History of Qadiriyya and Naqshbandiyya Orders in Indonesia

The world’s two largest sufi orders, namely the Qadiriyya and Naqshbandiyya, are both prominently followed in Indonesia. It is not known exactly how the Qadiriyya came to Indonesia. Syed Naguib al-Attas states that Hamza Fansuri of Barus, North Sumatra was a Qadiri and, being a man of repute, he gathered about him a large circle of disciples. The earliest known Indonesian reference to Shaykh `Abd al-Qadir al-Jilani, is found in the poems of Fansuri himself, who lived in Acheh in the second half of the 16th century. In addition, Fansuri’s prose works mention notable sufi shaykhs Abu Yazid Bistami, Junayd al-Baghdadi, Mansur al-Hallaj, Jalaluddin Rumi, Ibn `Arabi, Jami, `Attar and several others.
The first Indonesian author who expressly claims to have been initiated into the Qadiriyya is the famous Shaykh Yusuf Makassar (1626-1699). His Qadiriyya teacher, Muhammad Jilani ibn Hasan ibn Muhammad al-Hamid, was an immigrant from Gujarat and the paternal uncle of Nur al-Din al-Raniri. In Yemen, Shaykh Yusuf learned the Naqshbandiyya doctrine from a famous Arab shaykh, Muhammad `Abd al-Baqi. The other Achehnese sufi, `Abd al-Ra’uf al-Sinkili, who studied in Madina in the mid 17th century under the Sufi masters Ahmad al-Qushashi and Ibrahim al-Kurani, also lists them as a line of Qadiriyya teachers.
Lombard informs us of the rise of the Naqshbandiyya order in the Indonesian Archipelago, pointing to L.W.C. van den Berg’s statement that he had come across Naqshbandiyya activity in Acheh and in Bogor (West Java), where he had witnessed the Naqshbandiyya dhikr being performed. He then goes to describe the coming of the Naqshbandiyya to the region of Medan, where a community was founded at Langkat. The author further states that Shaykh `Abd al-Wahhab Rokan al-Khalidi al-Naqshbandi introduced the Naqshbandiyya to Riau. After spending two years in the Malay Archipelago engaging in trade, he went to Makkah and studied under Shaykh Sulayman al-Zuhdi. In 1854 he received his certificate and came back to Riau where he finally built a Naqshbandi village called Bab al-Salam, “The Door of Peace”.
The merits and benefits of dhikr in Pesantren Suryalaya can be determined by the large numbers of those who have been cured.In the nineteenth century the Tariqat Naqshbandiyya had a branch in Makkah, where, according to Trimingham, one Naqshbandiyya shaykh from Minangkabau (West Sumatra) was initiated in 1845. From Makkah the Tariqat Naqshbandiyya was spread to other countries including Indonesia through the pilgrims every year. Both tariqats were well established as they were born in the 7th and 8th centuries Hijra (12th/13th centuries CE).
Formation of Tariqat Qadiriyya wa Naqshbandiyya Sufi orders play an important role in Indonesian Muslim society, particularly the Tariqat Qadiriyya wa Naqshbandiyya (single tariqat with both titles). The significance of this order lies in its Indonesian character. Not only was its founder the locally-born Shaykh Ahmad Khatib Sambas, but the order itself was involved in the struggle against the Dutch and continued being active as a socio-religious movement and an educational institution after independence. A survey of the Tariqat Qadiriyya wa Naqshbandiyya’s history therefore pertains closely to the development of Indonesian society in this century.
This tariqat is uniquely Indonesian, not only for the reasons cited above, but owing also to some of its practices which are particularly in tune with the beliefs and cultural needs of the people of Indonesia. Further, Shaykh Sambas did not teach the two tariqats separately but in a combined fashion.
