Tanah Pakpak.. Tanah Leluhur

Kitab Kuning buku yang diajarkan dipondok pesantren
( Kitab Kuning: Books in Arabic Script Used in the Pesantren )
A research project on the Indonesian ulama gave me the opportunity to visit pesantren in various parts of the Archipelago and put together a sizeable collection of books used in and around the pesantren, the so-called kitab kuning. Taken together, this collection offers a clear overview of the texts used in Indonesian pesantren and madrasah, a century after L.W.C. van den Berg’s pioneering study of the Javanese (and Madurese) pesantren curriculum (1886). Van den Berg compiled, on the basis of interviews with kyais, a list of the major textbooks studied in the pesantren of his day. He mentioned fifty titles and gave on each some general information and short summaries of the more important ones. Most of these books are still being reprinted and used in Indonesia, Singapore and Malaysia, but many other works have come into use beside them. The present collection contains around nine hundred different titles, most of which are used as textbooks. I shall first make some general observations on these books and on the composition of the collection. In the second part of this article I shall discuss a list of ‘most popular kitab’ that I compiled from other sources. All of the books listed there are, however, part of the collection.[2]


Criteria and representativeness

In order to judge how representative this collection is, a few words on my method of collecting are necessary. I visited the major publishers and toko kitab (bookshops specializing in this type of religious literature) in Jakarta, Bogor, Bandung, Purwokerto, Semarang, Surabaya, Banda Aceh, Medan, Pontianak, Banjarmasin, Amuntai, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Georgetown (Penang), Kota Bharu and Patani (Southern Thailand), and bought there all available Islamic books in Arabic script printed in Southeast Asia. The last two criteria may at first sight seem rather arbitrary, but I found them to be sociologically significant besides being the most convenient ones. It is true, most toko kitab also sell limited numbers of Arabic books printed in Egypt and Lebanon (an agent representing the Lebanese publishing house Dar al-Fikr has special shops for these books in Jakarta and Surabaya), but the price differential between such books and Southeast Asian editions guarantees that they are bought by a relatively small minority only. They include works of reference for the advanced scholar and works by modern authors that have not yet been accepted by the mainstream of Indonesian Islam. Any book for which there is a sizeable demand will sooner or later be (re)printed by one of the regional publishers.[3]
            Similarly, the script in which a book is printed carries symbolic meaning and differentiates rather neatly between two different types of reading public. Indonesian Muslims use even different words for books in romanized script (‘buku’) and those in Arabic script, irrespective of the language (‘kitab’). Up to the 1960’s a well-defined line divided the Muslim community in ‘traditionalists’ and ‘modernists’ (with as their major socio-religious organizations the Nahdlatul Ulama and the Muhammadiyah, respectively). The former used to study religion exclusively through kitab kuning (called kuning, ‘yellow,’ after the tinted paper of books brought from the Middle East in the early twentieth century), while the latter read only buku putih, ‘white’ books in romanized Indonesian. The authors of the latter usually rejected most of the scholastic tradition in favour of a return to, and in some cases new interpretation of, the original sources, the Qur’an and the hadith. This may have contributed to the negative attitude towards buku putih that long existed in the pesantren milieu. In a few old-fashioned pesantren such books are not allowed until this day. Traditionalist ulama writing books or brochures, whether in Arabic or in one of the vernacular languages, always used Arabic script, and many continue to do so. Nowadays, however, the dividing line between ‘modernists’ and ‘traditionalists’ is not so sharp and clear anymore, and many of the old antagonisms have worn off. The ‘modernists’ have generally become less radical in their rejection of tradition — significantly, there are now several Muhammadiyah pesantren offering a combination of the traditional curriculum (kitab kuning) and that of the modern school. Not only have most ‘traditionalist’ kyai, on the other hand, become more catholic in their reading, many of them write now in Indonesian as well as in Arabic, Malay or Javanese. The Arabic script, though still the most unambiguous symbol of a traditionalist orientation, is no longer a sine qua non for it. I have therefore not applied the criterion of script too rigidly, and have included in the present collection a number of works in (romanized) Indonesian, that logically belong to the kitab tradition: annotated translations of, or commentaries on, classical texts by ‘traditionalist’ ulama.
            The criterion of Arabic script has excluded one category of texts otherwise quite similar to those collected. Ulama in South Sulawesi (the most prolific of whom are Yunus Maratan and Abdul Rahman Ambo Dalle) have written religious texts in Buginese for use in madrasah and schools, employing not, as earlier generations of scholars did, the Arabic but the Buginese alphabet. A good number of these works are already in the KITLV library, and several bibliographies exist (Departemen Agama 1981/1982, 1983/1984).
            The collection could, for a number of reasons, not be complete. Most publishers have very limited storage facilities, and only a fraction of the books published by them are actually available at their sales departments. When a kitab is (re)printed, almost the entire edition is immediately sent off to toko kitab throughout the country. It is only through visiting many such shops and patiently combing the shelves that one can collect at least most of the important works from major publishers. Virtually all works mentioned in published sources or heard about have been collected, some even in several editions, in various translations or with different glosses. But some of the less important works were simply out of print and sold out in all shops visited.
            Furthermore, there are numerous minor local publishers bringing out works of secondary importance, often by local ulama. There are not a few of such works in the collection, but it is likely that many others were overlooked. In spite of these limitations, however, the collection represents a fair cross-section of the study materials used in Indonesian (and Malaysian) pesantren and madrasah, as well as of the intellectual output of Indonesian ulama.


