I t was the Sultan of the scholars, Shaikh ‘Izz ad-Din Abd al-‘Aziz ibn ‘Abd as-Salam as-Sulami ash-Shafi’i, the settler in Cairo, (may Allah bestow His mercy upon him), who said:
“The charismatic talents [karfimat] of Shaikh ‘Abd al-Qadir have been established as authentic by a consensus of numerous reporters. Confirmation by such consensus [tawatur] cannot be ascribed to the charismatic talents of any of the saints [awliya], to the same degree as to the charismatic talents of Shaikh ‘Abd al-Qadir (may Allah be well pleased with him). He is widely renowned for his knowledge and practice, and for his meticulous attention to inner guidance [taharri] in everything he said. He is so famous, indeed, that there is no need for further commentary on the subject. Allah knows best, of course!”
The Shaikh of Islam, Shaikh Muhyi ‘d-Din an-Nawawi (may Allah the Exalted bestow His mercy upon him), has this to say about Shaikh Abd al-Qadir (may Allah be well pleased with him) in his book entitled Bustan al-‘Arifin [Orchard of Those Endowed with Direct Knowledge]:
“In all that has reached us, from trustworthy reporters, concerning the charismatic talents of the saints [karamat al-awliya], we learn of none more numerous than the charismatic talents of the Cardinal Pole [Qutb], the Shaikh of Baghdad, Muhyi ‘d-Din “Abd al-Qadir al-Jili (may Allah be well pleased with him).
“He was the Shaikh of the principal Shafi’i and Hanbali authorities in Baghdad. Leadership in the sphere of knowledge devolved upon him in his day and age. More than a few of the notable figures received their education in his fellowship, and most of the preeminent Shaikhs of Iraq became affiliated to him. His teaching was propagated by a host of those endowed with splendid spiritual states. His countless students included many of the masters of exalted spiritual stations. The Shaikhs and scholars (may Allah be well pleased with them all) were unanimous in declaring him worthy of the greatest honor and respect, in confirming his authority, in referring to his statements, and in having recourse to his judgment.
“Visitors flocked to him from every country and region, bringing votive offerings with them. Hopes were pinned on him from every direction. Followers of the spiritual path [ahl as-suluk] came to him in haste from every deep ravine [min kulli fajjin amiq].
“He was handsome in his attributes, noble in his traits of character) perfectly refined in his manners and his chivalry [muru’a], extremely humble, constantly cheerful, abundantly endowed with knowledge and intelligence, and strict in his adherence to the word of the Sacred Law [Shar’] and its rules. He treated the people of knowledge with profound respect, and honored those committed to the religion and the Sunna. He hated those addicted to heretical innovation [bid’a] and passionate desires. He loved those who seek the Truth [Haqq] with constant dedication to the sacred struggle [mujahada] and unremitting vigilance [muraqaba] until death.
“He had an exalted way of speaking about the esoteric sciences [ulum al’ma’arif]. His anger was intense whenever the sanctuaries of Allah (Glory be to Him and Exalted is He) were violated. He was open-handed and magnanimous, in the most beautiful way. To put it in a nutshell, there was none like him in his day and age.
“May Allah be well pleased with him!”
–Shaikh Muhammad Ibn Yahya at-Tadifi, Necklaces of Gems [Qala’id al-Jawahir], trans. Muhtar Holland (Ft. Lauderdale: Al-Baz Publishing, Inc., 1998), 545, 555-556.