Martin van Bruinessen, "Shaykh `Abd al-Qadir al-Jilani and the Qadiriyya in Indonesia", Journal of the History of Sufism, vol. 1-2 (2000), 361-395.



Shaykh `Abd al-Qadir al-Jilani

and the Qadiriyya in Indonesia


The Qadiriyya is presently represented in Indonesia in the form of the composite order Qadiriyya wa Naqshbandiyya, which appears to be specifically Indonesian and has hundreds of thousands of devotees. The Qadiriyya wa Naqshbandiyya was founded by or, in any case, introduced into Southeast Asia by a `lim and Sufi from West Borneo who lived and taught in Mecca in the early 19th century, Ahmad Khatib Sambas. There were earlier incursions of the Qadiriyya into Indonesia; its presence can be documented with certainty from the 17th century on, although it does not appear to have gained a mass following before the 19th century. One can also attest the presence of a cult of Shaykh `Abd al-Qadir, in the form of regular readings of the saint's manqib and the invocation of his assistance in danger, in healing wounds or in acquiring invulnerability. This cult is often associated with the Sufi order but has also existed apart from it, and it may in fact predate the spread of the Qadiriyya as an organised order in Indonesia.

The arrival and propagation of Islam in Southeast Asia

The islamisation of Indonesia began relatively late. Towards the end of the 13th century a Muslim dynasty ruled the harbour state of Sumadra Pasai on the northern tip of Sumatra, and in the course of the 14th and 15th centuries a few other centres of Islam emerged in Sumatra and the Malay peninsula, most importantly the entrepot harbour state of Malacca (founded ca. 1400). Following the Portuguese conquest of Malacca in 1511, Muslim shipping and trade shifted to Acheh in north Sumatra, which in the early 16th century became the major Muslim kingdom of the Archipelago.

The rise of Muslim harbour states on Java's north coast (while much of the interior still clung to Hinduism, Buddhism and syncretistic popular religion) dates from the same period: Demak in east Java was established by foreign Muslims in the late 15th century and rose to prominence in the early 16th, Banten and Cirebon in the west became important in the second quarter of the 16th century. The inland Muslim kingdom of Mataram in central Java emerged in the second half of the 16th century.

Further east in the Archipelago, Ternate in the Moluccan spice islands was already Muslim in the early 16th century, and the islamisation of South Celebes (Sulawesi), presently very staunchly Muslim, began only in the early 17th century, when one of the local rulers, the king of Gowa, converted to Islam.

It has been suggested that the gradual spread of Islam in this part of the world was the work of Sufi missionaries, but there is little hard evidence to support that thesis. It is true that the first Muslim authors whom we know by name were Sufis, but these authors flourished centuries after the process of islamisation had begun. About the place of Sufism in Indonesia prior to the late 16th century one can only speculate.[1]

Hamzah Fansuri and Shaykh `Abd al-Qadir

The earliest reference to `Abd al-Qadir, and indirectly perhaps to the Qadiriyya, in an Indonesian work is found in the poems of the great Sumatran Sufi poet Hamzah Fansuri. Hamzah, who lived in Acheh in the second half of the 16th century, is the first of the great Malay Muslim authors, and many consider him as the best poet of the Malay language. His mysticism is a radically monist version of wahdat al-wujd that became locally known as wujdiyya. Hamzah was a learned man, who may have travelled widely in search of knowledge; in his poems he mentions Mecca, Jerusalem and Shahr Naw (as the Thai capital of Ayuthia was known among foreign Muslims). One quatrain has repeatedly been quoted as proof that he actually was a khalfa of the Qadiriyya:

                        Hamzah nin asalnya Fansuri
                        Mendapat wujud di tanah Shahr Nawi
                        Beroleh khilafat ilmu yang `ali
                        Daripada Abdul Qadir Jilani

                        This Hamzah hails from Fansur
                        He found Existence in the land of Shahr Naw
                        He received trusteeship of the exalted knowledge
From `Abd al-Qadir al-Jilani[2]

The expression mendapat wujud, "found Existence", appears to refer to an initiatory experience, and one could read this quatrain as stating that the poet received an ijza to teach the Qadiriyya during his stay in Shahr Naw, which in those days had a considerably community of Persian and other West or South Asian Muslims. Hamzah mentions `Abd al-Qadir in a few other poems, always in the final stanza in which he mentions himself as the poet, which suggests that his connection with `Abd al-Qadir was central to his identity as a Sufi and poet:

                        Hamzah Fansuri sedia zahir
                        Tersuci pulang pada Sayyid Abdul Qadir
                        Dari sana ke sini terta'ir-ta'ir
                        Akhir mendapat pada diri zahir

                        Hamzah Fansuri, originally earthly
                        Was purified when he turned to Sayyid `Abd al-Qadir
                        He fluttered about from place to place
                        And finally found Him manifested in himself[3]

Like the first quatrain quoted, this appears to refer to an initiation that ultimately led to a mystical experience of unity.

                        Hamzah nin ilmunya zahir
                        Ustadnya Sayyid Abdul Qadir
                        Mahbubnya selalu hadir
                        Dengan dirinya nentiasa satir

                        This Hamzah's knowledge is manifest
                        His teacher was Sayyid `Abd al-Qadir
                        His Beloved is ever-present
                        Though constantly concealing Himself[4]

Al-Attas adduces yet another verse in support of his claim that Hamzah actually visited `Abd al-Qadir's shrine in Baghdad and was appointed as a khalfa of the Qadiriyya there:

                        Shaykh al-Fansuri terlalu `ali
                        Beroleh khilafat di benua Baghdadi

                        Shaykh al-Fansuri, most exalted
                        Received the trusteeship in the land of Baghdad[5]

The poem from which these lines are taken occurs in one of the few manuscripts with Hamzah's poetry, but both the style and the takhallus show that it is the work of another author. He identifies himself as Shaykh Hasan Fansuri and may have been a spiritual disciple of Hamzah. It is not impossible that the quoted lines do refer to Hamzah (although it is more likely that the author meant himself), but even if they do, they do not necessarily refer to an actual voyage to Baghdad. I am very hesitant to accept Al-Attas' conclusion that Hamzah actually became a khalfa and taught the Qadiriyya. In his prose works, in which he expounds his mystical metaphysics more systematically, he never mentions `Abd al-Qadir or the Qadiriyya (but he does mention Abu Yazid Bistami, Junayd, Hallaj, Rumi, Ibn `Arabi, Jami, `Attar and several others). More importantly, the mystic who is considered as his spiritual successor, Shamsuddin of Pasai, never refers to `Abd al-Qadir either.[6]

Yusuf Makassar and traces of the Qadiriyya in Acheh, West Java and South Celebes

The first Indonesian author who expressly claims to have been initiated into the Qadiriyya, along with several other orders, is the famous Shaykh Yusuf Makassar (1626?-1699). Yusuf was born in the small Muslim kingdom of Gowa in South Celebes, and he appears to have been related to the ruling family there. Makassar is both the name of an ethnic group and of the major port in this region. There were several kingdoms in South Celebes, most of which belonged to the Bugis ethnic group. Gowa was the only Makassarese kingdom, and the first to adopt Islam (in 1604, according to tradition).

As a young adult, in 1644, Yusuf set out for Arabia in search of learning. His voyage first took him to the harbour states where Islam had been longer established, Banten and Acheh. He stayed long enough in the first to become a close friend of the crown prince and in the second to receive his first initiation into a Sufi order, the Qadiriyya. Once in Arabia, he stayed for more than two decades, studying with many different teachers in Yemen, the Hijaz and Syria, taking initiations into and acquiring licences to teach various other orders, including the Naqshbandiyya, the Shattariyya and the Khalwatiyya. After his return to the Archipelago he settled in Banten, where through the 1670s he was a close adviser to his old friend, who had succeeded to the throne as Sultan Ageng Tirtayasa. He did not return to Celebes but corresponded with the royal elite of Gowa. Many Makassarese had in fact left Gowa after it had been occupied by the Dutch with Bugis allies from Bone in 1669, and there was a large Makassarese community in Banten, among whom Yusuf found his most loyal followers. In 1682 the Dutch intervened in a dynastic conflict in Banten and deposed Sultan Ageng. Shaykh Yusuf led a band of followers, who resisted the Dutch intervention, to the mountains. When he was finally captured he was banished to Ceylon and later to the Cape of Good Hope, where he died in 1699.[7]

