Sunday, May 3, 2009

Speech Tips from Sheikh Abdul Qadir al-Jailani


As related by Habib Umar al-Hafidz (picture) to his students' study group Irsyadatud Da’iyat on speech tips from Sheikh Abdul Qadir al-Jailani. قدس الله سره
Sheikh Abdul Qadir al-Jailani would employ simple language when teaching. His son who was an avid student whispered in his heart that if he were to be given authority to preach he would cause more people to shed tears in consequence of his speech. So one day, Sheikh Abdul Qadir al-Jailani in wanting to teach his son, said: 'O son, stand up and deliver a sermon.' So the boy did as instructed, he spoke in a great manner and with much elegance. However, none of the audience felt khusyuq (attentive) let alone shed a tear. In fact, people thought it was boring.
Once the boy had finished speaking, Sheikh Abdul Qadir al-Jailani walked up to the mimbar (podium) and began addressing the crowd: 'Ladies and gentlemen, last night my wife ummul fuqaro, served a very delicious roast chicken, but all of a sudden a cat came by and snatched it away!'
Upon hearing this, the audience started to wail and weep. The son thought, "This is really weird, I read to them the Qur'an, the hadith, some poetry and great parables, yet no one cried. But my father said something senseless and people are sobbing. This is strange indeed, what could be the cause?"
Habib Umar explained that the essence of a sermon (speech or debate) does not depend on the orders (or choice) of words, it depends on the heart's sincerity and the truthfulness (siddiq) of the speaker. When Sheikh Abdul Qadir al-Jailani gave his speech people cried because they understood the 'cat' as syaitan stealing the amal (good deeds) of man by instilling pride in him. Others cried because they interpreted Sheikh Abdul Qadir al-Jailani's story as one who ends up with su'ul khatimah (die in a bad state); a man who has lived a long life doing good deeds and yet meet his death in a bad condition. A simple parable made them weep and fear Allah for the speech had caused the audience to think. And nur (light) coming from the heart of Sheikh Abdul Qadir al-Jailani made the audiences' hearts glow.

O son, you will notice that again the heart of the matter is the heart, our sincerity and truthfulness. This wonderful lesson is adapted and translated from an excellent Malay blog belonging to an old friend of mine Al Fanshuri.blogspot May Allah bless Abdullah Tahir for his hardwork and dedication in sharing plenty of useful knowledge from traditional Islamic sources and renowned ulamas of old and contemporary.


  1. satu artikal yang menarik..
    boleh memberi pengetahuan.. lengkap..

  2. Salam Deen,
    Terima kasih kerana berziarah ke Lisan al-Din.
    Artikal ini adalah terjemahan dan adaptasi dari blog al-Fanshuri.
    Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah.