Pendidikan Islam

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

Adopted from:

Published by:
M. Asrori Ardiansyah, M.Ed
Teacher in Malang Indonesia

Teaching Morality: Javanese Islamic Education in a Globalizing Era[1]
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 [27] 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 [28] 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 [29] 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 Defined

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 [30] (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 [31] 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 [32] 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 [33] 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[2] 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 [34] 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 [35] 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 [36] and national education.

Today, there are two basic government recognized curricula, the National System (Sistem Negeri), which is mostly secular,[3] and the Madrasah[4] 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.[5] 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 [37] 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[6] 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 [38] 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[7] 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 [39] 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. [40] 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)[8] 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). [41] 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 [42] 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 [43] 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 [44] 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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[1] 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.

[2] 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).

[3] 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.

[4] 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.

[5] 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%

[6] Unpublished and undated, but typed on official pesantren letterhead. Viewed in early 1995.

[7] 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.
[8] 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:

Published by:
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

Published by:
M. Asrori Ardiansyah, M.Ed
Teacher in Malang Indonesia

Pengertian Nilai-nilai Islam
Pengertian nilai sebagaimana dikutip berikut ini, A value, says Webster (1984), is “ a principle, standart, or quality regarded as worthwhile or desirable”, yakni nilai adalah prinsip, standart atau kualitas yang dipandang bermanfaat dan sangat diperlukan. Nilai adalah “suatu keyakinan dan kepercayaan yang menjadi dasar bagi seseorang atau sekolompok orang untuk memilih tindakannya, atau menilai suatu yang bermakna bagi kehidupannya”.
Nilai adalah standart tingkah laku, keindahan, keadilan, dan efisiensi yang mengikat manusia dan sepatutnya dijalankan serta dipertahankan. Nilai adalah bagian dari potensi manusiawi seseorang, yang berada dalam dunia rohaniah (batiniah, spiritual), tidak berwujud, tidak dapat dilihat, tidak dapat diraba, dan sebagainya. Namun sangat kuat pengaruhnya serta penting peranannya dalam setiap perbuatan dan penampilan seseorang.
Nilai adalah suatu pola normatif, yang menentukan tingkah laku yang diinginkan bagi suatu system yang ada kaitannya dengan lingkungan sekitar tanpa membedakan fungsi sekitar bagian-bagiannya. Nilai tersebut lebih mengutamakan berfungsinya pemeliharaan pola dari system sosial.
Dari dua definisi tersebut dapat kita ketahui dan dirumuskan bahwasanya nilai adalah suatu type kepercayaan yang berada dalam ruang lingkup system kepercayaan, dimana seseorang harus bertindak atau menghindari suatu tindakan, atau mengenai suatu yang tidak pantas atau yang pantas dikerjakan, dimiliki dan dipercayai. Jika nilai diterapkan dalam proses belajar mengajar dapat diartikan sebagai pendidikan yang mana nilai dijadikan sebagai tolak ukur dari keberhasilan yang akan dicapai dalam hal ini kita sebut dengan pendidikan nilai. Pendidikan nilai adalah penanaman dan pengembangan nilai-nilai dalam diri seseorang. Suatu nilai ini menjadi pegangan bagi seseorang yang dalam hal ini adalah siswa atau peserta didik, nilai ini nantinya akan diinternalisasikan, dipelihara dalam proses belajar mengajar serta menjadi pegangan hidupnya. Memilih nilai secara bebas berarti bebas dari tekanan apapun. Nilai-nilai yang ditanamkan sejak dini bukanlah suatu nilai yang penuh bagi seseorang. Situasi tempat, lingkungan, hukum dan peraturan dalam sekolah, bisa memaksakan suatu nilai yang tertanam pada diri manusia yang pada hakikatnya tidak disukainya-pada taraf ini semuanya itu bukan merupakan nilai orang tersebut. Sehingga nilai dalam arti sepenuhnya adalah nilai yang kita pilih secara bebas. Yang dalam hal ini adalah pengaktualisasian nilai-nilai Islam dalam proses pembelajaran yang nantinya disajikan beberapa nilai-nilai yang akan diterapkan dan dilaksanakan secara langsung dalam proses belajar mengajar oleh guru. Sehingga dari situlah realisasi dari pada nilai itu terlaksana dengan baik.
Jadi nilai-nilai Islam pada hakikatnya adalah kumpulan dari prinsip-prinsip hidup, ajaran-ajaran tentang bagaimana seharusnya manusia menjalankan kehidupannya di dunia ini, yang satu prinsip dengan lainnya saling terkait membentuk satu kesatuan yang utuh tidak dapat dipisah-pisahkan.
Dalam kamus besar bahasa Indonesia, nilai-nilai Islam atau nilai keislman adalah:
Nilai-nilai keislaman merupakan bagian dari nilai material yang terwujud dalam kenyataan pengalaman rohani dan jasmani. Nilai-nilai Islam merupakan tingkatan integritas kepribadian yang mencapai tingkat budi (insan kamil). Nilai-nilai Islam bersifat mutlak kebenarannya, universal dan suci. Kebenaran dan kebaikan agama mengatasi rasio, perasaan, keinginan, nafsu-nafsu manusiawi dan mampu melampaui subyektifitas golongan, ras, bangsa, dan stratifikasi sosial.