Statistics

Out of some nine hundred different works, almost five hundred, or just over half, were written or translated by Southeast Asian ulama. Many of these Indonesian ulama wrote in Arabic: almost 100 titles, or around 10%, are Arabic works by Southeast Asians (or Arabs resident in the region). Those in Indonesian languages were, of course, all written by Southeast Asians (including some of Arab descent). If we count translations as separate works, the approximate numbers of kitab in the various languages are as follows :
Language
Approximate number of kitab
Percentage of total number
Arabic
500
55 %
Malay
200
22 %
Javanese
120
13 %
Sundanese
35
4 %
Madurese
25
2.5 %
Acehnese
5
0.5 %
Indonesian
20
2 %


These works can be roughly classified according to subject matter. The largest categories are:

jurisprudence (fiqh)
20 %
doctrine (`aqida, usul al-din)
17 %
traditional Arabic grammar (nahw, sarf, balagha)
12 %
hadith collections
8 %
mysticism (tasawwuf, tariqa)
7 %
morality (akhlaq)
6 %
collections of prayers and invocations, Islamic magic (du`a, wird, mujarrabat)
5 %
texts in praise of the prophets and saints (qisas al-anbiya’, mawlid, manaqib, etc.)
6 %


A few important changes have taken place in the composition of the pesantren curriculum, and these are only partly reflected in the table above. A century ago, the Qur’an and the traditions were rarely studied directly but mainly in the ‘processed’ form of scholastic works on jurisprudence and doctrine. According to van den Berg, only one tafsir, the Jalalayn, was studied in the pesantren, and no hadith collections at all. In this respect, a significant change has taken place during the past century. There are no less than ten different Qur’anic commentaries (in Arabic, Malay, Javanese and Indonesian) in the collection beside straightforward translations (also called tafsir) into Javanese and Sundanese. The number of compilations of hadith is even more striking. There is almost no pesantren now where hadith is not taught as a separate subject. The major emphasis in instruction remains, however, on fiqh, the Islamic science par excellence. There have been no remarkable changes in the fiqh texts studied, but the discipline of usul al-fiqh (the foundations or bases of fiqh) has been added to the curriculum of many pesantren, allowing a more flexible and dynamic view of fiqh.
These and other categories of kitab kuning will be discussed in greater detail in the second part of this article, where the most popular of each are listed. But here are first some observations on kitab publishing and major authors.


