How was your knowledge odyssey throughout the years in Krapyak, Gus?
“There’s no such thing as knowledge odyssey. I was just ‘ngenger’ (?) I was brought here by my father. He told me to stay here, under Kiai Ali’s patron. My Father never said to me to study. He only said for me to stay here. So you could be like your kiai. So, because he never told me to study, I never studied. I just heeded/adhered (to Kiai Ali) (?). I hope it would be a windfall”
“I spent 15 years tabarukan. I hope it would be a real windfall. I’m doubtless it exists. I have felt it”
Since when until when was that?
“I came in 1979, had recently entered second grade on junior high. Alhamdulillah, I managed until 1994. 15 years”
That was a very long time, wasn’t it?
“I grew old in Krapyak”
What kind of bond do you have with Krapyak so you made it a part of your life journey, Gus?
“My father studied at Krapyak. My uncles (also) studied at Krapyak. I witnessed how my father and my uncles attain very much benefit and windfall from Krapyak”
What strategy that Islam Nusantara offers to withstand radicalism?
“Islam Nusantara is a sociology fact. It’s a sociology reality. That’s why every now and then NU’s public figure explains that NU isn’t a madzhab nor an ideology. Islam that grew and spread in Nusantara has it’s own specialty that couldn’t be found anywhere else on earth. There’s so many factor that affect Ulama Nusantara, such us the muslim community, mentality, etc. The most notable one is it’s tradition. Ulama Nusantara has it’s own tradition that is different from Islam on the other part or earth. Each Ulama Nusantara has their social responsibility in a scope of territory. It has been going for ages that Ulama Nusantara is in charge of some region for his riayah. It has always been like this. And there’s nothing like this elsewhere. That’s one from many examples. Now, if we talk about radicalism
Radicalism arose because of there are some Islamic group that wants to force Islamic literacy from the past, the former civilization, (into the present) which now has changed. They are stubborn who forces to use Islamic literacy from the past. That is what formed radicalism. Why Ulama Nusantara could avoid that kind of mentality? Because, de facto, for centuries Ulama Nusantara has adapted themselves to response to reality of the society with a contextualized response. So our ulama are already used to doing ijtihad to respond reality in history that changes over time. It has been going on for centuries, since the Walisongo era until now. This kind of standpoint from our ulama made Islam compatible to every occurrences. Like Kiai Ali Maksum said, Islam must be solihun li kulli zaman wa makan. So it (Islam) must be contextual. Solihun means fit. Fit means compatible. Compatible in any era and any place. Also any position and any time. That is Islam. This is what our kiai, our ulama pass down. So what’s the way out from radicalism? Contextualization, or re-contextualization, on Islamic literacy. So Islam could be solihun li hadzihi zaman. Why is radicalism considered to be a threat? Because it isn’t solihun li hadzini zaman. They (radical groups) made Islam ghoiru soleh li hadza zaman. That is the case
What is your vision that you offer, as Katib ‘Aam of Nahdlatul Ulama, to steer Nahdlatul Ulama?
I don’t have any (personal) vision because it has already been formed by our predecessor. This isn’t a new thing. In 1984, Nahdlatul Ulama already gave legitimation through religion, theological structure regarding the nation-state. It was defined in a compact statement which states Negara Kesatuan Republik Indonesia is the final design of the state. So it is already final. This nation-state is already recognized. Although there aren’t any president in the former Fiqih. A nation-state was a phenomenon after World War 2. There were no reference. This is a new ijtihad. Later on Muktamar 1984, it was stated that we aren’t only bound by Ukhuwah Islamiyah, but also Ukhuwah Wathaniyah and Ukhuwah Basyariyah. This was remarkable. It gave us a new paradigm. In the old literacy, there was a rigid partition between moslem and non-moslem. Non-moslem would be classified again into dzimmi, harbi, and so on. Even though a dzimmi, he or she would still be a secondary class citizen. But there (in Muktamar 1984) it was stated about Wathaniyah. It means hum alkafiruun, hum ikhwanunaa. Bainana wa bainahum ukhuwah . This was extraordinary. But it clearly this ijtihad has it’s roots. Rasululullah SAW during Haji Wada’, said in his speech in Mina: Ayyuhannas, inna robbakum wahid wabaakum wahidz . We our brothers, period. In Ukhuwah Basyariyah, we know that albasyar akhul basyar. This is the vision that was made by kiai(s) in advance. There’s no need for me to make a vision again? What for? There’s already one. There’s a vision about re-contextualization of Fiqih that was agreed in Muktamar Krapyak. There’s (also) a vision about istimbath jama’i and about