New Trend of Islamic Education in Indonesia [2]

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.

Independent Pesantrens
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.

Concluding Remarks
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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[1]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.

[2]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).

[3]Chapter VII, passage 2, law No.4, 1950.

[4]Chapter I, passage 2, law No. 4, 1950.

[5]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).

[6]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.

[7]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.

[8]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.

[9]Statistical data of Pondok Pesantren Indonesia 2002-2003, MORA and statistical data of Madrasah Indonesia 2002-2003, MORA.

[10]According to the available data, there are about 250 pesantrens founded by Gontor alumni.

[11]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.

[12] Comparative religion course is not taught in traditional pesantrens.


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