Illustrious Founder of the Order Born in Sambas, West Kalimantan, Khatib Sambas settled in Makkah in the early nineteenth century, where he remained until his death in 1875. Among his teachers were Shaykh Daud ibn `Abd Allah al-Fatani, a great Islamic scholar who had also lived in Makkah, Shaykh Muhammad Arshad al-Banjari, and Shaykh `Abd al-Samad al-Palimbani. According to Naquib al-Attas, Khatib Sambas was a Shaykh of Qadiriyya and Naqshbandiyya. Hurgronje mentions as well that he was one of Nawawi al-Banteni’s teachers, excelling in every branch of Islamic knowledge. Zamakhsyari Dhofier has shown the significant role of Shaykh Sambas in the intellectual genealogy of Java’s leading shaykhs and instrumental in the dissemination of Islam throughout Indonesia and the Malay world in the second half of the nineteenth century.
Key to this effort was Shaykh Sambas’ work Fath al-‘Arifin (Victory of the Gnostics), which became one of the most significant works on sufi practice in the Malay world, elaborating on initiation (bay`a), remembrance of Allah (dhikr), meditation (muraqaba) and lineage (silsila) of the Tariqat Qadiriyya wa Naqshbandiyya.
Disciples of the Illustrious Shaykh
Primarily natives of Java and Madura, disciples of the Shaykh passed on his teachings upon their return from Makkah. It has been said that Shaykh Sambas, in addition to developing Indonesia’s most influential ’ulama, also trained leading ‘ulama in fiqh (Islamic jurisprudence) and tafsir (Qur’anic commentary), such as Shaykh `Abd al-Karim Banten, his successor. Known as “Sultan of Shaykhs”, Abd al-Karim encouraged the uprising against the Dutch in 1888 and then left Banten for Makkah to succeed Shaykh Khatib Sambas.
A majority of European writers are radically mistaken in asserting that Indonesian ‘ulama were generally hostile to Sufi orders.The importance of Shaykh Sambas as a scholar must be stressed here as a majority of European writers are radically mistaken in asserting that the `ulama were generally hostile to the Sufi orders. Among the leading disciples of Shaykh Sambas one can point to scholars such as Shaykh Tolhah from Cirebon (West Java) and Shaykh Ahmad Hasbullah ibn Muhammad from Madura (East Java), both of whom had lived in Makkah.
The Tariqat Qadiriyya wa Naqshbandiyya attracted numerous Indonesian disciples, especially in Madura, Banten and Cirebon, and by the end of the 19th century had become the most popular. Tariqat Qadiriyya wa Naqshbandiyya has spread throughout Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Brunei, and Darussalam.
After Shaykh Ahmad Khatib SambasBy 1970, there were four important Tariqat Qadiriyya wa Naqshbandiyya centers located in Java: Rejoso (Jombang) under Shaykh Romly Tamim; Mranggen (close to Semarang) under Shaykh Muslikh; Suryalaya (Tasikmalaya) with Shaykh Ahmad Sahib al Wafa’ Taj al-`Arifin (Abah Anom) as its head; and Pagentongan (Bogor), under Shaykh Thohir Falak. Rejoso represents the line of Ahmad Hasbullah, Suryalaya the line of Shaykh Tolhah and the others that of Shaykh `Abd al-Karim Banten and his khalifas. In some cases teachings of the tariqat have, over time, been imparted through speeches in mosques and during informal gatherings in the houses of various individuals. So it is not surprising that during that period discourses were not meticulously recorded. However, under Abah Anom, the teachings have been outlined in a book entitled Miftah al-Sudur, “The Key of Hearts”. The book’s objective is to convey the theory and practice of Tariqat Qadiriyya wa Naqshbandiyya to achieve tranquility in worldly life and victory in the hereafter. Other of his contemporary works include ‘Uqud al-Juman, Al-Akhlaq al-Karimah and Ibadah sebagai Metoda Pembinaan Korban Penyalahgunaan Narkotika dan Kenakalan Remaja (Worship as a Method of Rehabilitation in Narcotics Abuse and Juvenile Delinquency).
