In a short article like this, it is not possible to give any detailed appreciation of all the poetry in honour of Shaykh ‘Abdul Qadir Jilani, Rady Allahu ‘Anhu. It suffices to give a sprinkling of a few verses from some of the mashaayikh in various languages beginning with Arabic.
In a qasida raaiyya of 33 verses which rhyme in the letter “raa”, Imam ‘Abdallah ibn ‘Alawi al-Haddad, Rady Allahu ‘Anhu, praises Allah, the Glorified and the Exalted; invokes the blessings of Allah on the beloved holy Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, on his family and companions; and then eulogizes on Shaykh ‘Abdul Qadir Jilani in 11 verses, four of which are:
Wa bi sibtihim wa hafidihim wa salilihim
Ash-Shaykh Muhyiddin-i ‘Abdul Qadiri
Al-Jiliyyi’l mash-huri fardu zamanihi
Shaykh u’sh shuyukhi bi-batinin wa bi-zahiri
Ghawth u’l bilaadi wa Ghaythuha wa Mughithuha
‘An idhn Sayyidi-hi’l Maliki’l Qahiri
Tawdush-shari’a wa’t tariqa wa’l hudaa
Bahru’l Haqiqa’l Khadmi’z zakhiri
(Ad-Durr u’l Manzum li-Dhawi’l ‘Uqul wa’l Fuhum, p. 240)
For the sake of his (The Prophet’s) grandson, his descendant,
The Reviver of the faith, Shaykh ‘Abdul Qadir
The famous Jilani, unmatched in his time
The master of the spiritual masters, hidden as well as manifest
The helper of the country and its refreshing rain and succour
With the permission of his Lord, Allah, who is The King, The Supreme
A towering peak of sacred law, the spiritual path and guidance
A vast overflowing ocean of spiritual realities
Next we come to Shaykh ‘Afif ud-din al-Yafi’i al-Yamani Rahmatullahi ‘alayh who overflows in superlative praise of the Shaykh in his book entitled Ta’rikh (History). He has perhaps identified his main quality as the ‘abid (worshipper) of Allah, that is why he begins with the word ‘abduka (Your servant, O Allah).
‘abduka fawqa’l ma’ali rutbatan
wa lahu’l mahasinu wa’l fakhar al-afkharu
wa lahu’l haqaiqu wa’t taraiqu fi’l mada
wa lahu’l ma’arifu ka’l kawakibi tazharu
wa lahu’l fadailu wa’l makarimu wa’n nida
wa lahu’l manaqibu fi’l mahafili tunsharu
wa lahu’t taqaddumu wa’l ma’ali fi’l ‘alaa
wa lahu’l maratibu fi’n nihayati takthuru
ghawthu’l waraa gaithu’n nada nuru’l huda
badr u’d duja shams u’d duha bal anwaru
qata’al ‘uluma ma’al ‘uquli fa-asbahat
atwaruha min dunihi tatahayyaru
ma fee ‘ulahu maqalatun li-mukhalifin
fa-masailu’l ijma’i feehi tusattaru
Your servant is above the highest heights in rank
and his are all the virtues and the finest glory
The realities and the paths are his to the fullest extent
and the intimate forms of knowledge shine for him like stars
His are all the merits, the graces and the call
and in his gatherings, his marvels are renowned
Preeminence is his and the high points in nobility
and many are his degrees in ultimate achievement
The helper of mankind, the rain of generosity, the light of guidance
the full moon of the night, the sun of the fore-noon – nay, even brighter
He traversed all the sciences with the faculties of reason
so their mountain peaks are in confusion far below him
No one can bring an argument, disputing his high standing
for consensus of opinion on the matter has duly been recorded
(Transliteration and translation by Shaykh Muhtar Holland, in Qalaid al-Jawahir, p. 552).
Let us conclude the recitation of the poetry in Arabic with a very popular chorus of an anonymous Qasida in the Diwan of Tariqatu’l Qadiriyya.
Bi Rasulillahi wa’l Jilan
Wa Rijaalin min Bani Adnan
Salaku fee Manhaj i’r Rahman
Bi Rasulillahi wa’l Jilan.
For the sake of the Holy Prophet and Shaykh Jilani
And those in the tribe of Adnan
They have treaded the Path of the Merciful Lord
For the sake of the Holy Prophet and Shaykh Jilani.
(O Allah hear our prayers)
Next, let us savour the following four lines in the Indonesian language from Shaykh Hamzah Fansuri, Rahmatullahi ‘alayh, as given by Prof. Sayyid Muhammad Naquib al-‘Attas in Some Aspects of Sufism as Understood and Practiced Among the Malays, p. 22.
