An honourable, respectable and untainted pedigree is a very important pre-requisite to produce good and noble human beings. It is the basic standard.
The birth of messengers of Allah (peace be upon them), especially the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), is very much determined by the lineage factor. Members of the family tree connecting the prophet Abraham (PBUH) to the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) are shielded from adultery and fornication. Such unadulterated lineage continues for hundreds of generations and thousands of years. Look at the names in the network:
The Prophet Abraham (PBUH) - the Prophet Ishmael (PBUH) - Adnan - Maa’ad – Nizar - Khuzaimah - Kinanah - Ghalib - Uyainah – Ka’ab - Murrah - Kilab - Qusai - Abdul Manaf - Hasyim - Abdul Mutalib - Abdullah - the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).
The 15th grandfather is the Prophet Ishmael (PBUH) while the 16th grandfather is the father of mankind, the Prophet Abraham (PBUH). They are all the ancestral fathers of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), of unsullied breed. Likewise, on the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)’s mother’s side, the lineage reaches the Prophet Abraham (PBUH).
From the above, it is understood to us that the ancestral factor is a strong basis in the making of a noble character. If one is truly a leader of a cause for truth, one will surely be the product of unsullied ancestry. Let us look at the facts.
In Pilin, the 1940s until the 1960s was a period of backwardness and poverty, in both worldly and otherworldly aspects. Prayer houses and mosques had become the resting place for goats. Their dung filled their prayer halls.
But the prayer house of Kiyai Syahid and Lebai Ibrahim (Abuya’s uncle), constructed from wood and bamboo sticks, was eventful, especially during Sunday and Thursday nights which were filled by recitations of the tahlil and maulid [poetical biography of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)]. Abuya grew in a household whose members all prayed and practiced tariqah.
Abuya’s father, Muhammad, was not only religious, but he was also a tariqah practitioner. At that time, so lax were the Malays in their religious practice that they generally neglected prayers, not to mention tariqah. Abuya’s grandfather, Idris, was also a student in the original tariqah congregation in Klang, meaning he was also a sufi tariqah practitioner.
Abuya’s father related that his grandfather Haji Ali came from Yemen, of Bani Tamim descent. Maimunah, Abuya’s mother, is Syeikh Suhaimi’s cousin and traces her descent to the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). This means they are from one grandparent; their father or mother were siblings. Their grandfather came from Wonosobo, Indonesia, of Arab-Syrian blood. They emigrated to the East to salvage their faith from Wahhabi penetration into Indonesia. Abuya’s maternal ancestors migrated to Malaya, and Abuya was eventually born in Pilin, Rembau, Negeri Sembilan.
His father’s lineage runs: Abuya Ashaari bin Muhammad bin Idris bin Ali bin Malek (Bani Tamim). On his mother’s side, the lineage runs, Abuya Ashaari bin Maimunah binti Ilyas bin Omar (member of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)’s household from Bani Hasyim).
Both his parents practised tariqah Muhammadiah. Since his father was of Bani Tamim ancestry while his mother was from Bani Hasyim, Abuya is considered a Bani Tamim member. Yet, Bani Hasyim blood also runs through Abuya’s veins. But the Bani Hasyim element has been diluted through mixed marriages among their descendants.
It has been said by Sayidi, whomsoever is granted with the faith and opportunity to struggle in the cause for truth, will in all probability be descendants of the Bani Hasyim or the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)’s companions.
It is not easy defending Allah and the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) in these latter days of ignorance, unless those endowed with special strength, via prayers said by the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and his Companions, who, upon listening that there would be the so-called Ikhwan near the end of time, felt very jealous and prayed that they or their descendants would be involved in the Ikhwan congregation.
Abuya has been mocked before, as really being of Boyan descent (originating from Bawean island at the north of Java). It is generally known that many of Bawean island residents are of Bani Tamim descent. At the very least, most of its residents are Javanese who are known to have a respectable ancestry. Even in Kuala Lumpur there is a Boyan village. You can visit there to observe their unique congregational life.
Once an Egyptian citizen, Syeikh Muhammad Ali Al Muthowi’ (PhD graduate in Usuluddin from Al Azhar University), a vice-Syeikh of tariqah Rifa’iah Syazaliah Mahmudiah, when asked his opinion about the claim that Abuya was of Bani Tamim descent, said that there are 2 method to evaluate it:
1. His pedigree.
2. His characteristics.
Although his pedigree is not too obvious, his personal traits and characters of his struggle are good enough evidence. We generally agree that a successful person in one field usually comes from a family whose background is conducive to such success. A successful entrepreneur, for instance, usually comes from a lineage of entrepreneurs. A leader, likewise, is made from a leadership-conducive environment.
The emergence of a Godly personage, a leader in the cause of truth, must have originated from a distinctive history of truth. It is impossible that God wants to enliven His religion at the hands of a tainted personality. The Godly personage, endowed with either divine revelation or intuition, must have been prepared for him to be able to perform his tasks.
Religion is renewed by an expert on religious reformation. He is obliged to learn directly from the Messenger of Allah (PBUH). Is he not the veteran architect with capability to teach his pupils via spiritual communication?
When in Abuya’s hands, religion is revived in the family, the society and the system; in spite of the one thousand and one obstacles, knowledgeable people understand that he comes from a promised ancestry.
