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The šar/āšiya Phenomenon in Southeast Asia

From al-Sanūsī’s Umm al-Barāhīn to Malay Sifat Dua Puluh Literature
Philipp Bruckmayr
p. 27-52

Résumés

Umm al-barāhīn, la profession de foi ašʿarīte d’Abū ʿAbd Allāh al-Sanūsī (m. 895/1490), est l’une des ʿaqīdas les plus souvent commentées dans la tradition musulmane. Commentaires, gloses et traductions commentées du texte n’ont, cependant, jusqu’à présent reçu que peu d’attention. En Asie du Sud-Est, et ce, par l’intermédiaire de commentaires malais et javanais et de traductions commentées, le Umm al-barāhīn a, dans les faits, cédé la place à un nouveau genre de littérature de ʿaqida typiquement sud-est asiatique, connu sous le nom sifat dua puluh (Les vingt attributs). En se référant à l’évolution des commentaires du Umm al-barāhīn dans la littérature des sifat dua puluh, la présente contribution met en évidence l’importance d’étudier le phénomène du šar et de la āšiya dans les langues islamiques autres que l’arabe, afin d’élargir notre compréhension des différentes fonctions de l’écriture des commentaires et de ses aspects transculturels.

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Texte intégral

Introduction

  • 1 Cf. Oriens 41, 2-3, 2013.

1Until recently the vast field of the writing of commentaries and glosses in the Islamic sciences has received only very limited attention. Although groundbreaking work has finally been done in the field in the last few years,1 this has been almost exclusively focused on original treatises and commentaries in the Arabic language. In contrast, the tradition of commentary production in the Islamic sciences in languages other than Arabic has so far very much remained uncharted territory, with the partial exception of studies on commentaries on the Qurʾān in vernacular languages. The present contribution, however, will primarily revolve around commentaries written in the major historical Southeast Asian language of Islamic scholarship, namely in classical Malay and its adaptation of the Arabic script, both of which have come to be known as jawi language and script respectively. On a lesser scale, also texts in other Southeast Asian languages, such as Javanese and Cham, the language used by the Cham people of Indochina, will also be discussed.

2It will hereby become evident that Malay commentaries to Arabic works have often, due to the involved crossing of language barriers, which are frequently also setting the parameters for academic specialization, not been recognized as such. Instead, superficial readings of and glimpses onto, the texts in question have routinely resulted in the somewhat disparaging scholarly description of Malay commentaries to Arabic treatises as mere translations, rather than as vernacular expressions of the šar/āšiya phenomenon in Islam. This is intriguing for two reasons. Firstly, it has been overlooked that also mere translations, as opposed to full-fledged commentaries, are naturally very likely to include some form of commentary, or to have been produced with recourse to existing Arabic commentaries and glosses on a given Arabic source text, in order to render the meaning of the original understandable to local audiences unable to grasp its Arabic content. Secondly, the fact that comparably superficial academic studies of the Malay texts in question have accounted for the continued misrepresentation of actual šars/āšiyas as mere Malay “renderings”, “versions” or “translations”, has important implications for the study of the šar/āšiya phenomenon and post-classical Islamic thought as a whole.

  • 2 Ahmed & Larkin, “The āšiya”, p. 213.

3Thus, such oversights have by and large turned the concerned texts into “shadow commentaries”, whose scholarly value remains mostly unseen and unappreciated, as it is presumed that they have little more to offer than the translation of a text from one language to another. Against this background it may also be asked, polemically speaking, whether these scholarly misconceptions are not based on an implicit hierarchization of Islamic discourse and languages, whereby it is plainly assumed that the scholarship of Southeast Asian Muslims can hardly be expected to extend beyond the comparably unoriginal field of translation. This, of course, also echoes the longstanding assumption that šars and āšiyas represented “nothing original or innovative” but were merely representative of “stagnancy and decline of Islamic intellectual traditions”.2

  • 3 See his contribution to this volume.

4Thus, it can be said that the present contribution not only aims at highlighting the existence of Southeast Asian traditions of šar/āšiya writing, but also at revising certain implicit assumptions of Western scholarship about Southeast Asian Islamic intellectual history. Accordingly, this study is primarily concerned with several different types of so-called “shadow commentaries”, most of which have been written in the Malay language, but are forming part of a cluster of texts spanning much of the Muslim World, namely the one built around Umm al-barāhīn, the brief Ašʿarī ʿaqīda by Abū ʿAbd Allāh Muḥammad b. Yūsuf al-Sanūsī (d. 895/1490).These include Malay texts fully according to Arabic traditions of šar/āšiya writing, as well as less obvious and less explicit commentaries, which may nevertheless be referred to as such, due to the fact that they are thoroughly built upon individual earlier Arabic works. This latter group of texts therefore clearly exhibits what van der Lit has described as “structural textual correspondence”3 with the Arabic originals. As will be shown, Southeast Asian Islamic tradition has perhaps been unique in establishing a distinctive new genre of ʿaqīda writing, i.e. the sifat dua puluh (Twenty Attributes) genre, which shows a remarkably high degree of structural textual correspondence with al-Sanūsī’s Umm al-barāhīn. Additionally, besides these two types of “shadow commentaries”, this study sheds light on the role of fatwas as a form of commentary to (parts of) a given work, which was, in our case, at times precipitated by the existence of the Arabic-Malay and other, regional, language barriers. Finally, it is highlighted how the central doctrines of a given treatise, and of the local genre springing from it, can be explained and made accessible to local audiences in completely different contexts and media.

The Umm al-Barāhīn Cluster

  • 4 Brockelmann, Geschichte, II, p. 250‒251; SII, p. 353‒355. It may be noted that it’s Ḥanafi equival (...)
  • 5 For a summary see Wensick, Muslim Creed, p. 275f.
  • 6 In the Fulfulde and Hausa-speaking spheres of West Africa, the memorization of Umm al-barāhīn as w (...)

5Al-Sanūsī’s Umm al-barāhīn undoubtedly represents by far the most widely distributed and most frequently commentated Ašʿarī ʿaqīda.4 Therefore, it is not surprising that an impressive cluster of texts, including commentaries, glosses, super-glosses (taqārīr), versifications and additions (taʿliqāt), as well as other types of texts exhibiting structural textual correspondence, has developed around this concise exposition of the Ašʿarī creed.5 Indeed, Umm al-barāhīn has been part of a cluster right from the beginning. Accordingly, the text is also known as al-Sanūsī’s short catechism (al-ʿaqīda al-sanūsiyya al-uġrā), besides his even shorter (uġrā al-uġrā), medium (wu) and long (kubrā) ʿaqīdas. Additionally, the author himself produced his own commentary to each of them. Beginning with his student Abū ʿAbd Allāh Muḥammad al-Tilimsānī (d. 897/1492), an extensive body of texts has been built around Umm al-barāhīn, primarily in Arabic, but likewise in other languages used in parts of the Muslim World dominated by Māliki-Ašʿarī or Šāfiʿī-Ašʿarī Sunnism. Important cases in point are West African languages such as Hausa and Fulfulde,6 and Southeast Asian languages, primarily Malay and Javanese.

  • 7 For a specimen of the latter see Laffan, Makings of Indonesian Islam, p. 7.
  • 8 Cabaton, « Une traduction interlinéaire », p. 115‒145.Malay interlinear translations are also prese (...)
  • 9 A case in point being a Singapore edition of 1883. Proudfoot, Early Malay Printed Books, p. 530.

