Hazrat Abdul Qadir Jilani – A Story from the Life of a Great Sufi
Hazrat Abdul Qadir Jilani (also called ‘Ghaus-e Azam’) was a great Sufi. The Qadri Sufi order is named after him. He was born in 1078. He spent his early life in Gilan, the town of his birth, which is in Iran. In 1095, at the age of eighteen, he went to Baghdad to study.
After bidding farewell to his mother, he joined a caravan, which was on its way to Baghdad. In those days, people travelled in groups for the sake of safety. The caravan of Hazrat Abdul Qadir Jilani reached the city of Hamadan without incident. After leaving Hamadan, they journeyed further.
The journey took them into a vast forest wherein they were attacked by sixty bandits. The leader of this band of robbers was a notorious person called Ahmad Badawi. The travellers did not have the means to defend themselves against the bandits and were forced to surrender their belongings and valuables to them. After raiding the travellers, the bandits gathered together all the loot and began to distribute it amongst themselves. Whilst all this was happening, Hazrat Abdul Qadir Jilani was standing very calmly amongst the travellers. None of the bandits approached him as he was regarded as just a young boy, until one of them decided to approach him. He went up to him and asked him if he had any valuables.
Hazrat Abdul Qadir Jilani said that he had in his possession forty dinars. When he heard this, the robber laughed at him and walked away, thinking that he was lying.
After some time, another robber asked Hazrat Abdul Qadir Jilani the same question and he received the same answer. He too dismissed Hazrat Abdul Qadir’s reply as a joke. When the bandits gathered together, then both these bandits began to joke about the young boy who said he had forty dinars. Their leader, Ahmed Badawi, asked them to bring Hazrat Abdul Qadir Jilani to him. When he was brought before Ahmed Badawi, the leader of the bandits asked him if he had any valuables in his possession. Hazrat Abdul Qadir Jilani replied that he had forty dinars on him.
Ahmed Badawi asked for the forty dinars and Hazrat Abdul Qadir Jilani showed him where he had kept the money. When they tore open the coat of Hazrat Abdul Qadir Jilani, they found the forty dinars sewn under the armpits. When they saw this, Ahmed Badawi and his bandits were taken aback. Ahmed Badawi asked:
“O young man, none of us knew that you had any money. Knowing that we are bandits, why did you still tell us where the money was hidden?
Hazrat Abdul Qadir Jilani replied by saying:
“When I had left on this journey, I had promised my elderly and pious mother that I would never lie. How then could I break this promise just for the sake of sixty bandits?”
When Ahmed Badawi heard this, he felt great shame and, in tears, said:
“Oh young boy! You are so loyal in your promise to your mother. Shame on me, that for years I have been disloyal to my promise with my Creator Almighty God .
After saying these words, the bandit cried bitterly and then fell to the feet of Hazrat Abdul Qadir Jilani and repented for his sins. When his accomplices saw this, they too did likewise and repented sincerely from all their sins. They then returned all the belongings of the travellers and escorted them out of the jungle.
Referring to this incident, it is said that Hazrat Abdul Qadir Jilani said: “This was the first tauba(repentance) that a group of misled persons had made at my hands.”