Nilai-nilai keislaman atau agama mempunyai dua segi yaitu: “segi normatif” dan “segi operatif”. Segi normativ menitik beratkan pada pertimbangan baik buruk, benar salah, hak dan batil, diridhoi atau tidak. Sedangkan segi operatif mengandung lima kategori yang menjadi prinsip standarisasi prilaku manusia, yaitu baik buruk, setengan baik, netral, setengah buruk dan buruk. Yang kemudian dijelaskan sebagai berikut:
1. Wajib (baik)
Nilai yang baik yang dilakukan manusia, ketaatan akan memperoleh imbalan jasa (pahala) dan kedurhakaan akan mendapat sanksi.
2. Sunnah (setengah baik)
Nilai yang setengah baik dilakukan manusia, sebagai penyempurnaan terhadap nilai yang baik atau wajib sehingga ketaatannya diberi imbalan jasa dan kedurhakaannya tanpa mendapatkan sangsi.
3. Mubah (netral)
Nilai yang bersifat netral, mengerjakan atau tidak, tidak akan berdampak imbalan jasa atau sangsi.
4. Makruh (setengah baik)
Nilai yang sepatutnya untuk ditinggalkan. Disamping kurang baik, juga memungkinkan untuk terjadinya kebiasaan yang buruk yang pada akhirnya akan menimbulkan keharaman.
5. Haram (buruk)
Nilai yang buruk dilakukan karena membawa kemudharatan dan merugikan diri pribadi maupun ketenteraman pada umumnya, sehingga apabila subyek yang melakukan akan mendapat sangsi, baik langsung (di dunia) atau tidak langsung (di akhirat). (Muhaimin;1993:117)
Kelima nilai yang tersebut diatas cakupannya menyangkut seluruh bidang yaitu menyangkut nilai ilahiyah ubudiyah, ilahiyah muamalah, dan nilai etik insani yang terdiri dari nilai sosial, rasional, individual, biofisik, ekonomi, politikdan estetik. Dan sudah barang tentu bahwa nilai-nilai yang jelek tidak dikembangkan dan ditinggalkan. Namun demikian sama-sama satu nilai kewajiban masih dapat didudukkan mana kewajiban yang lebih tinggi dibandingkan kewajiban yang lainnya yang lebih rendah hierarkinya. Hal ini dapat dikembalikan pada hierarki nilai menurut Noeng Muhadjir, contohnya: kewajiban untuk beribadah haruslah lebih tinggi dibandingkan dengan kewajiban melakukan tugas politik, ekonomi, dan sebagainya. Disamping itu masing-masing bidang nilai masih dapat dirinci mana yang esensial dan mana yang instrumental. Misalnya: pakaian jilbab bagi kaum wanita, ini menyangkut dua nilai tersebut, yaitu nilai esensial, dalam hal ini ibadah menutup aurat, sedangkan nilai insaninya (instrumental) adalah nilai estetik, sehingga bentuk, model,warna, cara memakai dan sebagainya dapat bervareasi sepanjang dapat menutup aurat.
Karena nilai bersifat ideal dan tersembunyi dalam setiap kalbu manusia, maka pelaksanaan nilai tersebut harus disertai dengan niat. Niat merupakan I’tikad seseorang yang mengerjakan sesuatu dengan penuh kesadaran. Dalam hal ini I’tikad tersebut diwujudkan dalam aktualisasi nilai-nilai Islam dalam proses pembelajaran pendidikan agama Islam.
Dalam proses aktualisasi nilai-nilai Islam dalam pembelajaran tersebut, diwujudkan dalam proses sosialisasi di dalam kelas dan diluar kelas. Pada hakikatnya nilai tersebut tidak selalu disadari oleh manusia. Karena nilai merupakan landasan dan dasar bagi perubahan. Nilai-nilai merupakan suatu daya pendorong dalam hidup seseorang pribadi atau kelompok. Oleh karena itu nilai mempunyai peran penting dalam proses perubahan sosial.

