The Spiritual Journey of Syekh Abdul Muhyi: A Pioneer of Sufism in West Java

Syekh Abdul Muhyi stands as a towering figure in the annals of Indonesian Sufism, particularly known for his role in spreading the Syattariyah Order in West Java. Born into a family with ties to the Galuh Kingdom in Ciamis, his journey into mysticism and scholarship began at the tender age of 19, when he sought permission from his parents to study under the renowned Sufi scholar, Syekh Abdul Rauf Singkel.

His request was granted, and Syekh Abdul Muhyi dedicated eight years to his studies, displaying remarkable diligence, discipline, and unwavering character. This period of intense learning culminated in a journey to Baghdad, Iraq, where he and his fellow students visited the tomb of Syekh Abdul Qodir Jaelani and delved deep into the teachings of Sufism for two years.

Returning to Aceh at the age of 27, Syekh Abdul Muhyi’s spiritual prowess caught the attention of his teacher, who recognized signs of his kewalian (spiritual excellence). It was then that he was tasked with spreading Islam in a specific region of West Java, as indicated by the presence of a cave.

Syekh Abdul Muhyi’s early years in Gresik, East Java, laid the foundation for his spiritual journey. Raised in a household that valued Islamic education, he received teachings from his parents and scholars from Ampel Denta, Surabaya. His marriage to Ayu Bakta marked the beginning of his mission in West Java, where he was warmly received by the people of Darma Kuningan.

His journey took him through Pameungpeuk, Garut, and Batuwangi, where he faced opposition but succeeded in converting the locals to Islam. In Lebaksiuh, Tasikmalaya, he and his followers built a mosque, and he discovered a cave that would become a significant part of his legacy.

Named Safarwadi, the cave served as a place of residence and education for Syekh Abdul Muhyi and his family. It became a center for spiritual learning, attracting visitors from all corners of Java. Pamijahan, as the area came to be known, became synonymous with spiritual enlightenment.

Despite facing challenges, including Dutch colonization and the need to move frequently, Syekh Abdul Muhyi’s teachings spread far and wide. His close relationship with local rulers, such as Bupati Sukapura, gave him the freedom to spread Islam and establish mosques in various regions.

In his teachings, Syekh Abdul Muhyi emphasized the Martabat Alam Tujuh, a concept related to the divine manifestation in the universe and mankind. He also developed methods of dhikr (remembrance of God) that drew from different Sufi orders, such as al-jarh (loud recitation) and al-sirr (silent recitation).

Syekh Abdul Muhyi’s legacy endures in the hearts of those who continue to seek spiritual enlightenment. His teachings, though not widely documented in his own hand, live on through the oral traditions and practical behaviors of his followers. Pamijahan remains a testament to his spiritual journey, a place where seekers of truth find solace and guidance on their own paths to enlightenment.