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Struggling for the Umma

Struggling for the Umma: Changing Leadership Roles of Kiai in Jombang, East Java OPEN ACCESS

Endang Turmudi
Copyright Date: 2006
Published by: ANU Press
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt2jbk2d
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  • Book Info
    Struggling for the Umma
    Book Description:

    This thesis focuses on the relationship of Indonesian kiai ('ulama: religious leaders) in Jombang to their wider social and political situation. It argues that the charismatic authority exerted through the leadership of the kiai in Java has limitations in terms of its legitimacy. At the very least it has boundaries that determine areas or circumstances for its legitimate expression. It also argues that the kiai's influence in politics is not as strong as in other domains. Despite being a charismatic figure, only a minority of followers feel compelled to follow the kiai's political example. Differences between the kiai and his followers in relation to political behaviour are common, especially after the transformation of the Islamic political party. Nevertheless, the role of the kiai in general remains important in the eyes of Muslim society.

    eISBN: 978-1-920942-43-4
    Subjects: Religion
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Table of Contents

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  1. Foreword (pp. ix-x)
    James J. Fox

    Endang Turmudi’s Struggling for the Umma is an appropriate volume with which to initiate this new series of publications on Islam in Southeast Asia. This is a study that focuses on the heartland of the Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), the largest Islamic organization in Indonesia, and on the role of ulama, or kiai as they are known in Java, within NU. Based on substantial fieldwork, this study provides an informed glimpse into the intimate relationships among kiai, their role in local and national politics and their leadership of the Islamic community.

    In this study, Dr Turmudi considers the critical role that...

  2. Studies on Islamic religious leaders or kiai in Indonesia (Geertz, 1959a and Horikoshi, 1976) reveal that they have a strategic and central position in their society. The centrality of their position is related to their being educated and wealthy people in their community. As an educated elite, the kiai provide knowledge of Islam to villagers. The pesantren as a traditional Islamic educational institution is an important means through which the transfer of knowledge to each kiai’s local society takes place. Through their wealth, on the other hand, the kiai become patrons on whom many villagers depend. The centrality of the...

  3. This chapter is mainly descriptive. In it I will describe the nature of pesantren life, and briefly trace the history of three pesantren in Jombang. The pesantren has been the main institution through which a large number of Islamic society in Jombang have been educated. The significance of the pesantren lies not only in the fact that they have implanted a system of Islamic values which has created at least the appearance of a more religious society in Jombang, but also that the kiai who lead the pesantren are often involved in politics. The kiai thus represent a means through...

  4. This chapter will provide a basic picture of various sufi orders or tarekat which exist in Jombang. Tarekat is one of the two institutions attached to kiaiship. In Jombang, its role is significant, not only because a significant number of Muslims here join a terakat movement, but also certain tarekat kiai are involved in politics. As will be discussed in Chapter V, tarekat in Jombang plays an important political role, contributing to the formation of what is known as ‘Islamic politics’.

    Whereas the primary activity of the pesantren lies in educating the santri, the tarekat’s activity focuses on building batin...

  5. This chapter discusses important aspects of kiai leadership. Having described two important institutions attached to kiaiship, that is the pesantren and the tarekat, in the previous chapters and the social conditions under which the kiai, as a traditionalist group, relate to other Islamic groups, I would like now to discuss the social reality of the kiai world. The first section of this chapter highlights the position of the kiai in society in general. The second section illuminates the basis for society’s relationship with the kiai. This second section gives us a basic understanding of why the society affords the kiai...

  6. This chapter tries to highlight the problems of the kiai leadership in the tarekat world. It examines how the kiai exercises his power. It explores other principles, in addition to the concept of baraka discussed in Chapter IV, which underlie the followers relationship with their kiai. There are general guide lines which a kiai must follow in order to legitimise his political position in the eyes of his followers and society in general. Despite the close relations with his followers, a kiai is vulnerable to their evaluation. The split of the Tarekat Qadiriyah Wa Naqsyabandiyah in Jombang clearly demonstrates how...

  7. There are two viewpoints concerning the relationship between religion and political behaviour (Hammond, 1979:20). One argues that religious membership and the activities of members with distinctive values and orientations have a formative influence on political behaviour. The other suggests that the political preference of any group in society does not need to be motivated by its religious beliefs and that any relationship in this sense is ‘spurious’. Scholars who hold the first view take religious loyalty into consideration in their examination of political participation. Religious loyalty and affiliation are regarded as factors that affect the political behaviour of society. This...

  8. This chapter discusses the influence of the kiai in politics. It highlights the emerging changes in Muslim political perspective at the grassroots level in Jombang. Such changes constitute their response to the existing and continuous changes in the socio-political realm at the national level. This change in perspective on the part of both kiai and Muslims in general actually marks the failure of their politics.

    The failure of Islamic politics has pushed the kiai, through NU, to free Muslim society from the necessity of adhering to a certain political orientation, so that the religious affiliations which formerly directed the political...

  9. Islam in Indonesia is not homogeneous in terms of its religious practice. There are what are commonly called the traditionalist and the modernist groups. The traditionalist in Jombang is represented by NU¹ while the modernist by Muhammadiyah. The traditionalists are those who usually acknowledge themselves as following one of the four madhhab (school of law) in Islam, while the modernists base their practice of Islam on their reasoning. The traditionalists often relate their practice of Islam to Syafi’i, Hambali, Maliki or Hanafi, while the modernists relate to no one. In addition, the traditionalists always refer to the Qur’an, the hadith,...

  10. There are two formal institutions through which the kiai’s relationship with society is established. These institutions have simultaneously created two different patterns of relationship; and they constitute important avenues which sustain the kiaiship in Java. The two institutions are pesantren and tarekat. Although the pesantren and the tarekat constitute two important institutions associated with kiaiship, each of them has its own character. In addition, there exists variation and nuances that differentiate one pesantren or tarekat from another.

    The pesantren in Jombang are not stereotypical. In addition to the traditional pesantren, there are some modern pesantren as far as their educational...