Dipublikasikan Oleh:
M. Asrori Ardiansyah, M.Pd
Pendidik di Malang


Mengkaji nilai-nilai Islami secara menyeluruh merupakan pekerjaan yang sangat besar, karena nilai-nilai Islami tersebut menyangkut berbagai aspek dan membutuhkan telaah yang luas. Kajian nilai-nilai Islami disini menyangkut beberapa aspek yang dimiliki oleh seorang muslim. Sebelum menanamkan nilai-nilai Islam terlebih dahulu memahami ajaran agama Islam secara keseluruhan, yang mencakup tiga hal pokok yaitu: 1) Islam yang meliputi rukun yaitu a) mengucapkan dua kalimat syahadat b) mendirikan sholat, c) membayar zakat, d) mengerjakan berpuasa dibulan ramadhan, e) melaksanakan haji bagi yang mampu. 2) Iman yang meliputi enam rukun yakni a) Iman kepada Allah, b) Iman kepada Malaikat Allah, c) Iman kepada Kitab Allah, d) Iman kepada Rosul Allah, e) Iman kepada hari akhir, f) Iman kepada Qodho dan Qadar. 3) Ihsan yaitu beribadah kepada Allah seolah-olah kita melihat Allah dan jika tidak dapat melihat-Nya kita meyakini Allah melihat kita.
Peranan agama dalam menjaga kesehatan mental, melihat bahwa ke Imanan dengan meyakini ke enam rukun Iman dapat memelihara seseorang dari goncanmgan atau gangguan jiwa. Ke Imanan tersebut dapat mengurangi tekanan-tekanan batin dan kekecewaan yang timbul karena interaksi dalam keluarga dan masyarakat. Dengan demikian maka keimanan mengakibatkan timbulnya keserasian dan keharmonisan antara pikiran, perasaan,dan perbuatan yang membawa kepada ketenteraman. Orang bertindak menurut nilai yang dimilikinya dan karenanya nilai itu memberikan arah hidupnya. Pendidikan nilai membantu banyak orang untuk dapat membedakan apa yang dilakukannya, dirasakan atau dipikirkan.
Untuk mengklasifikasikan nilai itu dapat dilihat dari berbagai sudut pandang, yaitu:
1. Dilihat dari kemampuan jiwa untuk menangkap dan mengembangkannya: 1) nilai yang statis, seperti: kognisi, emosi, dan psikomotor, 2) nilai yang bersifat dinamis, seperti motivasi berprestasi, motivasi berafiliasi, motivasi berkuasa.
2. Dilihat dari proses budaya: 1) nilai ilmu pengetahuan, 2) nilai ekonomi, 3) nilai keindahan, 4) nilai politik, 5) nilai keagamaan, 6) nilai kejasmanian.
3. Berdasarkan sumbernya: 1) nilai ilahiyah, 2) nilai insaniyah.
4. Dilihat dari ruang lingkup keberlakuannya: 1) nilai-nilai universal, 2) nilai-nilai lokal. Dari dimensi waktu keberlakuannya: 1) abadi, 2) pasang surut, 3) temporal.
5. Ditinjau dari segi hakikatnya: 1) nilai hakiki yang bersifat universal dan abadi, 2) nilai instrumental yang bisa bersifat lokal, pasang surut, dan temporal.
6. Dilihat dari sifat nilai: 1) nilai subjektif, yang merupakan reaksi subjek terhadap objek, 2) nilai objek rasional, yang merupakan penemuan esensi objek melalui akal sehat, seperti kemerdekaan, kedamaian, keselamatan, persamaan hak, 3) nilai objektif metafisik, seperti nilai agama yang tidak bersumber pada logika tapi mampu menyusun kenyataan objektif.
Menrut muhadjir (dalam Muhaimin, et. Al. 2005) bahwa secara hierarkis nilai dapat dikelompokkan kedalam dua macam, yaitu 1) nilai-nilai ilahiyah, yang terdiri dari nilai ubudiyah dan nilai-nilai muamalah, 2) nilai etika insani, yang terdiri dari: nilai rasional, nilai sosial, nilai individual, nilai biovisik, nilai ekonomik, nilai politik, dan nilai estetik.
Dari uraian diatas dapat dipahami bahwa nilai ilahi (nilai hidup etik religius) memiliki kedudukan vertikal lebih tinggi daripada nilai hidup lainnya. Disamping itu, nilai ilahi mempunyai konsekuensi pada nilai lainnya, dan sebaliknya nilai lainnya memerlukan konsultasi pada nilai ilahi, sehingga relasi termasuk vertikal linier. Sedangkan nilai hidup insani (tujuh nilai insani) tersebut, mempunyai relasi sederajat dan masing-masing tidak harus berkonsultasi, sehingga hubungan-nya termasuk horizontal-lateral. Mungkin kita bertanya “ apakah yang sosial lebih tinggi daripada yang individual?” filsafat hidup bangsa Indonesia mendudukkan keduanya sederajat, tetapi ada keharusan terapan nilai individual harus mempertimbangkan konsekuensi nilai sosialnya, demikian pula terapan nilai sosial harus mempertimbangkan konsekuensi individualnya, atau menurut istilah lainnya keseimbangan antara kepentingan individual dan sosial. Karena itu realisasinya termasuk lateral-sekuensial. Terapan nilai rasional (misalnya mengejar prestasi studi) juga harus diimbangi dengan konsekuensi biofisiknya (seperti: menjaga kesehatan, mengatur makan dan istirahat). Karena itu hubungan yang biofisik dengan yang estetis, dan sebagainya.
Disamping itu tata nilai atau hubungan antara nilai ilahi sebagai sumber nilai dan esensi nilai, dengan nilai-nilai etik sebagai sumber nilai dan esensi, dengan nilai-nilai etik insani lainnya dapat dibagi atas:
1. Nilai ilahiyah ubudiyah. Intinya nilai ini berisi keimanan kepada Allah, dan iman ini akan mewarnai semua aspek kehidupan, atau mempengaruhi nilai-nilai yang lain.
2. Nilai-nilai ilahiyah muamalah, yakni merupakan nilai-nilai terapan yang bersumber pada wahyu, dan sudah mulai jelas pembidangan aspek-aspek hidup, yang mencakup politik, ekonomi, sosial, individu, rasional, estetika dan sebagainya.
3. Nilai-nilai insani yang meliputi tujuh nilai sebagaimana tersebut diatas yaitu: sosial, rasional, individual, ekonomi, estetik, politik, biofisik.
Hal yang perlu disadari adalah bahwa semakin kuat rembesan iman (wilayah pertama) kedalam wilayah kedua dan ketiga, maka nilai-nilai insani itu semakin diwarnai oleh jiwa keagamaan. Disamping itu bila mana nilai-nilai insani mengunci diri pada wilayah ketiga, maka tidak akan disinari oleh nilai-nilai ilahi (agama). Tetapi bilamana diteruskan sampai kewilayah pertam, maka ia akan mementukan root-valuesnya, dan semua aspek hidup harus bermuara pada nil;ai-nilai ilahiyah tersebut.

