The Relationship Between the Sharicah, Tariqah, Haqiqah and Macrifah by Wan Sulaiman b Wan Siddik , a 19th Malay Sufi Scholar in the Malay world.
Muhammad Khairi Mahyuddin, Professor Dato’ Zakaria Stapa, Associate Prof. Faudzinaim Badaruddin
Journal of Islamic Studies and Culture, 1(1), pp. 01-11.
This paper utilizes a content study to clarify the concepts and relationship between sharicah, tariqah, haqiqah, and macrifah by Wan Sulaiman b. Wan Siddik, a Malay Sufi scholar in 19th in the Malay world. He clarifies these four terminologies in his epistle Mizan al-uqala’ wa al-udaba’ due to many misconceptions about this matter by his Sufi Malay local. The impact of misconceptions causes some Sufi local Malay to discount sharicah as outward skin by giving preference to tariqah, haqiqah, and macrifah as these three are the kernel of sharicah. At the end, the study singles out that these four terminologies are one substance of the sharicah and no dichotomy to disconnect its teaching to each other and no contradictory and distinction from the sharicah as the holistic teaching. The differences only rely upon to its expressions and terminologies utilized for the sake of clarity.


Wan Sulaiman Wan Siddik (1872 -1935M) is a 19th Malay Sufi scholar. He participates in Naqshabandi and Qadiri Order at the hand of Muhammad Andakahwi al-Bukhari in the Mountain Qubais, Mecca during his domicile in Mecca for study from 1887M until 1906M. Wan Sulaiman b. Wan Siddik is born to a highly influential noble aristocratic family of the Kedah’s Sultan. The title of ‘Wan’ in the head of his name indicates his descendent. Wan Hanafi b.Wan Long in ‘Mengenal Asal Usul Keturunan dan Keluarga’ describes the ‘Wan’s group in Kedah’s history played a significant and influential function in the royal palace and occupied great positions such as Bendahara, Laksamana, Temenggung, Maha Menteri (Called Menteri Empat, Delapan and Enam Belas) Shahbandar, Hakim, Bendahari, Kadi and given certain title as honour such as like Dato’ Seri Maharaja, Dato’ Seri Paduka and others.

There are several theories suggesting the origin of the title ‘Wan’. The first, it is created by the word of ‘pahlawan’ (warrior) for a group of people from the warrior descendants. It is abbreviated as ‘Wan’ when they are called by the Sultan. The second, it is the inspiration the Kedah’s Sultans . The third, it is not a title but a descendent which is existed earlier than 531H/1150M. The fourth, Wan’s group is originated from a mixture marriage between Wan’s family and Arab such as a woman called Wan Emas, great-grandchild of Dato Seraja Wang, who married to an Arab from Hijaz named Syarif Aman in 1011H/1546M. The fifth, it is originated from the Rudrawana’s descendant, a final Funan’s King. The name was abridged as Wan from the Warman. The last, Wan’s groups were originated from Negara Champaka Tua (Old Champaka State) (Wan Hanafi et al., n.d.). It is hard to determine the truth of the theories. But, the important fact is the Wan’s group engaged a pivotal role and direct involvement in the administration of the state of Kedah and Kedah’s royal family.

This fact was proven from his father’s side, the third ancestor of Wan Su was called Temenggong Kolot Bukit Lada, an aristocratic person from Pattani domiciling in Mukim Padang Kerbau. The word of ‘Kolot’ was derived from Siamese word that meant walking under the falling tree (Wan Shamsuddin, 1991). Besides Wan Sulaiman was an aristocratic family from his father's side, he also had a blood relation to Kedah royal family from his mother's side, Wan Tam binti Wan Abu Bakar. She was known as Wan Tam Kecil. She was a cousin to Wan Hajar binti Wan Ismail bin Dato’ Seri Paduka Raja Laksamana (1841M-1909M). She was identified as Mak Wan Besar, a sister to Dato’ Wan Muhammad Saman b. Wan Ismail (1830-1898), a Kedah Prime Minister from 1870M until 1898M appointed by the 23th Kedah’s Sultan, Sultan Ahmad Tajuddin Mukarram Shah III. She also was a wife to Sultan Ahmad Tajuddin Mukarram Shah Shah II. Later, she was honoured as Paduka Wan Hajar. She was a mother to Tunku Abdul Hamid Halim Shah (b.1864M), Tunku Abdul Aziz (b1870M), Tunku Muhammad Jiwa (b.1876M) and Tunku Mahmud (b.1876M) (Ibrahim Ismail, 1987).

