Burhanuddin Ulakan Pariaman (1646 – 1704), also known as Sheikh Burhanuddin Ulakan, was an Islamic cleric (ulama) from the Minangkabau region. He is regarded as the pioneer of Islamic propagators in West Sumatra. He is also known as a commanding figure of the Islamic movements against the Dutch colonization. Regarding his Islamic belief, he was a Sufimurshid (scholar of spirituality) belonging to the Shattaritariqa based in Minangkabau region.
Burhanuddin was born under the name Pono. He was born in the coastal city of Ulakan (today’s Pariaman) within a sub-district of Padang Pariaman Regency. During his childhood, he was not aware of the teaching of Islam, because his parents and society had not been familiar with the religion. He and his father embraced Buddhism instead. Later, at the invitation and preaching of a Gujarat merchant who then spread Islam in Pekan Batang Bengkawas (now Pekan Tuo), young Burhanuddin and his father left Buddhism and converted to Islam.
At the age of maturity, Burhanuddin began to wander and leave the place of his parents. He studied in Aceh under Sheikh Abdur Rauf as-Singkili, an influential Mufti of Aceh Sultanate, who was a disciple and follower of Sheikh Ahmad al-Qusyasyi from Medina. Sheikh Ahmad had authorized both As-Singkili and Burhanuddin to spread Islam in their respective regions.
For ten years, Burhanuddin learned various sciences of Islam and tariqa from As-Singkili. Among the fields he studied include science in Arabic language, tafsir, hadith, fiqh, tawheed (science of monotheism), tasawwuf (science of Islamic mysticism), aqidah (Islamic creed), sharia and the concepts concerning tariqa, such as haqiqa and marifa.