The publishing of kitab kuning in the Archipelago

Printed books are a relative novelty in the pesantren. In van den Berg’s time, many of the kitab in the pesantren were still in manuscript, and were copied by the santri in longhand. But it was precisely in this period that printed books from the Middle East began entering Indonesia in significant numbers, one of the side effects of the increased participation in the haj (due in turn to the arrival of the steamship). There had, by then, been a century of bookprinting in the Middle East already, but of particular relevance for Indonesians was the establishment of a government press in Mecca in 1884, which printed not only books in Arabic but also in Malay. The latter part of its activities was placed under the supervision of the learned Ahmad b. Muhammad Zayn al-Patani, who is also the author of several treatises himself.[4] (the present collection contains seven of them in recent reprints). His selection of books was rather biased in favour of those by compatriots, and it is partly due to him that many works of Da’ud b. `Abdallah al-Patani and Muhammad b. Isma`il Da’ud al-Patani are still widely available, in reprints of his original editions. In these and other reprints, the imprint of the original publisher has been replaced, but many of the works published by Ahmad b. M. Zayn may still be recognized by the verses that he wrote as introductions and placed on the title pages.[5]
This was not the very first Malay press, although the first one of importance. Zayn al-Din al-Sumbawi, another Jawi scholar resident in Mecca, had a short treatise lithographed as early as 1876 (Snouck Hurgronje 1889: 385) and several of Da’ud b. `Abdallah al-Patani’s works were printed in Bombay before the 1880s too. Bombay was also the major source of printed (lithographed) Qur’ans entering Indonesia in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.[6] Publishers in Istanbul and Cairo soon followed the Meccan press in establishing Malay sections. It was especially Mustafa al-Babi al-Halabi of Cairo who, in the course of time, was to publish many a Malay kitab. Two studies by Mohd. Nor bin Ngah (1980, 1983) discuss a more or less representative sample of these Malay kitab and of the worldview that is reflected in them.
            These publishing activities in the Middle East, as well as the example of British and Dutch lithograph presses, stimulated Islamic publishing efforts in the Archipelago too. The first presses there that printed in vernacular languages were operated by government and missionary organisations.[7] They were soon followed by the first enterprising Muslim publishers. One of the pioneers was Sayyid Usman of Batavia, that prolific ‘Arab ally of the Dutch Indies government,’ many of whose simple works are still in use, primarily among the Betawi and Sundanese. He had a first version of his Al-qawanin al-shar`iyya lithographed in 1881; by 1886, at least four other booklets of his hand were mentioned and many more were to follow.[8]

