Di dalam sejarah pendidikan Islam klasik, antara pendidikan Islam dan wakaf mempunyai hubungan erat. Lembaga wakaf menjadi sumber keuangan bagi kegiatan pendidikan Islam sehingga pendidikan Islam dapat berlangsung dengan baik dan lancar. Adanya manajemen wakaf dalam Islam disebabkan oleh sistem ekonomi Islam, yang menganggap bahwa ekonomi berhubungan erat dengan akidah dan syariat.
Negara adalah institusi pelaksana pendidikan yang paling penting. Negara adalah pihak yang bertanggung jawab terhadap segala urusan rakyat, termasuk dalam pendidikan. ”Sosok Ibnu Sina, Ibnu Kholdun, Ibnu Taimiyah, Imam Syafi’i dan ratusan ilmuan lain adalah contoh kecil produk sistem pendidikan Islam. Mereka sangat produktif dalam karya-karya monumental. Satu contoh kecil perhatian pemerintahan Islam dalam pendidikan adalah ketika Khalifah Harun al-Rasyid membuat keputusan: “Barangsiapa di antara kalian yang secara rutin mengumandangkan azan di wilayah kalian, maka catatlah pemberian (hadiah) sebesar 1000 dinar. Siapa pun yang menghafal al-Quran, tekun menuntut ilmu, dan rajin meramaikan majelis-majelis ilmu dan tempat pendidikan adalah berhak memperoleh 1000 dinar. Siapa saja yang menghafal al-Quran, meriwayatkan hadis, dan mendalami ilmu syariat Islam adalah berhak atas pemberian 1000 dinar”.
Selain subsidi dari pemerintah, sumber dana yang digunakan untuk pendidikan berasal dari wakaf. ”Wakaf merupakan bagian dari ibadah dan hukum Islam yang berkaitan harta benda. Sebagai sistem pendanaan pendidikan, wakaf menjadi semacam lembaga yang terorganisasi dengan baik dan menjadi mode di masa Abbasiyah terutama masa keemasan peradaban Islam”. Khalifah Al-Makmun dianggap sebagai pemrakarsa berdirinya badan-badan wakaf untuk lembaga pendidikan, sehingga berbagai kegiatan keilmuan, termasuk gaji para ulamanya dapat berlangsung terus dan kokoh.
Badan wakaf yang permanen dipandang sebagai suatu keharusan dalam mendirikan suatu lembaga ilmiah. Selanjutnya wakaf-wakaf ini berkembang kegunaannya bagi orang-orang atau kelompok-kelompok studi yang menyediakan dirinya untuk kesibukan-kesibukan ilmiah di berbagai masjid. Pemberi wakaf dapat menentukan kriteria syeikh dan pengajar yang memenuhi syarat. Wakaf kebanyakan merupakan aset ekonomi yang berjalan, seperti pertanian, rumah, toko, kebun, kantor dagang, pabrik, pasar dan lain sebagainya. Dana yang dihasilkan akan bervariasi sesuai dengan kondisi ekonomi waktu itu. Oleh karena itu tingkat kehidupan para siswa dan guru yang dibiayai oleh hasil wakaf berubah-ubah dari waktu ke waktu. Dengan wakaf pendidikan menjadi lebih baik.
Mahmud Yunus memaparkan bahwa ”Dar al-Ilmi di Kairo yang didirikan oleh Al Hakim bi Amrillah pada tahun 1004 M menghabiskan kira-kira 257 dinar setiap tahun dari kas negara untuk beragam keperluan di luar gaji guru dan karyawan. Dana itu digunakan untuk membeli tikar, kertas, gaji petugas perpustakaan, air, gaji pesuruh, keperluan para pengajar, perbaikan kain, pintu, menjilid buku, membeli tikar bulu dan permadani”.Ahmad, raja Idzaj membagi hasil pajak negara menjadi tiga bagian, dimana sepertiganya untuk membiayai pendidikan.
Wakaf yang menjadi salah satu sumber pembiayaan pendidikan dalam Islam dalam pengelolaannya juga menerapkan sistem sentralistik. Dimana pemberi wakaf seringkali menentukan pola pengelolaan harta wakafnya dan penggunaan yang jelas dari hasil wakaf tersebut dalam dokumen wakaf, tanpa mempertimbangkan kemungkinan-kemungkinan kondisi dan kebutuhan lembaga pendidikan tersebut di kemudian hari. Di samping itu pemberi wakaf juga sering menentukan dirinya sendiri atau ahli warisnya sebagai penanggung jawab dalam mengelola harta wakaf tersebut. Kondisi pengelolaan wakaf seperti ini bisa menyebabkan madrasah tersebut terlantar dan ditutup jika kurang pengawasan dan bantuan wakaf secara kontinyu.
Nahdlatul Wathan (NW): The Basis for the Development of Islamic Education in Lombok
Islam in Lombok, West Nusa Tenggara (NTB) is a unique phenomenon among various phenomena of Islam in Indonesia. The development of Islam in this area may be referred mostly to the great contribution of an important Islamic Organization in Lombok, i.e., Nahdlatul Wathan (NW). This organization has succeeded in creating the basis for the interpretation of Islam into its social and cultural contexts of Lombok society. To a large extent, Nahdlatul Wathan is also viewed to have equal position with such other organizations as NU in Java, As’adiyah in Sulawesi, and PERTI in West Sumatera. Nahdlatul Wathan is the base camp for the formation of Islamic socio-intellectual discourse as well as for the formulation of religious characteristics of Muslims in that area. In this respect, educational institution becomes a vehicle for the NW to achieve its goals.
From the outset, NW was an Islamic educational institution. Tuan Guru Zainuddin Abdul Madjid, a well known and respected ‘ulama in Lombok and the founder of NW, began his religious leadership by establishing educational institution soon after finishing his study in Mecca. The founded institution adopted madrasah system, a system that is considered as representative of modern Islamic educational system in Indonesia. His attitudes in this context was influenced not only by his learning experience in Madrasah Saulatiyah in Mecca but also by the demand of change following modernization in education sector by the Deutch colonial rulers in Indonesia. From the above description, one may say that Zainuddin’s intellectual career represents an era when the reformation and modernization of Islamic education had found its place in Indonesia.
Hence, at the beginning of its development, NW applied grading system. The level of education in NW is divided into three. First, iljamiyah level, it is a preliminary or preparatory stage which is usually prepared for children. The length of this level is one year. Second is tahdliriyyah level which constitutes the continuation of iljamiyah level. The participants of this level are usually those who have passed the iljamiyah level or those who have graduated from primary school. The students will graduate from this level after three-year length of study. Third is ibtidaiyyah level for those who have graduated from the previous levels. The students shall spend four years to accomplish this level.
The grading system of learning had never been known to Lombok community. It was therefore not surprising to find that Zainuddin received criticism from the local ‘ulamas who had been adopting the traditional pesantren system. However, in line with the growing changes within community, the madrasah system had eventually been accepted by the local community. Despite the absence of statistical data, it is beyond doubt that the number of students in NW increased progressively. This trend may have encouraged Zaenuddin to continue his efforts to establish educational institutions adopting semi-grading system.
From then on, the educational institutions have developed very rapidly. On September 3rd 1951, NW built 10 classes. One year later, in 1952/1953 NW opened several programs, such as four-year program of Madrasah Muallimin, four-year program of Madrasah Muallimat, four-year program of Sekolah Menengah Islam and Pendidikan Guru Agama (PGA, or Training for Religious Teachers). Furthermore, the Madrasah Muballighin and Muballighat were also opened in 1955/1956 to prepare the da’i (religious preachers). In addition, the four-year length of Muallimin and Muallimat program was added to become six-year length of study. The PGA program was also extended to become Pendidikan Guru Agama Lanjutan (PGAL, or Advanced Training for Religious Teachers). Later, in 1959, a six-year program of Madrasah Tsanawiyah and Madrasah Aliyah was also offered.
Having seen the development of NW educational institutions and realizing the demand to provide higher education institution for its alumni, Tuan Guru Zainuddin established an Academy of Pedagogy in 1964. Three years later in 1967 he also founded Islamic Higher Education Institution called Ma‘had dar al Qur’a>n wa al Hadi>th al Madjdiyyah al Syafi>‘iyyah, provided specifically for male students. In 1974, he opened another institution for female students called Ma‘hadah lil Banat. This institution aims to prepare female educators and preachers.
The development of other modern schools cannot be separated from the contribution of NW under the leadership of Tuan Guru Zainuddin who established and reformed educational institutions in that area. Undoubtedly, NW has given its great contribution in organizing Islamic education for Muslims, and to the development of Islam in Lombok.
The number of affiliating educational institutions under NW had grown increasingly. It was reported that Tuan Guru Zainuddin was busy attending the official establishment ceremonies of new madrasahs affiliated to NW, which central institution was in Pancor. East Lombok regency has the highest number of educational institutions affiliated to NW. By 2000, there were 377 educational institutions, including primary and secondary levels in the region.
The NW affiliated educational institutions also developed in other part of West Nusa Tenggara. In Central Lombok, for instance, there are about 216 NW affiliated educational institutions, representing the second rank in number after East Lombok. The next is West Lombok with 120 educational institutions. In Mataram, however, only 28 NW educational institutions are established. Besides West Nusa Tenggara, there are also some institutions founded outside Lombok. In 2000 for example, 11 institutions are found in Sumbawa, 7 in Dompu, from kindergarten to senior high school, as well as pesantren.
There is other important achievement of NW, which deserves to be mentioned here, i.e., the establishment of higher education level. Up to the present time, there are four higher education institutions under NW: 1) MDQH al Madjidiyah al Syafi’iyah wich enrolls 385 students; 2) Institute of Islamic Studies Hamzanwadi with 312 students; 3) STKIP Hamzanwadi with 754 students; and 4) University of NW Mataram with about 987 students.
Up to 2000, NW has about 806 institutions which consist of: 33 RA/TK (kindergartens), 309 MI/SD (Islamic and secular primary schools), 216 MTs/SLTP (Islamic and secular junior high schools), 94 MA/SMU (Islamic and secular senior high schools), 54 pesantrens, 34 orphanages and 4 higher education institutions.
In consistence with the spirit of reform in education as the basic foundation of its first establishment, all the NW affiliated institutions employ curriculum which adopts both religious and secular subjects. Recently, they use the curriculum developed by MORA for Madrasahs (MI, MTs, MA) and the curriculum of MONE for secular schools (SD, SMP, SMU). In addition, NW has developed its own curriculum to be implemented specifically in Ma’had Dar al Qur’an wa al Hadith (MDQH). This is because the ma’had is established to prepare generations of ‘ulamas, so that Islamic knowledge is to be more emphasized in the curriculum.
Based on the above mentioned data, it is obvious that NW has contributed significantly to the development of Islamic education in Lombok area. As a result, there are a number of modern educational institutions in Lombok, which provide Muslims in that area with knowledge to help them to live within the more developing socio-cultural condition of the society.
Recently, there has been a new trend regarding the development of Islamic educational institutions of pesantrens in Indonesia — and to some extent — madrasah, i.e., the emergence of independent pesantrens and madrasah, meaning those which do not have any affiliation with any established mass organizations. Another distinctive characteristic of the institution under discussion is that they tend to develop salafi religious ideology.
It has been known that most of Islamic mass organizations, which began to emerge since the beginning of 19th century, established educational institutions such as pesantrens and madrasahs as media to transfer Islamic knowledge and to disseminate the ideas of progress to the new Muslim generations. Accordingly, there are numerous Islamic educational institutions, pesantrens and madrasahs, which have affiliation — structurally or ideologically — with Islamic mass organizations. No less than 10.830 pesantrens all over Indonesia, in terms of their religious understanding, are affiliated with mass organizations such as NU, Muhammadiyah, Persis, Al Wasliyah, PUI, Mathlaul Anwar (MA), al Khairat, Nahdlatul Wathan (NW), DDI, Perti, GUPPI, and LDII. The same source of data also mentions that there are about 1.937 independent pesantrens.
Historically speaking, the phenomenon of independent pesantrens is not novel. Pondok Pesantren Darussalam, Gontor Ponorogo, East Java, as has been discussed earlier, is considered as the root of the emergence of independent pesantrens. However, unlike other independent pesantrens established subsequently, such as Hidayatullah and others, Pondok Gontor does not adopt salafiyah approach in their religious understanding.
It is still unknown as to the initial growth of independent pesantrens. However, it is estimated that their appearance closely related to the spread of salafiyah religious understanding in Indonesia during 1980s, the influence of which was signified by the emergence of Islamic groups called usrah. In terms of doctrine, they follow the earlier salafiyah groups such as Ibn Hanbal and Ibn Taymiyah, whose doctrines were adopted and developed by the later Muslim thinkers such as Hasan al-Banna, Sayyid Quthb through Ikhwa>n al Muslimi>n in Egypt and Abu al ‘Ala al Mawdudi through his Jemaat Islami in Indian sub continent. It is the salafiyah doctrines developed by those figures that are adopted by usrah group.
One main characteristic of this group is the employment of literal interpretation of sacred text. Thus, this group can be recognized for their exclusive physical appearance. For example, male members of the group wear jubah or long robe and they usually keep their beard grows. Meanwhile, female members wear jubah and jilbab (veil), which cover all parts of their bodies except eyes and palms of hands. This is because in their understanding, Muslim women are forbidden to show all parts of their bodies except eyes and palms of hands to non-Muhrim men.
In Indonesia, the groups have gained their popularity in most of respected campuses such as Universitas Indonesia (UI), Institut Pertanian Bogor (IPB), Universitas Gajah Mada (UGM) and Institut Teknologi Bandung (ITB). On the contrary, they do not develop in Islamic Universities such as in Institute Agama Islam Negri (IAIN, or State Institute of Islamic Studies). It was only after the collapse of Suharto regime that those groups, who called themselves as Lembaga Dakwah Kampus (LDK), began to exist and develop in Islamic Universities. The groups become influential and significant social and religious movements in Indonesia. At political level, Partai Keadilan Sejahtera (PKS), a growing Islamic political party, gains supports from these groups.
At the outset, usrah groups fight to achieve their goals through an Islamic movement, called “tarbiyah movement”. This movement is an Islamization movement of society through a long term process and in all aspects of their lives. “Tarbiyah” is understood not only as an educational institution but also as a struggle for the realization of Muslim Society (Anne Sofie Roald, 1994: 14). The movement emphasizes its efforts mainly to the purification of tawhi>d and the struggle to apply shari>‘ah (Islamic Law). Islamic shari>‘ah is not only understood as its implementation as positive law, but also the implementation of Islamic teachings in all aspects of life. Above all, they believe that Islam has provided complete and comprehensive social, political, and educational systems as guidance. For this reason, dialogue between Islam and modernity is, according to this group, considered not only unimportant but also unnecessary because of the perfection of Islam.
Pesantren Hidayatullah in this context can be seen as a realization of the contextualization of salafiyah understanding of Islam. This view is represented in the teachings developed by Ustadz Abdullah Said who aspires to build Jamaah Islamiyah (Islamic community), a concept which indicates the total implementation of Islamic teachings in the life of the community. The concept of jamaah is in fact not a new idea in the context of Islamic movement. The notion of jamaah is usually put side by side with other concepts such as h}izb (party) or harakah (movement). However, the term jamaah is used in wider context. The term is often understood as referring to Islamic group which excels other groups. Moreover, the term is used to refer to the group which claims that the most correct and right solutions is those originated from their own group.
Although the concept of jamaah offered by Abdullah Said does not necessarily signify the above mentioned meanings, one cannot deny the existing relationship between Islamic movements in Islamic world with his ideas. In order to achieve his goal, Abdullah Said created a unique formulation which is different from that of other groups. He employs the history of the Prophet as strategy and model of the movement. The historical stages of the Prophet Muhammad life are the main inspiration to prepare some steps to build the idealized Muslim society. Based on this description, it is clear that Abdullah Said and his Pesantren Hidayatullah is part of groups which adopt and develop salafiyah religious understanding.
Pesantren Hidayatullah: A Brief Profile
Pesantren Hidayatullah is located on 120 hectare land in the outskirts of Balik Papan. Since its first official establishment ceremony in August, 5th 1976 by the Ministry of Religious Affairs, it has attracted the attention of many people for reasons. First, after almost one decade of operation, in 1984 pesantren Hidayatullah received KALPATARU Award, an award given by the Indonesian government for the environmental achievement. This award was given by President Soeharto. It is not surprising that the period of 1980s was called by the head of pesantren as an era of resurgence, promotion and development. From then on, Pesantren Hidayatullah has been visited by many government officials from Jakarta and East Kalimantan. In relation to the visits by the government officials — and other important events which will be elaborated below — it can be stated that Pesantren Hidayatullah has had close relationship with the government.
Second, two decades after its establishment, in 2002, this pesantren made another head line news for the accusation of its involvement in terrorism. The source of the news is a report by Jane Parlez, the New York Time (December 2002) which states that Hidayatullah is one of terrorism network in South East Asia. One year later, this statement was re-affirmed in a report by International Crisis Group (ICG), Jemaah Islamiyyah in South East Asia: Damage but Still Dangerous. Basically, the later report was only highlighting the accusation of Jane Parlez by stating that Pesantren Hidayatullah is one of “Ivy League” where the radical Muslims were graduated and received education and training. This news consequently brought about negative image of the pesantren. To some extent, the effect of the publication on that issue hindered the activities of pesantren and destructed the good relations of pesantren with other institutions or with foreign companies in Balik Papan.
In a book entitled 20 tahun Pondok Pesantren Hidayatullah Pusat Balik Papan (1972-1992), which is often used as source for research on the history of the pesantren, the stages of the development of the pesantren is mentioned. This book was written under direct supervision of Ustadz Abdullah Said. Thus, it can be said that the book is an official representation of pesantren’s views. In this book, yearly development of pesantren during the last two decades under discussion is elaborated in more detailed manner. However, this periodization is not employed in this paper. Instead, it divides the development of pesantren Hidayatullah into two main periods, i.e., the period under the leadership of Ustadz Abdullah Said and the later period or the period of Hidayatullah as mass organization. In discussing the first period, this paper will refer mostly to the book as the main source. Meanwhile, for the following periods this paper will employ other sources.
Pesantren Hidayatullah is located in Teritip village, East Balik Papan. The distance from pesantren to Balik Papan is about 32 km eastward. This pesantren was established by Ustadz Abdullah Said, a respected figure from Makassar. He was supported by some of his close friends who later became the first teaching staff of the pesantren. They are, to name a few, Hasan Ibrahim (Pesantren Krapyak, Yogyakarta), Usman Palese (Pesantren Persis, Bangil), Hasyim (Pesantren Modern Darussalam, Gontor) and Nasir Hasan (an activist of Majlis Tarjih Muhammadiyah, Yogyakarta). The four figures, together with Abdullah Said who led the pesantren until he passed away in 1998, are known as the founding fathers of Pesantren Hidayatullah. Their various educational backgrounds and the spirit of independence that they shared became strong motivation to make the pesantren to be an independent institution from any established mass organizations in Indonesia.
Balik Papan was chosen as the location for the pesantren because of the analysis of Muhammad Said on social fact in that area. According to Hasan Ibrahim — one of the founding fathers of Pesantren Hidayatullah who is recently a member of Shari>‘ah council of the Central Board of Hidayatullah — there are two reasons behind the preference of Balik Papan as the location of the Pesantren. First, in the beginning of 1970s there was no pesantren in Balik Papan. According to Abdullah Said, Balik Papan was an area where dakwah activity was absent. Second, Balik Papan has potentiality to develop rapidly because the exploration of natural resources of East Kalimantan was centralized in this city. In this respect, the increase number of workers and the development of industrial city demanded the presence of religion as the guide for the community.
