He had forty-nine children; twenty-seven sons and twenty-two daughters. Many of his sons became famous for their education and learning, and they and their descendants spread Islam in other parts of the world. Concerning the children of Shaikh ‘Abd al-Qadir (may Allah be well pleased with him, and with all of them):
Shaikh ‘Abd al-Wahhab (A.H. 522-93)
One of the most distinguished of Shaikh ‘Abd al-Qadir’s children was Shaikh ‘Abd al-Wahhab. He studied Islamic jurisprudence [fiqh] under his father, from whom he also received instruction in many other subjects. He took lessons from other teachers, too, including Abu Ghalib ibn al-Banna. In his quest for knowledge, he also traveled to the lands of the Persians. At the beginning of the year [A.H.] 543, when his father was still alive, he started teaching at his schoolhouse, where he served as the Shaikh’s deputy. He was little more than twenty years of age at that time.
After his father’s death, Shaikh ‘Abd al-Wahhab delivered public sermons, as well as acting as an expert adviser on matters requiring formal legal opinion [fatwa]. Many prominent scholars acquired their training from him, including ash-Sharif al-Husaini al-Baghdadi and Ahmad ibn ‘Abd al-Wasi‘ ibn Amirgah, to name only two of them.
None of his father’s other children achieved greater distinction than Shaikh ‘Abd al-Wahhab. He was an outstanding jurist [faqih], and his lectures on questions of scholarly dispute [khilaf] were exceptionally brilliant. In the delivery of religious and spiritual exhortation [wa’z], he spoke with an eloquent tongue, and in an agreeably witty manner, combining a sweetness of expression with an acute sharpness of mind. He was charming, graceful, wittily amusing, full of good humor and lighthearted playfulness, and polite in his shrewd observations. He exemplified the qualities of chivalry and noble generosity.
The Imam, an-Nasir-li-Dini’llah, appointed him to head the government department charged with the investigation of cases of wrongdoing and miscarriages of justice [mazalim], so all the pressing needs of the people were brought to his attention.
According to adh-Dhahabi: “He readily engaged in conversion, delivered sermons, provided formal legal opinions, took part in public debate, and was often consulted by the Supreme Council of State [ad-Diwin al-‘Aziz]. He was an elegant man of letters, who knew how to inject a gentle sense of humor into people’s feelings.”
Stories about him have been handed down by a host of reporters, including ad-Danithi and Ibn Khalil. Ibn Rajab tells us, in his Tabaqat [Generations]: “Al-Farisi has mentioned that he took lessons from Ibn al-Husain, Ibn ar-Ra’wani, Abu Ghalib, Ibn al-Banna, among other leading scholars. He describes Shaikh ‘Abd al-Wahhib as an exceptionally qualified jurist [faqih], a pious abstainer [zahid], and a wise counsellor [wa’iz]. He could always count on an excellent reception. In the year [A.H.] 583, [the Imam] an-Nasir appointed him to head the government department charged with the investigation of cases of wrongdoing and miscarriages Of justice [mazalim]. He was highly astute, one of the most elegant figures in Baghdad, and renowned for his wonderful sense of humor. Of all his father’s children, none was more brilliantly intelligent than he.”
In the words of another reporter: “His pen had a very sharp point, especially when he used it to write down a legal opinion [fatwa]. He In known to have conferred a diploma on Muhammad ibn Ya‘qub ibn Abi ’d-Dunya.”
Shaikh ‘Abd al-Wahhab was born in the month of Sha’ban in the year [A.H.] 522, in the city of Baghdad. It was there that his mortal life ended, on the night of the 25th of Shawwal, in the year [A.H.] 593, and he was buried in the graveyard of al-Halba [the Racetrack District]. May Allah bestow His mercy upon him!
Shaikh ‘Isa (d. A.H. 573)
Shaikh ‘Isa studied Islamic jurisprudence under his father, from whom he also received instruction in other important subjects. He also attended the classes of Abu ’l-Hasan ibn Darami, as well as those of other leading scholars. He became a teacher, a lecturer, a preacher, and an expert legal consultant. He composed a number of literary works, including the book entitled Jawahir al-Asrar wa Lata’if al-Anwar [Jewels of the Mysteries and Subtle Aspects of the Lights], on the science of Sufism.
