by Muhammad Sulton Fatoni (Lecturer Sociology at unusia.ac.id)

The Choice of the community refers to several studies that show the relationship between social capital with civil society (see, among others, Francis Fukuyama, 1999; Jonathan Fox, 1995). Several phenomena the writer thinks as important reasons in the research of a civil society with the analysis of social capital in pesantren’s community:

First, the pesantren’s community consists of groups of villagers who have quite strong religious basic knowledge. In fact, it is difficult to find a community that has a low level of awareness of religious teachings.The Strong understanding of the religion is certainly affecting every agenda of their daily lives. The strong religious base is the values ​​that shape the character of the community.

Besides shaping values in practical level, it is also becoming a norm even tradition, as embodied in tahlil fraternity. The tahlil ritual is typical of Pesantrens aimed to pray for family members / community who have died. The rituals performed within a day after the death, lasts for seven days.Tahlil resumed forty days, one hundred days, and a thousand day after the death. Its process begins by inviting neighbors close to congregate read religious texts in Arabic that has been developed specifically, as praise to God, repentance, prayer, and some sacred text of the Al- Quran. 

Other norms and subsequent traditions are diba’an, Barzanjen, and Burdah. The word diba’an comes from Sudan, diba means “white”. The word ‘is the nickname for a scholar, Abdurrahman bin Ali bin Mohammed bin Omar bin Ali bin Yusuf bin Ahmad bin Omar al-Diba`i As-Syaibaniy. Born in the city of Zabid (a city in northern Yemen) on Muharram 866 AH and died in the same city on 26 Rajab 944 AH) He wrote a book, Mawlid Diba’i containing poems of praise for the Prophet Muhammad, His family and friends. The word barzanjen comes from the Barzanjah, the name of a village in northern Iraq. Al-Barzanji as the nickname of an Islamic leader Hassan ibn Ja’far ibn Muhammad ibn Abdul-Karim al-Barzanji (1690-1763M) His work is phenomenal titled ‘Iqdul Jawahir which is always read by Muslims throughout the world to date.

While Burdah, means ‘ striated blanket ‘ (striped). Same as diba’an and barzanjen, the content of Burdah is also poetic verses about the majesty of the Prophet Muhammad, his family and companions. Muslims recognize some other burdahs, like kasidah Burdah al-Bushiri, written by Muhammad ibn Zaid Al-Bushiri (610-695H / 1213-1296 AD) who was born in Morocco and died in Egypt. There is also kasidah Burdah Su’ad Banat, written Ka’b bin Zuhair, companions of the Prophet Muhammad. Ka’ab writings amounted to 34 stanzas. The ritual Diba’an, Barzanjen or Burdah is usually done by a group of people in a way humming read verses of the classic poetic. Muslims believe in the tradition of reading the poems of praise is able to provide a positive energy for the culprit. The tradition is growing rapidly, not only in Indonesia but also in other parts of the world.

Another tradition is selapan, the ritual for infants who have aged 35 days. 35 is fundamental choice in the Javanese calendar (Wage, Pahing, Pon, kliwon, and Legi). In the Islamic traditional, Selapan is interpreted as an act of gratitude for the birth and the baby’s health at the same time it is a prayer for the baby’s future. Selapan ritual is filled with reading praise to Allah, and the Prophet Muhammad, cutting baby’s hair and eating together.

Selametan is also a popular tradition. Selametan is a kind of ritual held at any time depending on the needs. For example, someone who is holding Selametan wants something and the tradition  is also held to avoid disaster. Technically, selametan is inviting neighbors or people close to gather and read some verses in the Al-Quran.Then the organizers tell the intention to the people and prayer requests for well performance and then pray together. Organizers usually provide some dishes. The Selametan can also be organized by delivering food to neighbors.Alms food is intended that God granted the intention. When delivering food to neighbors, organizers usually convey, for example, “It’s just a simple food, help me pray for my son to pass the school exam well.”