The establishment of pesantren Hidayatullah was initiated by training activities for dakwah (missionary) cadres, an activity that had been practiced by Abdullah Said himself when he was still in his hometown, Makassar. Training for dakwah cadres is called Training Centre (TC). The first training was held under the umbrella of Pemuda Muhammadiyah in Balik Papan at the house of Haji Mohammad Rasyid, one of the respected figures from Sinjai, South Sulawesi. This person later became Abdullah Said’s father in law. This activity then later developed to become Kulliyyatul Muballighin with more complex materials of learning. In due course, the participants of TC and Kulliyyatul Mulaballighin increased. By then, a dispute occurred between Muhammad Said and his father in law on whether or not the participants should be asked to pay tuition fees. According to Muhammad Said, since the activities are part of Dakwah, they should be free of any charges. Haji Muhammad Rasyid as a donator, however, viewed that the fee is necessary to keep the activities going. It was because of this unresolved issue that the two figures were separated, and it was also the reason for Abdullahs Said’s divorce. The disagreement marked the initial process of the establishment of Pesantren Hidayatullah.
With the support of Mukhtar Pae, a local attorney from Makassar, the TC and Kulliyyatul Muballighin activities were still run. However, they were organized in different locations and under the more “unfortunate” circumstances. Despite the changes, some important figures of Muhammadiyah such as A.R. Fakhruddin, Hamka and Abdul Kahar Muzakkir used to teach and gave their supports. In 1975, having passed the period of what the so-called “mourning and tearful years,” Pesantren Hidayatullah received one hectare of wakaf land located in Karang Bugis. It is a strategic site, since it is located in the very center of Balik Papan city and close to Bugis community.
One year later, in 1976, the head of pesantren felt the need to have bigger location to implement his ideas to build Islamic community, called jamaah. With the assistance of Balik Papan Major, Asnawi Arbain, the pesantren was given other five hectares of wakaf land from haji Darmawan in Gunung Tambak, Teritip, Balik Papan, which became the first assets to develop the pesantren. It is still in the same time that the pesantren was officially opened by the Minister of Religious Affairs in 1976, despite the ongoing process of the establishment of buildings which was not finished yet at that time. From then on, the area of pesantren continuously expanded, and currently it possesses approximately 140 hectares.
The data show that Pesantren Hidayatullah has about 130 branches spread out in several cities in Indonesia such as Jakarta, Surabaya, Manado, Dumai, Mamuju, Toli-Toli, Sorong, Manokwari, Fakfak, Jayapura, Gebe-North Maluku, Ambon, Bontang, Samarinda, Berau, Pasir, Pontianak, Ujung Pandang, Palu, Adonara-NTT, Nunukan, Palembang, Merauke, Bandung, Mataram, Yogyakarta, Jember, and Semarang. In 2000, this number increased to 140 branches (DPP Hidayatullah, 2000).
It is mentioned earlier that Pesantren Hidayatullah focuses especially on training activities for dakwah cadres. From its very inception, the Pesantren was aimed by Abdullah Said to produce dakwah cadres as well as to build community or, as termed by Said, jamaah, in which Islamic teachings are implemented. It is not surprising then to see that in its first development, the main activities of pesantren Hidayatullah were trainings and pengajian (informal group learning) delivered periodically (weekly and monthly). Furthermore, Pesantren Hidayatullah also offered formal education programs such as Madrasah Ibtidaiyah, established in 1984, Madrasah Tsanawiyah in 1987, and Madrasah Aliyah in 1990. In terms of curriculum, those different levels of madrasah adopt the one developed by MORA. Accordingly, the students also join national exams held by MORA. This phenomenon indicates that the head of pesantren prefers not to get involved in the debate over the percentage of religious and non-religious subjects in Madrasah curriculum. Instead, the head pesantren decides to adopt MORA curriculum and includes other Islamic courses, which are not designed in the curriculum. This curriculum modification is commonly adopted by other pesantrens which face similar problem.
Pesantren Hidayatullah introduces what the so-called “integrated curriculum,” in which religious and secular subjects are viewed as an integral entity. In addition, all aspects of education of the Pesantren including its facilities and activities are directed towards the main goal of the Pesantren. Consequently, in addition to adopts the curriculum developed by MORA, through which students receive bigger proportion of secular subjects, the pesantren also delivers religious courses — which are in line with the mission of the Pesantren — outside the school hours.
Pesantren Hidayatullah has attracted many young generations especially those of in-campus mosques activists. In terms of teachings, there is similarity between Abdullah Said’s views and those of other Muslim intellectuals such as Imaduddin Abdurrahim, an important figure in Islamic movement in Salman Mosque. However, the former uses pesantren as a vehicle to establish his movement, while the later, frequently called Bang Imad, employs dakwah activities in campus mosques. There are some concepts introduced during the trainings such as modern jahiliyyah — a concept introduced by al Mawdu>di> and later strengthened by Syyid Quthb —, several attempts to eliminate thagut from our heart, and the establishment of jamaah Islamiyah, etc., as the foundations of the movement. One of ITB graduates who used to be Salman mosque activist and currently an activist of Pesantren Hidayatullah said that the reason for him to be part of Hidayatullah is the ideas and concepts of Ustadz Abdullah Said, which are considered in line with his ideals that he has sought so far, especially through his activity in Salman Mosque.
Because of emphasizing its activities mostly to trainings for dakwah cadres, Pesantren Hidayatullah seems to neglected formal education, especially during the first period of its establishment. There are many of its students who do not finish their universities. Ironically, the decision to drop-out of the universities came out as soon as the students start to join Hidayatullah. Their decision to terminate their study is mostly influenced by Abdullah Said’s lecturees, especially in relation to anxiety towards thagut attitude (this concept will be elaborated later), which is considered as dangerous for religious faith. According to Hasan Ibrahim, formal education at that time was not important. Instead of completing formal education for a degree, it is more prestigious to do dakwah or to spread out Islamic teachings in remote areas.
The greater emphasis to prepare dakwah cadres has influenced the model of education system developed in Hidayatullah. Since the expected qualities of its graduates are not their mastery of Islamic subjects such as Islamic theology (kalam), Islamic Law (fiqh), Qur’a>nic exegesis (tafsir), the prophet sayings (hadith), but their discipline and courage to perform dakwah, the goal of its curriculum therefore is aimed to the more practical purposes. Classical Islamic literatures (kitab kuning) are not taught in Pesantren Hidayatullah. Instead, it organizes trainings on disciplines and methods of dakwah to help the students in doing their dakwah mission. Abdullah Said’s lecturers were considered significant aspects in the process of preparing dakwah cadres. It may be stated that during the first period of its development, Pesantren Hidayatullah was anti-formal school system or at least it did not encourage its students to go to formal education. Accordingly, some of the cadres who came from universities or IAIN decided to drop-out.
This trend however, started to decrease by the end of 1990s, especially after the establishment of Madrasah Aliyah in the Pesantren. When Hidayatullah later opened Islamic university, Sekolah Tinggi Ilmu Syari’ah (STIS, or Higher Education for Islamic Law), the demand of human resources, who have degrees either to be teaching staff or administrative staff, was higher. For this reason, the leader of the Pesantren suggested the students who had dropped-out of universities — most of them had finished their courses and at a stage of working on thesis — to finish their studies. Some of the students preferred to finish their studies at one of Hidayatullah universities, i.e., Sekolah Tinggi Agama Islam Lukmanul Hakim in Surabaya. Other students who were interested in secular field of study also decided to finish their study in secular universities. The leader of Pesantren Hidayatullah, in fact, has still been searching for an ideal model of education to be developed at Pesantren Hidayatullah Balik Papan. This reality is not surprising, since the attention to formal school has just started lately.
The students of Pesantren Hidayatullah are not required to pay full tuition fees. The tuition is relatively cheap. The tuition fee for Kindergarten students for example is only 5.000 rupiahs, 10.000 rupiah for MI, 15.000 rupiahs for MTs, and 20.000 rupiahs for MA. In addition, the students are only required to pay 60.000 rupiahs for their meals and another 10.000 rupiahs for their accommodation. In total, a student of Madrasah Aliyah for example, has to pay only 90.000 rupiahs per month. Pesantren Hidayatullah Balik Papan is appointed to be an experiment model of school by Hidayatullah Central Board. Thus, in addition to its own income generated from its business, pesantren Hidayatullah Balik Papan is subsidized by the central office. This branch is also directed to become a social institution.
Pesantren Hidayatullah does not use centralized system. It means that each branch is allowed to implement its own policies including its curriculum, the amount of tuition fees, the number and levels of school programs (madrasah or school), which fit the need of local community. Moreover, each branch is also permitted to use other name beside Hidayatullah. Islamic Primary school (SDI) Lukmanul Hakim in Surabaya is a case in point. This primary school is one of favorite schools in Surabaya because of its “integrated curriculum”. With five million rupiahs for first registration fee and 350.000 rupiahs for tuition fee, this school is also considered as one of the most respected and the best schools in Surabaya. Consequently, only students of middle class Muslim families who can afford to study there.
Variants of Pesantren and Madrasah in Indonesia
The above presented mapping about modern pesantren, sekolah Islam, public madrasah, traditional pesantren, and independent pesantren, describes the wide variety of Islamic education system in Indonesia. Therefore, Islamic education system is a big umbrella under which many kinds and models of educational institutions develop. In terms of religious ideological perspective, all the educational institutions vary, ranging from those with moderate-pluralist model — thus accept the notion of democracy — to those with extremist-radical — which incline to put the priority on the tyranny of majority.
These trends cannot be separated from the interaction of the institutions with several contemporary issues such as gender equality, pluralism, democracy and civic values. On the issue of gender equality for example, Islamic educational Institutions tend to be supportive, although the support from modern and independent pesantrens is small. On the other hand, traditional pesantrens have been more familiar with gender equality issue. This may be due to the visits and partnership of several non-government Organizations with the traditional pesantrens. Fiqh Perempuan (fiqh al-nisa>’ program, a special gender program for pesantrens which was designed by P3M (Perhimpunan Pengembangan Pesantren dan Masyarakat) in 1990s is an example of gender dissemination program that is relatively successful. It is not surprising thus to see the emergence of many figures and works on gender equality. Kyai Sahal Mahfudz, the general chairman of NU and the head of pesantren in central Java; Kyai Husein Muhammad, the head of pesantren in Cirebon, and Masdar F. Mas’udi, the director of P3M are only a few examples of figures from traditional pesantren who show great interest in gender equality issues. They may be called as the spokespersons of gender equality of pesantrens.
With regard to the issue of democracy, pesantrens also have shown their support. They participate in activities which have some thing to do with the implementation of democracy, such as general election. For some of Islamic groups, democracy — through parliamentary system — is used to implement regulations with the spirit of Islam. For example, by the end of last year, 23 November 2005, the government of Tangerang district produced regulation to ban prostitution. This regulation no.8, 2005, became controversial because there are some points that are considered as discriminative to women. The regulation no 4 for example, states that women who go out and wandered around during night will be accused as prostitutes and will be arrested. And this kind of regulation is seemingly it to be also regulated in other districts.
There is big controversy among Islamic educational circle on the issue of pluralism. This controversy is provoked by a fatwa of Majelis Ulama Indonesia (MUI, or Indonesian Ulama Consultative) in 2005 which states that pluralism is prohibited in Islam. There is also similar debate on the response towards the West. The view on the West is an important issue in Islamic world, including Islam in Indonesia. There have been views among Indonesia Muslims especially pesantren, madrasah and schools that the West is identical with norms contradictory to Islam. The West is seen not only as similar to Christianity but also to moral decadence such as free-sex. The West is the competitor of Islam. The reminiscence of Crusade then interconnects with the spread of Western culture, which, in the view of some Muslims, is free of value. All of these points have created negative generalization of Muslims in pesantrens, madrasah and Sekolah Islam towards the West.
The variety of Islamic educational institutions illustrates the dynamic of Islam in Indonesia, which has been searching for its form, especially in the context of modern and contemporary development. Despite the fact that there are pesantrens which embrace the spirit of fundamentalism, it is important to note that it is just a minor phenomenon. The majority of pesantrens in Indonesia are run with the spirit of moderate Islam. However, the campaign about the idea of moderate Islam which brings the values of democracy, tolerance, pluralism and civil society is not well-promoted.
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Under MONE there are TK (Taman Kanak-kanak, or kindegarthen), SD (Sekolah Dasar, or Elementary School), SMP (Sekolah Menengah Pertama, or Junior High School), SMA (Sekolah Menengah Atas, or Senior High School), sekolah-sekolah kejuruan (vocational schools) and Perguruan Tinggi Umum (Secular Universities); under MORA there are RA (Raudhatul Athfal), MI (Madrasah Ibtidaiyah), MTs (Madrasah Tsanawiyah), MA (Madrasah Aliyah), and Islamic Higher Education.
Law No. 20 2003 on National Education System as the product of reformation era is regarded as allowing more space to Islamic education system—madrasah and pesantren— to develop than the previous law (Law No.4, 1950 which was re-enacted by the Law No. 12 1954 and law No. 2 1989).
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The Indonesian government has promoted the 9-year compulsory education for every Indonesian child since 1993/1994. It means every single Indonesian child is obliged to complete at least his or her 6-year elementary school (SD/MI) plus 3 –year secondary school (SMP/MTs).
Formerly, there was rivalry between the two institutions. Under the atmosphere of “stream- politics” MONE was considered as the representative of nationalists and Christian groups, while MORA was the representative of Muslim group. However, as the of “stream-politics” in Indonesia desreases, such grouping ends. The case of A. Malik Fajar, the former Minister of MORA who later was appointed as the Minister of MONE is an example how that such grouping does not exist anymore.
Based on data of 2002, generally speaking, about 43% of parents of madrasah students only finish their elementary education (SD); 45% are farmers; and 36% do not have stable income. Meanwhile, the following is the comparison between the fee of an individual student of madrasah and that of secular elementary school: it is 182.700 rupiah per per student/ a yesr for SD; 36.595 rupiah per student/ a year (1999-2000) for MI. For SMP level, each student has to pay 681.957 rupiah per year, while each Mts student has to spend 64.255 rupiah per year. Each SMU student has to spend 1.019.025 rupiah per year while an 133.430 rupiah has to be paid by each of MA student per year. From the above mentioned data, it can be said therefore that generally, tuition fee of madrasah is cheaper than that of secular school.
See the final report Studi Pengembangan Sub-Sektor Pendidikan Madrasah pada Proyek Peningkatan Perguruan Agama Islam Tingkat Menengah ADB Loan 1519-INO, Jakarta: PT Amythas Experts and Associates, 2003, 5.
Statistical data of Pondok Pesantren Indonesia 2002-2003, MORA and statistical data of Madrasah Indonesia 2002-2003, MORA.
According to the available data, there are about 250 pesantrens founded by Gontor alumni.
It is important to emphasize here that in 2004, MONE performed accreditation of KMI. Some of KMI were accreditated and as a result their alumni were allowed to register to state universities and they were exempted from the requirement to have state certificates. Final report on accreditation of KMI, PPIM UIN Jakarta, 2004.
 Comparative religion course is not taught in traditional pesantrens.
Change in ideas of knowledge in complex societies and the means by which such ideas are transmitted result from continual struggle among competing groups within society, each of which seeks domination or influence … Thus the forms of knowledge shaped and conveyed in education systems … must be considered in relation to the social distribution of power. Dale Eickelman (1978), “The Arts of Memory: Islamic Education and Its Social Reproduction”. Comparative Studies in Societies and History, pp. 485-516.
Indonesia has a unique education system. In addition to secular education system, where most of the students enjoy their education, there also exists Islamic education system for some of Muslim children. Both mainstreams of education system are under the supervision of two different ministries. On the one hand, the secular schools from elementary to university levels are supervised by the Ministry of National Education (MONE). On the other hand, Islamic educational institutions for all levels are under the administration of the Ministry of Religious Affairs (MORA). Given the two mainstreams of education, Indonesia is regarded by some as adopting dualistic education system.
The Islamic education system constitutes pivotal and inseparable part of national education system. Islamic educational institutions, throughout their history, have contributed significantly to the development of Indonesian education. Besides producing Muslim scholars, they have developed also Islamic tradition in Indonesia. In spite of these contributions, however, the Islamic education does not become the center in the development of national education system. The marginalization of Islamic education by the colonial administration, followed by the subsequent government of independent Indonesia, resulted in Islamic education being regarded as the second class of education system. Amid such a situation, however, the Islamic education system has gone through significant developments.
Following the collapse of Suharto regime in 1998, Islamic education system gained momentum to develop itself, as illustrated by the following indicators: First, the number of madrasah (Islamic school) and pesantren (Islamic boarding school) with modern management have grown progressively in big cities. Second, most of madrasahs and pesantrens have been recently trying to combine a balanced portion of both secular and Islamic knowledge. Third, there has emerged sekolah Islam (modern Islamic school), a new genre of Islamic education system in Indonesia. This kind of school, which constitutes the later development of madrasah and pesantren, has distinctive characteristics. As will be discussed later, sekolah Islam is under the jurisdiction of MONE, and it emphasizes practical Islamic learning.
Those developments have brought Islamic education system into a new atmosphere. Madrasah, pesantren, and sekolah Islam have not been considered as marginal education anymore. Recently, the three kinds of Islamic educational institutions become urban phenomena, and some of them being regarded “favorite schools” for Indonesian middle class Muslim community. This constitutes a new trend of Islamic education in Indonesia, which gains wide opportunity to develop following the reformation era.
As far the recent development of Islamic education system in Indonesia is concerned, there are significant questions to discuss. The questions would be addressed not only to a number of factors which have made pesantrens and madrasahs still exist and keep improving, but also to matters concerning the issues on their ways to formulate their role amid the rapid changes which occur in Indonesia. Needless to say, Islamic education institutions have now been facing more complex challenges. In addition to bear a duty to produce Muslim scholars, they have to participate also in building social, political and cultural system of new Indonesia. Consequently, it is imperative to relate Islamic education system with such modern issues as democracy, civic values, civil society, good governance, and radicalism, especially within the context of new mapping of Islamic education system in Indonesia.
Escape from Dualistic System
As has been mentioned earlier, Indonesia adopts dualistic education system (Karel Steenbrink 1986: 1-9). On the one hand, Islamic education system, one of the two important education systems in Indonesia, is rooted in the tradition of Islamic learning, which has been practiced for centuries. Historically speaking, pesantren is considered the first Islamic educational institution in Indonesia. It is within this educational institution that such naqliyah knowledge as al-Qur’an, hadis, ‘ilm al-tawhid, fiqh, history of Prophet Muhammad., and mantiq (logics) are learned traditionally. Here, memorizing texts — especially texts of al- Qur’an, sunnah, and the works of ‘ulama —was the most common method in the learning process. However, in line with the gradually growing influence of Islamic revivalism movement in the beginning of 20th century, which began in the Middle East and followed by its subsequent spread to Indonesia, madrasah system began to be introduced by Indonesian reformist Muslims. For long time before independence, both pesantren and madrasah constituted two significant institutions in the context of Indonesian Islam. After independence, as has been discussed earlier, these two institutions have not only continued to exist but also gone through rapid development and become inseparable parts of national education system.