He moved [from Baghdad] to Egypt, where he lectured and delivered sermons. More than a few inhabitants of that country acquired their training from him, including Abu Turab Rabi‘a ibn al-Hasan al-Hadrami as-Sana‘i, Musafir ibn Ya‘mar al-Misri, Hamid ibn Ahmad al-Irtaji, Muhammad al-Faqih al-Muhaddith, and ‘Abd al-Khaliq ibn Salih al-Qurashi al-Umawi al-Misri.
As reported by Ibn an-Najjar, in his Ta’rikh [History]: “After his father’s death, Shaikh ‘Isa left Baghdad and lived for a time in Syria. While in Damascus, he attended the classes held by ‘Ali ibn Mahdi ibn al-Mufraj al-Hilali. That was in the year [A.H.] 562. He also gave talks about his father.
“Then he moved to Egypt, where he stayed until the time of his death. He used to preach from the pulpit, and he was well received by the people. As in Damascus, he also gave lectures about his father. His sayings have been related by Ahmad ibn Maisara ibn Ahmad al-Hallal al-Hanbali.” (Here ends the quotation from Ibn an-Najjar.)
It was al-Mundhiri who said: “Shaikh ‘Isa moved to Egypt, where he gave lectures and delivered sermons. It was in that country that he died.”
Ibn an-Najjar has told us: “On the tombstone of ‘Isa, the son of Shaikh ‘Abd al-Qadir al-Jili, in the graveyard [qarafa] [below the Muqattam hills] near Cairo, I read the inscription: ‘He died on the 12th of Ramadan, in the year [A.H.] 573.’ Here is a sample of his poetry (may Allah bestow His mercy upon him):
Convey my salutation to a land that dearly loved me, and tell them that the stranger is filled with ardent longing.
If they ask you how I am, after leaving them behind, be sure to say: ‘He is burning in the fires of separation.
For he has no companion to bring him near to you, nor can he find a way to make the long journey home.’
Life is always hard for a stranger, in any foreign land, and who befriends the stranger, in countries not his own?
Shaikh Abu Bakr ‘Abd al-‘Aziz (A.H. 532-602)
Shaikh Abu Bakr ‘Abd al-‘Aziz studied Islamic jurisprudence under his father, from whom he also received instruction in other important subjects. He also attended the classes of Ibn Mansur ‘Abd ar-Rahman ibn Muhammad al-Qazzaz [the Silk Merchant], as well as those of other leading scholars. He became a lecturer, a preacher and a professor, and his students were by no means few in number. He was brilliant, yet modest to the point of humility.
He rode off to Al-Jibal, and made his home there, in the course of the year [A.H.] 580. That was after he had fought in the campaign [against the Crusaders] at Ashkelon [‘Asqalan], and visited the noble city of Jerusalem [al-Quds]. His descendants still live in Al-Jibal, to this very day.
He was born on the 27th of Shawwal in the year [A.H.] 532 and he died in al-Jibal on Wednesday, the 18th of Rabi’ al-Awwal, in the year [A.H.] 602. May Allah bestow His mercy upon him!
Shaikh ‘Abd al-Jabbar (d. A.H. 575)
Shaikh ‘Abd al-Jabbar studied Islamic jurisprudence under his father, from whom he also received instruction in other important subjects. [Like his brother, Shaikh Abu Bakr ‘Abd al-‘Aziz] he also attended the classes of Ibn Mansur ‘Abd ar-Rahman ibn Muhammad al-Qazzaz [The Silk Merchant], as well as those of other leading scholars. He was an excellent calligrapher, a follower of the Sufi path [sabil at-tasawwuf]. and a close companion of the lords of hearts [arbab al-qulub]. [His brother] ‘Abd ar-Razzaq, of whom we shall have more to say in due course, did take a few lessons from him, though he never became his full-time student.
