Prophet’s descendants in Indonesia operate secret society
Although they differ from the Freemasons, the secret society frequently linked by conspiracy theorists to the rise of the United States as superpower ruling the world, the Rabithah Allawiyah has played a significant role in shaping Indonesia, in a clandestine way, as an organization reserved for those claiming to be the descendents of Prophet Muhammad.
For almost a century, the ethnic Arab community in Indonesia has relied on the this exclusive organization to help them keep track of relatives and preserve their prestigious lineage as descendants of the Prophet Muhammad.
Established in 1928 in Jakarta, with the approval of the Dutch colonial administration, the Rabithah Allawiyah has become the only formal organization that has received a mandate from the country’s Arab community to coordinate their social activities and maintain their official genealogies.
Allawiyyin, or Bani Alawi, is a term used to refer the descendants of the Prophet Muhammad, the messenger of the Islamic teachings.
A male member, whose recorded family tree has passed the organization’s verification process, will be granted the privilege to use the honorific title Habib, or “beloved”, in front of his name to signify his direct lineage with the Prophet.
According to Habib Abdurrahman Assegaf — an influential Allawiyin cleric and the coordinator of the Indonesian Muslim Movement (GUII), an organization that is concerned with eradicating “cult” teachings in Indonesia — only 1 million of between 6 and 7 millions members of the Allawiyin clan in Indonesia have their family tree registered and verified with Rabithah Alawiyah.
“That happens because most of them did not report changes in family relationship, especially in marriages and births, for years, or even decades,” said Abdurrahman.
“So it’s hard for them to keep a complete picture of their family tree and trace their lineage back to the Prophet,” he said.
As the holy family has expanded extensively in terms of numbers and professional occupations, the organization has inevitably seen figures with totally different backgrounds sitting on its management.
Prominent figures on the organization’s advisory boards include Rizieq Shihab, the leader of the hard-line Islam Defenders Front (FPI), Social Affairs Minister and Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) senior politician Salim Segaf Aljufri, and prominent lawyer Mohamad Assegaf.
Abdurrahman, however, admitted that the organization had been played a primarily coordinating role instead of an authoritative one, since the Allawiyin believe some personal choices should be left untouched.
“The Prophet’s descendants have spread Islamic teachings in various ways; by becoming politicians or teachers, while several others work with the so-called ‘hard-line’ organizations,” he said.
“We truly respect their choices because every person has a way he or she believes is most effective to disseminate our teachings.”
Rabithah Alawiyah has maintained a network of Koran recital groups across the country, facilitated the establishment of a number of schools and education institutions, as well as provided scholarships for poor students.
Last year, the organization also established the Association of Allawiyin Businesspeople and Professionals to expand business networks among entrepreneurs of Arab descent and to open business opportunities for community’s youth.
Rabithah Alawiyah coordinates more than 30 branches across the country, from their headquarters in the five-story Rabithah Building on Jl. Simatupang, South Jakarta.
Rabithah Alawiyah’s deputy secretary, Muhammad Ghazi Alaidrus, declined requests for an interview about the organization, which continues to operate outside of the public view.