This explanation indicates that the ‘Wan’ family from his mother’s side actually plays a great role and exerts great influence upon Kedah’s royal family and the stability of the state. It occurred when Sultan Zainal Rashid Muaazzam Shah I demised in 13 Mac 1854M. His son in Law, Raja Muda Tunku Muhammad Said attempted to replace Sultan Zainal Rashid instead of his real blood son, Tunku Ahmad Tajuddin III. However, Raja Muda Tunku Muhammad Said's trial was opposed strictly by Wan Ismail bin Dato’ Seri Paduka Raja Laksamana. He confronted with those attempted to disapprove Sultan Ahmad Tajuddin’s appointment as the new Sultan at Balai Besar. He uttered before Tunku Muhammad Said and his followers by expressing a courageous remark that whoever desired to disparage Tunku Ahmad Tajuddin III's declaration as new sultan, they must challenge his authority first. No one came forward, and the declaration ran peacefully by the Nobat, a type of Malay band played during a royal ceremony, and twenty one cannon shots were fired as a signal the ceremony was a success. If such crisis and dispute were unsolved, it would cause to the civil war between the royal families. Among the supporters of Sultan Ahmad Tajuddin’s appointment as a new Sultan were Wan Ismail (Laksamana), Wan Ibrahim (Temenggung), Wan Muhammad Taib (Bendahara), Syed Abdullah al-Jafri, Haji Muhammad Taib al-Mascudi (Kedah’s Mufti) and Haji Muhammad Saleh Penaga (religious scholar). The appointment of Sultan Ahmad Tajuddin III as a new Kedah’s Sultan was also authorized by the Siam Government (Thailand Government). From this era, Kedah was developed drastically. Alor Setar was extended and turned to be Kedah's capital city where many roads and constructions were built (Muhammad Hassan, 1968; Ibrahim Ismail, 1987; Muhammad Isa, 1990). After returning to Kedah in 1906M, Wan Sulaiman was appointed by several posts starting as a district Kadi, then Chief Kadi, acting Shaykh Islam (two years) and the third Shaykh Islam (fifteen years). He was an active Sufi scholar in enhancing the society and aristocrat class to be a good Muslim.

He had a lot of contributions in social religious political aspects to improve the society and state such as modernization of the Islamic educational system, religion administration, issuing the fatwa, establishing zakat’s institution, and others. The climax of his effort is teaching Naqshabandi Mujadidi Ahmadi to the local and aristocrat class. Among aristocratic people joining in the Order under his instruction were Sultan Abdul Hamid and Tengku Mahmud (Muhammad Khairi et al., 2010).

The discourse of sharicah , tariqah, haqiqah and macrifah and its ties are employed widely in Sufism. These terminologies are used to explain a complete way to obtain the excellent devotion eternally and internally to Allah. The Sufi scholars clarify these discourses either in four or three (only sharicah, tariqah, haqiqah without macrifah) or just two terms (sharicah and haqiqah without tariqah and macrifah) in their works. Their explanation is diversified intermixture with analogies and metaphor written in Malay Jawi scripts and Arabic. The different elucidations by Sufi scholars in certain stand become complex and confusing to be understood by ordinary people and Sufi disciples.

