Development of Buntet

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Development of Buntet

Rabu, 25 Juni 2008



According to the available sources Pesantren Buntet was first
established in 1750 by Kyai Muqayim bin Abdul Hadi, known as Mbah Muqayim,
Penghulu Kraton or Mufti (Court Religious Official) of the Kanoman
royal house.[40]


Opposing the Dutch intrusion into the internal affairs of
the kraton, and seeing some kraton dignitaries subserviently fall into the
embrace of the Dutch rule, some of them even exhibited behaviour which was
against the syari'ah, such as dancing
and drinking alcohol,[41]


Mbah Muqayim left his position in the kraton in favour of living outside the kraton wall. He built a mosque and a hut in the
village where he and his followers dwelt and began to teach religion.
Bearing his former honourable position as Penghulu
, along with his profound knowledge of religion and
exemplary behaviour, he attracted many students and soon his hut was full
of learners and they had to erect more huts. Finally, it became a learning
centre and developed into a pesantren
complex which evolves until this day.

The early period: Mbah Muqayim

The site where Mbah Muqayim started teaching for the first time
was located at Blok Kedungmalang, a hamlet in Buntet. After a few years
of operation however, the Dutch came and burned down all his pesantren complex. Ki Ardisela, a village
 headman of Dawuan who knew about the Dutch manoeuvre immediately
told Mbah Muqayim so that his family and his santir were able to flee to Pesawahan just
before the Dutch reached and besieged the pesantren. The pesantren activities ceased and Mbah Muqayim
wandered from one place to another to escape from being arrested. Some
of the places where he took temporary refuge were Pesawahan hamlet in
Lemahabang village, Tuk in Karangsuwung and Beji in Pemalang (Central
Java). After a long adventure he came back to Buntet in 1758 and
established a new pesantren at a site
called Blok Gajah Ngambung, which has now become the santri cemetery (makam


Before deciding on this new site to establish his
pesantren, it is said that Mbah
Muqayim fasted for a twelve months period, doing this in four stages.
The merit of the first three months of the fasting was intended for the
pesantren's welfare, safety and continuance; the second three months was
for his descendant's well-being; the third was for his santri and faithful followers and the fourth,
as he was old enough, was for his own personal merit in this world and
the hereafter.


One of his santri at his newly
built pesantren was Prince
Khaeruddin, son of Sultan Kanoman (Khaeruddin I). When the Sultan passed
away in 1798 the Dutch installed Tumenggung Surantaka and sent the
actual heir, Prince Khaeruddin, Mbah Muqayim's student, into exile in
Ambon. Mbah Muqayim opposed this instalment and was involved in civil
unrest to force the Dutch to return Prince Khaeruddin to Cirebon. Partly
due to the change within the Dutch administration and policy, Prince
Khaeruddin was finally restored to his throne and became Sultan
Khaeruddin II.


Mbah Muqayim is said to have married twice. One marriage was to
Nyai Randulawang (Nyi Randu), daughter of Ki Enthol Rujitnala a village
headman of Situpatok, whom Kyai Muqayim assisted in the construction of
an irrigation dam (situ). Ki Enthol
was a local noble, descendant of Pangeran Luwung. The second
 marriage was to the daughter of Kyai Salamuddin of Pemalang. From
the first marriage he obtained a daughter who married his brightest
student, Raden Muhammad.[43] Upon his death he was buried at Tuk, side by side with Ki
Ardisela. The date of his death is not told but his tomb at Tuk (30 km
south-east of Cirebon) has become an object of visitation. Mbah Muqayim
had no son, and after his death the pesantren again ceased its operation for some
time until Kyai Mutta'ad came.


Kyai Mutta'ad (1785–1852)

Kyai Mutta'ad, son of Raden Muriddin, married Nyai Ratu ‘Aisyah,
daughter of Raden Muhammad, the brightest student and son in law of Mbah
Muqayim.[44] Thus, Kyai Mutta'ad is grandson-in-law of Mbah Muqayim,
the founder of the pesantren. From
this marriage Kyai Mutta'ad had nine descendants, the oldest one was a
daughter, Nyai Ruhillah, who married a Sufi-ulama, Kyai Anwaruddin Kriyani
al-Malebari, known as Ki Buyut Kriyan, whose contribution for
development of Pesantren Buntet was considered instrumental.[45] Upon his death, Ki (Buyut) Kriyan as a revered figure was
buried at ‘Jabang Bayi’ grave complex in the city of
 Cirebon.[46] His tomb attracts visitors, some of whom, according to the
Juru Kunci, come from Malaysia and