6The Southeast Asian part of the Umm al-barāhīn cluster is itself made up of several different components. Firstly, we have local manuscript copies of the matn or an Arabic šar, such as al-Tilimsānī’s al-Fat al-mubīn.7 Even these manuscript copies are more often than not accompanied by Malay or Javanese interlinear and/or marginal notes, which are offering the local reader a certain amount of commentary to, or explanation of, the text. Secondly, we have numerous local manuscripts with translations of the text, whereby it was usually the medium of interlinear translations, which has been preferred. Such have even been preserved in the perceived fringes of Southeast Asian Islam. A case in point being a Malay interlinear translation produced by a local scholar in the Vietnamese Mekong Delta region in 1893.8 Whereas some of these interlinear translations, such as the aforementioned, are following the Arabic text quite closely, others are including a certain amount of commentary as part of the translation. Some have even found their way into print.9

  • 10 For such mislabeling in descriptions of these texts see ibid., p. 120; Matheson & Hooker, “Jawi Li (...)
  • 11 Azra, Origins of Islamic Reformism, p. 124.
  • 12 Al-Āšī (after 1171/1758), Bidāyat al-hidāya, p. 5 (the folios of the manuscript were given page num (...)
  • 13 Katalog Manuskrip Melayu, p. 93.
  • 14 Abdullah, Koleksi Ulama Nusantara, II, p. 26.

7The most interesting group of texts for the present inquiry, however, are the more or less extensive Malay “shadow commentaries”, often mislabeled as Malay translations, renderings or versions. In the following, only the three arguably most well-known specimens of this category, of which there certainly exists a larger number, will be discussed.10 The earliest “Malay version” of Umm al-barāhīn, which has come down to us, is the Bidāyat al-hidāya, composed in 1170/1756‒7 by Muḥammad Zayn al-Faqīh Ǧalāl al-Dīn al-Āšī, a leading scholar of the Sultanate of Aceh in North Sumatra under the reign of sultan ʿAlāʾ al-Dīn Maḥmūd Šāh (r. 1174‒1195/1760‒1781).11 In his introduction, the author notes that he produced his translation and commentary of the Umm al-barāhīn in order to expound its meaning to Malay readers by reference to what he has found in commentaries and glosses to the text.12 The resulting work is approximately six times longer than the Arabic matn. Thus, already a cursory look at its length falsifies the idea that it could be nothing more than a translation of the original. Manuscript holdings suggest that the text was highly popular. The Malaysian National Library alone houses over 30 manuscripts of Bidāyat al-hidāya.13 It was first edited for a lithographic print by the Mecca-based Malay scholar Aḥmad al-Faṭānī from Patani in Southern Thailand in 1303/1885‒6. Moreover, it represents the oldest Malay work on ʿaqīda still used and republished today.14

  • 15 Al-Āšī (after 1171/1758), Bidāyat al-hidāya, p. 5‒7.
  • 16 Al-Tilimsānī (897/1492), « Šarḥ Umm al-barāhīn », p. 53‒55; al-Anṣārī (1241/1826), Šar Umm al-barā (...)
  • 17 Al-Āšī (after 1171/1758), Bidāyat al-hidāya, p. 7. For these legal differences see Ibn Rushd, Disti (...)
  • 18 Al-Āšī (after 1171/1758), Bidāyat al-hidāya, p. 25.

8The author’s explanatory comments already start with the introductory basmala, amdala and taliya of the matn.15 This is, however, nothing peculiar to Malay scholars and their audiences. Many well-known Arabic commentaries and glosses to the text are engaging themselves in more or less extensive discussions on these standard introductory textual elements and the issues of belief and religious practice associated with them.16 Nevertheless, it is of particular interest that al-Āšī uses this occasion to point out differences of religious practice in this regard, based on divergent opinions of the Māliki (i.e. al-Sanūsī’s mahab) and Šāfiʿī (i.e. his own) schools on the obligatory or nonobligatory recitation of these formulas in prayer.17 Among the devices of the author’s commentary, we are also finding specific questions and their respective answers relative to individual statements of al-Sanūsī’s text. These are often framed in a way to prepare Malay scholars for questions from their students. Thus, for example, a question posed by al-Āšī concerning the passage “[Allah’s] knowledge encompasses all which is necessary, possible and impossible”, is introduced in the following form: “And if you are asked by one of our people (orang kita) about the relationship between [divine] knowledge and the three logical categories (hukum akli, i.e. necessary, possible and impossible) [..].”18

  • 19 Snouck Hurgronje, Mekka, p. 202.
  • 20 Al-Sumbāwī, Sirāǧ al-hudā, p. 2.

9Another well-known Malay commentary to Umm al-barāhīn, entitled Sirāǧ al-hudā was composed by Muḥammad Zayn al-Dīn al-Sumbāwī (fl. second half of 19th century), who hailed from the Indonesian island of Sumbawa, and was the only Southeast Asian teacher in Mecca’s arām at the time of Snouck Hurgronje’s visit (1884‒1885).19 The author describes his work explicitly as a Malay šar to al-Sanūsī’s treatise, which “contains all the articles of belief that every legally responsible person is obliged to know” (ia mengandung segala ʿaqāʾid al-īmān yang wajib atas tiap-tiap mukallaf). Additionally, he notes that this small ʿaqīda “is the most famous among all the Arabs, Malays, Turks, Indians and others” (yang terlebih masyhur pada segala orang arab dan jawi dan turki dan hindi dan lainnya).20 Longer than its precursor Bidāyat al-hidāya, al-Sumbāwī’s commentary has a length of 55 pages in its classical lithographic edition, which was originally produced in Cairo and subsequently reproduced by Southeast Asian publishers such as the al-Maʿārif press in Penang (Malaysia).

  • 21 Ibid., p. 3f.
  • 22 Al-Sumbāwī, Sirāǧ al-hudā, p. 7. On al-Māturīdī’s position see Rudolph, al-Māturīdī, p. 291‒298.
  • 23 Al-Sumbāwī, Sirāǧ al-hudā, p. 11f.
  • 24 Ibid., p. 12f.

10Also al-Sumbāwī first comments on the basmala and the other customary introductory formulas, but without any reference to differences among the Sunni schools of law.21 Early on in the text, however, he exhibits an awareness of, and preoccupation with, differences between Ašʿarī and Māturīdī doctrine, which is not mirrored in Bidāyat al-hidāya. Thus, he notes, in connection with al-Sanūsī’s statement that “every legally responsible person is obliged to know what is necessary, what is impossible and what is possible with regard to Allah”, that the Māturīdiyya differs from al-Ašʿarī (and al-Sanūsī) in claiming that knowledge of the divine can be gained not only through revelation but also through reason. Expectedly, the author subsequently voices his preference for the Ašʿarī view.22 Regarding al-Sanūsī’s specification of the attribute of oneness (wadāniyya) as there “being no second to Allah in either essence, attributes or acts”, he embarks on a digression (faidah, ar. ʾida) on human agency, explaining the divergent positions of the accepted Sunni schools (Ašʿarism and Māturīdism) as well as of schools regarded as deviant (Muʿtazila, Qadariyya, Ǧabriyya) on usaha (human effort) and ikhtiar (free will, ar. itiyār).23 A basic difference between Ašʿarism and Māturīdism is again pointed out by al-Sumbāwī with respect to the author’s statement that Allah has seven necessary ideational attributes (ifāt al-maʿānī). Thus, the commentator duly notes that the followers of al-Māturīdī are holding the view that Allah has an additional such attribute, namely that of bringing into existence (takwīn). Once again explicitly supporting al-Ašʿarī’s view, al-Sumbāwī denies the divine attribute of takwīn by stressing that the process of bringing into existence would be solely dependent on Allah’s power (qudra).24

  • 25 Cf. Badeen, Sunnitische Theologie; Bruckmayr, “Spread and Persistence”, p. 68.
  • 26 On the author see McHugh, Holymen of the Blue Nile, p. 131‒136.
  • 27 Al-Bayǧūrī (1276/1860), āšiyat al-imām al-Bayǧūrī, p. 105, 129.
  • 28 Van Bruinessen, “Kitab Kuning”, p. 251.

