The Language of the Future
Sufi Terminology
by Murshid F.A. Ali ElSenossi

Sayyidi Abdul Qadir al Jilani
Sayyidi Abdul Qadir al Jilani (470AH/1077CE to 561AH/1166CE)

Sayyidi Abdul Qadir al Jilani was born in the town of Na'if, in the Kermanshah Province of Iran, in the year 470AH/1077CE, during the last night of the month Sha'ban. His lineage traces back to Sayyiduna wa Mawlana al Imam al Hassan, on his father's side, and Sayyiduna wa Mawlana al Imam al Hussayn, on his mother's side. As a young man of eighteen, he set off for Baghdad to study Hanbali law and later came to be recognised as a noted scholar of Qur'an, Hadith, and religious law. On leaving for Baghdad, Sayyidi Abdul Qadir's mother sew 40 gold coins into his coat and instructed him to always speak the truth. On the way, his caravan was ransacked by looters and, upon coming upon the young man, asked him what he had on his person. On receiving information regarding the gold coins, the looters were so dumbstruck that they took him to their chief, who asked him the same question and received the same answer. After being urged to produce the gold coins and being informed that he could have kept them hidden, the chief of the bandits asked why the young man had be upfront about them and was informed of Sayyidi Abdul Qadir's mother's instructions. This response so moved the chief that he left the tribe of bandits and gave up looting. Despite his success as a scholar, Sayyidi Abdul Qadir initially retreated from public life and spent twenty-five years as a wanderer of the desert regions of Iraq. Eventually he returned to Baghdad, when he was in his fifties, and began to preach in public. His popularity within Baghdad grew quickly and to such an extent that it was difficult to adequate space to accommodate the people coming to listen to him. One day the reigning Caliph was shaken and became terror stricken from a tumultuous clamour. Thinking that it was an earthquake, the Caliph sought out the source of this noise only to find that it was from the sheer number of people, who had come to listen to Sayyidi Abdul Qadir, responding to him sneezing. On another occasion while giving a sermon, Sayyidi Abdul Qadir was struck silent due to a Divine inspiration. When he resumed he stated "this foot of mine is on the necks of all the saints of Allah." Those present took this as an order to bow their necks, as did all the saints of Allah who were not there, doing the same from where they were. On Sayyidi Abdul Qadir, Shaykh Ibn 'Arabi stated that he had reached a stage called "caliphate" from where he could exert influence on people and command them in the name of Allah (tasarruf). Sayyidi Abdul Qadir remained single until he received a sign from the Holy Prophet Muhammad (May the Salutations of Allah be upon him and Peace) and from his four wives he had twenty two daughters and twenty seven sons. He treated all his wives equally, visiting them each daily, and, if one of them became ill, Sayyidi Abdul Qadir would do the housework, sweep the floor, fetch water, and cook for them. His numerous writings and sermons enjoy a wide popularity. Sayyidi Abdul Qadir is the founder of the Qadiriyya Tariqa and he is recognised as one of the four major Poles (aqtab) within Sufism. He passed away in 561AH/1166CE. His body was entombed within his madrassa in Babul-Shaykh, on the east bank of the Tigris River, in Baghdad.


See also: Spiritual Chain Free disposal Poles Sayyiduna wa Mawlana al Imam al Hassan (3AH/625CE or 50AH/670CE) Sayyiduna wa Mawlana al Imam al Hussayn (4AH/626CE or 61AH/680CE)
(Silsilat). The Spiritual Chain of each tariqa descends from the Holy Prophet Muhammad himself (May the Salutations of Allah be upon him and Peace) down to the present-day Shaykh. It is through his attachment to the silsilat that the newly initiated murid has the means to travel to Allah under Divine Protection.
(Tasarruf). Free disposal or dispensing. The Perfect Man governs the affairs of the world and controls them by means of the Divine Names. He exercises free disposal throughout the world. This free disposal (tasarruf) is the knower's power of bringing events to pass through directing his spiritual energy towards the sphere of possibilities.
(Al Aqtab). These are the exalted friends of Allah around whom various realities of the universe turn. Every Pole (Qutb) is named by two names; firstly, through his essential perfection in manifesting the Name 'Allah', he is the 'Slave of Allah' ('Abdullah); and secondly, through his accidental perfection of being in a particular place during a particular era to fulfil a particular function, he is the slave of one specific Divine Name, e.g. 'slave of the Generous' ('Abd al Karim) or 'slave of the Merciful' ('Abd al Rahman). Even though the poles come together under the All-Comprehensive Name 'Allah', they are nonetheless ranked in degrees of excellence according to the Divine Name which has taken charge of them.
Sayyiduna wa Mawlana al Imam al Hassan was born in Medina in 3AH/625CE. He was the eldest grandson of the Holy Prophet (May the Salutations of Allah be upon him and Peace), son of Sayyiduna wa Mawlana-l Imam Ali and Sayyidatuna as-Sayyida Fatimatu-z-Zahra, and was the was the fifth caliph, though he abdicated after six or seven months. When negotiating Imam Hassan's abdication, it is reported that he was offered an annual stipend of 1,000,000 dirhams from the treasury Bayt al-mal, along with land taxes. To this Imam Hassan replied "He is trying to appeal to my greed for a matter which, if I desired it, I would not surrender to him" and only asked that safety be granted to the people. After his abdication, Imam al Hassan spent the remainder of his life in Medina, living in seclusion. He died in 50AH/670CE and is buried in the al-Baqi' cemetery in Medina.
Sayyiduna wa Mawlana al Imam al Hussayn was born in Medina in 4AH/626CE. He was grandson of the Prophet (May the Salutations of Allah be upon him and Peace), son of Sayyiduna wa Mawlana-l Imam Ali and Sayyidatuna as-Sayyida Fatima Zahra. Next to the main door of his mosque in Cairo is a plaque which reminds all who enter that the Prophet (May the Salutations of Allah be upon him and Peace) said "I am from Hussayn, and Hussayn is from me." Despite expectations of him to take a prominent political role, Imam al Hussayn shunned the grandeur of his genealogical status in favour of breaking bread with the poor and needy. While he suffered persecution at the hands of the political powers, Imam al Hussayn said "I will never give my hand like a man who has been humiliated, nor will I flee like a slave ... I have not risen to spread evil or to show off ... I only desire to enjoin good values and prevent evil." After three days of being denied water in the scorching desert heat, his oppressors attacked. Vastly outnumbered, Imam al Hussayn and his companions resisted the oppressors despite being fatigued, thirsty, and heavily wounded. Imam al Hussayn was the last to be slain and, while he was killed mercilessly, he dies holding firmly to his principles, that of instating an Islamic polity rather than unjust rulers.

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