O Muslims, let it be known to you, that Kamal Ataturk’s capacity in destroying the religion developed by Muhammad Al Fateh (as mentioned in the hadith) was due to his devilish pedigree. So wicked was his evil strength that he even challenged Allah and His Messenger (PBUH). The programme to create a Kamal Ataturk proceeded for 200 years, orchestrated by the Jews, by marrying illegitimate offspring among themselves for many generations. This means that Kamal descended from a line of depraved forefathers.
Similarly, the person who killed the religion of the Othmaniah Turks, a Wahhabite in Mecca, was actually ‘born’ from the devil. Wickedness is built in himself until he becomes defiler of religion in the name of religion. This means that his lineage is also evil.
In order to detect Abuya Ashaari Muhammad’s ancestry, we can look at who took care of him:
1. Muhammad bin Idris, Abuya’s father
Abuya’s father went to an English school but still had religious education. That is why, despite working as a customs officer, his character is religious. He never took off his songkok (a Malay headgear), even during official working hours. He is capable of sitting down on his prayer mat right from Asr, Maghrib until Isya’ time without his ablution cancelled. None of his children went to English schools. In fact he advised his children not to become salaried workmen, but to be self-employed. If he spoke, it must be related to religion, by referring to his mentor’s Kiyai Syahid’s sayings as quoted from the Quran and hadith. Almost every day, after Asr, he would chat or give a pep-talk to his family on diverse religious subjects such as the Islamic resurgence and future leaders of Islam. He was a tariqah member who steadfastly practiced the Aurad Muhammadiah.
Abuya was educated via poverty. There was relative comfort for him at home but outside, he was poor. Muhammad managed to implant the feeling of Godliness in Abuya’s heart. Muhammad was never in debt. If ill, he never went to a hospital. Even though conversant in English, he chose not to speak English. If friends visited the house, they spoke English but Abuya’s father spoke Malay. His deep religious spirit conditioned such a peculiar character.
He was indeed peculiar. In his childhood, during his primary and secondary school days, he experienced death three times. On all three occasions, when the funeral was being prepared, he regained consciousness. He really died in 1973 in Segambut, beside the small river next to his house in the position of a person sitting down in the penultimate ritual of the prayers. He was then bathing and performing ablution in the shallow and clear waters. He managed to defend and save Abuya, who grew up as an ulama, a fighter for Islam, without being influenced by the depraved environment. That is Muhammad’s main contribution. Someone who can do this is a person to be reckoned with.
2. Lebai Ibrahim (Abuya’s caretaker and foster father)
Abuya was under Syeikh Lebai Ibrahim’s guardianship for 5 years (1948-1952) in Pilin. Recognizing intimately his character, Abuya bravely labels him an exemplary salaf al-salih [a member of the pious generation who lived within 300 years of the Messenger of Allah (PBUH)] of contemporary times. Among Lebai Ibrahim’s traits are:
a. A worshipping devotee who spent a great amount of time with Allah on the prayer mat.
b. Every day he would cook lunch for whoever passed by in front of his house. There were not necessarily any special dishes. Dried salted fish and shrimp paste were good enough. Some people purposely passed in front of his house as lunchtime approached.
c. During religious feasts, he would lead the cooking team and contribute the larger portion of the necessities.
d. If there were non-Islamic in Kampung Pilin involving entertainment such as ronggeng and the like, Lebai Ibrahim would disappear for one whole week. He would go to his brother’s house in Lubok Cina. He was afraid of being considered an accomplice by Allah and becoming the object of His wrath.
e. This is the person who successfully guided Abuya to fall in love with tariqah. Abuya was finally bequeathed the Aurad Muhammadiah in 1950, when he was just 13 years old. It was handed down by Syeikh Lebai Ibrahim in Pilin. History was created. When Abuya visited him, in memory of his good deed, his name was placed between the names of two great leaders of Islam, Abuya and Sayidi, in the tariqah’s genealogy, as read daily by its practitioners. Thus his name is mentioned between two reformers, as though he is of the same distinction with them.
It is not easy to convince one’s student to want to practice tariqah. In those days, the depraved environment enhanced the possibility of the youth becoming wild, neglecting prayers and always going out having fun with friends. There was no religious youth in 1960.
Lebai Ibrahim’s success in handing down the Aurad Muhammadiah to his foster son was a truly enormous effort, as if it was done by a reformer. No wonder Abuya called him a salaf al-salih who lived at present times and whose name is mentioned after each prayer time by all practitioners of the Aurad Muhammadiah. He is worthy of receiving the reward from the recitation of the Aurad Muhammadiah.
3. Kiyai Syahid
Abuya was also taken care of by Kiyai Syahid in 1941-1943 (3 years). His status was that of a caliph to Sayidi Syeikh Suhaimi, i.e. also a teacher of Lebai Ibrahim. Lebai Ibrahim had the status of a representative who could also bequeath the Aurad. Kiyai Syahid never missed fasting on Mondays and Thursdays. Once, upon being hit by a falling rubber tree branch, he promptly said, “I forgot to fast on Monday.”
Among the many Muhammadiah caliphs whom Sayidi gave rise to, only Kiyai Syahid was given the permission to teach jinns. According to Kiyai Syahid, the jinns entered his classes. All came in the form of beautiful women. His great contribution was in developing Pilin into an oft-frequented Muhammadiah school. Most importantly, he managed to raise Abuya there, nourishing the child with the worlds of prayers, tahlil, and maulid until genuine Islamic ambitions were ingrained in his heart.