Female Islamic Saints


Wan Doneh and Maknih (d. late 20th century/early 21st century) were sisters and Indonesian mystics of the Shattari order. Residing in the Seunagan province of Acheh, they were great grand­daughters of the Achehnese preacher and saint Habib Abdurrahim through their father Habib Muda. Abdurrahim claimed to be a sayyid, or descendant of Muḥammad, and so it is believed that, as a saint and sayyid, his karāmah, or spiritual gifts and miracles, were passed down through his sons, as succession in a ṭarīqah often does. However, Wan Doneh and Maknih, who lead mixed-gender spiritual rituals and in their lives, are counted as eminent among Abdurrahim’s tron, or receivers of his karāmah, by their descendants, as well as by some descendants of Abdurrahim’s male heirs, although the silsilah, or spiritual lineage of the Shattari order, passed through their brother Habib Quraisy. Although this cut them off from official leadership in the Shattari order, it makes them rare cases of matrilineal descent of blessings or spiritual abilities, a matter disputed by many patrilineal descendants of Abdurrahim and others. In the 1980’s Maknih (who was born Aja Peunawa) lead religious retreats, and her home was a place of pilgrimage, with people seeking amulets and religious remedies. Maknih was burried near her former residence in the rural market town Ulee Jalan and Wan Doneh alongside her brothers and husband Teuku Azman at her father’s grave complex in the mountainous Beutong Ateuh. The anniversaries of their deaths are marked by kandūrī, or ceremonial feasts, and devotees have regularly visited their graves since their passing.

A group or multiple persons.

Other Reading

Birchok, Daniel Andrew. “Women, Genealogical Inheritance and Sufi Authority: The Female Saints of Seunagan, Indonesia.” Asian Studies Review, 7 Sep. 2016.

Kraus, Werner. “The Shattariyya Sufi Brotherhood in Indonesia.” Aceh: History, Politics and Culture, 2010.

Habib Abdurrahim • Habib Quraisy • Maknah • Won Doneh • keramat • kandoeri • tarekat

Southeast AsiaShattari OrderSufiSpiritual MasterMystic.