The 4th month of the Islamic calendar is Rabi al-Akhir, also known as Rabi al-Thani. In this very month is the anniversary of the Rose of Baghdad, Chief of the contented souls, the incomparable, Hazrat Ghaus-ul-Azam, Shaikh Sayyiduna Abdul Qadir Jilani (rahmatullah alaihi). Muslims throughout the world in this month zealously make arrangements to offer Niyaz and Fatiha for the great Saint of Baghdad. Charity is also given in the name of pious Saints of Islam as a means of conveying reward to these blessed souls from which not only the poor and the beggars benefit a great deal but the souls of the believers also obtain peace and contentment.
Essal-e-Sawab means conveying the reward. In a hadith narrated by Hadhrat Anas bin Malik (radi Allahu anhu) it is stated that he asked the beloved Prophet (sallalaho alaihi wasallam), "When we give charity on behalf of our dead and perform Hajj on their behalf, do they receive the reward of these actions?" The beloved Prophet (sallalaho alaihi wasallam) replied, "Without doubt they do receive their rewards. Not only that, but they become very happy, just as anyone of you would become happy on receiving gifts." The beloved Prophet (sallalaho alaihi wasallam) has stated:
"There is Allah’s Mercy on my Ummah. A person who is buried as a sinner, but with prayers and Astagfar of Muslims, he will arise without any sins (on the Day of Judgment)."
The departure of Hazrat Sayyidina Abdul Qadir Jilani (may Allah be well pleased with him) blessed soul on 11th of Rabi al-Akhir each year is called Giarhwih Sharif. The devotees of the Great Saint hold public meetings where Ulema pay tributes and shed light on the life and work of the great Ghaus and Qutb [literally ‘pole’, ‘axis’, the highest member of the hierarchy of Saints around whom the world revolves; equivalent in Sufi theory to the Ghaus-e Azam, or Shaikh Abd al-Qadir Jilani (may Allah be pleased with him)].
The Mahafil-e-Quran [gatherings for the recitation of the Holy Quran] are held, general feasts are hosted, and friends and relations, near and dear ones, rich and poor, are offered food specially cooked for this occasion. All such Majalis [public meetings], Mahafils [gatherings] and feasts are observed throughout the month of Rabi al-Akhir.
Giarhwih Sharif, like nafil prayers is neither obligatory nor compulsory, either for the devotees or the followers of the Qadiriya Sufi Order. It is, however, a menifestation of love, regard and respect towards Mahboob-e-Subhani [beloved of Allah], Shaikh Sayyiduna Abdul Qadir Jilani (rahmatullah alaihi). It has also been the routine of all saints and scholars to observe Giarhwih Sharif, regularly and with full sanctity. It is in fact a great blessing from Almighty Allah on Ghaus-ul-Azam that countless people acknowledge the selfless, and dedicated services rendered by him for the well-being of mankind. It is the loving kindness of Almighty Allah that He showers His Mercy on the persons paying tribute to His beloved. It is endless generosity of Almighty Allah that He grants their prayers.
Giarhwih Sharif has been observed from the time of Ghaus-ul-Azam. According to Allama Imam Yafai Qadir (may Allah be pleased with him) in Nurutul Nazirah, Giarhwih Sharif was observed by Ghaus-ul-Azam in remembrance of the beloved Prophet (sallalaho alaihi wasallam) on 11th of Rabi al-Thani each year. This practice was observed by his devotees and followers, Shaikh Abdul Haq Muhaddith Dehlvi (rahmatullah alaihi) stated in Masbat-bil-Sunnah, (p.127):
"We saw Arif-e-Kamil Hazrat Shaikh Abdul Wahab Qadiri (may Allah be pleased with him) observing Giarhwih Sharif regularly as Urs of Ghaus-ul-Azam, and not only he but other Mashaikh also used to observe Giarhwih Sharif with regularity and dignity."
Shaikh Abdul Haqq (may Allah be pleased with him) also mentioned another renowned Shaikh, Aman Panipati in Akhbar-ul-Akhyar (p.498) who also used to observe Giarhwih Sharif.
According to Mulla Mohammad, son of Mulla Jeewan, the renowned courtier of Mughal Emperors, renowned saints and Mashaikh have been regularly observing Giarhwih Sharif in remembrance of the great Saint of Baghdad.
Dara Shikoh, the Mughal Prince, in his book, Safinatul-Aulia, also writes, "The Urs of Ghaus-ul-Azam is celebrated in India on 11th Rabi al-Tani each year." [Urs is an Arabic word meaning marriage or the leading of the bride to her bridegroom. In mystical terminology, it means the eternal Communion or the returning of a chosen creature unto his Creator.]
Since feeding the poor had become a routine of the life of Ghaus-ul-Azam, it is reasonable to assume that in memory of the Great Saint, his devotees, faithful and descendants should have preferred to follow his practice. Thus the tradition of feeding the poor laid down by the Great Saint is revived each year by his faithful devotees and followers, with full dignity and sanctity, in the memory of Mehboob-e-Subhani, Ghaus-ul-Azam Dastigir, Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani (may Allah be well please with him).
[Courtesy – Dua al-Khayraat, A Guide for Special prayers and blessed Nights published by Sirat ul Muslimin, PO Box 45, Manchester, M8 OSH.]
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