As the nightingale of all young birds, I fill their nests
with song, and as the Grey Falcon I soar and levitate.
The armies of love are subject to my will, obedient,
gallant, and ever intact, so that they never separate.
"The Grey Falcon [al-Baz al-Ashab]" is an epithet by which Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani (may Allah be well pleased with him) is widely known. Since the Falcon always does the bidding of it's master, without question, and returns directly to his hand, this bird has come to symbolize the faithful servant of the Lord of Truth (Almighty Allah and Glorious is He). The Shaikh (may Allah be pleased with him) once said: "All the other birds talk, but they do not act, whereas the Falcon acts, and does so without talking. This explains how the glove of Kings came to be it's perch."
Although the exact origins (place) of Tariqat Sufism are unknown, the region of southern Iraq was very important to it's development. This was particularly true of Baghdad and it's environment, which, in the century preceding it's destruction by the Mogols in 656/1258, was a major source of social and doctrinal uproar. From out of this chaotic but generative environment grew three mystical orders that were to influence Sufism throughout the Muslim world: the Qadiriyya, the Rifai, and the Suhrawardiyya.
The oldest extant [in existence] Sufi order with attested historicity is probably the Qadiriyya, founded by Shaikh Sayyiduna Abd al-Qadir al-Jilani [d. 1166] in Baghdad. Though many Sufis had written before him, it was Hazrat Abdul Qadir Jilani (may Allah be pleased with him) who most clearly defined the Path and explained the terms, which, since then, have become accepted practices. He gave a Sufi explanation of the fundamental duties of Islam - prayer, fasting, almsgiving and pilgrimage, etc.
With reference to our sixth doctrine, in the perambulation unto Allah all the saints are equal, "We do not make distinction (in believing) between any of his prophets". Accordingly, "We also do not make distinction between any of His saints and Awliya (friends)". Thus the people of reality, are in complete agreement, in complete harmony, there is no debate between them. Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani (may Allah be well pleased with Him) was once asked: "What view would you take of a man who called himself a Qadiri, though without receiving instruction from you, and without wearing a tattered robe (khirqa) conferred by you? Would he actually be counted as one of your companions?"
To this the Shaikh replied: "If someone adopts my name [by calling himself a Qadiri], or otherwise professes his affiliation to me, Almighty Allah [Exalted is He] will accept him, even if he happens to be on a reprehensible (in the wrong) course, for he is a member of the troop of my companions. Shaikh Abdul Qadir (may Allah be pleased with him) also said: "For any Muslim who steps across the threshold of my schoolhouse door, the torment of the Day of Resurrection [Yawm al-Qiyama] will be alleviated (eased)."
We owe the report to the 3 Shaikhs, Abu Saud Abdullah, Muhammad al-Awani, and Umar al-Barraz (may Allah be pleased with them all):
"Our Master Shaikh Abdul Qadir has guaranteed to his pupils, until the Day of Resurrection [Yawm al-Qiyama], that not a single one of them will die without being in a state of repentance. He has also given the assurance that his pupils, and his pupils’ pupils through seven stages of succession, will enter the Garden of Paradise. He said: "I am a surety for my pupils’ pupils through 7 stages. If a defect became apparent in a pupil of mine in the West, while I was in the East, I would cause it to be concealed. We must make it our business to direct our endeavors, to the fullest possible extent, toward safeguarding the welfare of our companions. Fortunate is he who has seen me, and how sorry I feel for him who has not seen me!"
Shaikh Ali al-Quraishi has told us: "Our Master Shaikh Abdul Qadir (may Allah be pleased with him) once said: "I was handed a scroll [sijill] that stretches as far as the eye can see, containing a list of the names of my companions and my pupils till the Day of Resurrection, and I was told: "They have all been granted to you."" [Courtesy: Necklaces of Gems (Qala’id al-Jawahir)]