Famous Caravan Incident
After bidding farewell to his mother, Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jilani (ra) joined a caravan, which was on its way to Baghdad. In those days, people travelled in groups for the sake of safety. The caravan of al-Ghawth al-A’zam (ra) reached the city of Hamdaan without incident. After leaving Hamdaan, they journeyed further.
The journey took them into a vast forest wherein they were attacked by sixty bandits. The leader of this band of robbers was a very notorious person called Ahmad Badawi. The travellers did not have the means to defend themselves against the bandits and were forced to surrender their belongings and valuables to them. After raiding the travellers, the bandits gathered together all the loot and began to distribute it amongst themselves. Whilst all this was happening, al-Ghawth al-A’zam (ra) was standing very calmly amongst the travellers.
None of the bandits approached him as he was regarded as just a young boy, until one of them decided to approach him. He went up to Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jilani (ra) and asked him if he had any valuables. Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jilani (ra) said that he had in his possession forty Dinars. When he heard this, the robber laughed at the young Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jilani (ra) and walked away, thinking that he was lying.
After some time, another robber asked him the same question and he received the same answer. He too dismissed the reply of al-Ghawth al-A’zam (ra) as a joke. When the bandits gathered together, then both these bandits began to joke about the young boy who said he had forty Dinars. Their leader, Ahmed Badawi, asked them to bring the young Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jilani (ra) to him. When he was brought before Ahmed Badawi, the leader of the bandits asked him if he had any valuables in his possession. The young Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jilani (ra) replied that he had forty Dinars on him.
Ahmed Badawi asked for the forty Dinars and Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jilani (ra) showed him where he had hidden it. When they tore open the coat of Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jilani (ra) they found the forty Dinars sewn under the armpits. When they saw this, Ahmed Badawi and his bandits were taken aback. Ahmed Badawi asked:
O young man, none of us knew that you had any money. Knowing that we are bandits, why did you still tell us where the money was hidden?
The young Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jilani (ra) replied by saying:
When I had left on this journey, I had promised my elderly and pious mother that I would never lie. How then could I break this promise just for the sake of sixty bandits?
When Ahmed Badawi heard this, he felt great shame and, in tears, said,
Oh young boy! You are so loyal in your promise to your mother. Shame on me, that for years I have been disloyal to my promise with my Creator Almighty Allah.
After saying these words, the bandit cried bitterly and then fell to the feet of Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jilani (ra) and repented for his sins. When his accomplices saw this, they too did likewise and repented sincerely from all their sins. They then returned all the belongings of the travellers and escorted them out of the jungle.
It has been stated that the tauba (repentance) of these bandits was so sincere that they were blessed with Wilayah, through the Sadqa of Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jilani (ra) Referring to this incident, Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jilani (ra) stated: “This was the first tauba (repentance) that a group of misled persons had made at my hands.”