On the other hand, secular education system is rooted in the tradition of modern education brought to Indonesia by the Dutch colonial rule, which gradually introduced schools to indigenous people, especially aristocrat groups. In addition to teach secular courses and certain skills beneficial for worldly life, the Dutch schools also promised job offers for their alumni to become colonial government employees. Furthermore, they issued certificates for the graduates to prove that they have finished certain level of education or mastered certain skill.
This historical legacy has been maintained by Indonesian’s independent government. The Islamic education system has been accommodated by giving its management authority to MORA. Meanwhile, the management of secular education system has been entrusted to MONE. It is explicitly mentioned in the Law of Education and Learning System No. 4, 1950 — which was revoked by the Law No. 12, 1954 —, that “going to religious schools accredited by the Minister of Religious Affairs would be considered as completing compulsory education,” the detailed regulation of which “will be regulated in separate law”.
Based on the above regulation, MORA has an authority to manage educational institutions from elementary to university levels, Raudlatul Athfal (RA or kindergarten), Madrasah Ibtidaiyah (MI or Elementary School ), Madrasah Tsanawiyah (MTs or Junior High School), Madrasah Aliyah (MA or Senior High School), and the State Institute of Islamic Studies (IAIN). Similarly, MONE has also a jurisdiction to supervise secular schools from Taman Kanak-kanak (TK or kindergarten), Sekolah Dasar (SD or Elementary School), Sekolah Menengah Pertama (SMP or Junior High School), Sekolah Menengah Umum (SMU or Senior High School), Sekolah Kejuruan (Vocational School), and University.
The positive impact of the dualism of education is that both national and Islamic educational systems have been competing to each other. However, the “rivalry” seemed to be unequal, since the government educational policy, until the end of the New Order, was more attentive to secular education and seemed to reduce the development of Islamic education. Accordingly, the Islamic education system, especially madrasah and pesantren, became marginal education system and considered frequently as “second class” education. This is because most of the Islamic educational institutions are privates. The majority of madrasah — around 80% of the total — are private schools, while pesantren are totally private institutions. Since they bear private status, most of the madrasahs have limited fund. Consequently, they cannot provide high quality of education.
Despite the high pressure by the New Order government, yet madrasah and pesantren remained exist. Moreover, some of them have even developed to become big institutions with good quality. A number of madrasahs and pesantrens, which will be discussed later, are not new institutions; they are old institutions, which have been struggling with all due forces to increase their quality of education. At the same time, the government policy towards education has gone through significant changes. The Law No. 20 of 2003 concerning National Education System puts madrasah and pesantren as integral parts of national education system. Regarding financial sources, the Law states that “it is a collective responsibility between central government, local authority, and society,” (article 46). It is also stated in the preceding article that “the governments (central and local) are fully responsible to finance compulsory education,” (article 36). The impact of these regulations toward madrasah is obvious, namely that Madrasah Ibtidaiyah and Madrasah Tsanawiyah in the context of their roles as the organizers of nine-year compulsory education would have the right to have full support from the government, regardless of whether they are public or private schools.
At the conceptual level, those regulations have brought Indonesia out of dualistic educational system. Nevertheless, it is important to emphasize that education system in Indonesia has now been adopting “one roof” administration system. Indeed, MORA and MONE are still two different management of education in Indonesia. However, they gradually develop closer relationship and start to establish better cooperation than ever before.
The Distinctive Characteristics of Pesantren and Madrasah
The development of Islam in Indonesia is inseparable from its Islamic education system, especially pesantren and madrasah. Both institutions have played pivotal role in determining the religiosity of Indonesian society. Not only do they function as the center for Islamic learning, but also constitute inherent part in the formation of socio-cultural and religious system of Indonesian Muslims. As far as the Indonesian Muslim intellectual discourse is concerned, both institutions have played significant role as centers for the publication of Islamic scholarly works in Indonesia.
Pesantren — with its other different names like pondok, dayah and meunasah — constitutes a model of traditional Islamic educational institution. An a>lim, or kyai, is the owner as well as the great teacher of pesantren. Most of the santri (students), both males and females, live in dormitory. Moreover, traditional Islamic knowledge, such as tafsi>r, h}adi>th, fiqh, and tas}awuf, are the main courses in pesantren. In addition, the learning process is conducted through traditional methods, without adopting grading and certification systems.
Unlike pesantren, madrasah in Indonesian context is a modern educational institution. The emergence of madrasah by the end of 19th century was a critique towards pesantren education system. As a critique, madrasah tried to offer a wider range of curriculum design, including Islamic and secular courses, besides adopting grading and certification systems.
The recent development of Islamic education in Indonesia has shown that the modern madrasah expands itself into pesantren. From the outset, the reformists Muslims have addressed their critique towards pesantren. Mahmud Yunus, for instance, a leading figure of Islamic education reform of the beginning of the 21st century criticized pesantren strongly by stating that “education system of traditional pesantren would only be able to produce one single ulama out of one hundred santris. The remaining 99 santris are merely contributors to purchase oil to prepare meals.” (Yunus, 1995: 58).
Apart from the critiques addressed by reformist Muslims, the pesantren community themselves have actually begun to realize the significance of education system reform in pesantren. By the end of 19th century, pesantren community began to develop modern education system by adopting madrasah (school) system. With this new system, learning process in pesantren is conducted through grading, curriculum, and examination systems. Moreover, it also adopted modern learning methodology. Meanwhile, texts of classical Islam in various fields of knowledge such as ‘ilm tafsir, ‘ilm h}adith, fiqh, usul al-fiqh, etc., remain studied in pesantren. Pesantren Tebuireng, Jombang, an old pesantren established in 1899 — to name an example — is among the earlier pesantrens which adopted madrasah education system. In its later development, Tebuireng also organized secular schools. Unsurprisingly thus, in Tebuireng we can find MTs and MA together with SMP and SMA. The education model developed by pesantren Tebuireng is now adopted by other pesantrens.
The expansion of modern madrasah system into pesantren continues to take place up to the present time. The data of MORA provides information to us that of the total number of pesantren (14,067), some of them operate MTs/SMP (27,8%), MI/SD (19,8%), and MA/SMA (16,7% ) (EMIS Data, MORA, 2002-2003). The impact of the expansion is that santris are now mostly going to formal education, and the number of those who are attending traditional education system in pesantren declines.
To some extent, madrasah has more advantages than secular school. First, madrasah possesses a strong root in community. This is because madrasahs are mostly established by community without any intervention of the government. People are donating their money voluntarily to support the necessities of madrasah. Second, given the voluntarily donation, financial issues in madrasah are relatively flexible in a sense that all the expenses of madrasah would depend on the real condition of the community earnings. Accordingly, a number of madrasahs in poor regions require a relatively cheap tuition fee for the students, while in few others it is more expensive. Madrasah teachers are generally doing their jobs due to religious reasons as their dedication and devotion. Teachers in a number of madrasahs of remote villages sometimes are paid with minimum salary, yet they are committed to their profession. Unsurprisingly, despite the economic crisis in Indonesia, madrasah not only continues to exist, but also becomes an alternative education for a few groups of community. Third, due to the affordable tuition fee of madrasah, it is regarded as education institution which takes side with poor people. Fourth, in terms of the participation of female students, madrasah constitutes education institution supportive to gender equity. Fifth, madrasah is an educational institution which offers pious norms to the pupils. Madrasah students are generally not getting involved in a number of delinquency attitudes, such as fighting amongst students of different schools. Sixth, Indonesian madrasah is unique compared to similar educational institution in other Muslim countries, since the former gives a balanced portion between Islamic and secular knowledge.
Map of Contemporary Islamic Education in Indonesia
According to data of MORA, there are about 14,067 pesantrens and 37,362 madrasahs throughout Indonesia. The spread rate of pesantren in Indonesia depends on the density of Muslim population of a region and their religiosity. Accordingly, such regions with big Muslim population as East Java and Central Java have a big number of madrasahs and pesantrens. Indeed, these two regions are regarded as “santri regions”.
The figure of pesantren shows an increasing trend. The following data indicates the increasing number of pesantren along the years. In 1977 the number of pesantren was about 4.195 with approximately 677.384 students. The figure went through significant boost in 1981, in which the number of pesantren reached 5.661 with 938.397 students. Another boost happened in 1985, in which the number of pesantren was 6.239 with 1.084.801 students. Furthermore, the 1997 data of MORA recorded 9.388 pesantren with 1.770.768 students. Finally, as has been mentioned above, the figure increased sharply to become 14,067 pesantrens with 3,149,374 students.
The Islamic education system in Indonesia can be divided into a number of groups. First is pesantren group, including those which carry out madrasah and those which still maintain non-grading system. This group consists of modern and traditional pesantren. Second is madrasah group consisting of both public and private madrasahs. Third is Sekolah Islam group, which is regarded as a genre of modern Islamic education system of urban Muslim community. Each group will be discussed separately with an attempt to connect them to each other.
As far as the history of Islamic education in Indonesia is concerned, modern pesantren can be regarded as new genre of pesantren. The Pesantren Darussalam of Gontor, Ponorogo, was established in 20 September 1926 by three brothers — KH. Ahmad Sahal, KH. Zainuddin Fannani, and KH. Imam Zarkasyi. This pesantren is also called pondok modern (modern pesantren), in a sense that it not only adopts madrasah system, but also teaches Arabic and English to the students intensively and practically. In daily conversation among the students within the pesantren, all santris are obliged to speak Arabic or English — they are not allowed to speak Indonesian. In addition, unlike the majority of other pesantrens, pondok modern Darussalam, Gontor includes the works of reformist Muslim thinkers in its curriculum. The works of Abduh, for instance, are placed as important subject matters in the pesantren.
The objective of Pesantren Gontor, as mentioned by Lance Castle (1966), is to produce kader Muslim (Muslim cadres) by combining the excellences of both traditional and modern pesantren education systems. In addition to secular subjects, the pesantren also urges the santris about the significance of art. Accordingly, music, sport and other extra-curricular activities are among the concerns of pesantren’s leaders. The pesantren is also intended to provide education capable of responding to Muslim challenges amid the socio-cultural life of Indonesian society which begin to enter modern world.
It is important to mention that Pesantren Gontor was established in the crucial period of Islamic development in Indonesia. Following the ethical politics implemented by the Dutch colonial administration, coupled with the establishment of international network with the center of Islamic reform in Cairo, Egypt, the Islamic education in Indonesia went through fundamental changes. This was marked by the establishment of new Islamic educational institutions, which adopt modern education system, instead of traditional education system of pesantren. The modern Islamic education institution — well-known as madrasah — then became an important part of Islamic reform movement during the early decades of 20th century.
Accordingly, in addition to introduce new system and instructional methods — ranging from adopting grading model with class division, employing text books as learning tools, to accommodating secular subjects in the curriculum — madrasah functioned also as a media for the dissemination of Islamic reform ideas. It became the basis to prepare new Muslim generations who are familiar with the spirit of modernism, an issue that at that time was an overwhelming discourse in Indonesia which started to enter modern world. Accordingly, kader Muslims to be produced by Pesantren Gontor are those who are frequently identified as “Muslim intellectuals”.
The self-definition of Pesantren Gontor as a modern pesantren, as has been mentioned, is basically aimed at attempting itself to be in contrast to traditional pesantren, which is to some extent identical to stagnancy of thought, and to ineffective as well as inefficient managerial system of education. Imam Zarkasyi, one of the founding fathers of Pesantren Gontor, is of the opinion that a modern pesantren should implement freedom of thought, effective and efficient management, and introduce santri toward modernity. Parallel to other reformist Muslim, he also invites Muslims not to be too fanatical towards a certain madhhab, since this would lead to the absence of the freedom of thought. Indeed, with regard to religious ritual practices, Pesantren Gontor is not fanatical to a certain madhhab.
As far as the relation of pesantren and modernism is concerned, the effective and efficient management are described that pesantren should adopt a good, accountable and transparent administration and accounting system. Moreover, the managerial system of modern pesantren relates to the leadership system of pesantren. In this regards, Pesantren Gontor from its inception came up with an idea of what is termed as badan wakaf, the highest body within pesantren in which discussion and decision making are conducted. Under the badan wakaf is badan pelaksana (organizing body) which is responsible of the daily affairs of the pesantren. On the other hand, the introduction of santris toward modernity is implemented by providing them with Arabic and English language skills, Boy Scout, skills, and sports — activities unusual for traditional pesantrens.
The manifestation of modern education of Pesantren Gontor can be seen from KMI (Kulliyatul Muallimin al-Islamiyah) system, i.e. a six-year secondary level of education (equal to SMP and SMU). In this respect, KMI constitutes a combination between madrasah and pesantren system. The decision to adopt this kind of education system was influenced by the school experiences of Imam Zarkasyi, from a pesantren in Solo, Thawalib of Padang Panjang in Sumatra, and Normal Islam School or also called Kulliyatul Muallimin al-Islamiyah. In addition, it is also important to note here his experience in establishing and being the director of Muhammadiyah Kweekschool in Padang Sidempuan. With all those experiences, Imam Zarkasyi then tried to combine pesantren and modern school. The KMI is a madrasah plus pesantren.
Thus, the concept of modern pesantren introduced by Imam Zarkasyi has become a blueprint and genre for the development of the next modern pesantren. Zarkasyi’s students who are now spreading all over Archipelago establish a number of similar pesantren pioneered by the kyai. During the period of 1970-80s, a couple of Gontor alumni established pesantrens in their own region. In Banten, Pesantren Daar El-Qalam was established in Gintung Balaraja; in Madura Pesantren Al-Amin was established in Prenduan Sumenep; in Central Java Pesantren Pabelan was established in Pabelan; Pesantren Modern Assalaam was established in Solo; and many others. Those pesantrens are frequently called pesantren alumni (meaning the alumni of Gontor), the second generation which have influenced the model of other modern pesantrens in their later development.
It should be noted that in the course of its development, pesantren alumni are not always implementing the standardized model of Pesantren Gontor. The Modern Pesantren Assalaam, for example, has developed a different model. The full name of this pesantren is Pondok Pesantren Modern Islam (PPMI) Assalaam, located in Pabelan, Kartasura Sukoharjo, Central Java. At the outset, Pesantren Assalaam is a branch of Pesantren Ngruki, which will be discussed exclusively in this paper. In the beginning of 1980s, when Pesantren Ngruki began to operate, the capacity of the pesantren could not accommodate all the registered students because of an overwhelming interest of parents to send their children to Pesantren Ngruki. Consequently, a decision was made to find another location to accommodate the students. A spot in Pabelan village located in Kartasura was eventually chosen as location to establish a pesantren. The new pesantren was named Assalam. As a branch of Pesantren Ngruki, Pesantren Assalam received supports from Ngruki, including teaching staff.
In due course, Pesantren Assalam, which was established in 7 August 1982, has grown rapidly in terms of the number of students, even surpassing the number of students in Pesantren Ngruki itself. Approximately 2000 students have been registered in Assalam, while Ngruki has around 1500 students. The origin of learning system in Pesantren Assalam was an MDA (Madrasah Diniyah Awaliyah) which was conducted in the evenings. In 1982, to answer the request of neighboring community, a Madrasah Tsanawiyah was established by employing dormitory system. At this juncture, a pesantren system had begun to be introduced, in which students were studying extra courses, adopted from pesantren curriculum. A quite significant measure was taken by Assalam when it received a relatively spacious wakaf land (92,845 m2) from Abdullah Marzuki, a printing entrepreneur of PT Tiga Serangkai, Solo. Now, the property of Assalam is 10.223 ha lands, with 5.6 ha of them are wakaf lands.
At its very inception, the teaching staff of Assalam was supplied from Pesantren Ngruki and some of Gontor alumni who wanted to have teaching experience. Having been able to produce its own graduates, Pesantren Assalam then began to fulfill its own staff. However, the teachers, especially those who teach sciences, are from universities in Surakarta. There are some requirements for someone to be eligible to become teaching staff at Pesantren Assalam. In addition to the readiness of teaching relevant expertise, an applicant should understand the vision and mission of the pesantren. Furthermore, morality of the applicant is the most important aspect to consider in the recruitment process.
Assalam has developed as a big pesantren in Surakarta. This achievement is not only due to its consistency in implementing the concept of modern pesantren as has been introduced by K.H. Imam Zarkasyi, but also because of its attainment in developing modification for pragmatic needs. This can be seen in terms of curriculum and grading system. Although Assalam adopts Gontor’s curriculum, but it also implements national curriculum developed by MORA and MONE. As for grading or leveling system, Assalam implements its own system, i.e. Tsanawiyah (3 years), Aliyah (3 years), SMU (3 years) and Takhassusiyah (Tsanawiyah + Aliyah + 1 year).
The above grading system is actually out of the standardized grading model developed by Gontor, which implements the KMI system, in which Tsanawiyah and Aliyah are regarded as one single level, so that there is no graduation process from grade 3 to grade 4. This system has been maintained in Gontor up to the present time. As for curriculum, Gontor still implements the curriculum developed by K.H. Imam Zarkasyi some decades ago. Meanwhile, Assalam tries to modify curriculums developed by Gontor, MORA and MONE.
What has been performed by Pesantren Assalam is obviously contradictory to the principle embraced by K.H. Imam Zarkasyi, the founder of Pesantren Gontor. According to Zarkasyi a curriculum must be standardized, and should remain unchanged if necessary. He criticized the government policy which has changed national curriculum quite often. Once an educator is convinced that the curriculum he designed can be applied well, he has to implement the curriculum. However, it is worthy noted that by the time Gontor curriculum was developed, Zarkasyi was in a situation where curriculum standardization was not a national discourse. Now, his students face an era in which curriculum standardization is necessary to maintain quality of education. The adoption of national curriculum by pesantren alumni gained momentum in 1980s. Nevertheless, the characteristic of Pesantren Gontor which emphasizes Arabic and English languages is still maintained.
Even though some of pesantren alumni have not been adopting Gontor curriculum anymore, few of them are still implementing the Gontor standardized model. Accordingly, there emerge terms: pure Gontor and non-pure Gontor. The pure Gontor is a term addressed to pesantrens which follow Gontor tradition per se. Meanwhile non-pure Gontor are those which, in addition to adopt Gontor’s curriculum, implement national and local curriculum. The emergence of terms pure Gontor and non-pure Gontor do not merely show the two variants of pondok modern, but sometimes they provoke conflict between pesantren alumni and Pesantren Gontor itself. Gontor desires pesantren alumni to imitate its model. Meanwhile, the later want to make modification and adjustment in line with community interests. Sometimes the conflict is more complex than merely a matter of curriculum and grading system, let alone pertaining social recognition and influence. Pesantren Al-Zaitun, located in Indramayu, West JAva, can be categorized as pesantren alumni. Panji Gumilang AS was the student of K.H. Imam Zarkasyi. Although Pesantren Zaitun was established few years ego, it has been going through so amazing development that provoked bad news and jealousy from other pesantren. It is informed that there is unharmonious relationship between Gontor and Zaitun, since they compete to gain influence and recognition from society.
There is another modification carried out by pesantren alumni, especially regarding Islamic ‘Aqi>dah course. Pesantren Gontor is considered not so strong enough in teaching ‘Aqidah that makes its alumni have various religious-ideologies. The Gontor alumni vary, ranging from a reformist Nurcholish Madjid, an intellectual who brought forth Islamic reform, to a conservative such as Kyai Khalil Ridwan, the leader of Pondok Pesantren Al-Husnayain. This phenomenon, according to Khalil Ridwan himself, who also the leader of BKSPP (Badan Kerjasama antar Pondok Pesantren) — a forum for Gontor alumni — is resulting from limited education of ‘Aqi>dah in Gontor so that santri experience ideological disorientation.
