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My Forthcoming Book

This is the first posting since the end of April last, when I returned home to my homeland, Indonesia. I need to take a breath to readjust with my "new" milieu. It's not too easy actually, but it's going well, so far.

One of my current academic activities is to publish a book entitled "Tarekat Shattariyyah di Minangkabau" (The Shattariyyah Order in Minangkabau). This coming book is originated from my dissertation written in 2003 in the University of Indonesia, Depok. I have updated and completed the discussion with the newest findings, not only to cover the Shattariyyah manuscripts in West Sumatra, but also those in West Java and Jogjakarta as a comparison. This book will be published by the Ecole Francaise d'Extreme Orient (EFEO) Jakarta in collaboration with the Pusat Pengkajian Islam dan Masyarakat (PPIM) or the Center for the Study of Islam and Society, UIN Jakarta.

In this book, I focus on efforts to reveal meaning in religious manuscripts, in this case the manuscripts about Shattariyyah order that emerged in Minangkabau. Ten Shattariyyah manuscripts, written by three Shattariyyah ulama in Minangkabau —Imam Maulana Abdul Manaf Amin, H. K. Deram, and Tuanku Bagindo Abbas Ulakan— were primary sources for the discussion. Also, one Sundanese manuscript from Kuningan, and two Javanese manuscripts from Cirebon and Giriloyo, Jogjakarta, will be the secondary sources. All manuscripts contain both the intellectual genealogy and doctrines relating to the Shattariyyah order.

Besides, in order to measure the dynamics of the teachings of Shattariyyah order in Minangkabau, two Arabic sources related to Shattariyyah, which are considered to be reference sources for teaching Shattariyyah order in the Malay-Indonesian Islamic world, were consulted. The first is al-Simt al-Majid by Shaikh Ahmad al-Qushashi, and the second is Ithaf al-Dhaki bi Sharh al-Tuhfah al-Mursalah Ila Ruh al-Nabi by Ibrahim al-Kurani.

As a result of an analysis of these two manuscripts, we know that the Shattariyyah manuscripts in Minangkabau were an important intellectual link between the writers, starting with Ahmad al-Qushashi, Ibrahim al-Kurani, Abdurrauf ibn Ali al-Jawi, and reaching the writers in Minangkabau by way of Burhanuddin Ulakan, an eminent student of Abdurrauf.

After having contact with several local traditions and cultures, the teaching style of Shattariyyah order was laden with local nuances. Teachings about the relationship between the external body and the internal self, for example, were formulated in what was known as “pengajian tubuh” (teachings of body). Shattariyyah teachings, apart from via conventional methods such as the recitation of al-Qur’an, were also delivered through traditions that included local characteristics, such as salawat dulang. Followers of Shattariyyah order in Minangkabau also developed what is known as “Basapa”, a Shattariyyah order ritual in Ulakan each Safar month (2nd month of the Arabic calendar), a tradition that was strongly influenced by local culture.

Hopefully, this book will reach the audiences in next July 2008, insya Allah.

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