the domination of kafir isn’t relevant for modern nation-state. These visions were made by Ulama. What we have to do now is to actualize it. The vision(s) is already there. We only need to think how to make it work. (We also need to think about) how these viewpoint could be internalize in Nahdlatul Ulama people (Nahdliyyin). Being their character, their mindset. Because it has already been proven that this kind of vision doesn’t only solve problems in NU. Nor only problems in Indonesia. Nor the Islamic world. It is undeniable that the answer to the issue happing in the Islamic world is in the vision of kiai Nahdlatul Ulama. I’m doubtless about that . We haven’t seen vision from anyone else. Until today. Problems there wouldn’t be solved if there isn’t any vision about a way out. The vision about the way out is here, placed by kiai Nahdlatul Ulama. Even for the whole world’s civilization too. I have said many times, the others are also in chaos. The West are not in chaos? You’re wrong. America is a riot. Europe is (also) in havoc. Everywhere is a disaster. And if you consider it, the answer isn’t anywhere but here. Ukhuwah basyariyah, the essence of the solution. Also the willingness to create a consensus between the differences. So that although in diversity, we could live together in peace
What kind of effort that santri needs to do in your perspective who is also santri?
First things first, you have to settle your heart on learning, that you learn, you study is only because hoping upon mardlatillah. That first Because everyone has their own maqom (standing) There’s maqom ‘alim, maqom muta’allim, and maqom wali. Not waaliy, but wali. NU official are waaliy(s). Waaliy means the government, those who administer business. Ulil amri is waaliy. NU is an ulil amri, I’m a waaliy. Each maqom has it’s own afdlolul ‘amal. An ‘alim’s afdlolul ‘alam is ta’lim. A muta’allim’s afdlolul ‘amal is ta’allum. Any motivation besides libtighoi mardlatillah for doing ta’allum is forbidden, If you study because so that you could be elected for NU organization, it’s forbidden. There mustn’t be any motivation except libtighoi mardlatillah. After that, any manzilah Allah hand over you, do it genuinely, accomplish it with full dedication. I’ve never had any intention on being NU administrator. Nor being watimpres or spokesman. I was just searching for blessings. The matter that later on you get this manzilah, take it with full responsibility and finish it as best as you could. You will face many realities that you’ve never thought about it before. I’m what they call “the generation inbetween”. Said to be the lost generation. Because I’m between the baby boomers and millennial. The exact definition on it isn’t clear, But I have witnessed the shift between pre-millennial era to post-millennial era. I have seen many things today that I’ve never imagined before. No one has ever guess that situation would be like nowadays. It just happened. So, it is most likely you will face unexpected things in the future. Whether you could handle it or it, it would depend on futuh minallah. We look forward to futuh minallah. If we take a look at history, it is astonishing that kiai could bring out answerers for questions brought throughout history. But it certainly became the right solution. It’s all bidah, if you think about it. Founding an organization would be bidah. Declaring a nation-state would be bidah. Very funny. Exiting from Masyumi would be bidah. (All of it) if it was considered through text. But through context, everyone would agree that this was the solution that saved Indonesia. Where would that come from if it wasn’t from His futuh? Kiai in Indonesia study the same thing as kiai on the other side of the earth. They have the same pedagogue. What our kiai obtain is because His futuh. This is what we hope for. All of this wouldn’t be possible if they hadn’t put their energy and spirit for thalabul ‘ilmi
Gus, lately there are many ulama who passed away, either habaib, kiai, or nyai. As a santri, what kind of reaction should we do?
This should be a reminder for us that when time comes, we would take hold their responsibility. For now, there’s Kiai Hilmy, Kiai Hamid, Kiai Ashid, Kiai Afif, Kiai Fairuz, and the others who held the responsibility. But the younger ones, one day they have to take over. Nowadays, there’s many kiai who has deceased. To whom this responsibility goes to? The responsibility’s still here, pondok pesantren is here, the jama’ah isn’t goin anywhere. So to whom? There must be someone who would take charge. Therefore, khidmah to kiai has to be a self-consciousness . We have to study only because hoping mardlotillah, because our takzim to our teachers. If then we earn some knowledge, don’t use that knowledge for our own good. Use that knowledge to carry the responsibility that would be passed down by our teachers to us.
Penerjemah: Yasmeen Mumtaz
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