Sultan ul Tarikeen Sultan
Sayyid Mohammad Abdullah Shah
Sayyid Mohammad Abdullah Shah Madni Jilani was born on 29th Ramadan 1186 Hijri (24th Dec, 1772 AD) in Madina. His paternal genealogy ultimately reaches Prophet Mohammad sall Allahu alayhi wa’alihi wasallam through al-Ghawth al-Azam (Ghaus ul Azam) Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani. While, his maternal genealogy links to Ali ibn Abi Talib through Imam Sayyid Mohammad Taqi. Sayyid Abdul Rehman Jilani Dehlvi, the spiritual guide of Sultan Bahoo, was his great grandfather. Sayyid Abdullah Shah’s grandfather Sayyid Abdul Aziz firstly migrated from Delhi to Baghdad in 1696. Afterwards he relocated to Madina in 1698.
Sayyid Abdullah Shah’s father was a businessman in Madina, his name was Sayyid Abdul Raheem. While his mother’s name was Sayyida Momina and she was a very pious lady. She regularly used to say her Tahajud prayer and had learnt the Quran by heart.
When Sayyid Abdullah Shah was born, his forehead was illuminated with the Divine light (Nur). Whoever beheld him got mesmerized. Sayyid Abdullah Shah’s maternal grandfather Sayyid Mohammad Zakiuddin loved him extremely and always kept him close to himself. He used to say, “One day, the Nur of this child would shine on the horizon of Sainthood.”
Since childhood Sayyid Abdullah Shah was devoted towards prayers and had strong spiritual relationship with Allah. He had learnt the Holy Quran by heart at the age of twelve years. He had an extremely restless nature. To add, he was least interested in worldly businesses.
Often, his grandfather Sayyid Mohammad Zakiuddin took him along to the tomb of Prophet Mohammad. Only there he could find peace of heart. One day, his grandfather took him to Jannat-ul-Baqi and entrusted him to Hazrat Fatima-tuz-Zahra and Hazrat Imam Hassan. There, he requested them, “Please take care of him after me. As he is the grandson of this poor migrant and belongs to your progeny.” Then he took him to the tomb of Prophet Mohammad and requested, “O Lord! This is your grandchild. I am presenting him to you. Please do not deprive him of your heritage.” Very next morning Sayyid Mohammad Zakiuddin died. At that time, Sayyid Abdullah Shah was fourteen years old.
SEARCH FOR DIVINE TRUTH
With growing age, Sayyid Abdullah Shah’s restlessness grew so much that he gave up everything that life had to offer. Even his marriage broke and his father’s business was occupied by his uncle.
When his state of anxiety would intensify, he immediately started worshipping and reciting the Holy Quran. But as soon as he paused, the same state took over him again. He felt as if the source of peace for him was some unknown Entity. In whose search he wandered around in the scorching heat of sun. He would travel on foot all the way from Madina to Makkah, seclude himself at Ka’aba and circumambulate it madly. He would cling to the walls of Ka’aba and weep bitterly in order to seek Allah’s help. For weeks, he would seclude himself in the caves of Hira and Thaur without eating anything except herbs and shrubs. When his plight would get worse, Allah sent someone for his help with food and water.
One night, Sayyid Mohammad Abdullah Shah was standing near Jannat-ul-Baqi, watching the shrine of Prophet Mohammad with affection and love. Suddenly, somebody placed hand on his right shoulder and asked, “How are you, Abdullah?”
Sayyid Abdullah Shah got surprised and asked, “Who are you?”
The man replied, “I am Khidr and I show way to people.”
Abdullah Shah asked, “Would you show me the way as well?”
Khidr replied, “Seek your heritage from your grandfather.”
Sayyid Abdullah Shah replied in confusion, “My grandfather has already died, the inheritance of my grandfather and father is occupied by my uncle and I do not want it back.”
Khidr said while pointing towards the shrine of Holy Prophet, “I am talking about your grandfather Prophet Mohammad and his heritage of Faqr. Go and sit obediently in his court. Then, do not get out of Masjid al-Nabvi even if you die, until he gives you the heritage of Faqr.” Khidr vanished right after saying that.
SERVICES AT MASJID AL-NABVI
Hence, at the age of forty, Syed Mohammad Abdullah Shah secluded himself in Masjid al-Nabvi seeking the heritage of Faqr. He quietly kept himself absorbed in prayers and services of the tomb of Holy Prophet and just requested for Faqr. Here, he found the peace and bliss which were missing from his life.
Eventually, after six years the Holy Prophet came in his dream and asked what he wanted as reward for his services. Sayyid Abdullah Shah replied that certainly he wanted the treasure of Faqr. The Holy Prophet told him that for the treasure of Faqr he would have to go to Sultan Bahoo. When Sayyid Abdullah Shah woke up, he was surprised at this dream. Considering it strange to go to someone else while the true holder of treasure of Faqr is the Holy Prophet himself, he started serving at Masjid al-Nabvi again.
In this way, another six years passed. Then, the Holy Prophet again came in his dream and asked the same question, the answer was again the same. Thereupon, the Holy Prophet guided Sayyid Abdullah Shah, “For the treasure of Faqr you must have to go to Sultan Bahoo.” He further said, “First you should go to Baghdad at the shrine of Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani. Thence, under his spiritual guidance you can reach Sultan Bahoo’s shrine in Jhung (in India then).”
