Seeking the Sultan's Help

Sheikh Sayyiduna Abdul Qadir’s Jilani (may Allah be pleased with him) was a constant presence in Alahazrat's Imam Ahmad Raza Khan's (may Allah be pleased with him)  life in terms of ritual and practice. This included saying Fatiha in the Sheikhs name when a wish was granted, and celebration of the Shaikhs birth date on the 11th of every month. Maulana Zafar ud-Din Bihari (may Allah be pleased with him) records an occasion when someone asked Alahazrat to read Fatiha (the opening Sura of the Quran) over some food, offered in the Sheikhs name in thanksgiving:

Alahazrat first asked all those present to make ritual ablution and he did so. The container of food was placed in front. Everyone stood facing the direction of the Sultan of Baghdad which is 18 degrees north of the Qibla (Mecca) He then instructed everyone to say Bismillah, and to follow this with Durood Ghauthia (prayer calling down Almighty Allah’s blessing on Ghaus-ul-Azam), seven times. Then they were to read al-hamd (giving thanks to Allah) once, the Ayat ul-Kursi once, and say Qul huwwa Allahu (Allah is all) seven times. After reading the Durood Ghauthia thrice, they should offer the nazar (the food) to the Sarkar-e-Baghdad. After completing the reading Alahazrat asked for a plain tablecloth to replace the existing one which had verses written on it. Then a bowl and a cup were placed in front of every one and they said Bismillah once more, and sat down to eat. When they had finished, Alahazrat told them not to wash their hands immediately, but to line up in rows turning towards Iraq and raise their hands to make duah (prayer of supplication for Ghaus-ul-Azam). He said the Sadat (plural for Sayyid) should be in the front row, in front of everyone else. He himself stood behind them. After they had said the duah, everyone washed their hands carefully, as he instructed, and moved the used water to a safe place, commanding each one to drink a little of it rather than rinse it out.  

Padwick quotes a typical poem of the Qadiriyya Sufi Order, which is an invitation to men to come with their cry for help (istighatha) to the founders Sacred Tomb:

My Tomb is the House of Almighty Allah.

He, who comes to visit it, hastening thither, will be granted might and exaltation.

My mystery is the mystery of Almighty Allah, current to his creation.

Cleave to my side if thou wouldst have my affection.

My command is the command of Almighty Allah: If thou sayest, “Be,” is shall be, and all things are under Almighty Allah command; then judge of my power.

I was seated in the Holt vale on Mount Sinai;

I was exalted in my robe of honor.

And all men in all lands call me blessed…

And all the countries of Almighty Allah are truly my Kingdom,

And their Pole-saints under my command and obedience

[Manzuma bi l-wasila (Qadiriyya)]


The method of seeking Sayyiduna Abdul Qadir’s (Allah bless him and give him peace) help (istighatha) by members of the Qadiriyya according to Padwick's translations into English is as follows. After the evening prayers or the prayers of a night vigil, having given the final 'peace', the worshipper is told:

Prostrate yourself again before Almighty Allah after the 'peace' and ask for your need. Then raise your head and call down the blessing on the beloved Prophet Muhammad (Allah bless him and give him peace) 11 times. Then raise and take 11 steps in the direction of Iraq to the right of the Qibla, and say as you take the first step, "Oh Shaikh Muhyiddin!" [A cry on Shaikh Sayyidi Abdul Qadir Jilani is given for each footstep, ending with him], "O Lord of Lords Abdul Qadir, Muhyiddin!" Then say, "O little servant of Almighty Allah, help me (aghithni) by permission of Almighty Allah. Oh Shaikh of the heaven laden, help me and grant me supplies to meet my need." [Finally, there is a dua to be read 3 times, which returns from the Saint to Almighty Allah:] "Oh Almighty Allah, Thine are all things and through Thee are all things and from Thee are all things and to Thee are all things, and Thou art the All and All of All." [al-Fuyudatu r-rabbaniyya, pg.45]

The visitor approaching the tomb at Baghdad should thus address the Saint:

Peace be to thee O King of the age, O Imam of the place, O wielder of the command of the Merciful, O heir of the Book and representative of the Apostle of Almighty Allah, O thou whose benefit is heavenly and earthly, O thou to whom all the people of the time are his family. Thou through whose petitioning help comes down, through whose blessing supplication is efficacious. [Ibid. pg. 194]