One thing to be kept in mind in discussing Pesantren Gontor and pesantren alumni is their contribution in establishing new foundation for the development of pesantren in Indonesia. Moreover, the modern education system of Gontor at the same time also introduced santri towards some principles of modernity. Besides various facilities, there are a number of significant aspects which can be regarded as being supportive to the implementation of modern principles, which can be taken from the courses in pesantren, especially fiqh, us}u>l al-fiqh, al-adya>n (comparative religion), and Civics. These courses are potential to socialize the values of pluralism, because they admit diversity both in the idea and practical levels. It is the recognition of the existing different opinion that in turn leads the santris to have tolerant attitude, one of the significant values of modernity.
Sekolah Islam (Islamic School) constitutes a new nomenclature of the 20th century Islamic education system in Indonesia. Similar to modern pesantren, sekolah Islam is also a critique towards madrasah. Although madrasah was initially a symbol of education reform, but in its eventual development it is considered insufficient to be regarded as Islamic educational institution. This stand point especially emerges from middle-class Muslim community, who genealogically have an attachment with Muhammadiyah, a modernist Islamic movement in Indonesia. The idea of sekolah Islam cannot be separated from the idea of Muhammadiyah, which has an objective to develop “HIS met de Qur’a>n”.
Sekolah Islam gained its momentum to develop when Indonesian community experienced what the so-called santrinization and Islamization, especially in the late 1990s. The establishment of the Association of Indonesian Muslim Intellectuals (ICMI), which obtained political support from the government, has become the second pillar of the growth of Sekolah Islam in Indonesia. Support towards sekolah Islam came from new generation of Indonesian Muslim. They are mostly alumni of secular universities, who possess good jobs — so that they can be considered as middle-class Muslim — nonetheless they have high religious awareness in line with their level of education which let them to be capable of accessing media of information about Islamic world in general. Most of them are activists of Islamic movements which use campus mosques as their basis, such as Salman mosque at ITB in Bandung, Arif Rahman Hakim mosque at UI Jakarta, Syuhada mosque in Yogyakarta etc. Their idols are Muslim intellectuals such as Imaduddin Abdurrahim, a significant figure in the process of cultivating cadres in Salman mosque, and an initiator of the establishment of ICMI. Both the education and religious experiences had made them aware of the need towards Islamic school other than madrasah. They wanted their kids to be able to enjoy good education in science and technology, but at the same time they want them to become religious people.
Sekolah Islam is under the supervision of MONE. The term ‘sekolah’ itself is employed to avoid the institution being under the supervision of MORA. Unlike other schools in general, sekolah Islam offers religious education in a significant portion, in addition to secular subjects. The difference between sekolah Islam and madrasah or pesantren lies on its emphasis to the practical aspect of religious education. On the one hand, madrasah and pesantren emphasize specific Islamic knowledge, such as ‘ilm al-h}adi>th, ‘ilm al-tafsi>r, fiqh etc. — besides such secular knowledge as mathematics, economics, natural and social sciences. On the other hand, sekolah Islam emphasizes more to the daily religious practices; it is intended to produce Muslim students who possess religious personality. In this regard, Islam is not emphasized on its cognitive aspect, rather in its practical one. Religion, hence, should be transformed to be social ethics.
Sekolah Islam enjoys modern facilities due to financial supports from urban middle-class Muslims. In sekolah Islam students may enjoy air-conditioned rooms, library, sport facilities, laboratory, computer, internet, and — of course — a well organized teaching-learning system, including extra-curricular activities. The sekolah Islam is administered by professionals, either in managerial aspect and curriculum development. Teachers, manager and administration staff are recruited through a very competitive selection process. In addition, they are mostly graduates of well-known universities in Indonesia. The competitive selection happens also in the student admission process. Consequently, the tuition fee in sekolah Islam is far more expensive that that in madrasah and secular schools in general.
Sekolah Islam Al-Azhar, or often called Al-Azhar Islamic School, is one of well-known sekolah Islam. Not only does it constitute the oldest sekolah Islam, but also it has branches in a number of big cities in Indonesia. Al-Azhar was established in 1960s by a Muhammadiyah figure, Haji Abdul Malik Karim Amrullah, well-known as Prof. Dr. Hamka, who was the leader of MUI (Majelis Ulama Indonesia). It is obvious that the establishment of al-Azhar has something to do with the idea of Muhammadiyah about “HIS met de Qur’a>n.” In its subsequent development, under the flag of Yayasan Pesantren Islam (YPI, or Islamic Boarding School Foundation), al-Azhar went through rapid growth during the last three decades. Its branches can be found not only in Jakarta and neighboring cities, but also in Cirebon and Sukabumi in West Java, Surabaya, even in Padang, West Sumatra.
Sekolah Islam Al-Azhar Jakarta is located in Kebayoran Baru, an area which is not only strategic, but also symbolizes the middle-class community. It offers different levels of education from kindergarten to senior high school. During the last five years, the Yayasan (foundation) have been developing Universitas al-Azhar Indonesia (UAI) headed by Professor Ir. Zuhal, M.Sc., the former Minister of Research and Technology during Habibie’s administration era.
During almost three decades after the establishment of Sekolah Islam al-Azhar there was practically no more Sekolah Islam to be established in Indonesia. It was only in 1990s, as has been mentioned, that a number of sekolah Islam appeared in many places, such as Sekolah Madania. This school is under the umbrella of Madania foundation, which obviously shows its relationship with Paramadina, an institute pioneered by Nurcholish Madjid. Paramadina itself is a forum of study for educated middle-class Muslims. The forum usually conducts religious discussion in a number of star-hotels in Jakarta.
Located in the outskirts of Jakarta — to be exact in Parung, West Java — Sekolah Madania manages a boarding school system. This constitutes an attempt to adopt pesantren system in organizing its education process. In line with the grand idea of Paramadina, Sekolah Madania promotes pluralism and multiculturalism. Consequently, it also enrolls non-Muslim students. Indeed, in spite of the limited number of non-Muslim students enrolled, Sekolah Madania is the first Islamic educational institution that pioneers pluralism and multiculturalism. In general, Sekolah Madania emphasizes character building of the students with a set of knowledge and skills as a response toward globalization.
While the initiators of Sekolah Al-Azhar and Paramidina came from intellectual Muslim with strong Islamic education background, the initiators of SMA Insan Cendekia, which locates in Serpong, Banten, come from educated Muslims with secular education background. The school was established in 1996, owing to the initiation of a group of scientists who worked in BPPT (Badan Pengkajian, Pengembangan, dan Penerapan Teknologi), a body under the Ministry of Research and Technology, which for a couple of decades had been led by BJ. Habibie, the former President of the Republic of Indonesia and general chairman of ICMI.
SMA Insan Cendikia aims at producing Muslim scientists who have understanding of both secular and Islamic knowledge. The following jargon says “the combination of Iptek (ilmu pengetahuan dan teknologi, or knowledge and technology) and Imtaq (iman dan taqwa, or faith and piety),” which was popularized by BJ. Habibie himself constitutes significant basis for the development of SMA Insan Cendekia. In order to develop its curriculum, the school establishes communication with ITB (Institut Teknologi Bandung), IPB (Institut Pertanian Bogor), and the BPPT itself. By adopting boarding school system, like Sekolah Madania, the institution has an advantage of having scholarship network with Germany for their alumni. Lately, after Habibie began to lose his “influence” in BPPT, the management of the school is entrusted to MORA. However, this institution still maintains, to a large extent, its identity as Sekolah Islam with aforementioned characters.
Sekolah Islam can also be found outside Java. Of the most famous among them is Sekolah Serambi Mekkah in West Sumatra. Not only does it represent a model of Sekolah Islam, but it also develops a sort of religious attitudes which can be found in the member of pengajian kampus (in-campus religious learning) which politically become the basis of the constituents of Partai Keadilan Sejahtera (PKS, or Prosperous Justice Party). The luxurious complex of Perguruan Serambi Makkah: Islamic Boarding School is located in the outskirts of Padang Panjang city. Inside the complex, students, both male and female, do their learning activities everyday. They live there twenty four hours a day. In order to be able to study maximally, the management provides services, including laundry and cookery. Furthermore, there is a kiosk inside the complex in which santri can find their daily necessities, so that they do not need to go out of complex.
Sekolah Serambi Mekkah implements a curriculum adopted from MONE for secular courses and from MORA for religious courses, with a few adjustments to be fit with pesantren life. For secular courses, the entire curriculum of MONE is taught in the school, but its proportion is only 70% of the total curriculum, while the remaining 30% is the curriculum of MORA. With such a composition, this school is able not only to teach the entire courses developed by MONE, but also to teach religious courses even in more detail, such as h}di>th, ta>ri>kh, fiqh, imla>, Arabic, al-Qur’a>n, etc. The leader of the school and the teaching staff said that they have been still seeking an ideal composition of curriculum for Serambi Makkah. By implementing boarding school system, they have more extra hours to spend with additional courses. It is during these extra hours that religious courses are educated. In this regard, the pesantren has an opportunity to teach religious courses so intensively that the nuance of pesantren can be felt quite strongly.
Similar to SMA students in general, the male students of SMA Boarding School Serambi Makkah wear uniform of short-sleeves white shirt and grey pantaloons. But the female students wear long-sleeves shirt, long skirt, and veil. Although not quite clear, attributes of neo-salafi group can be seen in the school. For example, the teachers wear baju koko (long-sleeves collarless shirt) and gamis (robe). Furthermore, male teachers let their beard grows. Title usta>dz is attributed to male teacher, while female teacher is called umi. Another attribute is separation between male and female during teaching-learning process, prayer in the mosque, and in student organization. In addition, extracurricular activities are organized in such a way to avoid direct contact and interaction between male and female students. Moreover, they employ scripturalistic approach in understanding religious teachings.
Although the institution is very popular in Padang Panjang city even in West Sumatra, mainly because of its luxurious complex, only a small percentage of the students come from the city. Most of the students are from other regions outside West Sumatra, like Palembang, Bengkulu, and Jambi. There is a balanced composition in number between male and female students. All the students live in dormitory 24 hours a day. The students are not allowed to leave the complex. In this regard, there is an agreement between the leader of Serambi Makkah and parent which states that only one family member of the students is permitted to bring the student home during semester break. The name of the appointed family member, called wali, is registered during the enrolment process. Outside the break session students are also permitted to leave the complex only if accompanied by the wali. However, they are not allowed to leave the town.
The above explanation shows a number of variants of sekolah Islam in Indonesia. Although its emergence was in the course of the rise of religious ghi>rah (enthusiasm) among Muslim society, but sekolah Islam vary in terms of religious ideology affiliation. It depends on the figures or religious group who become the initiators. Sekolah Islam Al-Azhar seems to be affiliated to Muhammadiyah’s ideology, and Madania is in line with Islamic neo-modernism. Meanwhile, Serambi Mekkah is close to the ideology of neo-salafi. The number of variants could be more than three, since Sekolah Islam has now been growing in number in big cities throughout Indonesia.
Public Madrasah: Islamic Education by State
The number of madrasah negeri (public Islamic school) is 7,227, representing only approximately 20% of the total number of madrasah throughout Indonesia. The management of public madrasah is under MORA’s responsibility, including building, other facilities, teaching staff, books, and salary. Public madrasah constitutes a medium employed by the government to disseminate national curriculum. In this respect, private madrasahs administered by foundations and socio-religious organizations are obliged to refer to public schools in terms of their curriculum arrangement. To some extent, public schools become role-models for private schools.
The 1994-1995 data of MONE records 149,646 public and private elementary schools (Sekolah Dasar or SD), which enroll 26.200.023 students. While in junior secondary level (Sekolah Menengah Pertama or SMP) the number is 19.442 with 6.392.417 students. On the other hand, MORA supervises 24.232 Islamic elementary schools (Madrasah Ibtidaiyah or MI), consisting of public (607) and private (23.625) madrasahs, both of which enroll 3.521.836 students. Meanwhile, at junior secondary level (Madrasah Tsanawiyah or MTs), the data of MORA report that there are 8.129 (582 public and 7.547 private) schools, which enroll 1.353.229 students. These above reports confirm the significance of madrasah and MORA in education, let alone the development of Islam in Indonesia.
As far as the modernization of Islamic education in Indonesia is concerned, public Islamic schools have gone through interesting development. Although still emphasizing on religious courses in certain fields, the bigger portion is given to secular courses, especially in madrasah negeri. The process began in 1970s when MORA was led by Mukti Ali (1923-2004). By then, MORA attempted intensively to make madrasah to become part of national education. An intensive negotiation between MORA and other related departments resulted in the issuance of a Joint Decree (Surat Keputusan Bersama or SKB) between Minister of Religious Affairs, Minister of Education and Culture, and Minister of Home Affairs — well-known as SKB Tiga Menteri — No. 6, 1975 and No. 037/U/1975. It is by the issuance of the Decree that the position of madrasah began to be recognized as the same level as secular schools administered by MONE. It should be noted that according to the Law No. 4, 1950, the grading system of madrasah is the same as that in secular schools. Accordingly, Madrasah Ibtidaiyah (MI), Madrasah Tsanawiyah (MTs) and Madrasah Aliyah (MA) are respectively the same levels as Sekolah Dasar (SD), Sekolah Menengah Pertama (SMP) and Sekolah Menengah Umum (SMU).
The SKB stipulates three points: (1) the graduate certificate of madrasah of all levels would be recognized equally to those of secular school; and (2) madrasah graduates are eligible to continue their study in secular schools. These two points have changed the substantial status of madrasah. Madrasah graduates have now equal opportunity with their counterpart from secular schools to be registered in secular schools, and vise versa. However, in order to be equal to secular school, madrasah should carry out point (3), i.e. that the curriculum of madrasah should consist of 70% secular courses and 30% religious courses.
It is due to the third point that a bitter critique was aroused from Muslim community. In this respect, Mukti Ali, a figure behind the SKB, became the target of the critique and even anger. As shown by Munhanif (1999: 314-315), Mukti Ali was accused to destroy Islamic education institution, which rooted in Indonesian Islam. However, the idea of SKB Tiga Menteri was eventually accepted, since it contributes significantly towards the development of madrasah. By the SKB, MORA started to rearrange the madrasah, such as transforming a number of madrasah to belong officially to MORA, or to become public madrasah. Although the number of public madrasah is still limited and far less than that of secular school, but the issuance of the SKB shows that MORA have made a significant political measures. From then on, a number of madrasahs have received subsidy, a financial support from the government that previously has only been enjoyed by secular school under MONE.
The integration process of madrasah into national education system gained momentum in 1989 with the issuance of Education Law No. 2 of 1989, concerning National Education System (UUSPN). The issuance of the Law was monumental for the development of madrasah. Through this Law, the position of madrasah and Islamic educational institutions in general was reaffirmed as inherent part of national education system. Accordingly, madrasah bears the responsibility to participate in completing the nine-year compulsory education. In addition, the Law asserts that religion becomes compulsory course that should be taught in schools from elementary to university levels.
Those developments have made public madrasah regarded as great achievement by MORA, but a few Muslim groups are not satisfied with them. For MORA, public madrasah, by adopting the combination of both secular and religious courses, is an ideal form of Islamic educational institution in Indonesia. The modernization of Muslim community, especially in rural areas, would only be possible through public madrasah. Moreover, the institution plays significant role in defending and maintaining Islamic values among Muslim community. However, pesantren community regards public madrasah as being too secular, making it incapable of producing Muslim cadres, let alone ulama>’. Moreover, other Muslim group is of an opinion that public madrasah is not able to fulfill their aspiration to produce Muslims who master Iptek and Imtaq at the same time.
Apart from the critiques, public madrasah has played pivotal role in the development of madrasah in Indonesia. It is through public madrasah that MORA is able to execute national curriculum standardization, so that the quality assurance of education in madrasah can be implemented. In addition, public madrasah is also a medium for the government to communicate and disseminate national educational policies. Moreover, it becomes the role-model of the modernization of madrasah in Indonesia. By cluster system approach, public madrasahs have become references for private madrasahs in managing their education programs.
Maintaining Traditional Learning Method: Pesantrens within NU Traditions
As has been mentioned above, there are some traditional pesantrens, especially those developed within NU tradition, which adopt modern educational system although they do not have any organizational ties with NU. In maintaining their traditional educational system, some pesantrens in Java have initiated to adopt the madrasah system. In this respect, pesantren Tebuireng in Jombang, East Java, is a case in point. Founded by Kyai Hasyim Asy’ari (1871-1947), a well known Javanese ulama of the 20th century, the pesantren becomes a model for other pesantrens as well as the ulamas in Java. Indeed, the majority of well-known and respected pesantrens in Java are founded by the pupils of Kyai Hasyim Asy’ari. It is not surprising then to see that those pesantrens follow Tebuireng model of teaching and learning. This phenomenon is understandable, since Hasyim Asy’ari was considered a Hadratus Syaikh (the prime ulama), who possessed a central role in the tradition of ulama scholarship in Java especially with the foundation of Nahdlatul Ulama in 1926.
Tebuireng, however, is not the only pesantren which has reformed its educational system. Pesantren Krapyak in Yogyakarta is another pesantren which has done similar attempt to reform its educational system. Kyai Ali Maksum (1915-1989), the head of pesantren Krapyak, was known as a modernist ulama. He also integrated madrasah system into pesantren which later became the main teaching and learning activities in pesantren. In addition, it is important to mention the other two pesantrens which have conducted educational reform by adopting madrasah system into pesantren, and by including non-Islamic subjects into pesantren curriculum. The two pesantrens under discussion are Pesantren Tambak Beras lead by Kyai Hasbullah and Pesantren Rejoso in Jombang headed by Kyai Tamim, both of which are located in East Java.
Following socio-religious changes, modernization and Islamic reform, Islamic education reform has become common discourse during the 20th century Islam in Indonesia. The ulama of pesantrens, who are known as the preservers of traditions, have started to change the traditional system of education and adopted the modern system, i.e., madrasah. In accordance with that shift, the goal of education itself changed. In this respect, Pesantren Tebuireng is a case in point. Instead of merely educating the future ‘ulamas, the goal of teaching and learning in Pesantren Tebuireng, as stated by Zamakhsyari Dhofier, is directed towards wider aims, namely to educate and to prepare the students of the pesantren to become ulama-intellectual (ulama who master non-Islamic knowledge) and intellectual-ulama (intellectuals in non-Islamic knowledge who master Islamic knowledge). This goal is in line with that of modernist Muslims whose aim of education is also to create “intellectual Muslims.”
In spite of differences of religious understanding between the ulama of pesantren and the reformists, yet they agree on one thing, i.e., the goal of educational system. Both groups of traditionalists and modernists pay serious attention to the reformation of Islamic educational system. In this context, both of them made similar efforts to create modern Muslims. Accordingly, madrasah has become a more widely acceptable system within Indonesian Muslims which is, later on, developed to be an established model within Islamic educational system in Indonesia. Furthermore, it is through these educational institutions that the socio-religious Islamic organizations in Indonesia have made their significant contribution to the Indonesian communities.
As has been mentioned above, a big number of traditional pesantrens are located found in Java, especially East and Central Java, and only a few are located outside Java. However, a number of traditional pesantrens are also to be found outside Java. The followings are the description of traditional pesantrens under discussion, such as pesantren Tarbiyah Islamiyah in West Sumatera, pesantren Assyadiyah in South Sulawesi and pesantren Nahdlatul Wathan (NW) in West Nusa Tenggara.
