Najmuddin al-Kubra, Jumadil Kubra and Jamaluddin al-Akbar: Traces of Kubrawiyya influence in early Indonesian Islam

Martin van Bruinessen

The Javanese Sajarah Banten ranté-ranté (SBR) and its Malay translation Hikayat Hasanuddin, compiled in the late seventeenth or early eighteenth century but incorporating much older material, consist of a number of disparate narratives, one of which relates the alleged studies of Sunan Gunung Jati in Mecca.[1] A very similar account, though less detailed, is contained in the Brandes-Rinkes recension of the Babad Cirebon. Sunan Gunung Jati, venerated as one of the nine saints of Java, is a historical person, who flourished in the first half of the 16th century and founded the Muslim kingdoms of Banten and Cirebon. Present tradition gives his proper name as Syarif Hidayatullah; the babad literature names him variously Sa`îd Kâmil, Muhammad Nûruddîn, Nûrullâh Ibrâhîm, and Maulânâ Shaikh Madhkûr, and has him born either in Egypt or in Pasai in north Sumatra. It appears that a number of different historical and legendary persons have merged into the Sunan Gunung Jati of the babad.

Sunan Gunung Jati and the Kubrawiyya

The historical Sunan Gunung Jati may or may not have actually visited Mecca and Medina; the account of his studies there, however, irrespective of its historicity, yields some precious information on 17th-century Indonesian Islam. The saint is said to have first studied in Mecca with Najmuddîn al-Kubrâ, and then for twenty or twenty-two years with Ibn `Atâ’illâh al-Iskandarî al-Shâdhilî in Medina, where he received initiations into the Shadhiliyya, Shattariyya and Naqshbandiyya Sufi orders (Edel 1938:137-9; Brandes/Rinkes 1911, Canto 13). As we know from other sources, the Shattariyya and Naqshbandiyya did spread from Medina to the Archipelago in the course of the 17th century, and the same may well have been true of the Shadhiliyya. Ibn `Atâ’illâh, of course, flourished in Egypt in the 13th century rather than in Medina in the 16th. His appearance in the narrative only shows that his name was known in Banten and Cirebon – probably through his famous collection of Sufi aphorisms, al-Hikam – by the time this episode was composed.

The temporal and spatial distance separating Sunan Gunung Jati from his other alleged teacher, Najmuddîn al-Kubrâ, is even greater: Kubrâ worked in Khwarazm in Central Asia and died there in 1221. The SBR however not only mentions Kubrâ as a teacher but lists his entire spiritual genealogy (silsila) and mentions the names of twenty-seven ‘fellow students’ (rèncang sapaguron) of Sunan Gunung Jati. These names point to a more than superficial acquaintance with the Kubrawiyya, the mystical order associated with Najmuddîn al-Kubrâ.

The silsila is, apart from a few inessential copyists’ errors[2] and two missing names, identical with one of the two found in early Kubrawiyya sources (Meier 1957:17-9). Kubrâ had two major teachers, `Ammâr b. Yâsir al-Bidlîsî and Ismâ`îl al-Qasrî, and he traced his spiritual ancestry through both. The SBR gives the silsila through the latter (I silently correct minor spelling errors and add the two missing names between square brackets):

Ismâ`îl al-Qasrî,
Muhammad b. Malik al-Mâtikîdî [correctly: Muhammad b. Mânkîl],
[Dâwûd b. Muhammad khâdim al-fuqarâ'],
Abu’l-`Abbâs Idrîs,
Abu’l-Qâsim b. Ramadân,
[Abû Ya`qûb al-Tabarî],
Abû `Abdallâh b. `Uthmân,
Abu’l-Ya`qûb al-Nahârî Jûdî [correctly: al-Nahrajûrî],
Abû Ya`qûb al-Sûsî,
`Abd al-Wâhid b. Zayd,
Kumayl b. Ziyâd,
`Alî al-Murtadâ,

The same silsila is also found in a work by the well-known 17th-century Medinan mystic Ahmad al-Qushâshî, al-Simt al-majîd (1327:98-9).[3] Qushâshî is primarily known as a teacher of the Shattariyya and Naqshbandiyya orders, but he was initiated into numerous others, among which the Kubrawiyya. He had Indonesian students, and one of them, `Abd al-Ra’ûf al-Singkilî, quotes the Simt (though not this silsila) in one of his own writings.[4] Qushâshî received all his initiations from his teacher and predecessor as the leading scholar of Medina, Ahmad al-Shinnâwî (d.1619), and he in turn initiated Ibrâhîm al-Kûrânî, who succeeded him upon his death in 1661.

The simplest hypothesis explaining the references to the Shattariyya, Naqshbandiyya and Kubrawiyya[5] in the SBR and Babad Cirebon discussed so far is that the court circles where these texts originated had in the course of the 17th century become acquainted with these mystical orders though one or more disciples of Shinnâwî or his successors – either indigenous Indonesians who had performed the hajj or foreign visitors. The most interesting bit of information, however, is yet to come. The SBR, as said above, gives twenty-seven names of persons who allegedly studied together with Sunan Gunung Jati at the feet of Najmuddîn al-Kubrâ in Mecca.[6] About half of them can be unambiguously identified (the editor has not made recognition of the names any easier, so that we shall have recourse to the manuscript again). It is hardly surprising that, just like the alleged teacher himself, they are not contemporaries of Sunan Gunung Jati or even of each other. However, they do not constitute, as might perhaps be supposed, a random selection of prestigious names either. At least eleven of them are leading shaikhs of the Kubrawiyya, and together their names constitute the (incomplete) silsila of two distinct branches of that order.

Sunan Gunung Jati’s ‘fellow students’

I shall first give here the names in the order in which they appear in the SBR, silently correcting minor mistakes and placing major corrections and comments in square brackets. The names of those identified as Kubrawi are italicised:

(1) Jamâluddîn Muhammad al-Khalwatî,
(2) Khwâja `Azîzân `Alî Ramaqatanî [al-Râmîtanî],
(3) Shaikh `Abdullâh,
(4) Shaikh Nizâmuddîn al-Hawârî [al-Khwârazmî?],
(5) Shaikh Majduddîn al-Baghdâdî,
(6) Shaikh Ahmad al-Jasadafânî [al-Jûrfânî] al-Rûdbârî,
(7) Shaikh Mahmûd b. Yûsuf Rashad Ûdahalî,
(8) Shaikh Hamîduddîn Mahmûd al-Samarqandî,
(9) Shâh …,[7]
(10) Shaikh Mubârak,
(11) Shihâbuddîn al-Dimashqî,
(12) Shaikh `Alâ’ al-Dawla Astamâbî [al-Simnânî],
(13) Mîr Shâh Rajû,
(14) Sayyid Sadruddîn Muhammad b. Ahmad al-Bukhârî,
(15) Mahmûd al-Mazdaqânî,
(16) Shaikh Sâranak,
(17) Shaikh Mahmûd b. Jalâluddîn al-Bukhârî,
(18) Qâdî Zakariyyâ al-Ansârî,
(19) Ishâq Abu’l-Hattân [Ishâq al-Khuttalânî],
(20) Shaikh `Abd al-Wahhâb al-Sha`râwî,
(21) Shâh `Alî al-Khatîb,
(22) Badruddîn al-Sa`îd Qâdî Burhân,
(23) Shâh `Alî al-Bîdûd [al-Bîdâwâzî],
(24) Shaikh `Abd al-Karîm b. Sha`bân,
(25) Fadl Allâh Muhammad Sadr,
(26) Shaikh Ahmad al-Shinnâwî,
(27) Maulânâ `Abd al-Latîf al-Jâmî.

Six of these names occur in the Kubrawi silsila of Ahmad al-Qushâshî, representing links in the chain between himself and Najmuddîn al-Kubrâ. Majduddîn al-Baghdâdî (5) was Kubrâ’s major disciple, from him the line passed through Ahmad al-Rûdbârî (6),[8] Shihâbuddîn al-Dimashqî (11), Zakariyyâ’ al-Ansârî (18), `Abd al-Wahhâb al-Sha`rânî (or al-Sha`râwî, 20) and Ahmad al-Shinnâwî (26) to Qushâshî. This is not the complete silsila (see the accompanying chart); only the most famous names are listed, and almost half are left out.[9] Ansârî and Sha`rânî, incidentally, are well-known in Indonesia for their contributions in the field of Islamic jurisprudence (fiqh). Several of their works have long been part of the advanced stages of pesantren education. They occur here in a less known capacity, as mystics affiliated with the Kubrawiyya.