Dipublikasikan Oleh:
M. Asrori Ardiansyah, M.Pd
Pendidik di Malang


The recent development of Indonesian Islam indicates that Islamic educational institutions survive amidst changes within Muslim communities. Pesantren, the oldest Islamic educational institution, is evidence of this. Pesantren, madrasah, and Islamic schools continue to grow and parental interest in sending their children to Islamic education institution is even stronger today than in the past.

Data from the Department of Religious Affairs shows a steady increase in the number of pesantren and students enrolled in them. In 1977, there were 4,195 pesantren with 677,384 students. This number skyrocketed in 1981 with pesantren numbering 5,661 with a total of 938,397 students. In 1985, this number increased to 6,239 pesantren with 1,084,801 students. In 1997, the Department reported 9,388 pesantren a total of 1,770,768 students. And finally, 2003-04, the number of pesantren reached 14,647. A similar trend is also evident with madrasah.

Madrasah, managed by the Department of Religious Affairs, also experienced rapid quality and quantity development. Development trends are also evident in Islamic schools. For example, Al-Azhar School in Jakarta, Insan Cendikia and Madania in West Java, and Mutahhari in Bandung have grown significantly in urban regions of the country. Similar developments are also found in Yogyakarta, Surabaya, and Makassar.

These data raise some important questions concerning the development and survival of Islamic educational institutions, as well as their changing roles amid transitions taking place in the Muslim community. Islamic educational institutions face complex challenges. They not only strive to educate Muslims in religious knowledge, but are also expected to participate in creating a new socio-cultural and political system of Indonesia. Based on the characteristics of Islamic educational institutions, there are at least four types of Islamic educational institutions: (1) NU-based Islamic boarding schools, (2) modern Islamic boarding schools whose orientation are Islamic reformism, (3) independent pesantrens, and (4) Islamic schools.

NU-based Pesantren
Strong waves of Islamic education reform, which occurred along with Islamic reformism, touched pesantren. While maintaining the traditional aspects of the education system, a number of pesantren in Java have, at the same time, begun to adopt the madrasah system. The experience of Pesantren Tebuireng Jombang East Java is important to note. Founded by a charismatic and outstanding ulama of the 20th century, Kyai Hasyim Asy’ari (1871–1947), Pesantren Tebuireng set the model for pesantren and ulama, especially in Java. Almost all of the important pesantren in Java have been founded by disciples of Kyai Hasim Asy’ari, therefore following the Tebuireng model. Together with the NU, which he founded in 1926, Kyai Hasyim had a central and strategic position in the legacies of ulama in Java. As such, he is known as the Hadratus Syaikh (Big Master) for ulama in Java.

Attempts to reform the educational system of pesantren began during the 1930s. The NU-based pesantren adopted the madrasah system by opening a six-grade system consisting of a preparatory grade for one year followed by a madrasah grade for six additional years. Furthermore the pesantren also included non-Islamic sciences in its curriculum such as Dutch language, history, geography, and math. This process continued as the pesantren was managed by his son Kyai Abdul Wahid Hasyim (1914– 53), whose concerns were to bring the legacies of pesantren into modernity. During the 1950s, he made madrasah system the main model of education in Tebuireng.

Tebuireng was not the only pesantren to make changes to its system. Pesantren Krapyak of Yogyakarta also became part of the reformist movement in the early 20th century. Kyai Ali Maksum (1915–89), the founder and the pesantren leader of Krapyak was recognized as a figure with a “modernist spirit.” Like Kyai Wahid Hasyim of Tebuireng, he also combined the madrasah into pesantren systems. In addition, Pesantren Tambak Beras and Pesantren Rejoso, both in Jombang, also adopted reformist agenda by implementing the madrasah system by introducing non-Islamic knowledge into their curriculum.

