Sufism
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  • 1. An Academic PaperConcept and Doctrine of Wahdat al-Wujud in Sufism Tradition1 Yossy Suparyo Writer is Student of Library and Information Science Dept. Islamic State University Sunan Kalijaga, Yogyakarta ‫ﺳﺒﺤﺎن ﻣﻦ اﻇﻬﺮ ﻧﺎﺳﻮﺗﻪ‬ ‫ﺳﺮﺳﻨﺎﻻ هﻮ ﺗﻪ اﻟﺜﺎﻗﺐ‬ ‫ﺛﻢ ﻧﺪاﻟﺨﻠﻘﻦ‬ ‫ﻓﻰ ﺻﻮرة اﻻ آﻞ واﻟﺜﺎ رب‬ Syaikh Mansur Al-Hallaj on Kitabul ThawasinT he concepts of Wahdat al-Wujud, the transcendent Unity of God are seen as fundamental doctrines in Islamic Sufism2. In etymology approach, the wahdat al-wujud refer to the Oneness of Being (in Javacalled Manunggaling Kawula Gusti). The doctrine of Wahdat al-Wujud assertsthat everything that exists can only exist because it is an aspect of DivineReality, hence an aspect of Divine Unity itself. God is the ground of all being andthere is nothing except Him. Thus our goal is to go back and be absorbed inHim. It is believed that there is essential unity between humanity and God. 3 In Indonesia, the doctrine of wahdat al wujud spreadwide by Path of Sufithat it called tariqat, i.e. Nasyabandiyah, Sammaniyah, Sattariyah,1 This paper presented on Akhlak Tasawuf Studies, Library and Information Science Dept. withGuide Lecturer by Ali Sodiqin MSi.2 Sufism (tasawuf) derived from suf or wool, the coarse material these people used for clothingas a sign of asceticism and renunciation. Some suggest that Sufi comes from the root safa, to bepure or from suffa, the raised platform in the Prophets mosque in Madina where poor peopleused to sit and exercise devotion. Some scholars identify it with Sophos in the sense of"theosophist". In Arabic literature shown on al-Shuhwawardi Work. ‫ﻗﺪادرآﺖ ﺳﺒﻌﻴﻰ ﺑﺪرﻳﺎآﺎن ﻟﺒﺎﺳﻬﻢ‬ ‫ اﻟﺤﻮف‬See, Amin Syukur, Menggugat Tasawuf: Sufisme dan Tanggungjawab Sosial Abad 21,Yogyakarta: Pustaka Pelajar, 1999. p. 93 This assumption based on ‫ إﻟﻬﻰ اﻧﺖ ﻣﻘﺼﻮدى ورﺿﺎك ﻣﻄﻠﻮﺑﻰ اﻋﻄﻨﻰ ﻣﺤﺒﺘﻚ وﻣﻐﻔﺮت‬See, MuslihAbd al_Rahman on Syukur, Ibid p. 49. 1
  • 2. Khalidiyah, and the others.4 The famous path leader consist of Syaikh HamzahFansury, Syam Al-Din Al-Sumatrani, Nur Al-Din Al-Raniri, ‘Abd Al-Rauf Sinkel(Aceh), Syaikh ‘Abd Al-Shamad Al-Palembani (South Sumatra), Syaikh SitiJenar, Ronggowarsito (Java), Syaikh Yusuf Makasari (South Sulawesi), M.Arsyad al-Banjari, Syaikh Abdul Hamid Abulung, Nafis al-Banjari (SouthKalimantan) and others. Wahdat al-Wujud may be interpreted that Sufism seethe face of God everywhere, it does not mean that it has reduced God toeverything.5 Sufism speaks of advancement in the spiritual life as a journey andthe seeker after God as a salik or a traveller.6 Its teaching is intended to guidethe traveller to the attainment of the perfect knowledge, marifat of God, theonly Reality diffused through all things. A believer is led onwards by slow stages,maqamat and through the experience of certain stages, ahwal, along a Path, at-tariqat, to the desired goal of union with God called fana fil-haqiaqat,absorption in Reality.7 Sufism interpreting and other writings quote Quranic passages to supportand elaborate their doctrine.8 In just two hundred years from the beginning ofIslam, the ascetic movement gave way to mysticism proper, that is, experienceswhich might be described as ecstatic leaps of the spirit into Oneness with God(Manunggaling Kawula Gusti), passing away (fana) into God. The way to thisultimate goal of the Sufi life was by self-denial, purifying the soul and mysticalknowledge of God, as distinguished from formal knowledge. But fana wasthought of in various ways: in the extreme, some would abandon themselves to4 Martin van Bruinessen, Kitab Kuning, Pesantren dan Tarekat: Tradisi-tradisi Islam diIndonesia, Bandung: Mizan, 1995. p. 55-88. Also see Alwi Shihab, Islam Sufistik, Bandung:Mizan, 2001 p.37-495 This concept is as same as with emanation theory. According to Plato Being and existence areall one and are combined in God; being which is apart from God exists only by virtue of His will,but was, prior to its being made separate. Abdul Munir Mulkhan, Syekh Siti Jenar: PergumulanIslam-Jawa. Yogyakarta: Bentang Budaya, 1999. p 4.5.6 Please incubating following statement: ‫ . إن اﷲ ﺧﻠﻖ ادم ﻋﻠﻰ ﺹﻮرﺕﻪ‬Syukur, Opcit. p.61.7 In Fahruddin Iraqi term, Islamic theology consist of three categories includes (1)mutakallimun say tauhid must be refer to Holy Quran and Hadits; (2) philosopher(musysyaiyun) belief tauhid may receive by mind (‘aql), and (3) Sufism argue tauhid can bedirect vision by the Oneness of Being. Fahruddin Iraqi, Lemaat:Kilau-kemilau Ilahi, Jakarta:Gramedia Pustaka Utama, 2001. Indeed, Annemarie Schimmel, Jiwaku Adalah Wanita: AspekFeminin dalam Spiritualitas Islam, Bandung: Mizan, 1999.8 Everything will perish except His own face (Surah 28:88; 55:26-7). whithersoever Ye turn,there is Allahs countenance (Surah 2:115). Indeed Everything will perish except His own face(Surah 28:88; 55:26-7). whithersoever Ye turn, there is Allahs countenance (Surah 2:115). 2
