Sayings of Shaikh ʿAbd al-Qādir al-Gaylānī
Shaikh ʿAbd al-Qādir was a prolific lecturer and author, having delivered countless sermons and authored tens books. These are only a few of his wise words on a variety of topics from lectures he gave at his school in Baghdad:
- Good Behavior in the Company of Shaikhs: O young man! When you come into my presence, give up your appreciation for your deeds and self-admiration. Come in with nothing, as one who is bankrupt. If you have high regard for your deeds and yourself you will be astonished at what I am talking about and you will hate me because I speak the truth and disagree with you. No one hates me other than the enemy of Allah and no one is ignorant of me except one who is ignorant of Allah (mighty and glorified is He), given to much talk and little action. No one loves me but one who is knowledgeable of Allah (mighty and glorified is He), given to much action and little talk. The sincere person loves me, whereas the hypocrite hates me. One who follows the Sunna loves me, whereas one who follows heretical innovations hates me. If you love me, you are the one who will receive the benefits of that; and if you hate me, you are the one who will suffer the harm. I pay no attention to the praise and dispraise of the creatures.
- Love: Woe to you! You claim to love Allah, yet you open up your hearts to others! Because Majnūn Layla (the mad lover of Laila) became truthful in his love for Laila, his heart would not accept other than her. One day he came across some people who asked him: “Where have you come from?” He replied: “From being with Laila.” They asked him: “Where are you going?” He answered: “To Laila.”
- Trust: O young man, religion in the sight of Allah is Islam, and the reality of Islam is surrender! You have to reach the state of Islam first and then fulfill surrender. Purify your outwards by Islam and purify your inwards by surrender. Surrender yourselves to your Lord (mighty and glorified is He) and be satisfied with His management of your affairs. Give up your will and accept the destiny that your Lord (mighty and glorified is He) has decreed. Accept all of what destiny brings. Your Lord knows you better than you know yourselves. Accept His words with certitude. Receive His commandments and prohibitions with total acceptance. Receive His religion with all of your hearts, and make it your inner and outer covers. Take full advantage of your lives before your death, before the advent of a “Day from Allah that cannot be turned back” (30.43), which is the Day of Resurrection.
- Renunciation: When someone has genuinely renounced the creatures, they become genuinely interested in him and benefit from listening to his words and looking at him. When the heart’s renunciation of the creatures and the innermost being’s renunciation of anything other than Allah (mighty and glorified is He) and the nearness to Him, have become genuine, nearness becomes his close companion in this world and his entertainer in the hereafter.
- Patience: Endure with patience the harm of the creatures and neighbours, for there is much good in patience. All of you are commanded to show patience and are responsible for yourselves and your flock. The Prophet (PBUH) has said: “Each one of you is a shepherd and responsible for his flock.” Be patient with destiny until suffering transforms into bliss. Patience is the foundation of good. The angels were tested with afflictions and they endured them with patience, and the prophets were tested with afflictions and they endured them with patience. You are following in the footsteps of the people of Allah, so emulate their deeds and endure the afflictions with patience.
- The Knowledge of Saints: The saints of Allah (mighty and glorified is He) have someone who awakens them, a teacher who teaches them. The True One provides for them the means of learning. The Prophet (Allah’s prayer and peace be on him) has said: “Even if a believer was on the top of a mountain, Allah (high is He) will appoint for him a knowledgeable scholar to teach him.”