Even Sayyid Usman was not the first Islamic publisher in the Indies; that title probably belongs to Kemas Haji Muhammad Azhari of Palembang, who in 1854 made his first lithograph prints of the Qur’an, calligraphed by himself. He had bought a press in Singapore a few years earlier, on the return journey from the hajj, and taught himself to operate it. His Qur’ans — to which he had written a 14-page Malay introduction on pronunciation and style of reading — found ready buyers.[9] In Singapore too, there must have been lithograph presses occasionally printing in Malay by that time, but very little is known about them as yet. In the 1880s and 1890s, several presses published Malay newspapers and occasionally books, but it remains unclear whether these included more than one or two small religious tracts.[10]
            In 1894, the junior ruler of Riau, Muhammad Yusuf, established a printing press, the Matba`at al-Ahmadiyya, on the island of Penyengat in 1894, which in the following years printed several religious treatises by the contemporary Naqshbandi shaykh Muhammad Salih al-Zawawi, the spiritual preceptor of Muhammad Yusuf and his relatives.[11]
            These promising beginnings found little follow-up. Many books and journals were published in the Archipelago in the first half of the 20th century, but very few of them were kitab (in the wide sense defined above) and almost none were texts of the classical kind. West Sumatra was probably the only region where a significant number of kitab (written by local `ulama) were printed during the first decades of the century. Some of these were simple textbooks, in Malay and Arabic, for the then new madrasah, meant to replace the rather difficult classical works on Arabic grammar, doctrine and fiqh. Several of these books are still widely used.[12] Others were polemical writings, weapons in the religious debates between kaum muda and kaum tua then raging in West Sumatra.[13]
            Here as elsewhere, most of the modernists, who were by far the more prolific writers and publishers, soon adopted the romanized script, which brought them closer to the secular nationalists but reinforced their social separation from the kaum tua. They did write religious textbooks, but in style and contents these differed rather much from traditional kitab.
It was only after Indonesia’s independence that kitab began to be printed on any serious scale there. As the present major publishers remember, before the Second World War there were only booksellers, no actual publishers of kitab in the Archipelago (the largest being Sulayman Mar`i in Singapore, `Abdullah bin `Afif in Cirebon, and Salim bin Sa`d Nabhan in Surabaya, all three of them Arabs).[14]  They ordered virtually all books - including works in Malay - from Egypt, where book production was then considerably cheaper than in Indonesia. There was one exception, but it had only local significance: the (Malay-owned) Patani Press as well as Nahdi (Arab) in southern Thailand began printing Malay kitab in the late 1930s, for use in the pondok of Patani and the contiguous Malay states.
            In the first half of the century, Indonesian demand was still low, and the only commercially interesting kitab was the Qur’an itself. Both Mar`i and bin `Afif made their first attempts to have it printed locally in the 1930s; they were later followed by Al-Ma`arif of Bandung, established late in 1948 by Muhammad bin `Umar Bahartha, a former employee of `Abdullah bin `Afif. By mid-century, Mar`i had several kitab kuning printed as well; one of the more conspicuous was `Abd al-Ra’uf al-Fansuri (al-Singkili)’s Malay adaptation of the tafsir Jalalayn, published in 1951. In the course of the 1950s, Al-Ma`arif followed suit with cheap prints of oft-used kitab, and so did `Abdullah bin `Afif and various relatives of Salim Nabhan. (Larger and therefore more expensive works, such as the four-volume I`anat al-talibin by Sayyid Bakri b. M. Shatta’, the latest great compendium of Shafi`i fiqh, were only published from the 1970s on, reflecting a growing affluence in santri circles). In the course of the 1960s Toha Putra of Semarang also ventured onto the kitab market. Still later, the publishing house Menara of Kudus joined the competition: the first non-Arab publisher of this type of literature in Indonesia. Both Toha Putra and Menara have published numerous classical texts together with Javanese or Indonesian translations, as well as original works by Javanese `ulama. In 1978, a former associate of Al-Ma`arif established the house Al-Haramayn in Singapore, which in a few years put out a wide range of classical Arabic texts, many Malay and even a few Sundanese works. Singapore was apparently no longer an advantageous location to serve the Southeast Asian kitab market from, for Al-Haramayn closed shop after a few years (although its books could still be found all over the Archipelago in 1987), and the owner established a new house in Surabaya, called Bungkul Indah.[15] In number of titles, al-Haramayn and its successor Bungkul Indah are the largest publishers of kitab; in sheer volume of sales, however, they lag far behind Al-Ma`arif. Another new publisher with a wide range of (exclusively Arabic) titles is Dar Ihya’ al-Kutub al-`Arabiyya in Surabaya.[16]
            There are no signs yet of strong centralization in the publishing of kitab kuning. Surabaya boasts the largest number of publishers; the most conspicuous, beside those already mentioned, are the houses of Sa`d bin Nasir bin Nabhan and Ahmad bin Sa`d Nabhan (ten other members of the same family also publish kitab). On Java’s north coast we find further publishers (besides those mentioned) in Semarang (Al-Munawwara), Pekalongan (Raja Murah), Cirebon (Misriyya, the old establishment of `Abdallah bin `Afif) and Jakarta (Al-Shafi`iyya and Al-Tahiriyya, belonging to the large Betawi pesantrens of these names, and putting out textbooks used there besides simple books by authors beloved to the Betawi community). `Arafat in Bogor mainly produces works on Arabic grammar (over twenty titles); Toko Kairo in the small West Javanese town of Tasikmalaya publishes both Arabic classics and simple Sundanese kitab.
            In Sumatra there are at present, surprisingly, no important publishers of kitab. The public there is served by publishers in Java, Singapore and Malaysia. Publishing in Singapore has, as said, declined; in Malaysia too, publishing of kitab is on the wane (in contrast to the publishing of modern books, in which the country’s output is above that of its ten times more populous southern neighbour). Georgetown (on the island of Penang) still has three active publishers, of which Dar al-Ma`arif and Nahdi are the most productive. In Kota Bharu (Kelantan), the Pustaka Aman Press is very active, but it publishes mostly modern Malay books, not classics.[17]
            There are also several publishers in Patani (Southern Thailand), the eldest of which, Patani Press, began publishing the works of Patani `ulama in the late 1930s.[18]  At present their books do not receive a wider distribution than Patani and the contiguous Malay states. One of the other publishers here, Nahdi, has moved most of its activities to Penang, where the political climate is more favourable to Islamic publishing, and whence the books receive a wider distribution. Besides these, there are a large number of small local publishers putting out religious tracts, brochures and books for strictly local markets.
            A high proportion of the books printed by these Southeast Asian publishers are photomechanical reprints of works first published in Mecca or Cairo around the turn of the century. Many even still carry the imprint of the original publisher on the title page. In other cases, this imprint has been replaced by that of the new publisher. Borrowing continues freely meanwhile. Thus it can happen that a book originally published by Mustafa al-Babi al-Halabi of Cairo appears with the name of the most recent publisher, Bungkul Indah, on the jacket while the title page still bears the imprint of the previous publisher, Al-Ma`arif. Some cheap reprints of more recent Egyptian or Lebanese books are only distinguishable from the original by the quality of the paper and the binding: a nightmare for the bibliographer. Thus Bungkul Indah has recently brought out a series of modern works with the imprint of Beyrut publisher Dar al-Thaqafa still on the cover and title page.


