Shaykh Abd
al-Qadir Gilani's Lineage

by Sh. G. F. Haddad

“there has recently been a surge of claims stating that Sayyid Abd Al Qadir Jilani was infact not a Sayyid. Most of the points these people use are (1) He was of Persian origin (2) He never claimed to be a Sayyid except once which could be interpreted differently (3) None of the people around him considered him a Sayyid or specified he was one (4) the first person to claim this was his grandson. They say of all the evidence All what was found was a verse attributed to one of his offspring in which he says, "...and my forefather was the Messenger of Allah: " They say It was perhaps the interpretation of some of the learned people of the saying of the Prophet "I am the grandfather [forefather] of every pious person."”

A poet once said,

"Nothing is held true anymore -
when the light of day needs a proof."

Ibn Khaldun said that the questioning of lineage by one devoid of religion and genealogical knowledge carries no authority and amounts to no more than drivel (laghw).

Shaykh ʿAbd al-Qadir al-Gilani was in fact doubly a Sayyid: on his father's side he descends from al-Hasan, and on his mother's side he descends from al-Husayn, Allah be well-pleased with them.

The proof that contrary claims are waswasa is that none of their supposed evidence is accurate. Shaykh ʿAbd al-Qadir was not of Persian lineage but of Arab lineage, his forefathers of two or three generations went to Jilan and they adopted the language of that country and became known as Jili or Jilani. This no more cancels their Arab origin than being born and raised in India cancels the Arab origins, for example, of the family of Shah Wali Allah of Delhi.

Nor does the title "Janki Dost" that appears in his lineage denote anything more than a title, which some said means "of great merit" and others "lover of battle." His lineages are:


Abu Muhammad Muhyi al-Din ʿAbd al-Qadir
son of Abu Salih Musa Janki Dost
son of ʿAbd Allah [NOT "Abu ʿAbd Allah" as some miswrote]
son of Yahya al-Zahid
son of Muhammad
son of Dawud
son of Musa
son of ʿAbd Allah
son of Musa al-Jun
son of ʿAbd Allah al-Kamil
son of al-Hasan al-Muthanna
son of al-Hasan al-Sibt
son of Fatimat al-Zahra
daughter of the Seal of Prophets upon him blessings and peace.

***All the genealogists agreed that there are eleven paternal links between Shaykh ʿAbd al-Qadir and al-Sayyida Fatima.***


Abu Muhammad Muhyi al-Din ʿAbd al-Qadir
son of Fatima Umm al-Khayr
daughter of Abu ʿAbd Allah al-Sawmaʿi
son of Abu Jamal al-Din Muhammad
son of Mahmud
son of Abu al-ʿAta' ʿAbd Allah
son of ʿIsa Kamal al-Din
son of Abu ʿAla' al-Din Muhammad al-Jawwad
son of ʿAli al-Rida
son of Musa al-Kazim
son of Jaʿfar al-Sadiq
son of Muhammad al-Baqir
son of ʿAli Zayn al-ʿAbidin
son of al-Husayn al-Sibt
son of Fatimat al-Zahra'

It is not true that he never claimed to be a Sayyid, on the contrary, he listed his lineage back to al-Hasan on his father's side, may Allah be well-pleased with him. This was related by his own son ʿAbd al-Razzaq in _Fatihat Futuh al-Ghayb_ where he says, My father Abu Muhammad Muhyi al-Din ʿAbd al-Qadir ibn ........ all the way to al-Hasan ibn ʿAli ibn Abi Talib, contrary to the claim that his grandson was the first ever to mention it.

It is also one of the meanings of his famous saying: "This foot of mine stands over the neck of every friend of Allah" i.e. the foot of the double inheritor of the Messenger of Allah, upon him blessings and peace: not only of his knowledge but of his blood, as I heard it explained in Cyprus by the descendent of Shaykh ʿAbd al-Qadir, Shaykh Muhammad Nazim al-Haqqani and as explained in Shaykh Ahmad Zarruq's _Qawaʿid al-Tasawwuf_.

Moreover, this grandson - the Qadi Abu Salih Nasr ibn ʿAbd al- Razzaq ibn ʿAbd al-Qadir - was so eminently reliable that Ibn Hajar describes him in his _Ghibta_ [see below] as "one of the trustworthy and vast compilers of narrations (min al-thiqaat al-musnidin)" then he prides himself that he narrates from him with only three intermediary links, which constitutes a "high chain" (ʿuluw).

And if one means the other grandson (since the objectors themselves are undecided who they mean!) i.e. Rukn al-Din ʿAbd al-Salam ibn ʿAbd al-Wahhab ibn Shaykh ʿAbd al-Qadir, then al-Qari describes him as a Muhaddith and al-Misnawi as "al-Faqih al-Imam" in his book _Natijat al-Tahqiq fi Baʿd Ahl al-Nasab al-Wathiq_.