ACQUIRING TRUST OF FAQR FROM SULTAN BAHOO
On waking up, Sayyid Abdullah Shah immediately set for the shrine of Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani in Baghdad. Under his guidance, Sayyid Abdullah Shah visited the shrines of all the spiritual leaders of Sarwari Qadri order according to their sequence in the chain, got their beneficence and eventually reached the shrine of Sultan Bahoo in Jhang, India (now Pakistan) in 1241 H (1825 AD).
Sultan Bahoo esoterically transferred him the Divine Trust and order of Faqr. Henceforth Sayyid Abdullah Shah stayed at the shrine of Sultan Bahoo. During that period Sultan Bahoo trained him spiritually.
THRONE OF DIVINE GUIDANCE AND PERSUASION
After six months, Sultan Bahoo ordered Sayyid Abdullah Shah to settle in Ahmadpur East of Bahawalpur State and guide the seekers of Allah. Thereafter, Sayyid Abdullah Shah spent the rest of life in guiding and persuading people on righteous path. Especially, he spread the beneficence of Ism-e-Allah Zaat in Bahawalpur.
Also included among his devotees was the Nawab of Bahawalpur state, Nawab Bahawal Khan III. However, Sayyid Abdullah Shah always kept himself away from limelight and affairs of the state and court. He never visited the gatherings of any Nawab or leader and always stayed at his khanqah. When the true seekers of Allah came to him, he blessed them with Divine benevolence. With spiritual persuasion he cleansed their innerselves and purified their souls.
Undoubtedly, thousands of devotees acquired the blessing of Faqr from Sayyid Abdullah Shah. However, he found the true and strongly capable devotee in the purest soul of Pir Mohammad Abdul Ghafoor Shah. Thus, before his death he entrusted the treasure of Faqr to Pir Mohammad Abdul Ghafoor Shah for future guidance of seekers of Allah.
Sayyid Abdullah Shah got the title of Sultan-ul-Tarikeen from the Mohammadan Assembly. It means ‘the king of renouncers’ and it depicts his absolute renunciation of world. He got this title because he is among those few Saints about whom Allah says in the Qudsi Hadith:
- There are some of My friends who remain concealed beneath My robe. Nobody knows them except Me.
Furthermore, his superior spiritual successor Pir Mohammad Abdul Ghafoor Shah writes about him in his malfuzat (Sufi transcripts);
- He was an independent Saint and perfect Mystic. Also he was amongst the most pious ones who remain hidden from world according to the Qudsi Hadith (mentioned above). He spent his life in solitude indifferent to worldly fame. And kept meditating with complete attention towards Allah in the state of deep engrossment.
Moreover, Madni is part of his name due to his association with Madina. Whereas, Jilani shows his relation with Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani.
Sayyid Abdullah Shah was unique in his beauty and grandeur. He owned a charming personality and an enlightened countenance. His forehead seemed broad and eyes were quite big and beautiful. Mostly, he used to stay absorbed in meditation and due to deep engrossment he had redness in his eyes. He had a sharp nose and he was average heighted. He used to keep his hair till his ears. His beard was grey, shiny and thick. Its width and length were very appropriate.
People who came to meet him with any purpose were so much mesmerized by his grandeur that they forgot everything. Even the young lads, when came in his service, used to get absorbed in the beautiful aura of his presence forgetting their fun and play.
His spiritual successor Pir Mohammad Abdul Ghafoor used to say “I have never seen anyone in my life like my spiritual guide Sayyid Abdullah Shah. He had the most beautiful countenance and was exceptional in his beauty and grandeur. He was the best in his morals and behavior as well.”
RELIGIOUS SCHOOL OF THOUGHT AND ORDER OF FAQR
Sayyid Abdullah Shah was a Sunni Muslim and belonged to the Hanafi school of thought. He was the spiritual leader of Sarwari Qadri order after Sultan Bahoo.
Sayyid Abdullah Shah married twice. His first marriage took place in Madina when he was twenty five years of age with his cousin. However, this marriage was not successful.
Afterwards, when Sultan Bahoo had entrusted him the Divine Trust of Faqr, he also ordered him to marry a chaste lady Marium Bibi in Shorkot. Sayyid Abdullah Shah obeyed the order. The couple had two daughters. One of them, Noor Bibi, died at the age of seven years. While the second daughter Saleha was known by the name of Bibi Pak Daman. She was a perfect Saint blessed with Divine sight. In Mud Rajbana, thousands of women got spiritual beneficence through the sacred attention of Saleha Bibi. She died few years after the death of Sayyid Abdullah Shah. Her shrine is near the shrine of Pir Mohammad Abdul Ghafoor Shah in Mud Mopal, Garh Maharaja, district Jhang, Pakistan. She was unmarried.
Sayyid Abdullah Shah Madni Jilani died on 29th of Ramadan, 1276 H (20th April, 1860 AD). His shrine is in Ahmadpur East Bahawalpur (Pakistan). His death anniversary is held on the second Sunday of Shawal.
In order to read complete biography of Sayyid Abdullah Shah Madni Jilani please read the books;
- Chapter # 2 of The Spiritual Guides of Sarwari Qadri Order
- Life History of Sultan-ul-Tarikeen Hazrat Sakhi Sultan Syed Mohammad Abdullah Shah Madni Jilani
Author: Sultan-ul-Ashiqeen Sultan Mohammad Najib-ur-Rehman.