Five of the remaining Kubrawi names in the list of the SBR constitute another illustrious line of affiliation, often named the Kubrawiyya-Hamadaniyya after the most charismatic person of this line, `Alî al-Hamadânî (see the accompanying chart, and compare with the chart in Trimingham 1973:56-7). Hamadânî himself appears to be missing in the list, unless we should recognise him in Shâh `Alî al-Khatîb (‘the Preacher’). The last recognisable person of this particular Kubrawiyya line in the list is `Abd al-Latîf al-Jâmî (d.1555-6), on whom we find a brief but interesting notice in al-Ghazzî’s biographical dictionary of 16th-century personalities.

The Central Asian Jâmî (who should not be confused with the famous poet `Abd al-Rahmân al-Jâmî) was not the chief disciple of his teacher, Muhammad al-Khâbûshânî. Central Asian sources are almost unanimous in attributing that position to Kamâluddîn Husain al-Khwârazmî, through whom Shâh Walî Allâh also traces his Hamadaniyya lineage (see the chart).[10] Through another disciple, Khâbûshânî was also the progenitor of the Iranian, Shi`ite Dhahabiyya order (Gramlich 1965:10-16). It is only due to the silsila given by Ghazzî (1979, vol.II:182), that we know Jâmî to be affiliated with this branch of the Kubrawiyya. Given this affiliation, we easily recognise Shâh `Alî ‘al-Bîdûd’ (no. 23 in the list) as Shâh `Alî al-Isfarâ’inî al-Bîdâwâzî,[11] and it is not unlikely that the Shaikh `Abdallâh of our list (no. 3) is Hamadânî’s spiritual grandson, `Abdallâh al-Barzishâbâdî.

Precisely because Jâmî represents a minor offshoot of the Hamadaniyya branch and is not named in later silsila, his occurrence in our list yields the key towards understanding what this list represents. The few bits of biographical information that can be found in Ghazzî and other sources clearly show why Jâmî may have had a special appeal for contemporary Indonesian Muslims.

`Abd al-Latîf al-Jâmî is reported to have made the pilgrimage with a large following of disciples in 1547-8. On the way to Mecca he stopped in Istanbul, where he was greatly honoured by the highest dignitaries. None less than the Ottoman Sultan himself, Sulayman the Magnificent, requested to be instructed by him in the dhikr of the Kubrawiyya-Hamadaniyya, and the highest military and administrative authorities became his disciples. Continuing his journey to Mecca, Jâmî stopped again in Aleppo, where once more he found the chief authorities of the city eager to receive instruction from him. He took up residence in one of the major dervish lodges and taught the litanies known as the Awrâd fathiyya, one of the distinctive devotions of the Hamadaniyya.[12] These litanies (awrâd, sg. wird) originated with `Alî al-Hamadânî, to whom, it was believed, they had in a vision been revealed by the Prophet himself.

Shaikh `Abd al-Latîf’s return journey to Central Asia, after he had performed the hajj, was not less spectacular than his reception in Istanbul and Aleppo. Sultan Sulayman gave him an escort of 300 Janissaries, who accompanied him all the way from Asia Minor across the Caucasus and along the northern shores of the Caspian Sea to Khwarazm and Bukhara.[13] The author to whom we owe this information, the Ottoman admiral Sidi Ali Reis, was also a disciple of the shaikh. In mid-1556, as on his long and arduous overland journey from India to Istanbul he passed through Khwarazm, he heard of Shaikh `Abd al-Latîf’s recent death in the town of Wazir. He spared no effort to make a pilgrimage and recite the entire Qur’an over the shaikh’s grave (Sidi Ali Reis 1899:79).

We have no record of the impact Shaikh `Abd al-Latîf al-Jâmî made in Mecca when he performed the pilgrimage, but it must have been considerable too. The arrival of the sultan’s spiritual preceptor, travelling with a large band of followers, can hardly have passed unnoticed and may have been one of those events of which years later people still speak.

`Abd al-Latîf al-Jâmî was a contemporary of Sunan Gunung Jati. Without speculating whether Sunan Gunung Jati himself actually visited Mecca and met this Kubrawiyya teacher, we may safely conclude that at some time (and quite possibly still in the 16th century, for we recognise in the above list no names of later representatives of this line of affiliation), at least some Bantenese became acquainted with (some aspects of) the Kubrawiyya as taught by `Abd al-Latîf al-Jâmî. If word of Jâmî’s having initiated the Ottoman Sultan reached Banten, that may have convinced the Javanese ruler that this Sufi order represented a potent ngèlmu, which it was useful to acquire (or at least to claim possessing).

The silsila ending in Shinnâwî probably represents a second contact with the same Sufi order, one or two generations later. Could it be that a Bantenese in search of initiation in this prestigious order failed to locate a successor of Jâmî and therefore had recourse to the other Kubrawiyya branch represented by Shinnâwî?[14] Qushâshî’s successor, Ibrâhîm al-Kûrânî (1328:108-9), and the latter’s second-generation disciple, Shâh Walî Allâh (n.d.:119-21), list several other Kubrawiyya silsila, showing that they had (subsequent?) initiations in several branches of the order. These additional silsila do not contain other names that occur in our list – which suggests that the list in its present form dates from Shinnâwî’s or at the latest Qushâshî’s time.

One other person in the list who can be unambiguously identified is Khwâja `Azîzân `Alî al-Râmîtanî (d.1321 or 1328). He was one of the Central Asian mystics known as the Khwâjagân, who are posthumously associated with the Naqshbandi order.[15] He is best known for his correspondence with `Alâ’ al-Dawla al-Simnânî (uud 1992:30-2, after `Abd al-Rahmân Jâmî’s Nafahât al-uns) and therefore is not out of place in the list of Kubrawi mystics.

Another identification that suggests itself is that of Mîr Shâh Rajû (13) with the mystic Sayyid Hibatullâh b. `Atâ’illâh al-Fârisî, who was popularly known as Shâh Mîr.[16] Sayyid Hibatullâh was affiliated with the Kubrawiyya through both Simnânî and another disciple of Nûruddîn al-Isfarâ’inî, Amînuddîn `Abd al-Salâm al-Khunjî, and Qushâshî in fact quotes him in the Simt on methods of dhikr (Landolt 1986:47). Another possible identification is more speculative: could Nizâmuddîn ‘al-Hawârî’ (no. 4) perhaps be Simnânî’s disciple Nizâmuddîn `Alî (on whom see DeWeese 1988:64)? The occurrence of these names in the list shows that the compiler did not merely copy two partial silsila and suggests that he had a certain acquaintance with the history of the Kubrawiyya order.

Traces of a Kubrawiyya influence in Indonesian Islam

Has the early acquaintance with the Kubrawiyya that is documented by the Babad Cirebon and the SBR left lasting traces in Indonesian Islam? Can any specific mystical doctrines or spiritual techniques be traced to a Kubrawiyya influence?

Our knowledge of the precise techniques developed by the early Kubrawiyya is very imperfect, although important work has been done by Meier, Corbin, Algar and Landolt. The most detailed information we have concerns the various techniques of dhikr used (Meier 1957:200-213; Landolt 1986:38-50; Elias 1993; cf. Râzî 1982:268-278) and the metaphysical speculations (Meier 1957:93-199; Landolt 1986:70-79). At least some of the Kubrawiyya dhikr techniques have through the said 14th-century Central Asian mystics known as the Khwâjagân also been adopted in the Naqshbandiyya order. Since a presence of this order in Indonesia can be attested from the mid-17th century down, the occurrence of some of these techniques in Indonesia does not necessarily represent a direct Kubrawiyya influence.

It was observed above that an important devotional exercise and mystical technique of the Kubrawiyya as taught by `Abd al-Latîf al-Jâmî was the recitation of the Awrâd Fathiyya, which originated with `Alî al-Hamadânî. These litanies are still in use in various parts of the Muslim world, e.g. in certain Naqshbandiyya circles in Turkey.[17] The name of the Awrâd Fathiyya appears to be unknown in Indonesia. One of the litanies in this collection, however, is widely known throughout Java;[18] it is in fact one of the most common formulas for pious recitation there, not associated with any specific mystical order. It is tempting to assume that the popularity of this wird is still due to the prestige `Abd al-Latîf al-Jâmî once enjoyed.

