Shaikh ‘Abd al-Qadir al-Jilani (RAA)

The Nature of the Spiritual Path

I t was Shaikh ‘Ali ibn Idris al-Ya’qubi who said: “Shaikh ‘Ali ibn al-Hiti was once asked a question, while I was listening, about the spiritual path [tariq] of our master, Shaikh ‘Abd al-Qadir (may Allah be well pleased with him). He said in reply: ‘His first step was the delegation [of all authority to the Lord] [tafwid], and compliance [with His decree] [muwafaqa], in the complete renunciation of all claim to personal power and strength. His procedure consisted in the shedding of attachments [tajrid], the affirmation of Divine Oneness [tawhid], and total concentration on singular devotion [tafrid], combined with presence at the time of worshipful servitude [‘ubudiyya], standing with an innermost being [sirr] in the position of servanthood [‘abdiyya], not because of anything, nor for the sake of anything [other than Allah]. His worshipful servitude [‘ubudiyya] was derived from the sheer perfection of Lordship [Rububiyya], for he was a servant [‘abd] who had transcended the companionship of differentiation [musahabat at’tafriqa] and risen to the celestial spheres of unification [matali’ al-jam’], in full conformity with the rules of the Sacred Law [ahkam ash-Shar’].'”

As we are told by Shaikh Adi ibn Abi ‘l-Barakat Sakhr ibn Sakhr ibn Musafir: “I heard my father say: ‘Someone once said to my paternal uncle, Shaikh ‘Adi ibn Musafir, while I was listening: “What is the spiritual path [tariq] of Shaikh ‘Abd al-Qadir?” To this my uncle replied: “It means withering away beneath the currents of the Divine decrees [aqdar], with the harmonious compliance of the heart and the spirit [ruh], the unification of the inner and the outer being [ittihad al’batin wa ‘z-zahir], and being stripped of the attributes of the lower self [nafs], as well as complete detachment from all concern with benefit and harm, nearness and remoteness.'””

May Allah be well pleased with all the Shaikhs referred to here!

It was Khalil ibn Ahmad as-Sarsari who said: “I once heard Shaikh Baqa ibn Batu say: ‘As for the spiritual path [tariq] of our master, Shaikh ‘Abd al-Qadir (may Allah be well pleased with him), it consists in the unification of word and deed, the unification of the self [nafs] and the moment, the embracing of sincere devotion [ikhlas] and submissive resignation [taslim], harmonious compliance with the Book and the Sunna in every thought, every glance, every breath, every experience, and every spiritual state, as well as steadfast constancy in relation to Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He).'”


To quote the words of Shaikh Abu Sa’id al-Qailawi: “The example set by our master, Shaikh ‘Abd al-Qadir (may Allah be well pleased With him), is that of being with Allah [ma’a ‘llah], in Allah [fi ‘llah], and because of Allah [bi’llah]. Great chiefs have lacked the strength and energy to follow his example, and he has overtaken many of the front-runners by clinging to a path [tariqa] in which there is no interruption. Allah (Exalted is He) has raised him to a splendid station, on account of his meticulous dedication [tadqiq] to his insistent pursuit of the Truth [tahqiq].”

–Shaikh Muhammad Ibn Yahya at-Tadifi, Necklaces of Gems [Qala’id al-Jawahir], trans. Muhtar Holland (Ft. Lauderdale: Al-Baz Publishing, Inc., 1998), 86-87.