Yusuf wrote a number of brief treatises, in one of which, Safnat al-najh, he gives the silsila of the orders into which he was initiated.[8] His Qadiriyya teacher, according to this source, was an immigrant from Gujarat who taught in Acheh, Muhammad Jilani b. Hasan b. Muhammad al-Hamid, the paternal uncle of Nuruddin al-Raniri.[9] Raniri, one of the great Malay Sufi authors and the most prolific of all, was himself affiliated with the Rifa`iyya. There are reasons to doubt whether Yusuf could actually have met either of these Gujaratis if he had left Gowa in 1644,[10] but the silsila appears to be genuine Yusuf may have studied with a less prominent Achehnese disciple of Muhammad Jilani. This Qadiri silsila is virtually identical with the one that Nuruddin al-Raniri gives in one of his works as his own Rifa`i silsila. It is a line of Hadrami scholars and Sufis established in Gujarat, many of them of the al-`Aydarus family. It is very well possible that these shaykhs taught both the Qadiriyya and the Rifa`iyya, or a mixed form of the two. The earliest common link in both silsila is Isma`il b. Ibrahim al-Jabarti of Zabid, Yemen, who was also the teacher of the famous `Abd al-Karim al-Jili. The links between Shaykh `Abd al-Qadir and al-Jabarti, according to this silsila, are constituted by a certain Yusuf al-Asadi and three lineal descendants.[11]

After his return to the Archipelago, Yusuf did not teach the Qadiriyya but the Khalwatiyya, into which he however incorporated elements from the other turuq that he had mastered. After his death, this branch of the Khalwatiyya survived in South Celebes among the Makassarese and later also the Bugis. It was taken there by Yusuf's chief khalifa, `Abd al-Basir, a fellow Makassarese who had been at his side in Mecca and Banten. It remained eclectic and easily incorporated later influences.[12]

About a century after Shaykh Yusuf's death, the ruler of the Bugis kingdom of Bone, Ahmad al-Salih (1775-1812), who was a great admirer of Yusuf, wrote or commissioned a Sufi treatise titled Nr al-hd il tarq al-rashad, of which Bugis, Arabic and Malay versions exist, and that claims to expound Yusuf's system. A section of the Malay version of this text deals with what it calls the Qadiriyya, which appears to have been introduced to Bone by a a second Yusuf, hailing from Bogor in West Java, who was Bone's qadi. It also contains a Qadiri silsila, which appears to be largely identical with the Shattari silsila most commonly encountered in Indonesia. It consists of the names of influential teachers in Gujarat and Medina, who are known to have taught a number of different turuq simultaneously.[13]

The key figure in this silsila is, from the Indonesian perspective, Ibrahim al-Kurani, who had several Indonesian disciples and wrote a number of tracts especially at their request.[14] We find him and his Shattari spiritual genealogy listed in manuscripts from various parts of the Archipelago. The text from Celebes mentioned above is not the only one that lists the same names as a Qadiri silsila. The Achehnese Sufi, `Abd al-Ra'uf al-Sinkili, who studied in Medina in the mid-17th century with the Sufi masters Ahmad al-Qushashi and Ibrahim al-Kurani and who introduced the Shattariyya to the Archipelago, also lists them as a line of Qadiriyya teachers, and so does an 18th-century manuscript from Banten.[15]

Royal devotees of the Qadiriyya in Acheh, Banten and Mataram

The Indonesian contacts with the Qadiriyya as a distinct Sufi order appear to have been marginal so far we only encounter the Shattariyya and the Khalwatiyya as self-perpetuating orders in several parts of the Archipelago. Nevertheless, Shaykh `Abd al-Qadir appears to have acquired considerable prestige as a powerful protector, and at least two royal houses associated themselves with him in one way or another.

In Acheh, certain high offices were hereditary but new incumbents were appointed by the sultan with a letter of investiture (sarakata). In the exordium to these sarakata, intercession, blessings and prayers were invoked from Muhammad and the other prophets, from saints and royal ancestors. From at least the early 17th century on, Shaykh `Abd al-Qadir is always mentioned with special distinction in these formulas.[16]

In Banten, the royal seal of the 18th century Sultan `Arif Zayn al-`Ashiqin (who ruled 1753-1777) adds the title al-Qadiri to the sultan's name, which suggests an affiliation with the Qadiriyya or at least an invocation of the protective powers of Shaykh `Abd al-Qadir. It is not clear whether he was the first of Banten's rulers to style himself al-Qadiri not many of those royal seals are known.[17] In his case, we have more positive proof that he was actually initiated into the Qadiriyya, for a copy of his written ijza is still extant. It is dated 1186/1772-3, and the ijza was granted by Muhammad b. `Ali al-Tabari al-Husayni al-Shafi`i.[18] The late date of the sultan's initiation suggests that this was a novel step, in which he did not imitate his predecessors. Al-Tabari was a Meccan shaykh, who may have had a special relationship with Banten because either he himself or (more likely) his father, `Ali al-Tabari, had earlier initiated a learned protg of the royal family, `Abdallah b. `Abd al-Qahhar, into the Shattariyya.[19] The sultan's interest in the Qadiriyya may have been due to the precarious position of Banten vis--vis the Dutch, who had sent his father into forced exile and who were to completely abolish the sultanate in the early 19th century, and to Shaykh `Abd al-Qadir's reputation as a powerful protector. Sultan `Arif Zayn al-`Ashiqin, as I have shown elsewhere, is also associated with the magical invulnerability technique known as debus, in which the supernatural assistance of `Abd al-Qadir al-Jilani and Ahmad Rifa`i is invoked.[20]

In the Central Javanese kingdom of Mataram, finally, we find an indication that an 18th century prince of the Surakarta court, Pangeran Purbaya, may have been affiliated with the Qadiriyya. This prince was the owner of a manuscript probably written there between 1727 and 1738, containing various Arabic and Javanese texts, including a Javanese translation of a work by Hamzah Fansuri. Among these texts there is also a silsila of the Qadiriyya, which could mean that the owner was a Qadiri himself (although the silsila does not mention him as the latest chain).[21] This is, however, the only reference to the Qadiriyya that has been noted so far in religious texts from the Mataram court libraries. The silsila does not yield much information; it contains few know names and does not correspond with any other known Qadiri silsila from Indonesia.[22]

`Abd al-Qadir al-Jilani in popular belief in Indonesia

The veneration of Shaykh `Abd al-Qadir and various types of cults associated with him are presently widespread in Indonesia. The origins of the popular beliefs and practices associated with the saint remain unclear, since before the 19th century documentation is lacking. It is quite possible that like other tarqa-related practices they spread to the population at large from court circles, and at a relatively late date. Be that as it may, popular devotion turned `Abd al-Qadir into a saint with local characteristics. In several parts of Indonesia there is a belief that the saint in fact visited the Archipelago and personally spread his teachings there.

The earliest recorded instance of this belief is found in the Javanese Serat Centhini, a text that was compiled in its present form in the early 19th century but that contains much earlier material, and that has been described as an encyclopaedia of Javanese civilisation. It is a tale of peregrinations across Java in search of mystical experiences and insights, taking place in the 16th century (but not without anachronisms). One of the wise men who are visited, the hermit Danadarma, relates to the protagonist that he had studied for three years with "Seh Kadir Jalena" at Karang. Shaykh `Abd al-Qadir appears here as the fountainhead of a Javanese Muslim mystical tradition.[23]

This corresponds with a popular belief held in various parts of West Java in later times that it had been Shaykh `Abd al-Qadir who had personally brought Islam to Java. Legends from West Java invariably associate `Abd al-Qadir with the sacred cave at Pamijahan in the Karangnunggal district on West Java's south coast. This is, in fact, the location of the shrine of one of the major saints of Java, Shaykh `Abd al-Muhyi, who is credited with introducing the Shattariyya to the island.[24] In popular lore, however, `Abd al-Qadir appears to have blotted out `Abd al-Muhyi. In the martial arts tradition of West Java, as elsewhere, `Abd al-Qadir's protective powers are highly appreciated. Martial arts schools are organised much like Sufi orders, and each school has its distinctive physical and magical techniques. One of the schools is characterised by its use of the hizb (prayer formula) of `Abd al-Qadir, which, it is believed, this saint "received" as a result of long meditations in Pamijahan.[25]

Sources closer to Pamijahan mention Shaykh `Abd al-Muhyi, of course, but agree in making `Abd al-Qadir his teacher and source of inspiration. We find this connection, for instance, in a Shattari text from the holy village of Cisondari in West Java.[26] A legend from Pamijahan quoted by Rinkes has `Abd al-Muhyi regularly return, through an underground corridor from his cave, to Mecca, where he takes part in the Friday prayer and converses with his teachers, of whom only `Abd al-Qadir is mentioned.[27]

According to a legend I recorded in Cirebon, Shaykh `Abd al-Qadir had travelled from Baghdad to Java and settled in Pamijahan. A voice from the unseen world (ghayb) warned him that it was not his due to islamise Java, because God had preordained that this was to be the task of `Abd al-Qadir's (spiritual) descendant Sharif Hidayatullah (one of the Nine Saints of Java and also the founder of the sultanate of Cirebon). `Abd al-Qadir then repented and returned to Baghdad.[28] The legend establishes a subtle balance between recognition of `Abd al-Qadir's spiritual superiority and the defense of Cirebon's claims to be the centre from which Java was islamised (and therefore superior to other places in Java).

Elsewhere in the Archipelago too, one encounters local traditions crediting `Abd al-Qadir with the introduction or purification of Islam. John Bowen describes such a belief among the Gayo people of Central Acheh. In this region, there are twelve holy places associated with ancestral figures. "Each is appealed to for aid in sickness and misfortune by members of the surrounding communities; several are also the foci for agricultural ritual. While each of these ancestors is appealed to separately in each agricultural area, all are traced in Gayo traditions to Muyang Gerpa, a figure who is also identified as Syech Abdul Kadir Jelani. (...) Gerpa/Jelani is credited with bringing Islam to Gayoland after subduing the heretical Syech Syamsuddin..."[29]

Public readings of `Abd al-Qadir's manqib

In 1883 a remarkable Javanese Muslim, Mas Rahmat, who then was making a journey that took him to numerous sacred spots in Java and Madura, advised a man in deep trouble to read the story of `Abd al-Qadir Jilani. He found this counsel important enough to record it in the diary that he kept during the journey.[30] The gist of the counsel probably was not that a person in difficulties might find consolation or a useful lesson in the saint's biography but that the very act of reading this pious text might avert danger and convey blessing. Shaykh `Abd al-Qadir's supernatural protection was invoked in various ways. On another occasion, Mas Rahmat noted in the diary that he attended a ritual meal (sidhekah) dedicated to Shaykh `Abd al-Qadir.

Public readings of hagiographies (manqib) of Shaykh `Abd al-Qadir were a common and regular practice in many parts of the Archipelago at that time. A Dutch scholar reported from south Banten that all sorts of celebrations there were commonly accompanied by public readings of the Wawacan Seh or Hikayat Seh, Javanese or Sundanese translations or adaptations of such a hagiography. It was considered as a sacred text, not to be recited on profane occasions; it was moreover the only devotional text that was publicly read as part of rituals.[31] From later studies, we know that the text was routinely recited on the occasion of the annual commemoration of `Abd al-Qadir's death, the 11th of the Muslim month Rabi` al-Akhir, and often on the 11th of other months as well.[32] The two royal palaces of Cirebon, another small kingdom on Java's north coast, had the manqib of `Abd al-Qadir read on every jum`at kliwon, the most sacred day of the Javanese 35-day cycle, and throughout the Cirebon area there were and are regular public readings in mosques, in some places even weekly. Readings were also held for thanksgiving (syukuran), e.g. for recovery from a grave disease or being saved from great danger, in situations of personal or social crisis, or as a form of exorcism, to avert supernatural danger.[33]

It is not possible to determine how long this practice had existed before our earliest references to it in the 1880s. The Javanese scholar Poerbatjaraka, who studied the Javanese Hikayat Seh (which is in the Banten-Cirebon dialect) found its language archaic, and his Dutch colleague Drewes speculated that it might date back as far as the 17th century.[34] This may be an exaggeration, but the popularity of the text in Banten by the 1880s suggests that it probably was introduced into the region before the Qadiriyya wa Naqshbandiyya order spread there in the mid-19th century. The reading of manqib has in more recent times, however, been closely associated with this order, and it was shaykhs of the Qadiriyya wa Naqshbandiyya who produced translations or adaptations of various manqib works in local languages. Drewes and Poerbatjaraka established that their Hikayat Seh was a Javanese translation of al-Yafi`i's Khulsat al-mafkhir but noted that several other hagiographies were in circulation. Presently by far the most popular is Ja`far al-Barzanji's Al-lujjayn al-dn, of which various translations exist.[35] Second in popularity is Tafrh al-khtir by `Abd al-Qadir b. Muhyi al-din al-Arbili, of which various translations into Sundanese were made.[36]

Barzinji's text dates from the mid-18th century (he died in 1764). The fact that it has only in the course of the past century come to replace the older work by al-Yafi`i strongly suggests that the latter already had a well-established position in the Archipelago when Barzinji's work first became known there. This is another indication that public readings of the Hikayat Seh were an established practice, at least in Banten and Cirebon, well before the spread of the Qadiriyya wa Naqshbandiyya in the mid-19th century.

The fact that the manqib were translated into local languages (and that new translations keep being produced) shows that these texts had (and have) a dual function. Public readings of them, as already said, are believed to have beneficial supernatural effects, even if the nature of these effects is rarely stated explicitly. But the hagiographies are also read to be understood, the saint's miracles constitute a focus of popular piety in themselves. Acquaintance with `Abd al-Qadir's miraculous powers and with his ability to intervene in the here and now strengthens the attachment of large unsophisticated followings to the order and its shaykhs.

More recently, a new type of adaptation of these manqib works has appeared in the form of cheap, mass-produced comic books. This medium fills a gap left by the disappearance of the traditional story-tellers. It addresses semi-literate audiences and takes a place between the oral and the written. There is a wide range of Islamic comic books all dealing with heroic episodes in the history of Islam: tales of the prophets and the first Muslim conquests, legends of the Nine Saints who islamicised Java, and of Shaykh `Abd al-Qadir. These comic books are not produced, as are the vernacular translations of pious Arabic texts, by tarqa shaykhs or other `ulama of a certain standing but by unknown artists with inconspicuous names. Not surprisingly, the stories tend to be adapted to local conditions, and the heroes are often somewhat "indigenised". There exist several comic books on the life of Shaykh `Abd al-Qadir, and they tend to emphasise those aspects of his legendary biography that make him similar to indigenous saints and miracle-workers.

This is shown by the accompanying illustrations. [click here for the illustrations] One of the comic books focuses almost exclusively on `Abd al-Qadir's path to sainthood, showing his ascetic exercises and temptations by frightening evil spirits.[37] These also loom large in the said Arabic manqib works, but they have acquired a distinctly local color here. In one episode, the young `Abd al-Qadir follows his teacher into a forest, to a place suited for solitary meditations and ascetic exercises. The teacher leaves him behind and tells him to wait there for his return. Without moving from his place, `Abd al-Qadir remains absorbed in his meditations, patiently waiting for his teacher. The latter does not return until a year later and, finding that `Abd al-Qadir does not complain of his long absence and remains unquestioningly obedient, disappears again. After another year, when the ordeal is finally over, the teacher reveals that he is in reality none other than the immortal Khidr. He rewards `Abd al-Qadir for his long fast with food and drink brought from Paradise and tells him that he has attained the highest degree of sainthood, the maqm of qutb al-awliy. The outline of this story already occurs in al-Yafi`i's hagiography,[38] but in the present adaptation it appears to be compounded with a well-known legend about the Javanese saint, Sunan Kalijaga (which has itself Indic origins). Kalijaga too attained sainthood and perfect knowledge of Islam as a result of such excessively ascetic meditations in a forest, on the orders of a teacher who left him alone for years.[39]

Debus: an Indonesian invulnerability cult based on tarqa exercises

The recital of `Abd al-Qadir's manqib also used to be part of performances of debus, at least in north Banten and Cirebon. Debus is an invulnerability cult that appears to be derived from practices commonly associated with the Rifa`iyya. Debus practitioners use metal spikes of the same form as those used by Rifa`i dervishes, and it is these spikes that have given the practice its name (Ar. dabbs, "spike, needle"). Whereas Rifa`i dervishes (and in Kurdistan, Qadiri dervishes) actually pierce their bodies with these spikes and other sharp objects, however, in Indonesia the acquisition of invulnerability has become the chief object of the exercise. The spikes do not pierce the skin, however much hammered; sharp knives don't make cuts; and, as is widely believed, even bullets cannot harm the skilled practitioner.

Debus is known and practised in various parts of the Archipelago: in Acheh and West Sumatra, in the Malay peninsula, in the Banten-Cirebon region, in the Moluccas and even among the Muslims of Malay descent in Cape Town, South Africa.[40] The invocations and recitations used vary from place to place. The original association with the Rifa`iyya is at most places acknowledged but `Abd al-Qadir appears to be invoked more frequently than Ahmad Rifa`i.[41] Here and there Muhammad Samman, who also has a great reputation for miraculous intervention, is invoked as well. Debus practitioners appear to have been eclectic, combining invocations from various Sufi orders (Rifa`iyya, Qadiriyya, Sammaniyya) with magic of non-Islamic origin. At one place, the recital of a Rifa`i or Sammani rtib may bring about the required effect of invulnerability, at another the reading of the manqib of `Abd al-Qadir Jilani. The latter used to be common practice in north Banten and Cirebon.

The person who leads the debus performances and by reciting the invocations helps the practitioners attain a state of invulnerability is in many places known as khalfa, another term pointing to a direct connection with a tarqa (in Cape Town, the practice of debus has come to be known by the term khalfa). None of the present debus teachers, however, has a direct connection with a Sufi order; debus has become a secularised activity. Conversely, none of the present branches of the Qadiriyya encourages its disciples to engage in debus performances, although many shaykhs also teach selected disciples invulnerability.

Ahmad Khatib Sambas and the Qadiriyya wa Naqshbandiyya order

Whatever earlier branches of the Qadiriyya had been established in Indonesia were submerged by the Qadiriyya wa Naqshbandiyya, which experienced a spectacular and rapid expansion in Java first and from there over the entire Archipelago. The name of Qadiriyya wa Naqshbandiyya does not refer to a dual initiation into two distinct orders but to a single composite tarqa much like the Sammaniyya, in which methods of a number of orders are combined.[42] The earliest identifiable teacher of this composite order is the Indonesian Ahmad Khatib b. `Abd al-Ghaffar of Sambas (West Borneo), who lived and taught in Mecca in the middle of the 19th century and died around 1875. Interestingly, Arabic sources do not mention him as a Sufi but as a scholar of the law, who had studied fiqh with the leading experts of three of the four madhhab in Mecca.[43] In Indonesia he is only known because of his role as a charismatic Sufi shaykh.

Ahmad Khatib did not himself write any books, but two of his disciples faithfully recorded his teachings in brief Malay treatises that clearly expound the techniques of this tarqa. One of these, the Fath al-`rifn, is considered by all contemporary khalifa as the most authoritative work on the tarqa. The second is less known; it is shorter but otherwise does not differ substantially from the Fath al-`arifin.[44] Both works describe the bay`a, the dhikr and other techniques and devotions of both the Qadiriyya and the Naqshbandiyya, and conclude with Ahmad Khatib's silsila.

The Fath al-`rifn devotes about equal space to the specifics of the Qadiriyya and the Naqshbandiyya. The instructions on the Naqshbandi dhikr and especially on the murqaba are explicit and detailed. In the actual practices of the order in Indonesia, however, the Qadiri component clearly predominates. Communal rituals feature the loud Qadiri dhikr, not the silent one of the Naqshbandiyya (although the latter may be practised in private devotions). The veneration for Shaykh `Abd al-Qadir Jilani, expressed in frequent manqib readings, is not matched by a corresponding devotion to Baha' al-Din Naqshband.

The Fath al-`rifn moreover gives only one silsila, which is unambiguously Qadiri, although it contains many unrecognisable names. From the Prophet down to `Abd al-Qadir and his son `Abd al-`Aziz, it is identical with the Qadiriyya silsila as found elsewhere. None of the names that follow, however, can be readily identified with shaykhs of known branches of the Qadiriyya. The absence of nisba and patronymics make identification almost impossible. Beginning with `Abd al-Qadir, the silsila consists of the following names:

            `Abd al-Qadir al-Jilani
`Abd al-`Aziz
Muhammad al-Hattak
Shams al-Din
Sharaf al-Din
Nur al-Din
Wali al-Din
Husam al-Din
Abu Bakr
`Abd al-Rahim
`Abd al-Fattah
Muhammad Murad
Shams al-Din
Ahmad Khatib al-Sambasi 

The first eight names in this silsila (down to and including Husam al-din) are identical with those in a Qadiriyya ijza and silsila acquired by Richard F. Burton, apparently in Egypt; Burton suggests these are lineal descendants of `Abd al-Qadir.[45] Thus far it has been impossible even to identify Ahmad Khatib's teacher Shams al-din, and therefore we do not know whether it was Ahmad Khatib himself who first developed this composite tarqa or one of his predecessors.

Ahmad Khatib never returned to Indonesia, but he made numerous disciples among the Southeast Asians who visited Mecca, and he appointed several khalfa to various parts of the Archipelago. His three chief khalfa, and the ones from whom all present Indonesian branches of the order derive, were `Abd al-Karim of Banten, Talha of Cirebon and Ahmad Hasbullah of Madura.[46] Ahmad Khatib also had a following in the Palembang region of South Sumatra, on the island of Lombok and in West Borneo. Of the three chief khalfa, he designated `Abd al-Karim as his successor; `Abd al-Karim not only had a large following in Banten but also in Singapore (where he had lived for three years) and he enjoyed the respect of many Meccans as well. When news of Ahmad Khatib's death reached Banten, `Abd al-Karim departed for Mecca to take his place (1876). He was the last shaykh to be recognised as the supreme authority of the entire tarqa. After his death, the order fell apart into Bantenese, Cirebonese and Madurese/East Javanese branches that maintained little contact with one another.

The Qadiriyya wa Naqshbandiyya and peasant uprisings

a. Banten 1888

In July 1888 an armed peasant rebellion broke out in the Cilegon district in Banten. Groups of rebels attacked government offices and killed members of the local administration, Dutch as well as indigenous. The rebels apparently intended to throw off infidel rule and to establish a new Islamic order, but appear to have had few concrete ideas on the nature of that order except the abolishment of taxation.[47]

Uprisings by peasants, often combined with millenarian expectations, were a rather common occurrence in Java for most of the 19th century. Banten had long been one of the most troublesome parts of Java. This rebellion, however, shocked the Dutch more than previous ones had done. It was put down easily enough, but the scale of the rebellion was a cause for grave concern. Estimates of the number of active participants in various incidents ranged from several dozen to six hundred. The rebellion moreover was not strictly local as earlier ones had been; not only people in Cilegon took part but numerous people from the neighbouring districts as well. They apparently acted under instructions from a certain Haji Wasid, who co-ordinated the uprising. Almost all its local leaders were religious teachers (kyai) or hajis and appeared to be affiliated with the Qadiriyya wa Naqshbandiyya order.[48]

The Dutch soon suspected that the uprising had been planned and prepared by the tarqa which would explain why it had been more widespread and tenacious than the earlier ones. Intelligence reports claimed that leading teachers of the tarqa from all over northern Banten had been meeting regularly over the preceding years, witnesses alleged that in these meetings plans for the rebellion had been discussed and other preparations made. It is true that Shaykh `Abd al-Karim, who had left for Mecca two years before the rebellion, was known not to have any interest in politics. His favourite khalfa, Haji Marzuqi, on the other hand, was reported to be more radical and fiercely anti-Dutch. Marzuqi too spent much of his life in Mecca but had visited Banten in early 1887 and returned to Mecca only a month before the rebellion broke out. He had addressed the followers of the tarqa in Batavia and throughout Banten, allegedly preaching against infidel rule. He had been present at many of the reported meetings of kyai, and some people believed him to be the real instigator of the rebellion. His departure so briefly before the rebellion appears to have been due to disagreements over the timing of the uprising. Marzuqi urged patience and better preparations but the local tarqa teachers were impatient.[49] Thus leadership fell to Haji Wasid and another charismatic kyai, Haji Tubagus Ismail.

The uprising would never have taken place if the people of Banten had not had serious economic and political grievances. The government had a report on the causes of the uprising made, which emphasised the economic and political discontent and placed much of the blame on the inequities and poor performance of the administration. It granted that religious fanaticism and obedience to the tarqa teachers did play a part, but it did not consider these as the real causes of the rebellion. Contemporary critics of the report, however, attributed a more central and active role to the tarqa (as does the historian Sartono Kartodirdjo), and in the public mind Sufi orders became almost identical with secret conspiracies and rebellion.

The major contribution of the Qadiriyya wa Naqshbandiyya to the uprising probably was that it provided a supralocal network that could be used for communication and mass mobilisation. The tarqa with a mass membership was a new form of organisation that had no precedent in Java (or elsewhere in the Archipelago). Haji Wasid and Tubagus Ismail made effective use of the tarqa network, but otherwise there was little inherently rebellious about this or other Sufi orders.

b. Lombok 1891

A few years later, in 1891, the Muslim Sasak of Lombok rose in rebellion against the Hindu Balinese conquerors who then ruled much of that island. (Dutch colonial rule did not yet encompass Bali and Lombok). Unlike earlier rebellions, this one was not easily put down. It lasted until 1894, when the Dutch intervened militarily and effectively put an end to Balinese rule on the island.[50] The centre of the rebellion was at Praya, and its chief leader was Guru Bangkol, a local aristocrat who, as the Dutch later learned, was a teacher of the [Qadiriyya wa] Naqshbandiyya.[51] Many other Sasak notables were apparently Guru Bangkol's disciples, and it seemed to the Dutch (who still remembered the Banten uprising) that the tarqa constituted an important causal factor in the entire rebellion. In retrospect, however, it appears that the causation was in the reverse direction. The uprising appears to have given a boost to the tarqa, as many Sasak became interested in its dhikr and other devotions for the sake of magical protection.

c. East Java 1903

As a result of Dutch suspicions of the Sufi orders and their alleged anti-European attitudes, police reports tended to exaggerate their role in even minor uprisings. Once it was known that a tarqa teacher was involved, a rebellion was taken more seriously. This was for instance the case with the Sidoharjo uprising. In 1903 Kyai Kasan Mukmin of the village of Samentara in Sidoharjo (near Surabaya) claimed to be the mahdi and preached the establishment of a new kingdom in Java. He taught his followers invulnerability and called for a jihad against the Dutch government. As soon as a group of his followers, just over eighty men, actually began a march, they were stopped by government troops. Forty men, including Kasan Mukmin himself, were killed; the others were arrested.[52]

This rebellion was not much different from the numerous other messianic rebellions that regularly occurred in Java, and the background was perhaps an ordinary rivalry between local aristocrats. It caused much unrest among the European community of Surabaya, however. Rumours circulated to the effect that the rebellion was only the first minor eruption of a much wider revolt that was to sweep all over Java, and that there were plans to kill all Europeans. Although nothing of the sort happened, the anxieties subsided only slowly. Police investigations showed that there was again a tarqa connection: Kyai Kasan Mukmin appeared to be a khalfa of Kyai Kasan Tapsir of Krapyak Lor, near Yogyakarta, a teacher of the [Qadiriyya wa] Naqshbandiyya.[53] This revived fears of a much larger rebellion under the auspices of the tarqa; it was assumed, without any concrete evidence, that Kasan Mukmin had been incited to rebellion by the kyai of Krapyak. In fact, it was not even proven that a local tarqa network played a part in mobilising Kyai Kasan Mukmin's followers in Sidoharjo.

d. Banten 1926

In the second and third decades of the 20th century, the first modern political associations were established in Indonesia. The Sufi orders no longer were the only supralocal networks independent of the government, and they gradually, though not completely, lost their function as vehicles of social protest to these more modern and formal organisations. In 1926 Banten was rocked by another serious rebellion, which this time was planned and led by the Communist Party of Indonesia (PKI). This party had emerged from a split in the nationalist association Sarekat Islam, of which many Banten `ulama had been members, and a number of influential religious figures had joined the leadership of the PKI's Banten chapter. Foremost among them was Ahmad Khatib, who was the son-in-law of the most prominent Qadiriyya wa Naqshbandiyya shaykh of the period, Kyai Asnawi of Caringan (who was a khalfa of Shaykh `Abd al-Karim). It was Ahmad Khatib and Kyai Asnawi's son, Haji Emed, who were the actual leaders of the rebellion. Kyai Asnawi himself stayed aloof from involvement in politics, but his charisma and the tarqa network enabled his son and son-in-law to mobilise a considerable number of his followers.[54]

The role of the order in peasant rebellions appears primarily due to the fact that it is a hierarchically ordered, supralocal network, and that its leaders are charismatic, i.e., have supernaturally sanctioned authority. The order is not inherently anti-colonial or egalitarian, and at most times and places its shaykhs have accommodated themselves silently with the existing social and political order. Besides organisation, however, the tarqa offers potential insurgents another useful asset, namely techniques for invulnerability.[55] The Qadiriyya is not the only order that is reputed to offer such techniques, but the fame of `Abd al-Qadir al-Jilani as a protector is unparalleled which has often made the Qadiriyya and its techniques popular in times of crisis. In Indonesia's war of independence, many young fighters sought invulnerability with Qadiriyya wa Naqshbandiyya shaykhs.

The Qadiriyya wa Naqshbandiyya in contemporary Indonesia

Presently the Qadiriyya wa Naqshbandiyya is probably the best organised order in Indonesia and in number of followers the first or second (the other large order is the Naqshbandiyya-Khalidiyya). Not much remains of its Banten branch, which was the most prominent a century ago. There are still a few teachers but their following has been contracting rather than expanding.[56] One of Kyai Asnawi's Bantenese khalfa had one khalfa in Central Java, however, who established a strong network with over a hundred deputies (khalfa and badal)[57] and numerous followers throughout that province. This was Kyai Muslih b. `Abd al-Rahman of Mranggen near Semarang, who not only was a highly charismatic teacher but also the author of a number of widely read books on the tarqa and on Shaykh `Abd al-Qadir. After Kyai Muslih's death in 1981, this branch of the order lost its dynamism, since neither of the two sons who succeeded him has their father's charisma. Many of Kyai Muslih's khalfa, however, still have large circles of disciples.[58]

Two other branches of the order, however, have developed into networks spanning the entire Archipelago. One is centred in the West Javanese pesantren (religious boarding school) of Suryalaya near Tasikmalaya, the other in the pesantren of Rejoso near Jombang in East Java.

The pesantren at Rejoso was established in the late 19th century by a religious teacher hailing from Madura, Kyai Tamim, and the first person to teach the tarqa there was his son-in-law Khalil. Khalil (who was not Madurese but from Central Java) had studied in Mecca with Ahmad Khatib Sambas' Madurese khalfa, Ahmad Hasbullah, who had in turn appointed him as his khalfa. Rejoso became a major centre of the order under Kyai Tamim's son Romly, who succeeded Khalil as the tarqa teacher. Kyai Romly's charisma attracted tens of thousands of followers, all over East Java and Madura and even in Central Java. By the time of his death in 1957, he had appointed a few khalfa and no less than eighty badal, who each led local groups of followers.

After a brief interval during which Kyai Romly's most senior khalfa Usman al-Ishaqi in Surabaya assumed leadership of this network (and further expanded it), Romly's son Musta`in took over. Too young to directly succeed his father, he was trained by Kyai Usman but then declared himself murshid and successfully brought most of his father's badal under his own control. Kyai Musta`in Romly was a colourful personality with a gift for politics and a penchant for modernisation. Excellent contacts with the authorities made him the recipient of government largesse, which he used to expand his network of followers. By the mid-1970s the number of his murid was estimated at 90,000. Kyai Musta`in Romly was also one of the first kyai to establish a private unive rsity, built on a large plot of land in the town of Jombang that the government granted him for this purpose in the mid-1960s. He was moreover the driving force behind the establishment of an association of "orthodox" (mu`tabar, "respectable") Sufi orders, Jam`iyyat ahl al-tarqa al-mu`tabara, a primarily political body in which not only his own network but also teachers of various other orders were represented.

Kyai Musta`in Romly's involvement in politics ultimately caused him to lose most of his influence. In 1977 he took active part in the election campaign on behalf of the government party Golkar instead of the Muslim party PPP that all his colleagues supported.[59] With his tens of thousands of faithful disciples and his authority among a much larger segment of the population, his participation had a noticeable impact on voting behaviour. Musta`in's desertion of the common cause was strongly resented by the other kyai, who responded with a concerted campaign to cut him down to size. Kyai Muslih of Mranggen, the chief Qadiriyya wa Naqshbandiyya shaykh of Central Java (see above), who was a strong PPP supporter, appointed another Jombang kyai, Adlan Aly, as his khalfa, after which Kyai Musta`in's badal were pressured to transfer their allegiance to Kyai Adlan. The majority of them did.