The most distinctive feature of the Kubrawiyya order – or at least of its leading thinkers, Kubrâ, Isfarâ’inî, Najmuddîn Râzî, Simnânî, and Hamadânî – is the emphasis on the visionary perception of coloured lights, the symbolic interpretation of these colours and the use of these coloured lights to lead the devotee on towards spiritual perfection (see Corbin 1978; Meier 1957:115-26; Elias 1993). Some scholars have seen this as a straightforward borrowing from Tantric Hinduism or Buddhism.

Now there are in Java various esoteric Muslim sects that also use meditational techniques to produce a perception of such coloured lights (among which the black and green lights, as with the Kubrawiyya, have a privileged place). The anthropologist Woodward heard in Yogyakarta that the Sultan ‘is believed to see a green light when meditating.’[19] This appears to correspond to the highest variety of visional experience recognised by Kubrawiyya authors.

The vision of coloured lights appears to occupy a central place among the spiritual techniques of the Haqmaliyah or Akmaliyah, a little-known local tarékat (mystical order) of West Java.[20] There appear to be significant differences between the various branches of this tarékat, both in practices and in the interpretation of the visions; they are, moreover, highly reluctant to divulge their teachings and practices to the uninitiated for fear of giving rise to misunderstanding and accusations of heresy. One branch of the Haqmaliyah with which I am acquainted produces the visionary perception of coloured rays through the recitation of certain formulae in combination with a technique of sensory deprivation and breath control: the ears are closed with the thumbs, the eyes with the index fingers, the nostrils with the middle fingers, and the remaining four fingers tightly close the mouth.[21]

Just like the Kubrawiyya authors, teachers of this meditational technique have a more or less elaborate system of interpretation of the various lights, and the practitioners whom I talked with believed that spiritual progress is reflected in the perception of different colours, a radiant black light in particular appearing only to the more advanced meditator. One is tempted to attribute this practice to an early Kubrawiyya influence, the origins of which may have been forgotten.[22] However, exactly the same technique of closing the apertures in the head is also practised in Indian Tantric circles, where it is known as yoni mudra.[23] On the other hand, the technique has not been attested anywhere in Kubrawiyya sources. So does the vision of coloured lights here represent a Tantric “survival” from Java’s pre-Islamic past,[24] or is it due to a Kubrawiyyah influence?

The written literature of this sect does not yield any clear clues as to the origins of this meditation technique. The major work, Lajang Moeslimin-Moeslimat (Martawidjaja 1930), contains metaphysical-mystical teachings of the wahdat al-wujûd kind in the form of a dialogue between Raden Muslimin and his younger brother Raden Muslimat, somewhat reminiscent of the didactic sections of the Serat Centhini. There are unmistakable influences of al-Jîlî’s al-Insân al-kâmil,[25] but with typically Indonesian modifications. The text, as common in Indonesia, describes not five but seven stages of emanation (martabat tujuh).[26] In the third stage (Wâhidiyya), where the Prophet’s spiritual substance (nûr Muhammad, the Light of Muhammad) first emerges, this is said to appear as coloured rays, first red, then yellow, white and black.[27] In later stages of the emanation process, these coloured lights become associated, in typically Javanese fashion, with the four Arabic letters making up the name of Allah, the four elements (fire, wind, water and earth), four bodily constituents (flesh, marrow, hide and bone), four souls (nafsu) or states of the soul (nafsu amarah, nafsu lawamah, nafsu sawiah and nafsu mutma’inah),[28] and four sense organs (ears, eyes, mouth and nose). Another passage adds colourless clear and dark lights and various shades of blue to the range of coloured lights, without a further attempt to fit them into a classificatory scheme.[29]

The somewhat similar Malay and Javanese texts edited by Johns (1957, 1965) also speak of nûr Muhammad in the stage of Wâhidiyya, but make no mention of coloured lights, nor do they refer to any of the other fourfold classifications. These cosmological and cosmogonic speculations are very reminiscent of the Old Javanese Sang Hyang Kamahâyânikan, with the difference that the classifications there are mostly fivefold (Kats 1910:106-16). If they actually have such a pre-Islamic origin, they must have passed through an earlier stage of islamisation, however, for the terms and the associated imagery used are definitely part of the Islamic mystical tradition.

The term my Sundanese informants used for the visionary experience and, by extension, also for the technique itself was tajallî. This is a well-known Sufi technical term, usually rendered as ‘theophany’ or ‘self-manifestation of God.’ It occurs frequently in al-Jîlî’s al-Insân al-kâmil, the major source of inspiration for the Haqmaliyah. Al-Jîlî discusses God’s self-revelation in His acts (tajallî al-af`âl), His names (tajallî al-asmâ’), His attributes (tajallî al-sifât) and His essence (tajallî al-dhât). Seen from the human point of view, tajallî ‘is the light whereby the mystic’s heart has a vision of God’ (Nicholson 1921:135). The same term is also used by Kubrawiyya authors as well as by the eighteenth-century Kubrawiyya-influenced Indian Sufi and scholar Shâh Walî Allâh; in their writings, it appears to refer inter alia to the said visionary experience (see Landolt 1986, index tajallî; cf. Baljon 1986:31-2, 127-8).

For this Sundanese sect, tajallî is the esoteric dimension of all Muslim worship. To summarise the Lajang Moeslimin-Moeslimat, each act has besides its external meaning (sharî`a) three deeper meanings, haqîqa, tarîqa and ma`rifa, of which the last is the most esoteric. The sharî`a of prayer (salât) consists of the physical movements of standing, bending forward, prostrating oneself and sitting; its haqîqa consists of the letters ALLH, that is the name of Allah; its tarîqa is the ‘real’ salât, absolute tajallî; and its ma`rifa is the direct encounter with the nûr Muhammad, that is the four coloured lights.[30]

This Sundanese text, as may have been noticed, does not mention the green light, to which the Kubrawiyya authors attribute pre-eminence. My informants, however, spontaneously mentioned this luminous green and attributed the most positive value to green, black and colourless light – which is consistent with Kubrawiyya sources. The doctrines and practices of this Sundanese sect are, to my knowledge, not found combined elsewhere. It may of course have been the case that the founder or founders of this sect simply combined pre-Islamic techniques of producing luminous visions, Javanese concepts of classification and al-Jîlî’s Islamic emanation theory. I nevertheless venture the hypothesis of a Kubrawiyya influence which, precisely because that order already incorporated a similar mixture, was easily grafted upon the remnants of pre-Islamic Tantric traditions and thereby facilitated their integration into Islamic esoteric mysticism.

Perhaps the least doubtful trace of early Kubrawiyya contacts is the name of an almost omnipresent mythical character in the sacred history of Islamic Java: the shaikh Jumadil Kubra, to whom all the saints of Java appear to be related somehow. It appears that this name, which almost certainly is a corruption of Najmuddîn al-Kubrâ, has attached itself to various legendary and mythical personalities, who have in common that they are ancestors or preceptors of the founders of Islam in Java – an oblique acknowledgement, perhaps, of the prestige of the Kubrawiyya in the period of islamisation.

Sèh Jumadil Kubra

In traditions from western Java, Sèh Jumadil Kubra figures as an ancestor of Sunan Gunung Jati. The chronicles of Banten and Cirebon give, in slightly variant forms, the following abbreviated genealogy:

The Prophet Muhammad

Ali and Fatimah

Imam Husain

Imam Zainal Âbidin

Imam Ja`far Sadiq

Sèh Zainal Kubra (or: Zainal Kabir)

Sèh Jumadil Kubra

Sèh Jumadil Kabir

Sultan Bani Israil

Sultan Hut and Queen Fatimah

Muhammad Nuruddin (the later Sunan Gunung Jati)[31]

This genealogy consists of a number of distinct parts. The first part names the Prophet’s direct lineal descendants down to the sixth Shi`i Imam, Ja`far al-Sâdiq (whose father, the fifth Imam, Muhammad al-Bâqir, is not mentioned in any version I have seen). The silsila of several Sufi orders (though not of the Kubrawiyya) begin with these names, as do the genealogies of all sayyids from Hadramaut; significantly, Ja`far is also the last of the Imams listed in those cases. The last part of the genealogy names two mythical rulers of an equally mythical heartland of Islam (sometimes named Egypt); their names appear to lay an explicit link with pre-Muhammadan prophetic tradition. Hûd is the name of the earliest of the five ‘Arab’ prophets mentioned in the Qur’an, but the name also occurs in the Qur’an as a collective noun denoting the Jews; Banû Isrâ’îl, ‘the Children of Israel,’ similarly is a Qur’anic term for the Jews, which sometimes includes other monotheists as well (Wensinck/Pellat 1967; Goitein 1960). Both names therefore also mean ‘ruler of the Jews.’