Among Sufis books in Malay Jawi script discuss this matter such as sayr al-salikin by Abdul Samad al-Falimbani . He makes analogies the meaning and position of sharicah, tariqah and haqiqah is similar to a coconut. The first is liked as its outward skin, the second as its kernel, and the third as its oil (Abdul Samad, n.d.). In kashf al-asrar by Muhammad Salleh , he elucidates the sharicah is the prophetic speech, the tariqah is his way, the haqiqah is his residence, and the macrifah is his action. Or, the sharicah is a worship to God by carrying out His commands and avoiding His vetoes, the tariqah is the practice of the knowledge, the haqiqah is the vision of the divine illuminated light in the heart and the macrifah is carrying out the those qualities in the whole body or the sharicah is a body, the tariqah is a spirit and the macrifah is a secret (Muhammad Saleh, 1390H). In Risalah al-Asrar al-Din a margin in Miftah al-Jannah by Muhammad Tayyib Mascud al-Banjari states the use of sharicah, tariqah and haqiqah to describe five fundamental of Islam; the shahadah, prayer, fasting, alms tax and pilgrimage. For instance, prayer in sharicah is already known as the action, speech and intention performed by the physical body and its niche is the holy house, Prayer in tariqah is by removing blameworthy qualities throughout muhasabah and its niche is the heart, and prayer in haqiqah is by having a constant vision toward the existence of Allah by negating the vision to oneself existence and its niche is Allah (Risalah Asrar al-Din, n.d.).

In an Arabic book like Tanwir al-Qulub by Muhammad Amin al-Kurdi, he makes an analogy the sharicah is like a ship to be sailed on as it is a basis drives to the end, the tariqah is like a sea where the pearl located inside it and the haqiqah is pearl inside the sea. The pearl cannot be attained unless by ship and ocean. He also draws similarities that the sharicah is like a tree, the tariqah is liked its branches and the haqiqah is liked its fruit (al-Kurdi, 1994). In Iqaz al-Himam fi Sharh al-Hikam by Ibn Ajibah, he describes the sharicah is a worship of God, the tariqah is the intention Him, and the macrifah is a vision of Him by insight or the sharicah is to ameliorate the exterior dimension by accomplishing Devine's commands and avoiding His prohibitions. The tariqah is to polish the interior dimension by removing the evil qualities and acquitting oneself with worthy qualities, and the haqiqah is to recuperate the spirit’s secret by humble and courtesy to Allah (Ibn Ajibah, n.d.). In Jamic al-Usul fi Awliya’ by Ahmad al-Kumuskhanawi, he addresses the sharicah is the command to have perpetual worship. Literally, it means the explanation and appearance. It is synonymous with al-din, al-millah, al-namus all are one. The tariqah is a spiritual travelling by a particular way to Allah by cutting all the stages and escalating into the stations, and the haqiqah is the reality of a thing when it is established. Thus, the sharicah without haqiqah and vice versa is unacceptable in which the high end of both is to establish the worship according to the way God will (al-Kumuskhanawi, n.d.).

Most of the Sufi scholars agree the sharicah and its component comprises, tariqah, haqiqah and macrifah has strong association and do not oppose to each other. This is affirmed by al-Ghazzali, whoever believes the sharicah is opposed to the haqiqah, he is closer to be heretical than being a believer (al-Ghazzali,1995). In fact, the sharicah never apposes to haqiqah and vice versa. Imam al-Malik says that he who practices the sharicah without haqiqah, he would be reprobated, and he who applies the haqiqah without the sharicah, he would be a heretic and he who combines with the both aspects together; he would be a really realized Muslim (Abdul Qadir, 2001).

From this elucidation indicates that Sufi scholars have variety exposition of this matter. All these four terms are used to elucidate essence of sharicah.. On certain occasion, this discourse lead to the complexity in one’s mind to perceive properly it’s meaning, and its ultimate end in Islam. It has been looked at the content of sharicah has divisions and partition to external and internal or esoteric and exoteric or skin and kernel. This perception may cause to misapprehend the essence of sharicah in the holistic manner. The complexity to apprehend this discourse would drive people, and Sufi disciples, in particular, to perceive the position of tariqah or haqiqah or macrifah as internal or kernel is more supremacy above the position of the sharicah as external or skin. Their overlooking over the position of tariqah, or haqiqah or macrifah is higher or more important or valuable than the position of the sharicah would affect their belief to disrespect the essence of sharicah in respect of its instruction and prohibitions. Consequently, by this belief they become to be a deviant group like al-Ibahah (the permissible people), mulhidah (atheistic) and batiniyyah (esoteric).

