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"O Allah! We seek goodness from Your Knowledge and with Your Power (and Might) We seek strength, and We ask from You Your Great Blessings, because You have the Power and We do not have the power. You Know everything and I do not know, and You have knowledge of the unseen. Oh Allah! If in Your Knowledge this action (We are about to take) is better for my religion and faith, for our life and end [death], for here [in this world] and the hereafter then make it destined for us and make it easy for us and then add blessings [baraka'] in it, for us. O Allah! In Your Knowledge if this action is bad for us, bad for our religion and faith, for our life and end [death], for here [in this world] and the hereafter then turn it away from us and turn us away from it and whatever is better for us, ordain [destine] that for us and then make us satisfied with it."

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The Webmaster (Pok Nik) would like to express his highest gratitude and thanks to (Almarhum) Ustaz Haji Ahmad Junaidin bin Che Din for his permission and greatest support in order to make this Global Abjad Blog as a reality.

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Importance of a good shaykh by Shaykh Abd'al-Qadir al-Jilani Radi Allahu anhu

Al Ghawth al-Adham Shaykh Sayyad Abd'al-Qadir al-Jilani Radi 'Allahu anhu said: You must work hard to ensure that your hearts are not locked out of the door of His nearness. Be sensible! You are getting nowhere. You must seek the company of a Shaykh who is learned in the law [hukm] and knowledge ['ilm] of Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He), and who will show you the way toward Him. Without seeing the successful [muflih], one cannot succeed. If a person does not seek the company of scholars who put their knowledge into practice ['ulama 'ummal], he is a chicken from an egg abandoned by the rooster and the mother hen.

Seek the fellowship of those who enjoy fellowship with the Lord of Truth (Almighty and Glorious is He). What each of you should do, when the night has grown dark and people have gone to bed and their voices are silent, is get up, take an ablution [yatawadda'], perform two cycles of ritual prayer [yusalli rak'atain] and say: "O my Lord, guide me to one of Your righteous servants near to You, so that he may guide me toward You and make me familiar with Your path." The instrument [sabab] is necessary. Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He) was quite capable of guiding [His servants] to Him without the Prophets [anbiya']. Be sensible! You are getting nowhere. You must awaken from your heedless folly. As the Beloved Prophet Salla Allahu ta'ala 'alayhi wa Sallam has said: If someone relies entirely on his own subjective judgement, he will go astray. Try to find someone who will be a mirror for the face of your religion [din], just as you look in the mirror to check the appearance of your outer face, your turban and your hair. Be sensible! What is this crazy foolishness? You say, "I don't need anyone to teach me," and yet the Beloved Prophet Salla Allahu ta'ala 'alayhi wa Sallam has said: The believer is the believer's mirror [al-mu'minu mir'atu 'l-mu'min].

When the believer's faith is sound, he comes to be a mirror for all creatures. They behold their religious faces [wujuh adyanihim] reflected in the mirror of his speech, every time they see him and get close to him. What is this craziness? Not a moment goes by without your begging Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He) to provide you with more than you already have to eat, to drink, and to wear, with more sexual opportunities and more income. These are not things that could increase or decrease, even if you were to be joined in your plea by every supplicant whose prayers are answered [da 'in mujab].

Supplication [da 'wa] will neither increase one's sustenance by so much as an atom, nor reduce it by an atom. This is a foregone conclusion [mafrugh minhu]. You must devote your attention to doing what you have been commanded to do, and to avoiding what you have been forbidden to do. You should not worry about that which is bound to come your way, because He guarantees that it will come to you. Allotted shares [aqsam] arrive at their appointed times, whether they be sweet or bitter, whether you like them or dislike them.

The people [of the Way] attain to a condition in which they no longer have any prayer of supplication [du'a] or request [su'al] to make. They do not beg [in their prayers] to gain advantages, nor to get rid of disadvantages. Their supplication comes to be a matter concerning their hearts, sometimes for their own sake and sometimes for the sake of all creatures, so they utter the prayer of supplication without conscious premeditation [fi ghaiba].
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"O '' Allah, endow us with good behaviour in Your company under all circumstances!
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[When the believer's faith is sound], fasting [sawm], prayer [salat], remembrance [dhikr] and all acts of obedience [ta 'at] become second nature to him, mingled with his flesh and blood. Then he receives protection from Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He) under all circumstances. The restraint of the law [hukm] does not desert him, not for an instant, while he is on this course. The law comes to be like the vessel in which he sits, as he travels over the ocean of the power [qudra] of his Lord (Almighty and Glorious is He). He goes on traveling over it until he arrives at the shore of the hereafter, at the shore of the ocean of grace and the hand of nearness. Thus he is sometimes in the company of creatures and at certain times in the company of the Creator. His work and toil are with creatures, while his relaxation is with the Creator.
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From Shaykh 'Abd al-Qadir al-Jilani, "The Sublime Revelation (Al-Fath ar-Rabbani)," translated by Muhtar Holland (Al-Baz Publishing, Houston, 1992), p. 426-8.
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On the authority of Abu Hurayrah r.a., who said that Prophet Muhammad S.A.W. said: Allah SWT said:

Whosoever shows enmity to someone devoted to Me, I shall be at war with him. My servant draws not near to Me with anything more loved by Me than the religious duties I have enjoined upon him, and My servant continues to draw near to Me with supererogatory works so that I shall love him. When I love him I am his hearing with which he hears, his seeing with which he sees, his hand with which he strikes and his foot with which he walks. Were he to ask [something] of Me, I would surely give it to him, and were he to ask Me for refuge, I would surely grant him it. I do not hesitate about anything as much as I hesitate about [seizing] the soul of My faithful servant: he hates death and I hate hurting him. (It was related by al-Bukhari)
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“Allah! There is no God save Him, the Alive, the Eternal. Neither slumber nor sleep overtaketh Him. Unto Him belongeth whatsoever is in the heavens and whatsoever is in the earth. Who is he that intercedeth with Him save by His leave? He knoweth that which is in front of them and that which is behind them, while they encompass nothing of His knowledge save what He will. His throne includeth the heavens and the earth, and He is never weary of preserving them. He is the Sublime, the Tremendous.”