Kyai Mutta'ad also married another woman, Nyai Kidul from whom he
had five descendants, the oldest one and the fourth were daughters, Nyai
Saudah and Nyai Hamidah; the others were sons, namely Kyai Abdul Mun'im,
Kyai Tarmidzi and Kyai Abdul Mu'thi. All the descendants from the two
wives were kyai or married kyai. One of his students and also son in law
was Kyai Sa'id, the founder of Pesantren Gedongan, another big pesantren adjacent to Buntet.[48]


Kyai Mutta'ad is said to have studied with Kyai Musta'in (Jepara,
Central Java) and then to have gone to Pesantren Siwalan (Surabaya) for
further learning. Soon after taking leadership of Buntet he applied much
effort to renew the pesantren. With
the help of his sons, especially his son-in-law, Ki (Buyut) Kriyan, he
left the old pesantren at Gajah
Ngambung built by Mbah Muqayim to build a new one at Blok Manis in the
same village (Buntet) where it remains until now. He translated a number
of books into Javanese and rewrote some others including the Holy
 Qur'an.[49] Meanwhile Ki Kriyan taught Tarekat
at the pesantren and attracted many followers. The
number of santri and the Syattariyah followers increased considerably
from tens to hundreds. Later, Ki Kriyan was appointed a religious
official (penghulu) at Kraton
Kesepuhan. After his wife, Nyai Ruhillah passed away, Ki Kriyan married
another woman, Nyai Lontangjaya of Arjawinangun (30 km Western Cirebon)
and had a daughter, Nyai Sa'diyah. He then stayed at the Kesepuhan court
house and took with him his brother-in-law who was still a young boy,
Abdul Jamil who later succeeded Kyai Mutta'ad to lead the pesantren. Kyai Mutta'ad died when he was 67
years old and was buried at Tuk adjacent to the graves of Mbah Muqayim
and Ki Ardisela.


Kyai Abdul Jamil (1842–1919)

The successor of Kyai Mutta'ad was his fourth oldest son, Kyai
Abdul Jamil who replaced his elder brothers who were unable to succeed
Kyai Mutta'ad because they married out.[50] During his stay with Ki Kriyan, Kyai Abdul Jamil is said
to have completed many books. He also studied at other pesantren, one of which was Pondok Mayong
(Jepara) with Kyai Murtadlo. He went to Mecca on pilgrimage and stayed
there for some years. He learned among other things the Qur'anic science
(the arts of reciting the Qur'an).


Upon his return from Mecca he married
Nyai Sa'diyah, Ki Kriyan's daughter. When Kyai Abdul Jamil succeeded
Kyai Mutta'ad, Nyai Sa'diyah, his wife, was still a very young girl and
Ki Kriyan gave him another wife, Nyai Qari'ah, daughter of Kyai
Syathori, religious official of the Dutch administration (Penghulu Landraad). From this marriage he had
eight children: Kyai Abbas, Kyai Anas, Kyai Ilyas, Nyai Zamrud
(Qisthinthoniyah), Kyai Akyas, Nyai  Ya'qut, Nyai Mu'minah and Nyai
Nadroh. Later, from Nyai Sa'diyah he had five children, one of whom was
a son, Kyai Ahmad Zahid.[51]


Kyai Abdul Jamil made many attempts to develop the pesantren both in managerial and academic
aspects. For this, he maximised the intellectual potency available at
the pesantren by recruiting all
kyai, mostly relatives, who stayed
within the pesantren complex, and
senior students for active participation in various development tasks.
To overcome the scarcity of text books, efforts were made to reproduce a
number of advanced religious texts by handwriting. Among the reproduced
texts were Fath al-Wahhab, Sahih Bukhari, Sahih
Muslim, Suzur al-Zahhab, Alfiyah
, etc.[52]