It can be concluded that, along with socio-religious changes following modernization and Islamic reformism, the transformation of Islamic education became a part of general discourse within Indonesian Islam at the beginning of the 20th century. The pesantren ulama, strictly holding the traditional legacies of Islam, gradually transformed the educational sytem by adopting the modern system of madrasahs. In addition, the main orientation of pesantren also changed form a focus on producing ulama. Instead, like other modern Muslim groups, the learning system of Pesantren Tebuireng is directed toward a larger agenda, “to educate students to be able to develop themselves to be ‘intellectual ulama’ (ulama mastering secular knowledge) and ‘ulama intellectual’ (scholars mastering secular as well as religious knowledge.”

This type of pesantren, culturally based on the NU tradition, has been growing steadily and can be found in almost every city in Java. In West Sumatra, this type of pesantren is affiliated with Perti (Persatuan Tarbiyah Islamiyah), a kaum tua-affiliated organization like the NU in Java. In Lombok, West Nusa Tenggara, the position of NU is assumed by the local Nahdhatul Watan (NW). Like NU and Perti, NW has become the cultural bases for traditional Islamic education institutions in Lombok as well as religious bases in the region. Similarly, As’adiyah in South Sulawesi has also played an important role like that of NU in Java, NW in NTB, and Perti in West Sumatra.

Modern Pesantren
In the history of Islamic education in Indonesia, this type of pesantren is said to be the first institution to create the principles for reforming Islamic education within the pesantren system. Pesantren Darussalam Gontor Ponorogo, founded on September 20, 1926 by three brothers (KH. Ahmad Sahal, KH. Zainuddin Fannani, and KH. Imam Zarkasyi) was the first modern pesantren designed to provide education able to respond to challenges faced by the Muslim community amidst changes in the socio-cultural life in Indonesia in the modern-day period.

Pesantren Gontor was founded during a period of important development for Indonesian Muslims. Forced by modernization by the Dutch colonial government (also known as “ethical politics”) and affected by changes in international networks centering Islamic reformism in Cairo, Egypt, Islamic education in Indonesia underwent fundamental changes. These changes were evident in the emergence of new Islamic educational institutions, especially those established by the first modern Muslim organization, Muhammadiyah, that adopted a modern system aimed at reforming the traditional educational system. As such, Islamic educational institutions became important parts of the Islamic reformism movement since the early 20th century.

In addition to introducing a new system and learning method—grade system, textbook, and non-religious subjects in the curriculum—pesantren also functioned as the medium to disseminate the ideas of Islamic reformism. It became the basis of creating new Muslims familiar with the spirit of modernism and progress, which had become a dominant discourse in Indonesia. Here the socio and religious dimension of madrasah can be clearly identified. Different from the type of pesantren that only provided classical religious learning and a kyai-centric system, madrasah provided a new religious perspective to respond to modernity. Unlike pesantren which functioned as the fabric of the ulama, madrasah were designed to create the so-called “learning Muslims.”

It is by this design that the foundation of Pesantren Gontor can be explained. It aimed to create new Muslims who could master either religious or secular knowledge as well as various life skills needed by the changing community. Since its inception, Gontor identified itself as a modern educational institution in contrast to a traditional pesantren which had been plagued with stagnancy and ineffective educational management. Imam Zarkasyi, one of Gontor’s founding fathers, saw that modern pesantren should apply freedom of thought, effective and efficient management, and adopt modern idea of progress (kemajuan) as well as modern devices. Like most Muslim reformers, he emphasized the need for madhab flexibility, which without would sometimes lead to stagnancy.

One aspect of this modernization can be seen in the system of Kulliyat al-Muallimin al-Islamiyah (KMI), a secondary grade system consisting of a six-year duration (equivalent to secondary and high schools). This KMI system is a combination of madrasah and pesantren systems. This combination is a result of Zarkasyi’s experiences in Pesantren Manbaul Ulum Solok, Sumatera Thawalib Padang Panjang, and Normal Islam School (also called KMI) and as founder and director of Kweekschool Muhammadiyah in Padang Sidempuan. In the classroom, students study and learn just like students of madrasah and other public schools do. However, outside of the classroom, students engage in various activities such as organization training, life skills, arts, sports, and scouting.

This concept of modern pesantren became the blueprint as a number of his students spread across the country established similar pesantren, usually called “the Alumni’s Pesantren” (meaning Gontor Alumni), named after the second generation who influenced the pesantren model in the next wave of development. From 1970–80, a number of Gontor alumni founded pesantren within their home regions. For example, Pesantren Daar El-Qalam Gintung Balaraja in Banten, Pesantren Al-Amin Prenduan Sumenep in Madura, and Pesantren Pabelan in Central Java, among many others.

Independent Pesantren
A new trend has recently emerged in Indonesia in the context of the development of pesantren and, to some extent, madrasah. This new trend is the presence of pesantren and madrasah that are independent in the sense that they have no affiliation with any Muslim mass organization. Instead, they are based largely on Salafi ideological beliefs.

