Gyaarwi Shareef is the name given to that feast prepared on the eleventh of every lunar month in the name of Hadhrat Mahboob Ghauth Sheikhul Mashaaikh Abdul Qaadir Jilaani (rahmatullahi alaih). In this regard a few points are worth pondering over:
Firstly: When did this custom of Gyaarwi Shareef originate? Notwithstanding research on the matter, I have failed to come up with a specific date. This much we can conclude is that this custom of Gyaarwi Shareef could only have begun after the demise of Hadhrat Abdul Qaadir Jilaani (rahmatullahi alaih) who was born in the year 470 A.H. and at the age of ninety he passed away, so this custom could only have started after 561 A.H. This much is also very certain and clear that this custom of Gyaarwi Shareef was never celebrated by Nabi (sallAllaahu alaihi wasallam), the Sahaabah-e-Kiraam (radhiAllaahu anhum), the Taabieen (rahmatullahi alaihim), Imaam Abu Hanifah (rahmatullahi alaih) or even Hadhrat Peeraane Peer Abdul Qaadir Jilaani himself. Now, let us be objective — can an act which was non-existent in Islaam for at least six centuries, all of a sudden gain such importance, become a part of the Deen and become a supreme act of Ibaadat?
We should consider this point also . are those people who do not celebrate Gyaarwi Shareef following in the footsteps of Nabi (sallAllaahu alaihi wasallam), the Sahaabah-e-Kiraam (radhiAllaahu anhum), the Taabieen (rahmatullahi alaihim), Imaam Abu Hanifah (rahmatullahi alaih), and Hadhrat Ghauth Paak (rahmatullahi alaih)? Or are those who celebrate this custom following in the footsteps of these pious personalities?
Secondly: If the object of celebrating Gyaarwi Shareef is so that the reward thereof is conveyed to Hadhrat Abdul Qaadir Jilaani (rahmatullahi alaih), then undoubtedly this is a blessed intention. However, there are numerous evils and wrongs that take place in the manner of this Isaal-e-Thawaab: One is that whenever one wishes to convey reward one may do so. The Shariah has not specified any particular day or time for this. Those who celebrate Gyaarwi Shareef do so punctually only on the 11th night, that it seems this is part of the Shariah. If one has to tell them to hold this celebration on any other day, then they would not be pleased to do so. They are so rigid in this practice that it would indicate to us that their object is not Isaal-e- Thawaab only. In fact, they are under the impression that this is such an Ibaadat that it can only be executed on this day. To be firm and punctual on conveying Isaal-e-Thawaab only on the 11th is a vain and futile act, which has absolutely no basis in the Shariah. To undretsand this act to be incumbent is like making another Shariah other than the one of Allaah Ta`ala and Nabi (sallAllaahu alaihi wasallam).
Secondly, on the celebration of Gyaarwi Shareef such emphasis is placed on preparing Kheer (a milk preparation), whereas if the object was in reality Isaal-e-Thawaab then it would be acceptable to give the money spent for this preparation in Sadaqah. Alternatively, that same amount of money could be used to feed some poor person or clothe him in such a way that what one.s right hand gives the left hand is unaware of. Such an act, since it is free from show, pomp and pride will be more readily acceptable in the Court of Allaah Ta`ala. To assume that one can only prepare Kheer and cook food for Isaal-e-Thawaab and to think that it cannot be done except in this way is in reality altering and defacing the Shariah.
Thirdly, reward will only be reaped for that food which is prepared for and fed to the poor and needy. However on the occasion of Gyaarwi Shareef people eat the prepared food themselves and feed their friends and family. Very little, if any, consideration is given to the poor and needy. Notwithstanding this, these people are under the impression that there will be reward for this and that it will be conveyed to Hadhrat Abdul Qaadir Jilaani (rahmatullahi alaih). This is also contrary to the generally accepted rule of the Shariah, which states that reward is only reaped for that Sadaqah which is given to the poor and needy. There is no virtue or reward in the mere preparation of food.