Academic activities were expanded. Along with the
traditional sorogan and bandungan classes, he set up a halaqah (seminar) class attended by advanced
students. Ngaji pasaran (open
lecture) was also held at least every fasting month using well known
quality references such as I'anah al-Talibin,
Fath al-Wahhab, Ihya ‘Ulum al-Din, Tafsir Ibn Katsir
, etc. A
takhassus (specialisation) on
religious subjects to be studied by advanced santri was set out and divided into six
branches: Ilmu Kalam
(theology),[53] Ilmu Tafsir dan Hadith
(exegeses), Fiqh (jurisprudence),
Nahwu-Sharaf (Arabic grammar and word
derivatives), Tasawuf (Sufism) and
Ilmu al-Qur'an (Qur'anic


To accommodate the increasing number of santri, new buildings were erected including a
large mosque (masjid jami’) whose
cost was paid by donors especially  well to do ex-santri. As the pesantren was surrounded by two rivers, it was
felt to be rather isolated from the rest of the village. To remove this
isolation a bridge was constructed and more santri began coming. Under his leadership, the
number of santri reached around 700,
coming from various parts of Java, Sumatera, Sulawesi and Singapore. At
the same time, he was also authorised by his brother, Kyai Soleh
Zamzami, to be a mursyid (tarekat leader) to teach and recruit members of
Tarekat Syattariyah.[54]


Under his leadership by the end of 19th century, this
tarekat sprang up tremendously
attracting thousands of followers. Along with the kraton and Benda Kerep, Buntet became another
centre (zawiyah) of Syattariyah
order. This caused the reputation of Kyai Abdul Jamil and his pesantren to transcend the local geographic
boundary. In 1900, when he was 58 years old he was invited by Hadratus
Syeikh K.H. Hasyim Asy'ari to teach at Pesantren Tebuireng in Jombang.
He came there with his brother, Kyai Sholeh Zamzami of Pesantren Benda,
Kyai Abdullah of Panguragan and Kyai Syamsuri of Wanantara (8 km
south-west of Cirebon). They stayed and taught in Jombang for about 8


Kyai Abdul Jamil was also concerned with both short and long term
pesantren development. For the short
term he himself managed the development efforts. For the long term, upon
his return from teaching in Jombang, he sent a number of able students,
including his sons, Abbas, Anas and Akyas, to study at various pesantren throughout Java. Special attention
was made to develop the Qur'anic science by sending a number of able
santri to Yogyakarta and to Banten.
Among those who were sent for this purpose were Zainal Abidin (Kyai
Zen), Kyai Yusuf and Kyai  Murtadlo to study from Kyai Munawir at
Krapyak (Yogyakarta), whereas Kyai Hasyim and Kyai Abdul Rauf studied
with Kyai Tb.Mansur Ma'mun in Banten.[55]

In the political sphere he was known as a figure who consistently
maintained the non-cooperation principle with the Dutch. He had close
contact with his ex-student, H. Samanhudi, a successful batik trader of Surakarta, who in 1911 founded
the “Syarekat Dagang Islam” (literally meaning Union of Islamic Trade),
a Javanese batik traders's


In this organisation Kyai Abdul Jamil was active on the
religious advisory board (Syuriah)
until he died in 1919. According to Kyai Hisyam, Kyai Abdul Jamil passed
away when the pesantren was embarking
on its remarkable institutional development. His success, to a large
extent, was due to both his intellectual and managerial skills and the
full support from his assistants such as Kyai Abdul Mun'im, Kyai Abdul
Mu'thi, Kyai Tarmidzi, Kyai Muktamil and Kyai Abdullah.[57]


Whilst his cousins, Kyai Sa'id and his brother Kyai Sholeh
Zamzami, respectively established Pesantren Gedongan at Desa Ender,
Astanajapura, and Pesantren Benda at Benda Kerep in the municipality of
Cirebon. Upon his death, Kyai Abdul Jamil was buried at the pesantren cemetery (Makam Santri).


Kyai Abbas (1879–1946)

When Kyai Abdul Jamil passed away, his oldest son from Nyai
Qari'ah, Kyai Abbas, seemed to have been quite prepared to take over the
pesantren leadership. Along with his
broad and high intellectual quality, he is described as inheriting his
father's leadership competence. He succeeded in marshalling the
intellectual  potential of other kyai who had been sent by his father to study
at various pesantren and then
returned with high intellectual achievement.


It is under Kyai Abbas'
leadership that Pesantren Buntet is said to have reached its golden age
despite the fact that during this period the pesantren education encountered nation-wide
instability due to the break out of the World War II and its aftermath.
Kyai Abbas experienced different phases of political turmoil, pre-war
Dutch colonialism, Japanese Fascism, postwar Dutch aggression, and the
Indonesian revolutionary struggle for independence.


