Sheikh Abdul Qadar Gilani was one of the most eminent scholars that Islamic world has seen. He was born in Gilan, northwestern Iran, in Hijra 470. He was a splendor of exceptional Islamic knowledge and revering piety. His is a history which triumphed in both self and social reformation alike. Sheik Gilani who was a great Islamic theologian and eloquent preacher since his childhood, inheritted the quest for knowledge and an ardent affection for the religion from his pious mother. Throughout life, he acted upon his saintly mother’s watchword: ‘Never Lie’. Sheik Gilani’s alluring personality earned a wider acceptance and admiration among common people than their King. Even the king along with the chiefs and ministers attended his sermons.
Notwithstanding the implicit reverence cherished, he was always modest, humble and unpretentious. Even as kids spoke, he stood up and listened very carefully. He looked out for the poor people, cleaned their clothes and helped in their others needs. He never paid a visit to any governing authorities for a favor. One of his contemporaries, Haraadha, who had had the opportunity of enjoying the company of the Sheikh said:”I have not seen a man more polite, large-hearted , charitable, modest person having hospitality, generosity and moral excellence and goodness than Sheikh Gilani, who respected, acknowledged and cared those who are poor, and respected his elders”(Thwabhaakhaath Sharaani 128).
Another contemporary imaam Gharzali reports: “He was a person who supplicated extensively. Being extremely tender-hearted, he would burst into tears on hearing matters of moral lessons. Dikrs (Invocations to Allah) always reverberated on his lips. He was soft-hearted, courteous, cheerful, generous and compassionate. Being the offspring of a noble family, he was also highly reputed for his profound knowledge and piety.”(Ghaladhul javaahir 9 ).The testimony of a jurist-scholar (Mufti) of Iraq runs as follows: “Always disposed to avoid things unseemly and indecorous, he only pressed for the desirable and befitting. He would boil with indignation if the Divine commandments were overstepped but remained listless to the wrongs and ill-treatments to his own person. He would never send back a needy without giving him something. If he had nothing to give he would part with the clothes he had been putting on”.(Qala’edh 9)
Sheikh-ul-lslam Ibn Taymiyah said about the Sheik that he infused a breath of new life, zeal and self-confidence into countless persons through the power of eloquent speech and the spiritual power of his heart. He was, in truth, a blessing for the world of Islam for he renovated and revived the true content of the faith and tapped the sources of moral and spiritual strength for a religious renaissance. (Jal’aul Ayinak 130)
Sheikh Amr al-Kaisani reports that after most of the sermons delivered by Sheikh, numerous Non Muslims used to embrace Islam. Many sinners and criminals repented for their misdeeds on account of him. Many repent for their sins and heretics and apostates renounce their mistaken beliefs. The Sheikh used to tell them : “God had willed that people should derive benefit from myself. And, it was a blessing granted from Almighty Allah that more than five thousand Jews and Christians embraced Islam.”
Having shown the meticulous observance of the teachings of our Prophet Muhammed (PBUH), Sheikh used to advice: “If any action transgresses the commandments of God, then it is surely an imposition by the Satan. In such cases one should return to the tenets of the religion, inculcate an unflinching faith, and firmly reject the temptations of self-indulgence; for, whatever is not permitted by the Shariah is decidedly misleading. Hold to the rope of Deen. Avoid guessing as any claim made contrary to the divine edict is simply an untruth.”
Sheikh advises : “When a man finds himself in a trouble, he first seeks the help of others. When this effort also fails him, he turns to God with invocations and praises, and often with tears and lamentations. Now he has a sublimated soul, unconscious of everything except the Divine Being and he is aware of the true content of Tawhid (Oneness of God); he has now a certitude of knowledge that except God nothing has any power to do or undo a thing; to Him belongs the power . The man is like a ball in the hands of a player, or a child in the lap of a nurse, or like a corpse in the hands of those who bathe it; for, these are completely at the mercy of those who possess them. Likewise we are completely under the mercy of our Lord. Attach yourself to Allah’s words. Detest a life of luxury. Pray more for others than for yourself. Let your heart beat for them,let your eyes shed tears for them and with Allah’s remembrance let us fill our heart with peace”.( Futhuhul Qaib 279)
Sheikh ‘s last advice was indeed a great message. He advised : “Fear not anyone nor cherish a desire for benefit from anybody except God. Entrust all of your needs to Him and then have confidence in Him. Whatever you need, place it before God with a conviction in the prospect of its fulfillment. Keep yourself constantly occupied with Tawhid, the Oneness of God”. Thereafter, he said repeatedly “Exalted and Dominant is He”, adding to that he called Allah, Allah, with this his voice failed thereafter, the tongue having been fixed up in the palate, his soul departed from this temporary abode to the eternal world.