Abu 'Abdul Mu'thi Muhammad Nawawi bin Umar al-Jawi as-Syafi'I al-Bantani at-Tanari, well known as Sheikh Nawawi al-Bantani (1230-1314 H)/ (1815-1890 M) was a great Muslim scholar from Indonesia. He wrote many books that discussed various Islamic sciences including Tafsir, Fiqih-Ushul Fiqih, Tauhid, and others. This article tried to find Wassatiya ideas from Sheikh Nawawi al-Bantani throughout his works in the book of Kassyifatu as-Saja.
Kassyifatu as-Saja was a book about converging Fiqh (sharia) and Ushuluddin (Theology). Kassyifatu as-Saja was an explanation of the Book of Safinatu Naja which discusses Fiqh. This book had 25 chapters consisting of the Muqoddimah Chapter to the Fasting Chapter.
Kassyifatu as-Saja explained the description in the Book of Safinatu an-Najah by Sheikh Salim bin Sumair (d.1271 H)/(d.1855 AD) from Hadramaut, Yemen, who died in the land of Betawi. Apart from being an explanation of the previous book, Sheikh Nawawi added in each section, namely an explanation, branch of the problem, virtue, wisdom, and closing. This book was completed on 16 Dzulhijjah 1177 H / 25 June 1861 AD.
In Chapter Muqaddimah Sheikh Nawawi interpreted the hadith
من تشبه بقوم فهو منهم (p.3)
It is meaning to follow or resemble pious people. Currently, the hadith is often used to refer to contemporary problems which are interpreted as following the culture of the infidels, meaning that he is part of the infidels. Sheikh Nawawi interpreted the meaning of hadith in a positive sense. Because in another hadith Messenger of Allah often combed his hair with a model as the Jews did.
Sheikh Nawawi's open-mindedness contained in his words:
وينبغي لمن وقف على هفوة أن يصلحها بعد التأمل
"Whoever finds an error in this book, let it be corrected after Taammul." (p.3)
The concept of Taammul was often used in the Book of Ta'lim-Muta'alim as a way for a student to contemplate after gaining knowledge.
Sheikh Nawawi also accommodated differences of opinion among Ulama. For example, he explained the difference of opinion of Ulama about Lafadz Bismillah. Imam Malik's opinion that Lafadz Bismillah was not part of Surah al-Fatihah, nor was it part of any other Surah of the Qur'an.
According to Abdullah bin Mubarrak, Lafadz Bismillah was a part of all the letters in the Qur'an. And according to Imam Shafi'i that the Lafadz Bismillah was part of the al-Fatihah but it was also not clear whether the Lafadz Bismillah was part of other verses of the Qur'an or not. (p.5).
The most important thing in the book of Kassyifatu as-Saja was how Sheikh Nawawi positioned himself from various scholars' opinions on a religious problem. For example, in the case of zakat recipients, many scholars argued that zakat assets were forbidden to be given to the descendants of the Prophet Muhammad based on the hadith of the Prophet who ordered Hassan to vomit up Kurma from the giving of zakat.
Sheikh Nawawi allowed giving zakat to the descendants of the Prophet based on the opinion of Sheikh Isthokhori, namely giving zakat to the descendants of the Prophet as a sense of love for the descendants of the Prophet peace be upon him (p.15).
Another example in tayyamum, Sheikh Nawawi classified a person's condition in terms of obliging tayyamum and seeking water. If a person does not find water because he is worried about leaving the house which if he leaves, will lose his valuables properties then he is allowed to do tayyamum without seeking further water. Or if he is sick and worries that it will make his illness worse, then he is allowed to do tayyamum, even without the advice of a doctor whether the disease is severe or not. Or in a condition where the water is only available for himself, a thirsty friend, or his animal livestock, he is allowed to perform tayammum. (p.74-77).
Sheikh Nawawi's open-mindedness could be taken from the description of the Wisdom of Dogs which he wrote in the Book of Kassyifatu as-Saja. Even today many preachers are campaigning to recommend killing dogs with a sunnah tendency. Sheikh Nawawi summarized the Dog's Wisdom and Muslim can learn from it. (p.96).
At least there are wassatiya points that Sheikh Nawawi gave in the author's opinion, namely, wassatiya is an attitude of a Muslim in dealing with the science of ushuluddin and fiqh problems. This is evident from the statement of Sheikh Nawawi in every chapter he described. Among others are:
1. Always open to new thoughts that are more validated
2. Accept differences of opinion
3. Always put forward knowledge of a problem before making an opinion
4. Flexible in situations and conditions
5. Always seek wisdom in every case
6. Take the middle ground between the problems of Furu'iyyah (branch)