03 November 2008

Kebatinan: Spirituality & Inner Strength

Most people know about spiritual or inner strength, but not many accept the fact of its existence. In the Melayu world, it is almost impossible to separate the spiritual aspect from their life practice.

The existence and practice of this unique knowledge has been influenced by diverse beliefs that have been practiced by the Melayu, before and after the advent of Islam. This element always is the core in many practices like in traditional healing methods, certain special practices, and martial arts in general, and Silat, and even in daily mundane activities.

In 'Silat', this element seems almost impossible to be separated from it. Sometimes it can be the core, even though the Silat may be perceived as just a physical form of martial art. The exponent will feel emptiness when they are without this unseen - yet powerful - element. Due to scepticism, some ignore the importance of this element by denying it completely.

Some just simply accept it without proper knowledge, and ignore the terms and conditions in learning it for the sake of getting a temporary superiority that leads to destruction. Because of their ignorance they are against human nature, and the teachings of Islam, with or without realizing it.

It is undeniable that the spiritual element contributes so much to the continuity of Silat legacy in the Melayu world. There are so many Silat styles in Malaysia, some are practicing purely spiritual Silat, and others are using the spiritual by merging it into the physical aspect. The development and spread of the spiritual world looks rapid in the world of modern and high technology nowadays. This is really an unexpected development.

There are a few basic ways or methods in practicing or training of this spiritual element. Among them are:

1. Recitation of certain special and unique words

2. Practicing a unique practice like fasting, isolating oneself or certain unique way of bathing

3. A form or just a movement known as ‘Gerak’ or ‘Jurus’.

Most experts and the Islamic scholars agree that the recitation of special words with clear meanings and the purpose of it are in accordance to Islam are allowed, even if it is in the form of a foreign dialect or language. For recitation of the zikr or verses from The Holy Quran, the source of it must be pure, and can only be taught by a well qualified person.

In most cases, the recitation of words that are not a zikr or verses from The Holy Quran, the meaning of it is often confusing. Some even mention or call to something that isn’t pure; this kind of practice must be avoided.

Many of the so-called masters of spiritual Silat don’t even have the basic qualification in teaching Zikr and verses of The Holy Quran. The pronunciations of it are being amended, or are simply not accordance in accordance to the original. The real meaning and purpose of it are far from the original, most of the time they don’t even know the source of it. Many didn’t even attain the proper qualifications from a qualified Islamic scholar. Even though all it is wrongly learn and practice it still can produce results which are impure and evil.

Practicing pure isolation can lead to leaving important daily routine and responsibilities including compulsory Islam practice. This isolation practice normally will be done in places like graveyard, caves, mountains or places that can challenge the bravery of the practitioner. It is done to cultivate the spirit of bravery, to gain special ability or to find something for certain special purpose.

Many Islamic scholars agree that practicing isolation with strict Syariat or Islam manners is permissible as long as it is for the sake of focusing on remembering Allah (swt) but not doing it for other reasons that are against Islamic teaching.

Some isolation practice fasting or special practice of starvation. During the period of fasting or starvation, the practitioner can only eat according to a specific time and can only eat special kind of selected food. There are also a special practice of bathing using flowers, limes of various kinds, special type of water and a few other remedy. There is quite a number of the said practice influenced by other belief systems that is not in accordance with Islam. Some of them are practiced separately and can also be combined with a few levels of practice.

Internal energy, spiritual strength or "kebatinan" can also be attained by practicing specific movements with special techniques or flowery movements accompanied by some other special spiritual or semi spiritual practice. There are techniques that use a minimum of movements or seemingly no movement at all. The movement can be attained by practicing the aforementioned practices or be taught by masters directly to be practiced to get the special spiritual ability.

There are many names used to name these movements. Among them are "gerak keputusan" or result movement, "jurus kebatinan" or spiritual form, "ibu jurus" or mother of spiritual form, "gerak batin" or spiritual movement and many other different names depending on the style.

The results coming out from practicing those movements can be so powerful and far beyond the effort in doing it. Many styles claim they get the result from a pure source or claim they are practicing it in accordance with Islam. It is shocking because the consequences from practicing and using very simple effortless movements can result in a very powerful outcome that is beyond logic.

There are also specific semi spiritual techniques:

1. Breathing

2. Eating

3. Special or weird practice

Breathing is among the most common practice. Scientifically, it give many benefits because it surely supplies enough and consistent oxygen to the whole body. Specific breathing systems will give more additional benefit. While doing the breathing, the spiritual ability seekers will sometimes have to focus on material or immaterial things.

