First of all, it should be clear that Sheikh `Abdul-Qadir Al-Jilani was born in Jilan, 470 AH – 1077 AC. He is a descendant of Al-Hasan ibn `Ali, may Allah be pleased with him.
Sheikh M. S. Al-Munajjid, a prominent Saudi Muslim lecturer and author, states: “When speaking about people, what we say must be based on knowledge and fairness. In the case of a man who has achieved a great deal in the way of religion, we must acknowledge his achievements, but that does not prevent us from pointing out his mistakes. This general principle is to be applied when speaking of Sheikh `Abdul-Qadir Al-Jilani and other Muslim scholars.
Sheikh `Abdul-Qadir Al-Jilani (may Allah have mercy on him) is one of the Imams of Islam. He attained a position of leadership over the Muslims of his time, in knowledge, good deeds, issuing Fatwas, and other aspects of religion. He was one of the greatest Sheikhs of his time, calling people to adhere to the Shari`ah, enjoining what is good, and forbidding what is evil.
He was an ascetic (Zahid) and a preacher, in whose gatherings many people repented. Allah caused him to be well-liked by people and his virtue widely-known.
Sheikh `Abdul-Qadir was a follower of the Sunnah, not an innovator (Mubtadi`). He followed the way of the righteous Salaf (early Muslims) and in his books he encouraged people to follow the Salaf; he also enjoined that upon his followers. He used to tell people not to follow innovations in religion.
Sheikh `Abdul-Qadir agreed with Ahl As-Sunnah wal Jama`ah concerning all issues of `Aqidah (belief), namely Tawhid, faith, Prophethood, and the Last Day.
There are some minor mistakes and errors in his books, and some innovations which are relatively insignificant when compared with his achievements.
However, it is not right to make one Muslim scholar, let alone anyone else, the sole source of what is true and correct, in the sense that one takes all what he says as true. Rather, the truth is that which is in accordance with the Qur’an and Sunnah, no matter who says it, and what goes against the Qur’an and Sunnah should be ignored and avoided, even if it is said by Sheikh `Abdul-Qadir Al-Jilani, Imam Malik, Imam Ash-Shafi`i, Imam Ahmad, or anyone else.
There is a point worth stressing here. Praising Sheikh `Abdul-Qadir does not mean praising everyone who claims to follow him. Not everyone who claims to follow a Sheikh or a school to be believed. How often has it happened that a person who is thought to be a true follower turned out to be the farthest removed from what was thought to be the case! How many misleading people don the cloak of asceticism and piety when they have nothing to do with either of them!
Hence, the Sufi sect which is known nowadays as the Qadiriyyah is not following the straight path followed by Sheikh `Abdul-Qadir (may Allah have mercy on him), rather it is a deviant Sufi sect which has drawn away from the guidance of the Qur’an and Sunnah; it exaggerates a great deal about Sheikh `Abdul-Qadir and even attributes to him things that can only rightfully be attributed to Allah. Some of them exaggerate concerning his grave, seeking help from it, and some of them exaggerate about his attributes and miracles (Karamah).
By comparing the actions of those who claim to follow the Sheikh with what is narrated in the Qur’an and Sunnah, what was narrated from the righteous Salaf and even what was narrated from the Sheikh himself (may Allah have mercy on him), we will clearly see that there is a huge gap between the two, and that the Qadiriyyah has deviated from the path of its Sheikh whom they claim to be following. That is because they have introduced so many innovations (Bid`ahs) into the religion of Allah, that the Sheikh would never have approved of.
It has been narrated from the respectable scholars that they regarded this group as going to extreme in their teachings. For example, this was said by Sheikh Al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah (may Allah have mercy on him) in his refutation of Al-Bakri concerning the issue of visiting graves (1/228), and the Fatwas of Sheikh Muhammad ibn Ibrahim indicate that they have committed some actions of shirk.