Pantheism & Siti Jenar

Aug 1st, 2007, in IM Posts, by

Pantheism survives on Java in confused form, although it sometimes needs police protection.

Sheikh Siti Jenar (or Lemah Abang) was a 16th century Sufi religious leader, sometimes called the 10th Wali, or the 10th Holy Man, who preached a pantheistic, other-worldly understanding of Islam, which among other things, taught that the five pillars of Islam did not need to be abided by in this life, but only in the next, because this life is immaterial. He is once supposed to have said: [1]

Know you that Siti Jenar does not exist, now it is Allah who appears; report this. There is no Friday, there is no mosque, only Allah exists. There is nothing other which now has existence.

Some people interpreted this to mean that Siti Jenar was claiming to be God, and in general his mystical thought offended the more orthodox minds of the actual (nine) Wali Songo, the men who spread Islam in Java, and they conspired to have him tried for heresy and then put to death. [2] His executioners then substituted a dog for his corpse, so as to humiliate him after death. [3] Despite his failure his teachings continued to be quite influential among the Javanese, even to this Arabising day, and former president Abdurrahman Wahid (Gus Dur) proudly goes about acknowledging himself to be a direct descendant of Siti Jenar. [4]

Siti Jenar
The tomb of Siti Jenar, in Demak.

Another, lesser known, admirer of Siti Jenar, one Mathal (32) of Rajekwesi Kendit village in Situbondo, East Java, is an avid student of Siti Jenar's teachings and something in these works caused him to go about the village recommending that it was only necessary to pray once a week, rather than five times daily, that marriage could be undertaken purely on the basis of mutual liking, without any ceremony, and that mosque loudspeakers should have their volume sharply turned down, or be switched off altogether.

Another man in the village, Taufik Luthfi, was said to be concerned that villagers would become angry with Mathal, and even kill him, and so he reported Mathal to the police, who then arrested him.

Policeman Triyono however says that Mathal will not be charged with any offence, like blasphemy, and that he is being kept in custody only for his own safety.

Once things have settled down we'll let him go.

Mathal himself, who is only a graduate of primary school, says:

I'm really sorry.

He admits that his studies of the teachings of Siti Jenar may need some more time and work. [5]


24 Comments on “Pantheism & Siti Jenar”

  1. avatar John Orford says:
    August 2nd, 2007 at 1:07 am

    Why do these rebels always focus on the number of times one has to pray?

    Lots of people I know only pray when they want to — the arguments are rather academic.

  2. avatar Sylvester says:
    August 2nd, 2007 at 4:35 am

    Yes! Turn off the speaker! That’s the most annoying thing when living in Indo. I guess it because Islam’s god is so far away and lazy.

  3. avatar Djoko says:
    August 3rd, 2007 at 12:27 pm

    Actually its not calling to God, but calling to Muslims to pray. Actual prayer itself doesn’t even need to be voiced, but can be said silently. I live two doors away from a mosque with a loudspeaker and barely even hear the call to prayer, or if I do hear it I don’t really notice it all that much. Some people must have hyper sensitive hearing.

    It’s fine if this guy only wants to pray once a week, why does he need to do the whole radical thing and go around trying to get everyone else to do the same as him. Let everyone do their own thing.

  4. avatar Bas says:
    August 5th, 2007 at 2:09 pm

    And shut off those dictatorial loud speakers! It just make more and more people hating Islam.

  5. avatar Petunjuk says:
    August 10th, 2007 at 7:32 pm

    Strange, I found adzan from those loudspeakers as the most beautiful sound in the world. Besides those loud speakers have been here far longer than you’re.

  6. avatar Shiva says:
    August 11th, 2007 at 9:52 am

    Indo/islam democracy,

    You can turn your speakers up full blast, But I can turn on mine louder

    or

    Keep the peace, dont beep your horn outside my mosque

  7. avatar Rosliabdghani says:
    October 9th, 2007 at 11:32 am

    What interest me is the teaching of Siti Jenar. Not the ones that his so called followers are trying to propagate.
    The loud speakers things are the priviledges of the majority in a country. One will get used to it.
    We should try to get more text of his teachings. It would be fascinating to ponder upon. It’s unorthodox, I suppose.

  8. avatar remy says:
    November 28th, 2007 at 4:27 pm

    Yes, I agree, the one he quote,

    “Know you that Siti Jenar does not exist, now it is Allah who appears; report this. There is no Friday, there is no mosque, only Allah exists. There is nothing other which now has existence.” ,

    for me, has much deeper meaning, it’s not the exact meaning of the words(sorry, not to be blamed as some people are born to be a bit slow),
    but the inner meaning as to which the word points to.
    a resemblance of the heart’s truth i might say.

