Kitab Sirr al-Asrar wa Mazhar al-Anwar
(The Book of the Secret of Secrets and the Manifestation of Lights)
By : The Sultan of the Awliya' of Allah, al-Ghawth al-A'zam Shaikh Muhyi'din 'Abd al-Qadir al-Jilani,al-Hasani, al-Husaini, may Allah perfume his resting place.
Editing written: Ayutiawati Notokusumo
The Shaikh's Life in Baghdaad
Through the mists of legend surrounding the life of Shaikh 'Abd al-Qadir al-Jilani, it is possible to discern the outlines of the following biographical sketch:
In A.H. 488, at the age of eighteen, he left his native province to become a student in the great capital city of Baghdaad, the hub of political, commercial and cultural activity, and the center of religious learning in the world of Islaam. After studying traditional sciences under such teachers as the prominent Hanbalii jurist [faqiih], Abuu Sa'd 'Alii al-Mukharrimii, he encountered a more spiritually oriented instructor in the saintly person of Abu'l-Khair Hammaad ad-Dabbaas.
Then, instead of embarking on his own professorial career, he abandoned the city and spent twenty-five years as a wanderer in the desert regions of 'Iraaq. He was over fifty years old by the time he returned to Baghdaad, in A.H. 521/1127 C.E., and began to preach in public. His hearers were profoundly affected by the style and content of his lectures, and his reputation grew and spread through all sections of society. He moved into the school [madrasa] belonging to his old teacher al-Mukharrimii, but the premises eventually proved inadequate.
In A.H. 528, pious donations were applied to the construction of a residence and guesthouse [ribaat], capable of housing the Shaikh and his large family, as well as providing accommodation for his pupils and space for those who came from far and wide to attend his regular sessions [majaalis].
He lived to a ripe old age, and continued his work until his very last breath, as we know from the accounts of his final moments recorded in the Addendum to Revelations of the Unseen.
In the words of Shaikh Muzaffer Ozak Efendi: "The venerable 'Abd al-Qadir al-Jilani passed on to the Realm of Divine Beauty in A.H. 561/1166 C.E., and his blessed mausoleum in Baghdaad is still a place of pious visitation. He is noted for his extraordinary spiritual experiences and exploits, as well as his memorable sayings and wise teachings. It is rightly said of him that 'he was born in love, grew in perfection, and met his Lord in the perfection of love.' May the All-Glorious Lord bring us in contact with his lofty spiritual influence!"
The Shaikh's Names and Titles
A rich store of information about the author of these discourses and Sufficient Provision for Seekers of the Path of Truth is conveniently available, to those familiar with the religious and spiritual tradition of Islaam, in his names, his surnames, and the many titles conferred upon him by his devoted followers. It is not unusual for these to take up several lines in an Arabic manuscript, but let us start with the short form of the author's name as it appears on the cover and title page of these books.
A term applied throughout the Islamic world to respected persons of recognized seniority in learning, experience and wisdom. Its basic meaning in Arabic is "an elder; a man over fifty years of age. (The spellings Sheikh and Shaykh may also be encountered in English language publications.)
'Abd al-Qadir -
This is the author's personal name, meaning "Servant [or Slave] of the All-Powerful." (The form 'Abdul Qaadir, which the reader may come across elsewhere, is simply an alternative transliteration of the Arabic spelling.) It has always been a common practice, in the Muslim community, to give a male child a name in which 'Abd is prefixed to one of the Names of Allaah.
A surname ending in -ii will often indicate the bearer's place of birth. Shaikh 'Abd al-Qaadir was born in the Iranian district of Giilaan, south of the Caspian Sea, in A.H. 470/1077-8 C.E. (In some texts, the Persian spelling Giilaanii is used instead of the arabicized form al-Jiilaanii. The abbreviated form al-Jiilii, which may also be encountered, should not be confused with the surname of the venerable 'Abd al-Karim al-Jiilii, author of the celebrated work al-Insaan al-Kaamil, who came from Jiil in the district of Baghdaad.)
Let us now consider a slightly longer version of the Shaikh's name, as it occurs near the beginning of Al-Fath ar-Rabbaanii [The Sublime Revelation]: Sayyidunaa 'sh-Shaikh Muhyi'd-Diin Abuu Muhammad 'Abd al-Qaadir (Radiya'llaahu 'anh).
