Following are six of the letters of the greatest Islamic saint Sayyidinā Shaykh Abd al-Qādir Jīlānī Baghdādī quddisa sirruhū.
These are translated from an Arabic translation into English by Muhtar Holland and are freely available on the Al-Baz Publishing website as an excerpt of the full translation of Fifteen Letters.
Shaykh Abd al-Qādir Jīlānī’s seventeen letters, written in Persian, have been collected and published many times. However, the Arabic translator had access to only fifteen of them, so he called them Khamsah Ashara Maktūban (Fifteen Letters). Muhtar Holland has kindly translated these for the benefit of English readers, for which we must be grateful to him.
Now follow the six selected letters, numbered 1, 5, 6, 9, 13, and 14.
The First Letter
Concerning the initial stage of the attraction exerted by the Truth [jadhbāt al-Haqq], and the final stage thereof.
My dear friend!
When the lightning bolts of direct perception [shuhūd] come flashing forth from the cloud-bank of the grace of:
Allah guides to His Light whomever He will. (24:35)
yahdi ‘llāhu li-nūri-hī man yashā’.
–and the fragrant scents of attainment waft on the wind that blows from the gracious favor of:
He singles out for His mercy whomever He will. (3:74)
yakhtassu bi-rahmati-hī man yashā’.
–the sweet-smelling plants of intimate friendship will blossom in the meadows of our hearts, and the nightingales of longing will sing in the gardens of our spirits, with the tremulous tones of:
Oh, how I grieve for Joseph! (12:84)
yā asafā ‘alā Yūsuf.
The fires of yearning will smolder intensely in the stoves of our innermost beings, and the wings of the birds of our thoughts will shed their feathers, from flying too far in the vastness of sublime exaltation.
The stallions of our minds will lose their way in the deserts of intuitive knowledge, the foundations of our intellectual principles will quake from the shock of awe, and the ships of our firm intentions will lose their bearings in the depths of the oceans of:
They did not assign to Allah the attributes that are due to Him. (6:91)
wa mā qadaru ‘llāha haqqa qadri-hi.
So it sailed with them in the midst of mountain-like waves. (11:42)
wa hiya tajri bi-him fi mawjin ka-‘l-jibal.
–and at the moment when the waves collide in the ocean of the ardor of:
He loves them and they love Him. (5:54)
yuhibbu-hum wa yuhibbuna-hu.
–each and every one will exclaim, in the spiritual tongue that needs no ordinary words [lisan al-hal]:
My Lord, bring me to land in a blessed harbor, for You are the Best of harborers! (23:29)
Rabbi anzil-ni munzalan mubarakan wa Anta Khairu ‘l-munzilin.
So then they will receive, as a foreordained gift, the gracious favor of:
As for those to whom the [reward] most fair has already gone forth from Us…. (21:101)
inna ‘lladhina sabaqat la-hum min-na ‘l-husna….
–and it will bring them ashore on [Mount] Judi, a trustworthy landing site [maq'ad sidq].
It will introduce them to the sessions of the delirious ecstatics of the Day of:
“Am I not…?” (7:172)
It will spread for them the table-mat of the bounty of:
To those who do good belongs the finest–and an extra reward! (10:26)
li’lladhina ahsanu ‘l-husna
–and it will pass to them the cups of attainment, filled from the jugs of nearness, by the hands of the cupbearers of:
And their Lord will quench their thirst with a pure drink. (76:21)
wa saqa-hum Rabbu-hum sharaban tahura.
They will thus be honored with the everlasting estate and the endlessly enduring fortune of:
And when you see, there you will see a state of bliss and a great domain. (76:20)
wa idha ra’aita thamma ra’aita na’iman wa mulkan kabira.
The Fifth Letter
Concerning the significance of the immediate presence [ma'iyya] of Allah (Exalted is He), and the fact that His knowledge (Exalted is He) embraces all things.
My dear friend!