Pesantren Tarbiyah Islamiyah, West Sumatera
Pesantren Tarbiyah Islamiyah, located in Ampek Angkek, Candung, Bukit Tinggi, was established in 1908 (1307 H) by Angke Mudo Muhammad Rasul. At its very inception, the pesantren was called Surau Tangah or also named as Surau Baru Candung. Similar to other surau at that time, Surau Tangah functioned as the center for the development of Islamic teachings. The teaching and learning method employed by the surau was halaqah, a teaching method in which all the students of all ages learn directly from the kyai, since grading (leveling) system was not recognized. Indeed, Syeikh Sulaiman Arrasuli (1978-1970) — the son of Angku Mudo Muhammad Rasul and the second leader — was known as one of pesantren leaders who opposed and the criticized grading system. On May 5th 1928, with the suggestion of Syeikh Muhammad Abas and Sultan Dt Rajo Sampono, Syeikh Sulaiman Arrasuli finally decided to change halaqah system in pesantren Candung into madrasah system, a system which has been adopted by the younger generations. This madrasah is the seed of the current Tarbiyah Islamiyyah.
Having been going through long process, Tarbiyah Islamiyah applied full grading system in the early 1980s. Furthermore, it has applied the curriculum of the Ministry of Religious Affaires for MTsN and MAN since 1984. However, the new adopted curriculum was regarded too simple for the salafiyah (traditional) pesantren of Candung. Thus, the nomenclature of religious subjects is developed and deepened. The text books published by the Ministry of Religious Affaires on religious subjects are not used. Instead, the classical Arabic texts or called as “kitab kuning” are employed as textbooks in the teaching and learning in the pesantren. This may be seen as a strategy of pesantren communities to maintain their identities in the midst of globalization era.
In due course, Tarbiyah Islamiyah became more opened to the outsiders. The Tarbiyah then developed cooperation with various parties such as government and international funding institutions. In 1981/1982 the Tarbiyah developed cooperation with the Ministry of Religious Affairs to hold training for motivation and Classical Arabic textbooks teaching and to add their library collections. In 1982/1983 the Tarbiyah received other supports from MORA such as carpenter tools, sewing machines, welding tools and workshops to increase the skill of the students. Furthermore, the Tarbiyah also received other fund from Islamic Development Bank (IDB) through the Ministry of Religious Affairs.
Although frequently affirming themselves as politically neutral, it is beyond doubt that the political inclination of pesantrens under Persatuan Tarbiyah Islamiyah is twofold. It is said that when they are called as “Persatuan Tarbiyah Islamiyah”, it means that they are affiliated to Partai Persatuan Pembangunan (PPP, or Development Union Party), while those affiliated to GOLKAR (functional group) are called as “Tarbiyah Islamiyah”. It is important to mention, however, that both parties in fact have tried to attract the same constituents i.e., the students and the heads of pesantrens under Persatuan Tarbiyah Islamiyah (PERTI) organization. The alumni of pesantren Perti are spread out all over Indonesia, even in Malaysia, and they still maintain good communication and relationship among themselves.
Pesantren As’adiyah, South Sulawesi
The great mosque of Pesantren As’adiyah stands elegantly in Sengkang city, Wajo, South Sulawesi. The pesantren was founded in 1930 by K.H. Muhammad As’ad and located about 200 km from the central city of Makassar. It is interesting to note here that before the establishment of pesantren As’adiyah, most of the influential Islamic educational institutions in Sengkang were founded by Muhammadiyah and, hence, adopted modernist values. Similar to other Muhammadiyah schools, those educational institutions in Wajo were based on the concept of “HIS met de Qur’a>n”.
Muhammadiyah began to have influence in South Sulawesi in 1926, pioneered by H. Mansyur al Yamani, an Arab entrepreneur who once stayed in Yogyakarta. Two years later, in 1928, the influence of Muhammadiyah reached Wajo, and from then on its influence has become wider. It was one year later, in 1929, that the first Muhammadiyah conference in South Sulawesi was held in Sengkang, Wajo. During the conference, the strategy of education of Muhammadiyah schools was formulated and it gained momentum to be more developed in Sengkang, Wajo.
Muhammadiyah paid special attention to religious attitudes of Wajo community at that time. As an organization with modern and reformist characteristics, Muhammadiyah viewed that there were some religious attitudes of Wajo community that may be categorized as bid‘ah and khurafat, the attitudes that follow the beliefs of their ancestors such as maintaining sangkang, a place to worship the soul of their ancestors, or adongkokeng tradition, a belief that the soul of their ancestors may re-enacted to the kids which cause them sick. In facing this kind of religious phenomenon, Muhammadiyah inclined to show non-compromistic attitudes and tried to eliminate those attitudes of the community. That was exactly what happened in Wajo.
The rapid development of Muhammadiyah became a factor for the revival of the traditional ulamas. They tried very hard to establish traditional Islamic educational institutions. In this context, the role of K.H. Muhammad As’ad becomes significant. With the suggestions from several ulamas in Wajo who visited him in Makkah when they performed hajj (pilgrimage), K.H. Muhammad As’ad, who stayed and studied in Makkah at that time, then established an Islamic traditional educational institution in 1930 as the pioneer for the foundation of pesantren As’adiyah.
The efforts of K.H. Muhammad As’ad to initiate the establishment of traditional pesantren received supports from Matoa Wajo and his relatives who viewed from the beginning that the educational institutions developed by Muhammadiyah did not accommodate local cultures. According to the King of Wajo, the efforts of K.H. Muhammad As’ad will create a balance to what Muhammadiyah had done in the community. It was expected that the traditional educational institutions will be more accommodative to the local traditions of the community.
In May 1930, Madrasatul Arabiyatul Islamiyyah (MAI) was founded. From the outset, MAI applied pesantren model which fully taught tafsir (Qur’a>nic Exegesis), tauhid (Islamic Theology), fiqh (Islamic Law), akhlaq (Ethics), tasawuf (Islamic Mysticism) and Arabic language. The method of teaching and learning is called mangaji tudang (halaqah system), in which a religious teacher holds learning gathering at his home attended by some people who came from Sengkang as well as other villages in Wajo.
In 1931, MAI initiated to have formal educational system which was divided into two levels, i.e. Madrasah Ibtidaiyah and Madrasah Tsanawiyah. Additionally, there was special class for cadres of ulama signed up by senior students who were considered to be potential to be the head of pesantrens. The curriculum of the pesantren was developed by K.H Muhammad As’ad himself and consists of 100% religious subjects. The percentage of religious subject adopted by the pesantren may be seen from two perspectives; first, the religious situation of the community in Sengkang forced him to teach religious subjects as much as possible; second, the increasing tension between religious schools founded by religious figures and public schools held by the colonial government which resulted in the rejection of religious schools to include non-religious subjects into their curriculum. This measure was taken to avoid colonial-bias.
The shift in curriculum and orientation of MAI began to take place in 1953, a year after K.H. Muhammad As’ad passed away. With the suggestion of the new head of the pesantren, K.H. Daud Ismail, MAI was altered into Pesantren As’adiyah. It is clear that the new name was taken from the name of K.H. Muhammad As’ad, to honor him as the founder of that Islamic institution.
It was under the leadership of K.H. Daud Ismail that the modernization of pesantren began. Pesantren was not managed as a private institution owned by kyai. Instead, it was administered by a yayasan (foundation), which has formulated its regulations to run the pesantren and to be regularly evaluated in the conferences. Pesantren As’adiyah is distinctive from other similar institutions for its organizational structure, which consists of Central Board (PB), the highest rank in the structure of the pesantren. It is under the Board that As’adiyah foundation organizes its learning mechanism either in schools, madrasahs or pesantrens.
The second generation of pesantren As’adiyah realized that they have to face challenges different from those of the first generation of K.H. Muhammad As’ad. Thus, in 1956 pesantren As’adiyah opened another new model of school, i.e., Madrasah Menengah Pertama (MMP, or Islamic Junior High School) and Madrasah Menengah Atas (MMA, or Islamic Senior High School) in 1959. The two schools are different from the existing schools such as Madrasah Ibtidaiyah and Madrasah Tsanawiyah. The new model of schools adopted 60% of religious subjects and 40% of non-religious subjects such as Indonesian language, English, economics, geography, math, natural sciences etc.
The new trend to develop the more opened model of pesantren, which accommodates non-religious knowledge has been continuing for generations. Under the leadership of K.H.M. Yunus Martan (1961-1986), for example, the pesantren offered another new program, i.e., six-year training program for religious teachers. Furthermore, it was during this period that pesantren As’adiyah opened other educational institutions such as kindergarten, primary school and As’adiyah Islamic University.
Pesantren As’adiyah, therefore, may be viewed as representative of pesantren salaf (traditional pesantren) which is accommodative to the new changes and development surrounding it. One may say that the following proverb” almuhafazah ‘ala al qadim al salih wa al akh zu bi al jadid al aslah” (Preserving the good existing order and adopting the new one which is better) is an appropriate expression to describe the characteristics and inclinations of Pesantren As’adiyah.
Continue Here.. New Trend of Islamic Education in Indonesia [Part II]
Pendidikan Islam pada hakekatnya merupakan aktivitas pendidikan yang dilakukan untuk mengejawantahkan nilai-nilai Islam. Pendidikan Islam juga dipahami sebagai sistem pendidikan yang dikembangkan dari dan disemangati atau dijiwai oleh ajaran dan nilai-nilai Islam. Subtansi dari pendidikan Islam adalah nilai-nilai Islam, yakni bagaimana nilai-nilai Islam menjadi dasar sistem dan aktivitas pendidikan dan pada saat yang bersamaan nilai-nilai itu terejawantahkan dalam keseluruhan aktivitas pendidikan itu.
Islam sebagai pandangan hidup yang mendasarkan nilai-nilai ilahiyah baik yang termuat dalam al-Qur’an maupun Sunnah Rasul, diyakini memiliki kebenaran mutlak yang bersifat transenden, universal dan eternal (abadi). Dari sekian banyak nilai yang terkandung dalam sumber ajaran Islam ini, nilai yang fundamental adalah nilai tauhid. Ismail Raji al-Rafuqi, menformulasikan bahwa kerangka Islam berarti memuat teori-teori, metode, prinsip dan tujuan tunduk pada esensi Islam yaitu Tauhid. Dengan demikian pendidikan Islam dalam bentuk sistem dan aktivitas penyelenggarannya harus mengacu pada nilai fundamental tersebut.
Nilai-nilai tersebut memberikan arah dan tujuan dalam proses pendidikan dan memberikan motivasi dalam aktivitas pendidikan. konsepsi tujuan pendidikan yang mendasarkan pada nilai Tauhid menurut an-Nahlawi disebut ”ahdafur Rabbani”, yakni tujuan yang bersifat ketuhanan yang seharunya menjadi dasar dalam kerangka berfikir, bertindak dan pandangan hidup dalam sistem dan aktivitas pendidikan.
Menurut Omar Muhammad Attoumy Asy Syaebani, tujuan pendidikan harus memenuhi syarat: (a) sifat yang bercorak ahlak dan agama, (b) menyeluruh, mencakup segala aspek pribadi pelajar dan aspek perkembangan dalam masyarakat, (c) sifat keseimbangan, (d) sifat realistik dan dapat dilaksanakan.
Sejalan dengan syarat tujuan pendidikan di atas, al-Abrasyi menyatakan bahwa tujuan pendidikan adalah mempersiapkan manusia supaya hidup dengan sempurnah dan bahagia, mencintai tanah air, tegap jasmaninya, sempurna budi pekertinya, teratur pikirannya, halus perasaannya, mahir dalam pekerjaannya, manis tutur katanya baik dengan lisan atau tulisan.
Makna dan tujuan pendidikan menurut Musthafa al-Maraghy terkandung dalam istilah al-tarbiyah, yang meliputi tarbiyat khalqiyat, yaitu penciptaan, pembinaan dan pengembangan jasmani peserta didik agar dapat dijadikan sarana bagi pengembangan jiwanya, tarbiyat diniyat tahzibiyat, yaitu pembinaan jiwa manusia dan kesempurnaannya melalui petunjuk wahyu ilahi. Dengan demikian pendidikan yang terkandung dalam al-tarbiyah mencakup berbagai kebutuhan manusia, baik kebutuhan dunia akherat, serta kebutuhan terhadap kelestarian diri sendiri, sesamanya, alam lingkungan dan relasinya dengan Tuhan.
Pengertian kurikulum pendidikan agama Islam sebenarnya tidak jauh berbeda dengan kurikulum secara umum, perbedaan hanya terletak pada sumber pelajarannya saja. Sebagaimana yang diutarakan oleh Abdul Majid dalam bukunya Pembelajaran Agama islam Berbasis Kompetensi, mengatakan bahwa kurikulum Pendidikan Agama Islam adalah rumusan tentang tujuan, materi, metode dan evaluasi pendidikan dan evaluasi pendidikan yang bersumber pada ajaran agama Islam.
Pendidikan Agama Islam adalah upaya sadar dan terencana dalam menyiapkan peserta didik untuk mcengenal, memahami, menghayati, hingga mengimani ajaran Islam, dibarengi dengan tuntunan untuk menghormati penganut agama lain dalam hubungannya dengan kerukunan antar umat beragama hingga terwujud kesatuan dan persatuan bangsa.
Menurut Zakiyah Daradjat pendidikan agama Islam adalah suatu usaha untuk membina dan mengasuh peserta didik agar senantiasa dapat memahami ajaran Islam secara menyeluruh.
Sedangkan Muhaimin mengemukakan bahwa kurikulum Pendidikan Agama Islam (PAI) dapat diartikan sebagai (1) kegiatan menghasilakan kurikulum PAI; atau (2) proses yang mengaitkan komponen dengan yang lainnya untuk menghasilkan kurikulum PAI yang lebih baik; dan/atau (3) kegiatan penyusunan (desain), pelaksanaan, penilaian dan penyempurnaan kurikulum PAI.
M. Asrori Ardiansyah, M.Pd
Pendidik di Malang
www.kabar-pendidikan.blogspot.com, www.arminaperdana.blogspot.com, http://grosirlaptop.blogspot.com
Islamic Education in Indonesia has had a long history in the archipelago. Although unsytematic, it has in its various iterations, served Muslims communities since the early coming of Islam to the area. According to Saefuddin, Islamic education in Indonesia started from a forum of Islamic instructions (pengajian) held by the carrier and preacher of Islam in citizens’ houses mosques. The forum was then consolidated into pesantren and madrasah (Saefuddin, 1995: 237). The Pillars of Islamic Education Seen from its stakeholders, at least five pillars of Islamic education in Indonesia can be listed: Pesantren, Madrasah, Islamic schools under Muslim organizations, Islamic Integrated Schools, and Majelis Taklim . Before the twentieth century, pesantren were the only formal institutions of Islamic education in the archipelago, mainly on Java Island (Lukens-Bull, 2004: 299).
Pesantren were identified as an Islamic education system whose sole focus was on Islamic curricula. In pesantren santri (students) from various backgrounds studied Islamic values and teachings from the Kyai (teacher). Like the pesantren, madrasah were also know for their core focus on center for the instruction of Islamic teaching and Arabic language. But unlike the pesantren, where the Kyai is the one who has the authority to teach students and determine the curricula, madrasah were usually managed by a group of Muslims, and one who delivered Islamic teaching, called guru or Ustadz. “Secular sciences” such as natural sciences, math, and other social and humanistic sciences were not taught in Indonesia until the Dutch government introduced school on the basis of the “Western educational system.”
Responding to the fact that only a few native Indonesians were able to study in Dutch schools, a number of nationalist and Muslim organizations endeavoured to transfer and combine the Dutch educational system with an Islamic and cultural-based one. From a Javanese-nationalist front, Ki Hajar Dewantara established Taman Siswa, and from Islamic groups, K.H. Ahmad Dahlan founded Muhammadiyah, by which the classical system was introduced to the Muslim community. After the independence of Indonesia, the Dutch system was adopted by the Ministry of Education and Culture (MOEC), currently Ministry of National Education (MONE), under a system called public schools, and the madrasah was developed by the Ministry of Religious Affairs (MORA). MONE administers public education from the six years of primary education called SD, the three years of junior secondary called SMP, the three years of senior secondary known as SMU, to the higher education such as Universities and Polytechnical schools MORA administers Madrasah from primary to higher MI (six years elementary), MTs (three years junior secondary), MA (three years senior secondary), and STAIN/IAIN/UIN (four to five year universities). The difference between the public schools and the madrasah in terms of Islamic education is that the former provide no less more? than 2 hours of religious (Islamic) education per week, whereas the latter trying to combine both religious and secular sciences, provide their students almost 30% Islamic teaching and 70% “secular” sciences. Some programs even provide 70% Islamic teaching and 30% secular sciences. Unlike the pesantren, public schools, and the madrasah, Islamic schools run by Muslim organizations, such as Muhammadiyah, Al Ma’arif of Nahdhatul Ulama, PIRI of Ahmadiyah, and many others, are private schools based on the “secular system” of the public schools only with more elements of Islamic teachings. The quantity and quality of their Islamic educations is however still less than in pesantren and madrasah.
Such schools also refer to MONE policy and administration. In addition, the schools do not try to integrate Islamic values in their secular sciences as in the madrasah. As noted by Azra (1999), MORA tried to gather Muslim experts in order to develop curricula that integrated Islamic values in all secular sciences. The policy was implemented as part of a strategy to internalize Islamic values in madrasah, so Islamic teaching would function not only as a symbol as in many Islamic Schools. The coming of reformation in 1998 unlocked the public aspiration of Muslim groups that previously walked under ground in the New Order era.
A number of young Muslims who were dissatisfied with both the schools under MONE and MORA as well as the pesantren, most of them Tarbiyah activists, introduced Islamic integrated schools, called TKIT, SDIT, SMPIT, and SMAIT. These schools combine Islamic and secular systems in a more systematic way. For example, the schools reject Darwin’s theory of evolution and prefer creationism in their Biology classrooms. Unlike previous schools that are private and public, all Islamic integrated schools are private and introduce a full-day school system that meets the needs of new urban Muslim societies who are overwhelmed by their daily business and work.
Although the tuition fee of the these schools is more expensive than the others, for the new urban Muslims, sending their children to a full-day Islamic Integrated school makes them feel safe from the huge mass of information and rumors of juvenile delinquencies found in many regular schools. In addition to the formal Islamic education run by the pesantren, the madrasah, and other Islamic schools, there is another pillar of Islamic education which is community-based and more informal than the other. This kind of Islamic educations called Majelis Ta’lim. Majelis Ta’lim differs from previous Islamic education systems that focus on student cohorts; the audience and participants of the Majlis Ta’lim are mostly women from mother cohorts.
Religious Diversity in Indonesia Indonesia is an archipelago known for its cultural and social diversity. With more than 200,000 islands, fewer than 30% of which are inhabited, and more than 300 different ethnicities all with their own cultural practices and traditions, Indonesia is the world’s largest archipelago and the fourth most populated nation. Politically, although Indonesia is neither a secular nor a theocratic state, the government of the state has a significant power to control religious life through its apparatus. The latest Indonesian census shows that among its 220 million people, 88 percent are Muslim.