Sayyidunaa 'sh-Shaikh -
"Our Master, the Shaikh." A writer who regards himself as a Qaadirii, a devoted follower of Shaikh 'Abd al-Qaadir, will generally refer to the latter as Sayyidunaa [our Master], or Sayyidii [my Master].
"Reviver of the Religion." It is widely acknowledged by historians, non-Muslim as well as Muslim, that Shaikh 'Abd al-Qaadir displayed great courage in reaffirming the traditional teachings of Islaam, in an era when sectarianism was rife, and when materialistic and rationalistic tendencies were predominant in all sections of society. In matters of Islamic jurisprudence [fiqh] and theology [kalaam], he adhered quite strictly to the highly "orthodox" school of Imaam Ahmad ibn Hanbal.
Abu Muhammad -
"Father of Muhammad." In the Arabic system of nomenclature, a man's surnames usually include the name of his first-born son, with the prefix Abuu [Father of–].
Radiya'llaahu 'anh -
"May Allaah be well pleased with him!" This benediction is the one customarily pronounced–and spelled out–in writing after mentioning the name of a Companion of the Prophet (Allaah bless him and give him peace). The preference for this particular invocation is yet another mark of the extraordinary status held by Shaikh 'Abd al-Qaadir in the eyes of his devoted followers.
Finally, we must note some important elements contained within this even longer version: al-Ghawth al-A'zam Sultaan al-Awliyaa' Sayyidunaa 'sh-Shaikh Muhyi'd-Diin 'Abd al-Qaadir al-Jiilaanii al-Hasanii al-Husainii (Radiya'llaahu 'anh).
Al-Ghawth al-A'zam -
"The Supreme Helper" (or, "The Mightiest Succor"). Ghawth is an Arabic word meaning: (1) A cry for aid or succor.
(2) Aid, help, succor; deliverance from adversity.
(3) The chief of the Saints, who is empowered by Allaah to bring succor to suffering humanity, in response to His creatures' cry for help in times of extreme adversity.
Sultaan al-Awliyaa' -
"The Sultan of the Saints." This reinforces the preceding title, emphasizing the supremacy of the Ghawth above all other orders of sanctity.
al-Hasanii al-Husainii -
"The descendant of both al-Hasan and al-Husain, the grandsons of the Prophet (Allaah bless him and give him peace)." To quote the Turkish author, Shaikh Muzaffer Ozak Efendi (may Allaah bestow His mercy upon him): "The lineage of Shaikh 'Abd al-Qaadir is known as the Chain of Gold, since both his parents were descendants of the Messenger (Allaah bless him and give him peace). His noble father, 'Abdullaah, traced his descent by way of Imaam Hasan, while his revered mother, Umm al-Khair, traced hers through Imaam Husain."
As for the many other surnames, titles and honorific appellations that have been conferred upon Shaikh 'Abd al-Qadir al-Jilani, it may suffice at this point to mention al-Baaz al-Ashhab [The Gray Falcon].
Preface and Lines of Descent
In the Name of Allah, the All-Merciful, the All-Compassionate.
Bismi'llahi 'r-Rahmani 'r-Rahim.
Praise be to Allah, the All-Powerful, the All-Knowing, the All-Wise, the All-Generous, the Noble, the Compassionate Lord, the One who revealed the Wise Remembrance and the Glorious Qur'an to the Envoy, whom He sent to convey the Right Religion and the Straight Path.
Blessing and peace be on the seal of the Mission, the guide out of error, and on the Messenger ennobled with the noblest of the Scriptures and the Book, Muhammad, the unlettered Prophet, the Arabian, the trustworthy, and on his family, the rightly guided guides, and his Companions, the excellent élite, and may Allah grant them peace in great abundance.
This book contains the words of the Supreme Helper, the Lordly Cardinal Pole, the everlasting edifice, the radiantly shining lamp, the Sultan of the saints and the masters of direct knowledge, the proof of the chosen and those who have reached their spiritual destination, Allah's Gray Falcon, our patron, our master and our exemplary guide to Allah (Exalted is He), the noble highborn patrician, the chieftain, Shaikh Muhyi 'd-Din 'Abd al-Qadir al-Jilani al-Hasani al-Husaini (may Allah sanctify his splendid innermost being, and may He illuminate his noble mausoleum), son of Imam Sayyid Abu Salih Musa Jangi Dost, son of Imam Sayyid 'Abdu'llah, son of Imam Sayyid Yahya az-Zahid, son of Imam Sayyid Muhammad, son of Imam Sayyid Dawud, son of Imam Sayyid Musa, son of Imam Sayyid 'Abdu'llah, son of Imam Sayyid Musa al-Jawn, son of Imam Sayyid 'Abdu'llah al-Mahd, son of Imam Sayyid al-Hasan al-Muthanna, son of Imam al-Hammam Sayyid al-Hasan as-Sibt, son of our chief and our patron, the Commander of the Believers, Abu 'l-Husain 'Ali ibn Abi Talib (may Allah be well pleased with them all).