As a fledgling Sufi [mutasawwif], Shaikh ‘Abd al-]abbar used to mingle with the spiritual paupers [fuqara] and the lords of hearts [arbab al-qulub]. He used to write in an exquisite calligraphic script. He died about twenty-eight years earlier than ‘Abd ar-Razzaq, when he was still a young man, on 19th of Dhu ‘l-Hijja in the year [A.H.] 5 75. He was buried within the confines of his father’s guesthouse [ribat] in the Racetrack District [al-Halba] of Baghdad. May Allah bestow His mercy upon him!
Shaikh ‘Abd ar-Razzaq (A.H. 528-603)
As for Shaikh ‘Abd ar-Razzaq, that exemplary guide, who knew the entire Qur’an by heart, he studied Islamic jurisprudence under his father, from whom he also received instruction in many other traditional subjects. He also attended the classes of other notable scholars, including Abu ’l Hasan ibn Darama. This background prepared him well for his own career, in which he gave lectures and dictation, provided training and education, delivered formal opinions on legal problems, and engaged in public debate. More than a few of his students graduated with distinction, including Ishaq ibn Ahmad ibn Ghanim al-‘Athli, and ‘Ali ibn ‘Ali Khatib Zuba, to name only two of them.
In his Tarikh [History], al-Hafi; Ibn an-Najjar informs us: “His father taught him in his early youth, and later he studied under the following professors:
– Abu ’l-Hasan Muhammad as-Sa’igh
– al-Qadi [the Judge] Abu ’l-Fadl Muhammad al-Armawi
– Abu ’l-Qasam Sa‘id ibn al-Banna’
– Abu ’l-Fadl Muhammad ibn Nasir al-Hafiz
– Abu Bakr Muhammad ibn az-Zaghawani
– Abu ’l-Muzaffar Muhammad al-Hashimi
– Abu ’l-Mu‘afa Ahmad ibn ‘Ali ibn as-Samin
– Abu ’l-Fath Muhammad ibn al-Batir.”
Further along in this same book, Ibn an-Najjar relates: “Shaikh ‘Abd ar-Razzaq also pursued his own quest for knowledge. He learned many lessons from the colleagues of Ibn al-Khattab ibn al-Batir and Abu ‘Abdi’llah ibn Talha, as well as several other teachers. Then he went on to learn from our Shaikhs and others of their caliber. He took many notes in his own handwriting, both for himself and for other people. Although his handwriting was an awful scribble, I learned a great deal from reading those notes of his.
“Shaikh ‘Abd ar-Razzaq was a hafiz [one who has learned the whole of the Qur’an by heart]. He was thoroughly proficient, trustworthy and truthful. Whenever he spoke, he gave expression to a fine understanding. As an expert jurist [faqih], he adhered to the legal doctrine [madhhab] of Imam Abu ‘Abdi’llah Ahmad ibn Hanbal. He was piously devout [wari‘], deeply committed to his religion [mutadayyin], and dedicated to the frequent practice of worshipful service [‘ibada]. He performed his devotions in the seclusion of his own home, away from the public view, and only came out [to the mosque] in order to take part in the congregational prayers. He had a great fondness for the narration of traditional stories and reports, and he held the seekers of knowledge in high esteem.
“He was very generous with anything he had at his disposal, and chivalry was natural to him, despite the paucity of his material means. His attributes of character were excellent. He was modest to the point of humility, and adroit in all the skills of courtesy and politeness. His life-style was extremely simple, and he endured his poverty with steadfast patience. He was noble by nature, and virtuously conformed to the standards set by the righteous predecessors [salaf].” (Here ends this abbreviated excerpt from the work of Ibn an-Najjar.)
The following passage is an excerpt from Ta’rikh al-Islam [The History of Islam], by al-Hafiz adh-Dhahabi:
“Abu Bakr ‘Abd ar-Razzaq al-Jili (to whose name the epithets ‘al-Baghdadi al-Hanbali al-Muhaddith al-Hafiz’ were eventually added): His reputation is that of a trustworthy person [thiqa] and a pious ascetic [zahid]. He learned much from his father’s instruction, then pursued further studies on his own. He devoted himself tirelessly to the quest for knowledge, especially of the Qur’an and the Tradition, until he was ready to speak and teach on his own account. He is also known by the epithet ‘al-Halbi,’ an adjectival reference to al-Halba [the Racetrack District], which is a neighborhood on the eastern side of Baghdad.” (Here ends this abbreviated excerpt from the work of adh-Dhahabi.)