During this course
of history both the Dutch and the Japanese military threats and
aggression are said as the major sources of unbearable hindrance for the
development of the pesantren. Several
times Buntet became the target of Dutch military raids, which caused
damage and unbearable suffering among the people. Many of them fled to
the pesantren for safety.[58]


As a result, Kyai Abbas needed to open up a free public
catering (dapur umum) to feed the
starving people for some period of time. This even established the
kyai's charisma among the local
people. This period was deeply imprinted in the people's memory. For
them Kyai Abbas seemed to have been a legendary saviour and
unforgettable figure.[59]

Kyai Abbas learned religion firstly with his father Kyai Abdul
Jamil, and Kyai Kriyan. Then he went mesantren to learn with Kyai Nasuha at
Pesantren Sukunsari in Plered, Kyai Hasan at Jatisari in Weru, Kyai
Ubaidah in Tegal (Central Java). He was summoned for marriage and after
that he went to Mecca on pilgrimage and stayed there for some years for
further study. Staying at Syeikh Zabidi's in Mecca, he studied with a
number of teachers, one of whom was Kyai Mahfudz of Termas  (East


Among his Javanese fellow students in Mecca were Kyai
Bakir of Yogyakarta, Kyai Abdillah of Surabaya and Kyai Wahab Hasbullah.
In Mecca Kyai Abbas also taught and had students, among whom were some
from Cirebon such as Kyai Kholil of Pesantren Balerante and Kyai
Sulaeman from Babakan Ciwaringin. From Mecca he then went to Jombang
(East Java) to learn with Kyai Hasyim Asy'ari at Pesantren
Tebuireng.[61] When he was at Tebuireng he worked with Kyai Wahab
Hasbullah and with Kyai Manaf and was involved in the establishment of
Pesantren Lirboyo in Kediri (East Java).


Under Kyai Abbas' leadership, the pesantren management was further improved,
academic activities were intensified and facilities were extended. Old
buildings were renovated and new ones were erected.[62] But the most notable step Kyai Abbas took was the
introduction and inclusion of the madrasah system into the pesantren. While sorogan, bandungan and ngaji pasaran were retained, in 1928 he founded
Madrasah Abnaul Wathan Ibtidaiyah where secular subjects were
taught.[63] Kyai Abbas' revolutionary steps are said to have been
inspired by Imam Syafi'i who says: 

Keep the old values which are good
and, take (only) the new ones which are better

The curriculum offered by the madrasah contained eighty-five per cent
religious and fifteen per cent secular subjects. Among the latter were
‘ilmu'l-hisab (arithmetic), al-Jughrofiyah (geography), allughatul wathaniyah (national language or
Indonesian), ‘ilmutthabi'iyah
(natural science) and tarihul
(national history). Later he changed the madrasah's name from a patriotic flavour to a
more academic one to become Madrasah Salafiyah Syafi'iyah (School of the
early Syafi'ite studies) consisting of two levels, the preparatory and
the Ibtidaiyah proper, each of which took 3 years to complete. The three
years at the preparatory level were called Tahdhiri, Sifir Awal and Sifir Tsani, whereas the years in Ibtidaiyah
were called grades one, two and three.[65]


Thus, since Kyai Abbas took the leadership, there have
been five different types of educational system applied simultaneously
at the pesantren: sorogan, bandungan,
(seminar), madrasi
(madrasah system) and ngaji pasaran.
The sorogan method was open to
beginners, whereas the bandungan was
given to those who passed the sorogan
and was divided into Awaliyah
(elementary), Wustha (intermediate)
and ‘Ulya (advanced).


Each level had
to complete a certain set of standard texts used in madrasah. The first year of elementary
bandungan, for example, which was
equal to grade-IV of madrasah had to
complete Safinah al-Najah (fiqh or Islamic jurisprudence), Qatr-al Ghaits (theology), Nasa'ih al-‘Ibad (ethics/tasawuf), al-Ajrumiyah and al-Kailani (Arabic); the second year which was
equal to grade-V had to complete Minhaj
al-Bajuri (theology), Bidayah al-Hidayah (ethics/tasawuf), Syarh
and Lamiyah
(Arabic). The third year which was equal to grade-VI
had to complete Tawshih (fiqh), Syu‘ab
(theology), Sullam
(ethics/tasawuf), Millah
and Syarh Nazhom
(Arabic), and Tafsir Yasin
(exegeses). The intermediate and the advanced levels also had a number
of texts to master. Al-Ghazali's Ihya, for example, was given at the second year
of the ‘ulya level.