Unique unimaginable eating rules like consuming specific parts of animals or plant also exist. There are practitioners that are willing to eat weird or even filthy things just to gain special spiritual ability or strength. Some of them are even willing to practice weird or unacceptable actions; that are far beyond the natural human behaviour.

For practice that is obviously wrong is easy to rectify and avoid, that is if one judge it with wisdom. To make sure the purity of thoughts and faith, delicate matters like spirituality or inner strength must always be guided by knowledgeable people especially true Islamic scholars.

Spiritual matters concern very deep and complicated knowledge and practice in the Silat world that require deeper understanding with high levels of concentration to learn and master. In choosing the best way of attaining spiritual strength and ability, the purest and safest way will always be the best. Let Islamic knowledge be the only guidance.

Recitation of zikr or verses of Quran used must have clear source and pure meaning and purpose. So are the other recitations or mantra if any. Try avoiding using mantras or other recitations that is not known as zikr or verses of Quran. There are so many recitations that come from The Companions (ra.hum) of our Prophet Muhammad (saw) and also come from The Prophet (saw) himself.

There are also recitations proven by our previous pious Islamic scholars. All these recitations are proven to be pure and effective in their own unique way. Fasting is also very good for health physically and will also improve one's spiritual state thus will develop inner strength. Fasting in accordance with the way of our Prophet Muhammad (saw) has more obvious pure physical and spiritual effects compared to any other way.

Let’s make sure that our practice is in accordance with Sunnah so that it will not be useless practise. Practicing Sunnah with knowledge and guidance surely will prevent oneself from being influenced by bad things.

We must continue focusing on such beneficial practises. Not practice that will only give super abilities for wrong purpose. Any ability attained will purely from the blessing of Allah (swt). Let the practice and ability be for the purpose in elevating oneself in becoming a better Muslim not for gaining any kind of mortal strength.

The proper function of spiritual practice or movements will be to synchronize the focus of one’s physical and spiritual self. These delicate and detailed techniques will show us how hard is it to be totally focused when doing any action. When physically and mentally aligned, the results will surprise us.

Let this be the function for spiritual Silat knowledge and practice. Due to this synchronization, the merging of all senses will result in the maximum ability of any human being. To attain this level, one must master one’s own unique movements until the movements will always be accurate no matter how spontaneous it will be. The ability to control the mind so that it can control oneself emotionally will be the next level.

The next level from merging both physical and mental is the ability in controlling the environment or situation. One must always elevate both physical and mental capacity. From here, the effectiveness of form and formlessness of action will be obvious.

If during that journey, there is any result that is beyond logic, it can never be the goal and must always make sure the effect and purity of it. No matter what will be our effort, the result will not always be there. Allah (swt) is The Almighty, The Strongest and He (swt) solely has the right to give or take anything on His (swt) creations. Let’s judge everything with clear fact that came from Quran and Hadith as core, mind to support it with guidance from pious Islamic scholars.

Don't even begin the journey of spiritual elevation in any kind without purifying our faith with proper Islam knowledge and guidance. Physical health must also be perfected, not only clinical health but healthy attitude towards The Creator (swt), creations and self. After that we can begin to start the spiritual Silat journey with physical side of it.

When the proper way is practiced, the effectiveness of just the physical knowledge will amaze oneself and others.Due to the proper manners of practice in this journey of knowledge, one will gain spiritual strength and abilities without even really starting to learn it formally. The physical aspects of Silat are very important in fulfilling the protocol of tawakkal or surrendering to Allah (swt) in defending ourselves. In realizing the way of surrendering to Allah (swt), one must not easily choose any way which is beyond logic without judging it first with knowledge and wisdom of Islam.

During the time of Prophets (as), Prophet Muhammad (saw), The Companion (ra.hum) and their successive followers, things that are beyond logic happened to them. It also happened to other pious people during their time. Let us learn the teaching from this precious history knowledge. They never want special ability or things beyond logic will not be their goal in their practice. They don't want to be occupied by it in any way.

They practice everything and live their life to please Allah (swt).Talking about things that are beyond logic, the knowledge and practice of Islam is also beyond logic with such truth, love and compassion. Some practice can't be clarified with logic. But practicing Islam to the fullest is truly a blessing and any results will always be beautiful and rewarding.

Let us focus on this special kind of spiritual knowledge and practice rather than other so called spiritual knowledge and practice that lead to uncertainty, deceit and most of the time will lead to destruction.

Written by Ustaz Saiful Muhammad
Sourced from http://www.silat.tv/profiles/blogs/2043066:BlogPost:21645

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