Please feel free to quote part of information provided here, with an acknowledgment to the source.


The Aceh Manuscripts and the Sanad of Muslim Intellectuals: From Haramayn to Bilad Jawa

Oman Fathurahman

On October 02, 2005, I was invited by Centre for Documentation and Area Transcultural Studies (C-DATS), Tokyo University of Foreign Studies (TUFS), to provide a presentation in an International Workshop on Cultural Preservation of Post Tsunami Aceh.

Below is the abstract of my speech at the Workshop.

Regarding the process of Islamization in the Malay-Indonesian world, some debate exists amongst the scholars concerning three matters: places where Islam came from, the preachers who propagated it, and the time when Islam first came to the area. One opinion suggests that the Islam which came to, and spread throughout, the Malay-Indonesian world originated directly from the Arab world. Characteristics of Islamic thought in the Malay-Indonesian world, especially that which developed in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, showed strong influences of Islamic thought from the Haramayn, that is, Mecca and Medina.

A study carried out by Azyumardi Azra (1992) asserts that there is a strong relationship between the Haramayn and the Malay-Indonesian world, which is mentioned in some manuscripts as Bilād Jāwa. Having researched some of the Arabic and Malay Archipelago manuscripts, Azra found that there existed a well-established murshid-murīd (teacher-student) relationship between the ulemas of the Haramayn and the Jawi ulemas, and hence showed that the transmission of Islamic thought from the Haramayn to Bilād Jāwah occurred on a large scale. Almost all Islamic teachings that were developed in the Haramayn immediately spread to the Muslims of the Malay-Indonesian world.

Amongst the evidence found regarding the process of Islamization in the Malay-Indonesian world are the Aceh manuscripts, which are written in three languages: Arabic, Malay, and Acehnese. These manuscripts, especially those of religious nuances, significantly describe the dynamics and development of Islamic thought in Aceh since the sixteenth century. In this regard, Aceh holds a considerable position due to the fact that it is the first region in the area where the tradition and discourse of Islamic thought developed.

Based on the data found in the Aceh manuscripts, some of the prominent Aceh ulemas - who are mentioned as Jawi ulemas - have a strong connection (sanad) to the prominent ulemas of the Haramayn. Abdurrauf Singkel (1615-1693) is the best example, due to his strong and obvious intellectual sanad with the Haramayn’s ulemas in the seventeenth century. Two of his most important masters were Shaikh Ahmad al-Qushāshī (w. 1660) and Shaikh Ibrāhīm al-Kurānī (w. 1690), who were amongst the most prominent ulemas of the Haramayn at that time.

In general, the relationship and intellectual sanad between the ulamas of the Haramayn and the Jawi ulemas is explicitly recorded in the Aceh manuscripts. Tanbīh al-Māshī is an example of one of the Aceh Arabic manuscripts that contains an explanation of this relationship. Abdurrauf Singkel, as the author, asserts that his thoughts about tasawwuf presented in this work have been influenced by al-Simt al-Majīd (written by al-Qushāshī), and also Ithāf al-Dhakī by al-Kurānī. Another highly influential work was that of Jawāhir al-Khamsa by Shaikh Muhammad Gauth al-Hindī, one of the prominent ulemas from India who was the murshid of Singkel’s teacher, al-Qushāshī. Recently, a copy of Jawāhir al-Khamsa was found in Dayah Tanoh Abee, a traditional Islamic educational institution in Aceh which preserves no less than 4000 titles of religious manuscripts.

It’s important to appreciate the value of the Aceh manuscripts because of their considerable influence on the development of the Islamic intellectual tradition in other areas in the Malay-Indonesian world. The works of Abdurrauf Singkel, for instance, were distributed throughout the region and translated into various vernacular languages by his students (murīd), such as Shaikh Burhanudin Ulakan in Minangkabau (West Sumatra), and Shaikh Abdul Muhyi Pamijahan in West Java.

0 Kommentare: