Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Introduction to Yemenite Sufi Order

Assalamu'alaikum wa Rahmatullah!

This is a little bit about our ancestral root. When we lose our identity, we also lose our religion and always in disaster. This is what I believe now because God will take away blessings from us.  Before going further? What is tasawwuf? Some people are so allergic to this mention. Last time, I was so afraid of this mention too because I was afraid that it could deflect me from salafi track. At least what I had been taught in Mecca which is apart of Saudi Arabia.

Tasawwuf is a way for us to be close to Allah. It is actually mentioned in the hadith that I had provided last time in few gap of posts. Islam was build upon three basis. They are the Aqidah, Ibadah, and Ihsaan. Ihsaan is a way for us to feel close to Him. Ihsaan is tasawwuf. Why some people view tasawwuf in different way or could we say negativity? 

It is because some people had mixed tasawwuf with other teachings from foreign influence until it is difficult to differentiate between what had been taught through Quran and Sunnah and others. Well, I think I am not safe from infidelity since last time I was also an infidel. But I was also being confused by those who assume themselves as 'salafis' until I was afraid of tasawwuf mention because as a follower of Buddha Guru and Panchasila last time, I did meditations a lot by chanting mantras and kathas (longer version of mantra) because I am trying to find what is my dharmma despite of feeling unfortunate in this life and feeling like giving up. But few things we performed in our daily life as Muslims undeniably have connection to tasawwuf like dzikrullah and ma'thurat. This is what I understood as a once again beginner in Islam.

What is Yemenite Sufi Order or Tariqat aal Baa'alawi? It is actually a Sunnah Sufi order established by Muhammad b. Ali Baa'alawi who is also known as Faqih al-Muqaddim. It is also known as the Tariqat of the Yemenite. The founder of this sufi order was born in the valley of Tarim in Yemen, Southern of Arabia Peninsula around 574 H. He passed away in the city around 653 H.

The new reformed order was established by Imaam Abdullah b. 'Alawi al-Haddad. I still keep his kitaab regarding dzikr and other qasidah. It spreads mainly in Yemen. It is also prominent among the Yemeni diasporas in South East Asian countries like in Malaysia,  Myanmar, Singapore, and Indonesoa. It spreads also in Malabar Coast in South India, Surat, and Ahmedabad in Gujerat province of India. Eastern Africa like in Kenya and Tanzania. I even heard the sub-sufi order called Shahidliya is also prominent in North Africa and France. 

Most of Yemeni diaspora especially those in northern Malaysian peninsula also have connection with India sub-continent like India and Pakistan due to inter-marriages. The first recorded Yemeni  Islamic da'i (missionary) who arrived in Northern Malaya was known as Syeikh Abdullah around 10th C. Later in 17th C, two maharaja's qadhis (royal judges) were invited by the Sultanate of Kedah into the kingdom. One is a Yemeni known as Syeikh Abdul Jalil al-Mahdaly from Sana'a and his disciple Hafez Sab from India. 

Later, many other judges from Arabia were invited by the Sultanate into the court, even some of them could not speak in proper Malay but only in Arabic and only their descents today speak in Malay. We are from Kedah Sultanate, I was also born in Sungai Petani. It is a town in Kuala Muda district in Kedah which looks not so much different with India when you go through dusty roads and in term of climate, lol. 

The jurisprudence school of the sufi order is Syafi'ie jurisprudence. It is now like a formal jurisprudence school in Malaysia and very prominent. As a Hadrami (Yemeni) descent, I am not a Syafi'ie but a Hanbali. Because when I repent in Mecca, I had been taught the manner of Hanbali in my way of salaat and others. Ulamas said that if we follow a certain jurisprudence, better be in full and not half of it. So I would just stick to Hanbali jurisprudence although my family members are all loyal Syafi'ies. I am also influenced by Imaam Ahmad b. Hanbal so much even in characteristics because I love him too. However I have equal respect to all of Imaam and not a fanatic. They are scholars of religion and deserve respects. The creed of this sufi order is based on the al-Ash'ari and Maturidi sunnah teachings.  

