CONTINUING DISCOURSE ON KEBLAT: DIASPORIC EXPERIENCES OF THE SURINAMESE JAVANESE MUSLIMS IN THE NETHERLANDS 1

MOCH NUR ICHWAN, - (1999) CONTINUING DISCOURSE ON KEBLAT: DIASPORIC EXPERIENCES OF THE SURINAMESE JAVANESE MUSLIMS IN THE NETHERLANDS 1. In: Continuing Discourse on 'Keblat': Diasporic Experiences of the Surinamese Javanese Muslims in the Netherlands. Tijdschrift van de Nederlandse Vereniging voor de studie van het Midden-Oosten en de Islam, pp. 101-119.

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Abstract

Study of the Javanese diaspora is not yet as well-known as that of, for instance, the Black and Indian diaspora. Most the scholars of Java concentrate their study on the Javanese 'inside Java' and only few of them deal with the Javanese in diaspora. The Javanese, most of whom were Muslims, for one or other reason migrated to South and East Sumatra and other parts of Indonesia, Peninsular Malaya, Sabah, Sarawak, Thailand, Burma, South Vietnam, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Curacao, New Caledonia, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Surinam, and The Netherlands.3 This very large area of study still has attracted little attention from the scholars of Java, in fact less than they deserve. To contribute to this study, this present article is devoted to studying the Javanese who migrated to the Netherlands by the way of Surinam.4 In this respect, I shall focus on the discourse on keblat. Discourse on keblat (Arabic: qibla)5 as a societal dispute and living discussion, which symbolizes power relation and domination, is the most peculiar diasporic experiences of the Surinamese Javanese Muslims. Diasporic experience is that encountered during migration and settlement in the new country or countries, and is resulted from a long process of negotiation between the tradition brought from the mother land and the new situations and challenges in diaspora. Some traditions probably to be lost, some others to be modified, and new tradition to be created. Diasporic experience is contingent and contextual, and not something given and final.6 The dispute and living discussion on keblat has taken place through generations since the Javanese came to Surinam in 1890 or, more precisely, since they started to realize of the position of Ka‘ba in the beginning of the 1930s. This very discourse is expressed in some individual elements of complex discourse, such as myth, story, ritual, conversation and imaginery.7 The discourse on keblat among the Surinamese Javanese Muslims goes beyond the question of the direction of prayer,8 it expresses a religious-cultural identity and complex relationship between 'official' Islam and Javanese tradition. Some Surinamese Javanese Muslims maintain the west-keblat in their prayers, as did their ancestors in Java, while some have changed the keblat towards the southeast or usually simplified as east, as the Ka‘ba is in a north-easterly direction from Surinam and south-easterly direction from the Netherlands. The former is called Wong Madhep Ngulon (west-keblat people, hereafter WKP) and the latter Wong Madhep Ngetan (east-keblat people, henceforth EKP),9 and both have their own position in interpreting Islam and Javanese tradition, which has been crystalized in their religious-cultural identity.10 This article will begin with some historical insights by describing the discourse of keblat among the Javanese in Surinam, from which the discourse has begun to become a part of the lives of Surinamese Javanese. Hence, I shall study this very discourse among this community in the Netherlands and uncover the relationship between Islam and Javanese identity in the framework of their diasporic experience. Some questions are to be answered: Why does keblat become problematic for the Surinamese Javanese Muslims? How does the discourse of keblat express power struggle and domination?

Item Type: Book Section
Subjects: Artikel Dosen
Divisions: Artikel (Terbitan Luar UIN)
Depositing User / Editor: Miftahul Ulum [IT Staff]
Date Deposited: 10 Jul 2015 08:22
Last Modified: 10 Jul 2015 08:22
URI: http://digilib.uin-suka.ac.id/id/eprint/16229

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