Figure 7.2: Intellectual Network of Kyai Abbas

Figure 7.2: Intellectual Network of Kyai Abbas


Some advanced students of both bandungan and madrasah, who were bright enough according to
the individual assessment made by the kyai, were allowed to  attend the seminar
class. It is understandable that among about 3000 santri coming from various places only a few
were fortunate enough to gain admission to this distinguished group.
Among those who showed high achievement was Kyai Wahib Wahab (son of
Kyai Wahab Hasbullah), former Minister of Religious Affairs who founded

The next was Tb. Mansur Ma'mun, a distinguished Qur'an reciter of
national calibre of his time. He was then appointed to a high official
position at the Jakarta Regional Administration. Another one was H. Amin
Iskandar, the former Indonesian Ambassador to Iraq. Still another one
was Professor K.H. Ibrahim Husein, the former Rector of IAIN Raden Fatah
in Palembang (South Sumatera), the former Rector of Higher Learning
Institute of Qur'anic Science (PTIQ), the Rector of the Institute of
Qur'anic Science (IIQ) in Jakarta and currently, a member of Indonesian
Council of Ulama (Majelis Ulama). The others are Kyai Ayatullah
(Jakarta), Kyai Zuhri (Banten), Kyai Sholeh (Banten), Kyai Abdul Hamid
(Banten) and Mahbub Bajuri, the former Regent (Bupati) of Cirebon.


Figure 7.2 depicts Kyai Abbas’ involvement in an extensive
intellectual network. First, he, personally, exhibited himself as a true
wanderer of knowledge seeker who had learned from many teachers
including the distinguished Kyai Mahfudz of Termas.[67] Then he had students consisting of a wide range of
individual; some of whom became ulama, leaders of pesantren and/or Sufi orders; some others became politicians and
administrators. His close contact with various pesantren, and colleguial relationship with
other kyai (Hasyim Asy'ari, Wahab
Hasbullah, Manaf and others), helped the foundation of new pesantren (such as Lirboyo) and
 strengthened the sense of inter-pesantren brotherhood. The latter was something
which was instrumental for the success of his involvement in the
struggle against colonialism, wherein he proved himself to be a figure
not only concerned with educational affairs satisfied by his achievement
in pesantren. Due partly to the
political condition of his time, Kyai Abbas was also concerned with
national movements.


Figure 7.3: Military Network of Pesantren Buntet under Kyai

Figure 7.3: Military Network of Pesantren Buntet under Kyai Abbas.


During the Japanese occupation he was a member of the People's
Congress (Sangikai). Benefiting from
the military training provided by the Japanese under the Pembela Tanah Air (PETA) or The Country's
Defence Corps scheme, he was directly involved in the fight against the
Dutch who, after the World War II, returned to Indonesia under the
Allied Forces umbrella, undermining the Indonesian independence
proclaimed by Soekarno-Hatta on August 17, 1945.


Kyai Abbas was
 himself a commander of Sabilillah (Fighter in God's path) and then
Hisbullah (Forces of God), both of
which were Islamic wings of the Indonesian revolutionary Defence
Corps.[68] He led a contingent consisting of a number of kyai and trained santri at Surabaya for involvement in the
patriotic war against the Allied Forces on November 10, 1945. His
contingent came to Jombang early in the morning on November 9,


Earlier, he had been involved in the assembly responsible for the
issuance of the Holy War Declaration (Deklarasi
) made by the Indonesian ulama. This declaration necessitated every
Muslim to fight against the infidel (Dutch) and that the war in defence
of fatherland was a Holy War (jihad).
Kyai Abbas was also involved in the ulama assembly deciding the D-date (10 November
1945) to launch the raid against the allied forces head quarters in
Surabaya. The raid is always commemorated as the Heroes's Day (Hari Pahlawan).[69] The relative standing of Kyai Abbas in the eyes of Kyai
Hasyim Asy'ari at that moment is recounted in the following