Most mysterious are the three linguistically deviant, quasi-Arabic names in the middle. I believe that Jumadil Kubra is the only significant one and that the other two are formed by analogy, precisely because this is such a strange name. The Arabic word kubrâ (written with the characters KBRY) is an adjective in the feminine mode, the superlative of kabîr (KBYR), ‘great.’ The corresponding masculine form would be akbar (AKBR). It is highly anomalous to have al-Kubrâ, ‘the Greatest,’ as part of a man’s name. Najmuddîn al-Kubrâ is the only prominent personality in Islamic history to be so designated; he is often simply referred to as Kubrâ. In his case, this is an elliptic form of the Qur’anic expression al-tâmma al-kubrâ, ‘the major disaster,’ a nickname referring to his skills as a debater (Algar 1980:300). It is easy to see how on Javanese tongues Najmuddîn al-Kubrâ became Najumadinil Kubra and hence, through elision of the first and contraction of the fourth and fifth syllables, turned into Jumadil Kubra, perhaps partly by analogy with the names of the Muslim months Jumâdâ’l-Ûlâ and Jumâdâ’l-Ukhrâ.[32]

The name Jumadil Kabir is probably just a hypercorrect form of Jumadil Kubra, as are the names Jumadil Akbar and Jumadil Makbur, which we find in other Javanese texts. One rarely encounters both names together; some texts have one of them where other texts have the other. The name Zainal Kubra, finally, is another anomaly since after Zainal one would expect a substantive, not an adjective.[33] The name appears to be the product of a simple permutation of the elements of other names in the genealogy. Strange though the name Zainal Kubra may be, it occurs in texts from various parts of Java as a link between Jumadil Kubra and the Prophet’s family. This prestigious association is probably why Amangkurat II adopted precisely this name among those he adorned himself with upon accession to the Mataram throne: Susuhunan Ratu Amangkurat Senapati Ingalaga Ngabdulrahman Muhammad Zainal Kubra (Ricklefs 1993:273n2).

Of these various fictitious persons, Jumadil Kubra is the only one about whom we find developed legends in Javanese literature, and with whom places of pilgrimage are associated. The Babad Cirebon makes him not only an ancestor of Sunan Gunung Jati, but also of the other wali Sunan Bonang and Sunan Ampèl, and even of that most Javanese of the saints, Sunan Kalijaga.[34] In the genealogy of the last-named, the babad mentions following ‘Jumadilmakbur’ another name vaguely suggestive of a Kubrawiyya connection, Shaikh Aswa’ al-Safaranîn (or, in other manuscripts, Sagharnané, or Safaranâ’î), which can hardly be anything else but a corruption of al-Isfarâ’inî. The east Iranian town of Isfarâ’in was a major centre of the Kubrawiyya, and several influential shaikhs of that order bear this nisba (the name Aswa’, however, does not resemble that of any known Isfarâ’inî).

A Javanese chronicle of Gresik summarised by Wiselius makes Jumadilkubra the grandfather of yet another wali, the first Sunan Giri. In this chronicle, Jumadil Kubra is a blood relative of Sunan Ampel and resides in Gresik; his son, Maulana Ishaq, is dispatched to Blambangan by Sunan Ampèl in order to islamicise it. Ishaq marries the daughter of the ruler of Blambangan but fails to convert his father-in-law to Islam and in frustration moves to Malacca, leaving behind his pregnant wife. The princess dies in childbirth and the child is thrown into the sea, from which it is miraculously saved by a sailor from Gresik. The boy is given a thorough Islamic education and ultimately becomes the first Sunan Giri (Wiselius 1876:467-8). The Babad Tanah Jawi has a virtually identical legend, but Sunan Giri’s father there is named Wali Lanang instead of Maulana Ishaq, and Jumadil Kubra is not at all mentioned in this connection (Meinsma 1941:20-1; cf. Fox 1991:25-8 for various other versions of Sunan Giri’s ancestry). However, a genealogy of the late 17th-century Shattariyya shaikh Abdul Muhyi of Pamijahan in south Tasikmalaya, who claimed descent from Sunan Giri, does list both Maulana Ishaq and Jumadil Kubra (Kosasi 1938:137).

A Javanese popular legend from the Tengger region(!), the Cariosé Telaga Ranu, mentions Maulana Ishaq and Jumadil Kubra as brothers of the hermits Ki Sèh Dadaputih on Mt Bromo and Ki Sèh Nyampo at Sukudomas. Maulana Ishaq goes to Balambangan and fathers Raden Paku (Sunan Giri); Jumadil Kubra establishes himself as a teacher in Mantingan.[35]

A variant recension of the Babad Tanah Jawi, the Babad Pajajaran, quoted by Djajadiningrat (1913:262), adds the theme of incest to the Jumadil Kubra legend. In this version too, he is a cousin or a nephew of Sunan Ampèl and lives as an ascetic in the forest near Gresik. His wife dies in childbirth; the daughter that is born grows into a beautiful girl, and one day Jumadil Kubra has sexual intercourse with her. When she gives birth to a son, he becomes so ashamed that he throws himself into the river and drowns. He is buried in Gresik and his grave becomes a place of pilgrimage.[36]

In slightly different form this incest legend also occurs in the Sajarah Banten: Jumadil Kubra, not associated with any particular locality here, is a son of Ja`far Sadiq. His wife dies, leaving him with a son and a beautiful daughter. He makes the daughter pregnant, and when a son is born the child is abandoned in the forest. It is found and brought up by a poor man; when growing up, the boy is sent to study with Sèh Jumadil Kubra, who gives him the name of Shamsu Tabris and intends to make him his son-in-law. Discovering Shamsu’s real identity, the shaikh dies in shame, and Shamsu sets out on long years of wandering as an act of penitence (Djajadiningrat 1913:26, cf. 261-5, where yet other versions are discussed). There are numerous other Javanese legends concerning Syamsu Tabris or Tamrès (Drewes 1930); this mythical character has little but the name in common with the young Persian dervish Shams-i Tabrîz, who has been immortalised by the great Sufi poet Jalâluddîn Rûmî. (In some Turkish and Kurdish folk legends, however, Shams-i Tabrîz is born from a virgin, Rûmî’s daughter, which may foreshadow the incest theme). In the Babad Cirebon, we find the earlier themes merged: Syamsu occurs again as a son of Jumadil Kubra (but without any suggestion of incest); he marries a princess of Champa and begets two sons, one of whom becomes Sunan Ampèl.[37]

Raffles has preserved another legend from Gresik in which Jumadil Kubra is not an ancestor but a preceptor of the first walî. Radèn Rahmat, the future Sunan Ampèl, born from the union of an Arab scholar and a princess of Campa, first arrives in Palembang and from there travels on to Majapahit. He lands at Gresik, ‘where he visited Sheik Molana Jomadil Kobra, a devotee who had established himself on Gunung Jali, and who declared to him that his arrival at that particular period had been predicted by the prophet; that the fall of paganism was at hand, and that he was elected to preach the doctrine of Mahomet in the eastern ports of Java’ (Raffles 1817:117).

A similar role is attributed to Sèh Jumadil Kubra in legends still told in villages on the slopes of the Gunung Merapi, north of Yogyakarta. He is believed to be the oldest of the Javanese Muslim saints, originating from Majapahit and living as a hermit in the mountain forest here. Without much regard for chronology, he is also believed to have been spiritual adviser to Sultan Agung, the greatest ruler of Mataram (1613-1646). Once every 35-day period, in the night of Friday Kliwon, the sultan’s spirit would visit the shaikh in his mountain haunt (Triyoga 1991:36-7). The shaikh’s maqam or grave[38] is pointed out on the top of a secondary peak at the village of Turgo, Gunung Kawastu. It draws a steady trickle of visitors, many of whom spend one of more nights here in pursuit of spiritual power and sensitivity (prihatin).

