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Qadiri order
Formation12th century
TypeSufi order
Key people
Abdul Qadir Gilani

The Qadiriyya (Arabic: القادرية) or the Qadiri order (Arabic: الطريقة القادرية, romanizedal-Ṭarīqa al-Qādiriyya) is a Sufi mystic order (tariqa) named after Abdul Qadir Gilani (1077–1166, also transliterated Jilani), who was a Hanbali scholar from Gilan, Iran. The order relies strongly upon adherence to the fundamentals of Sunni Islamic law.

The order, with its many offshoots, is widespread, particularly in the non-Arabic-speaking world, and can also be found in Turkey, Indonesia, Afghanistan, India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, the Balkans, Russia, Palestine, China,[1] and East and West Africa.[2]


The founder of the Qadiriyya, Abdul Qadir Gilani, was a scholar and preacher.[3] Having been a pupil at the madrasa of Abu Sa'id al-Mubarak, he became the leader of this school after al-Mubarak's death in 1119. Being the new sheikh, he and his large family lived in the madrasa until his death in 1166, when his son, Abdul Razzaq, succeeded his father as sheikh. Abdul Razzaq published a hagiography of his father, emphasizing his reputation as founder of a distinct and prestigious Sufi order.[4]

The Qadiriyya flourished, surviving the Mongolian conquest of Baghdad in 1258, and remained an influential Sunni institution. After the fall of the Abbasid Caliphate, the legend of Gilani was further spread by a text entitled The Joy of the Secrets in Abdul-Qadir's Mysterious Deeds (Bahjat al-asrar fi ba'd manaqib 'Abd al-Qadir) attributed to Nur al-Din 'Ali al-Shattanufi, who depicted Gilani as the ultimate channel of divine grace[4] and helped the Qadiri order to spread far beyond the region of Baghdad.[4]

By the end of the fifteenth century, the Qadiriyya had distinct branches and had spread to Morocco. Spain, Turkey, India, Ethiopia, Somalia, and present-day Mali.[4] Established Sufi sheikhs often adopted the Qadiriyya tradition without abandoning leadership of their local communities. During the Safavid dynasty's rule of Baghdad from 1508 to 1534, the sheikh of the Qadiriyya was appointed chief Sufi of Baghdad and the surrounding lands. Shortly after the Ottoman Empire conquered Baghdad in 1534, Suleiman the Magnificent commissioned a dome to be built on the mausoleum of Abdul-Qadir Gilani, establishing the Qadiriyya as his main allies in Iraq.

Khawaja Abdul-Allah, a sheikh of the Qadiriyya and a descendant of the Islamic prophet Muhammad, is reported to have entered China in 1674 and traveled the country preaching until his death in 1689.[4][5] One of Abdul-Allah's students, Qi Jingyi Hilal al-Din, is said to have permanently rooted Qadiri Sufism in China. He was buried in Linxia City, which became the center of the Qadiriyya in China.[1] By the seventeenth century the Qadiriyya had also reached Ottoman-ruled areas of Europe.

Sultan Bahu contributed to the spread of Qadiriyya in western India. His method of spreading the teachings of the Sufi doctrine of Faqr was through his Punjabi couplets and other writings, which numbered more than 140.[6] He granted the method of dhikr and stressed that the way to reach divinity was not through asceticism or excessive or lengthy prayers but through selfless love carved out of annihilation in God, which he called fana.[citation needed]

Sheikh Sidi Ahmad al-Bakka'i (Arabic: الشيخ سيدي أحمد البكاي بودمعة of the Kunta family, born in the region of the Noun river, d. 1504 in Akka) established a Qadiri zawiya (Sufi residence) in Walata. In the sixteenth century the family spread across the Sahara to Timbuktu, Agades, Bornu, Hausaland, and other places, and in the eighteenth century large numbers of Kunta moved to the region of the middle Niger where they established the village of Mabruk. Sidi Al-Mukhtar al-Kunti (1728–1811) united the Kunta factions by successful negotiation, and established an extensive confederation. Under his influence the Maliki school of Islamic law was reinvigorated and the Qadiriyyah order spread throughout Mauritania, the middle Niger region, Guinea, the Ivory Coast, Futa Toro, and Futa Jallon. Kunta colonies in the Senegambian region became centers of Muslim teaching.[7]

Sheikh Usman dan Fodio (1754-1817) from Gobir popularized the Qadiri teachings in Nigeria. He was well educated in classical Islamic science, philosophy, and theology. He also became a revered religious thinker. In 1789 a vision led him to believe he had the power to work miracles, and to teach his own mystical wird, or litany. His litanies are still widely practiced and distributed in the Islamic world.[8] Dan Fodio later had visions of Abdul Qadir Gilani, the founder of the Qadiri tariqah, an ascension to heaven, where he was initiated into the Qadiriyya and the spiritual lineage of Muhammad. His theological writings dealt with concepts of the mujaddid "renewer" and the role of the Ulama in teaching history, and other works in Arabic and the Fula language.[9]