    “Only Allah would know”

  9. avatar firdaus says:
    February 14th, 2008 at 4:40 pm

    Yes, I agree, the one he quote,

    “Know you that Siti Jenar does not exist, now it is Allah who appears; report this. There is no Friday, there is no mosque, only Allah exists. There is nothing other which now has existence.” ,

    I will requote back what it really means:

    Syekh Siti Jenar was in a state where he and Allah meets. Its not he who declare he’s the god. A lot of the people have mistaken that. We could all reach to that state(fana’). Allah and Muhammad is not far from us. If not Allah would not be able to noe what good and bad deeds we have done correct?

    Dari cahaya ku datangnye kamu ya Muhammad. Dan dari kamulah wujudnye semesta alam

  10. avatar muhammad nugraha says:
    April 27th, 2008 at 8:25 pm

    People pretend to know it all. people judge on the basis they believe rather than on the basis the really know. People pretend they know things like allah, what he wants, what he doesn’t want and then use the pretense to judge other people who believe in different things. Poor you…

  11. avatar Jenar Follower says:
    August 29th, 2008 at 2:06 pm

    Don’t ever talk if you still didnt know, you see to deep, if you knew what is the real jenar you will never turn in back.

  12. avatar remy says:
    September 3rd, 2008 at 9:43 am

    For me, Those ‘hidden’ couldn’t be describe by words, even if one that claims to ‘know’ wants to, or tried to. if ‘it’ can be describe by words easily, our prophet’s would have explained it to us with better teaching, is what i think. he is, the prophet after all. The last one, and none shall come after him, preaching about Islam. or other view of Islam.

    If we see the jews(pardon for my ignorant), they only didn’t believe in Muhammad where as they believe in the One God. Are they Muslim after all? Or is it only us who didn’t know and disputed with one another as for the people on the ‘top’ knows and doesn’t intrude on the event of the world?

    our limited view actually discard us of any thoughts of justice. justice comes from individual feelings. feelings can easily be misguided by doubt. Can we achieve pure heart or is it some ruse put atop of the highest shelf so ‘we’ can only look and admire from afar without any way of achieving it? achieving the pure heart.

    as for me(not for any of you, mind you), good or evil, everything comes from ‘my’ god(not yours, mind you). if my money has been stolen, and i desperately tried to get it back but failed, the money is actually ‘rezqi’ for the one who stole it(even though i feel like giving that guy a roundhouse kick). if you can’t feel justice in that statement, it is up to you to decide and believe but don’t judge. peolple aren’t ‘worthy’ enough to judge. i can’t elaborate further, sorry. another one is, fire, it burns, that is it’s nature. but i believe, without the consent of god it won’t even burn, it might even be as cold as ice. i can’t elaborate further, sorry. I once tried to think as an atheis and to my surprise, my heart gave me all the answers i ‘want’ to hear. from that point i knew, i have lost sight and stray from the path i’ve learned. you can counter everything i’ve said with logical explanation, after all, people’s heart needs proof. a proof to believe. but for me, you would sound more and more like the jews during prophet Musa’s time. a heart, even if god shows a sign, would not believe. and i shudder at the thoughts whether i can really come back to my ‘old’ path and ask my god for forgiveness. forgiveness for straying afar.

  13. avatar Brayat pengging says:
    May 1st, 2009 at 10:52 pm

    Please be come ” la ilaha ilallah ” in your self , no place , no time , no need any one

  14. avatar firdaus says:
    May 2nd, 2009 at 9:00 am

    I will not drag this topic anymore…as Sunan Kalijaga have said
    Melihat itu lebih baik dari mendengar…May God (Allah) show you his path.

  15. avatar Aluang Anak Bayang says:
    May 2nd, 2009 at 10:00 am

    I, Aluang, am a supporter of Siti Jenar, Subud, Kejawen, Kaharingan, Lia Eden and Ponari. Javanese rocks. :)

  16. avatar Oigal says:
    May 2nd, 2009 at 10:09 am

    Besides those loud speakers have been here far longer than you’re.

    Wrong and in fact have nothing to do with Islam. Whats wrong with the traditional vioce only, its just arrogance and intolerance towards other religions and beliefs (can you imagine the outcry if the christian (or others starting using loudspeakers to call people to thier church).