Turgo is not the only place that can boast a maqam of Sèh Jumadil Kubra. The grave at Gresik mentioned in the Babad Pajajaran is no longer known, but presently one of the Muslim graves at Tralaya, near the capital of Majapahit, is pointed out as the one and only grave of Jumadil Kubra. This is the most widely acknowledged and most frequently visited of his maqam. It is not unusual for people making a pilgrimage to the Nine Saints of Java (wali sanga) to pay their respects to their ancestor at Tralaya first. Prior to the 1992 elections the grave was visited by three high-ranking cabinet ministers (all of whom were rewarded when the new government was formed). When the conflict-ridden Partai Demokrasi Indonesia convened its Extraordinary Congress in Surabaya in December 1993, the delegation from Solo stopped at Tralaya to pay its respects to the saint before proceeding to Surabaya.[39]

The saint furthermore has ties with the Semarang area. One version of the Babad Tanah Jawi has him perform his tapa in the Bergota hills south of present Semarang.[40] A grave located between the coastal fish-ponds at a place called Terbaya, not far from Semarang, is locally known as the maqam of Sèh Jumadil Kubra (Budiman 1978:92). Elsewhere in the Semarang area, at Sampangan, there is a ruin (petilasan) named after him (ibid.:93-4).

We thus find Jumadil Kubra associated with four different regions of Java (Banten-Cirebon, Gresik-Majapahit, Semarang-Mantingan and Yogyakarta) and with a number of different complexes of legends. It is almost as if Javanese Muslims of different times and places started out with the name, and have then sought for appropriate characters to attach it to, thereby coming up with some mutually inconsistent solutions. The range of legends and of geographical dispersion suggests that the archetype of Jumadil Kubra must have enjoyed great prestige in early Indonesian Islam; the absence of any characteristic traceable to Najmuddin al-Kubra, on the other hand, suggests that his influence must have remained shallow.

Shaikh Jamâluddîn al-Akbar, the Arab ancestor of the wali and kiai of Java

Besides the babad tradition, there exists another legendary tradition about the islamisation of Java. It emerged and is kept alive in circles of the Hadrami sayyid, descendants of the Prophet, who have had a great influence on Indonesian Islam. The Javanese kiai at present tend to adhere to the sayyid version rather than that of the babad – between which, as we shall see, there are many parallels. It was only in the 19th century that Arabs from Hadramaut started coming to Indonesia in large numbers, but individual traders and scholars from those parts had been settling in the islands for several centuries, marrying with local women. According to the traditions of the sayyids from Hadramaut (which need of course not be very ancient), the saints who islamicised Java and other parts of Southeast Asia were the offspring of such unions. Their alleged common ancestor was named Jamâluddîn Husain al-Akbar (see for instance their ‘family tree’ in al-Baqir 1986:45).

The oldest written versions of this historical tradition that I have seen are by the pen of Sayyid `Alwî ibn Tâhir ibn `Abdallâh al-Haddâr al-Haddâd, who until his death in 1962 was the muftî of Johor. It must be older, however, for some of the kiai I know already heard already from their grandfathers that they descended from a certain Jamâluddîn al-Husainî.[41] There appears to be some confusion, though; a person of this name lies buried in Medina, and on the assumption that this is their ancestor, Javanese kiai visit his grave after that of the Prophet. His patronymics, however, do not correspond with the alleged genealogy of Jamâluddîn al-Akbar.

The latter, like all Hadrami sayyid, descends from the sixth Shi`i imam, Ja`far al-Sâdiq, through his great-great-grandson, Ahmad al-Muhâjir, the first descendant of the Prophet to settle in Hadramaut. The genealogy remains for another six generations identical with that of several leading families of Hadrami sayyid (e.g. Mahayudin 1984:40, 47, 50, 54-5; al-Baqir 1986:17, 42). The last ancestor Jamâluddîn has in common with the sayyids is Muhammad ‘Sâhib Mirbât;’ his grandson `Abd al-Malik is said to have settled in Nasrâbâd in India, where his descendants became known as the family of Adhamat Khan and carried noble titles, grandson Ahmad even being called ‘Shâh’ (al-Haddâd 1403:6-7; al-Baqir 1986:42). Shâh Ahmad’s son Jamâluddîn and his brothers are said to have swarmed out over Southeast Asia, Jamâluddîn himself first setting foot in Cambodia and Acheh, then sailing to Semarang and spending many years in Java, and finally continuing to ‘the island of the Bugis,’ where he died (al-Haddâd 1403:8-11).[42] His son, Ibrâhîm Zain al-Akbar, married a Cambodian princess and begot two sons, Maulânâ Ishâq and Rahmatullâh alias Sunan Ampèl. Through another son, `Alî Nûr al-`Âlam, Jamâluddîn also became the great-grandfather of Sunan Gunung Jati, and through a third son, Zain al-`Âlim, the grandfather of yet another walî, Maulânâ Malik Ibrâhîm.[43]

This Jamâluddîn al-Akbar has remarkably much in common with the Jumadil Kubra of the babad. Al-Baqir has also noticed this; he comments that books in Javanese often incorrectly write Jamâluddîn’s name as Jumadil Kubra (1986:43n). I tend to believe it was the other way around; the Jamâluddîn story seems to me the product of an early 20th-century effort to ‘correct’ the Javanese legends. Kubrâ was replaced by more ‘correct’ Akbar, Jumâdî by the Arabic name that it most resembled, Jamâluddîn. A more credible genealogy was constructed, the Hadrami sayyid conveniently also being descendants of Ja`far al-Sâdiq, just like the Jumadil Kubra of the babad. The different and often mutually incompatible legends involving Jumadil Kubra were combined into a more or less coherent whole. Unislamic elements such as the incest theme were suppressed, as was the name of the Persian, Shams-i Tabrîz.

My hypothesis that this ‘sayyid’ version is a relatively recent fabrication receives some support from Serjeant’s observation that the sayyid in Hadramaut itself ‘criticise them [the mixed offspring of sayyid in Java] and their Arab fathers for omitting to maintain family registers’ (1957:25-6). It was only with the establishment in 1928 of al-Râbita al-`Alawiyya, an association of sayyid families, that systematic efforts were made to register family genealogies. The person of Jamâluddîn al-Akbar and his genealogy are most probably the products of these attempts to reconstruct the history of the sayyid in Indonesia. There were no protests, for not only were there no documents to disprove the genealogy, the two groups most concerned both stood to gain from this historical revision. Due to this ‘corrected’ genealogy, the leading families of Javanese kiai, who claim descent from the saints of Java, could henceforth ‘prove’ themselves to be the distant cousins of the arrogant Hadrami sayyid, and the latter at the same time recuperated the entire process of islamisation of Java.


I set out to write this article because I became fascinated with the Central Asian and Persian names I came across in early Javanese Muslim texts from Banten and Cirebon. The Kubrawiyya, with which many of these names are associated, is an important Sufi order that I have, however, never seen mentioned in an Indonesian context. I started searching whether specific Kubrawiyya practices perhaps survived under another name, remembering a local tarékat whose meditation practices are reminiscent of the colour visions for which the Kubrawiyya is known. One widely used wird (litany) appeared to be part of the best-known Kubrawiyya collection of such litanies. In neither case can a direct influence be proven, but at least a remarkable parallel between certain Javanese Islamic and Central Asian Kubrawiyya practices has been established.

Looking back, I realise that Najmuddîn al-Kubrâ’s transformation into Jumadil Kubra and hence into Jamâluddîn al-Akbar, which I first noticed only as a curiosity, may be read as a parable for the history of Indonesian Islam. A Persian-speaking Central Asian mystic, heir to the Iranian spiritual tradition and perhaps influenced by Tantric practices, who gave his name to Sufi teachings that were recognisable and appealing to the Javanese, became an archetypal Javanese saint, ancestor figure and forest hermit, the walî of the walî. The one among the coastal ‘Nine Saints’ whom he most came to resemble was the most Javanese of them all, Sunan Kalijaga.[44] Like Kalijaga’s also, his maqâm are to be found in various parts of Java.

The Arabisation of his name into Jamâluddîn al-Akbar indicates an increasing attention to correct form (I am tempted to write ‘form over substance’) and corresponds of course to the gradual Arabisation of Javanese Islam in general. The increasing prominence of the Hadrami sayyid in the religious life of the Indonesians (their numbers increased dramatically in the 19th century) was an important factor in this process. Typically Javanese elements, but also those of Indian or Iranian origin (exemplified, I like to believe, in the figure of Shams-i Tabrîz) are gradually purged. The Javanese kiai no longer seek their ancestor in the former capital of Majapahit or on Yogyakarta’s magical mountain but in the city of the Prophet, Medina.


Algar, Hamid
1980 ‘Kubrâ’, Encyclopaedia of Islam (2nd ed.), vol. V, 300-301.