Wan Sulaiman is aware of the negative impact of the misconception of this discourse. He clarifies each of these four terminologies literally and technically, its functions and ends in the sharicah in the precise and clear manner in his precise book ‘Mizan al-Uqala’ wa al-Udaba’. He identifies the sharicah, tariqah, haqiqah and macrifah are one, inseparable and invisible identity associating a similar essence and end in Islam. He does not look at these four terminologies as the truly unconnected partition and divisible content in Islam and neither a new nor addition in Islam. He rather looks at these four words just a terminology or verbal expression to describe the content of sharicah within a discipline or science of knowledge established by scholars in their field in order to deliver Muslim a clear understanding the teaching of Islam easily. Even each of the terminologies delivers distinctive connotation the essence of sharicah but all of them associate in the similar end of sharicah, namely worshiping God with the constant presence of heart to Him alone within His holistic scared law. This is because the terminology renovated by the Muslim scholars is only as an apparatus way to describe sharicah 's content systematically that have nothing to teach new things unless from the aspect of exposure the sharicah

Wan Sulaiman views the sharicah is the fundamental teaching. All Muslims must know and obey completely. It is the appearance of the law of Allah in the form of all instructions, and the prohibitions deducted from al-Quran and al-sunnah. The detail of sharicah is clarified within the central idea embodied in whatever God commands and prohibits taught in detail by the speech, action and affirmation of the Prophet Muhammad SAW. Sharicah is not a man made law, it is, in fact, is revealed divine and holistic sacred law in Islam that makes one to know a way to worship God, to obey his instruction and prohibition to distinguish between the right and wrong. It covers all aspects of human life as a divine guidance to preserve the betterment life of mankind in this world and hereafter. The sharicah have five fundamental rules namely necessary (wajib), recommended (sunat), permissible (mubah), undesirable (makruh), illegal (haram) are perimeter to adjudicate the good and bad actions that demand reward and punishments in this world and hereafter.

Thus, sharicah is the basic principle to be practiced by all Muslims. In this regard, Wan Sulaiman elucidates the sharicah: “sharicah means that the laws of God to bring the goodness for all His servants. It contains the instructions, prohibitions and permissible. The instructions have two divisions; the first obligatory and the second recommendable whereas the prohibitions also have two divisions: the first is illegal and the second undesirable. The permissible has one only that the entire amount has five things. The obligatory means one does it will be rewarded and disregards it, he will be punished, and the recommendable means one does it will be rewarded and discount it, he will not be a sinful and the undesirable means one does it not to be sinful and discount it, he will be rewarded and the permissible is similar in doing and leaving it. When one already understands the meaning of the sharicah , he must preserve it in his deeds , words and heart as all his actions will accounted in the Sharicah perimeter . The sharicah is a scale to determine the good and evil in obvious sight. When one perceives it so he convicts that tariqah, haqiqah and macrifah is not excluded in the name of sharicah. The differences lie only in name and verbal only” (Wan Sulaiman, 1352H )

The sharicah cannot be performed excellently by just body and senses, but it must be performed as well by clean heart. This is because the heart is the central spiritual substance organ rules the entire body to act whether good or bad. The heart is the locus of belief and precondition to measure all virtue deeds are acceptable and rewarded in the side of Allah. The excellent performance of the sharicah in the holistic manner cannot be obtained unless by cleanses the heart. It must be cleaned by removing evil qualities and inhibition with praiseworthy qualities. The evil qualities such as riya’, cujub, kibr are the main cause to destruct the virtues and pious deed whereas the praiseworthy qualities such as mahabbah, ikhlas , rida, sabr and syukr and others drive one to easy in performing all obligations into a sincerity state as required in Islam. The command to purify the heart came from the sharicah as stated in al-Quran. Allah says: “indeed He succeeds who purifies his ownself (i.e. obeys and performs All that Allah ordered, by following the true faith of Islamic Monotheism and by doing righteous good deeds” (91:9-10)

He says in forbidding evil: “Say (O Muhammad ): "(But) the things that My Lord has indeed forbidden are AlFawahish (great evil sins, Every kind of unlawful sexual intercourse, etc.) whether committed openly or secretly, sins (of All kinds), unrighteous oppression, joining partners (in worship) with Allah for which He has given no authority”(7:33)