Appendix: The top 100 kitab kuning



Table I.  Arabic grammar, tajwid, logic
region:
Sumatra
KalSel
JaBar
JaTeng
JaTim
total

number of pesantren
4
3
9
12
18
46








level
sarf







Kailani/Syarah Kailani
2
1
7
0
4
14
`ali
Maqshud/Syarah Maqshud    
0
1
2
3
5
11

Amtsilatut Tashrifiyah
0
0
0
3
4
7
tsanawi
Bina’
1
0
4
1
0
6
ibtida’i








nahw







Jurumiyah/Syarah Jurumiyah
3
1
8
9
16
37
tsanawi
  Imriti/Syarah Imriti
0
0
3
6
12
21
tsanawi
  Mutammimah
0
1
5
0
7
13
tsanawi
  Asymawi
0
0
1
0
2
3

Alfiyah
0
0
8
11
11
30
`ali
  Ibnu Aqil
1
0
0
3
10
14
`ali
  Dahlan Alfiyah
0
0
1
0
3
4
`ali
Qathrun Nada
3
1
0
0
0
4
tsanawi
Awamil
1
0
1
1
1
4
ibtida’i/
tsanawi
Qawaidul I`rab
0
0
0
1
2
3
tsanawi
Nahwu Wadlih
0
0
0
2
3
5
tsanawi
Qawaidul Lughat
0
0
0
2
2
4









balagha







Jauharul Maknun
2
0
4
5
7
18
`ali
Uqudul Juman
0
0
3
0
4
7
`ali








tajwid







Tuhfatul Athfal
0
0
1
1
4
6
tsanawi
Hidayatus Shibyan
0
0
0
1
4
5
tsanawi








mantiq







Sullamul Munauraq
1
0
3
1
5
10
`ali
Idlahul Mubham
2
0
1
1
3
7
`ali


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pondok pesantren merupakan garda depan pendidikan islam di indonesia jadi wajar kiranya bila banyak yang meneliti.