11The inclusion of material on differences between the two Sunni schools of kalām clearly represents a later development in šars and āšiyas to Umm al-barāhīn. It is absent in the early commentaries by al-Sanūsī and al-Tilimsānī, which should come as no surprise as the literature on differences between Ašʿarism and Māturīdism was primarily a product of Ottoman scholarly culture from the 16th century onwards.25 It can, however, neither be found in many later commentaries and glosses, such as the šar by the major 18th century Sudanese scholar Aḥmad b. ʿĪsā al-Anṣārī (d. 1241/1826)26 and the gloss to al-Sanūsī’s commentary by his Egyptian contemporary Muḥammad b. Aḥmad al-Dasūqī (d. 1230/1814‒5). Contrastingly, such discussions are indeed included in the gloss of the revered Šay al-Azhar, Ibrāhīm al-Bayǧūrī (d. 1276/1860),27 which continues to be the most highly regarded Arabic work on Umm al-barāhīn in traditional Islamic education in Indonesia.28 It can thus be said that al-Sumbāwī was well up to date with the contemporary evolution of Arabic šars and āšiyas to Umm al-barāhīn.

  • 29 Al-Sumbāwī, Sirāǧ al-hudā, p. 16.

12An interesting feature of Sirāǧ al-hudā, particularly in comparison with the next—chronologically slightly later—Malay commentary, can be found among al-Sumbāwī’s comments relative to al-Sanūsī’s assertion that Allah’s power and will are encompassing the entirety of possible things. Here he includes a story about the Baghdadi grammarian Ibn al-Šaǧarī (d. 542/1148) being questioned about the meaning of Q55, 29 (kulla yawmin huwa fī šāʾnin). At first unable to furnish an answer to the enquirer, he is able to provide one the following day, after an encounter with the prophet in his dreams.29

  • 30 Matheson & Hooker, “Jawi Literature”, p. 34; Madmarn, Pondok & Madrasah, p. 30.
  • 31 Al-Faṭānī, ʿAqīdat al-nāǧīn, p. 140.
  • 32 Abdullah, Koleksi Ulama Nusantara, I, p. 163.
  • 33 Al-Fatani, Ulama Besar, p. 65.

13Finally, the most elaborate Malay commentary on the Umm al-barāhīn to date, ʿAqīdat al-nāǧīn fī ʿilm uūl al-dīn, was written in 1308/1890 by Zayn al-ʿĀbidīn b. Muḥammad al-Faṭānī (d. 1331/ 1913) of Patani. Also this text has been mislabeled as a Malay rendering or translation of the Arabic original.30 Particularly the latter claim is outrageous as ʿAqīdat al-nāǧīn consists of 140 dense pages in the classical Cairo lithographic edition printed by ʿĪsā al-Bābī al-Ḥalabī.31 Indeed, at the time of its publication, it represented the second-longest Malay work on ʿaqīda of all. Today it is the most extensive pre-20th century Malay text in the field, which is still available and routinely employed in traditional religious education in the region,32 where it is studied by advanced students, who have completed readings of smaller books such as Bidāyat al-hidāya and Sirāǧ al-hudā.33

  • 34 Al-Faṭānī, ʿAqīdat al-nāǧīn, p. 2.
  • 35 Largely unknown today, al-Hudhudī’s commentary must have once been highly valued. Thus, it is also (...)
  • 36 Bakker, Normative Grundstrukturen, p. 761.
  • 37 Likewise, a commentary to it by ʿAbd al-Barr al-Aǧhūrī (d. 1070/1659‒60) is cited several times.

14In his introduction the author stresses that the translation of al-Sanūsī’s matn was only one part of his scholarly endeavor. Praising the text as “the best (terlebih elok) of what has been written on tawīd”, he explains: “I have translated the introduction (mukadimah) of Shaykh Sanūsī and have enriched it with material from a number of commentaries and glosses to it in order to explain the words of this Shaykh as intended.”34 Highly scholarly in nature, ʿAqīdat al-nāǧīn explicitly relies on several commentaries and glosses to Umm al-barāhīn from different time periods. These include the šars of al-Tilimsānī and Muḥammad b. Manṣūr al-Hudhudī (d. 11th/17th century),35 the āšiya of al-Bayǧūrī, and, as most frequently cited source, the gloss to al-Hudhudī of Aḥmad b. Muḥammad al-Suḥaymī (d. 1178/1764). In addition, verses from Ǧawharat al-tawīd of Ibrāhīm al-Laqānī (d. 1041/1631), a rhymed creed strongly based on Umm al-barāhīn,36 are quoted a number of times.37 Apart from that, al-Faṭānī refers to a whole string of past Šāfiʿī-Ašʿarī theologians, legal and hadith scholars, most prominently al-Ġazālī (d. 505/1111) and Muḥyī al-Dīn al-Nawawī (d. 676/1277).

  • 38 Al-Faṭānī, ʿAqīdat al-nāǧīn, p. 4f., 24.
  • 39 Ibid., p. 51, 55, 76.

15Just as al-Āšī and al-Sumbāwī, also al-Faṭānī offers commentary for readers right from the basmala of the basic text onwards. Moreover, his awareness of, and desire to elaborate on, legal and theological inter-mahab differences is even more pronounced than in the case of his precursors. Thus, al-Āšī’s discussion of Māliki-Šāfiʿī divergence regarding the legal status of basmala, amdala and taliya in prayer is echoed in ʿAqīdat al-nāǧīn, just as are al-Sumbāwī’s observations concerning the divine attribute of takwīn in Māturīdism38. Al-Faṭānī, however, deals with many other issues of legal and theological intra-Sunni differences as well. Cases in point are contending Ašʿarī and Māturīdī points of view on the eternity of the attributes of act and the issue of istiʾ (i.e. adding the formula “if God wills” to the statement “I am a believer”), as well as Māliki-Šāfiʿī divergence over the continuing legal import of revelations prior to the Qurʾān.39

  • 40 Ibid., p. 49.
  • 41 Ibid., p. 96‒114.

16Moreover, the work contains a digression—prompted by quotations from the Qurʾān and al-Laqānī’s Ǧawharat al-tawīd—on the different approaches to theological interpretation of what al-Faṭānī interchangeable refers to as the mahabs or arīqas of the salaf and the alaf respectively, whom he describes as jointly making up the ahl al-sunna wa-l-ǧamāʿa. Concerned with the critical issues of tašbīh (affirming similarity) and tanzīh (affirming incompatibility), he describes the alaf approach as “most knowledgeable and strongest because it makes things increasingly clear and provides decisive answers to opponents” (terlebih mengetahui dan terlebih teguh karena barang yang padanya bertambah wadih dan radd atas khusum dan yaitu terlbih rajih). Contrastingly, he presents the approach of the salaf, with its refusal to engage in ʾwīl (interpretation) of ambiguous verses, “as safest as it keeps things from being reduced to one specific [potentially erroneous] meaning” (terlebih selamat karena didalamnya selamat daripada mentakayyankan maknanya).40 In another digression, running over almost twenty pages, al-Faṭānī deals with conceptions of the afterlife, burial rituals, sins and repentance, Ibn ʿArabī’s teachings on reward and punishment as result (ar. ʿaqaba) of man’s actions, legal responsibility and the role of the sultan (raja) and the ʿulamāʾ in upholding the sharia.41

  • 42 Ibid., p. 82.