The Qadiriyya Zawiya (Sufi lodge) in Tozeur, Tunisia
  • Qadiri leadership is not centralised. Each centre of Qadiri thought is free to adopt its own interpretations and practices.
  • The symbol of the order is the rose. A rose of green and white cloth, with a six-pointed star in the middle, is traditionally worn in the cap of Qadiri dervishes. Robes of black felt are also customary.[10]
  • Names of God are prescribed as chants for repetition by initiates (dhikr). Formerly, several hundred thousand repetitions were required, and obligatory for those who hold the office of sheikh.[10]
  • Any man over the age of eighteen may be initiated. They may be asked to live in the order's commune (khanqah or tekke) and to recount their dreams to their sheikh.[10]: 94 
  • Celibacy, poverty, meditation, and mysticism within an ascetic context along with worship centered on saint's tombs were promoted by the Qadiriyya among the Hui in China.[11][12] In China, unlike other Muslim sects, the leaders (Shaikhs) of the Qadiriyya Sufi order are celibate.[13][14][15][16][17] Unlike other Sufi orders in China, the leadership within the order is not a hereditary position; rather, one of the disciples of the celibate Shaikh is chosen by the Shaikh to succeed him. The 92-year-old celibate Shaikh Yang Shijun was the leader of the Qadiriya order in China as of 1998.[18]

Spiritual chain (silsilah) of the Qadiriyya[edit]


  1. Muhammad
  2. • Caliph Ali ibn Abi Talib
  3. • Imam Husayn
  4. • Imam Ali Zayn al-Abidin
  5. • Imam Muhammad Baqir
  6. • Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq
  7. • Imam Musa al-Kazim
  8. • Imam Ali Musa Rida
  9. Ma'ruf Karkhi
  10. • Sari Saqati
  11. Junayd al-Baghdadi
  12. • Shaikh Abu Bakr Shibli
  13. • Shaikh Abdul Aziz Tamimi
  14. • Abu al-Fadl Abu al-Wahid al-Tamīmī
  15. Abu al-Farah Tartusi
  16. • Abu al-Hasan Farshi
  17. • Abu Sa'id al-Mubarak Makhzoomi
  18. Abdul-Qadir Gilani

An alternative chain of the Qadiriyya is as follows[edit]

  1. • Muhammad
  2. • Caliph Ali ibn Abi Talib
  3. • Shaikh Hasan Al-Basri
  4. • Shaikh Habib Ajami
  5. • Shaikh Dawood Tai
  6. • Shaikh Ma'ruf Karkhi
  7. • Shaikh Sari Saqati
  8. • Shaikh Junayd al-Baghdadi
  9. • Shaikh Sheikh Abu Bakr Shibli
  10. • Shaikh Sheikh Abdul Aziz al-Tamīmī
  11. • Shaikh Abu al-Fadl Abu al-Wahid al-Tamīmī
  12. • Shaikh Abu al-Farah Tartusi
  13. • Shaikh Abu al-Hasan Farshi
  14. • Shaikh Abu Saeed Mubarak Makhzoomi
  15. • Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani


Qadiri Naqshbandiyya[edit]

The Hazrat Ishaans and their followers the Naqshbandis substantiate their leadership as rightful successors of Muhammad on the occasion of a certain biological line of prediction from Muhammad over leading Saints, so called Ghaus or Aqtab reaching Sayyid Mir Jan as the promised Khwaja-e-Khwajagan-Jahan, meaning "Khwaja of all Khwajas of the world". This line is also considered the line of the Qadiri Imamate. They all are descending from each other.[23]

Mahmud´s grave, buried next to his descendants Mir Jan and Mahmud II

Khwaja Khawand Mahmud Al Alavi, known by his followers as "Hazrat Ishaan" was directed by his Pir Ishaq Wali Dahbidi to spread the Naqshbandiyya in Mughal India. His influence mostly remained in the Kashmir valley, whereupon Baqi Billah has expanded the order in other parts of India.[30] Mahmud is a significant Saint of the order as he is a direct blood descendant in the 7th generation of Baha-ul-din Naqshband, the founder of the order[31] and his son in law Ala-ul-din Atar[32] It is because of this that Mahmud claims direct spiritual connection to his ancestor Baha-u-din.[31] Furthermore Mahmud had a significant amount of nobles as disciples, highlighting his popular influence in the Mughal Empire.[33] His main emphasis was to highlight orthodox Sunni teachings.[33] Mahmud´s son Moinuddin lies buried in their Khanqah together with his wife who was the daughter of a Mughal Emperor. It is a pilgrimage site in which congregational prayers, known as "Khoja-Digar" are held in honor of Baha-ul-Din on his death anniversary the 3rd Rabi ul Awwal of the Islamic lunar calendar. This practice including the "Khatm Muazzamt" is a practice that goes back to Mahmud and his son Moinuddin[31] The Kashmiri population venerate Mahmud and his family as they are regarded them as the revivers of the Naqshbandiyya in Kashmir.[34]Mahmud was succeeded by his son Moinuddin and their progeny until the line died out in the eighteenth century.[32] However this line was revived again by a descendant of Mahmud in the 8th generation called Sayyid Mir Jan Kabuli, who centered Mahmud´s cult in Lahore. Sayyid Mir Jan is buried next to Mahmud in his mausoleum in Lahore.[35]