As for the claim that no one around the Shaykh ever specified he was a Sayyid then this is another lie, since there is a book specifying this lineage by one of the Shaykh's own close companions, namely _Anwaar al-Naazir_ by the Mufti of Iraq, Imam Abu Bakr ʿAbd Allah ibn Nasr ibn Hamza al-Bakri al-Baghdadi.

It is very noteworthy that the source of such claims is ultimately from people of low morals, low religion, and poor knowledge as Ibn Khaldun hinted. Otherwise they would heed the Prophetic warnings:

1. Do not harm the living by insulting the dead.
2. Whoever harms a Friend of Allah, Allah declares war on them.
3. People are trusted over their lineages.
4. Three things are kufr: tearing up one's clothes [at a calamity], wailing [over the dead], and questioning a lineage.
5. Five things destroy the soul: impiety to parents, a trusted wife's betrayal, a leader obeyed by people but disobedient to Allah, a promise of goodness one does not keep, and questioning lineages.
6. Defamation cancels a hundred years of good deeds.
7. Innovations will appear and the last of the Umma will curse its first.

There is no graver threat in all Islam than the threat Allah Most High made against two types: those that deal with usury (riba) and those that attack His friends. It would take a monumental idiot, therefore, and/or a person of perdition and sedition to risk such a dire consequence for no possible gain whatsoever here or hereafter, since a Muslim is not tasked with nor rewarded for knowing anyone's lineage except that of the Prophet ﷺ upon him blessings and peace.

Finally, it should be learnt by every Muslim that among the special characteristics or Khasa'is of the Prophet ﷺ upon him, his House, and all his Companions blessings and peace, as listed by Imam al-Suyuti

in _Unmudhaj al-Labib fi Khasa'is al-Habib_, is the fact that his Umma does not concur on error. Meaning: the Ulema of his Umma. The great Tunisian Muhaddith, Faqih, and Qadi, Muhammad Makki ibn ʿAzzouz (1270-1334/1854-1916) listed in his epistle _al-Sayf al-Rabbani fi ʿUnuq al-Muʿtarid ʿala al-Ghawth al-Jaylani_ no less than 61 Ulema and their works in which they stated the Sharif Prophetic lineage of Shaykh ʿAbd al-Qadir. Among them:

- The Maliki Faqih and genealogist Ahmad ibn Juzayy in his book
_Mukhtasar al-Bayan fi Nasab Al ʿAdnan_

- The impeccable Hafiz Ibn Hajar al-ʿAsqalani in his book _Ghibtat al- Naazir fi Tarjimat al-Shaykh ʿAbd al-Qadir_ and his abridgment of _Bahjat al-Asrar_ in which he rejected the claim that the reports from Shaykh ʿAbd al-Qadir contain exaggerations with the phrase "laysat mimma la yajuzu li-mithlihi" i.e. they are not impossible for such a wali.

- Sibt Ibn al-Jawzi in his book _Ansaab al-Qirtas_.

- The great historian al-Jabarti in his _Tarikh_, entry on Sayyid ʿAbd al-Khaliq al-Misri al-Gilani.

- Al-Shablanji in _Nur al-Absar fi Manaqib Al Bayt al-Nabi al-Mukhtar_.

- The Qutb Shaykh ʿAbd Allah Ba ʿAlawi al-Haddad in his works.

- Mulla ʿAli al-Qari in his book _Nuzhat al-Khatir al-Fatir fi Tarjimat Sayyidi ʿAbd al-Qadir_ said of the Shaykh's Prophetic lineage:

"It is mass-transmitted (mutawatir), sound (sahih), firmly established (thaabit), and as clear as the sun when it shines in the middle of the day. We reject mumblings and quarrels and interpretation and objections just as there is consensus about it [among the people of true learning], as opposed to the innovating rejectionists - people of deviation and hidden disbelief, envy and dissension. May Allah protect us and the Muslims from the plotting of the misguided and misguiding enviers! They envy people over what Allah gave them of His favor - and He is the Most Merciful of the merciful."

As for the saying "I am the grandfather [forefather] of every pious person"

it is a forgery, but a report in al-Tabarani and others does state: "My relatives (Aali) consist in every pious person" then he recited {What (plea) have they that Allah should not punish them, when they debar (His servants) from the Inviolable Place of Worship, though they are not its fitting guardians. Its fitting guardians are those only who keep their duty to Allah. But most of them know not} (8:34).

At the same time the Prophet said ﷺ upon him blessings and peace, "On the Day of Resurrection every means and lineage will be cut off except my means and my lineage." Narrated by al-Tabarani. Al-Haythami said its narrators are those of al-Bukhari and Muslim.

Blessings and Peace on the Prophet, his Family, and all his Companions.

Hajj Gibril ©
[23 Jun 2004]

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