Da’wah of Cultural Islamic: A study of Appreciation Kiai Ahmad Masrur Mz for Jatilan

Title : Da’wah of Cultural Islamic: A study of Appreciation Kiai Ahmad Masrur Mz (Born 1963) for Jatilan in Wukirsari Cangkringan Sleman Yogyakarta
Author : Muh. Hanif (CRCS, 2005)
Keywords : Kiai – Cultural Islamic mission – Appreciation of Jatilan
Abstract :
The objective of this research is to study the cultural Islamic mission (dakwah) undertaken by Kiai Masrur Ahmad MZ (born 1963) by utilizing the art of Jatilan dancing in Wukirsari village, Cangkringan, Sleman, Yogyakarta. The focuses of the research are: 1) Kiai Masrur’s form of appreciation of the art of Jatilan dancing. 2) The reason why Kiai Masrur conducts the Islamic cultural mission in the form of the art of Jatilan dancing appreciation of: his thoughts, motives, and objectives in the appreciation. 3) The response of community towards the Islamic mission in the form of Jatilan dancing art?This research uses qualitative methods. The subjects of research are Kiai Masrur, the organizing board and santris of Pesantren Al Qodir, the Jatilan performers and Jatilan community in Wukirsari, the pros and cons towards this cultural Islamic mission. The gathering of the data was undertaken in the form of in-depth interviews, participatory observation, and evaluation of objective data (documentation). The fieldwork was carried out from September 2004 until February 2005 in Wukirsari Cangkringan Sleman Yogyakarta. The analysis of the data uses a descriptive-qualitative approach with an interactive model.

The results of the research are: First, there are two forms of appreciation of Jatilan by Kiai Masrur: (a) Jatilan is used as a medium to establish communication with the Jatilan community in the forms of annual Jatilan festivals and performances, giving financial support to the Jatilan groups, and involving the Jatilan society in various Islamic gatherings (pengajian) within as well as outside the pesantren. (b) Jatilan as the target of dakwah in the form of reforming Jatilan to make it more Islamic in its outer as well as inner aspects. In the inner concept the Hindu concept of Trihitakarana and the concept of Javanese spirituality are changed and made closer to Islamic mystical concepts. Concerning the outer aspects, via the regulations of the Jatilan festival, the Jatilan dancer are not allowed to transgresses the orthodox limits of Islam such as trance, giving sacrifice to spirits (sesaji) and the like. The criteria for winning in the Jatilan festival are the beauty of the music, dancing, and singing.

Second, The thought, motives, and objectives of Kiai Masrur’s cultural Islamic mission, in the form of Jatilan appreciation. a) The thought that all humankind in the eyes of God is considered as God’s vicegerent on the earth. Therefore, all of human kind has the duty to spread and the right to receive the mission, without discrimination. Art, including Jatilan can be used for dzirkrullah (the remembrance of God). Priority is given to amr ma’ruf before nahi munkar, communicating dakwah in a polite manner, and giving good examples (utswatun hasanah), at Takhalli (emptying oneself from those bad aspects), at Tahalli (filling oneself with good qualities), at Tajalli (receiving insight to see the truth), accommodating innovations without leaving tradition behind, being moderate in manner (tawasut), just (tawazun), tolerant (tasamuh), giving priority to tasawuf rather than fiqh. The goals of the appreciation of jatilan are: to facilitate the Islamic mission, develop social integration, explaining al Qodir’s position in not forbidding jatilan, to revitalize Javanese identity, and to advocate grass-roots society. The motives and objectives behind the cultural Islamic mission are: a political motivation to get the support from the masses, and the motivation to defend the beauty of art. Third, In response to Kiai Masrur’s cultural Islamic mission, the community are divided into two groups: the supportive group consists of the Jatilan community, a large part of which are members of NU Wukirsari, some kiais from other pesantrens outside Wukirsari. Whereas the objecting group consists of a larger part of Muhammadiyah members and to a smaller part of NU members. The basic difference between these two groups is that the supportive group uses thoughts based on Javanese mystical tradition, Islamic mysticism (tasawuf) which stresses love and solidarity towards all of humankind, appreciation of the diversity of religious expression and consideration of religion as part of culture. The other group, however, bases its thoughts on the principles of Islamic shari’ah as explicated in the textual tradition of Islam (Qur’an and Hadith) and practicing them strictly. It views religion as distinct from and superior to culture. Moreover, the differences are manifestation of in-group and out-group feeling and the different political orientations.

History has proven that the cultural Islamic mission undertaken by the Walisongo and other Islamic leaders (dai) has been successful in spreading Islam in Indonesia, especially among the Javanese ethnic group. This model of Islamic mission appreciates local culture, avoids violence and oppression. This model is still relevant for contemporary and future development of Islamic mission.

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