Halisa – Halisiyya[edit]

The Halisa offshoot was founded by Abdurrahman Halis Talabani (1212 – 1275 Hijra) in Kerkuk, Iraq.[citation needed] Hungry and miserable people were fed all day in his Tekke without regard for religion.[citation needed] Ottomans donated money and gifts to his Tekke in Kerkuk. Sultan Abdul-Majid Khan's (Khalife of İslam, Sultan of Ottoman Empire) wife Sultana Hatun sent many gifts and donations to his Tekke as a follower.[citation needed] Among his followers were many leaders, rulers, and military and government officials.[citation needed] It was known to everyone that he lived in complete conviction. Because of the example Talibani set as a religious figure, the people's ties to him were solid and strong.

After his death, his branch was populated[clarification needed] in Turkey, and he was followed by Dede Osman Avni Baba, Sheikh Al-Haj Ömer Hüdai Baba, Sheikh Al-Haj Muhammed Baba, Sheikh Al-Haj Mustafa Hayri Baba, Sheikh Al-Haj Haydar Baba Trabzoni and Sheikh Al-Haj Mehmet Baba.

Qadri Noshahi[edit]

The Qadri Noshahi[36] silsila (offshoot) was established by Syed Muhammad Naushah Ganj Bakhsh of Gujrat, Punjab, Pakistan, in the late sixteenth century.[37]

Sarwari Qadiri[edit]

Allah's essence within a disciple's heart, associated with the Sarwari Qadri Order

Also known as Qadiriya Sultaniya, the order was started by Sultan Bahu in the seventeenth century and spread in the western part of Indian subcontinent. Hence, it follows most of the Qadiriyya approach. In contrast, it does not follow a specific dress code or require seclusion or other lengthy exercises. Its mainstream philosophy is contemplation of belovedness towards God.[38]

The Qadiriyya–Mukhtariyya Brotherhood[edit]

This branch of the Qadiriyya came into being in the eighteenth century resulting from a revivalist movement led by Al-Mukhtar al-Kunti, a Sufi of the western Sahara who wished to establish Qadiri Sufism as the dominant religion in the region. In contrast to other branches of the Qadiriyya that do not have a centralized authority, the Mukhtariyya brotherhood was highly centralized. Its leaders focused on economic prosperity as well as spiritual well-being, sending their disciples on trade caravans as far away as Europe.[39]

The Qadiriyya Harariya[edit]

The founder of the Qadiriyya Harariya tariqa was the Hadhrami sharif, Abu Bakr bin 'Abd Allah 'Aydarus and his shrine is located in Harar City, Ethiopia. Other notable sheikhs have shrines scattered around the environs of Harar itself. The current shaykh is a Somali named Mohamed Nasrudin bin Shaykh Ibrahim Kulmiye.[40] The tariqa spread in Djibouti, Somaliland, Ethiopia, and Somalia. Notable Harariya Qadiriyya leaders include, Uways Al-Barawi, Sheikh Madar, Al-Zaylaʽi and Abadir Umar ar-Rida.[41][42]

Qadriyah Barkaatiyah[edit]

Founded by Sayyad Shah Barkatullah Marehrwi, (26th Jumada al-Thani 1070 AH or June 1660 CE – tenth Muharram 1142 AH or October 1729 CE), was an Islamic scholar, jurist, Sufi, at the time of Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb, Shah Also founded Khanquah-e-Barkaatiya, Marehra Shareef, of Etah district in the state of Uttar Pradesh, India. Sayyad Shah Barkatullah Marehrwi died on tenth Muharram 1142 AH or October 1729 CE and He is buried in Dargah-e-Barakatiyah in Marehra Shareef, Syed Muhammad Ameen Mian Qadri is the present custodian (Sajjada Nashin) of the Khanquah-e-Barakatiyah.[43]

Qadriyah Barkaatiyah Razviyah[edit]

