Both brethren and foes
Declare, “Damn you
For fathering innovations
After the Prophet.”
How can we explain
That there is no ‘after the Prophet’,
A notion which we instead read
As being most mischievous
I recall an old interview where a Sufi Shaykh quoted his beloved Master, that 'There is no innovation in worship.' If I remember correctly, it was in a television show on an Indonesian channel.
The Nine Saints of God of our blessed Neighbour. Recently in a local newspaper in Malaysia, a prominent Muslim scholar said that we must go save our Muslim Indonesians from the conversion efforts of Christian missionaries there. Millions have been converted he alleges. I don't know whether it is true or not. But I reckon we should pay attention to our own local problems. Not about conversions, but about the very meaning of Islam. For it is my observation that in Indonesia, the traditional teachings of the old shaykhs and scholars still resonates strongly in the heart of a lot of our brethren out there. I think it is because most of their Pesantren ( independent local religious schools, mostly small but some very big ones) retained the essence of their faith distilled for centuries, through the spiritual sultans of Java - the Wali Songo (The Nine Saints), may God sanctify their secrets.
No such thing as a free lunch. In Malaysia, we have been perhaps too relaxed in accepting favours and monies from a rich Middle Eastern Kingdom, which came with a proviso - send us your young and pious and we shall teach them in our Universities. This offer we readily accepted, because we were a young country and needed money for development, and after all, how many countries are out there willing to teach our students for free? And of course, being Malays, we were rather innocent and impressionable, and look to the Arabs as the true inheritors and protectors of the Prophet Muhammad's message (pbuh). How were we to know back then that there was a thriving and bitter debate between the Ahlus Sunnah wal Jamaah (followers of the Ways of the Prophet, which accounts for the majority of Muslims in the world) and a strange, rude offshoot of Islam known as Wahhabism. Some people say we should not say "Wahhabism" or 'Wahabis' because it is one of the Divine Names of God, meaning 'the All-Giver' of unimaginable mercy, grace and generosity. Well, all I can say is that I bet there must be a couple of thieves, murderers or even rapists alive or dead who rejoiced under the name of Abdul Wahhab, so does calling them by their given name tarnish God's Divine Name? It doesn't make sense at all. God is above mortal ridicule. They just want to convince the Muslims that they don't exist.
Malaysia and Wahhabism. But I am deviating (no pun intended). What is suggested is that in some aspects, Indonesia is more open to host strange old Sufis coming around and talking on national television. Sadly, Malaysia is the opposite. Our experience are replete with our country's official and non-official religious bodies not just permitting, but indeed welcoming the purveyors of Wahhabism. A couple of years back, a fairly well-known Wahhabi from the USA arrived to give a talk, sponsored by one of the country's biggest GLC(Government-linked companies). And again, in a northern state in Malaysia, a senior politician once even went on air to defend Wahhabism. I wonder what scholarly credentials he had to make such a broadcast...
They hate almost everyone else. Especially Muslims who disagree with them. Wahhabis like to argue that there is no such thing as Wahhabism. And they pour scorn upon the teachings of even such luminaries in the Islamic World as Imam Ghazali. Of course they would have no time for the more mystical scholars like Ibn Arabi and Jelaludin Rumi. "Western Philosophy tainted and poetic scholars!" the Wahhabis would grumble. Of the Sufi Tariqas, they have nothing but utter contempt. Sadly, the Wahhabi poison has infected the Well of Islam, that many drink from the poisoned well thinking such lessons to be true... so much so that when such things are exposed as Wahhabism, there would be many amongst us who would protest, "Yea, we are like that! But we are not Wahhabis. That is just good sense."
Reason for the Schism.The clear defining line between a Wahhabi and a member of the Sunnah wal Jamaah is simple really. One group believes in the Undying Message of the Al-Quran and the (very) active participation and intercessions in this world and the hereafter by Muhammad the Prophet of God(pbuh). The Wahhabis however has this world view, worded in prose as a reply to their terrible schism -
119. The 'inheritors' (a reply)
Oh, my inheritors, reflect!
What have you made me to be?
A malignant messenger-boy?
Cursing, cursory and desultory?
Dropping the Criterion on your laps,
Saying, “Well, okay then, must hurry!”?
What foul impressions have you wrought?
Why have my story you cut short?
Cease your endless prattle,
And lay not your salutary wreath on Muhammad’s tomb.
I am sent by my Lord
As a herald of Mercy, not doom.
And yet strangely, this pleases you not!
We pray to God, and they pray to God. We follow the teachings of Muhammad and they follow the teachings of Muhammad. But our Masters are schooled in the ways of the Prophet, His Companions and the Living Saints. Their Masters are lost in the rigid dogmas of positivism, 'reformation', humanism and strangely for a religious group, materialism. The Wahhabis also have much in common with the extreme Communists with their ideas of Year Zero and wiping the slate of humanity free of history, traditions and Adab (good manners) - Oh, everything that happened before us are bad. So only listen to our views and interpretations. They are not the Khmer Rouge, but their overbearing hubris has created for Muslims our very own Re-education Camps and Killing Fields, where Love, Knowledge, Mercy, Truth, Reason and Beauty are the first casualties.
That is why they shall never agree that...
Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way
Wheels are in motion. But thank God (and the Prophet) that the Malays and Indian-Muslim community here are (generally) even-handed and not particularly thrown to bouts of self-righteousness and hubris, the hallmark of the dyed-in-the-wool Wahhabi. As we speak we are aware of the inner struggle within the State-sanctioned religious bureaucracy between the Ulamas (religious scholars) of the Sunnah wal Jamaah and the Wahhabi preachers. And this backlash against the tide of Wahhabism is happening even in its very birthplace, Saudi Arabia. And now in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, the news come that the Caliph of Islam has been announced... Hmm. Wheels are in motion, sunshine. Wheels are in motion... Mercy, is ordained. And Truth is declared. The deception of Wahhabism and many, many Lies of the End of Time is exposed for those who would pause from their mindless and heartless obeisance to the 'regular' and the 'accepted norms' that has caged their hearts in an invisible prison for far too long already. That is the Prophet's undying promise to God for the benefit of all humanity whom the Prophet loves...
122. Not Dead
Oh, my Lord!
I have not left my flock unattended,
I have not left any fences unmended,
I have left stars that any, if lost, may follow home.
But a cold wind is blowing,
Carrying my memories far away,
Blackness is creeping in,
And though they know how to pray,
They have left my way.
Save for my heirs and heralds,
The fulcrum of this Age,
Still toiling in their mortal cage,
Long-bearded, the white, the black and the grey,
In their hearts, evil holds no sway,
In their hearts, Your Name resonates,
In their hearts, I still live,