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The Islamic Traditions of Cirebon

The Islamic Traditions of Cirebon: Ibadat and Adat Among Javanese Muslims OPEN ACCESS

A. G. Muhaimin
Copyright Date: 2006
Published by: ANU Press
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt2jbkqk
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  • Book Info
    The Islamic Traditions of Cirebon
    Book Description:

    This work deals with the socio-religious traditions of the Javanese Muslims living in Cirebon, a region on the north coast in the eastern part of West Java. It examines a wide range of popular traditional religious beliefs and practices. The diverse manifestations of these traditions are considered in an analysis of the belief system, mythology, cosmology and ritual practices in Cirebon. In addition, particular attention is directed to the formal and informal institutionalised transmission of all these traditions.

    eISBN: 978-1-920942-31-1
    Subjects: Religion
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  1. Foreword (pp. xi-xiv)
    James J. Fox

    This volume, The Islamic Traditions of Cirebon by A. G. Muhaimin provides an excellent introduction to the practice of Islam in contemporary Java. Dr Muhaimin takes great care in presenting Islamic belief and practice as a living social reality. In Cirebon, religious and customary practices – ibadat and adat – blend together in a single rich historical Islamic tradition. It is the whole of this tradition that Dr Muhaimin is concerned to elucidate.

    The setting for this study is particularly important. The coastal town of Cirebon with the region in which it is situated was a historical gateway for the...

  2. …syncretism is very conspicuous in the religion of Java. This perhaps results from the flexibility of the Javanese people in accepting various incoming religions from the outside world. In historical times, upon their underlying animistic beliefs, Javanese had successively accepted Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam and Christianity, and ʺJavanizedʺ them all. And as can be seen…worship of various spirits strongly exists in the deep stratum of folk psychology. It is said … among the Javanese: ʺSedaya agami sami kemawonʺ … Although 90% of the inhabitants …profess Islam, they all belong to …ʺwong abanganʺ, whose Islamic beliefs seem to cover the surface of...

  3. asyhadu al-la ilaha illallah,

    wa asyhadu anna Muhammadar-Rasulullah.

    isun anakseni kelawan atinisun,

    setuhune oranana Pengeran anging Allah.

    lan isun anakseni kelawan atinisun,

    setuhune Nabi Muhammad iku utusane Allah.

    tegese kang aran Pengeran, iku dzat kang agawe,

    langit kelawanMbumi, sarta isine kabeh.

    Isun anakseni setuhune Kanjeng Nabi Muhammad,

    iku utusane Gusti Allah kanggo wong alam kabeh.

    asyhadu an la ilaha illa Allah,

    wa asyhadu anna Muhammadan Rasul Allah.

    I bear witness in my heart,

    that there is no Lord but Allah.

    and I bear witness in my heart,

    that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah.

    He who is called Lord is...

  4. My son, Harlan, once decided to go to Jakarta via Puncak (Bogor). Because it was on an important business trip I told him to go on Wednesday Pahing. For certain reasons he firmly insisted on going the day before and I could do nothing but let him go and told him to be extra careful. Upon his leaving I tried not to think about him but I could not stop. Three days later I got a telegram from his office in Tangerang suggesting that I should see my son. Without knowing what had happened I set off immediately to Tangerang...

  5. Any attempt to identify precisely the activity belonging to ritual in the Cirebonese context encounters semantic problems. There is no such word in the local language which precisely translates the English word ʺritualʺ. In Cirebon, ritual activities, religious or otherwise, are singled out by their names; each name corresponds to the nature and purpose of the ritual concerned.

    The lexical meaning of ritual is defined as ʺa prescribed form or method for the performance of a religious or solemn ceremony, or, any body of rites and ceremonies.ʺ¹ This basic meaning implies that, on the one hand, ritual activity differs from...

  6. ʺMa ra-a hul mu ʹminuna hasanan

    Fa huwa ʹindallahi hasanunʺ

    ʺWhat the faithful believers find good,

    is [presumably] good on the side of God.ʺ

    (Hadith transmitted by Ahmad).

    This Chapter deals with the ritual practice of adat which is nearly the same thing as what Rippin called the ʺadditional ritualʺ, the ritual outside the enactment of the Five-pillars, used by the Muslims to express their identity. It thus, lies outside the domain of ibadat in the narrower sense. Some of the adat activities are undeniably Muslim creations, some others have unclear origins but all of these practices have an Islamic...

  7. Along with the ritual practices already discussed in the last two chapters, there is another ritual practice belonging to adat which is critically important: the veneration of wali (saints) and holy men. Part of this adat has been touched upon in the preceding chapters but many important aspects of it are still to be considered. Due to its place in the life of the people, and to its complexity, this practice deserves separate treatment.

    Wali veneration is a long established practice throughout the Muslim world. Only since the influence of Ibnu Taymiyah and his student, Ibnu Qayyim, has this practice...

  8. Carilah ilmu walau kemana

    Walau adanya dinegeri Cina

    Itulah sabda junjungan kita

    Harus dikejar dengan segera.

    Seek knowledge wherever it is

    No matter if it is in China

    That is what our master (the Prophet) insisted

    It has to be sought immediately.

    In the preceding Chapters I have discussed the major religious traditions that currently prevail in Cirebon. Some traditions may be independently transmitted by one individual to make it known or accessible to others. An example of this is the accession of ʺilmu ghaibʺ or ʺilmu hikmahʺ from an owner (master) to a learner. In this Chapter, however, I...

  9. On Java, the pesantren and the tarekat, meaning (mystical) path, is the hall-mark of traditional Islam. The former is a place where syareʹat (the exoteric dimension of Islam) is transmitted to the next generation; the second, in the strictest sense, is an organisation by which the esoteric dimension of Islam is established, especially among the aged.¹ The pesantren mainly prepares the young to cope with their immediate future in social life. It enables them to undertake active and acceptable participation in various societal roles without neglecting the more distant future, the hereafter. The tarekat, on the other hand, prepares the...

  10. Throughout this work, I have presented a wide-ranging discussion of Javanese religious traditions as exhibited by people in Cirebon. Major parts of these traditions are readily observable because they are manifest in people's everyday life. The discussion stretches from what the people believe to what they do and how they act. Exceptions might occur but by and large, what the people believe, do and act, are complementary to each other. What they believe motivates what they do and how they act, while what they do and how they act reflects verbal expressions of what they believe. Careful examination of these...