Atjeh, H. Aboebakar
1984 Pengantar sejarah Sufi & tasawwuf (2nd ed.). Solo: Ramadhani.

Baljon, J.M.S.
1986 Religion and thought of Shâh Walî Allâh Dihlawî, 1703-1762. Leiden: Brill.

al-Baqir, Muhammad
1986 ‘Pengantar tentang kaum Alawiyin,’ in: Allamah Sayid Abdullah Haddad, Thariqah menuju kebahagiaan. Bandung: Mizan, pp.11-68.

Brandes J.L.A. & Rinkes, D.A.
1911 Babad Tjerbon [VBG 59]. Batavia: Albrecht & Co. ‘s Hage: M. Nijhoff.

van Bruinessen, Martin
1992 Tarekat Naqsyabandiyah di Indonesia. Bandung: Mizan.
1995 ‘Shari`a court, tarekat and pesantren: religious institutions in the Banten sultanate,’ Archipel 50.

Budiman, Amen
1978 Semarang riwayatmu dulu. Jilid pertama. Semarang: Tanjung Sari.

Corbin, Henri
1978 The man of light in Iranian Sufism. Boulder & London: Shambhala.

DeWeese, Devin
1988 ‘The eclipse of the Kubraviyah in Central Asia,’ Iranian Studies 21, 45-83.

Djajadiningrat, Hoesein
1913 Critische beschouwing van de Sadjarah Banten. Haarlem: Joh. Enschedé en Zonen.

Drewes, G.W.J.
1925 Drie Javaansche goeroe’s. Hun leven, onderricht en Messiasprediking. Dissertation, Leiden.
1930 ‘Sjamsi Tabriz in de Javaansche hagiographie,’ TBG 70, 267-330.

Edel, Jan
1938 Hikajat Hasanoeddin [diss. Utrecht]. Meppel: B. ten Brink.

Elias, Jamal J.
1993 ‘A Kubrawi treatise on mystical visions: The Risâla-yi nûriyya of `Alâ’ ad-Dawla as-Simnânî,’ The Muslim World 83, 68-80.

Fox, James J.
1991 ‘Ziarah visits to the tombs of the wali, the founders of Islam on Java,’ in: M.C. Ricklefs (ed.), Islam in the Indonesian social context, pp. 19-38. Clayton, Vict.: Centre of Southeast Asian Studies, Monash University.

al-Ghazzî, Najmuddîn
1979 al-Kawâkib al-sâ’ira bi-a`yân al-mi’a al-`âshira, ed. Jibrâ’îl Sulaymân Jabbûr. 3 vols. Beirut: Dâr al-afâq al-jadîda.

Goitein, S.D.
1960 ‘Banû Isrâ’îl,’ Encyclopaedia of Islam (2nd ed.), vol. I, 1020-1022.

Gramlich, Richard
1965 Die schiitischen Derwischorden Persiens. Erster Teil: Die Affiliationen. Wiesbaden: Franz Steiner Verlag.

al-Haddâd, al-Sayyid `Alwî b. Tâhir b. `Abdallâh al-Haddâr
1957 Sejarah perkembangan Islam di Timur Jauh. Jakarta: Al-Maktab ad-Daimi.
1983 Al-latâ’if: shadhara ta’rîkhiyya. Pekalongan: H. Shaykhân b. Sâlim b. Yahyâ al-`Alawî.

Hadisutjipto, S.Z. (ed.)
1979 Babad Cirebon. Jakarta: Departemen Pendidikan dan Kebudayaan, Proyek Penerbitan Bacaan dan Sastra Indonesia dan Daerah.

Hasyim, Umar
1979 Sunan Giri dan pemerintahan ulama di Giri Kedaton. Kudus: Menara.

Hermansoemantri, Enoch
1984/1985 Babad Cirebon: Sebuah garapan filologis. Yogyakarta: Proyek Penelitian dan Pengkajian Kebudayaan Nusantara (Javanologi).

Ibn al-`Imâd al-Hanbalî, Abu’l-Falâh `Abd al-Hayy
1350-51h Shadharât al-dhahab fî akhbâr man dhahab. 8 vols. Cairo: Maktaba al-Qudsî.

Johns, Anthony H.
1957 ‘Malay Sufism as illustrated in an anonymous collection of 17th century tracts,’ JMBRAS 30, part 2, 1-111.
1965 The gift addressed to the Prophet. Canberra: The Australian National University.

Kats, J. (ed.)
1910 Sang Hyang Kamahâyânikan. ‘s Gravenhage: Nijhoff.

Kosasi, Mohammed
1938 ‘Pamidjahan en zijne heiligdommen,’ TBG 38, 121-142.

al-Kûrânî, Ibrâhîm b. Hasan
1328h al-Amam li-îqâz al-himam. Haidarabad.

Landolt, Hermann
1986 ‘Étude préliminaire’ in: Nûruddîn Abdurrahmân-i Isfarâyinî, Le révélateur des mystères (Kâshif al-asrâr), ed. and trl. by H. Landolt, pp. 9-123. Lagrasse: Éditions Verdier.

Mahayudin Haji Yahaya
1984 Sejarah orang Syed di Pahang. Kuala Lumpur: Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka.

Martawidjaja, Asep
1930 Lajang Moeslimin-Moeslimat. Pitoewahna adjar padang. 3 djilid. Bandoeng: Winkel “Masdjoe” [reissued, with an Indonesian translation, by the Proyek Penerbitan Buku Sastra Daerah dan Indonesia of the Departemen Pendidikan dan Kebudayaan, Jakarta, 1982].

Meier, Fritz
1957 Die fawâ’ih al-gamâl wa-fawâtih al-galâl des Nagm ad-Dîn al-Kubrâ. Wiesbaden: Franz Steiner Verlag.

Molé, Marijan
1961 ‘Les Kubrawiya entre sunnisme et shiisme aux huitième et neuvième siècles de l’hégire,’ Revue des études islamiques 29, 61-142.

el-Naksibendi, El-Hac Mehmed Nuri Semsüddin
1979 Tam Miftâh-ül-kulûb. Kalplerin anahtarï. Istanbul: Salih Bilici Kitabevi.

Nicholson, Reynold Alleyne
1921 Studies in Islamic mysticism. Cambridge: University Press.

al-Qushâshî, Safî al-dîn Ahmad b. Muhammad
1327h al-Simt al-majîd fî sha’n al-bay`a wa al-dhikr wa talqînih wa salâsil ahl al-tawhîd. Haidarabad.

Raffles, Thomas Stamford
1817 The History of Java. Vol II. London [reprint: Kuala Lumpur: Oxford University Press, 1978].

Râzî, Najm al-Dîn, known as Dâya
1982 The path of God’s bondsmen from origin to return (Mersâd al-`ebâd men al-mabda’ elâ’l-ma`âd). A Sufi compendium. Translated from the Persian, with introduction and annotation, by Hamid Algar. Delmar, NY: Caravan Books.

Ricklefs, M.C.
1993 War, culture and economy in Java, 1677-1726. Sydney: Allen & Unwin.

Serjeant, R.B.
1957 The Saiyids of Hadramawt. London: School of Oriental and African Studies.

al-Sha`rânî, `Abd al-Wahhâb
1315h al-Tabaqât al-kubrâ. 2 vols. Cairo: al-`Âmira al-sharqiyya.

Sidi Ali Reïs
1899 The travels and adventures of the Turkish admiral Sidi Ali Reïs in India, Afghanistan, Central Asia, and Persia, during the years 1553-1556. Translated from the Turkish, with notes, by A. Vambéry. London: Luzac & Co.

Suud, Hasan Lütfi
1992 Islâm tasavvufunda Hâcegân hânedânï (2nci baski). Istanbul: Bogaziçi yayïnlarï.

Trimingham, J. Spencer
1973 The Sufi orders in Islam. London: Oxford University Press.

Triyoga, Lucas Sasongko
1991 Manusia Jawa dan Gunung Merapi. Persepsi dan sistem kepercayaannya. Yogyakarta: Gadjah Mada University Press.

Waley, Muhammad Isa
1991 ‘Najm al-Din Kubra and the Central Asian school of sufism (the Kubrawiyyah),’ in: S.H. Nasr (ed.), Islamic spiritualism: Manifestations, pp. 80-104. New York: Crossroad.

Wali Allâh, Shâh
n.d. Intibâh fî salâsil awliyâ’ Allâh. Karachi.