17A particular interesting feature of ʿAqīdat al-nāǧīn are its explicit references to the affairs of the Southeast Asian Muslim community and its defense of traditional Islamic scholarship against the emerging Islamic reformism in the Arab World and Southeast Asia. Such agendas are absent from his two precursors’ commentaries. At several instances al-Faṭānī shows an awareness of the difficulties posed by the language barrier between Arabic and Malay for the teaching of Islam in his home region. Thus, he notes that, whereas Allah is used for the divine in both languages, ilāh means “god” only in the former and not in the latter language. Given such obstacles to spreading (mendakwah) and understanding (mengetahui) Islam, the author regarded the role of the local ʿulamāʾ—as heirs to the prophet—as a highly important one.42

  • 43 In the course of the 16th and 17th centuries, the Šaṭṭariyya of al-Qušāšī, al-Kūrānī and al-Sinkil (...)
  • 44 Al-Faṭānī, ʿAqīdat al-nāǧīn, p. 87.
  • 45 Ibid., p. 87.

18Concerning Islamic reformist attacks on Sufism and its locally cherished heroes of the past, the author laments that in the last few years, people have emerged, “who are charging certain knowers of God with unbelief (mekafirkan) such as Muḥammad Sammān [Muḥammad b. ʿAbd al-Karīm al-Sammānī (d. 1189/1776)] and Aḥmad al-Qušāšī (d.1074/1661), among whose students there were saints, second to none in kind, such as Mullā Ibrāhīm [al-Kūrānī (d. 1101/1690)] of the Kurds and šay ʿAbd al-Raʾūf Fanṣūrī [al-Sinkilī (d. 1105/1693)] of the Malays”.43 Conversely, he notes that “Sufism (ilmu tasawuf) is part of the sharia, because it has three components […], flowing from the Qurʾān and the hadiths”: 1) Islamic law (fiqh) as taught by al-Šāfiʿī, 2) uūl al-dīn as established by al-Ašʿarī and 3) ilmu tasawuf, as founded by Abū al-Qāsim al-Ǧunayd al-Baġdādī (d. 298/910), and ilmu tarikat, “which goes back to the time of the aāba, who took their knowledge from the prophet and then passed it on to their followers down to the present day” (yaitu ilmu yang dahulu pada masa sahabat mengambil merika itu daripada penghulu kita nabi Muhammad [..] dan [..] mengajar mereka itu yang kemudian hingga sampai sekarang ini).44 He further emphasizes that local debates about religious doctrines and practices, as expounded in specific books, should, if necessary, be solved through travels to Mecca and Medina and consultations with its scholars.45

  • 46 The five published Arabic commentaries and glosses surveyed for this study are not including the s (...)
  • 47 Ibid., p. 2; al-Bayǧūrī (1276/1860), āšiyat al-imām al-Bayǧūrī, p. 51.

19Finally, it is intriguing that the story about Ibn al-Šaǧarī, which we have encountered in Sirāǧ al-hudā, is also included in ʿAqīdat al-nāǧīn. As the Malay wording is, however, significantly different in both works, it must be concluded that it was independently translated from a so far unidentified Arabic original.46 As it is al-Hudhudī’s commentary and the gloss upon it by al-Suḥaymī, which are most frequently cited by al-Faṭānī, they should perhaps be regarded as the most likely candidates. One Arabic work, however, which has definitely made its mark on al-Faṭānī’s extensive Malay commentary on Umm al-barāhīn is definitely al-Bayǧūrī’s āšiya. The Patani scholar’s aforementioned introductory praise of the qualities of al-Sanūsī’s work is clearly a verbatim translation taken from al-Bayǧūrī’s gloss47. Just as the latter, also al-Faṭānī’s ʿAqīdat al-nāǧīn, albeit not in Arabic, represented the state of the art of šar/āšiya writing on ʿaqīda during the period.

The Emergence of Sifat Dua Puluh Literature

  • 48 For Cham see below. For Bugis and Javanese sipat kalih dasa texts from Lombok see PaEni, Katalog i (...)
  • 49 Al-Sanūsī (895/1490), Matn al-Sanūsiyya.
  • 50 See Matheson & Hooker, “Jawi Literature”, p. 35f., 39‒41.

20Strikingly, Umm al-barāhīn came to fully dominate local schemes of ʿaqīda teaching and writing in Southeast Asia, as by far the most important and influential basic text in the field. This is most evident in the emergence of a specific sifat dua puluh (twenty attributes) literature in the region, mostly in Malay and Javanese, but also in minor Southeast Asian Muslim languages such as Bugis and Cham,48 which does not seem to have developed among similar lines in either the Arab World or West Africa. Most specimens of this category must be regarded as concise commentaries to Umm al-barāhīn, which are, although commonly featuring no Arabic quotations from the matn, exhibiting a high degree of structural textual correspondence with it, which goes well beyond the eponymous doctrine of al-Sanūsī’s twenty attributes. In their great majority they have left both the structure and the content of Umm al-barāhīn unaltered (i.e. a chapter each on what is necessary, impossible and contingent, firstly, with regard to Allah, and secondly, with regard to the prophets, followed by a chapter each on the fact that everything discussed with regard to Allah and with regard to the prophets is contained in the two parts of the šahāda),49 but are slightly more elaborate in form. From the mid-19th century onwards, the writing of a sifat dua puluh work became a standard task for aspiring Southeast Asian scholars. Thus there has emerged a multitude of texts of this kind, which came to be treated as a sub-genre of ʿaqīda/uūl al-dīn, either under the label Kitab sifat dua puluh or under various Arabic titles.50

  • 51 Azra, Origins of Islamic Reformism, p. 124f. On al-Marzūqī’s position and relevance in the cluster (...)
  • 52 Incidentally, al-Nawawī, who wrote exclusively in Arabic, is also the author of an Arabic commenta (...)
  • 53 Abdullah, Syeikh Daud; Matheson & Hooker, “Jawi Literature”, p. 21‒26; Bradley, « Social Dynamics  (...)
  • 54 Al-Faṭānī (1263/1847), Kitab sifat dua puluh, p. 27‒32.

21The most prominent and, perhaps, foundational specimens of the genre are the works of two major scholars from Patani and Batavia (Jakarta) respectively. One of them, Dāʾūd b. ʿAbd Allāh al-Faṭānī (d. 1263/1847), had been a student of several Malay and Arab scholars occupying prominent positions in the Umm al-barāhīn/sifat dua puluh cluster of texts. Thus, among his teachers we are finding Muḥammad Zayn al-Āšī, Šay al-Azhar ʿAbd Allāh al-Šarqāwī (d. 1127/1812), author of a gloss to al-Hudhudī’s commentary, and Aḥmad al-Marzūqī (d. 1262/1846).51 Eventually Dāʾūd al-Faṭānī rose to become the towering figure of Islamic scholarship in Patani and, besides Muḥammad al-Nawawī (d. 1316/1897) of Banten (Java),52 one of the two most prolific writers of Islamic scholarly literature of 19th century Southeast Asia.53 His Kitab sifat dua puluh dates back to the first half of the 19th century. In addition to the entirety of issues discussed in Umm al-barāhīn, Dāʾūd al-Faṭānī’s work contains basic information on the pillars of Islam and the obligatory elements and conditions of ritual cleanliness (syarat bersuci) and ritual prayer (syarat sembahyang),54 thereby making it a suitable primer not only for matters of doctrine but also for religious practice.

  • 55 Madmarn, Pondok & Madrasah, p. 50.
  • 56 Cf. Kaptein, Islam, Colonialism and the Modern Age.
  • 57 Ibid., p. 90; Madmarn, Pondok & Madrasah, p. 50.
  • 58 Sayyid ʿUṯmān al-ʿAlawī, Kitab sifat dua puluh, p. 2, 12f.
  • 59 Ibid., p. 16.