    It wouldn’t be so bad , if the speakers were of decent qaulity, with correct bass and someone approaching a half decent speaking voice (I believe SINGAPORE insists upon it), but instead we get screeching cats n kids.

    On a wider note..there can be little doubt that Microphones and Speakers should be banned in Indonesia in total…AAAAAGH!

  17. avatar Aluang Anak Bayang says:
    May 2nd, 2009 at 10:17 am

    ahh .. the christian whitey ocker from Oz is at it again. I am sure he is happy with a couple of loud speakers in a church.

  18. avatar Andy says:
    May 5th, 2009 at 3:22 am

    Funny how muslims assume bules are all christian. Attention brainwashed indos!!!! Many of us have no time for any religion at all myself being one of them. So yes I would object to a church being built near my home with a loudspeaker going off at 4AM or whenever these mad zealots feel like annoying anyone who is not of their persuasion. That is normally not the case though and at no time have I ever felt a church has intruded on my private space.
    A better comparison would be how would a muslim family like it if a bule played their heavy metal records at 4AM and placed the speakers strategically close to their bedroom windows. And let’s say we did it not once or twice but every night. Then they might have an idea what non muslims go through in muslim countries.
    See in the west guys like me (who have been here since the first fleet and have contributed to the building of our great land) have to give way to the likes of AAB as all are equal no matter how long they have been here and when they migrated. It is high time for Indonesian muslims to get a few lessons in tolerance and respect for other races and cultures.

  19. avatar Odinius says:
    May 5th, 2009 at 5:59 am

    Andy said:

    See in the west guys like me (who have been here since the first fleet and have contributed to the building of our great land)

    I can only imagine the things you have personally experienced, being one of the original settlers of Australia!

  20. avatar rosliabdghani says:
    May 15th, 2009 at 5:31 pm

    The law of the land would state that MAJORITY RULE.Most unlikely that minority could dictate the terms upon the majority. So move to another convenient location or country even so that one need not hear the call for prayer. Ear plug would be fine. I lived near an indian temple once.My…It was noisy… For convenience and religious tolerence i moved on.Managed to adjust to the new location though i had to make a few sacrifice.
    When Non Muslim became the majority in Singapore.. they decided against the Azan using the loud speaker… Fine.. Majority Rule..By the way the disbelievers should not make any comment… They will never be the majority unless they move to RUSSIA… So move on…it’s the only logical thing to do since they cannot accept the law of the land. Let us just ZIP this issue on LOUDSPEAKER…Majority Rule…

    I am more interested to know about the teaching of Sheikh Siti Jenar…Anyone with sound knowledge on the subject matter or could lead me to study materials..

  21. avatar ilkhab salahuddin says:
    June 23rd, 2010 at 9:52 pm

    The teaching of Sheikh Siti Jenar was and still misunderstood by so many people in this world. It is based on the principle of pantheistic monotheism which aimed at attaining the complete oneness of God not just through verbal testimony as what the Muslims of today know.

    What is being taught in all the islamic institutions of learning is only the ways of servantship as a ways of worship. In this concept, people can not escape from shirkul ujud which is terribly punishable even if you fill this world with ibadah.

    The ways of the teachings of Sheikh Siti Jenar is the ultimate goal of why men are created. So before anyone judges this teaching, better think twice for your safety from the torment of the hell fire for associating your existence with the oneness of existence of God.

    I descended from this teaching and until now I am continuously enlightening along this concept here in the Philippines.

  22. avatar hanz acbal says:
    May 24th, 2011 at 11:09 am

    can i have more on the teaching of him, Shayk Siti Jenar pls? i am very much interested on Wahdtadul wujud and whadatul shuhud… I would like to find out his view on this issues…. any taker?

  23. avatar Remy says:
    July 10th, 2011 at 7:30 pm

    al-Hussein b. Mansur al-Hallaj (858 -922CE)

    (may Allah have mercy on him)

    “I am He Whom I love, and He Whom I love is I.
    We are two spirits dwelling in one body.
    If you see me, you see Him;
    And if you see Him, you see us both.”

    – attributed to Mansur al-Hallaj

    taken from http://www.ijma.org.uk/features/hallaj.html

  24. avatar Romana Manesko says:
    December 7th, 2011 at 10:25 am

    My first impression of the sheikh was a Murtad. But after reading, my position still remains but more forgiving though I wont crack my head to try to understand his teaching. I am also trying to get more info on the guy.
    “Manunggaling Kawla Gusti” can anyone interpret this?

    Another thing, where you stood, you shoulder the sky above you. In which ever country you live, respect the law and customs.



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