  • 3. be filled with the Glory of God.9 This transcendental bliss of abandonment wascalled intoxication, a dying-to-self. In the progress towards fana, some mysticsdescribed their experiences in such extravagant language as to appear hereticaland un-Islamic to the orthodox ulema.10 For instance, Abu Yezid al-Bistami (d. 875) used to utter in a state of tranceGlory be to Me! How great is my Majesty!, and claimed to have ascended toHeaven in a dream.11 It was a spiritual union with God, attained throughecstasy, in which the Sufi claimed to become God himself. To distinguishbetween I and God is to deny the unity of God. However, the more sober Sufissuch as Muhasibi (d. 857), Dhul Nun (d. 861), Kharraz (d. 899) and al-Junaid(d. 910) expressed their mystical experiences in less intemperate language andthus avoided giving fatal offence to the orthodox, although even they did notentirely escape suspicion and disapproval.12 According Ibn Arabi (d. 1240)13, the concepts of Wahdat al-Wujud linkedto the doctrine of Tawhid and thus in Sufi Islam Tawhid means, first, faith andbelief in the unity of God; second, discipline of the internal and external life inthe light of that faith; third, experience of union and oneness with God; andfourth, a theosophical or philosophical conception of reality in the light of themystical experience.14 The first two senses are accepted by all Muslims.However the third and fourth senses are the particular teaching of Sufi Islam.For them Tawhid in the third sense is to have the perception of the One Being9 Karen Amstrong, Sejarah Tuhan: Kisah Pencarian Tuhan yang Dilakukan oleh Orang-orangYahudi, KriSten, dan Islam Selama 4.000 Tahun, Bandung: Mizan, 2001. p.302-304.10 According to Alwi Shihab, Islamic Sufism classified on two terms, they are philosophy andsunni Sufism. Intoxication—a dying to self spread wide by philosophy Sufism. Opposite of this,sunni Sufism doctrines based on Holy Qoran and hadist. Alwi Shihab, Islam Sufistik, Bandung:Mizan, 2001 p. 37.11 See, ‫ ﺧﺮﺟﺖ ﻣﻦ اﻟﺤﻖ ﺡﺘﻰ ﺹﺎح ﻓﻰ ﻳﺎﻣﻦ اﻧﺖ اﻧﺎ ﻓﻘﻮﺕﺤﻘﻘﺖ ﺑﻤﻘﺎاﻟﻔﻨﺎء‬Syukur, Opcit. p.912 Syukur, Opcit. p. 56-59.13 He was an influential Sufi mystic and writer. Ibn Al-Arabi is known as the greatest shaykh al-shaykh al-akbar. "His thought and terminology have formed the foundation of most subsequentSufi intellectual discourse, and his voluminous literary output, as famous for its abstruseness asfor its content, has been the subject of numerous commentaries in many languages. He wrotesome 400 works. His major contribution was in the field of tasawwuf. Of his 20 main Sufiworks, the most important two are: (1) al-Futuhat al-Makkiya fi asrar al-malikiyya wall-mulkiyya (The Meccan revelations). The autograph text in 37 volumes is preserved in Istanbul;and (2) Fusus al-hikam wa khusus al-kilam (The Bezels of Wisdom). These two collectionsconstitute the standard Sufi encyclopaedia on mystical doctrine. William C. Chittick, The SufiPath of Knowledge: Hermeneutika Al-Quran Ibnu ‘Araby, Yogyakarta: Qalam, 2001.14 Chittick , Ibid. p.56-59. 3
  • 4. through mystical experience. It is the highest experience of the unity of God. Inthe fourth sense, one loses his own identity and becomes one with the Onebeing. In this sector, though several formulations exist, the most elaborate andforceful formulation of the doctrine of Tawhid wajudi or wahdat al-Wujud isfrom Ibn Al-Arabi. In Sufism all doctrine is related to the mind. The divine name Allah is thesynthesis of all truth and therefore the root of all doctrine. Though the doctrineof Wahdat al-Wujud has been developed and extended over the period ofseveral centuries, Sufi Muslims believe that it has its origins in Quranicpassages, as interpreted by Sufi exegetes. In the circumstances of the secondand third centuries (hijria), the Muslim religious intelligentsia was divided intotwo groups: the Ulema or pure theologians and jurists on the one hand, and onthe other those who gave to religion a more personal basis in religious devotion.The materialistic ways of those in power and later the various