Other religious groups include Protestants 5%, Roman Catholics 3%, Hindus 2%, Buddhists 1%, and others 1% (Boyle and Sheen, 2001: 200-208). Although Muslims are the majority, their distribution is not evenly spread. Some regions, mainly in eastern Indonesia, have almost equal numbers of Christians and Muslims, such as in Maluku, Manado, and many others. Some parts even have Christian majorities, such as in Nusa Tenggara Timur and Papua, and, of course, the island of Bali which is over 90% Hindu. Responses of Islamic Education to the Religious Diversity in Indonesia Theologically, non Muslims were seen as the “other” by Muslims, based on the classical construction of Islamic teaching.
The construction of fiqh and ilmu kalam on non-Muslims, for example, denotes them as musyrik or kafir. The problem is how Muslim, should deal with the “other” in their every day lives. Should Muslims regard non-Muslims as their enemy to be defeated or as those who should be converted to Islam? The Qur’an actually appreciates religious diversity on earth. Some Qur’anic verses clearly describe that Allah SWT does not intend to create people in a single identity, as stated in QS 10: 99 and 2: 256 below: And if thy Lord had pleased, all those who are in earth would have believed, all of them. Wilt thou then force men till they are believers? There is no compulsion in religion–the right way is indeed clearly distinc from error. So whoever disbelieves in the devil and believes in Allah, he indeed lays hold on the firmest handle which shall never break. And Allah is hearing knowing.
The Qur’an even recognizes religious pluralism, as stated in QS 2: 62 Surely those who believe, and those who are Jews, and the Christians, and the Sabians, whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day and does good, they have their reward with their Lord, and there is no fear for them, nor shall they grieve. Although the Qur’an definitely describes the availability of religious pluralism, different interpretations of the verses appear among various Muslim groups, including Islamic education stake holders. A number of Muslim groups appreciates the verses and develops an inclusive, even pluralist, point of view; but some other groups interpret the verses differently and develop exclusive perspectives.
Different interpretations would then lead them to have distinct points view and attitudes toward non- Muslims and the reality of religious diversity. Briefly speaking, considering the fact that Indonesia is full of diversity, religious and otherwise, each pillar of Islamic education has come up with different responses. Some of them definitely understand that diversity is part of sunnatullah, so they develop educational systems curricula and content to teach their students in order to be ready to live together in a plural society. Such an opinion mostly holds true for madrasah under the auspices of MORA and the pesantrens. For example, one of the subject being studied in the religious program of Madrasah Aliyah is Comparative Religion.
In the State Institutes of Islamic Studies as well as State Islamic University, Comparative Religion is even a Department under the faculty of Ushuluddin. Some pesantren have also developed programs in interreligious dialogue and their Kyai actively engage in interfaith institutions as in Pesantren Nurul Ummahat Kota Gede Yogyakarta. In addition, a number of pesantren alumni are not hesitant to become involved in Non-Governmental Organizations working on interfaith activities and promoting toleration among religions. It should be noted, however, that not all pesantren have developed an inclusive point of view toward non-Muslims. Some of them, mainly the pesantren under the influences of the Wahhabis of Saudi Arabia and connected to ideological Salafis, have tended to develop exclusive perspectives.
How about Islamic education in private and public schools under MONE? Due to their limited hours for Islamic education in public schools, only 2 hours a week, it is difficult to classify which perspective developed in the schools. Nevertheless, because the curricula developed in the school is “controlled” by the state, it is easy to assume that Islamic education in public schools promotes national unity and appreciates differences. In addition, the mixed gender and religious background of student in every class is a good media to teach students how to behave with each other regardless of their religious background. The schools, then, can be plural landscapes providing students good opportunities to deal with people from various religious backgrounds. The climate of religious diversity is difficult to find in Islamic Schools administrated by certain Muslim organizations, especially those that admit and educate only Muslim students, such as Islamic Integrated Schools.
Facing the Future: What should Islamic Education do in the era of religious diversity? Faced with the era of multiculturalism and the problem of religious diversity, Islamic education should: first, introduce contemporary issues that the Muslim community deals with every day in addition to the explanation of classical Islamic teaching. The students of Islamic education, therefore, should also be introduced to a social and humanistic approach, such as psychology, sociology, and anthropology. Psychological knowledge would make students empathetic to other people’s problems. Sociological perspectives could lead students to be sympathetic toward minority groups. And anthropological approaches could introduce students to the issue of interaction between culture and religion.
Second, the goal of Islamic teaching should be directed to problem solving on the basis of human-to-human relations. In this light, the historical dimension of Islamic teaching should be emphasized to students instead of merely the doctrinal one. Emphasizing the historical dimension of Islamic teaching would lead Muslim students to appreciate the differences, noting that Islam lives among various religions and beliefs. In this regard, it is imperative to emphasize the importance of religious sensibility to the students. Amidst the high tension of discourse on the prophet caricature as well as the Pope’s controversial speech as, the students of Islamic education should able to respond to the issues wisely and strategically.
Instead of angery judging western society as barbaric, telling the publishers or the editor of the news/paper that they have humiliated Muslims would have been an effective strategy. In the case of the Pope’s speech, in my opinion, giving him forgiveness would strengthen the impression that Islam is religion of peace. After massive Muslim protests around the world to the publication of the Prophet caricatures by the Jlllands Posten of Denmark and the Pope’s refusal to ask for forgiveness for his blunder, it’s clear that the lack of “feeling of other people” or religious sensibility is not only the problem of Islamic education and community but also the problem of people around the world.
Third, Islamic teaching that was previously dominated by deductive narration, which is more textual, should be contextualized with what Muslim communities face in the contemporary world in terms of society, politic, economy, culture, and so forth. Islamic education, therefore, should develop the possibility of integration and interconnection among the tradition of text (Nash), science, and philosophy.
Fourth, Islamic education that is currently criticized for its emphasis on the cognitive dimension should also focus on other aspects of students affective and psychomotor dimensions. This means that Islamic education should not only strive to increase students intelligence but should drive them to be spiritually and morally healthy. In the context of religious diversity and other multicultural aspects, Islamic education should not only dedicate its vision and mission to spread “individual morality” but also “public morality”. The latter type of morality seems to be more important considering that it is connected to the structural reality of social, economic, cultural, and political life.
In sum, Islamic education should actively engage in contemporary issues, should deal with social and humanistic sciences, should be able to contextualize its normative teaching, should be directed to problem-solving on the basis of mutual human relationships, and should broaden its vision to spread public morality.
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Ali, Mualana Muhammad. The Holy Qur’an with English Translation and Commentary. Ohio: Ahmadiyya Anjuman Isha’at Islam Lahore Inc., 2002.
Azra, Azumardi. “The Rise of Muslim Elite Schools: A New Pattern of “Santrinization” in Indonesia”, Al Jami’ah. Journal of Islamic Studies, No: 64/XII/1999.
Boyle, Kevin, and Juliet Sheen, (eds.). Freedom of Religious Belief: A Word Report. London & New York: Routledge, 2001.
Chrizin, Muhammad, et.al. Modul Pengembangan Pesantren untuk Tokoh Masyarakat. Yogyakarta: Peskadiabuma, Program pasca sarjana UIN Sunan Kalijaga, 2006).
Lukens-Bull, Ronald. ”Pendidikan Pesantren dan Harmoni Agama: Latar Belakang, Visi dan Misi.” in Alef Theria Wasim, et. Al. (eds.). Harmoni Kehidupan Beragama: Problem, Praktik & Pendidikan. Yogyakarta: Oasis Publisher, 2005.
Saifuddin, A.M. ”Konsep Pendidikan Agama: Sebuah Pendekatan Integratif Inovatif,” in Endang Basri Ananda, 70 Tahun Prof DR. H.M. Rasyidi. (Jakarta: Harian Umum Pelita, 1985).
A paper presented in the Open Forum held by USINDO, Washington, November, 21, 2006.
Professor of Islamic Studies in The State Islamic University of Sunan Kalijaga, Yogyakarta, Indonesia
Teaching Morality: Javanese Islamic Education in a Globalizing Era
As Indonesia strives to overcome its position as a periphery nation, its populations are faced with increasing challenges to traditional identity and morality. With economic development comes a great exposure to global consumer culture. This paper examines how traditionalist Muslims in Java, Indonesia, are facing the perceived impact of globalization through educational efforts and the re-invention of tradition. A key institution in this process is the Islamic boarding school called pesantren. Pesantren curriculum has become a focal point in the strategy of the traditionalist community to encounter globalization. By shaping curriculum, pesantren leaders are trying to mold future generations of Indonesian leaders and citizens. The goal is to create a society that is fully modern, fully globalized, fully Indonesian, and fully Islamic, one student at a time. In this process, both modernity and tradition are re-invented in such a way that one cannot exist without the other.
In July 1995, Yusuf Hashim, the eldest surviving son of Haidratus Syahk Hashim Ashari told me why he had led Tebu Ireng, the Islamic boarding “seminary” (J, I: pesantren) founded by his father, toward a more secular  curriculum. He likened these changes to those found in public transportation; the Ford Rose was replaced by the Mitsubishi Colt, which in turn was replaced by a Suzuki mini-van. Each was more competitive than its predecessor both in purchase price and in operation costs. He argued that non-competitive pesantren will likewise be driven out of the market; parents will not send their children to schools that do not help them obtain employment in an increasingly technologically and scientifically based society.
While acknowledging the need for pesantren to be competitive, Yusuf Hashim recounted the story of Harvard University as a cautionary tale. As he explains, Harvard began as a religious institution, but has since lost its religious character. He warns that such must not be allowed to happen with pesantren. While the schools add new subjects and adopt new forms of education, their religious character and that of their graduates must not be sacrificed. Yusuf Hashim’s concern with offering an education that is competitive in a modernizing and globalizing society while maintaining a solid religious base is mirrored in many of the 1,800 pesantren found in East Java and the other 2,200 found elsewhere in Indonesia. Yusuf Hashim and his counterparts are making assertions about the nature of society, Islam, and modernization, and acting on them.
This paper will place Yusuf Hashim’s concerns within the context of his peers and the Islamic community in Indonesia as well as in the context of wider social processes to explore issues surrounding globalization and modernization. In Java, and Indonesia in general, education has been a central component of modernization. John Bowen affirms that schools are important loci in the transformation of sentiments and loyalties in Southeast Asia. “Schools,” he argues, “have long been reckoned by political scientists to be a primary place for ‘modernization’; yet we know very little of what transpires in school.” While most of the learning is content oriented, the students learn new ways of interacting with others and with themselves, and develop “precisely those attitudes toward time, work, and society that led modernization theorists of the 1950s to hope that schools would ‘make men modern’” (Bowen 1996, 1058–59). However, Bowen overlooks schools like pesantren, which offer both state curricula and other lessons and thereby strive to make people modern, but in a particular mode.
Pesantren, which resemble the madrasa (A: religious school) elsewhere in the Islamic world, seem to have been of some interest to Western scholars (Anderson 1990, 64–65, 127–28, Denny 1995, Geertz 1960a, 180–87, 1960b, Jones 1991), certain works having been published in Indonesian (Steenbrink 1974, Van Bruinessen 1995). Indonesian scholars, on the other  hand, have produced an enormous literature on them, including countless books and scholarly theses. Most of this literature is firmly based on the work of Zamakhsyari Dhofier (1980, 1982, 1999) and Taufik Abdullah (1987), which remain good introductions to the study of these schools. A large number of these works assert that pesantren and modernity are not incompatible but can work together for the betterment of the nation (see especially, Galba 1991, Prasodjo et al. 1974, Yacub 1985). Others argue, perhaps more accurately, that the exact role of pesantren is still being debated (Abdullah 1987).
This paper uses ethnographic data to explore some of the ways in which the traditionalist Islamic community in Indonesia uses pesantren education as part of its strategy for encountering globalization and modernization. By shaping the curriculum in pesantren, pesantren people are shaping the identity of both the Indonesian Islamic community and Indonesia itself. They are inventing “modernity” and remaking it in an Islamic and an Indonesian mold. The data used here is placed in the theoretical context of globalization in general, and more specifically, in the context of Muslim encounters with it. After describing methodological approaches, this paper describes the broad contexts in which the data should be considered, and then, for the bulk of the paper, analyzes the data in detail.
Research Setting and Methods
The argument presented here is based on ethnographic fieldwork conducted in 1994–95 which took a regional rather than a village-based approach. As Bowen has suggested, the texts and rituals of Islam take the believer, and should take the ethnographer, outside the village to a “worldwide confessional community” (1993, 185). A regional study allows us to explain processes beyond the boundaries of a single village. However, this is still a limited view and does not encompass the whole Islamic world. While such are the limitations of any fieldwork, the processes discussed here are part of larger processes in Indonesia and the Islamic world in general.
Whereas this research speaks to wider Indonesian society, and even to Muslim societies in general, it was conducted in East Java, which is the recognized center of the pesantren world; many prominent leaders of the Islamic community, both traditionalists and modernists come from East Java. Approximately 1,800 of the more than 4,000 pesantren in Indonesia are found in East Java (Ghofir et al., 1982, ii). The pesantren selected for research were typical of those that are engaged in the on-going process of defining and redefining pesantren education. Extended ethnographic research was conducted in three pesantren: Tebu Ireng in Jombang, An-Nur II in the Kabupaten (I: Regency) of Malang, and Al-Hikam in the city of  Malang.
Tebu Ireng has about 1,500 students, all male, but it is part of a complex of family pesantren that includes pesantren for female students, some of whom attend the government curriculum schools in Tebu Ireng. Tebu Ireng gives a slight emphasis to government curricula over traditional pesantren education. It has a rich history that is intertwined with that of the Republic of Indonesia. Tebu Ireng’s founder, Hasyim Asyari was a co-founder of Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), the largest Islamic organization in Indonesia, and several of his descendants, including Abdurrahman Wahid (then Chair of Nahdlatul Ulama, now President of Indonesia), have played and continue to play important roles in the Indonesian public sphere. This national range of influence is reflected in the fact that Tebu Ireng’s students come from all over Indonesia. Further, the grave of its founder, in the heart of the school, is an important pilgrimage site that draws several thousand visitors each month. In addition to my own efforts, a number of Indonesian scholars have written about Tebu Ireng (e.g., Dhofier 1980, Arifin 1993).
An-Nur II has about 500 students, mostly from East Java and mostly male (it had 19 female students in 1995). However, it is also part of a larger complex of family run pesantren that includes another 1,000 students, 300 of whom are female. An-Nur has a history of less than 50 years and is run by the sons of the founder. While both government and religious education is offered at An-Nur, the focus is decidedly on the traditional pesantren curriculum. The range of influence of An-Nur and its leadership is mainly limited to the area around Malang, as evidenced by the fact that nearly half of its students come from this area.
Al-Hikam is the newest of the three pesantren discussed in this paper. In 1995, it was just three years old and had 60 male students. It differs from both Tebu Ireng and An-Nur in several ways. First, it did not grow out of a traditional pesantren, but was designed as a place where college students can engage in traditional pesantren education and mysticism while pursuing their college degrees. All of the students attend college in Malang and most are from East Java. The headmaster, Hasyim Muzadi is the head of NU East Java, and a khalif (A, I: deputy) in the Qadiri-Naqshibandiyah tarekat (I. Sufi Order; A. ṭarīqa).
Globalization is a term often used and seldom defined. For my purposes here, I use the term “globalization” as a cover term for the processes by which the “world capitalist system” becomes articulated with local systems. Others have looked at the articulation of global systems with local systems  (Smith 1984), but they have focused on the economic articulation, how the colonial structure of metropole-satellite (core-periphery) was reproduced in local settings. Globalization may affect technology, economics, politics, culture, and religion. Various authors have looked at aspects of globalization under the names modernization and Westernization (c.f., Ward and Rustow 1964, Inkeles and Smith 1974, Miller 1994). Westernization and modernization are labels for aspects of globalization. Because the terms are used in both Indonesian discourse and Western scholarship, their use here will reflect such usage. However, throughout they are understood to represent, at least part of, globalization, or the process by which local cultures become part of the flows of commodities, images, ideas, ideologies, and people that characterize late global capitalism. Anthony Giddens avers that capitalism is a driving force in globalization because it is primarily an economic order and secondarily involves cultural and political matters (1990).
Daniel Miller remarks that Jürgen Habermas sees modernity as a product of the juxtaposition of three events: the Renaissance, the Reformation, and the discovery of the New World (1994, 61). The three key events mentioned above all occurred around the early sixteenth century, roughly the same time period to which Wallerstein attributes the beginning of the world capitalist system (1974). For this reason, modernity can be seen as part and parcel of globalization, that is, the process by which capitalism expands itself.
Modernity, to Habermas, is essentially a mode of thought that refuses to accept tradition without reflection and reevaluation. He states, “modernity can and will no longer borrow the criteria by which it takes its orientation from the models supplied by another epoch; it has to create its normativity out of itself” (1987, 7). Clearly this mode of thought is linked to scientific method and is precisely the mechanism by which the adoption of scientific technology may challenge other aspects of social and cultural life. Habermas seems to suggest that modernity necessarily challenges and ultimately replaces tradition. The material considered here suggests otherwise.
In discussing the cultural impacts of globalization on local cultures, Westernization refers to a particular kind of culture change that follows an imagined model of Western life. Westernization is often conflated with modernization:
To escape anomy (sic), Muslims have but one choice, for modernization requires Westernization. . . . Islam does not offer an alternative way to modernize. . . . Secularism cannot be avoided. Modern science and technology require an absorption of the thought processes which accompany them; so too with political institutions. Because content must be emulated no less than form, the predominance of Western civilization must be acknowledged so as to be able to learn from it. European language  and Western educational institutions cannot be avoided, even if the latter do encourage freethinking and easy living. Only when Muslims explicitly accept the Western model will they be in a position to technicalize and then to develop. (Pipes 1983, 197–98)
While Pipes’ cultural chauvinism is extraordinary, he does raise an important question: Can Muslims adopt the technology of the West and still hold fast to the teachings of the Prophet? Or are the values of the West (and Westernization itself) inseparable from Western technology and Western style education. The conflation of modernization and Westernization also occurs in Indonesian discourse. There are those who believe that modernization can only come about by imitating Western, particularly American, cultural practices. In short, some Indonesians, and even some Muslims, seem to agree with Pipes.
In his consideration of the modern movement of commodities and images, Arjun Appadurai argues:
Globalization does not necessarily or even frequently imply homogenization or Americanization, and to the extent that different societies appropriate the materials of modernity differently, there is still ample room for the deep study of specific geographies, histories, and languages. (1996, 17)
Hence, the major contribution of this paper is to explore the specificities of how the Indonesian traditionalist Muslim community appropriates the materials of modernity. In this appropriation, the leaders of this community are concerned with the deleterious effects of modernization, as they see them—egotism, materialism, social inequities. Further, it explores how, despite Appadurai’s claim above, these leaders see the negative aspects of modernity as essentially the Western, if not American, trimmings on the house of modernity. As part of their appropriation of the materials of modernity and their subsequent reinvention of modernity, these leaders have created an educational system both to address the educational needs of a modernizing society and, at the same time, to guard against perceived moral decay.
Globalization and Java
We will now turn to one local experience of globalization. Specifically, it concerns the perceived impact of late global capitalism on Indonesian religious values and education. Post-independence Indonesia has seen tremendous economic growth and with it an increasing trend towards the intrusion of American consumer culture, which Benjamin Barber argues will inevitably destroy all local culture and remake it into a Disneyesque theme park of  shopping malls (1995). Many young people wear blue jeans, go to discos, and get drunk because these things are seen as “modern,” “Western,” and hence desirable activities.