Even though all persons concerned are now dead, we still find three competing networks of tarqa teachers each claiming to be the legitimate successor to what used to be called "the tarqa of Rejoso", i.e. Kyai Romly's network. One of these is still centred on Rejoso, where Musta`in's son Rifa`i gradually grew into the role of murshid. At the centre of the second network is Kyai Usman's son Asrori in Surabaya, and the third is controlled by politicians and kyais close to the PPP.[60]

The most influential contemporary teacher of the Qadiriyya wa Naqshbandiyya is the octogenarian Kyai Shohibulwafa Tadjul Arifin, popularly known as Abah Anom, of Suryalaya in West Java. He has faithful disciples in the highest echelons of Indonesia's political and military elite, among artists, academics and professionals, as well as among the lower strata of society. The network of his deputies (called wakl talqn in this branch) spans all of West Java (including Jakarta), West Kalimantan (Borneo), Singapore and Malaysia.[61]

Abah Anom is the chief representative of the branch of the order that was established in Cirebon by Ahmad Khatib's khalfa Kyai Talha. He succeeded his father, Abdullah Mubarak or Abah Sepuh, who was Kyai Talha's most important khalfa. (Abah, the Sundanese word for "father", is a term of respect for venerable elders, sepuh and anom mean "the elder" and "the younger", respectively.) It was Abdullah Mubarak who in 1905 founded the pesantren of Suryalaya in his native district near Tasikmalaya and who, by cultivating relations with the indigenous administrative elite, spread his influence over all of West Java. When he died in 1956, Abah Anom, who had already acted as a teacher in his father's lifetime, automatically took his place. He soon showed that his charisma and his political instincts rivalled or even exceeded his father's.

Abah Anom's influence in elite circles increased significantly when he began applying the spiritual techniques of his Sufi order in the treatment of drug addiction and mental disorders in the 1970s. Patients were obliged to spend weeks or even months in special wards run by the pesantren and were subjected to a strict discipline of prayer and dhikr. Drug addiction is widespread among the children of Indonesia's elite, and as Abah Anom's reputation for success in its treatment spread, some very powerful persons sent him their children. In the course of the treatment, many of the parents became his disciples too. These included Indonesia's powerful intelligence chief, Yoga Sugama, with whom Abah Anom further strengthened his ties by giving a daughter in marriage to Yoga's son, the former patient. Yoga became the first Indonesian personality of ministerial level to publicly practice a tarqa, allegedly fingering his tasbih even in cabinet meetings.[62]

In the final years of his rule, President Suharto himself also increasingly sought Abah Anom's spiritual guidance (or the political credit in Muslim circles that derived from associating with him). Suharto was reputed to have recourse to numerous mystics and magicians as his advisers and soothsayers, most of whom used to be representatives of non-Islamic or syncretistic mysticism. From the late 1980s on, however, when Suharto sought closer ties with his Muslim subjects and began courting religious leaders, there was a similar shift among the spiritual advisers and Abah Anom rose to prominence among them. In 1993 Abah Anom was one of two tarqa leaders whom Suharto appointed to the People's Consultative Assembly (the enlarged parliament that once every five years approves the basic lines of government policy and re-elects the president). At moments of personal crisis, such as at the death of his wife in 1996, Abah Anom allegedly was the only one of Suharto's spiritual advisers whose presence he requested.[63]

The increased influence of Abah Anom and other tarqa teachers in the highest political and military circles is, on the one hand, a consequence of the general trend away from syncretism towards more orthodox Islam, among the elite as well as the population at large. It shows, on the other hand, that tarqa-based Sufism can also appeal to modern segments of society (although the nature of that appeal may itself be traditional: the need of supernatural protection). It is not only politicians and military personnel who are drawn to Sufism. Among Abah Anom's disciples one finds numerous highly educated people; it also includes various artists, many of whom first came to Abah Anom for treatment of a drug addiction and then remained attached to him as their spiritual guide. Whereas several decades ago most of the followers of this as well as other branches of the order was largely rural, it is presently the modern urban followers who are most conspicuous. The mix of followers here described is not unique for Abah Anom. Several other mystical teachers attract the same types of followers. Thus far, however, Abah Anom has been one of the most successful among them.[64]


The Qadiriyya may have had a number of individual followers in Indonesia from the 16th century on but it did not gain a mass following before the Qadiriyya wa Naqshbandiyya spread to the Archipelago, at first to Banten in the late 19th century. After several decades in which it functioned as a vessel for social protest movements, it disappeared to the background when modern political organisations came to dominate the scene. The order resurfaced to public attention in the 1960s and 1970s due to three charismatic teachers in Central, East and West Java, who, each in a different way, played important political roles and extended their networks of local groups of followers widely. Two of them introduced innovations that helped the order adapt to modern times and allied themselves with the modernising segments of the state apparatus. Musta`in Romly presided over a modern political association of Sufi orders, which he used as a major bargaining asset in political negotiations. Abah Anom established a successful healing practice for drug addiction and other afflictions, using the techniques of the Qadiriyya wa Naqshbandiyya. Both found numerous followers among the Indonesian elite and made the tarqa a modern urban phenomenon. The order has never had as widespread and numerous a following in Indonesia as in the last decades of the 20th century. It has succeeded in reaching out to modern urban audiences without losing its traditional rural following. To all appearances, it will remain a significant social force in the foreseeable future.



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     [1] For a survey of what is known about early Indonesian Sufism, see: van Bruinessen 1994a.

     [2] Al-Attas 1970: 11; Drewes & Brakel 1986: 5-6, 44-5. This is the final quatrain of poem I in most manuscripts. These scholars disagree with each other as to the interpretation of the first two lines (which al-Attas believes refer to Hamzah's actually being born in Shahr Naw) but their translations of the second two differ only marginally.

     [3] Poem XVI. Drewes & Brakel 1986: 92-3. As in the previous case, I have modified the editors' translation to keep it as literal as possible.

     [4] Poem XVII. Drewes & Brakel 1986: 96-7.

     [5] Al-Attas 1970: 11. The verse occurs in one of the Leiden mss containing poems by Hamzah and others, Cod.Or. 2016, at fol. 51v. It is directly obvious from the style of this poem, however, that it is not by Hamzah but by an inferior epigone.

     [6] Hamzah's prose works are edited, translated into English and analysed in al-Attas 1970. Shamsuddin's works are edited and analysed in Nieuwenhuijze 1945.

     [7] For more on Shaykh Yusuf's life, see: Abu Hamid 1994; Bruinessen 1994b: 34-46; Bruinessen 1995c: 180-2.

     [8] This treatise occurs in only one of the extant majmu`a of Yusuf's writings, which moreover appears to have disappeared in recent years. Dr. Abu Hamid of Ujung Pandang has a readably photocopy, however, and Professor Tudjimah of Jakarta had a written copy of the entire majmu`a made before it disappeared, which I have been able to consult.

     [9] The text in fact confounds Muhammad Jilani and Nuruddin al-Raniri and speaks of "Muhammad Jilani, known as Nuruddin Hasanji b. Muhammad Hamid"; the copyist apparently believed the two were identical. On Muhammad Jilani, see al-Attas 1986: 8.

     [10] Muhammad Jilani had first arrived in Acheh as a teacher in the early 1580s and, if still alive, must atleast have been an octogenarian. Nuruddin was forced to leave Acheh in a hurry in 1644, see: Takeshi Ito, "Why did Nuruddin ar-Raniri leave Aceh in 1054 A.H.?", Bijdragen tot de Taal-, Land- en Volkenkunde 134 (1978), 489-491.

     [11] Raniri's Rifa`i silsila is given in al-Attas 1986: 14-15. Yusuf's Qadiri silsila, according to the Safnat al-najh, is as follows: Muhammad al-Jilani `Umar b. `Abdallah b.`Abd al-Rahman Ba-Shaybani al-Burhanpuri M. b. `Abdallah al-`Aydarus [Surat] Shaykh b. `Abdallah al-`Aydarus [Ahmadabad] Abu Bakr b. `Abdallah al-`Aydarus M. b. A. Fadl al-Yamani M. b. Mas`ud b. Abi Shukal al-Ansari M. Sa`id Kabbun al-Tabari al-Yamani Abu Bakr al-Raddad al-Bukhari Isma`il b. Ibrahim b. `Abd al-Samad al-Zabidi Siraj al-Din Abu Bakr b. M. b. Ibrahim al-Yamani al-Salami A. b. M. b.`Abdallah al-Samit b.Yusuf al-Asadi Abu Bakr b. M. b. Nu`am M. b. `Abdallah al-Samit `Abdallah al-Samit Yusuf al-Asadi `Abd al-Qadir al-Jilani.

     [12] On Shaykh Yusuf's influence in South Celebes and the development of the Khalwatiyya there, see Bruinessen 1991.

