Abdul Qadir al Geylani was born on the Night of Power (hence his name, Abdul Qadir), during Ramadan in 470 A.H. (1077 A.D.). He was born in Nayf in Geylan, Persia. He passed to the other side at the age of 91 on the eleventh of Rabi al-Thani, 561 A.H. (1166 A.D.). His tomb is in Baghdad, where thousands of people continue to visit it daily.
His father was Sayyid Musa Jangi Dost and his mother was Ummul Khayr Fatima bint al-Shaykh Abdullah Sumi. Because both of his parents were sayyids (descendants of the Prophet, saws), his lineage is called the Silsiletil Zehep (the Golden Chain). On his mother’s side, his lineage was: Jemal Muhammad, Mahmut, Tahir, Ibi Ata Abdullah, Kenaleddin, Isa, Ali Alauddin, Muhammadil Jevat, Imam Ali Riza, Imam Musel Kazim, Imam Jaferils Sadik, Imam Muhammadil Bakir, Imam Ali Zeynel Abidin, Hazreti Husayn, whose mother was Hazreti Fatima, the daughter of the Prophet Muhammad (saws). On his father’s side, his lineage was Abdullah, Yahya Ezzhit, Muhammad, Davut, Musa, Abdullah, Musel Jun, Abdullah Mahiz, Hasenul Musemma, Hazreti Hasan, whose mother was Hazreti Fatima, the daughter of our Prophet Muhammad (saws).
Abdul Qadir al Geylani is accepted as one of the four qutbs of all time. He was known as the Gavsul Azam (the Perfect Man, the human being who has reached the highest possible level ), the Pole of Power, Qutbul Rabbani (the Divine or Devout Qutb), Sultanul Awliya (King of the Saints), Qutbul Azam (the Greatest Qutb) and as the biggest helper of people in need. He was also known as Bazul Eshep (the Grey Hawk). When he was ten years old, his mother told him a story. “One day many years ago, I was traveling in the desert. A Bedouin in black clothing blocked the road I was on and attacked me. At that time, I started screaming for help. Suddenly, out of nowhere, a big hawk appeared, attacked the Bedouin, and kept attacking until the Bedouin fled. After that, it grabbed my headcovering and disappeared into the sky. I still wonder about this bird.” Hz. Abdul Qadir smiled, and left his mother. A few moments later, he returned with his mother’s headcovering and said “Mother, here is your headcovering. That bird you saw was me.”
He got his first education in his hometown. He went to Baghdad and studied Islamic law, theology, and halwet (retreat). From one source we know that “Hazrat Geylani lived in ruins near Baghdad for twenty-five years in retreat and fighting with his nafs. He has left the world completely, and for the last forty days he hasn’t eaten anything.”
According to one biographer, he was the person who took care of Abu Hanifa’s tomb. His first shaykh was Hammad ibn Muslim al-Dabbas. He studied with other shaykhs as well, such as Ibu Said Mubarek bin Ali Mahzumi’dir, from the Hanbali school.
During Geylani’s lifetime, Baghdad was a cultural center for Sufism and science. Even in a time like that, Abdul Qadir al Geylani was famous in the whole Islamic world with his talks, miracles, poems, and books. Abdul Qadir al Geylani is one of the greatest Sufis who has ever lived, one of the most talked and written about. He is very respected in both the Islamic and Sufi communities.
Hz. Geylani performed numerous miracles which have been recorded in many books. During his time many Christians and Jews became Muslims and many of his students became famous walis (saints and teachers). Hazrat Abdul Qadir was tall, olive-skinned, had long eyelashes and blue eyes, a beautiful face, and long hair. He was very humble and beautifully dressed. When he spoke, the audience would be spellbound and enraptured by his words and personality. Love has been his guide.