And Allah instructs to behave with praiseworthy qualities. He says: “Herefore Remember Me (by praying, glorifying, etc.). I will Remember you, and be grateful to Me (for My countless Favours on you) and never be ungrateful to Me”(2:152)

And Allah instructs to perform good deed and not to associate him in worship and creed. He says: “whoever hopes for the Meeting with his Lord, let Him work righteousness and associate none as a partner In the Worship of his Lord”(18:110)

This indicates that the evil qualities are forbidden in Islam. It requires all Muslims to avoid it and at the same time the sharicah also commands one to compulsorily behave with worthy qualities. To realize this command, the heart must be cleansed by strong strive and exercise all commands of Allah in the strictest way. Thus, Sufi scholar looks at the command to purify the heart by applying the maximum strive and exercise all the instructions and avoiding all prohibitions as a form of worship to Allah as tariqah in their Arabic term. Thus, by the experience of Sufi’s scholars, the term tariqah is known as a science dealing with the heart. Then, tariqah when it becomes an established term, it is known as providing a spiritual mechanism derived from al-Quran and al-sunnah as a way to cleanse the heart as required in al- Quran and al-sunnah.

So, it comprises an orderly ritual, rite, pattern of striving and exercise under the shaykh to educate and control evil carnal soul (nafs al-ammarah) as a source of immoral qualities to follow the sharicah law. When the quality of evil carnal soul alters to tranquility soul (nafs al-mutmainnah) , it can follow the sharicah command and behave with worthy qualities. From the experience of Sufi scholars, performing dhikir is most effective to purify the heart. It is like coarse sand clean dirties in the heart in the fastest way by removing all roots of grimy. However, there are various ways to purify the heart like the breath of the creations that suitable to one's affairs and state. In this regard, Wan Sulaiman defines it literally as a medium to complete the end namely the perpetual presence of heart in worshiping to God. In this issue, he remarks out that tariqah is synonymous with sharicah in respect of its command to purify the heart. He says:

“The tariqah is interpreted literally as medium and road and technically medium means whatever can deliver to the purpose. It is analogized as the car used to go to the purposed destination. The sharicah’s purpose has two: first two takhliyyah and tahliyyah. The takhliyyah meaning that purify and cleanse from evil outer and inner and the tahliyyah it means decorate and dress up with a good temperament behaviour outward and inward. The worst evil is forgetful to the Lord .The key to have good behavior is perpetual remembering r to God day and night . So the sharicah requires one to seek tariqah to serve these two purposes. The tariqah has many approaches. It is analogized in proverb as the way to Allah is many likened number breaths of creatures. It means the way to obtain God is many, it alludes to the devotion that does not exclude from the God order with instructions and restrictions. Some way to God are established much prayer or fasting , zikirullah and read the Quran and many other actions following the instructed and get away from the restricted . The said devotions are called tariqah and who performs it is called ahl al-tariqah. When one understands the meaning of tariqah property , it results that tariqah is similar to the sharicah in keeping one to the instructions and avoidance from the forbidden as saying in al-Quran as Allah says: “and whatsoever the Messenger (Muhammad Sallahucalaihiwasallam) gives you, take it, and whatsoever He forbids you, abstain (from it) , and fear Allah. Verily, Allah is Severe In punishment” (59:7) (Wan Sulaiman, 1352H )

Wan Sulaiman also alerts with the misconception about the attributing tariqah to its founder such as Naqshabandi, Sammani, khalwati Order in Sufism . He considers the name of a particular Order to its founder only relative ascription. The Order and its ritual have nothing to teach as new deed or doctrine. In fact, the founder of the Order establishes the orderly system in purifying the soul derived from al-Quran and al-sunnah in order to have excellent performance in the sharicah in the perfect way. The founders of the Orders are nothing unless providing the established system as experienced by them to follow the sharicah. Thus, he calls to mind to perceive the truth of the Order is not its founder. The Order itself is the essence of sharicah. It provides a way to following the content of sharicah as experienced by the previous pious people. He says this clearly about tariqah in not something new but the essence of sharicah as well,

“It is not to say the real meaning of tariqah is to engage in the Naqshabandi or Samaniyyah or Khulwatiyyah and others' Orders. The famous ascription locates a particular name of the Sufi order is only a verbal attribution referring to the pioneer who works to establish a systemic rite to perform the sharicah, So tariqah is nothing else but the sharicah itself” (Wan Sulaiman, 1352H )

After one understands the meaning of tariqah and its function to purify the heart with striving and training to all commandments of Allah until to sincerity stage, the clean heart is infused with the effervescent light of tranquility and envisioned with the essential truth and reality of the essence of sharicah. So, one perceives the meaning of haqiqah as a correlated couple to sharicah .

