was only after the maghrib azan that he took milk for breaking his fast. This was one of his keramats (miracles) that he showed during his infancy.
Syedna Hazrat Ghaus-ul-Azam (RA) was born and brought up in the cradle of wilayat (sainthood). His grandfather, Hazrat Syed Abdullah Somai(RA), his mother Hazrat Syeda Ummul Khair Fatima(RA) and his father, Hazrat Syedna Syed Abu Saleh Mousa(RA), were revered saints. On the eve of his birth, his father dreamt that the Holy Prophet, Hazrat Mohammad (PBUH), came to his house with some of his companions and gave him tiding of an auspicious son who was destined to be the greatest saint.
At an early age Hazrat Ghausul Azam went to Baghdad to take Islamic Studies. Within a short time, he reached his goal with absolute mastery over Tafsir, Hadith, Fiqua, Mantiq, Usul, grammar and other branches of learning.
Hazrat’s austerity of conduct, sincerity of purpose, nobility of soul, delicacy of feeling, purity of heart, refrainment from worldly pleasure and complete devotion to Almighty Allah earned him the title Sultanul Aulia.
In the year 528 A.H., Hazrat had a splendid building constructed at the Madrasah. Arrangements were made for the free board and lodging of poor and needy students. The curriculum embraced all branches of Islamic learning, including the Holy Quran, Tafsir. Hadith, Feqah, Usul, Literature, Qalam. Hazrat himself delivered lectures on important topics. The Madrasah prospered and students from all over the world flowed in.
His sermons were so thought provoking and effective that a large number of people including many scholars, saints, sufis of that time used to come to listen these 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. About the year 559 A.H, one evening Hazrat was delivering a sermon at his Khanquah at Babul Halbah. Most of the venerated saints of Iraq of the time were in the audience. During his discourse, under a Divine Command, he declared, “My foot is on the neck of all Walis”. Listening to this all the saints, sufis and friends of Allah present there as well as those who were not physically present there but heard this announcement through spiritual power, bowed their heads and accepted his superiority over them with heart and soul. Even the saints in the world of jins joined this obedience.
All the veteran saints having access to Divine World are aware of this Divine proclamation.
There are four main silsilas (orders), namely Qadria, Chishtiya, Sarawardiya and Naqshbandiya; and many sub-orders descending from these orders. Hazrat himself is the founder of the Qadria order. All the saints of other orders and sub-orders have acknowledged the superiority of Hazrat Ghaus ul Azam.
In spite of his busy schedule, Hazrat found time to write many valuable books and many poems in praise of the Almighty Allah and the sufi way of life. It is a pity that all of those have not survived the ravages of time. Among those books that have survived, the following deserve special mention
Al – Ghunya li – Talibi Tariq al –Haqq or Ghunyat-al-Talibeen
Al-Fath-Al-Rabbani (Revelation of the Lord)
Fuyudal-al-Rabbaniya fil Awrad – al – Qadria
Hazrat s’ demise took place in the year 561 A.H., corresponding to the year 1166 of the Christian era. At that time hazrat was 91 years of age. The holy shrine of Hazrat Ghaus-ul-Azam is in Baghdad.