Monday, December 31, 2007

WHAT IS AUTENTICITY IN SILAT?

With best compliments from Mohd Nadzrin Wahab of http://silat-melayu.blogspot.com

30 December 2007

What is authenticity in Silat?

The idea of authenticity is a very important one for silat styles in Malaysia. Many discussions and heated debates have taken place in the past and still take place because of 'authenticity'. Many a perguruan have begun their public relations campaign by attesting to the 'keAslian' of their style.

Non-Melayu who arrive in Malaysia find themselves in the thick of this, often being heavily worked over by masters who try to convince them that their styles are good because they are authentic. To gain a greater insight into this, it would be beneficial to discover just why many Melayu actually think this way and why it is important to them.

Adat and Tariqah

Based on my personal research, this notion comes from two sources, Adat (as in Adat Melayu, not the religious kind) and Tariqah. The Adat of the Melayu are based upon the subservience to royalty and as such, lineage of a successor king becomes an important factor in determining who rules the land.

It is said that only royalty can install royalty. Such ideas of recognition stem from Melayu kings claiming lineage from Alexander the Great, and receiving their sovereign status from China, the most powerful country in the world (back then and maybe soon again). They HAD no United Nations Organisation, so China was as good as they got.

This idea of authentication spread throughout silat, which demanded that only duly elected representatives of the master could lead or represent the mini-government that was the perguruan. Thus, the master, often a titled Pendekar, Panglima, Hulubalang (given by a reigning Sultan, which is traditionally how Pendekars are titled anyway in Malaysia's history) would pass on such royal authority to his successors, thus creating only one line of succession.

At the same time, Islam set foot in Malaysia through various channels, but almost always through the vehicle of Tariqah (Sufi Orders) such as Rifaiah, Alawiyah, Qadiriah, etc, which places great importance upon Rabitah & Wasilah (the unbroken connection of knowledge that exists from Prophet Muhammad down through the centuries from master to master).

In the cases where these Silat masters studied religion from Sufi masters (and in turn inherited the Rabitah & Wasilah from them) to become Sheikhs themselves, these two traditions have been upheld.

So, if you bump into a Melayu who would argue you to the ground on the importance of lineage, these could probably be one of the reasons. The next question might be, what is the importance of Rabitah & Wasilah to such a Melayu? That, is a whole other article.

Cultural Accreditation

Sometimes, out of a sense of common identity unity, the Melayu will allow and accept a wider definition of Silat. So much so that someone founded a silat style without actually studying any silat.

Once again, the Silat Lian Padukan is registered as a silat style with PESAKA Johor even though it clearly has Chinese origins and Siamese accessories. Also, not many people remember that the eminent Ustaz Hamzah Haji Abu of Kalaripayat Malaysia was actually invited to join PESAKA as Silat Kalaripayat.

Both occured because the current masters were Muslims and were accepted by the Melayu community.

Ill-defined common references

When you sit down to debate a traditional Melayu silat practitioner, the word he will most often use in this context is Asli. If you look up Asli, you'll find that sometimes, what he means is not the standard dictionary definition. Unfortunately, depending on who you're talking to, Asli can mean one of three contexts in English: Traditional, Authentic or Original.

Traditional means passed down from generation to generation. This is the general meaning most imply. Traditional means nothing is changed along this channel of transmission. The methods and thought remain zealously guarded, even in the face of newer ideas. Many Melayu arts claim to be traditional.

For instance, Gayung Fatani and their claims can be easily verified via the many masters of the art who studied it in separate informal perguruan extant of one another. Yet their styles share amazing congruence in many forms, including tari, terminology and allied cultural expressions (music, dress, adat, etc).

Authentic means authenticated or given authority to propagate. This second meaning does not touch upon the veracity of the art's lineage but at one point in time, is given a seal of approval by someone in power, such as the Agong, Sultan or a powerful figure.

It is literally an endorsement of the master's skills and abilities which is passed on like a halal logo from generation to generation. In this case, the passing itself is not as important as the seal.

For instance, Buah Pukul Mersing, although originally a Yunnanese pukulan art, has found its way into the rightful (by his master, of course) hands of Pak Mat Kedidi who blended it with various silat styles and tomoi to become LianPadukan.

That it was no longer the original form is not as important as the fact that he received the Nukil (written and spiritual authentication) from Chu Aman to develop the art as he saw fit. This authority is now passed to his successor Haji Hasyim Haji Salleh who continues to upgrade the art.

Original means that the art in question did not and never has borrowed from any physical source but came about as solutions to several combat conundrums. This is, however, debateable, since it is very rare that an individual just wakes up one day and decides to create a silat style from nothing.

But, with the prevalence of masters who purport to receive their styles in dreams and inspiration with no previous martial training, there are those who rightly claim such originalness.

So, I suppose the next time someone comes up with this word Asli, you might want to ask them, exactly what do they mean?

My personal opinion? If you're a good fighter who made up your own art and it works, and you catch the eye of a Sultan somewhere and eventually have a large school for thousands of students that span several generations, you would have already laid the foundation for your art to become Asli in all senses of the word.

This article has been modified from one I originally posted on the Martial Arts Planet forums several years ago.

Posted by Mohd Nadzrin Wahab in http://silat-melayu.blogspot.com