A collection of the work and explanations of Shaikh 'Abd al-Qadir al-Jilani (may Allah be well pleased with him), that includes definition and attributes of the seven selves [nafs], an explanation of the names of the seven stations [maqamat], the creed ['aqida] of the Supreme Helper (may Allah be well pleased with him), the meaning of the names of the Qadiriyya order, the remarkable virtues of al-Jilani the Qutb, the names of our master, 'Abd al-Qadir, litanies [awrad] for the taming of hearts and for emergency situations; how to offer the greeting of peace [salam] to the men of the unseen [Ghaib] and much much more.
Translated from the Arabic by Muhtar Holland
Contents: Emanations of Lordly Grace
In the Name of Allah, the All-Merciful, the All-Compassionate.
Bismi'llahi 'r-Rahmani 'r-Rahim.
Praise be to the One who brought His loved ones to the sites of His intimate friendship, and reinforced their spirits with the support of His presence and His holiness, so that the currents of their breaths flowed with the perfumed breezes of His lights, and the seas of their innermost beings overflowed with the dewdrops of His secrets.
Blessing and peace be upon the most excellent of all entities, upon him who is the agent for the manifestation of all the worlds in this realm of existence, our master Muhammad, the most noble Prophet and Messenger, the mightiest of those by whom access to momentous matters is obtained, and upon his family, those endowed with purity, and his Companions, the people of love and fulfillment.
As for the poor sinner, Sayyid Isma'il, the son of Sayyid Muhammad Sa'id al-Qadiri al-Gilani, he has this to say for himself:
My line of descent is linked to the chain [silsila] of the Qadiri masters, and my noble ancestry is connected to the title of the people of Lordly providence, so I am affiliated to the pearl of the necklace of the saints [awliya'], and to the blaze of the forehead of the faces of the chosen ones, the most perfect of those who are heirs to the inheritance of Prophethood, the one who said: "This foot of mine is upon the neck of every saint," the knower by direct experience, the Lordly Cardinal Pole [al-Qutb ar-Rabbani], my master, Shaikh Muhyi 'd-Din 'Abd al-Qadir al-Gilani (may Allah sanctify his secrets, and may He cause his lights to shine in the hearts of the lovers).
I therefore felt an eager wish to disseminate the benefits of his Spiritual Path [Tariqa], and I was keen to mention the glorious products of his excellent virtue, for they were always the soothing of my tongue, the consolation of my eye, and the refreshment of my heart. I wished to see the mention of them ascend like the sun and the moon, and for their records to wave with the banners of acceptance on the horizons of the East and the West, especially his litanies [awrad], the source of beautiful practices and the fulfillment of abundant benefits, for the sake of every seeker and aspirant. They are a treasure of inexhaustible value, and a cave in which no harm can come to those who take refuge in the sanctuary of its security and its protection.
I therefore devoted all my energy to arranging them for publication. I did my very best to limit the irregularities in my compilation, endeavoring to ensure the correctness of their wording to the extent of my ability, and carefully selecting the most probable readings in every instance. It took a long time, however, to form a clear impression of the best way to print them, in order to provide their full benefit by disseminating their texts among the servants [of the Lord]. I therefore applied myself diligently to the accomplishment of that task, seeking help from the providential care of the Sovereign Omnipotent.
I have entitled the work: "Emanations of Lordly Grace-concerning the Qadiri traditions [al-Fuyudat ar-Rabbaniyya-fi'l-ma'athir al-Qadiriyya]," hoping for beautiful good wishes from my spiritual brethren, for the doer of good work is akin to someone who strives hard to achieve it.
A single poetic verse
by Shaikh 'Abd al-Qadir
(sanctified be his innermost being)
concerning the expression of Divine Glory.
O you who are such a delight to repeat and reiterate,
do not forget me when it is time to bid me farewell!
malihata 't-takrari wa 't-tathanni
la taghfuli 'inda 'l-wida'i 'an-ni.
An explanation of how to enter
the state of retreat [khalwa],
in accordance with the practice
of the Qadiriyya Order [Tariqa].