Fourthly, many people deem the food of Gyaarwi Shareef as being blessed, whereas it has just been established that the food prepared for oneself is not termed as Sadaqah, neither is there any connection between this and Isaal-e-Thawaab for Hadhrat Peeraane Peer (rahmatullahi alaih). The reward for that food which was given in Sadaqah will undoubtedly be reaped, but Sadaqah is mentioned in the Hadith as ¡°Ausaaghun Naas¡± (the excess and filth of the people). This is the reason why it is not permissible for the family of Nabi (sallAllaahu alaihi wasallam) to accept Sadaqah. Is is not contrary to the teachings of Nabi (sallAllaahu alaihi wasallam) to regard what Nabi (sallAllaahu alaihi wasallam) has termed as dirt and filth, as being .blessed. and to feed it with great enthusiasm to the rich and wealthy?
One should also ponder over this fact that when one conveys Isaal-e-Thawaab in the form of grain or clothes, is this ever regarded as being „blessed‟? And finally, under which Shar`i principle does any food given on the 11th of the month become „blessed‟?
Fifthly, people feel that if they do not give Gyaarwi Shareef then harm will befall their loves and wealth or that there will be no barkat in their wealth. It is as though a deficiency in Salaat, roza, Hajj and Zakaat, which are definite Faraaidh, will not spoil anything, but one small slip-up on Gyaarwi Shareef and one‟s life and wealth are at stake. Let us be just – an act which has absolutely no validity in the Shariah or in the Fiqh of Imaam Abu Hanifah (rahmatullahi alaih), to regard it as being more venerated than even the Faraaidh and to have such beliefs regarding it that one does not have such beliefs for the Fardh acts, then is there any doubt that this is a unique and separate Shariah? Inna Lillaahi Wa Inna Ilaihi Raajioon Another point for reflection is that no Muslim harbours this belief that if Isaal-e-Thawaab is not made for Nabi (sallAllaahu alaihi wasallam), the Sahaabah-e-Kiraam (radhiAllaahu anhum), the Taabieen (rahmatullahi
alaihim) or other pious personalities then some harm will befall their lives or wealth. I plead ignorance on the reasoning behind any harm befalling one if Gyaarwi Shareef is not made for Hadhrat Peeraane Peer (rahmatullahi alaih). Our brothers who are involved in this should reflect and ponder that they are actually causing harm to Hadhrat Abdul Qaadir Jilaani (rahmatullahi alaih).
Thirdly: whilst it may be possible that some people celebrated Gyaarwi Shareef with the intention of Isaal-e- Thawaab for Hadhrat (rahmatullahi alaih) but experience has shown that Gyaarwi Shareef is not kept as Isaale- Thawaab. Once a buzrug gave a talk in some village. He told the people that when making Gyaarwi Shareef they should make the intention that they are giving Sadaqah in the Name of Allaah Ta`ala and whatever reward they receive for it must be conveyed to Hadhrat Jilaani (rahmatullahi alaih). Someone retorted that this (Gyaarwi Shareef) is not done in Allaah Ta`ala‟s Name, it is done in the name of Hadhrat Peeraane Peer (rahmatullahi alaih).
From this one can gauge that Gyaarwi Shareef is not held for the Isaal-e-Thawaab of Hadhrat (rahmatullahi alaih), but rather, it is held so as to gain proximity to Hadhrat (rahmatullahi alaih) just as one would give charity so as to gain proximity to Allaah Ta`ala. This is the reason why these people regard their not holding this custom, to bode evil for their lives and wealth. Due to ignorance these people are treading dangerous ground with regard their Aqaa`id.
Fourthly: Those people who have studied Hadhrat Jilaani‟s Ghuniatut Taalibeen and his other works will understand and realise that hadhrat (rahmatullahi alaih) was a follower of Imaam Ahmad Ibn Hambal (rahmatullahi alaih). It is as though his beliefs are exactly the same as that of the present-day Arabs who are termed as Najdis and Wahhaabis. In the view of Hadhrat (rahmatullahi alaih) and that of his Imaam, the person who omits Salaat becomes a kaafir. If Hadhrat Jilaani (rahmatullahi alaih) were in the world today, then upon noting the condition of those who omit Salaat, roza etc. but punctually celebrate Gyaarwi Shareef, he will have to declare them as kaafir, based on his Fiqhi stand. Then these people would call him a “Wahhaabi” as they do the Najdis.
The crux of the matter is that if anyone wishes to make Isaal-e-Thawaab for any pious personality, which in itself is meritorious, but the custom which is held in the name of Gyaarwi Shareef is incorrect and impermissible, as expounded above. Without specifying any date or time, whatever charity one wishes to convey as Isaal-e-Thawaab, one may do so at his own convenience.