     [13] [al-] Nr al-hd il tarq al-rashad, manuscript ML 69, National Library, Jakarta. The silsila reaches back from Yusuf Tibuku (Cibogo?, Bogor) through M. Abu Tahir al-Kurani, Ibrahim al-Kurani, Ahmad al-Qushashi and Ahmad al-Shinnawi in Medina to the well-known Indian Sufis Wajih al-Din al-`Alawi, Muhammad Ghawth, Haji Huzur, Hidayatullah Sarmast, etc. (see S.A.A.Rizvi, A history of Sufism in India, vol. II, New Delhi: Munshiram Manoharlal, 1983, pp. 154-8, 329-330). These shaykhs are known to have transmitted various other turuq besides the Shattariyya, notably the Naqshbandiyya and the Qadiriyya. See the silsilas in al-Qushashi's al-Simt al-majd (Haydarabad, 1327).

     [14] See Johns 1978.

     [15] National Library, Jakarta, Ms. A 655, ffol. 172-184.

     [16] Snouck Hurgronje, 1893: 136. The text of one such sarakata given out by Sultan Iskandar Muda in 1022/1613 is reproduced in Tichelman 1933: "Pada hijrat Nabi SAW 1022 ... pada zaman paduka seri Sultan Iskandar Muda Johan berdawlat zill Allah fi'l-`alam tatkala itu insha'Llah ta`ala dengan berkat shafa`at Nabi kita Muhammad Rasul Allah SAW dan dengan berkat mu`jizat segala anbiya wa'l-mursalin dan dengan berkat karamat sahabat yang keempat dan dengan berkat `izzat Sultan al-`Arifin Sayyid Shaykh Muhyi al-Din `Abd al-Qadir Jilani dan dengan berkat segala qutb al-rabbani wa ghawth al-samadani dan dengan berkat sampurna segala awliya Allah al-salihin al-`abidin min mashariq al-ard ila magharibiha dan dengan berkat du`a paduka marhum sekalian dan dengan berkat afwah marhum Sayyid al-Mukammal maka adalah seri Sultan Iskandar Muda Johan ..." Shaykh `Abd al-Qadir is mentioned directly after God, the Prophet and his four Companions (i.e., the righly guided caliphs). He is the only saint mentioned by name and precedes, still in descending order, the other Poles (qutb), Helpers (ghawth) and lesser saints, from the eastern parts of the world to those in the west, the deceased rulers [of Acheh] and the late Sayyid al-Mukammal (who may have been a spiritual adviser at the court, or a qadi). The invocation reflects the view of a strict spiritual hierarchy (with a corresponding hierarchy of supernatural powers: shafa`at, mu`jizat, karamat, `izzat,... du`a, afwah), in which `Abd al-Qadir has an elevated place.

     [17] Pigeaud 1929: 157.

     [18] The sultan is referred to by the name he adopted after his father's death (or perhaps on the occasion of the initiation), Abu'l-Nasr Zayn al-`Arifin Zayn al-`Arifin had also been his father's royal name. The ijza is attached to a brief Arabic risla on the Qadiriyya, dated 1186/1772-3, copied in a majm`a that was compiled around 1800 AD (Leiden Cod Or 1842, ffol 352v-382r). A Javanese inscription on the first page shows that the manuscript belonged to a grandson of Sultan Zayn al-`Ashiqin, Raden Muhammad Musa b. Sultan Abu'l-Mafakhir Muhammad `Aliyuddin.

     [19] On `Abdallah b. `Abd al-Qahhar, see Bruinessen 1995c: 182. His spiritual link with "Imam `Ali al-Tabari" is documented in his own Silsila Shattariya (Leiden Cod Or 7327), and in a later silsila from Cirebon, quoted in Rinkes 1909: 96-97n.

     [20] Bruinessen 1993c: 185, 187-9. The name of debus derives from the spike (Ar. dabbs) with which Rifa`i dervishes pierce their bodies. In Banten, debus became a technique for acquiring invulnerability to sharp metal objects such as swords and bullets.

     [21] See M.C. Ricklefs, The seen and the unseen worlds in Java, 1726-1749 (St Leonards, Australia: Allen & Unwin, 1998), pp. 204-5. The manuscript, India Office Library Arab 2446, is described in M.C. Ricklefs and P. Voorhoeve, Indonesian Manuscripts in Great Britain (Oxford University Press, 1977), pp. 56-7.

     [22] The silsila contains the names of the mid-16th century Indian Shattariyya shaykhs Haji Huzur and Muhammad Ghawth, but unlike the genealogies given in note 13, it does not pass through the Medinan teachers who had such a formative influence on Indonesian Sufism. In descending order, Muhammad Ghawth is succeeded by: Amr Rashd `Abd al-Qdir Ysuf Lhr Shaykh Sultn Ngr Shaykh Sultn `Abd al-Qdir Shaykh Husayn Shaykh Muhammad Khalf al-haqr al-faqr Shaykh Muhammad (IOL Arab 2446, ffol. 333b-336a). The last-named shaykh, the "owner" of this genealogy, may have been an itinerant teacher passing through Surakarta, but it is also conceivable that the silsila was, together with one or more other texts, copied from another manuscript.

     [23] Kamajaya (ed), Serat Centhini (Suluk Tambangraras), jilid 5 (Yogyakarta, 1988), Canto 325, p. 33. The Dutch scholar Drewes believed he could identify the place where Seh Kadir taught with mount Karang in Banten (G.W.J. Drewes, The admonitions of Seh Bari, The Hague: Nijhoff, 1969, p. 11) but from the legends mentioned in the text below it is evident that the reference was to Karang(nunggal) on Java's south coast.

     [24] The best study still is Rinkes 1996 (originally 1910).

     [25] Interviews with a practitioner of the aliran (school) Kean Santang, 1988. This aliran originated from Garut in West Java. The hizb is believed to protect against possession by undesired spirits as well as to "fill" the practitioner's movements with supernatural power.

     [26] Cisondari was also a centre of propagation of the Shattariyya; a number of manuscripts is kept there as sacred heirlooms. One manuscript in Cirebon Javanese, titled Ilmu Haq (summarised in Y. Yogaswara dkk., Naskah dan kitab lama Cisondari, Bandung: Unpad, Fak. Sastra, 1976), makes Shaykh `Abd al-Qadir the teacher of Shaykh `Abd al-Muhyi as well as of the Nine Saints (wali sanga) of the north coast, who are commonly credited with the islamisation of Java. It gives a highly abbreviated silsila of the spiritual tradition it represents: Muhammad SAW the Companions Shaykh `Abd al-Qadir the Nine Saints (wali sanga) and the One Saint (wali tunggal) Pamijahan Kabuyutan Mahmud Cisondari. The last four are place names, associated with successive stages of propagation of the Shattariyya.

     [27] Rinkes 1996: 8. One day, `Abd al-Muhyi arrives late because he has smoked and is out of breath. `Abd al-Qadir scolds him for his smoking, after which `Abd al-Muhyi vows he and his descendants will forever refrain from smoking. This is the origin of a ban that is still imposed on all visitors of Pamijahan.

     [28] Interview, Kanoman kraton (palace), April 18, 1990.

     [29] Bowen 1993: 10-11. Shaykh Shamsuddin was Hamzah Fansuri's successor as a representative of monistic wahdat al-wujd; he was politically defeated at Acheh's court by Nuruddin al-Raniri, under whose influence the followers of Hamzah and Shamsuddin were persecuted. It is surprising that popular tradition has turned `Abd al-Qadir into an opponent of Hamzah's mysticism, whereas Hamzah himself mentions `Abd al-Qadir among his major spiritual influences. Shamsuddin's own works make no reference to either the Qadiriyya or `Abd al-Qadir.

     [30] Mas Rahmat's journal, of which a copy exists in the Leiden University Library, was studied by Ann Kumar, The diary of a Javanese Muslim: religion, politics and the pesantren, 1883-1886 (Canberra: Faculty of Asian Studies, Australian National University, 1985). The references to readings of `Abd al-Qadir's manqib are discussed at p. 75.

     [31] Meyer 1890: 469-71. The Javanese Hikayat Seh is analysed in Drewes and Poerbatjaraka 1938.

     [32] On these commemorations, see Snouck Hurgronje 1889:377. In Madura, ritual meals (sidhekah) in honour of Shaykh `Abd al-Qadir, known as "drasol Djaelani", used to be held on the 11th of every month and were accompanied by readings of manqib. See: Wirjo Asmoro, "Iets over de 'adat' der Madoereezen", Djawa 6 (1926), 251‑262, at 252. On the practice in the West Javanese centre of the Qadiriyya wa Naqshbandiyya, Suryalaya, see: Soebardi 1978: 226-8.