It is difficult to know precisely when this new trend emerged. Even so, it is believed that the presence of independent pesantren and schools are closely related to the rise of Salafism in Indonesia in the 1980s. During this period, the advent and influence of Salafism can be identified with the emergence of so-called usroh groups. From a religious doctrine perspective, these groups follow the earlier Salafi figures such as Ahmad ibn Hambal and Ibn Taymiyah whose ideas were absorbed and developed by later figures such as Hasan al-Banna and Sayyid Qutb through Ikhwan al-Muslimin in Egypt and Abu al-A’la al-Mawdudi through Jema’at Islami in the India sub-continent. The doctrines of Salafism as developed by these figures have become the main reference for these groups.

To give an example, Pesantren Hidayatullah is based on contextualization of Salafi religious beliefs. This fact (to be demonstrated in the following section of statistical analysis) can be seen in the teachings developed by Ustadz Abdullah Said who created the idea of Muslim community (jemaah Islamiyah) (community who implements Islamic values in a comprehensive manner). Jemaah, in the context of the Islamic movement is frequently paralleled with hizb (party) and harakah (movement), although the concept of jemaah is used more widely than the other two. It is very frequently understood as a Muslim community more superior than others and as one claiming that the only solution they have is the correct one.

Another important characteristic of this group is the model of literal interpretation toward religious texts. As a result, they have a distinct physical appearance. For instance, males wear ghamis (an Arab garment for men) and have long beards, while females wear jilbab and veil, covering all parts of their bodies except for the eyes and hands. According to Islamic teaching, females are not allowed to show their bodies except to their husbands.

In Indonesia these groups have interestingly emerged in prominent public universities such Universitas Indonesia (UI), Institut Pertanian Bogor (IPB), Universitas Gadjah Mada (UGM), and Institut Teknologi Bandung (ITB). However, in Islamic universities such as State Islamic Institutes/Universities (UIN/IAIN), they are hardly found. After the fall of Suharto, groups calling themselves Lembaga Dakwah Kampus (LDK) began to emerge in predominantly Muslim universities. Their movement has become an important social and religious movement in Indonesia. At the political level, these groups gave support for the Partai Keadilan Sejahtera (Welfare Justice Party, PKS), one of the leading Muslim-based parties in Indonesia.

Islamic Schools
In essence, the system and organization of Islamic schools is similar to public schools (although most of them necessitate being a Muslim as a requirement from students) with an emphasis on Islamic moral conduct. As such, these schools can be categorized as “public school plus.” This means that religious courses on Islamic history, Islamic jurisprudence, or Islamic theology are not the main subjects of the curriculum like that of pesantren and of most madrasah. Instead, there is an emphasis on how religion can inspire good moral conduct in the daily lives of the students.

Islamic schools were created to cater to the Muslim middle class in urban areas. These schools are equipped with good facilities such as air-conditioned classrooms, libraries, labs, and computer facilities. As a modern institution, these schools are administered by professionals in management as well as curriculum development. Teachers, staff, and managers are recruited in a competitive and professional manner by considering their skills and competency levels.

Yayasan Pesantren Islam (YPI) Al-Azhar, founded on April 7, 1952, is one of the best examples of Islamic schools. As of 2004, Al-Azhar has managed as many as 78 schools from kindergarten to high school, spread over several provinces including Jakarta, Banten, West Java, and East Java. In 2002, YPI founded a university named Universitas Al-Azhar Indonesia (UAI).

In addition to Al-Azhar, other independent schools oriented toward science and technology include SMU Insan Cendikia in Banten and Gorontalo in Sulawesi. These schools were founded in 1996 by a number of scientists mostly affiliated with the Commission for Research, Development and Application of Technology (BPPT) under the Ministry of Research and Technology through the Science and Technology Equity Program (STEP) for schools within pesantren.

During its development, Islamic schools have grown not only in Jakarta but also in other large cities throughout Indonesia. For example, in West Sumatra there exists Kompleks Perguruan Serambi Mekkah in Padang Panjang which is supported by members of PKS party. This “PKS’s model of Islamic schools develop its own characteristic by giving more emphasis on Science and Technology. In terms of religious orientation, it seems that PKS’s model of Islamic schools follows “moderate salafism.” Although PKS is closer to Salafism, it differs with radical salafism like FPI (Islamic Defense Front).

Published by:

M. Asrori Ardiansyah, M.Ed
Teacher in Malang


Ketika masih berlangsung di langgar (Surau) atau masjid, kurikulum pengajian masih dalam bentuk yang sederhana, yakni berupa inti ajaran Islam yang mendasar. Rangkaian trio komponen ajaran Islam yang berupa iman, islam dan ihsan atau doktrin ritual dan mistik telah menjadi perhatian kyai perintis pesantren sebagai isi kurikulum yang diajarkan kepada santrinya. Tiga komponen dasar ajaran Islam tersebut disampaikan dalam bentuk yang paling mendasar, disesuaikan dengan tingkat intelektualitas masyarakat (santri) dan kualitas keberagamaannya pada waktu itu, yang kebanyakan dari masyarakat yang baru saja menjadi muslim atau baru saja memeluk Islam (Rahim, 2001: 145).