debates andcontroversies between groups, for example, Mutazila and the Hanbalitesencouraged further development of Sufi ideas.15 For the first two centuries of Islam Sufi doctrine and practice was aspontaneous phenomenon which had its beginning in the activity of individualswho themselves were influenced by the earliest believers known as ascetics(zuhhad). It is believed that the first and greatest sufis were the first and thefourth caliphs, Abu Bakr, the Prophets close friend and father in-law, and Alithe Prophets cousin and son-in-law.16 Similarly the development of the formaldisciplines of Islamic law and theology, there gradually grew up, with them, the"knowing ones" Ulema. They rapidly developed into an institution withtremendous power. It appears that with growing divergence between Sufipractice and its implicit ideology on the one hand and the emerging orthodoxsystem on the other, Sufis, in order to justify their stand, also started to refermore to Quranic verses and statements from Muhammad and some of hiscompanions. Thus from the third century onward there arose a whole series of15 Carl W. Ernst, Ekspresi Ekstase dalam Sufisme, Yogyakarta: Putra Langit, 2003. p.139-14116 Ernst, Ibid, 144. 4
  • 5. important innovative Sufis who both by their practice and teaching sought tointegrate orthodoxy and Sufism in this way.17 During the third and fourth century of Islam Sufism developed a doctrineof Gnosis (marifa), of an inner experiential knowledge. The unity of God wastransformed through the Sufi mystical experience into union with God. Theterm tawhid was taken to mean both regarding something as one and alsounification of something with something else. Sufis propagated the doctrinethat God alone really exists and from there on moved to the belief that God isthe sole reality of everything. After Al-Ghazali, in Spain, Muhyi al-Din Ibn Al-Arabi (d. 1240) was aninfluential Sufi mystic and writer. According to Ibn Al-Arabi, the being of allthings is God: there is nothing except Him. He argued for the doctrine ofWahdat al-Wujud, where certain implications seem hard to avoid.18 Forexample: Being and existence are all one and are combined in God; being whichis apart from God exists only by virtue of His will, but was, prior to its beingmade separate, one with God; the perfect human (al-insan al-kamil) is the onewho knows oneness with God, who loves God and who is loved by God. In his writing Ibn Al-Arabi seems to be concerned with mysteries beingunveiled but some think that his line is too abstruse for anyone to understandwho has not shared his experience in some degree. His interpretation made hima radical humanist and rationalist almost three full centuries before any suchadvanced thinking was established in Europe during the peak of theRenaissance. Ibn ‘Arabi believes God remains supremely transcendent, eventhough everything which arises and exists resembles him. He resembles nothingbut himself (tanzih). This concept is as same as with theory of nadha-riatulfaidl: God is pure; from the mystical and devotional point of view He isAbsolute Beauty, of which earthly beauty, whether it be of form, or thought, oraction, is but a dim reflection. Wallahualam bi as-Showab.17Syukur, Opcit. p.29-30.18 Even though by some the doctrine of Wahdat al-Wujud is ascribed to him, there areindications in the Sufism history that this has been the fundamental and central doctrine of allSufism throughout the Muslim era. What Ibn Al-Arabi did was to respond to the needs of his ageby writing down and making explicit what was taught before him orally. 5
  • 6. BibliographyAbdul Munir Mulkhan, Syekh Siti Jenar: Pergumulan Islam-Jawa. Yogyakarta: Bentang Budaya, 1999.Alwi Shihab, Islam Sufistik, Bandung: Mizan, 2001Amin Syukur, Menggugat Tasawuf: Sufisme dan Tanggungjawab Sosial Abad 21, Yogyakarta: Pustaka Pelajar, 1999.Annemarie Schimmel, Jiwaku Adalah Wanita: Aspek Feminin dalam Spiritualitas Islam, Bandung: Mizan, 1999.Carl W. Ernst, Ekspresi Ekstase dalam Sufisme, Yogyakarta: Putra Langit, 2003. p.139-141Fahruddin Iraqi, Lemaat:Kilau-kemilau Ilahi, Jakartas: Gramedia Pustaka Utama, 2001.Karen Amstrong, Sejarah Tuhan: Kisah Pencarian Tuhan yang Dilakukan oleh Orang-orang Yahudi, KriSten, dan Islam Selama 4.000 Tahun, Bandung: Mizan, 2001.Martin van Bruinessen, Kitab Kuning, Pesantren dan Tarekat: Tradisi-tradisi Islam di Indonesia, Bandung: Mizan, 1995.William C. Chittick, The Sufi Path of Knowledge: Hermeneutika Al-Quran Ibnu ‘Araby, Yogyakarta: Qalam, 2001 6