22In the long run, however, Dāʾūd’s contribution was—even in his native Patani55—eclipsed by a work of the same title, authored by the eminent Batavia-based Ḥaḍramī scholar Sayyid ʿUṯmān b. ʿAbd Allāh b. ʿAqīl al-ʿAlawī (d. 1914), the most prominent Muslim scholar of his era in the Netherlands East Indies.56 Born to Arab migrants, he was the most prolific writer among Southeast Asia’s Ḥaḍramī (-descended) scholars. Strikingly, his output was not only exclusively in Malay, but he evidently also took up the seemingly distinctively Southeast Asian genre of sifat dua puluh literature. His choice, and the way he carried out this task, proved to be successful. Thus, it was suggested that, even today, his Kitab sifat dua puluh, which is available throughout Indonesia, the Malay Peninsula and Thailand, represents his best-known work.57 Like Dāʾūd al-Faṭānī’s book, which was most probably known to Sayyid ʿUṯmān, it also includes some minor additions to the issues tackled in Umm al-barāhīn. It opens with a brief overview of the pillars of Islam (rukun islam) and then deals, between the chapters on prophethood and the šahāda, with the elements of belief (rukun iman) and the genealogy and progeny of the prophet.58 Towards the end of his expositions, the author notes, supported by a quotation from Ibn Ḥaǧar al-Hayṯamī’s (d. 974/1567) al-Zawāǧir ʿan iqtirāf al-kabāʾir, that he kept his text intentionally brief and clear, in order not to confuse ordinary believers, as this might possibly lead them to doubts or even unbelief.59

  • 60 Al-Faṭānī (1263/1847), Kitab sifat dua puluh, p. 10f., 18‒20, 22‒25.

23An interesting and quite innovative feature of both Dāʾūd’s and Sayyid ʿUṯmān’s texts, particularly when viewed from the perspective of our leading question “what is commenting in Islam?” is the inclusion of tables and diagrams (jadwal) into the text, which can be encountered in both of them. These jadwals are used to summarize and graphically arrange the main lessons of the work (and thus also of Umm al-barāhīn), particularly the enumerations of divine and prophetic attributes, the revealed books, the prophets and the like. Dāʾūd’s 32-pages Kitab sifat dua puluh contains no less than nine such jadwals depicting the quadripartite division of the twenty attributes and other forms of categorizing them, their relation to the šahāda and to the three logical categories, and the necessary attributes of the prophet.60 Below or beside them, pieces of text are often arranged diagonally or vertically in boxes, in a manner reminiscent of marginal glosses.

  • 61 Sayyid ʿUṯmān al-ʿAlawī, Kitab sifat dua puluh, p. 1.
  • 62 Ibid., p. 2, 8, 10, 12‒13.
  • 63 Ibid., p. 12. On the Quranic usage of nabī/rasūl see Bobzin, “Seal of the Prophets”, p. 567‒574.

24Yet, the use and style of jadwals and boxes is much more sophisticated in the later work of Sayyid ʿUṯmān, which advertises itself on the opening page by highlighting that “it contains a number of tables, which are summarizing its lessons and facilitating their understanding” (didalam beberapa jadwal yang ringkas aturan dan mudah pahamnya).61 With their contents arranged in circular and orbital shapes, the jadwals on the elements of Islam and belief, the divine and prophetic attributes, the revealed books, the prophets, the angels and Muḥammad’s family, are at times more extensive than what is contained on each topic in Umm al-barāhīn.62 Thus, for instance, one table lists all twenty-five prophets mentioned as such (i.e. as either nabī and/or rasūl) in the Qurʾān.63

  • 64 Proudfoot, Early Malay Printed Books, p. 472f.; Majid & Anwar, Syair Sifat Dua Puluh. One of these (...)
  • 65 Al-Sanūsī (895/1490), Matn al-Sanūsiyya, p. 1; al-Sumbāwī, Sirāǧ al-hudā, p. 2.
  • 66 Syair sifat dua puluh, p. 1.
  • 67 Al-Marzūqī (1262/1846), Manūmatʿaqīdat al-ʿawāmm, p. 4‒6.
  • 68 Van Bruinessen, “Kitab kuning”, p. 254; Saleh, Modern Trends, p. 145.

25In the wake of the efforts of Dāʾūd al-Faṭānī, Sayyid ʿUṯmān and others in writing sifat dua puluh texts, there soon also emerged different versified versions, commonly entitled Syair sifat dua puluh and often lacking explicit acknowledgement of their authors.64 In line with al-Sanūsī’s statement that “every legally responsible person is obliged to know what is necessary, what is impossible and what is contingent with regard to Allah”, and al-Sumbāwī’s assertion that Umm al-barāhīn “contains all the articles of belief that every legally responsible person is obliged to know”,65 one of these poems begins by stressing that “every legally responsible man and woman is obliged to know this kitab sifat dua puluh”.66 Among the reasons for the flowering of commentaries to Umm al-barāhīn and the production of ever more sifat dua puluh texts was certainly also the ritual role acquired by a particularly brief versified Arabic ʿaqīda, which starts with al-Sanūsī’s quadripartite scheme of twenty divine attributes, namely ʿAqīdat al-ʿawāmm by Aḥmad al-Marzūqī (d. 1262/1846),67 one of Dāʾūd al-Faṭānī’s many teachers in the aramayn. Thus, the communal recitation of the sifat dua puluh, most commonly on the basis of ʿAqīdat al-ʿawāmm, nowadays primarily distributed in the form of bilingual versions with interlinear translation, is a standard feature of education in the Indonesian pondok/pesantren system of traditionally oriented Islamic boarding schools.68

  • 69 Ibid., p. 139f., 145.
  • 70 Fathurahman, Tarekat Syattariyah, p. 80.
  • 71 Liow, “Muslim Identity, Local Networks, and Transnational Islam”, p. 1405.

26By the early 20th century, however, the doctrine of the sifat dua puluh and their ritual recitation, became a bone of contention between traditionally inclined Muslims on the one hand, and reformist scholars—and later local Salafis—on the other. Interestingly, as we have seen above, these controversies appear to have been foreshadowed in Zayn al-ʿĀbidīn al-Faṭānī’s comments on takfīr in his ʿAqīdat al-nāǧīn. While staying clear from such takfīr, Ahmad Hassan (d. 1958), leading thinker of the Indonesian reformist Persatuan Islam (Islamic Union, est. 1923), rejected the teaching of the sifat dua puluh in his Al-Tauhied (1937) and put the practice of the memorization of the attributes into question.69 Cases in point for the ongoing debate about the sifat dua puluh from different parts of Muslim Southeast Asia are the assertion of the major Minangkabau (West Sumatra, Indonesia) Šaṭṭariyya šay Abdul Manaf Amin (d. 2008), in his Risālat mīzān al-qalb, that studying the sifat dua puluh represents part of belonging to the ahl al-sunna wa-l-ǧamāʿa.70 Conversely, in Thailand’s Patani, the home region of major exponents of Southeast Asian sifat dua puluh writing and Ašʿarī scholarship, such as Dāʾūd and Zayn al-ʿĀbidīn al-Faṭānī, local Salafis are regarding the teaching of the sifat dua puluh as one of the major bidʿas (reprehensible innovations) persisting among local Muslims.71

Fatwas and Scholarly Debates as a Form of Commentary

  • 72 Kaptein, Muhimmât al-Nafâ’is, p. 1‒6.
  • 73 Al-Sanūsī (895/1490), Matn al-Sanūsiyya, p. 1.
  • 74 Al-Āšī (after 1305/1887), Muhimmāt al-nafāʾis, p. 44f.