Peralihan dari pendidikan surau atau masjid menjadi pondok pesantren secara perlahan membawa perubahan perubahan-perubahan kurikulum. Dari sekedar pengetahuan menjadi suatu ilmu, dari materi yang bersifat dokrinal menjadi lebih interpretatif kendati dalam wilayah yang sangat terbatas. Ilmu yang mula-mula diajarkan di pesantren adalah nahwu dan sharaf, kemudian fiqih, tafsir, ilmu kalam, dan akhirnya sampai kepada tasawuf dan sebagainya (Yunus, 1985:232). Sistem pendidikan tidak didasarkan pada kurikulum yang dipergunakan secara luas, tetapi diserahkan pada persesuaian yang elastis antara kehendak kyai dan santrinya secara individual. Ilmu-ilmu dasar seperti tauhid, fiqih, dan tasawuf menjadi mata pelajaran paforit bagai para santri.

Kapasitas dan kecenderungan kyai merupakan faktor yang menentukan bagi pengembangan kurikulum tersebut (Qomar, tt: 110). Ilmu-ilmu yang diajarkan di pesantren pada mulanya haruslah ilmu-ilmu yang telah dikuasai kyai dan telah menjadi kecenderungannya seperti ilmu tasawuf. Para kyai pada umumnya mempunyai kecenderungan yang kuat terhadap tasawuf baik pada tataran amalan maupun keilmuan yang merupakan pewarisan terhadap sosok para wali. Bentuk-bentuk kehidupan sufistik yang dijalani kyai senantiasa dikaitkan dengan mata rantai transmisi ajaran wali.

Kurikulum pesantren terus berkembang menjadi bertambah luas lagi dengan penambahan ilmu yang masih merupakan elemen dari materi yang diajarkan pada masa awal pertumbuhannya. Pengembangan kurikulum tersebut lebih bersifat rincian materi pelajaran yang sudah ada daripada penambahan disiplin ilmu yang baru sama sekali. Masing-masing pesantren memiliki kurikulumnya sendiri yang berbeda antara pesantren satu dengan yang lainnya. Upaya standarisasi kurikulum pesantren selalu berhadapan dengan otonomi pesantren sebagai pantulan dari otoritas kyai dan spesialisasi ilmu yang dimilikinya. Sebagian besar kalangan pesantren tidak setuju dengan standariasi kurikulum pesantren. Biarlah pesantren tetap dengan kekhususan-kekhususan mereka, sebab hal itu jauh lebih baik daripada harus disamakan. Sebaliknya variasi kurikulum pesantren justru diyakini lebih baik. Adanya variasi kurikulum pada pesantren akan menunjukkan ciri khas dan keunggulan masing-masing. Penyamaan kurikulum dipandang membelenggu kemampuan santri seperti pengalaman yang terjadi pada madrasah yang mengikuti kurikulum pemerintah. Lulusan madrasah ternyata hanya memiliki kemampuan yang setengah-setengah. (Qomar, tt: 112).

Jika pada awal pertumbuhan pesantren, tasawuf merupakan mata pelajaran yang dominan, pada akhir-akhir ini dominasi tasawuf telah melemah. Selanjutnya yang mendominasi kurikulum pesantren adalah ilmu-ilmu bahasa Arab, kemudian ilmu fiqih, baik fiqih ‘ubudiyah maupun fiqih mu’amalah (Saridjo, 1982: 30). Dalam perkembangannya yang terakhir justru ilmu fiqh yang dominan dalam kurikulum pesantren (Wahid, Suwendi, dan Zuhri, 1999: 292). Sehubungan dengan hal tersebut, Mujamil Qomar dengan mengutip pernyataan Muhammad Tholchah Hasan menganjurkan agar pesantren menambah porsi kajian tafsir Al-Qur’an (khususnya ayat al-ahkam) dan hadits, selain kutub al-fiqh al-mu’tabarah, ushul al-fiqh, qawaid al-ahkam, dan tarikh tasyri’ sebagai perangkat keilmuan yang dapat mendinamisasi pemahaman fiqh sebagai produk ijtihad (Qomar, tt: 119).

Terkait dengan masuknya pelajaran umum ke dalam lingkungan pesantren, mulai pada awal abad ke 20 beberapa pesantren mulai bersikap progresif dengan memasukkan pelajaran-pelajaran umum. Salah satu pesantren yang mempelopori pembaharuan kurikulum tersebut adalah pesantren Tebuireng. Qomar dengan mengutip pernyataan Abubakar Aceh mengatakan bahwa pada tahun 1935 pesantren Tebuireng telah membuka madrasah modern secara basar-besaran yang dinamakan madrasah Nizhamiyah, suatu bentuk perguruan hasil karya A.Wahid Hasyim sendiri, dengan cara dan daftar pelajaran yang belum pernah terjadi dan belum pernah ada orang yang berani menciptakannya sebagai salah satu cabang pesantren. Di dalam madrasah tersebut selain pelajaran agama dan bahasa Arab, juga disajikan pengetahuan umum, bahasa Belanda, dan bahasa Inggris, di mana ketiga mata pelajaran yang disebut terakhir masih dianggap alergi bagi kaum ulama (Qomar, tt: 131).