Important aspect of this sufi order is that it emphasizes the learning of Islamic sciences. I see, so now I know why our elders had advised my dad to send me to a madrasah in Perlis when I was 13 years old and not to be schooled in southern peninsula because we couldn't find our people easily down there at that time and those genuine ones are in Johore and Singapore. I didn't understand that. So, did my dad because he just followed without asking what is the reason for that. 

This sufi order also emphasizes the importance of history and seerah nabawiyah for sunnah tradition. The learning becoming systematic day by day and combined with other knowledges as well. I still keep my kitaab during I was 13 years old in I'dadi level but I had forgotten all that had been memorized because I hate the lessons and teachers so much, I hate what my parents had done to me by sending me alone to Perlis. I hate my life too because I didn't understand the meaning of life, hahaha. Maybe I need to start it again.

Most of adherents of this sufi order are the sayyids which are the descendants of Ali (r.a) and Fatimah (r.a) through their son imaam Hussein (r.a). What I had heard, around 381 H a descent of Hussein had migrated from Basrah in Iraq first to Mecca and later to Madinah. Later because of few troubles with Abbasid caliphate, they have to move out into Hadramaut in Yemen. These people have so many followers until being suspected by the caliphate of plotting revolt and trying to overthrow the caliphate. 

So, from the mention of Hadramaut, the descents are called as the Hadramis whether peranakan (with Indian mother or Malay mother, Chinese mother and Siamese mother) or the genuine one. Those with Indian mother may come from Surat or Ahmedabad in North India or Malabar coast of South India. My father could trace his lineage from the mother with parentage of Ahmedabad. Last time, I became a Buddhist (can be considered a Hindu but without God) because I thought I was an Indian. Even until now, many people had mistaken me for a Nepali. I had made friends with Nepalis in the airport where I worked last time and also met few Indians from Jhalandar near Punjab. They thought that I am their country man and some of them communicating with me in Hindi but I just replied them in English because Hindi-Urdu had long been forgotten. I remembered I was also fluent in Hindi-Urdu so did my sisters. Now we could only understand it but could not reply anymore. Long time living in Chinese environment, our identity is only at home.

During Umayyad and Abbasid caliphate, the descent of Fatimah and Ali (r.a) were the source of Islamic knowledge. Many people referring them for religious problem until the caliphate feel intimidated although these people have no political ambition to be leader of anyone. 

Nowadays, do not have to worry. Most of us had lost our religion, even had forgotten our ancestral root. Thanks to leaders of the world for being suspicious and thinking bad of others and not listening to Quranic and Sunnah teachings. I would also avoid having evil thought to those who have pure intention in religion.  If I could sense sincerity, I would protect them in every aspects even if I have to sacrifice myself and property and kick the ass of those who talked bad and negative things about my brothers of other affiliation or jama'at, may He permits it because now I just know to do anything because of Him. I don't know other things.

Some of those who still retain their sayyid and syarifa title are quite Westernized. I notice this when I visit their house. Some had engaged with evil and wickedness due to trials and tribulation so they have to lose their title because feeling ashamed of their selves.  When it comes to descents, all of them had forgotten about it and never realize about their root anymore. Some are with the title wan because they were granted lands and position like chieftain by Sultans in the country that they landed in. This is what I heard in our maternal family assembly last two years in Sungai Acheh, Penang. So many people, I don't even know them but we are related to each other, haha. I hope I can see them again, I guess around 2000 people there.

I had been advised by elders to join any tariqa activities if I could not find our members any close especially in their majlis. Last time I was also afraid to join jama'at-e-tabligh member but when I heard this I am relieved, at least I would just support their activities. Only to make sure everything going according to Quran and Sunnah. That is the first thing I am worried of.     

Sealed with prayers for peace. May Allah bless us with wisdoms and helping my brethren in faith ministering their path to see You. May we be together in this life and hereafter. May all of us being successful in everything that we do and perform. May our intention in performing life only as ibaadat and a form of worship to Allah, aaamin!

1 comment:

  1. when i was at my prev company, i usually pray at a nearby masjid which is one of the centers for the ba'alawi tariqa.

    they would have Hol of Imaam Al-Haddad and it is mostly there i learned the background of this great saint.

    currently my favourite amongst his qasidah is qad kafani beautifully read here

    if only i can apply the lesson there in my heart


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