The author of ar-Rawd [The Gardens] informs us: “Abu Shamma, in his Ta’rikh [History], describes Shaikh ‘Abd ar-Razzaq as ‘a pious ascetic, a devout worshipper, a trustworthy person, satisfied with very little material wealth.’ Reliable reports concerning Shaikh ‘Abd ar-Razzaq have been transmitted by ad-Danithi, Ibn Najjar, ad-Diya’, an-Najib ‘Abd al-Latif, at-Taqi al-Buldani, to name but a few. The Shaikh awarded a diploma to each of the following graduates:
– Shaikh Shams ad-Din ‘Abd ar-Rahmzin ‘al-Kamil ‘Abd ar-Rahim
– Ahmad ibn Shaiban
– Khadija, the daughter of ash-Shihab ibn Rajih
– Isma‘il al-‘Asqalani
– al-Fakhr ‘Ali al-Muqadasa.”
(Here ends the quotation from ar-Rawd [The Garden].)
In his Tabaqat [Generations], al-Hafiz Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali states [concerning Shaikh ‘Abd ar-Razzaq]: “He had a remarkable knowledge of the [Hanbali] legal doctrine [madhhab], yet his knowledge of the Prophetic Tradition [Hadith] far exceeded his knowledge of Islamic jurisprudence [fiqh]. In the words of Ibn Nuqta: ‘He was someone who knew the entire Qur’an by heart [hafiz], a trustworthy and reliable person.’ He has been highly commended by al-Danithi, not to mention many others.’ According to one report about him, he spent thirty years without raising his head toward the heaven above, due to a sense of shame in the sight of Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He).
“He was born in the evening of Monday, the 18th of Dhu ’l-Qa‘da, in the year [A.H.] 528, and he died in Baghdad on the night of Saturday, the 6th of Shawwal, in the year [A.H.] 603. He was buried at the Battle Gate [Bab Harb] in Baghdad.”
As we learn from Ibn an-Najjar: “When morning came around, the call to his funeral prayer [as-salat ‘alaih] was proclaimed in all the districts of Baghdad, and a host of people gathered where he lay. His bier [jinaza] was then carried in solemn procession to the prayer-ground [musalla] on the outskirts of the city, and the funeral prayer was performed for him there
“Then he was borne, on the heads of the men, to the congregational mosque [jami’] of ar-Rusafa, where his funeral prayer was again performed. It was next performed at the Gate of the Graveyard of the Caliphs [Bab Turbat al-Khulafa’], then on the bank of the River Tigris [ad-Dijla], in the presence of the market gardeners. From there, he was ferried across to the western side, where his funeral prayer was performed at the Harem Gate [Bab al-Harim]. He was then taken into [the ruined area of] al-Kharibiyya, and his funeral prayer was repeated. Then he was carried to the graveyard of Ahmad [ibn Hanbal]. The funeral prayer was again performed for him there, and there he was buried. That was indeed a memorable day.”
(Here ends the quotation from Ibn an-Najjir. May Allah bestow His mercy upon both him and Shaikh ‘Abd ar-Razzaq!)
Shaikh Ibrahim (d. A.H. 592)
Shaikh Ibrahim studied Islamic jurisprudence under his father, from whom he also received instruction in other traditional subjects. He also attended the classes of Sa’id ibn al-Banna, to name only one of his other teachers. He migrated [from Baghdad] to Wasit, and it was there that he died, in the year [A.H.] 592. May Allah bestow His mercy upon him!