Wensinck, A.J./Pellat, Ch.
1967 ‘Hûd,’ Encyclopaedia of Islam (2nd ed.), vol.III, 537-538.

Winter, Michael
1982 Society and religion in early Ottoman Egypt. Studies in the writings of `Abd al-Wahhab al-Sha`rani. New Brunswick and London: Transaction Books.

Wiselius, J.A.B.
1876 ‘Historisch onderzoek naar de geestelijke en wereldlijke suprematie van Grissé op Midden en Oost Java gedurende de 16e en 17e eeuw,’ TBG 23, 458-509.

Woodward, Mark R.
1989 Islam in Java. Normative piety and mysticism in the sultanate of Yogyakarta. Tucson: The University of Arizona Press.

Kubrawiyya silsila: the Hamadaniyya branch and Qushâshî’s line of affiliation

Najmuddîn al-Kubrâ (d.1221)

Majduddîn al-Baghdâdî (d.1219)

Radî al-dîn `Alî-yi Lâlâ (d.1244)

Ahmad al-Jûrfânî [Gurpânî] (d 1270) = Ahmad al-Rûdbârî

Nûruddîn `Abd al-Rahmân al-Isfarâ’inî
(d.1317) `Abd al-Rahmân al-Sharafî

`Alâ’ al-dawla al-Simnânî (d.1336)
Shihâbuddîn al-Dimashqî

Mahmûd al-Mazdaqânî (d.1359-60)

`Alî al-Hamadânî (d.1384) Abu’l-`Abbâs Ahmad al-Zâhid

Ishâq al-Khuttalânî (d.1423)

`Abdallâh al-Barzishâbâdî (d.1467-8) M.b.`Umar al-Wâsitî al-Ghamrî

Rashîd al-dîn al-Isfarâ’inî [al-Bîdâwâzî]

Shâh `Alî al-Isfarâ’inî al-Bîdâwâzî Zakariyyâ’ al-Ansârî (d.1520)

Muhammad al-Khâbûshânî (d.1531-2)

`Abd al-Wahhâb al-Sha`rânî

`Abd al-Latîf al-Jâmî Husain al-Khwârazmî
(d.1555) (d.1551)

Ya`qûb al-Sarfî al-Kashmîrî `Alî b.`Abd al-Quddûs
(d.1594) al-Shinnâwî

Ahmad al-Sirhindî (d.1624) Ahmad b.`Alî al-Shinnâwî

Âdam al-Banûrî (d.1663) Ahmad al-Qushâshî (d.1661)

Sayyid `Abdallâh Ibrâhîm al-Kûrânî (d.1691)

`Abd al-Rahîm (d.1719) Abû Tâhir Muhammad
al-Kûrânî (d.1733)

Shâh Walî Allâh (d.1762)

[1] The Malay and Javanese texts have been edited and summarily translated by Edel (1938). For an attempt to date the text and to assess its relation to other Banten and Cirebon chronicles, see Djajadiningrat 1913:195-9.

[2] The editor, J. Edel, added a few errors of his own, making some of the names less easily recognisable. I have consulted the Malay ms. that he used as the basis for his edition (Leiden Cod.Or. 1711) to correct a few of his readings.

[3] Professor Hermann Landolt kindly drew my attention to this and related silsila listed in al-Qushâshî’s work.

[4] `Abd al-Ra’ûf al-Singkilî, Tanbîh al-mâshî al-mansûb ilâ tarîq al-Qushâshî (Cod. Jakarta A 101). His contemporary Yusuf Makassar, who was also intensively tutored by al-Qushâshî’s successor Ibrâhîm al-Kûrânî, mentions the Kubrawiyya just once in his writings (Safîna al-najâh), as one of fifteen orders with which he was acquainted, but does not pay it any special attention.

[5] Nòt the Shadhiliyya, for al-Qushâshî does not list this order among those in which he had initiations.

[6] The Babad Cirebon does not refer to these ‘fellow students.’

[7] Here a proper name appears to have been omitted.

[8] Central Asian and East Iranian Kubrawiyya silsila have an Ahmad Gûrpânî (Arabised: al-Jûrfânî) as Majduddîn’s chief khalîfa, others, including al-Qushâshî, mention an Ahmad Rûdbârî. The list in the SBR shows these two Ahmad to be the same person.

[9] Al-Qushâshî 1327:98-9. Al-Sha`rânî gives in al-Tabaqât al-kubrâ brief biographies of his three predecessors in this silsila, al-Ansârî, al-Ghamrî and Ahmad al-Zâhid, but does not mention the persons preceding them. Elsewhere, in fact, he mentions another shaikh, Yûsuf al-`Ajamî al-Kûrânî, al-Zâhid’s spiritual ‘grandfather,’ as the progenitor of this Kubrawi line of affiliation in Egypt (Winter 1982:93, 215).

[10] Walî Allâh n.d.:120-1. The activities of Al-Khâbûshânî, al-Khwârazmî and his successor, Ya`qûb al-Sarfî al-Kashmîrî, receive extensive treatment in DeWeese 1988:67-77. Note that the next person in Shâh Walî Allâh’s silsila, Ahmad al-Sirhindî, is primarily known as the great reformer of the Naqshbandiyya. He is credited with introducing al-Simnânî’s doctrines and spiritual techniques (wahdat al-shuhûd as opposed to wahdat al-wujûd; meditation focussing on ‘subtle points’ in the body, the latâ’if) into this order (cf. Bruinessen 1982:54-8).

[11] Called Shaikh Shâh al-Isfarâ’inî al-Bîdawarânî by al-Ghazzî, and `Alî al-Baidâwârî by Trimingham. On the Kubrawiyya shaikhs of this Central Asian line, see DeWeese 1988.

[12] Al-Ghazzî 1979, vol. II:181-2. Cf. Trimingham 1973:96, who cites Ibn al-`Imâd, a later Syrian historian, whose account of al-Jâmî (in vol. VIII:282-283) depends entirely on al-Ghazzi.

[13] This military force may have had other functions besides honouring and protecting the shaikh. Upon arrival the soldiers entered the service of the ruler of Bukhara, giving rise to Iranian suspicions of military cooperation between the two Sunni states against Shi`ite Iran (Sidi Ali Reis 1899:96-7; cf. Vambéry’s introduction to this text, pp. vi-viii).

[14] The Kubrawiyya-Hamadaniyya branch is seldom mentioned in later sources, but there are indications that it remained in existence in the Hijaz. As late as 1731-2, Abû Tâhir Muhammad al-Kûrânî initiated the Indian Shâh Walî Allâh into several orders, among which the Hamadaniyya branch of the Kubrawiyya (Walî Allâh n.d.:120-1).

[15] In the standard Naqshbandi silsila, Bahâ’uddîn Naqshband (d.1389), to whom the Naqshbandiyya owes its name, is shown as following Khwâja `Azîzân in the third generation, cf. Bruinessen 1992:50.

[16] The possibility of this identity was suggested to me by Hermann Landolt.

[17] They are to be found in a much-used Turkish Naqshbandi manual, Miftâh al-qulûb (el-Nakibendi 1979:557-589).

[18] This is the wird (litany) beginning with astaghfir Allâh al-`azîm, astaghfir Allâh al-`azîm, astaghfir Allâh al-`azîm al-lâdhî lâ ilâh illâ hû al-hayy al-qayyûm wa atûbu ilayh. Allâhumma anta al-salâm wa minka al-salâm wa ilayka yarji`u al-salâm…, pp. 564-*** in el-Nakibendi 1979.

[19] Woodward 1989:180. None of my own informants in Yogyakarta knew anything of this alleged meditation of the sultan. Here as elsewhere in his book, Woodward appears to depend on one or a few informants with idiosyncretic views, but such views may of course well be rooted in an authentic oral tradition.

[20] The three teachers whose writings Drewes studied in his dissertation (1925) were affiliated with the Akmaliyah, but those texts contain no references to the specific devotions of this order. The tarékat spread from the Cirebon-Banyumas region also to Central and East Java but never acquired a large following.

[21] This branch, founded by Kiai Kahpi of Garut, is also known as Muslimin Muslimat, after its major scripture, a didactic text in Sundanese verse (dangding) written by Kahpi’s son Asep Martawidjaja (1930). See also the brief note on this sect and its meditation technique in Atjeh 1984:390. The same technique was described to me by a teacher of the Sammaniyya order in West Sumatra, Buya Syahruddin of Berulak, who claimed that it was part of the regular Sammaniyya devotions (interview, 24-3-1990).