The Tariqat’s Role in Social Reform
Mawlana Shaykh Muhammad Nazim Adil has stated that next to terrorism, the second biggest problem of mankind particularly for youth is drugs (The Muslim Magazine, Spring 1999). This social problem is not confined to Western countries but has unfortunately affected youth throughout the world. Although the number of drug addicts in Asian countries is not as great as it is in the West, the problem was serious enough for Abah Anom to establish the “Pondok Inabah”, a drug rehab center that employs the healing aspects of dhikr.
Abah Anom’s methodology was developed as a result of his belief in the practical experience of Sufi masters and in his belief that dhikr Allah contains enlightenment, special characteristics and secrets which can cure the hearts of Muslim believers. This belief is based on God’s saying: “Remember me, I will remember you,” meaning “When you remember Me, the curtain of heedlessness will be removed from you, and you will then become the one remembered and the one given help.” The merits and benefits of dhikr in Pesantren Suryalaya can be determined by the large numbers of those who have been cured.The Tariqat remains active as a socio-religious movement and aneducational institution.A scientific study of Abah Anom’s methodology was made by Dr. Emo Kastomo in 1989. Over eight years, his evaluation included a random selection of 5925 patients from 10 Pondok Inabah rehab centers. Of these, he found 5426 were cured, 212 were still experiencing the healing process, and 7 patients had died.
The Tariqat’s Role in Politics
The first of the three Indonesian uprisings involving the followers of Tariqat Qadiriyya wa Nashbandiyya saw the involvement of many shaykhs and hajjis in the Banten revolt of July 1888. It is reported that while Shaykh `Abd al-Karim Banten did not seem to be interested in political activities, his khalifah, Hajji Marzuki was much more reformist-minded and predominantly anti-Dutch. Although the tariqat was not a leading player in the revolt, the Dutch were worried about its influence, and many of them believed that the Sufi orders in general, and particularly Tariqat Qadiriyya wa Naqshbandiyya, was a secret organization whose objective was the overthrow of colonial power.
The second revolt was fomented by the Sasak tribe, followers of Tariqat Qadiriyya wa Naqshbandiyya Shaykh Guru Bangkol. The Dutch therefore considered the tariqat as an important factor in the overall rebellion. Although the Dutch advisor Snouck Hurgronje counseled that it was an exaggeration to believe that the tariqats were a political threat to the Dutch, his opinion was not embraced until Sarekat Islam, a well-established political organization, appeared in 1911.Presently in Java, the three largest branches of the Tariqat Qadiriyya wa Naqshbandiyya—Rejoso, Mranggen and Suryalaya—each uphold different policies in terms of political affiliation, with some more actively aligned with the ruling political party of Indonesia.
Present State of Indonesian TariqatsIn 1957, the “Jam`iyya Ahl Thoriqoh Mu`tabaroh” was established by Nahdlatul Ulama, Indonesia’s current ruling party. Its objective is to unify all sanctioned tariqas and to preserve the silsila (chain of authority) that originated with Prophet Muhammad (s). The Jam`iyya preserves teachings of tasawwuf from 45 sanctioned tariqas

In 1975, Shaykh Musta`in Romly of Rejoso was appointed its chairperson of the Jam`iyya. However, in 1979 when his affiliation changed from Partai Persatuan Pembangunan (Development United Islamic Party, to which the majority of NU `ulama were affiliated) to Golongan Karya (former ruling political party), the `ulama established “Jam`iyyah Ahl al-Thariqoh Mu`tabaroh al-Nahdliyyah”. The present chairperson of the Jam`iyyah, Shaykh Haji Dr. Idham Khalid, had the opportunity to welcome Shaykh Muhammad Hisham Kabbani during his visit to Indonesia in December 1997.

One thought on “History of Qadiriyya and Naqshbandiyya Orders in Indonesia

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