27Commentary on Umm al-barāhīn and its doctrines has also taken place in the form of fatwas and of scholarly debates pursued through texts on specific issues of the matn, including refutations and counter-refutations. Our focus will hereby lie with the fatwas, as they are particularly revealing as far as the tradition of the writing of commentaries and glosses are concerned. Additionally, they are testifying to the problems posed by the crossing of one or more language barriers, and how the need for commentary—or a mufti’s opinion, for that matter—may arise out of them. The first legal opinion prompted by Southeast Asian debates on al-Sanūsī’s work to be presented here, was issued by Aḥmad Zaynī Daḥlān (d. 1304/1886), the eminent Šāfiʿī mufti and šay al-ʿulamāʾ of Mecca from 1871 to 1886. The fatwa in question, which sheds light on the place of commentaries in scholarly tradition in general, was solicited by a Southeast Asian Muslim. It has been preserved in Muhimmāt al-nafāʾis, a bilingual (Arabic and Malay) fatwa collection for Southeast Asian Muslims, assembled and translated by a scholar from Aceh in 1305/1887. First published in Mecca in 1310/1892, this work primarily consists of legal opinions issued by Daḥlān, albeit also containing smaller numbers of fatwas issued by other Mecca-based Arab and Malay muftis.72 In his question, the enquirer wants to know, whether somebody who was adding something (ar. man yazīdu; ml. orang yang melebihkan) to a particular scholar’s interpretation of al-Sanūsī’s statement (ar. raǧul yufassiru qawl āib al-Sanūsī ; ml. seorang laki-laki yang metafsir ia akan kata empunya Sanusi) “necessary is that whose non-existence cannot be conceived by reason”,73 and might therefore fall into heresy or unbelief, must be corrected in his belief and kept from teaching to ordinary Muslims (ar. taʿlīm al-ʿawāmm ; ml. ajarkan manusia). Strikingly, Daḥlān completely ignores the theological issue at hand, but nevertheless answers swiftly. Thus, he asserts that al-Sanūsī’s cited statement is clarified in the commentaries to his work, which should be duly consulted. Secondly, he stresses that any commentary to it must not contradict the words of the ʿulamāʾ.74 Thus, Daḥlān’s fatwa is a clear testimony to the importance he placed both on the tradition of šar/āšiya writing and on the central role of the religious scholars in maintaining this tradition.

  • 75 Bajunid, “Place of Jawi”; Bruckmayr, “Contentious Pull”.
  • 76 Baccot, “On G’nur et Cay”, p. 102; Siphat dua pluh, private collection of Kai Tam, Svay Pakao, Kamp (...)

28The second fatwa of our concern, issued by the prominent Mecca-based Patani scholar Aḥmad al-Faṭānī (d. 1907), is clearly the direct result of the crossing of multiple language barriers in the study of Umm al-barāhīn in Southeast Asia. In his legal opinion, Aḥmad al-Faṭānī responds to a question sent by three Muslim scholars of Chrang Chamres (Phnom Penh) in Cambodia. Even though Malay had by the time of the production of the fatwa (1904), as in most parts of Muslim Southeast Asia, become the dominant scholarly language for Cambodian Muslims,75 it was not the only one locally used for the teaching of the sifat dua puluh, as is attested not only by the fatwa at hand, but also by the preservation of sifat dua puluh texts in the Cham language, which is spoken by the majority of Cambodian Muslims, in local manuscript collections.76

  • 77 Al-Faṭānī, al-Fatāwā al-faāniyya, p. 4f.
  • 78 The famous Arabic-(jawi) Malay dictionary of Muḥammad Idrīs al-Marbawī (d. 1989) of 1937, however, (...)
  • 79 Siphat dua pluh, fol. 4a.
  • 80 Mūsā et. al., Qāmūs Malāyū-Čam, p. 222, 339.

29According to the three mustaftīs, the Cham Muslims of Cambodia have long (daripada masa yang dahulu-dahulu) been using Malay sedia (from of old) as equivalent to Arabic qidam (pre-eternity), i.e. one of the twenty divine attributes, due to the lack of a satisfactory term in the Cham language. Yet, recent years had, according to the enquirers, seen the emergence of people among the local Chams, who claimed that Cham klauʾ was an equivalent to both qidam and its Malay rendering sedia (setengah-tengah manusia yang bangsa cam dari ahli kemboja di dalam dua tiga tahun ini bahawasa sifat qidam [..] yang terjemah dengan bahasa melayu sedia itu terjemah dengan bahasa cam itu klauʾ). This was vehemently rejected by the three scholars, who stressed that it was otherwise employed in reference to “objects subject to deterioration” (berubah daripada asalnya yang telah lalu atasnya masa), thus rendering it completely inadequate for usage in reference to Allāh.77 It should be noted in this regard, that all of the Malay works, both commentaries to Umm al-barāhīn as well as sifat dua puluh texts, discussed so far throughout this study are translating qidam with sedia,78 whereas a Cham sifat dua puluh manuscript, most probably dating to the late 19th century, indeed uses klauʾ.79 Conversely, a recent jawi (i.e. Arabic script) Malay-Cham dictionary lists klauʾ only as translation of Malay lama (old) and not of sedia.80

  • 81 Abdullah, Al-ʿAllamah; Snouck Hurgronje, Mekka, p. 306f.
  • 82 Al-Faṭānī, al-Fatāwā al-faāniyya, p. 5f.
  • 83 Ibid., p. 8.
  • 84 Ibid., p. 12.
  • 85 Ibid., p. 13.
  • 86 Ibid., p. 14.

30Despite his stature as most prolific Patani author since the days of Dāʾūd al-Faṭānī and driving force behind the publication of Malay books in Mecca,81 Aḥmad al-Faṭānī’s answer is a strikingly balanced and permissive one. Responding with a lengthy exposition of more than ten pages, he notes that, as far as Malay is concerned, sedia is indeed the best translation, as it does not imply “existence with a definite beginning” (tidak ada permulaan baginya sekali-kali).82 Concerning the Cham usage of klauʾ and the potential controversies arising from it, however, he cautions that the appropriateness of the word naturally hinges on its actual meaning and connotations in Cham.83 While it would be forbidden to say despicable and ugly things about God and his attributes (haram mengatakan barang yang keji dan hudoh pada hadrat tuhan dan sifat-nya), this would not necessarily be so in teaching and learning, if the teachers should be using klauʾ with the best intentions and in the actual sense of qidam.84 Although usage of klauʾ should be considered carefully, if it should have shown itself to be liable to misunderstandings, its use would still be preferable if students were not capable of grasping the meanings of either qidam or sedia. “An initially objectionable word”, he continues, “may even become a pleasant one, once it has achieved common terminological acceptance” (sesuatu kalimah yang hudoh terkadang jadi elok ia apabila beristilah atasnya oleh kebanyakan manusia).85 Moreover, far from being a case of describing a divine attribute with “something not permitted by the law” (tidak diizin daripada syarak), he considered it “merely a translation of a concept derived from the law” (hanya menterjemahkan barang yang datang daripada syarak).86 Indeed, he further emphasizes, such translations of books, hadiths and the Qurʾān into various languages had been indispensable in spreading Islam, its beliefs and rules ever since. And, we may add, it is clearly this attitude towards the relevance of translations and commentaries, which lies at the root of the production of the Malay commentaries to Umm al-barāhīn and the sifat dua puluh literature.

  • 87 Al-Fatani, Ulama Besar, p. 209, 225, 287.