It is the reality of the sharicah or divine reality conceived by insight as described in al-Quran and alsunnah. For example, the sharicah prescribes one to perform religious duties such as five fundamental Islam, working, protection the country, taking causes to the end, striving, planning and, etc. Allah says: “and Say (O Muhammad ) Do deeds Allah will see your deeds, and (so will) his Messenger and the believers” (9:105).Allah says:

“enter You Paradise, because of (the good) which You used to do (in the World” (16:32)

In the hadith the Prophet said: “Work, in fact everything is made easy in line with His decree” (al- Bukhari, 2005) However, during performing those duties, one should aware about the tauhidic orientation inside the command. The haqiqah prevents in the reality perspective for one not to believe that he has his own independent action without the interference of Allah’s power. The haqiqah teaches one for not definitely depend and attribute the action, effort, cause, consequences to his strength independently . In fact, he must completely believe in a constant vision in the clean heart that the reality of all inspirations of action, cause and result determined by Allah’s power, will, knowledge and blessing. The haqiqah is also taught in the al-Quran and al-sunnah. Allah says:

“and had it not been for the Grace of Allah and his Mercy on you, not one of You would ever have been pure from sins but Allah purifies (guides to Islam) whom He wills”(24:21) Allah says: “say: "All things are from Allah” (4:78)

The hadith narrated that the prophet said: “No one enters the paradise by his own deed. The companions say; and so do you are oh the messenger. He replies; so do I, but Allah shelters me with His blessing” (al-Bukhari, 2005)

Hence no contradictory between sharicah and haqiqah but the both are interchangeable and a correlated pair. The usage of sharicah and haqiqah by Sufi scholar is as a way for clarity the instruction and prohibition in the sharicah in particular. sharicah is the commitment in worship by accrediting the act to one whereas haqiqah is the repeal of attributing the action impacts to one as the actor (Ibn Arabi 2,1997: 551-552). It is just a matter of insight perception at the heart to apprehend a single command in two dimensions concomitantly to correspond with one’s responsibility and tawhidic aspect. Ibn Ajibah in this matter makes a clear explanation that al-Quran and al-sunnah expose the sharicah rule in one side and the rules of divine reality in another side. In other words, al-Quran mentions the order of sharicah in one part and al-sunnah oral-Quran clarifies the said order as well in respect of divine reality in another part and vice verse like the above example. In order to have complete visions of the reality of sharicah in holistic visions, one should combine vision of sharicah by the eyes in the head and vision of haqiqah by the eyes of the heart. The combination of both visions will get a complete vision of sharicah in a holistic manner (Ibn Ajibah, n.d.). The haqiqah never teach one to the negligence of the sharicah but it rather to focus on the heart to vision to the truth or reality within the sharicah rule by having a clear tauhidic vision as required in the faith. When one attains this level of truth, he is known as the people of gnosis where he recognizes by certainty vision and reality his status as a servant and God status as lord by perpetual preservation of the sharicah law forever that never have the connotation of neither Ittihad (union) nor hulul (incarnation).

By this way, Wan Sulaiman explains in clear expression meaning of haqiqah by using some example and analogies for the sake of understanding .The “haqiqah technically means the reality and truth. Technically it means the truth or reality where it cannot be realized unless by the other truth . So the expression of ‘unless by the other truth’ is haqiqah . For instance the reality of cloth and thread is cotton.