This is how the intention [niyya] should be formulated at the time of entry:
O Allah, I have made the intention to practice secluded retreat,
Allahumma inni nawaitu 'l-khalwata
in pious devotion to You, and seeking Your good pleasure
tabattulan ilai-ka wa 'btigha'an li-mardati-ka
and Your noble Countenance, through Your grace,
wa Wajhi-ka 'l-karimi bi-fadli-ka
Your abundant favor, and Your omnipresence,
wa faidi-ka wa wujudi-ka 'l-'amim:
O Most Generous of the most generous!
ya Akrama 'l-akramin.
The recluse must fast during the daytime, and eat very little during the night. Far from being permitted to catch any sleep in the night, he must preoccupy himself with remembrance [dhikr], and he must pay constant attention to the meaning of that remembrance. If any notion occurs to him, about something other than the remembrance, he must renew his concentration on the meaning of the remembrance, and not let himself be distracted. If sleep overwhelms him, he must perform the ritual ablution [wudu'] immediately, as soon as he wakes up, and perform two cycles [rak'atain] of ritual prayer [salat]. He must then resume his preoccupation with remembrance, while trying very hard to keep sleep at bay. In this endeavor, he should stand up and walk about, and refresh himself by renewing his ritual ablution.
Whenever sleep overwhelms him during the night, he must do what has just been described. Then, after he has performed the dawn prayer [subh] and the two cycles of the sunrise prayer [ishraq], he may take some sleep. As soon as he wakes up, he must again perform the ritual ablution, and preoccupy himself with remembrance, after following the ablution with two cycles of ritual prayer.
On the first of the forty days [of his retreat], he must break his fast on one quarter of the amount to which he is accustomed, at the outset, and postpone the remaining three quarters till the time of the pre-dawn meal [sahur]. He must keep to this pattern throughout the first ten days. Then, starting on the first day of the second set of ten, he must reduce the quarter on a daily basis, until seven days are left. When only three days are still remaining, he must spend those last three days on an empty stomach, eating no food at all, although he may break his fast by drinking a small amount of water. Finally, when the forty-day period is over, he should return to his usual custom, though by gradual stages, not all at once.
Among the good practices [adab] that need to be observed, it is important to ensure that the intention is purely for the sake of Allah, so that the recluse is looking for nothing other than to please Allah with genuine servitude. He must be sincerely convinced that there is nothing whatsoever like Allah. Then, if some form or shape becomes manifest to him during his retreat, and says to him: "I am Allah," he must respond by saying: "Glory be to Allah! No, you are because of Allah!" It will promptly disappear, if its purpose was to put him to the test. If it stands firm, however, it must really be a Divine manifestation [tajalli Ilahi] in the visible realm. This is not incompatible with the assertion that there is nothing whatsoever like Him, for He (Glory be to Him) possesses real and absolute freedom [itlaq haqiqi], so created entities cannot confine or restrict Him, when He manifests Himself in their midst.
Good practice also requires the recluse to refrain from speaking to anyone. If he needs to address the servant for some reason, he should therefore communicate with him by gesture, or else in writing. If an emergency allows him no alternative to speech, he must speak no more than is strictly necessary, since inappropriate speech results in murky darkness. When he goes out to perform the ritual ablution, he must keep his head hung low.
The place where he performs the remembrance should be well away from the door. He should block any opening through which light is admitted, and drape a curtain over the door, if it needs to be screened, so that light cannot shine through. The place should be far away from the sound of voices. If he cannot find such a place, because there are people living all around, he should use some form of covering to block his ears. While performing the remembrance, he should also keep his eyes closed. He should be holding himself erect, facing toward the Qibla, not reclining, because reclining tends to bring on sleep. He should drink very little water, because drinking a lot of it also brings on slumber. He must take great care to avoid spreading secrets [learned during his retreat].
The beginning of the retreat should coincide with the sun's arrival in the constellation of Capricorn, which occurs at the start of winter. The recluse should spend as many days in seclusion as the Shaikh prescribes for him, then he must emerge from it. Allah is the Source of enabling grace!