Silsila-e-Qadriyah Barkaatiyah Razviyah was founded by Imam Ahmad Raza Khan Qadri Barkaati along with Khanqah E Razviyah, When Ahmed Raza became the Mureed of Shah Aale Rasool Marehrawi, who is descendant (great - great-grandson) of Sayyad Shah Barkatullah Marehrwi in year 1294 AH (1877 CE), When Khan became Mureed at the same time his Murshid bestowed him with Khilafat in the several Sufi Silsilas[44][45][46]

Qadriyah Barkaatiyah Razviyah Nooriyah[edit]

Founded by Mustafa Raza Khan Qadri Barkaati Noori (1892–1981), He is the younger son Imam Ahmad Raza Khan Qadri Barkaati, an Indian Muslim scholar, jurist, poet, author, leader of the Sunni Barelvi movement and Grand Mufti of India of his time, He is Mureed (disciple) and Khalifa of Abul Hussain Ahmad Noori Marehrawi, who is descendant (great - great - great-grandson) of Sayyad Shah Barkatullah Marehrwi, He got Khilafat and I'jaazat of Silsila Qadriyah Barkaatiyah from his Murshid along with Silsila E Chishti, Naqshbandi, Suharwardi, and Madaari.[47]

Ansari Qadiri Rifai Tariqa[edit]

Grave of Shaykh Muhyiddin Ansari in Istanbul, Turkey
Grave of Shaykh Muhyiddin Ansari in Istanbul, Turkey

Muhammad Ansari was a descendant of both Abdul Qadir Geylani and Ahmed er Rifai and a shaykh of the Rifai Tariqa. He moved to Erzincan in northeastern Turkey in the early 1900s, where he met Shaykh Abdullah Hashimi of the Qadiri order. After working together for many years, Hashimi sent Ansari to Istanbul to establish the Qadiri Rifai Tariqa and revive the Ayni Ali Baba Tekke. With permission from Sultan Abdul Hamid II, Ansari and his wife rebuilt the tekke and headed the Qadiri Rifai Tariqa there from 1915 until his death.[48][better source needed]

Ansari was succeeded by his son Muhyiddin Ansari, who started a tariqa in his own name called the Tariqat-i Ansariya or Ansari Tariqa. Before Muhyiddin died, he appointed Shaykh Taner Vargonen Tarsusi to establish the order in the United States. Today the Sufi Order is known as the Ansari Qadiri Rifai Tariqa, and the living leader is still Tarsusi, who has gone one to established centers of the order in several countries.[48][better source needed]

Hindiler Tekkesi Tariqa[edit]

It was founded in 1738 by the Indian Muslim Sheykh Seyfullah Efendi El Hindi in Selamsız, and became the Romani people in Turkey Tariqa.[49]

See also[edit]



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  3. ^ Omer Tarin, Hazrat Ghaus e Azam Shaykh Abdul Qadir Jilani sahib, RA: Aqeedat o Salam, Urdu monograph, Lahore, 1996
  4. ^ a b c d e Tarin
  5. ^ Jonathan Neaman Lipman (1 July 1998). Familiar strangers: a history of Muslims in Northwest China. University of Washington Press. pp. 88–. ISBN 978-0-295-80055-4.
  6. ^ Cuthbert, Mercy (2022-06-14). "Qadiriyya Tariqa | Founder, History, Beliefs and More". World Religions. Retrieved 2023-08-05.
  7. ^ Ira M. Lapidus, A History of Islamic Societies, Cambridge University Press, p. 409
  8. ^ https://archive.org/details/DalailuShehu "Dalailu Shehu Usman Dan Fodio." Internet Archive. Accessed 27 May 2017.
  9. ^ Lapidus, Ira M. A History of Islamic Societies. 3rd ed. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press, 2014. pg 469
  10. ^ a b c John Porter Brown, The Dervishes, OUP, 1927
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  19. ^ Abun-Nasr, Jamil M. "The Special Sufi Paths (Taqiras)." Muslim Communities of Grace: The Sufi Brotherhoods in Islamic Religious Life. New York: Columbia UP, 2007. 86-96.
  20. ^ Westerlund, David; Svanberg, Ingvar (2012). Islam Outside the Arab World. Routledge. p. 199. ISBN 978-1-136-11330-7 Retrieved 24 April 2014.
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Further reading[edit]

  • Abun-Nasr, Jamil M. "The Special Sufi Paths (Taqiras)", in Muslim Communities of Grace: The Sufi Brotherhoods in Islamic Religious Life. New York: Columbia UP, 2007. 86–96.
  • Chopra, R. M., Sufism, 2016, Anuradha Prakashan, New Delhi ISBN 978-93-85083-52-5
  • "Halisa and the Distinguished Ones", Mehmet Albayrak, Ankara, 1993, Turkey