When Bung Tomo, the then Commander of the Republican
(Indonesian) army, impatiently urged Kyai Hasyim Asy'ari to decide a
D-date to launch a raid against the allied forces Head Quarters in
Surabaya the kyai answered:
“…please be patient, we are still waiting for the arrival of a group
of kyai from Cirebon…”[70]

Pesantren Bunten Complex

Pesantren Bunten Complex


To the end of his life Kyai Abbas was active in both
socio-religious and political movements. His involvement in various
activities and networks can partly be enumerated as follows: 1) Leader
of pesantren, 2) Syattariyah
mursyid, 3) Tijaniyah muqaddam 4) Religious adviser of the “Syarekat
Dagang Islam” (SDI), 5) Member of the Central Board of Muhtasyar (Religious Assembly) of the NU, 6)
Rais ‘Am (Head) of the West Java
Provincial Religious Board (Syuriah)
of the NU, 7) Member of Sangikai
(Regional People's Congress) and Sangi-in (National People's Congress) during
the Japanese occupation, 8) Commander of Sabilillah and Hizbullah, 9) Representative of the West
Javanese ulama at the Central
Indonesian National Committee or the Komite
Nasional Indonesia Pusat


Figure 7.4: Political Network of Pesantren Buntet under Kyai

Figure 7.4: Political Network of Pesantren Buntet under Kyai Abbas.


Like his father, Kyai Abbas also married twice. His first wife was
Nyai Hafidzoh, with whom he had three sons and one daughter. They were
Kyai Mustahdi Abbas, Kyai Abdul Rozak, Kyai Mustamid Abbas and Nyai
Sumaryam. With his second wife, Nyai ‘Inayah, he had six children, the
first and the fifth were sons, namely Kyai Abdullah Abbas (Ki Dulah),
who now leads the pesantren as
Sesepuh  pemangku and Nahduddin
Royandi Abbas who lives in London. The other are daughters (Nyai
Hismatul Maula, Nyai Sukainah, Nyai Maimunah and Nyai Munawarah).


With very few exceptions like Nahduddin Royandi Abbas, who first
married a French woman then divorced and married a Javanese from Solo,
the pesantren family practices
endogamous marriage. The present generations of kyai families at Buntet mostly have multiple
familial ties due to both lineality and affinity. Figure 7.5 depicts a
set of examples for the occurrences of endogamous marriage where
descendants of Kyai Mutta'ad from the first and the second wives


 Figure 7.5: Sample of endogamous Marriage in Pesantren

Figure 7.5: Sample of endogamous Marriage in Pesantren Buntet.


The endogamous marriage, according to informants of pesantren circle in Buntet, is advantageous in
enabling the pesantren to preserve
continuous supply of kyai. It is said
that the offspring resulting from this type of marriage, more often than
not, will be raised and educated, at least at their childhood, within
the pesantren  atmosphere. It is
hoped, therefore, that even when the child's further education is a
secular one, and involves in an occupation which has little relation
with pesantren life, he or she will
be motivated, sooner or later, to participate directly or indirectly in
the preservation of pesantren


Kyai Mustahdi Abbas (1913–1975)

Kyai Abbas died in 1946 and was buried at the Buntet Pesantren
grave complex (Makam Santri). His
oldest son, Kyai Mustahdi Abbas was appointed his successor. Kyai
Mustahdi learned religion with his father Kyai Abbas and his uncles,
Kyai Anas, Kyai Ilyas and Kyai Akyas. He then went to Pesantren Babakan
Ciwaringin to study with Kyai Amin, to Termas (East Java) with Kyai
Dimyati, to Tebuireng in Jombang with Kyai Hasyim Asy'ari, to Lirboyo in
Kediri with Kyai Abdul Manaf and to Lasem to study with Kyai Ma'mun and
Kyai Baidlowi. He is said to have been such a genius that once when he
was 15 years old, his father, Kyai Abbas, tested him with an assignment
to put syakl (vowel signs) on the
reproduced volumes of al-Ghazali's Ihya so that it would become readable to the
beginners. The result was amazingly very neat and without a mistake. As
a reward Kyai Abbas gave him a wrist watch which, at that time, was a
very precious gift.


Kyai Mustahdi married Nyai Asiah, daughter of Kyai Anas, his
uncle, and had three daughters and a son. He went to Mecca on pilgrimage
and stayed there for some time with (Professor Dr) Kyai Anwar Musyaddad,
former Rector of IAIN in Bandung. He worked with Sayid ‘Alawy to
complete a number of books, one of which was a book on tasawuf, Riyadh as-Salihin.