Shaikh Muhammad (d. A.H. 600)
Shaikh Muhammad studied Islamic jurisprudence under his father, from whom he also received instruction in other traditional subjects. He also attended the classes of other scholarly teachers, including al-Banna and Abu ’l-Waqt, and became a qualified narrator of Tradition. He died in Baghdad, on the 25th of Dhu ’l-Qa’da, in the year [A.H.] 600, and was buried that same day in the graveyard of al-Halba [the Racetrack District]. May Allah bestow His mercy upon him!
Shaikh ‘Abdu’llah (A.H. 508-87 or 89)
Shaikh (Abdullah received traditional instruction from his father, and also from al-Banna. The year of his birth was [A.H.] 508, and he was taken unto the mercy of Allah (Exalted is He) in Baghdad, on the 17th (some say the 18th) of Safar, in the year [A.H.] 589 (some say 587). He was the eldest of all the brothers, according to what has been reported.
Shaikh Yahya (A.H. 550-600)
Shaikh Yahya studied Islamic jurisprudence under his father, from whom he also received instruction in other traditional subjects. He also attended the classes of other scholarly teachers, including Muhammad ibn ‘Abd al-Baqi. He became a qualified narrator of Tradition, and the people derived great benefit from him. He went to live in Egypt. He was the youngest of all the children of our master the Shaikh (may Allah be well pleased with him). He was borm in [A.H.] 550, approximately eleven years prior to the death of his father.
While he was in Egypt, he was blessed with a son, whom he named ‘Abd al-Qadir, and whom he brought to Baghdad when he was already an adult. Shaikh Yahya died in Baghdad, in the month of Sha’ban of the year [A.H.] 600. When the call to his funeral prayer was proclaimed, a large congregation assembled. His funeral service was then conducted in his father’s schoolhouse. He was buried next to his brother, Shaikh ‘Abd al-Wahhab, within the confines of his father’s guesthouse [ribat] in al-Halba [the Racetrack District]. His mother was an Abyssinian woman [Habashiyya].
It was Shaikh ‘Abd al-Wahhab who said: “My father once fell sick, with an illness that pushed him to the very brink of death. We all sat around him, weeping, while he lay in a fainting spell. Then he regained consciousness, and said: ‘You must not weep over me, for I am not about to die! I still have Yahya in my loins, and he will certainly make his appearance this world.’ We had no idea what he was talking about, and we assumed that he must be deranged by the sickness.
“As it turned out, of course, our father was soon restored to good health. He cohabited with an Abyssinian maid [jariya], and she produced a son. He named the boy Yahya, and he was the last of his children. Then, after a very long interval, the Shaikh died.” May Allah be well pleased with them, each and every one!
Shaikh Musa (A.H. 539-618)
Shaikh Musa studied Islamic jurisprudence under his father, from whom he also received instruction in other traditional subjects. He also attended the classes of other scholarly teachers, including Ibn al-Banna. He began his own teaching career in Damascus, where he settled and prospered, and where the people derived great benefit from him. He spent some time in Egypt, then returned to Damascus.
Shaikh Musa was born at end of Rabi’ al-Awwal, in the year [A.H.] 539. He died in the al-‘Aqiba quarter of Damascus, in the first week of Jumada ’l-Akhira in the year [A.H.] 618, and was buried at the foot of Mount Qasiyun. He was the last of Shaikh ‘Abd al-Qadir’s children to die. May Allah be well pleased with them all!
As Shaikh ‘Umar ibn al-Hajib informs us, in his Mu’jam [Encyclopedia]: “Shaikh Musa was a jurist of the Hanbali school [madhhab]. He was a Shaikh who derived his authority from a house of Tradition, abstinence and piety, and he was one of the kind whose house is pointed out. This Shaikh of ours returned to Damascus and settled there, and it was there that he died. He was a graceful Shaikh, very natural in his movements. His constitution was delicate, and sickness plagued him in the latter part of his life, until he died. His funeral prayer was performed at the Mujahidiyya College, and he was buried on Mount Qasiyun. May Allah bestow His mercy upon him!”
–Shaikh Muhammad Ibn Yahya at-Tadifi, Necklaces of Gems [Qala’id al-Jawahir], trans. Muhtar Holland (Ft. Lauderdale: Al-Baz Publishing, Inc., 1998), 176-185.