Abd al-Qadir al-Jilani ibn Salih ibn Jangidost, (Persian: عبد القادر گیلانی Abdolɢāder Gilāni) (also spelled Abdulqadir Gaylani, Abdelkader, Abdul Qadir, Abdul Khadir - Jilani, Jeelani, Jilali, Gailani, Gillani, Gilani,Al Gilani) (470-561 A.H.)(1077-1166 A.D.) was a Persian Sunni Shafi/Hanbali preacher, Sufi sheikh and the figurehead of the Qadiri Sufi order. He was born on the 1st Ramadan in 470 A.H., 1078 A.D., in the Persian province of Gilan (Iran) south of the Caspian Sea. Since the Persian "G" does not exist in Arabic, his name has also been recorded as Kilani and Jilani in Arabic manuscripts.Gilani belongs to the spiritual chain of Junayd Baghdadi. His contribution to thought in the Muslim world earned him the title Muhiyuddin (Lit. "The reviver of the faith"), as he along with his students and associates laid the ground work for the society which later produced stalwarts like Nur ad-Din and Saladin. His Sufi order named after him is generally thought to be the oldest and first of such orders.
He was born in 1078 A.D. (471 A.H.) in a small town of Iranian Gilan Province. Many Muslims scholar claim him as a sharif and a blood relative to the Prophet Muhammad but such a claim has little likelihood and he was of Persian origin. His complete name reads Muhyi ad-Din 'Abd al-Qadir son of Abu Salih son of Jenki-Dost (Jangi-Dost) al-Jili. Jangi-Dost is a Persian name and one tradition makes him spend eleven years in a tower which ever since bears the name Burj al-'Ajami 'The Persian Tower.
He spent his early life in the town of his birth. At the age of eighteen he went to Baghdad (1095), where he pursued the study of Hanbali law under several teachers. The Shaik received lessons on Fiqh from Abu Ali al-Mukharrimi, Hadith from Abu-Bakar-bin-Muzaffar, and tafsir from the renowned commentator, Abu Muhammad Jafar.
In Tasawwuf (The sciences of the heart), his spiritual instructor was Shaikh Abu'l-Khair Hammad bin Muslim al-Dabbas. From him, he received his basic training, and with his help he set out on the spiritual journey.
After completion of education, Abdul Qadir Jilani abandoned the city of Baghdad, and spent twenty-five years as a wanderer in the desert regions of Iraq as a recluse.
He was over fifty years old by the time he returned to Baghdad in 1127, and began to preach in public. He moved into the school belonging to his old teacher al-Mukharrimii, there he engaged himself in teaching. Soon he became popular with his pupils. In the morning he taught hadith and tafsir, and in the afternoon held discourse on science of the hearts and the virtues of the Qur'an.
He busied himself for forty years in the service of Islam from 521 to 561 AH. During this period hundreds of Thousands of people converted to Islam because of him and organized several teams to go abroad for dawah purposes.
Gilani died on Saturday night 1166 (11th Rabi' al-thani 561AH on the Islamic calendar) at the age of eighty-nine years, and was entombed in a shrine within his Madrassa in Baghdad. His Shrine and Mosque are in what used to be the school he preached in, located in Babul-Sheikh, Resafa (East bank of the Tigris) in Baghdad, Iraq.
The Shaikh had four virtuous wives and forty nine children, twenty seven sons and twenty two daughters. The most famous of his sons are Shaikh Abdul-Wahab, Sheikh Abdul-Razzaq, Shaikh Abdul-Aziz, Shaikh Isa, Shaikh Musa, Sheikh Yahya, Sheikh Abdullah, Sheikh Muhammed and Sheikh Ibrahim. His sons, and grandsons reached the Indian sub-continent through out the years preaching Islam in his method (Arabic=Tareqa,طريقة). As they have reached the Western part of the Arab world of North Africa and Morocco, and parts of Habesha (Ethiopia, Somalia, Eritrea).
He died on the 11th of Rabi' al-thani. He was born in late Sha'aban or early Ramadhan for he was known as an infant to abstain from suckling during the day of Ramadhan.
Some of Jilani's more well known works include:
Al-Ghunya li-talibi tariq al-haqq wa al-din (Sufficient Provision for Seekers of the Path of Truth and Religion)
Al-Fath ar-Rabbani (The Sublime Revelation)
Futuh al-Ghaib (Revelations of the Unseen)
Jala' al-Khatir (The Removal of Care)