Meaning of The Grey Falcon
T he Grey Falcon [al-Baz al-Ashab] is an epithet by which Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani (may Allah be well pleased with him) is widely known. Since the Falcon always does the bidding of its master, without question, and returns directly to his hand, this bird has come to symbolize the faithful servant of the Lord of Truth (Almighty Allah and Glorious is He). The Shaikh (may Allah be pleased with him) once said: “All the other birds talk, but they do not act, whereas the Falcon acts, and does so without talking. This explains how the glove of Kings came to be its perch.”
For a more detailed background of the honorific, we present an exclusive excerpt from the forthcoming book by Al-Baz Publishing, Inc., The Recreation of the Languid Mind [Nuzhat al-Khatir al-Fatir] in the Biography of My Noble Master, ‘Abd al-Qadir, the Sultan of the Saints and the Greatest Experts in True Knowledge, al-Hasani al-Husaini al-Jilani (may Allah be well pleased with him) Compiled by ‘Ali ibn Sultan Muhammad al-Qari (d. A.H. 1016), translated by Muhtar Holland (RA):
“He delivered a speech both profound in content and subtle in meaning, then he expressed himself in poetry, saying:
Whatever source of sweetness exists in love intense,
mine is the most delicious and the most delicate.
However special any rank may be in love’s embrace,
my station is yet more splendid and more intimate.
The days have bestowed on me their lustrous purity,
so the drink from their springs is pleasing to the palate.
I am now the fiancé of every noble lady, who has not
been discovered and proposed to by an eligible candidate.
I am the kind of man whose comrade is never worried,
and can never see any reason to be afraid or hesitate.
For such there is an escorting retinue in every army,
and in every domain of dignity they hold a lofty estate.
As the nightingale of all young birds, I fill their nests
with song, and as the Gray Falcon I soar and levitate.
The armies of love are subject to my will, obedient,
gallant, and ever intact, so that they never separate.
I abstained from entertaining hope and expectation,
or looking for something promised on a certain date.
I continued to graze in the pastures of contentment,
until I was granted a status that has no duplicate.
Then Time became like a garment finely embroidered,
we being the gilded stitches that made it immaculate.
The suns of the ancients have set, but our own Sun,
in its orbit up on high, will never cease to radiate.
“The Shaikh (may Allah be well pleased with him) then said: ‘All the other birds talk, but they do not act, whereas the falcon [al-baz] acts, and does so without talking. This explains how the glove of Kings came to be its perch.’
Shaikh Abu ’l-MuDaffar Mansur ibn al-Mubarak, the preacher well-known as Jarada, then addressed him as ‘The Falcon [al-Baz]’ in these poetic verses:
The months take delight in you, and so do all the moments,
O you by whose words the sapphires gain in value!
The Falcon [al-Baz] are you,
so if you should boast it would not be vain conceit,
for other people in my sight are turtle-doves at best.
I detect from your feet the scent of truthfulness, surprisingly,
since that foot belongs to one whose sandal is celebrity.”
In this poem, it would seem that Shaikh Abu ’l-MuDaffar (may Allah bestow His mercy upon him) was alluding to the saying of our master, Shaikh Sayyid ‘Abd al-Qadir (may Allah be well pleased with him): “This foot of mine is upon the neck of every saint of Allah!” In other words, the poet was declaring him truthful in that saying of his. He said it because of a true receiving in his spiritual state, and that is why the great saints bowed their necks in humble submission to his status of perfection, in deference to the vision of his beauty, and in fear of the demonstration of his majesty. One of them predicted, almost a century before he was born, that he would eventually make that pronouncement.
According to one of the masters of knowledge, it was the truly wise Shaikh Abu Sulaiman Dawud ibn Yusuf al-Manbiji who said: “One day, when I was in the presence of Shaikh ‘Uqail, someone said to him: ‘A noble young man has acquired fame in Baghdad. His name is ‘Abd al-Qadir.’ Shaikh ‘Uqail responded by saying: ‘His fame in heaven is even greater than his fame on earth. That is the exalted hero who, in the Realm of Sovereignty [Malakut], is called the Gray Falcon [al-Baz al-Ashhab]. He will achieve unique distinction in his own time. The power of command will be conferred upon him, and it will issue from him in his day and age (may Allah be well pleased with him).’”