In leading the pesantren, Kyai
Mustahdi paid special attention to developing the madrasah system. One part of his ambitious
activity was to make Pesantren Buntet an integral part of national
education. In 1950 he changed the 3 year madrasah established by his father into a 6
year Madrasah Ibtidaiyah (MI).
Influenced by his  strong NU mindedness, in 1958 he added to the
pesantren junior secondary education
by establishing a 4 year NU Teacher Training (PGA 4 Tahun NU). In 1960
it became two separate Institutes, each a 6 year Religious Teacher
Training Centre, one for boys and one for girls (PGA 6 Tahun NU Putra
and the PGA 6 Tahun NU Putri).


In 1965 he also established Madrasah
Tsanawiyah NU, and in 1968 Madrasah Aliyah NU. Finally in 1970 he
established The Islamic University of Cakrabuana with two Faculties,
Tarbiyah (Education) and Ushuluddin (Theology). Later, these faculties
became affiliated with the State Institute of Islamic Studies (IAIN)
“Sunan Gunung Jati” of Bandung (West Java). Inspired by the success of
his santri, Fu'ad Zen, who won the
National prize in the competition for the Recital of the Qur'an held on
the occasion of the 1965 Afro-Asian Islamic Conference in Jakarta, Kyai
Mustahdi established a Qur'anic Science Academy (Akademi Al-Qur'an).
This academy involved 3 years of tertiary education specialising in
Qur'anic Studies.[71]

Kyai Mustahdi also paid attention to developing the pesantren management and laid down an
organisational structure under which all madrasah within the pesantren were integrated. The present LPI
(Lembaga Pendidikan Islam or Islamic
Educational Body) is attributed to him. It was firstly established in
August 17, 1958. In 1967 he called for all Pesantren Buntet alumni to
hold a congress to discuss contemporary issues, especially those which
were related to Islamic education. Various issues were raised and an
alumni organisation, the Ikatan Keluarga Buntet
(IKBP) or Buntet Pesantren Alumni Union, was set


The development of the madrasah, although in itself quite an
achievement, was not the only thing Kyai Mustahdi was concerned with. As
a pesantren leader and member of the
Syuriah of the West Java regional NU,
he was a Mursyid of the
 Syattariyah order who frequently travelled throughout Java,
especially to Central and East Java, visiting the zawiyah, and this, also added to the reputation
of his pesantren. He worked hard for
his pesantren until he died in

Figure 7.6: Genealogy of Some Kyai in Buntet.

Figure 7.6: Genealogy of Some Kyai in Buntet.

 Plate 32: Kyai Abbas.

Plate 32: Kyai Abbas.

Plate 33: Kyai Abdullah Abbas (in sarong and white cap) before
"Haul" ceremony.

Plate 33: Kyai Abdullah Abbas (in sarong and white cap) before "Haul" ceremony.

Kyai Mustamid Abbas (1975–1988) and Kyai Abdullah Abbas

When Kyai Mustahdi passed away, his son, Abbas Shobih, was still a
young child, and thus his brother, Kyai Mustamid Abbas, was appointed
his successor. Kyai Mustamid was already 60 years old when he took over
the pesantren leadership and was
already busy enough. He was the Rais
of the West Java Provincial Board of the NU, member
of the National People's Congress (MPR), President of Cirebon Branch of
the ‘Indonesian Pondok Pesantren Union.’ His educational experience
began at the Madrasah Wathoniyah Buntet Pesantren. He then went to
Termas, Lasem, Lirboyo (Madrasah Muballighin) and Kulliyatul Muballighin
at Tebuireng, Jombang. Rather than setting up a new policy, he chose to
continue his brother's policies. In the meantime the Ministry of
Religious Affairs reorganised its religious educational system. This
policy had a considerable impact on the overall number and
organisational structure of religious education in Indonesia, especially
in regard to the PGA (Religious Teacher Training) and tertiary religious
education (IAIN). Under the new scheme PGA was transformed into an
ordinary public madrasah, thence the
madrasah education operating in
Buntet became: (1) Madrasah Wathoniyah Ibtidaiyah Puteri (2) Madrasah
Ibtidaiyah Wathoniyah Putera (3) Madrasah Tsanawiyah NU Putera-I (4)
Madrasah Tsanawiyah NU Putra-II (5) Madrasah Tsanawiyah NU Puteri (6)
Madrasah ‘Aliyah NU Putera (7) Madrasah Aliyah NU Puteri and (8)
Madrasah Aliyah Negeri (state owned Madrasah Aliyah). The Islamic
University of Cakrabuana, including the Qur'anic Science Academy, ceased
its operation.