     [33] Interview with the secretary of the Kanoman kraton in Cirebon, April 18, 1990. Drewes and Poerbatjaraka have little to say on the situations in which the manqib are read (1938: 31-33), most of it quoted from Meyer 1890. Two more recent studies of manqib readings in West Java are Solehudin 1979 and Hamidi 1991.

     [34] Drewes and Poerbatjaraka 1938: 10-11, 13.

     [35] Ja`far b. Hasan al-Barzanji, Al-lujjayn al-dn f manqib ... `Abd al-Qdir al-Jln. Drewes and Poerbatjaraka mention a Javanese adaptation by M. Saleh, the author of numerous religious texts in the early 20th century (1938: 41). Seven other commentaries and/or translations (into Javanese, Sundanese and Indonesian) are listed in: M. van Bruinessen, Kitab kuning, pesantren dan tarekat (Bandung: Mizan, 1995), p. 111.

     [36] `Abd al-Qadir al-Arbili died in 1315/1897 (Bursali Mehmed Tahir, Osmanli mellifleri I, 36). His Tafrh is the Arabic adaptation of an originally Persian work by a certain Shaykh Muhammad Sadiq al-Qadiri.

     [37] Ust. Musannif Effendie, Riwayat: Syeikh Abdul Qodir Al Jailani. Illustrations by Yun. S. (publisher: M.A. Jaya, no place or year indicated). Four thin volumes.

     [38] At p. 60 in Drewes & Poerbatjaraka's translation of the Javanese adaptation (1938).

     [39] Kalijaga, a highway robber, is converted to Islam by another north coast saint, Sunan Bonang, who then orders him to meditate in a forest and only returns years later, when the obedient, unmoving disciple has become covered with creepers and other forest growth. The teacher then recognises that the disciple has attained spiritual perfection and declares him a saint. Sunan Bonang and Sunan Kalijaga are two of the "nine saints" (wali sanga) to whom the islamisation of Java is popularly attributed. Clifford Geertz (in Islam observed, New Haven: Yale University Press, 1968, pp. 25-29) singled out the Kalijaga legend to exemplify what he believed was the "classical", non-scripturalist style of Javanese Islam.

     [40] On Acheh: Snouck Hurgronje 1893-94, vol.II: 258-265; West Sumatra: Claire Holt, "Dances of Minangkabau", Indonesia 14 (1972), 73-88; Margaret J. Kartomi, "Dabuih in West Sumatra: a synthesis of Muslim and pre-Muslim ceremony and musical style", Archipel 41 (1991), 33-52; the Malay peninsula: W.W. Skeat, Malay magic (London: MacMillan, 1900), p. 466; Zakaria Ariffin, Mengenal budaya bangsa (Kuala Lumpur: Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka, 1990), pp. 32-4; West Java: Poensen 1888; K.A.H. Hidding, Gebruiken en godsdienst der Soendaneezen (Batavia: G. Kolff & Co., 1935), pp. 96-7; Vredenbregt 1973; van Bruinessen 1995c: 187-191; South Africa: I.D. du Plessis and C.A. Lckhoff, The Malay quarter and its people (Cape Town/Amsterdam: A.A. Balkema, 1953), pp. 61-4.

     [41] In Acheh, for instance, debus is also known as rapa'i (i.e., Rifa`i), but in the long invocation quoted by Snouck Hurgronje, `Abd al-Qadir is repeatedly invoked and Ahmad Rifa`i not once; the only other saint invoked is Shaykh Nuruddin [Raniri], who first introduced the Rifa`iyya here.

     [42] In fact, the one major text of this order, Fath al-`rifn (see below), explicitly associates the order with the Sammaniyya even though its dhikr and other devotions are clearly quite different.

     [43] Van Bruinessen 1998a. Cf. Snouck Hurgronje 1889:354-5.

     [44] The Fath al-`rifn was written down by Muhammad Isma`il b. `Abd al-Rahim al-Bali (a Balinese Muslim), who in the colophon of the printed editions is described as the shaykh's scribe. There are numerous manuscripts and printed editions. The first printed edition known to me appeared in Mecca in 1323/1905-6 and it has been reprinted many times since. It was translated into English by Shellabear (1933). The other treatise was written by Muhammad Ma`ruf b. al-shaykh `Abdallah Khatib Palembang and bears the similar title of Futh al-`rifn or Tariqa yang dibangsakan kepada Qadiriyah dan Naqsyabandiyah ("The Sufi order that is affiliated with the Qadiriyya and the Naqshbandiyya"). It was lithographed in Singapore in 1287/1870 which makes it one of the very first Muslim religious texts printed in the Archipelago. The only known manuscript is in the Jakarta National Library (ML 149).

     [45] Reprinted as Appendix III of Burton's A personal narrative of a pilgrimage to al-Madinah & Mecca (London, 1855).

     [46] Al-Attas (1963: 52-55) mentions a shaykh of the Qadiriyya wa Naqshbandiyya established near Johore Baru, Malaysia, whose silsila passes through another khalfa of Ahmad Khatib Sambas, a certain Haji Fadil. This is the only exception that I have come across.

     [47] This is one of the best known rebellions in the history of Java, thanks to Sartono Kartodirdjo's meticulously detailed study (1966). The following section is largely based on this work.

     [48] The Dutch sources usually speak of the Naqshbandiyya order (which had in the preceding years drawn some unfavourable attention from the administration), but from the names of those involved it is clear that it was the Qadiriyya wa Naqshbandiyya.

     [49] After his return to Mecca, he was reported to have criticised the rebellion as premature. Only an uprising breaking out simultaneously in different parts of the Archipelago, with sufficient arms and money, would in his opinion have any chance of success (Kartodirdjo 1966:187, after a report from the consul in Jeddah).

     [50] On this rebellion, see: Alfons van der Kraan, Lombok: conquest, colonization and underdevelopment, 1870-1940 (Singapore: Heinemann Educational Books, 1980), pp. 17-29; van Bruinessen 1994b: 215-9.

     [51] The Dutch sources all speak of Naqshbandiyya, but relatives of Guru Bangkol whom I interviewed at Praya told me that his tarqa was in fact the Qadiriyya wa Naqshbandiyya, which is still the most influential order in Lombok.

     [52] On this rebellion, see: E. Gobe & C. Adriaanse (eds.), Ambtelijke adviezen van C. Snouck Hurgronje, 1889-1936, vol. 3 (The Hague: Nijhoff, 1965), pp. 1964-73; Kartodirdjo 1973: 80-86.

     [53] The Dutch reports on the incident speak of the Naqshbandiyya but the kyai's descendants assured me that he taught in fact the Qadiriyya wa Naqshbandiyya.

     [54] The best study of this "communist" rebellion is Williams 1990; on the possible role of the Qadiriyya wa Naqshbandiyya in it, see my review in Bijdragen tot de Taal-, Land- en Volkenkunde 148 (1992), 144-5.

     [55] Van Bruinessen 1995c: 187-191.

     [56] Van Bruinessen 1994b: 93-5.

     [57] In Java, the term badal is often used to refer to a shaykh's deputy who has the authority to lead the communal dhikr of a local group of disciples and to teach them the various other devotions but who may not initiate new disciples; the khalfa has the full authority of a tarqa teacher (although he owes obedience to the shaykh who appointed him).

     [58] Van Bruinessen 1998b. On the activities of groups led by Kyai Muslih's khalfa, see: Syafi'i 1991; Mufid [=Syafi'i] 1992.

     [59] Virtually all traditionalist `ulama of Central and East Java were affiliated with the organisation Nahdlatul Ulama, which was a political party until 1973, when the government forced it to merge with three other Muslim parties into the United Development Party (PPP). This party owed much of its electoral strength to the active support of the leading `ulama, and the government party Golkar made great efforts to bring some `ulama over to its own ranks.

     [60] Dhofier 1981; Lombard 1985: 154-7; van Bruinessen 1994b: 178-183; van Bruinessen 1994c: 169-180.

     [61] On this branch of the Qadiriyya wa Naqshbandiyya, see Soebardi 1978, Munawar-Rachman & Ismail 1991, and especially Nasution 1990. The editor of the last-named work is a highly respected academic and former rector of the State Institute of Islamic Studies (IAIN) in Jakarta, known for his rationalism, who later in life became a disciple of Abah Anom; several of the contributors also teach at IAINs, all are disciples.

     [62] Personal information.

     [63] Personal information.

     [64] Another highly successful teacher is the Naqshbandi master Kadirun Yahya (whose following includes a number of powerful former cabinet ministers and a wide range of urban professionals and artists besides simple peasants). See van Bruinessen 1994b: 148-158.