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Kitab Ad-Durrun Nafis: A Masterpiece of Sufism by Syekh Nafis Al-Banjari
Kitab Ad-Durrun Nafis (The Precious Pearl) is one of the best books ever written by a Banjar scholar. The book contains teachings of Sufism, the mystical branch of Islam that focuses on the relationship between humans and God. It was composed by Syekh Muhammad Nafis bin Idris bin Husein Al-Banjari, a renowned Sufi master who lived in the 18th century.
In this article, we will explore the background, contents, and legacy of this remarkable book, which has been widely studied and printed in various countries such as Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Malaysia, Brunei, Singapore, and Indonesia.
The Background of Kitab Ad-Durrun Nafis
Syekh Muhammad Nafis Al-Banjari was born around 1735 in Martapura, a town in the Banjar Sultanate, which is now part of South Kalimantan province in Indonesia. He came from a noble family that traced its lineage to Sultan Suriansyah, the first Muslim ruler of Banjar. He was also a descendant of Syekh Abdul Qadir Jaelani, a famous Sufi saint from Baghdad.
At a young age, he traveled to Mecca and Medina to pursue Islamic studies under various teachers. He studied various disciplines such as jurisprudence, theology, hadith, Quranic exegesis, and Sufism. He also received initiation into several Sufi orders such as Qadiriyya, Shadhiliyya, Naqshbandiyya, Khalwatiyya, and Sammaniyya.
He wrote several books on Sufism, such as Kanz as-Sa'adah fi Bayan Istilihat as-Sufiyyah (The Treasure of Happiness in Explaining the Terms of Sufism) and Ad-Durrun an-Nafis fi Bayan Wahdah al-Af'al wa al-Asma' wa as-Sifat wa az-Zat (The Precious Pearl in Explaining the Unity of Actions, Names, Attributes, and Essence). The latter is his most famous and influential work, which he composed in Mecca in 1785 or 1786 using Malay language.
The Contents of Kitab Ad-Durrun Nafis
Kitab Ad-Durrun Nafis is a comprehensive treatise on Sufism that covers various topics such as the nature of God, the stages of spiritual journey, the ethics of Sufis, the methods of meditation and invocation, and the secrets of divine love. The book is divided into seven chapters, each corresponding to one of the seven levels of existence according to Sufi cosmology.
The first chapter deals with the level of al-Aql (the Intellect), which is the highest and most subtle level of existence. It discusses the concept of tauhid (the oneness of God), which is the foundation of Sufism. It explains the unity of God's actions (tauhid af'al), names (tauhid asma'), attributes (tauhid sifat), and essence (tauhid zat). It also refutes the arguments of those who deny or distort the unity of God.
The second chapter deals with the level of al-Nafs (the Soul), which is the level of human beings. It discusses the nature and types of souls, their origin and destination, their relation to God and other creatures, and their potential for good or evil. It also explains the concept of fana' (annihilation) and baqa' (subsistence), which are the ultimate goals of Sufis. Fana' means to lose one's selfhood in God's presence, while baqa' means to remain in God's presence with a new selfhood that reflects God's attributes.
The third chapter deals with the level of al-Ruh (the Spirit), which is the level of angels and prophets. It discusses the nature and functions of angels and prophets, their role in guiding humanity to God's path, their relation to God and other creatures, and their rank and status among themselves. It also explains the concept of wilayah (sainthood) and nubuwwah (prophethood), which are the highest degrees of spiritual attainment for human beings. Wilayah means to be close to God and receive His special favors, while nubuwwah means 061ffe29dd