Hamzah nin asalnya Fansuri
Mendapat wujud ditanah Shahar Nawi
Beroleh Khilafat ilmu yang ali
Daripada Abdul Qadir Sayyid Jilani
I Hamzah who am of Fansur a son
At Shahar Nawi my being have won
The knowledge sublime I acquired from one
Called Abdul Qadir Sayyid of Jilan.
This is the opening couplet of a Turkish poem on the internet web-site Tarikat-i Aliyye-i Rifaiyye.
Medhi mumkin olmadi Sultan Abdulkadir’in
Gun gibi bak asikar burhani Abdulkadir’in
It is impossible to adequately praise Shaykh ‘Abdul Qadir
As clear as daylight is the Proof of Shaykh ‘Abdul Qadir
Now we come to the translation of the abyaat (couples) of Sultan u’l ‘Arifin Sultan Bahu, Rahmatullahi ‘alayh in Champay Dhee Bootee (The Jasmine Plant, p. 33), a classic in kalaamu’l ma’rifa in the Punjabi language.
Taalib Ghawthu’l A’zam waalay
Shaalaa kadhay na howan paandhay hu
Jendhay andhar ‘ishq dhee rattee
Rayn sadha kur landhay hu
Jenun shawq dha howay
Lay khushyaan nit aandhay hu
Dhono jahan naseeb tunhandhay Bahu
Jehray zaati alam kamaandhay hu
Followers of the Gawthul A‘zam:
Would God, they are never ill!
Those who have one grain of loving,
Ever are in pang and chill.
Lured by chances of a meeting
Hopeful in their joyous drill
Lucky in both worlds are Bahu!
Lovers who gain Allah’s Will.
(Translation by Maqbool Elahi, The Abyat of Sultan Bahu, p 103)
There is so much manqabat on the Ghawth al-A’zam that it is not possible to do justice to it all. But perhaps we can get the blessings of the opening quatrain of this “Salaam” (Salutations) on him by an anonymous poet.
Abu Salih kay ghar may woh Ghawth-e-zamaan
Laa-aye tashrif woh hadiye ins-o-jaan
Warith-e anbiyaa shaahe kawno makaan
Jaane iman awr nur-e jaan-e-jahaan
Ghawth-e A’zam ki hurmat pay lakhon salaam
Qutb-e-‘alam ki nusrat pay lakhon salaam
In the house of Abu Salih arrived
The Spiritual Helper of the age, the guide for humans and jinns
The inheritor of the Prophets, the prince of the planets
The life of faith and the light of the soul of existence
A million salutations in honour of the greatest saint
A million salutations to the help of the spiritual pillar of the world.
It is fitting to conclude this section with an appreciation of at least some of the manqabat of A’la Hadrat Imam Ahmad Raza Khan, Rahmatullahi ‘alayh on the Ghawth a’l A’zam. Some of these manqabat are so popular that they are recited in all the majalis (spiritual gatherings). The opening verses of one of these manqabat are:
Tu hay wo Ghawth kay har Ghawth hay shayda teraa
Tu hay wo Ghayth kay har Ghayth hay pyasa teraa
You are the spiritual helper for whom every spiritual helper melts in admiration
You are the refreshing rain for whom every rain-shower thirsts
Finally, let us benefit from the Salaams of Imam Ahmad Raza Khan. He composed Salaams on the Holy Prophet Muhammad Sallallahu ‘alayhi wa Sallam in which after profuse salutations on the Holy Prophet, he also sent salaams on the Ahl u’l Bayt and the Sahaba, Rady Allahu ‘Anhum, as well as on the Imams of madh-hab, the awliya Allah and the salihin (the pious), Rahmatullahi ‘alayhim ajma’een.
Consider just two verses from A’la Hadrat on the Ghawth al A’zam to appreciate his love for the Shaykh.
Ghawth al A’zam Imam ut tuqaa wan-nuqaa
Jalwa-aye Shaanay Qudrat pay lakhon salaam
Jis ke minbar banay gardanay awliya
Us qadam ki karamat pay lakhon salaam
(Hadaaiq-i-Bakhshish, p 149)
Ghawth al A‘zam Imam of the saints and the pious
A million salutations on him who was pure by nature
The one for whom the necks of saints became a pulpit
A million salutations on the miracle of his feet
Tazkiratu’l awliya (the zikr of the friends of Allah) is truly unending. May Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala forgive us and give us the hidaya (guidance) to live Islam according to the Qur’an and the lifestyle of the beloved Holy Prophet Muhammad, Sallallahu ‘alayhi wa Sallam as explained and exemplified by Ghawth al A’zam Shaykh ‘Abdul Qadir Jilani, Rady Allahu ‘Anhu, Aameen Yaa Rabbal ‘Aalamin.
Yaa Hayyu Yaa Hayyu Yaa Qayyum
Yaa Hayyu Yaa Hayyu Yaa Qayyum