Talqin tradition is another different thing. Talqin is the name for the process of homage to the deceased shortly after the burial. The practice is after the body buried, the grave escorts gathered in a standing position. The procession is led by kiai. Kyai took a position to the west of the cemetery facing east and then read the text of a popular book called talqin.     The Talqin book is a guide, the guidance. The redaction of the book is frequent questions, such as, who is your Lord? Allah Subhanahu wa Taala; who is your prophet? Muhammad shallahu alaihi wa sallam … and so on. After reading talqin above the grave, kiai switching positions to the east of the cemetery facing west, and leads a prayer, safety for the deceased and people.

Kupatan tradition is not less favorite in society. Kupatan is a tradition held seven days after Idul Fitri. Kupatan celebrated with bringing rhombus food, rice cakes and other dishes, such as chicken curry, fried tempe/ soybeans and tofu, chili, and others. In the morning of Kupatan, usually at 06.00, people gather in mosques or prayer rooms, bring ketupat lontong and then do the tahlil. After that, they eat the food.  The tradition is then developed; the food is better packed and delivered to the house of relatives and neighbors. In addition to the above there are also traditions that complement the norms of society, such as brokohan (selamatan shortly after birth; sepasaran (salvation after five days of birth); tingkeban (salvation when the content of the four-month-old baby); haul (selamatan (yearly) for someone who has died) and some others.

Second, the pesantren’s community has adequate education institution rooted and pervasive in society. The community and posts in society that have linkages with pesantren, know madrasah, formal educational institutions based on religion that has spread almost throughout the village country.   Madrasah was initiated by pesantren community. However, the existence of madrasah cannot  be separated from society’s involvement. In this context, pesantren is as the initiator and executor, while people are objects who needs. Then the society’s engagement is high enough to pesantren, which is able to prepare education in madrasah. Both have high collectivity and solidarity.

Third, the communities of pesantren have efforts in economy that are well established and independent. Economic activity is going well in pesantren and it is able to sustain the activities. Pesantren’s independent directions are correlated with the ability to get away from some economic and political interests. The economic power base does not interfere pesantren’s   activities in the social and education; even the three go hand in hand. Its relationship with society is  laid out in order to avoid any conflict of interests that could disrupt social orders. There seems to have division between the economic roles of pesantren’s community with the wider ones.

The Synergy of pesantren and society at practical level positioning pesantren community as the leading sector, while the public/society as economic actors in the real sector. For example, the community around Pondok Pesantren of Sidogiri, Pasuruan (hereinafter abbreviated as Sidogiri) the study was conducted, know Baitul Mal wat-Tamwil Maslahah (BMT Maslahah) and Baitul Mal wat-Tamwil Cooperative, Joint Integrated Enterprises (BMT UGT).

Two Islamic Financial Service Cooperatives (KJKS) were  initiated by Sidogiri elite for the economic empowerment of rural communities. Currently the two KJKS grow and expand to cities in East Java, Jakarta, West Java, Lampung, Riau, whole province in Kalimantan and Bali.  In addition, there is also Pondok Pesantren (Koppontren) Sidogiri Cooperative, which develop retail businesses in some cities in East Java. Other synergies are Agro business Cooperative in the agricultural sector.   Retail sector also worked through the Basmalah Stores incorporated cooperative and opened in some cities and a Shariah Business Centre (SBC) of Sidogiri, known as Education Institutions of Professional Training of Sharia Cooperative Financial Service (KJK LDP). SBC Sidogiri is also consulting services and assistance in Islamic or Syariah system.

Fourth, pesantren community has a social association spread in society where the association comes from the activities done and built over the years. Fifth, the community often successfully seat one of its elite became official members of the public through direct elections (legislative / executive) with the most votes in Indonesia. The Boarding community cultural movement is gradually positioning them as an independent and dignified society. Therefore, the pondok pesantren’s community is interesting to be a subject of study.