On his mother's side of the family, the line of descent of our revered master and patron, Shaikh Muhyi 'd-Din 'Abd al-Qadir al-Jilani (may Allah the Exalted be well pleased with him), is as follows:
He is Sayyid Shaikh Muhyi 'd-Din 'Abd al-Qadir al-Jilani (may Allah sanctify his luminous innermost being), son of Sayyida Umm al-Khair Amat al-Jabbar Fatima, daughter of Sayyid 'Abdu'llah as-Sawma'i az-Zahid, son of Sayyid Abu 'Abdi'llah Jamal ad-Din Muhammad, son of Sayyid Mahmud, son of Sayyid Abu 'l-'Ata' 'Abdu'llah, son of Sayyid Kamal ad-Din 'Isa, son of Sayyid Imam Abu 'Abdi'llah 'Ala' ad-Din Muhammad al-Jawad, son of Sayyid Imam 'Ali ar-Rida, son of Sayyid Imam Musa al-Kazim, son of Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq, son of Imam Muhammad al-Baqir, son of Imam Zain al-'Abidin 'Ali, son of Imam al-Hammam al-Husain, the Martyr of Karbala', son of Imam al-Hammam, the Commander of the Believers, our master 'Ali ibn Abi Talib (may Allah be well pleased with him, and with them all).
* * *
Knowledge is the most noble talent, the most magnificent degree, the most splendid object of pride, and the most valuable form of merchandise, since it is the means by which to arrive at the realization and affirmation of the Oneness of the Lord of All the Worlds [tawhid Rabb al-'alamin], and belief in His Prophets and Messengers (may Allah's blessings be upon them all).
The religious scholars became the favored élite of the servants of Allah. He drew them toward the signs of His religion and guided them toward it. He preferred them and selected them for the special merit of grace. They are the heirs and deputies of the Prophets, and the chieftains and confidants of the Messengers As Allah (Exalted is He) has said:
Then We gave the Book as inheritance to those thumma awrathna 'l-Kitaba 'lladhi whom We elected of Our servants. nastafaina min 'ibadi-na: But of them are some who wrong themselves fa-min-hum zalimun li-nafsi-h: and of them are some who adopt a middle course, wa min-hum muqtasid.
(That is to say: "There are some whose bad deeds are on a par with their good deeds.")
and of them are some wa min-hum sabiqun who outstrip through good deeds. bi'l-khairi. (35:32)
As the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) once said:
"The religious scholars are the heirs of the Prophets in knowledge. The inhabitants of heaven will love them, and the fish in the sea will seek forgiveness on their behalf, until the Day of Resurrection."
Allah (Exalted is He) has also said:
Only those of His servants fear Allah who have knowledge. inna-ma yakhsha 'llaha min 'ibadi-hi 'l-'ulama'. (35:28)
The Prophet (blessing and peace be upon him) also said:
"Allah will raise up His creatures on the Day of Resurrection, then He will distinguish the scholars, for Allah (Exalted is He) will say: 'O company of scholars, when I instilled My knowledge in you, I did so only because of My knowledge of you. I did not instill it in you so that I might torment you. Away you go, to the Garden of Paradise, for I have forgiven you!'"
Praise be to Allah, the Lord of All the Worlds, in every situation. Praise be to the One who has established the ascending levels as a protection for the worshipful servants, and the stations of nearness for those who know by experience.
One of the seekers requested us to compile a manuscript for him, sufficient for all essential purposes. We have therefore compiled this summary for his benefit, in accordance with his wish, so that it may be enough to satisfy him and others. I have given it the title: "The Secret of Secrets, concerning what is needed by the righteous [Sirr al-Asrar fi-ma yahtaju ilai-hi 'l-abrar]."