Appadurai reminds us that “particular conjunctures of commodity flow and trade can create unpredicted changes in value structures” (1996, 72). This is particularly true in the arena of what he calls “mediascapes,” the technologies to produce and disseminate information and the “images of the world created by these media” (1996, 35). In the early 1990s, the U.S. required Indonesia to import American films and television shows in order to continue to export textiles to the U.S. (Barber 1995, 91). Repeatedly I heard concerns from pesantren people about the American movie industry’s purported intention of destroying Islam and corrupting the values of Islamic societies such as Indonesia. Many were concerned with the portrayal of scantily clad women (with bare shoulders and knees). Such concerns persist even though Appadurai asserts that “the United States is no longer the puppeteer of a world system of images but is only one node of a complex transnational construction of imaginary landscapes” (1996, 31). Appadurai acknowledges, however, that international media “afford powerful resources for countermodes of identity that youth can project against parental wishes or desires” (1996, 45). If no longer puppeteers, certainly the American image makers still create images of, and models for, “modernity” that must be contended with in other nations.
Many pesantren people associate the processes of modernization and globalization with the loss of traditional values. One elderly ustadh (I: low ranking Islamic teacher) at Pesantren Mahasiswa Al-Hikam lamented that Indonesia had lost its own value system:
Indonesia once had established values, as can be seen in the successful establishment of the Republic of Indonesia. These values were the values of 1945. However in the 1980s these values began to be lost and are now completely lost. The problem is that these days, young people want to be like the United States or Japan as quickly as possible. But, they often forget that Japan has held on to its values tenaciously. The Koran can guarantee life in the future, the Koran can take us back to the values of 1945.
Many kyais (J, I: high ranking Islamic teachers), ustadhs, and other pesantren people agree with this basic sentiment, that the values upon which Indonesia was established have been eroded by modernization and Westernization. Nafik, another ustadh at Al-Hikam, attributes this to people who naively link Westernization and modernization, a linkage Howard Federspiel identifies in the writings of Siradjuddin Abbas (1996, 202). Nafik argued that much of what is done in Indonesia today is Westernization  without any real modernization. Education can overcome such naiveté and hence, he says, the goal of Al-Hikam is to train modern people (arts and sciences students) with traditional values. People so trained will be able to lead the nation so that it can engage in globalization and forge a new national identity consistent with an Islamic heritage.
Several people I interviewed asserted that giving up Islam is not necessary for modernization, but this claim itself assumes a modernity in which the spiritual is challenged. Indeed, Abdul Gani, an ustadh at pesantren An-Nur argued that “man-made religions” like Buddhism and Hinduism were incompatible with modernity. Islam on the other hand, as a revealed religion, is good for all times and can fit with modernity. However, elements of popular Islam need to be excised from the communal body of practice in order for Islamic countries to prosper. Abdul Gani identified these as aspects of popular mysticism (kepercayan) around ancestral spirits. Otherwise, he clearly supported the notion of the place of Sufism in modernity, as did many others.
Robert Bellah pointed out that modernity should be seen not ‘as a form of political or economic system, but as a spiritual phenomenon or a kind of mentality’ (1968). This is precisely the component of modernity with which pesantren people are most concerned. They want the technology and the political and economic dimensions of modernism, however, with respect to the mentality of modernism they wish to define an Islamic modernity. There are certain values and morals they wish to see underpin modernity. These values include Islamic brotherhood, selflessness (keikhlasan), simplicity in living (kesederhanaan), and self-sufficiency (kemandirian). Also included is a concern for social justice and serving the needs of the poor. Taken together, these values define a modernity quite different from that dominant in the West.
Bernard Lewis argues that since the sixteenth century, there have been three basic attitudes toward modernization and Westernization (here considered part of globalization) that Muslims might take (1997). The first is that of a supermarket: Muslims may adopt what they find useful without adopting the religion or the values of the West. He argues that this view sometimes  comes in an extreme form “in the writings and utterances of the so-called Islamic fundamentalists, who see Western civilization, and particularly American popular culture, as immoral and dangerously corrupting” (Lewis 1997, 127). Lewis associates this position specifically with the Ayatollah Khomeini who decried the United States as the Great Satan, or the seducer of Islam. The second attitude is a hopeful one that seeks to marry the best elements of both civilizations. However, Lewis argues, more often than not the result is not a marriage of the best but “a promiscuous cohabitation of the worst” (Lewis 1997, 127). The third attitude was that that of Kemal Atatürk and the Young Turk movement; namely, that “the world has seen many civilizations. Each has grown and flourished in its day, then passed away. At this moment in history only one is still alive. We must join it or be uncivilized” (Lewis 1997, 127).
Most pesantren people are taking the second tack. However, they are doing more than simply trying to marry the best of both worlds, they are making an Islamic modernity. If modernity entails a set of attitudes about authority, time, society, politics, economics, and religion, then the leaders of the pesantren world are trying to shape those attitudes. The ultimate concern is still with salvation and the hereafter. Concerns about this world are fine as long as the hereafter is not forgotten. They are aware of the Enlightenment thesis that this world is all there is, and they consciously reject it. In the next section we will turn to specific strategies now exploited in the pesantren world. Pesantren people are redefining modernity, and because pesantren are educational institutions, a key way they are seeking to do so is through restructuring their curriculum and thereby restructuring the thoughts of approximately 30% of Indonesia’s school-age children.
Educational Responses to Globalization
The Islamic boarding schools known as pesantren traditionally taught an almost exclusively religious curriculum and were the training grounds for religious leaders. Because there is no organized priesthood in Indonesian Islam, the scholars (kyai) who own, run, and teach in these schools are the leaders of the traditionalist Islamic community in Indonesia. Prior to the twentieth century, pesantren were the only form of education found in Java (Abdullah 1987, Denny 1995, 298). The court poets of both the Yogyakarta and Surakarta courts were educated in pesantren (Florida 1995), as were some members of the ruling class (Pemberton 1994, 48–49, Adas 1979). In the late nineteenth century, the Dutch introduced secular education to the ruling elite. In response to this, various nationalist organizations started secular schools as part of their nation making strategy (Anderson 1990, 132, 243). After independence, Indonesia established, as part of its nation building  strategy, a national education system which could teach the national language and the national philosophy (Pancasila) as well as educate its new citizens in science and math.
Pesantren are associated with the traditionalist community in Indonesia. Traditionalists openly reject the claims of modernists to have established pesantren, stating that the modernists have done little more that create religious boarding houses and dormitories. Pesantren people declare that the critical components of mysticism, classical texts, and character development are missing from these upstart institutions. With this censure they condemn the modernist approach to modernity.
Clifford Geertz, when writing about pesantren, and their headmasters (kyai) nearly 40 years ago, predicted that they would be crushed by modernity:
Only through the creation of a school at once as religiously satisfying to the villager as the pesantren, and as instrumentally functional to the growth of the “new Indonesia” as the state-run secular schools can the kijaji [kyai] as the teacher of such a school, become a man once more competent to stand guard “over the crucial junctures of synapses of relationship which connect the local system with the larger whole. . . .” Failing this the kijaji’s days as a dominant force in pious Javanese villages are numbered, and the role of Islam in shaping the direction of political evolution in Indonesia is likely to be marginal at best.
Whether or not the men actually filling the kijaji role at present in Indonesia are up to a task of socio-cultural creativity of this magnitude remains to be seen—though neither the performance of NU . . . nor the slowing down of the modernist religious reform movement since 1945, gives much cause for optimism. (1960b, 249)
Geertz was not optimistic about the ability of kyai to be brokers between Indonesian cultures and modernity. Not only have kyai contradicted Geertz’s expectations, what they are engaging in is not mere brokerage; they are not just translating “modernity” to Indonesia, they are inventing an Indonesian Islamic modernity.
Although Geertz was wrong in his prognosis, his diagnosis could not have been more accurate. It was repeated more recently by a leading Indonesian scholar, Taufik Abdullah, who wrote:
Therefore the future of the pesantren will be determined by its ability to maintain its identity as an ulama dominated educational system while at the same time clarifying its role as a complementary feature of national education. (1987, 102)
Many contemporary pesantren are now doing exactly what both Geertz and Abdullah prescribed. They are engaging in both traditional pesantren education  and national education.
Today, there are two basic government recognized curricula, the National System (Sistem Negeri), which is mostly secular, and the Madrasah System (Sistem Madrasah). The Madrasah System was originally established because many Indonesian parents were leery of the mostly secular national schools and would not send their children to them. Pesantren may have neither, either, or both types of schools within their grounds. All but the most conservative pesantren have at least one. The pattern in the more conservative pesantren is for the student to fulfill the minimum national requirement before starting at the pesantren. It should be noted that the adoption of national curricula was strongly encouraged by the former Suharto regime. Nonetheless, there are enough examples of pesantren that have not adopted them to suggest that the changes were not entirely externally imposed.
In addition to the government curricula, many kyai have found it useful and desirable to offer extra courses—English and computer skills being most popular—and job skills training, such as chauffeuring, automobile repair, sewing, small business management, and welding. In part, this is in response to government programs encouraging the improvement of human resources. However, skills training is also seen as a time-honored part of pesantren education. Traditionally students did not pay for their education or lodging but worked for the kyai in exchange for their expenses. Through this work they gained some skills that they could put to use after they returned home. However this tradition has been lost, because the addition of general education has meant fewer hours in the day for religious study. Hence it is now more common for students, or their parents, to pay directly for their expenses. The  addition of courses of immediate practical use is thus in part to compensate for the loss of apprenticeships within the pesantren. Between the Suharto regime’s Meningkatkan Kwalitas Sumber Daya Manusia (I: Improve the Quality of Human Resources) Campaign and the very real need for graduates to earn an income, a pesantren that did not address these issues, or at least claim to, quickly became unpopular.
Kyai Badruddin at An-Nur said that even with the addition of secular education, the main purpose of pesantren is to spread Islam. With the addition of secular subjects, pesantren graduates are not only able to spread and strengthen Islam, but also to take care of their own basic needs. He argued that in this time of development and change, if santri (pesantren students) are only given religious education, they will not succeed.
Besides religious education, general education, and job-oriented training, the santri receive other training, such as in budgeting their monthly allowances, which will allow them to become fiscally responsible adults. Another level of practical training is in simple living. For example, Kyai Baddrudin told me that an ascetic lifestyle in the pesantren prepares students for either prosperity or poverty. In the former, they will be compassionate; in the later, they will be content. He argued that this practical education supports Indonesian development because An-Nur graduates are self-sufficient, good citizens. They will contribute to, rather than burden, their local communities and their nation, if they: (1) have an education and therefore can support themselves; (2) can be content in poverty or in riches; (3) know and understand property ownership; and (4) will not disobey the law.
An ustadh at An-Nur, one some feel is destined to become a kyai, wrote a short essay that summarizes some of the values taught in pesantren:
One good goal when someone has the dream of living under the protection of Allah is to have knowledge, for oneself as well as for one’s people, religion, and homeland. Therefore, Muslims must have Islamic knowledge and hold tightly to it and the bounds of religion. As the adage says,
Religion without science is blind.
Science without religion is lame.
Therefore, we must not separate the two and hold tightly to both. We must carry both on our shoulders.
We must know that now is an era of “globalization.” What must we do to hold back the flood? To face that new era? We have already prepared our knowledge to  transform ourselves and to solve problems. Meanwhile, Western superstar performers, like Madonna, are always quickly coming forward to boast of their greatness through television, video, movies, and other amusements.
To face all this we must fight our desires because on our own we have no more restraint than a baby. One kitāb [religious text, commentary] explains that we should restrain our desire with piety. In a ḥadīth there is the additional commentary that states, “As bad as things may get, what I fear more for you is two things: that you will follow your desires and you will have fantasies, but more that you will have fantasies about this world.” It is an indignity for humans, who have reason, to become slaves to materialism. Therefore we can summarize that those who live under the protection of wealth, if they cannot set their priorities, will become slaves to that wealth.
This short epistle illustrates several key concerns. First, there is a concern that without science and technology the Islamic community will be impoverished. Of greater concern, however, is that in pursuing these things, the Indonesian Islamic community will lose its moral foundations, give into sinful desires, and becomes slaves to materialism rather than servants of God.
Pesantren values define a modernity quite different from that practiced in the West, or perhaps more properly, that which functions under the aegis of nationalism and the free-market economy. Arguably, the greatest concern pesantren people have about modernization is the threat of egoism, or the emphasis on individual gain over communal gain. The values of Islamic brotherhood and selflessness are seen as safeguards to heartless entrepreneurialism. “Simplicity in living” is a control mechanism for rampant consumerism and, with the emergence of credit cards, a way to avoid the financial morass in which many Europeans and Americans find themselves. “Self-sufficiency” gives both the individual and the nation continued independence. For individuals, it means that one should seek self-employment—the very entrepreneurialism that development requires, however, one controlled by Islamic values. For the nation, it means avoiding the kind of metropole-satellite relationship that André Gunder-Frank maintains creates underdevelopment (1966).
In a lesson about modernity, Gus Ishom of Tebu Ireng taught one of his grandfather Hashim Ashari’s texts which stated that Muslims should not adapt the ways of the kāfir (A: unbelievers). In particular, one should avoid their clothing style. In part this is because the clothes (i.e., pants) may violate modesty laws, but also because wearing Western clothes symbolizes  agreement with all that is Western. In the lesson it was maintained that even that young children should not be allowed to wear kāfir clothes but should be trained to wear peci and sarong (I: cap and wrapped cloth, local Islamic garments). The concern, hence, is less with clothing per se, than with the construction of identity in the public sphere. In the colonial period, when the text was written, this teaching was important because it marked clear distinctions between the pesantren world and the Dutch colonizers and their collaborators. Today, Ishom’s concern continues to be with public statements of separation, and hence identity. This is seen in his allowance of wearing western clothing as lounge wear in the privacy of one’s home. Interestingly, this is the opposite of a common pattern in Indonesia today, the sarong and peci being worn at home while western garments are favored in public.
Gus Ishom’s selection of this particular Hashim Ashari text was a commentary on contemporary issues; it was a warning about how to deal with modernity and how to avoid being trapped in the ways of unbelief. Gus Ishom was not advocating the avoidance of modernity (as symbolized in the wearing of jeans and tee-shirts), but rather the use of caution regarding it. As his students emphasized, if one’s nīya (A: intention) is to be like the kāfir in thought, act, and deed, then adopting Western ways is wrong. If one’s nīya is pure then such cultural borrowings are not a problem.
It should be noted that Gus Ishom’s lesson on the dangers of modernity did not follow a purely traditional instructional method. After he read the text in Arabic and gave the makna (I: meaning) in Javanese, he explained it in Indonesian. The teacher’s use of Indonesian reveals that this lesson and this text were thought of not as provincial, but rather as national, in their scope and relevance.
Teaching Traditional Morality and Globalization
Pesantren leaders today are ultimately concerned with imparting “traditional morality” to students who will participate in, and even lead, Indonesia in modernization and globalization. This morality is taught in lessons called ngaji, which involve the teaching of an Arabic text. However, ngaji is the only the beginning of moral education. Many pesantren teachers (kyai and ustadh) that I talked with pointed out that students might be able to learn the same theoretical and theological material at religious day schools near their homes. However, pesantren teachers stress that while such day schools can teach students about religion and morality, they cannot teach them to be moral. Moral education, in the sense of teaching moral behavior, must have experience, or pengalaman, at its center. Pesantren strive to create an environment in which the morals of religion can be practiced as well as studied.  The students learn about them in ngaji and are given the opportunity to practice them. For example, communal sholat (I
Other values, such as ikhlāṣ (A, I: selflessness) and kesederhanaan (I: modest living) are taught by Spartan and communal living arrangements (cf. 1995, 298). In most pesantren, the santri sleep on the floor in a room that may hold up to eighty other students. A room that one might judge to be adequate for one, perhaps two students, houses six to eight; the more popular the pesantren, the more crowded the space. The meals are meager: rice and vegetables. Further, while there is an acknowledgment of personal property, in practice, property is communal. Simple things such a sandals are borrowed freely. Other items, if not in use, should be lent if asked for. The santri who habitually refuses to lend his property will be sanctioned by his peers and sometimes by the pesantren staff. I was expected to follow these guidelines as well, and I often found my tape recorder and camera missing. They were always returned later, the camera with all of its film used and with a request to have the film developed. For the santri who does not share, sanctions may include teasing or a stern reminder about Islamic brotherhood and the importance of ikhlāṣ.
In many ways, the details of pesantren lifestyle have not changed much over time. Given the changes of lifestyle and standard of living in the general population, however, there is a greater gap between the two, and hence the pesantren lifestyle becomes more ascetic. In other words, the simple lifestyle was once a matter of necessity, neither student nor kyai could afford more. But now enforced poverty and austerity is part of an invented pesantren tradition (cf. Hobsbawm and Ranger 1983). Indeed, many modernist schools calling themselves pesantren are criticized for being far too comfortable. As an invented, or re-invented, tradition, the ascetic lifestyle in pesantren has come to be an essential part of their character development strategy.
The value of kemandirian (self-sufficiency) is taught by having the santri take care of their own basic needs. The essential idea of this value (mandiri) is seen in a common joke. I was told repeatedly, in the presence of very young santri (six to seven years of age), that mandiri, the root of kemandirian, was an abbreviation for mandi sendiri (I: bathe on your own).  While this joke was always met with great hilarity, it communicates quite clearly, both to the young santri (who may still be used to bathing with older siblings) and to the foreign researcher, that taking care of oneself is an important value. In traditional pesantren, mandiri manifests itself in cooking arrangements; students cooked for themselves, or in small cooperative groups. Today, to regain time for ngaji lost to general education, many pesantren employ a cafeteria system. However, santri still learn self-sufficiency through doing their own washing, ironing, and housekeeping. Again, what was once necessity has become tradition. With mandiri, however, some of the practices of the invented tradition must be dropped for practical reasons (i.e., food preparation). Hence, core elements are extracted and emphasized in other ways.
Other rules in place in most pesantren have to do with non-attendance of lessons or communal prayer, sneaking out of the compound, watching movies, theft, and other activities deemed to be against pesantren values. Most violations result in the santri receiving stern advice (nasehat). Repeated violations may bring more stern discipline. One ustadh suggested that the punishment for minor offenses such as watching movies might include beatings or even being ordered to do push-ups in sewage runoff. If the violation is greater, the student’s hair may be shaved off, often just before a scheduled “parents’ day” event, which will humiliate the santri. Offending students may also be sent home. Ultimately, the form and force of the discipline is at the kyai’s discretion.
Gus Ishom of Tebu Ireng argues that in order to plant values (menanamkan nilai), instruction is not as important as setting a good example. In order to teach his santri the importance of sholat jamāʿa (communal worship) a kyai needs to lead the prayers (mengimam), not always, but often. Gus Ishom’s cousin, President Abdurrahman Wahid (then general chairman of Nahdlatul Ulama) agrees that the living example of the kyai is critical in teaching santri. In this regard, Wahid points to his uncle Yusuf Hashim, who never teaches classical texts, but who does teach his students the importance of science and technology by his activities outside the pesantren, which allow him to bring government ministers to visit (there is a place for helicopters to land next to the campus for this very purpose). However, he is just as concerned about the morality of his santri as was his father (Hashim Ashari); while Hashim Ashari was concerned over the impact of popular music, Yusuf Hashim is concerned about the influence of television on santri, and has curtailed viewing considerably.