Without the cotton the cloth and thread cannot exist in its form. Likewise, to governmental officers, their realities are Sultan, who gives them authority to run his duties. And similarly to the existence of the world, its reality is Allah as He creates it into being by His power of creation as God says: “While Allah has created you and what you make” (37:96) So this meaning haqiqah is essential for every Muslim to believe. If he does not do so, he will be regarded as non Muslim and unbeliever. So haqiqah is identical to the sharicah as well as it requires one to believe in the real sense of the instructions and prohibitions. The misapprehending of the concept haqiqah as it differs to sharicah causes the emergence of a deviant group. They believe in wrong haqiqah’s idea as God becomes man and man is God. The truth haqiqah 's connotation in sharicah perceptive is God still remain as God even He descends and man still remain forever as a man even he ascends (Wan Sulaiman,1352H).

After the meaning of haqiqah is realized properly, it impels one to attain macrifah. The macrifah is the highest teaching in the sharicah taught on the absolute certainty to God and the kernel of tawhid located in the cleanse heart. It has resulted the heart to recognize the truth and the reality of his status as a servant and Allah status as the Divinity and Lordship forever. By this macrifah, he knows certainly and firmly on God behaves with perfect qualities and divinity and denial negation qualities that is not rightly ascribed to God . He believes that he has in the servitude stage forever even accomplished the highest level in the spiritual path . This in line with purpose of the creation of man as Allah’s vicegerent and servant in this world . Wan Sulaiman precisely makes allusion about the meaning of macrifah in order to make one apprehend it properly. He says:

macrifah technically marks out as recognizing something as it is. It means to know the truth of the something by locating its real nature rightly to its proper’s owner accordingly. For instance, recognizing the king and his perfect nature, so one ought to believe all the right noble nature ascribed to him. Similarly, to God, one must believe every noble excellent quality ascribed to God and negate totally every inappropriate quality to Him. Thus this is necessary for one to believe in real recognition on macrifah in the sharicah’s context. Consequently macrifah as well is identical to sharicah nothing else. It is in line to Allah’s saying: “so know (O Muhammad Sallahucalaihiwasallam) that La ilaha ill Allah (none has the Right to be worshipped but Allah)” (47:19)”(Wan Sulaiman,1352H)

Wan Sulaiman’s discourse on this matter is influenced with his master’s thought Muhammad Andakhawi al-Bukhari in clarifying the relation between these four terminologies. His master concludes that these four terminologies are just verbal expressions, which heard in different pronunciation and words but have a similar essence of sharicah. He also reminds that the term sharicah is a holistic divine rule utilized since the period of the prophet Adam until the Prophet Muhammad SAW. This is proven in al-Quran that the term sharicah is used as divine law in the preceded prophetic time. Allah says:

“He (Allah) has ordained (sharca) for You the same Religion (Islam) which He ordained for Nuh” (42:13) Allah says: “to each among you, we have prescribed a Law (shircah) and a clear way”(5:48).

The term sharicah , tariqah , haqiqah and macrifah used by a Sufi scholar in the period of the Prophet Muhammad SAW is derived as well from the derivative Arabic word in al-quran and al-sunnah not to modify the previous prophetic teaching that sharing similar fundamental in faith and sharicah with some nullification in few laws by the command of Allah. However, all the terminology used are just only medium to clarify the essence of sharicah respectably in according to the established disciplinary or science of knowledge by a Sufi scholar for people easily understand. Thus, these four terminologies have nothing to demonstrate a new teaching, but just to clarify the general impression into the detail meaning and as servitude to the agreed principle in the sharicah.

This is in line with Shyakh Baha al-Din al-Naqshabandi’s answer when he is questioned on the purposes of devotion to God by replying: the purpose is that you realize the macrifah from its generalization to detail as well as from its demonstrations to unveiling and God inspires you dedicated in both knowledge and practice (al-Khani, 1996). Wan Sulaiman’s viewpoint also is similar to Imam Ahmad al Rifai as well. Imam al-Rifai says that the distinction between tariqah, sharicah, haqiqah is only verbal where each of them confers the homogeneous meaning, essence and result as one identity ( Yusuf, 1999). He addresses the this idea with the analogy of watching the sunshine in different vision;