31It may be noted in passing that, whereas Aḥmad al-Faṭānī’s fatwa revolved primarily around linguistic aspects concerning the divine attribute of qidam, a number of books have also been produced on theological questions surrounding the impossible divine attributes. The source material for both debates is, however, clearly the same: al-Sanūsī’s teachings in Umm al-barāhīn. Thus, the works in question can easily be regarded as commentaries on a specific issue of the matn. Indeed, the mid-20th century Malay Peninsula witnessed fierce scholarly disagreements over the question whether the attributes which are impossible with regard to Allah are pre-eternal (qadīm) or eternal (azalī), and—should the former be affirmed—whether they are pre-eternal in expression (lafī) or in meaning. These debates yielded at least two treatises devoted solely to this issue, namely Adillat qadīm al-mustaīl (1965), by the Patani scholar Aḥmad b. ʿAbd al-Wahhāb al-Fusānī (d. 1996), and Fat al-ǧalīl wa-šifāʾ al-ġalīl, written one year later, by the Kedah (Malaysia)-based Pak Cu Him Gajah Mati (Ibrāhīm b. ʿAbd al-Qādir, d. 1968).87

The Sifat Dua Puluh in Different Genres and Frames

32Finally, it should be noted that al-Sanūsī’s twenty attributes are so deeply engrained in Southeast Asian Muslim culture that, between the late 19th and the late 20th century, this central doctrine of Umm al-barāhīn, which has proven so influential in the region, came also to be explained and commented on in contexts, genres and frames, vastly different from the scholarly literature discussed throughout this contribution so far. Thus, the late 19th century Javanese mystical poem Suluk Seh Ngabdulsalam, which relates to contemporary tensions between (strongly localized) Javanese and “Arab” Islamic traditions, explains the sifat dua puluh with recourse to the twenty bonangs (i.e. instruments made up of stringed lines of gongs) of the Javanese gamelan orchestra, and their four-fold division through an equation with four other gamelan instruments.88 Conversely, the world-renowned Malaysian nasheed vocal group Raihan included a song on the sifta dua puluh on its 1996 debut album Puji-pujian, which still remains the best-selling album of any Malaysian artist.89

Conclusion

33This case study of Southeast Asian commentaries to Umm al-barāhīn has sought to highlight the relevance of studying non-Arabic traditions of šar/āšiya writing, in order to arrive at a more encompassing view of Islamic scholarly culture and intellectual history. The discussed texts in Malay and other written languages of Muslim Southeast Asia are certainly the result of close engagements with Arabic treatises as well as commentaries, glosses and super-glosses upon them, but, as was hopefully made sufficiently clear, cannot be easily dismissed as merely derivative in nature. Thus, the current reassessment of šars and āšiyas as something more than unoriginal, repetitive and derivative types of texts, must go hand-in-hand with a similar re-evaluation of non-Arabic works relegated to the sidelines of Islamic intellectual history as mere translations and renderings of Arabic treatises into vernacular languages. It must undoubtedly be assumed that the kind of “shadow commentaries” identified in this contribution can also be found in other languages and literatures of the Muslim World.

34Moreover, it should be kept in mind that major clusters of texts built around individual Arabic treatises, such as the one which has developed around al-Sanūsī’s Umm al-barāhīn, are often still much larger in scope than a cursory look at Brockelmann’s monumental Geschichte der arabischen Litteratur would suggest. Indeed, many central texts in various Islamic disciplines and genres, from fiqh and ʿaqīda to panegyrics to the prophet, had a (commentated) afterlife beyond the Arabic logosphere. And this needs to be taken into account in order to chart the actual reception history of a given treatise, such as Umm al-barāhīn, or of a specific doctrine, such as al-Sanūsī’s scheme of the twenty attributes and their division. For this purpose, also texts, which are less obviously belonging to, or associated and structurally corresponding with, an individual cluster, such as the sifat dua puluh works in this study, should arguably be factored into the equation. As far as reception and commentary history are concerned, a look at secondary sites of commentary, such as fatwas, likewise seems reasonable. As could similarly be gleaned from this contribution, the existence of language barriers and the transfer of a treatise’s contents from one language to another was naturally further propelling the production of a kind of texts already pervasive in Arabic Islamic scholarly culture: the commentary.

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Bibliographie

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Notes

1 Cf. Oriens 41, 2-3, 2013.

2 Ahmed & Larkin, “The āšiya”, p. 213.

3 See his contribution to this volume.

4 Brockelmann, Geschichte, II, p. 250‒251; SII, p. 353‒355. It may be noted that it’s Ḥanafi equivalents as most wide‒spread catechisms, the creeds of Abū Ǧaʿfar al-Ṭaḥāwī (d. 933) and Naǧm al-Dīn al-Nasafī (d. 537/1142), have both been written at a much earlier date than Umm al-barāhīn. This, however, needs to be qualified by the fact, that al-Nasafī’s al-ʿaqāʾid have over the centuries almost exclusively been studied on the basis of the šar of Saʿd al-Dīn al-Taftazānī (d. 792/1390), which brings us chronologically much closer to the time of al-Sanūsī.

5 For a summary see Wensick, Muslim Creed, p. 275f.

6 In the Fulfulde and Hausa-speaking spheres of West Africa, the memorization of Umm al-barāhīn as well as of (mostly oral) Fulfulde and Hausa translations was an integral part of formative Islamic education. Neither Muslim Southeast Asia’s emphasis on the twenty attributes as the most emblematic element of the text, nor the accompanying high number of written texts appear to have been mirrored in West Africa, however, as the transmission of Umm al-barāhīn and commentaries to it in West African languages remained almost exclusively oral until the 20th century. Cf. Brenner, West African Sufi, p. 79‒86; Dalen, “There Is No Doubt”, p. 80, 84‒85. 

7 For a specimen of the latter see Laffan, Makings of Indonesian Islam, p. 7.

8 Cabaton, « Une traduction interlinéaire », p. 115‒145.Malay interlinear translations are also preserved in manuscript collections of the Philippines. Fathurahman, “New Textual Evidence”, p. 297.

9 A case in point being a Singapore edition of 1883. Proudfoot, Early Malay Printed Books, p. 530.

10 For such mislabeling in descriptions of these texts see ibid., p. 120; Matheson & Hooker, “Jawi Literature”, p. 34; Ricklefs & Voorhoeve, Indonesian Manuscripts, p. 132; Katalog Manuskrip Melayu, p. 92.

11 Azra, Origins of Islamic Reformism, p. 124.

12 Al-Āšī (after 1171/1758), Bidāyat al-hidāya, p. 5 (the folios of the manuscript were given page numbers).

13 Katalog Manuskrip Melayu, p. 93.

14 Abdullah, Koleksi Ulama Nusantara, II, p. 26.

15 Al-Āšī (after 1171/1758), Bidāyat al-hidāya, p. 5‒7.

16 Al-Tilimsānī (897/1492), « Šarḥ Umm al-barāhīn », p. 53‒55; al-Anṣārī (1241/1826), Šar Umm al-barāhīn, p. 3‒6; al-Dasūqī (1230/1814-5), āšiyat al-dasūqī, p. 5‒40; al-Bayǧūrī (1276/1860), āšiyat al-imām al-Bayǧūrī, p. 52‒77.

17 Al-Āšī (after 1171/1758), Bidāyat al-hidāya, p. 7. For these legal differences see Ibn Rushd, Distinguished Jurist’s Primer, I, p. 136‒138, 142‒145.

