The Pesantren, the Kyai and Politics

Essay by iamsamUniversity, Bachelor'sB+, August 2009

download word file, 5 pages 0.0

It is unknown exactly when Islam is thought to have spread to the Indonesian archipelago. According to Andaya and Yoneo (1999), there is evidence of the existence of Islam around the eleventh century in the Java regions of Indonesia. Islam was also introduced by Muslim traders who came through established maritime trader routes via Northern Sumatra (Andaya and Yoneo 1999: 175). With the introduction of Islam, came the common practice of establishing Islamic schools to impart the teachings of Islam and to maintain an Islamic culture and identity (Suparto 2004). In the Arab world and Pakistan, such schools are known as madrasa (Turmudi 2006). In Indonesia, it is known as pesantren or Dayah. Pesantrens have a Javanese influence culturally whereas dayah is more culturally Sumatran (Mardi). That is not to say that Pesantrens do not exist in Sumatra. Pesantrens are dotted all over Indonesia, including Sumatra.

Pesantrens are Islamic boarding schools originating from Java.

A pesantren always consists of a mosque, a Kyai (the leader and main teacher), the santri (the students) and other teachers (Dhofier 1999: 25). The purpose of a pesantren is to provide a place for the santri to stay while they gain Islamic education under the direction of the Kyai (Dhofier 1999: 25). Pesantrens do not only provide Islamic Education. There are many pesantrens that provide a mixture of religious and non-religious subjects to keep up with the changing world (Suparto 2004). Apart from the secular subject like maths and science, santris also focus on classical Arabic text which includes religious law, Quranic studies and ethics (Dhofier 1999: 30). Calls have been made to close pesantrens down due to its quality of education and its apparent links to Islamic extremism after the Bali bombings. Links to Islamic extremism have been limited...