“My teacher, Muhammad Andkhawi al-Bukhari clarifies that these four terminologies are one core of sharicah mentioned in different pronunciations and words. It is heard as different and separation but actually is one in substance. This connotation is analogised like as one’s two eyes are inserted by a rubbish. It causes one to vision the sun’s existence in multiplicity because of the rubbish effects his two eyes twinkling. When the rubbish disappears in the eyes, one can vision to the sun is stable looking as one. This is similar to be occurred to the misconception on the tie between sharicah, tariqah, haqiqah and macrifah. They are nothing except one identity in fact Allah sends many messengers from Adam until the Prophet Muhammad. Nothing is heard from them unless the word sahriah in their expression. They mention nothing about the term tariqah, haqiqah and macrifah to change the content of sharicah. Due to the narrow perceptions, these theses terminologies become unclear for particular groups. In fact all terminologies such as ilm al-fiqh, tasawwuf, ahl al-tariqah and ahl al-macrifah if deeply scrutinized are nothing except as one identity, namely the Sharicah” (Wan Sulaiman, 1352H ).

In order to make this discourse is more apprehensible, Wan Sulaiman illustrates an analogy the position of sharicah ruled by one ruler who became unity in multiplicity where he is aided in his ruling by officers and the law to preserve the betterment in the country. He says in a analogous way on this matter as:

“It is represented as a state. The state is reflected as a unity in multiplicity (fard jamic). It consists of a Sultan or a government. It signifies the state must have a unity in multiplicity purpose. It cangenerate the betterment, goodness and excellent civilization in order to avoid the backwardness like Allah says: “had there been therein (in the heavens and the earth) gods besides Allah, Then Verily both would have been ruined” (21:22). In order to measure the goodness and avoidance of evil, the state must outline its laws contain the instructions and prohibitions. This outline laws is similar to word sharicah for the state. The implementation of state laws in this context is regarded as tariqah. It is an effective way to generate the goodness and negate the evil. The execution of a state’s law is clear from God’s instruction. It does not mean the laws is left like leaving it in behind of the donkey. Thus, the officer who runs the law is called as ahl al- tariqah and the reality of the law is the sultan or government. The state laws cannot be established unless by Sultan’s authority or governance. Whereas macrifah requires one to recognize appropriately each function in its real proper position. As a result state law and sultan are never excluded as the sharicah as one identify” (Wan Sulaiman, 1352H )

Referring to the clarification by Wan Sulaiman, it signifies the essence of sharicah is one that can be clarified properly by the terminology of tariqah, haqiqah and macrifah. The utilization of these terminologies does not add something new doctrine but rather as a way for clarity, nothing else. This true Sufi path to Allah never disregards sharicah as it is a fundamental to travel to Him and to get His pleasure. Abdul Qadir al-Jilani confirms that every haqiqah is not being witnessed by the sharicah is heretical, so that one should travel to Allah by al-Quran and al-sunnah. He also admits the irresponsible to the religious obligation in the sacred law is heretic and committing the prohibition is sinful and the obligations in the sacred law never abrogated for one even he reaches a particular spiritual station in his journey.

Sahal al-Tustari also admits that the fundamental for Sufi path consists of seven items: following al-Qur'an, imitating al-sunnah, eating a lawful meal, refraining harmful to the other, avoiding from committing sin, repentance and fulfilling the rights (Abdul Qadir, 2001). Discounting the sharicah also in respect to sharicah law causes one to death punishment . Al-Khatib, Muhammad al-Sharbini cites al- Ghazzali’s statement that whoever believes he has attained the highest spiritual station in the presence of God as pretended by ignorant Sufi that results in him to discount total sharicah’s duties such as five obligated prayers or quaffing the alcohol and snacking sultan ‘s wealth, he will be punished to death. (al- Khatib, n.d.). The authentic understanding of this discourse drives one to be a true Muslim and believer who always obey the sharicah.

In a nutshell, clarification between sharicah, tariqah, haqiqah, and macrifah by Wan Sulaiman is the easiest not confusing and complex. This drives the belief that the substance of the sharicah has been just one and no dichotomy to disconnect its teaching to each other. The differences only rely upon to its varied expressions and terminologies utilized for the sake of clarity, nothing else. His Sufi thought is mostly influenced by verbal teaching of his master. This indicates his elucidation of the Sufi doctrine is understandable to not be noticed as a contradictory and distinction from the sharicah as the holistic teaching.


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