Pada awalnya Tebuireng memang hanya mementingkan pelajaran agama semata sebab pengajaran-pengajaran umum seperti bahasa-bahasa asing (selain bahasa Arab), belajar huruf latin, dan berhitung masih dianggap haram untuk diajarkan. Bahkan pada waktu itu, memakai bangku dan papan tulis ketika memberikan pelajaran sudah di anggap tidak sesuai dengan kehidupan agama. Pandangan semacam ini dilatarbelakangi semangat agama yang sangat menentang penjajahan (Saridjo, 1982: 114).

Sebagai pesantren terkemuka khususnya di Jawa dan Madura pada waktu itu, pembaharuan kurikulum di pesantren Tebuireng tersebut tentu saja mendapatkan banyak tantangan. Namun demikian secara perlahan-lahan pada akhirnya banyak diikuti oleh pesantren-pesantren yang lain. Pada tahun 1980-an cukup banyak pesantren tradisional yang sudah memasukkan sistem madrasah dan ikut kurikulum pemerintah. Sekurang-kurangnya pesantren tersebut menambahkan pengetahuan umum seperti pelajaran PMP, bahasa Inggris, bahasa Indonesia, IPS, dan Matematika (Said dan Affan, 1987: 103).

Memang titik pusat pengembangan keilmuan di pesantren adalah ilmu-ilmu agama, tetapi ilmu-ilmu agama ini tidak akan berkembang dengan baik tanpa ditunjang ilmu-ilmu lain (ilmu-ilmu sosial, humaniora, dan kealaman). Oleh karena itu sebagian pesantren mengajarkan ilmu-ilmu tersebut sebagai penunjang ilmu-ilmu agama. Sekalipun demikian orientasi keilmuan pesantren tetap berpusat pada ilmu-ilmu agama (Daulay, 2001: 30). Sementara itu, ilmu-ilmu umum dipandang sebagai suatu kebutuhan atau tantangan. Tantangan untuk menguasai pengetahuan umum itu merupakan salah satu tugas yang harus dilaksanakan pesantren.

Seiring dengan tuntutan zaman dan laju perkembangan masyarakat, pesantren yang pada dasarnya didirikan untuk kepentingan moral, pada akhirnya harus berusaha memenuhi tuntutan masyarakat dan tuntutan zaman tersebut. Orientasi pendidikan pesantren perlu diperluas, sehingga menuntut dilakukannya pembaharuan kurikulum yang berorientasi kepada kebutuhan zaman dan pembangunan bangsa. Sementara itu, pesantren memiliki otoritas untuk menentukan kehidupannya sendiri. Sebagai akibatnya terjadilah polarisasi bentuk-bentuk pesantren dengan model sekaligus kurikulum yang berbeda-beda antara satu pesantren dengan pesantren yang lain. Ada pesantren salaf yang mempertahankan pelajarannya dengan kitab-kitab klasik tanpa memngajarkan pengetahuan umum, ada pula pesantren khalaf yang menerapkan sistem pengajaran klasikal, mengajarkan ilmu-ilmu umum dan ilmu-ilmu agama dan juga pendidikan ketrampilan (Khozin, 2006: 101).

Lebih lanjut Khozin dalam bukunya Jejak-jejak Pendidikan Islam di Indonesia mengemukakan hasil penelitian Soedjoko Prasodjo tentang bentuk-bentuk pesantren dilihat dari perkembangan fisiknya yaitu: Pertama pesantren yang hanya terdiri dari masjid dan rumah kyai; Kedua pesantren yang terdiri dari masjid, rumah kyai, dan pondok; Ketiga pesantren yang terdiri dari masjid, rumah kyai, pondok, dan madrasah; Keempat pesantren yang terdiri dari masjid, rumah kyai, pondok, madrasah, dan tampat ketrampilan; Kelima pesantren yang terdiri dari masjid, rumah kyai, pondok, madrasah, tempat ketrampilan, universitas, sekolah-sekolah umum, gedung pertemuan, tempat olah raga dan lain-lain (Khozin, 2006: 101-102).

Keragaman bentuk, pola, karakteristik, maupun tradisi pesantren menjadi alasan tidak adanya keseragaman kurikulum yang berlaku menyeluruh pada semua pesantren. Dengan otoritas kyai dan kemandiriannya, pesantren memiliki kebebasan penuh untuk menentukan bentuk, materi, sistem pendidikan, serta kurikulum yang diterapkan pada masing-masing pesantren. Sekalipun demikian, di antara perbedaan-perbedaan itu masih ada beberapa kesamaan, terutama dalam beberapa mata pelajaran keagamaan yang berlaku hampir di seluruh pondok pesantren.

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Dipublikasikan Oleh:
M. Asrori Ardiansyah, M.Pd
Pendidik di Malang