18 Al-Āšī (after 1171/1758), Bidāyat al-hidāya, p. 25.

19 Snouck Hurgronje, Mekka, p. 202.

20 Al-Sumbāwī, Sirāǧ al-hudā, p. 2.

21 Ibid., p. 3f.

22 Al-Sumbāwī, Sirāǧ al-hudā, p. 7. On al-Māturīdī’s position see Rudolph, al-Māturīdī, p. 291‒298.

23 Al-Sumbāwī, Sirāǧ al-hudā, p. 11f.

24 Ibid., p. 12f.

25 Cf. Badeen, Sunnitische Theologie; Bruckmayr, “Spread and Persistence”, p. 68.

26 On the author see McHugh, Holymen of the Blue Nile, p. 131‒136.

27 Al-Bayǧūrī (1276/1860), āšiyat al-imām al-Bayǧūrī, p. 105, 129.

28 Van Bruinessen, “Kitab Kuning”, p. 251.

29 Al-Sumbāwī, Sirāǧ al-hudā, p. 16.

30 Matheson & Hooker, “Jawi Literature”, p. 34; Madmarn, Pondok & Madrasah, p. 30.

31 Al-Faṭānī, ʿAqīdat al-nāǧīn, p. 140.

32 Abdullah, Koleksi Ulama Nusantara, I, p. 163.

33 Al-Fatani, Ulama Besar, p. 65.

34 Al-Faṭānī, ʿAqīdat al-nāǧīn, p. 2.

35 Largely unknown today, al-Hudhudī’s commentary must have once been highly valued. Thus, it is also mentioned among the books housed in the private library of the father of ʿAbd al-Raḥmān b. Ḥasan al-Ǧabartī (d. 1241/1825), the famous Egyptian chronicler. Bakker, Normative Grundstrukturen, p. 715. Today al-Hudhudī’s commentary is still available and used in Southeast Asian Islamic schools through the gloss to it by the Šay al-Azhar ʿAbd Allāh al-Šarqāwī (d. 1127/1812).Van Bruinessen, “Kitab Kuning”, p. 251.

36 Bakker, Normative Grundstrukturen, p. 761.

37 Likewise, a commentary to it by ʿAbd al-Barr al-Aǧhūrī (d. 1070/1659‒60) is cited several times.

38 Al-Faṭānī, ʿAqīdat al-nāǧīn, p. 4f., 24.

39 Ibid., p. 51, 55, 76.

40 Ibid., p. 49.

41 Ibid., p. 96‒114.

42 Ibid., p. 82.

43 In the course of the 16th and 17th centuries, the Šaṭṭariyya of al-Qušāšī, al-Kūrānī and al-Sinkilī became the dominant arīqa in many parts of Muslim Southeast Asia. By the 19th century it was eclipsed in many regions by the Sammāniyya. Cf. Fathurahman, Tarekat Syattariyah, p. 25‒40; Azra, Origins of Islamic Reformism, p. 109‒126; Laffan, Makings of Indonesian Islam, p. 27‒32.

44 Al-Faṭānī, ʿAqīdat al-nāǧīn, p. 87.

45 Ibid., p. 87.

46 The five published Arabic commentaries and glosses surveyed for this study are not including the story.

47 Ibid., p. 2; al-Bayǧūrī (1276/1860), āšiyat al-imām al-Bayǧūrī, p. 51.

48 For Cham see below. For Bugis and Javanese sipat kalih dasa texts from Lombok see PaEni, Katalog induk, p. 214, 227, 257; Marrison, Sasak and Javanese Literature, p. 60, 65.

49 Al-Sanūsī (895/1490), Matn al-Sanūsiyya.

50 See Matheson & Hooker, “Jawi Literature”, p. 35f., 39‒41.

51 Azra, Origins of Islamic Reformism, p. 124f. On al-Marzūqī’s position and relevance in the cluster see below.

52 Incidentally, al-Nawawī, who wrote exclusively in Arabic, is also the author of an Arabic commentary to Umm al-barāhīn (arīʿat al-yaqīn ilā Umm al-barāhīn). Laffan, Makings of Indonesian Islam, p. 63; Riddell, Islam and the Malay-Indonesian World, p. 194f.

53 Abdullah, Syeikh Daud; Matheson & Hooker, “Jawi Literature”, p. 21‒26; Bradley, « Social Dynamics », p. 222‒262.

54 Al-Faṭānī (1263/1847), Kitab sifat dua puluh, p. 27‒32.

55 Madmarn, Pondok & Madrasah, p. 50.

56 Cf. Kaptein, Islam, Colonialism and the Modern Age.

57 Ibid., p. 90; Madmarn, Pondok & Madrasah, p. 50.

58 Sayyid ʿUṯmān al-ʿAlawī, Kitab sifat dua puluh, p. 2, 12f.

59 Ibid., p. 16.

60 Al-Faṭānī (1263/1847), Kitab sifat dua puluh, p. 10f., 18‒20, 22‒25.

61 Sayyid ʿUṯmān al-ʿAlawī, Kitab sifat dua puluh, p. 1.

62 Ibid., p. 2, 8, 10, 12‒13.

63 Ibid., p. 12. On the Quranic usage of nabī/rasūl see Bobzin, “Seal of the Prophets”, p. 567‒574.

64 Proudfoot, Early Malay Printed Books, p. 472f.; Majid & Anwar, Syair Sifat Dua Puluh. One of these was published by SayyidʿUṯmān’s son Ḥasan. Kaptein, Islam, Colonialism and the Modern Age, p. 90.

65 Al-Sanūsī (895/1490), Matn al-Sanūsiyya, p. 1; al-Sumbāwī, Sirāǧ al-hudā, p. 2.

66 Syair sifat dua puluh, p. 1.

67 Al-Marzūqī (1262/1846), Manūmatʿaqīdat al-ʿawāmm, p. 4‒6.

68 Van Bruinessen, “Kitab kuning”, p. 254; Saleh, Modern Trends, p. 145.

69 Ibid., p. 139f., 145.

70 Fathurahman, Tarekat Syattariyah, p. 80.

71 Liow, “Muslim Identity, Local Networks, and Transnational Islam”, p. 1405.

72 Kaptein, Muhimmât al-Nafâ’is, p. 1‒6.

73 Al-Sanūsī (895/1490), Matn al-Sanūsiyya, p. 1.

74 Al-Āšī (after 1305/1887), Muhimmāt al-nafāʾis, p. 44f.

75 Bajunid, “Place of Jawi”; Bruckmayr, “Contentious Pull”.

76 Baccot, “On G’nur et Cay”, p. 102; Siphat dua pluh, private collection of Kai Tam, Svay Pakao, Kampong Chhnang, Cambodia.

77 Al-Faṭānī, al-Fatāwā al-faāniyya, p. 4f.

78 The famous Arabic-(jawi) Malay dictionary of Muḥammad Idrīs al-Marbawī (d. 1989) of 1937, however, does not include an individual entry on qidam under the respective root. Al-Marbawī, Qāmūs Idrīs al-Marbawī, II, p. 118f.

79 Siphat dua pluh, fol. 4a.

80 Mūsā et. al., Qāmūs Malāyū-Čam, p. 222, 339.

81 Abdullah, Al-ʿAllamah; Snouck Hurgronje, Mekka, p. 306f.

82 Al-Faṭānī, al-Fatāwā al-faāniyya, p. 5f.

83 Ibid., p. 8.

84 Ibid., p. 12.

85 Ibid., p. 13.

86 Ibid., p. 14.

87 Al-Fatani, Ulama Besar, p. 209, 225, 287.

88 Ricci, Islam Translated, p. 93f.

89 Raihan, “Sifat 20”, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6VyBuvv1Y6I&feature=youtu.be. I am indebted to Ahmad Abdul Rahim (Cairo) for this reference.

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Philipp Bruckmayr, « The šar/āšiya Phenomenon in Southeast Asia », MIDÉO, 32 | 2017, 27-52.

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Philipp Bruckmayr, « The šar/āšiya Phenomenon in Southeast Asia », MIDÉO [En ligne], 32 | 2017, mis en ligne le 23 avril 2017, consulté le 20 octobre 2019. URL : http://journals.openedition.org/mideo/1565

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Auteur

Philipp Bruckmayr

INSTITUTE OF ORIENTAL STUDIESUNIVERSITY OF VIENNA

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Institut Dominicain d'Études Orientales

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