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11.11.06

Reinforcing neo-Sufism in the Malay-Indonesian World: Shattariyyah Order in West Sumatra

Oman Fathurahman

This article has been published in Studia Islamika, Vol 10 No. 3, 2003


Abstract
Tariqah (Sufi order) has played an important role in the Malay-Indonesian world since early times, particularly because the Islam that came to this region was originally of a mystical nature (tasawwuf). This meant that tariqah, as organisation within the world of tasawwuf, could soon be found in all the regions of Malay-Indonesian world where Islam was spreading. In several specific areas, tariqah became a palace phenomenon, when followers and some tariqah murshids (teachers) became part of the family or became officials in the palace.

In Aceh for example, Nuruddin al-Raniri (d. 1658 A.D.), who was one of the prime teachers in the Rifa‘iyyah order, became the Shaikh al-Islam – one of the most senior positions in the Sultanate under the Sultan himself – during the reign of Sultan Iskandar Tsani (1637-1641 A.D.) and the early reign of Sultanah Safiatuddin (1641-1675 A.D.). Similarly, Abdurrauf al-Sinkili (1615-1690 A.D.), who was the prime caliph of the Shattariyyah order in the Malay-Indonesian world, was trusted by Sultanah Safiatuddin for his entire career to hold the position of Qadi Malik al-‘Adil or religious law adviser for the Kingdom, with responsibility for various social-religious issues.

A similar situation also took place in other regions, such as Cirebon and Banten, in subsequent periods. Several sources explain that a number of senior kingdom officials in the Sultanate of Cirebon and Banten were students of tariqah and directly related to murshids in Mecca (Bruinessen 1994: 13).

In the Kraton Cirebon (Cirebon Palace), for example, several followers became murshids, specifically in Shattariyyah, such as P.S. Sulediningrat, who was also a descendant of Sunan Gunung Djati. Other Shattariyyah murshid included Mbah Muqayyim, a Kraton Muslim leader, who later established an Islamic boarding school (pesantren) in Buntet, which has now become one of the most important bases for the Shattariyyah order in the Cirebon region (Muhaimin 1997: 10).

In the Banten Sultanate, tariqah, aside from becoming a means of obtaining spiritual strength, was also trusted in palace circles as a medium for attaining support, legitimising and increasingly strengthening their position as rulers (Bruinessen 1994).

The development of Shattariyyah –which was one of the most important types of Sufi orders in the process of Islamisation in the Malay-Indonesian world– was centered on one main figure, Abdurrauf al-Sinkili in Aceh. By way of a number of his students, the teachings of the Shattariyyah order then spread to various regions in the Malay-Indonesian world. Together with other Sufi orders, the Shattariyyah order, which was developed by al-Sinkili and his students, disseminated the teachings of neo-Sufism in the Malay-Indonesian world. Amongst the most noteworthy characteristics of neo-Sufism is the reconciliation of tasawwuf and aspects of shari‘ah (Azra 1994: 109).

The article looks at the dynamics and developments in Neo-Sufist teachings from the 19th century until the mid-20th century, using the Shattariyyah order in West Sumatra as a case study. Along with looking at the spread of the Shattariyyah order in West Sumatra by way of Shaikh Burhanuddin Ulakan, a key figure in the order, this discussion will also focus on how Shattariyyah spread in this region, what changes took place in terms of the teachings of neo-Sufism, especially during the later period (19th and 20th centuries), and the nature of the Shattariyyah teacher-student silsilah (genealogy) in West Sumatra.

It is important to point out that the main sources for the discussion in this article are both historical and didactic manuscripts related to Shattariyyah.

Full length article in PDF format, click here...

2 Kommentare:

Christian Giordano said...

Dear Oman, I cannot download the full article PDF. How can I get a copy?
Thank you very much.
Christian Giordano.

Oman Fathurahman said...

Dear Christian, I hope you already got it now...

Best,
Oman