Mustahin, also at Tebu Ireng, argued that like the Prophet, the kyai should  be an example to his students, so that pesantren education will inculcate not only religious knowledge but also moral character. Mustahin referred to the practice of the Companions in Medina, who lived together with the Prophet and witnessed the revelation of the Koran. In this context, they were able to study not only religious knowledge, but also how the Prophet actualized his faith. In like manner, a kyai must live in the pesantren so that he can set an example of an Islamic lifestyle. If he does not provide this example, then the education is instruction (pengajaran) only and not true teaching (pendidikan). In this way, Mustahin suggests, the personality and the character of the kyai himself is a central part of pesantren education.
Gus Ishom said that taṣawwuf (A: mysticism, Sufism) is central in moral education. He explained that in Islam there is a “triangle” of major “sciences”: tawḥīd (A: theology; especially as regards the nature of Allah), fiqh (A: religious law), and taṣawwuf. Each of these sciences makes different contributions. Tawḥīd establishes the basis of faith. Because faith is not enough and needs “good works” (aʿmāl) to actualize it, fiqh provides the believers with guidelines on how to live right and perform good works. Since because good works, alone, are empty if the motivation is impure, taṣawwuf is needed to instill moral and ethical values in believers. The association of Sufism and ethics as it appears in the Indonesian pesantren may be traced to a single highly influential Islamic thinker, namely al-Ghazālī. Al-Ghazālī is famous for his sober mysticism, which balanced theology and taṣawwuf, and for his extensive works on ethics (Abdul Quasem 1975). It is through the use and study of al-Ghazālī’s works that many in the pesantren world associate mysticism and ethics.
If schools make people modern, then pesantren leaders are seeking to make people modern in a distinctly Islamic way. The combination of religious training, character development, and secular education is designed to create people who can live and compete in a changing world and maintain traditional values.
In summary, pesantren in order to fulfill their role as educational institutions which aspire to complement secular education with madrasa subjects, offer in principle both the government curriculum and traditional religious topics. For most kyai, an additional component is critical, and that is character development. By providing secular education, religious instruction, and training aimed at character development, pesantren are creating a new type of modern Indonesian, one whose values are firmly rooted in Islamic teaching. Kyai are not merely changing the curriculum of their schools in order to compete. They are redefining modernity in an Islamic mode. Whereas our  current theories about globalization and modernization focus on response, and thereby depict non-Western cultures as passive or reactionary, the material considered here shows that we must consider that the “receiving” peoples themselves may be restructuring the global processes. That is to say, in each local setting it may not be just the response to modernity that is localized, but also that “modernity” is re-created differently in each setting.
Religious education, in any faith, has as a central goal the teaching of tradition, however invented, and the creation young men and women who will uphold that tradition in settings that may be antagonistic towards it. As I reflect on the material considered here, I am reminded of my personal encounters with religious education as a youth. Countless Sunday School teachers and a handful of Christian college educators all had broad hopes that their efforts would mold my character in their image and that I would uphold, perpetuate, and spread their version of Christian traditions. It is hard to evaluate the actual outcome of such educational efforts. I am neither the preacher nor the missionary that some of my teachers hoped for. Nor would some of them continue to count me as a member of their fold. However, it would be impossible either to negate or neglect their impact on my character. Likewise, when we think on the character development efforts of pesantren teachers, we must not limit our assessment of those efforts to the degree to which their graduates observe the pillars of Islam, or even to the degree to which they avoid particular sins. The impact of religious education on individuals, and hence on society as a whole, is uneven, varied, and fluctuating.
Schools that combine religious and secular instruction, whether they be at the primary, secondary, or tertiary level, all have similar goals and strategies. Like religious education in general, these institutions seek to create young men and women who will “keep the faith,” “walk the talk,” or as said in pesantren circles “menjalakan ibadah” (I: exercise the pillars of faith). Many pesantren and American Christian colleges had their beginnings as seminaries. Both types of institutions found a growing demand for a broader, secular, and scientific education, in addition to religious instruction. The goal of these schools is invariably to train people to work in their chosen profession and through that profession realize the founding goals of the institution, namely, to spread the ideals of the faith and thereby transform society.
The experiences of other Islamic countries seem to suggest that pesantren-like institutions (madrasas) that are unable to combine both religious and secular education will, as Geertz predicted, be relegated to the sidelines (1960b). One thing is clear, when madrasa schools fail to meet their educational  goals, for whatever reason, there are serious implications for society as a whole stemming from the resulting imbalance. In Turkey, a strong division between religious education and secular education has overtaxed the public education system leading to 27% of girls being uneducated (Mater 1996, 1997). Iran’s madrasa system, as described by Mottahedeh (1985), bears a strong resemblance to the traditional pesantren system. Iran, however like Turkey, has kept secular education and madrasa education separate. It is from an exclusively religious system that the Ayatollah Khomeini emerged (Mottahedeh 1985). In contrast to both Geertz’s (1960b) expectations and the examples just mentioned, the pesantren in Java have succeeded in creating a hybrid system of education combining religious instruction and scientific and technical training. This hybrid system is a reflection of a different Islamic model of interacting with modernity than that which is encountered many other places in the Islamic world.
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 This paper is based on research funded by an Henry Luce Foundation/Arizona State University Southeast Asia Dissertation Fellowship. An earlier version was presented at the 1998 American Anthropological Association Meetings in Philadelphia, PA. The author would also like to thank the following people for their insights and comments: Joseph Bell, Kenneth George, Susan Jungk, Katryne Lukens-Bull, and Mark Woodward.
Indonesian and Javanese words are spelled according to the official conventions set in 1972. The major changes were dj = j (as in John); j = y (as in yes); tj = c(as in choke); oe = u. The only exceptions to this are words within quotes, titles of books published before 1972, and the proper names of authors and major figures. Arabic words will be spelled according to accepted English transliteration, a modified version of the systems of the Library of Congress and the Encyclopaedia of Islam. Arabic names of Indonesian persons and organizations will be spelled according to Indonesian conventions. Where Indonesian usage differs markedly from the Arabic, I will use the Indonesian form.
 Lewis also reminds us that in an earlier period of “modernization” (in the late Middle Ages) Europeans may have well asked “Can we adopt the technology of the Muslims and still hold fast to the teachings of Christianity?” as they adopted the Muslim innovations of experimental science, algebra, and astronomy, as well as paper, the zero, and positional numbering, which Muslims brought from China and India respectively (1997, 129).
 Calling either of the two national curricula secular may be a bit confusing to readers who might expect a clear separation between church and state. The national curricula both require a minimum amount of religious training. However only 5–11% of these curricula are focused on religion. Further, the official texts for these courses favor modernist positions. Hence, in the minds of pesantren people, the distinction between pesantren education and national or “secular” education is clear.
 The Indonesian term “madrasah” is the local usage of the Arabic “madrasa” which differs from Arabic meaning. While madrasa are pesantren-like institutions, madrasah in Indonesia are day schools that follow a government curriculum that, since 1994, includes twelve percent religious instruction. Although it is uncomfortable to have two different meanings hinge on such a small difference in spelling, we have little choice when we follow the Indonesian usage.
 The madrasah system has three levels with decreasing levels of religious instruction (Denny 1995, 298). In 1994, the amount of religious instruction in the highest level was reduced to less than 12%
 Unpublished and undated, but typed on official pesantren letterhead. Viewed in early 1995.
 Gus is a Javanese title that indicates that a young man is the son of a kyai. Many famous kyai may continue to be called Gus as a friendly term. This also serves as a reminder of his pedigree.
 Reflecting the Arabic nuances of purity, devotion, and faithfulness. Cf. L. Gardet, Encyclopaedia of Islam, new ed., vol. 3, s.v. “ikhlāṣ.”
Ronald A. Lukens-Bull
University of North Florida, Jacksonville
Adopted from: http://www.uib.no/jais/v003ht/03-026-047Lukens1.htm
M. Asrori Ardiansyah, M.Ed
Teacher in Malang Indonesia
There is a saddening but prevailing stereotype of pesantren (Islamic boarding schools) and the santri, their students.
Male students are depicted wearing a sarong and kopiah (rimless cap) and carrying a stack of books. His female equivalent (santriwati) is shown as a villager who has missed out on the wave of modernism. Of course, it is mistaken to assume that the simplicity of the boarding schools’ educational systems should be correlated with backwardness. Many of the boarding schools today are managed and developed under modern education systems, complete with state-of the-art facilities.
Granted, the boarding schools focus on an approach of simplicity. It revolves around the school accommodating the students and their teachers, with a mosque as the center both for prayer and education, students as the subjects geared for science and building togetherness, and the kyai, the leaders of the school and the teachers.
The boarding schools are not the only Islamic education institutions in Indonesia, but their dissemination and in-depth study of Islamic teaching has been able to penetrate remote corners of the country.
Sociologist Zamakhsyari Dhofier stated in his book Tradisi Pesantren, Studi Tentang Pandangan Hidup Kyai (Tradition of Pesantren, a Study on the Kyai’s Way of Life) that Islam was still strongly linked with the thoughts of fikih (Islamic law), hadits (Prophet Muhammad’s deeds and sayings), tafsir (interpretation of the Koran), tauhid (Islamic theology) and tassawuf (doctrines of sufi), ranging from the 7th century to the 13th century.
It is here that Islamic boarding schools have an advantage. It does not mean that the development of traditional Islam is stagnant and shackled in the form of thoughts and aspirations created by the ulemas of that time. The achievement of traditional Islam in assembling great strength is not because its followers are more in number than those of modern Islam. It isdue to the force of solidarity and integrity of its followers.
Traditional Islam cannot be separated from Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), which was established in 1926. From the biggest and most influential Muslim organization in the country, a number of national leaders have emerged, notable among them President Abdurrahman Wahid.
It is interesting to observe how educational institutes like the Islamic boarding schools, through their simplicity, are capable of yielding leadersof quality.
According to K.H. Imang Mansur Burhan, mustasyar (adviser) to the West Java NU regional board which manages the Babussalam Islamic boarding school at Cijaura, South Bandung, the key to the success of its education lies with the simple life of the students, school administrators and the conditions on the campus. The interaction of life is conducive to the spirit of self-reliance and perseverance of the residents.
“”It is difficult to find this pattern of simple and resigned life at other education institutes,”” he told The Jakarta Post.
The teaching method at most Islamic boarding schools usually involves intensive study of the kitab kuning (the classic textbook used in NU-affiliated boarding schools) also usually applies the sorogan, a system in which a teacher privately teaches a student.
“”This pattern is actually identical with the Active Method of Study that is much lauded by the formal education institutions. Through this system, a student’s self-reliance will be enhanced indirectly. On the other hand the close relationship of the students and the school’s leaders will also be maintained,”” said Imang Mansur Burhan.
The schools also apply a system with class promotions, a standard curriculum and the awarding of diplomas. A unique feature of Islamic boarding schools is that diplomas or class promotions are often presented orally. “”Abdullah, you have successfully finished the study of this book. Now you must study another book as its continuation,”” could be the among the teacher’s directions.
Most of the teachers only teach the standard kitab kuning, but many also elaborate on the material by writing their own books. There is even a famous teacher in Central Java who is fond of extracting parts of the kitab kuning into verse or a beautiful poem.
The modern Islamic boarding school integrates the teaching of religious subjects with general subjects, usually combining the two methods. Foreign languages like Arabic and English are used. Extracurricular lessons are sophisticated thanks to the use of computers, the Internet and high technology equipment.
A student must absolutely obey the teacher in charge of his education. But the obedience is subject to democratic values because the student is not obliged to follow orders if they are contrary to Islamic teaching. The teacher’s position in the student’s life is of such importance that the candidate student must consider the matter thoroughly before deciding which teacher to choose.
This absolute obedience is shown in the students’ total submission to his future life. The President, before deciding on the continuation of his presidential candidacy, waited for the decision of the khos ulemas who are considered free from worldly influences. They are known as the poros langit (celestial axis), an expression to indicate that their decision was awaited from God and also referring to the Langitan Tuban Islamic boarding school led by K.H. Abdullah Faqih, a kyai much respected by Abdurrahman.
Another example of the devotional duty is Lukman MSc, a teacher at a prominent university in East Java who resided in an Islamic boarding school while studying at the university. When he felt it was time to get married, Lukman went to his kyai and requested his teacher find him a wife. With total submission Lukman would accept whoever was chosen by his kyai.
He saw his wife’s face for the first time after the marriage ceremony.
“”I had no idea who would be my wife. But, praise God, my kyai’s choice was good. After many years of married life, everything goes smoothly and in harmony without major quarrel.””
The wife also came from an Islamic boarding school; although she has no formal diploma like a grade school certificate, she is equal to her task in accompanying her husband, who has a higher education.
“”I must say she is superior in more than one way because she can recite the 30 chapters of the Koran,”” said Lukman.
The problem of the lack of accreditation for the education at the Islamic boarding schools is deplored by Kyai Imang Mansur Burhan.
“”Why do the Islamic boarding schools that clearly contribute to the education of the community have no formal recognition by the state? A graduate of the schools should be recognized and accepted to work in a government agency like a graduate of a formal school,”” he said.
Imang Mansur Burhan hoped that now that a santri governed the country there would be a change in the acknowledgment of the value of the schools’ education.
“”Let’s hope that in the 30th NU Congress this matter will be put on the agenda. At least, the pesantren education should have an umbrella of a certain ministry so that problems like the lack of funds will be somewhat alleviated.””
He also hoped that problems of funding for the schools would receive more attention, particularly with the country’s leader showing the benefits its education can bring.
“”It is not inferior to education in military academies, at universities or institutions for the study of high technology,”” he said.
The Jakarta Post , Jakarta | Sun, 11/14/1999
M. Asrori Ardiansyah, M.Ed
Teacher in Malang Indonesia
In a remote part of Central Java, Indonesia’s most populous island, there is a rather unusual form of environmentalism taking root. Shadowed by the great Merapi volcano and surrounded by fertile fields of rice and sugarcane, a small school is graduating environmentalists whose commitment to the earth is not based on Western conservation texts but rather predicated in values derived from Islam. The head of the school, Nasruddin Anshari, frequently uses the refrain “one earth, for all”, just as much as he does the usual Islamic invocation of Allah-u Akbar (God is Great).
Indonesia’s pesantren (the local word for a madrassa or religious school) have come under great scrutiny in recent years due to their perceived connections to terrorist incidents such as the Bali bombings in 2005. Even US presidential hopeful Barack Obama felt obliged to distance himself from his childhood days in Indonesia because of a rumour that he too had attended a pesantren, since both his father and stepfather were Muslims. Yet the transformation taking place at Pesantren Lingkungan Giri Ilmu would certainly please most constituencies in the West. Children from the village of Bantul are learning about the importance of preserving their ecosystem as a mark of worshipping God. The tenacity of Islamic religious doctrines that often manifests itself in uncompromising stances on political conflicts is being channelled more positively towards environmental ethics.
In his latest book The Creation, eminent Harvard ecologist E O Wilson writes an open letter to the clergy in which he urges theologians to unite on environmental causes: “The defence of living Nature is a universal value. It doesn’t rise from nor does it promote any religious or ideological dogma. Rather, it serves without discrimination the interests of all humanity.” It seems as though Wilson’s plea is at least being heard in Indonesia — one of the world’s highest biodiversity regions.
To further develop this trend and to link environmental education to a larger agenda of conflict resolution, the United Nations mandated University for Peace held a week-long workshop on peace education in an Islamic context in November 2007. The setting for the workshop was Gadgah Mada University in Yogyakarta, not far from our eco-friendly pesantren. Scholars from numerous Muslim countries gathered to consider various dimensions of peace education and to develop lesson plans for implementation in Islamic schools. I was invited to develop specific ideas on how to use environmental issues within an Islamic context as an instrumental means of peace-building.
It was fairly easy to convince the delegates that the advent of Islam as an organised religion occurred in the desert environment of Arabia, and hence there was considerable attention paid to ecological concerns within Islamic ethics. While Islamic theology is not pantheistic, and shares many of the anthropocentric attributes of other Abrahamic faiths, there is a reverence of nature that stems from essential pragmatism within the faith. Due to resource scarcity, early Muslims realised that long-term development was only possible within ecological constraints which were shared by all of humanity. Thus, the universality of environmental resources provides a valuable template for peace-building that is realised in Islam.
Nevertheless, there are several systemic challenges to the realisation of a sustainable development paradigm within contemporary Islam, largely due to institutional inertia and a reluctance of ulema to engage contemporary issues. First, the Islamic belief of humans as Ashraful Makhloqaat (the most superior creation) poses serious challenges to inculcating environmental ethics, particularly with reference to animal rights. However, this can be countered by considering numerous injunctions about the great responsibility that comes with the status of being a “superior creation”. The concept of khalifa (vicegerent) can be considered an antidote to this concept since the role of a vicegerent is to act as a steward for the land and for all creation.
Second, the Islamic focus on the after-life rather than the present has also led many Muslims to consider environmental and developmental challenges as trivial compared to the hereafter. This has led to a sense of complacence and fatalism about our developmental predicament, since it is deemed the will of God. I felt this strong apathy whilst conducting research on the Islamic schools of Pakistan three years ago. Yet this fatalism is no longer pervasive among the devoutly practicing Muslims of Indonesia. The Islamic religious schools in the world’s largest Muslim country are realising that the most profound act of worship is to conserve natural resources on which all life depends. Just as suicide is forbidden in Islam because of a deep respect for the sanctity of life, so too is the deliberate desecration of the life support systems that make our planet so unique.
Even beyond Indonesia there are several promising signs that narratives of policy makers are changing positively. The Islamic Foundation for Ecology and Environmental Science, based in Birmingham, UK, is developing numerous programmes for religious institutions in Muslim countries around the world. Even development donors are beginning to take note of such efforts. In late 2006, the US Agency for International Development launched an environmental education program in Tanzania in partnership with NGOs such as the Baraza Kuu la Waislamu Tanzania (BAKWATA) and the Jane Goodall Institute. The “Roots & Shoots” programme will target 12,650 primary school students and 12,650 madrassa school students. As part of this effort, two hundred and twenty primary school teachers and 220 madrassa teachers will be trained on coastal and marine ecosystem issues.
Even hard-line states like Iran are taking positive steps in this regard and are quite proud of the fact that the highly successful Ramsar convention on Wetland Protection takes its name from the Iranian city where it was signed in 1971. Despite several subsequent years of conflict and environmental indifference, in 2004 the Iranian government organised an international conference on environmental security to which Americans were also invited and where a strong case was made for using environmental conservation for peace-building. The former Iranian President Mohammad Khatami stated during his tenure that “pollution poses an even greater threat than war and suggested that the fight to preserve the environment might be the most positive issue for bringing the Gulf neighbours together”.
The usually profligate Gulf States are also catching on to the trend and trying to reduce their huge ecological footprint — albeit with modest results so far. Abu Dhabi has committed itself to establish the world’s first carbon neutral city of 40,000 residents by 2012. Masdar city (which means the source in Arabic) will have at its core an educational institution and numerous environmental technology firms to support a sustainable economy.
If the energy of Islamic scholars and their madrassas as well as our development tsars can be collectively channelled towards such positive acts of social and environmental activism, perhaps we can begin to appreciate our common humanity. Rather than harping on the divisive rhetoric of tribe, sect and political persuasion, we have a theological and teleological imperative to “green our society”.
Dr. Saleem H Ali
Associate dean for graduate education at the University of Vermont’s Rubenstein School of Environment. He is the editor of the new book Peace Parks: Conservation and Conflict Resolution (MIT Press) and can be contacted at email@example.com
M. Asrori Ardiansyah, M.Ed
Teacher in Malang Indonesia