[22] Simnânî enumerates the coloured lights in the order in which they appear to the mystic as: dark blue, ruby red, white, yellow, black and green. In the early stages of the path, the mystic may have brief glimpses of these lights, the strength of his dhikr determining the colour he perceives (Elias 1993:72-4).

[23] This technique was explained to me by a tantric practitioner whom I met in Lucknow in 1984. My informant was born a Hindu but had recently converted to Islam; however, he had learned the yoni mudra from a Hindu holy man. He was not aware of any system of interpretation of the various colours nor of a hierarchy among the colours.

[24] That meditation techniques to produce a vision of coloured lights were known in Java in the pre-Islamic period is clear from such Old Javanese works as the Sang Hyang Kamahâyânikan. See e.g. Kats 1910:106-7.

[25] This work of al-Jîlî’s is the single most important text used by other branches of the Haqmaliyah as well. The study devoted to this conceptually very rich text by Nicholson (1921, Chapter 2) is still the best.

[26] The theory of seven stages probably originates with the early 17th-century Indian Sufi, Muhammad b. Fadlallâh Burhânpûrî. For an adequate discussion of martabat tujuh metaphysics in Malay and Javanese Sufi texts, see Johns 1957 and 1965.

[27] ‘Enya éta sorotna nu tadi/ tina Johar awal Dat Sipatna Allah/ Hakékat Muhammad écés/ Sipatna padang alus/ bijil cahya opat rupi/ cahya beureum mimitina/ dua konéng kitu/ katilu cahaya bodas/ kaopatna cahaya hideung geus pasti/ ngaranna Nur Muhammad.’ (Martawidjaja 1930, I:34, spelling adapted). Compare this with Simnânî’s description of the coloured lights as they appear in meditation (note *21 above).

[28] Traditional Muslim psychology recognises three states of the nafs or animal soul: al-nafs al-`ammâra (the concupiscent soul, indulging in vice and hating virtue), an-nafs al-lawwâma (the reproaching soul, repenting for past sin), and al-nafs al-mutma’inna (the quiet soul, in harmony with the divine will). These three terms are Qur’anic. Javanese mysticism often appears to consider them as three different souls or vital forces, and has for reasons of classification added a fourth, named sâwiyya (as here) or sûfiyya. The characteristics attributed to these nafsu differ from sect to sect, but mutma’inah is always associated with harmony and altruism, and the other three with various earthly drives and desires.

[29] ‘Geus gulung pana paningal, caang powék beureum hideung bodas kuning, bulao biru djeung wungu, péndékna sadayana,…’ (Martawidjaja 1930, I:40).

[30] ‘Saréat sholat téh kang rayi/ nya éta nangtung ruku téa/ sujud lungguh bukti gawé/ ari hakékatna puguh/ Alif Lam enggeus pasti/ terasna Lam Ha nya éta lapadz Allah/ henteu salah tangtu/ dupi thorékatna sholat/ tetep baé dina keur sholat sajati/ tajalining mutlak// Ma’rifatna kudu sing kapanggih/ sareng éta Nur Muhammad téa/ ka cahya opat sing ‘ain/ …’ (Martawidjaja, ed. Sudibjo 1981, III:85-6). One of my informants called the technique of closing the sense organs with the fingers ‘the real prayer’ and explained that these seven apertures and ten fingers together correspond to the 17 raka`ât that make up the five daily sharî`a prayers.

[31] Edel 1938:123, 149, 253; Brandes/Rinkes 1911, Canto 13; cf. Djajadiningrat 1913:17, 106. Ja`far Sadiq’s name is lacking in the SBR, the Babad Cirebon has only one of the two Jumadi, and Djajadiningrat gives their names in reverse order.

[32] In the Arabic script the Gestalt of both forms of the name is not dissimilar: NJM ALDYN ALKBRY became JMADY ALKBRY; the months are also written as JMADY.

[33] Some of the genealogies given in other Javanese texts contain yet other names formed on the same pattern, such as Zainal Azim, Zainal Alim, Zainal Kabir, Zainal Husain (Kosasi 1938:137; Hasyim 1979:15; and a genealogy in the book of the juru kunci of Jumadil Kubra’s maqam in Turgo).

[34] ‘Kacapa kandi asal mula/ para wali Jawa kabèh/ ingkang dhihin Sunan Bonang/ iku kamulinira/ panceran tedhaking Rasul/ saking Syekh Jumadilkubra// Jumadilkubra sisiwi/ lanang ika kang peparab/ Syekh Molana Samsu Tamrès/ jumeneng pandhita Cempa/ akrama putra Cempa/ ing kanané wus amasyhur/ pandhita mustaqim akbar// paputra jalu kakalih/ kang nama Tubagus Rakhmat/ ya hiku Susunan Ampel/ kalih Tubagus Angejawa/ ngajak Islam ming sang ratu/ Majapahit datan karsa/ …’ (Brandes/Rinkes 1911, Canto 14); ‘kaping sakawan satengah/ para wali ing nusa Jawi nami/ Sunan Kali Jaga ulu/ tedhak saking Syekh Aswa’/ Safarana’i kang pancer sang Jumadilmakbur/ ika nuli puputra/ Arya Shadiq ingkang nami// jujuluk Arya ing Tuban/ apuputra ika ingkang pernami/ Radèn Arya Tumenggung/ Wilatikta mengkana/ Wilatikta puputra Radèn Sahidun/ iku Sunan Kali Jaga/ …’ (idem, Canto 15). The other Javanese and Sundanese versions of the Babad Cirebon that have been published (Hadisutjipto 1979; Hermansoemantri 1984/1985) do not mention Jumadilkubra at all.

[35] Cariosé Telaga Ranu, Leiden CB 145 (1) A. I thank Karel Steenbrink for sending me his copy of the description and summary of this manuscript (in Dutch) by J. Soegijarto.

[36] This text gives Burérah (from Abu Huraira?) as the shaikh’s original name; in the Babad Tanah Jawi (Meinsma 1941:20), a Burérah occurs as the son of the ruler of Champa. The text incidentally gives a popular etymology of the shaikh’s name, by writing it as Dumadil Kubra (Jav. dumadi, ‘becoming’); alternatively, it calls him Abdul Qadir Kubra.

[37] See the Javanese text in note *33.

[38] A saint’s maqam may be, but is not necessarily, his grave. Any place sanctified by the presence of the saint’s spirit may be called his maqam and may be visited by believers invoking the saint’s support. Several Yogyakarta informants emphatically told me that the maqam at Turgo is not Jumadil Kubra’s grave. In 1955, however, a group of devotees from Purworejo had the maqam built up in the form of a shrine.

[39] Interview with the juru kunci at Tralaya, January 6, 1994. Of the ministers who visited the shrine, one is known as a strict Muslim, one of the others is a Javanese Christian. The Solo PDI delegation presumably was largely abangan.

[40] ‘Ya ta Sèh Jumadil Kobra/ amertapa anenggih pernah neki/ asanget prayoganipun/ wonten ardi Pragota/ pan akathah tiyang kang sami guguru/ sanget kabul pandongané/ sumungkem sagunging murid’ (Budiman 1978:94, quoting the Van Dorp edition of the Babad Tanah Jawi).

[41] In fact, al-Haddâd appears to depend heavily on a work in Javanese or Malay by Haji `Ali bin Khairuddin, ‘historian of the Javanese,’ which he quotes as Ketrangan kedatangan bungsu (sic!) Arab ke tanah Jawi sangking Hadramaut (al-Haddâd 1403:4).

[42] Oral tradition among kiai and sayyid in Java is more specific about this Bugis connection. A holy grave in Wajo, South Sulawesi, locally known as ‘kramat Mekah,’ is believed to contain the remains of this very Jamâluddîn. Neither the above genealogy nor Jamâluddîn’s role in the islamisation of Java, however, appear to be part of local knowledge concerning the grave (KH. Ma’ruf Amin, oral communication).

[43] This summarises the remainder of al-Haddâd 1403 (which connects yet many others with Jamâluddîn) and the corresponding chart in al-Baqir 1986:45. Al-Baqir mentions as his source a ‘research report’ by Sayid Zain bin Abdullah Alkaf.

[44] It is worth noting, however, that there are no traces in Jumadil Kubra of that other mythical Javanese saint, Sèh Siti Jenar, and his heresies and martyrdom.

This entry was posted in Sejarah. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s