Jawah hadith scholarship in the nineteenth century : a comparative study of the adaptions of Lubab al-Hadith composed by Nawawi of Banten (d.1314/1897) and Wan Ali of Kelantan (d. 1331/1913)
Mohd Zarif, Muhammad Mustaqim
Hadīth scholarship and its erudition among the Jāwah or the Muslims from the Malay Archipelago (the term applied to them in the Hejaz) in the periods prior to the twentieth century is almost a neglected area of study on Islam and its development in the Southeast Asian region. While this may be surprising considering the sublime status and influence of hadīth on the religious outlook of the Jāwah, perhaps the dearth of surviving materials on hadīth and its study during these periods might have also aggravated this apparent gap in their religious and intellectual history in the pre-modern era. However, this study proposes that despite the feasibility of an early presence of hadīth studies and its scholarship among the Jāwah, it was actually in the nineteenth century that significant development in its scholarship and discourse took place through Lubāb al-Hadīth. This is a collection of four hundred traditions attributed to al-Suyūtī (d. 911/1505), which has managed to attract serious scholarly interests from two important Jāwah scholars in Mecca namely, Nawawī of Banten (d. 1314/1897) and Wan ‘Alī of Kelantan (d. 1331/1913), who undertook their adaptations and commentaries of the text. Even though both scholars shared similar cultural and scholarly milieu of Arabia, their approaches, methods, and choices of languages in commenting on the text are markedly divergent. The fact that both works are still being distributed and read until the present day indicates their significance and relevance as an influential legacy of Jāwah h}adīth scholarship and its discourse in the nineteenth century. Thus, this study examines the important issue of hadīth scholarship in the nineteenth century through the case of Lubāb al-Hadīth and a comparative study of its two commentaries as mentioned above. Although the primary focus of discussion is on their methods on hadīth and selected religious views as presented in their commentaries, the anonymities surrounding the origin, authorship and significance of the base work is also analyzed. In turn, this has lead to a more detailed account on the place and influence of these works on the general development and characteristics of Jāwah hadīth scholarship and its discourse in the nineteenth century which also had their impacts in later years.