When Kyai Mustamid died in 1988, Abbas Shobih, son of Kyai
Mustahdi to whom the leadership should have returned, was still very
young and announced his unpreparedness to take over the leadership as
Sesepuh (pesantren elder). A consensus among the
sohibul wilayah was reached on the
7th day ceremony of Kyai Mustamid passing away and appointed Kyai
Abdullah Abbas, son of Kyai Abbas,  who is referred to as Ki Dulah,
to take over H. Abbas Shobih's position as sesepuh pemangku (acting elder). This position
is still retained until now (1995).

In his sixties Ki Dulah has not made significant change to the
pesantren educational structure, but
a draft of a ten year (1990–2000) pesantren development plan has been produced to
build a new complex on a two hectare piece of land alongside the
connecting road between the present pesantren complex and the Cirebon-Sindanglaut
main road.[72]

So far, the relationship between Ki Dulah, Abas Shobih (Kang Obih)
and other kyai has been good.
Recently however, especially facing the 1992 general elections, an
internal friction between the kyai
arose. Following the nation-wide friction, there arose a division within
the NU circle concerning the political support of the NU for the
competing parties. Some of the kyai
favoured GOLKAR, the government party, while the others preferred to
keep their traditional support for the former Islamic party, the
PPP.[73] In Indonesia, as seen in Buntet and elsewhere, support for
political parties is not considered merely as a practical undertaking.
It transcends the pragmatic level into the ideological one. Some
kyai in Buntet, like Ki Dulah, Ki
Fu'ad, Kang Obih, Ki Hisyam and others supported GOLKAR in the 1992
elections, whereas Ki Nu'man, Ki Syifa, Ki Izzuddin and others supported
PPP despite the fact that this party no longer claimed Islam as its
ideological basis. With few exceptions, it happened GOLKAR supporters
resided mainly in the east wing of the pesantren complex, that is, from the pesantren mosque eastward and thus they were
referred to as golongan wetan (the
eastern group). On the other hand, PPP supporters resided in  the
west and thus they were called golongan
(the western group).[74] The golongan kulon
argued that although currently the PPP no longer declared Islam as an
ideological basis, this party was still uncontaminated by non-Islamic
elements. All its leaders were Muslims and still struggling for Islamic
ideals, at least outwardly. It was, they said, therefore a moral
obligation for the Muslims to support this party. This group, or at
least some of them, became extreme and vocal in accusing the golongan wetan of betraying the Islamic ideals
and therefore easily forgetting the sufferings and trauma caused by 1971
and the subsequent general elections.[75] The western group claimed that the eastern group needed to
renew their testimony (kudu syahadat
). Probably, due in part in the security of standing
for the government, the eastern group exhibited a calm and more mature
attitude. They argued that they did suffer the 1971 trauma and that the
government and GOLKAR's hard measures against Islam especially in 1971
were, to a large extent, due to the key figures of the military
personnel who led GOLKAR and the government at that time.


Now, they
argued, the situation had changed; there were no more such persons as
Sukawati, Ali Murtopo and Amir Mahmud.[76] To be fair, they said, the present (GOLKAR) government had
been relatively good to the Muslims and Islam, and they could expect
even better in the future. Thus, there was room for the Muslims to
respond positively to the changed situation and abandon their irrational
oppositional  stance. In addition, experience had shown that
supporting the PPP had brought nothing except trauma and disappointment
to many people. PPP could do nothing for its supporters who sacrificed
themselves, being in custody and becoming the victims of election

Despite this internal friction, the NU was still functioning as a
binding force, at least on the surface. This appeared for example, at
the occasion when the Cirebon regional branch of NU held an annual
congress on November 1992. On this occasion, the kyai of Buntet from both sides, the golongan wetan and golongan kulon, were present, sitting together
side by side amidst other kyai from
other pesantren to take part in the



Adobted from the Book

The Islamic Traditions of

Ibadat and Adat Among Javanese Muslims

by: Abdul Ghoffur Muhaimin

Australian National University (ANU) Press