Friday, March 17, 2017

Mengutuk dengan Citarasa

Ilustrasi buraq dalam naskah Lontarak Napo Mandar dalam versi digital, koleksi Leiden University
 
Salah satu hal menarik yang saya temukan saat menelaah naskah kuno Mandar untuk kepentingan riset tentang hukum adat dan Islam belakangan ini ialah betapa kayanya lontar-lontar ini dengan kiasan. Sudah jadi kebiasaan bagi leluhur kita dulu untuk bermain-main dengan kata dan makna, membuat apa yang sebenarnya nyata menjadi implisit maupun membuat yang sebenarnya tersembunyi menjadi eksplisit. Lontar Mandar yang saya jadikan obyek penelitian juga menyimpan kekayaan bahasa tersebut. Ada yang dalam bentuk puisi, cerita, doa, sumpah dan bahkan kutukan. Kali ini saya akan membahas mengenai yang terakhir, formula-formula kutukan yang menurut saya amat menarik namun belum banyak dikaji orang.
 
Ada beberapa macam tipe perjanjian di dalam khazanah kebudayaan Mandar. Ada yang disebuat “allewuanna adaq” atau kesepakatan kata. Perjanjian tipe seperti ini biasanya muncul setelah beberapa pihak mengadakan pertemuan (assipulu-pulung) atau konferensi. Pihak-pihak yang hadir umumnya memiliki kedudukan yang setara dan memiliki tujuan yang sama. 
 
Salah satu contoh allewuanna adaq yang terkenal ialah ketika ketujuh negara Mandar yakni kerajaan Balanipa, Sendana, Pamboang, Tappalang, Mamuju, Banggae dan Binuang membentuk sebuah federasi bersama dengan tujuh kerajaan lainnya di pegunungan yang secara etnik tergolong dalam suku Toraja (Mamasa). Keempat belas kerajaan tersebut menyebut diri mereka sebagai Mandar dan sepakat untuk saling menjaga keamanan serta stabilitas politik dan ekonomi di wilayah pesisir dan pegunungan. Konferensi tersebut ditutup dengan kutukan bagi para pelanggar janji serta penanaman batu yang sebelumnya digunakan untuk memecahkan telur. Itulah sebabnya kejadian ini dikenang sebagai peristiwa Allamungan Batu di Luyo atau penanaman batu di desa Luyo, lokasi bertemunya keempat belas raja tersebut. 
 
Bentuk perjanjian lainnya disebut “assitaliang” atau kontrak politik. Di sini pihak yang terlibat biasanya memiliki kedudukan yang tidak sejajar, atau jikapun seimbang maka ada salah satu pihak yang cenderung dominan. Contoh assitaliang yang terkenal ialah sumpah Maraqdia (maharaja, gelar raja di Mandar) Todilaling saat dilantik oleh dewan adat. Assitaliang lainnya ialah saat Mandar dituntut untuk mengakui kedaulatan Bone sebagai penguasa utama di jazirah Sulawesi Selatan pada Perjanjian Lanrisang. Di seluruh perjanjian tersebut, para pihak tidak lupa akan membubuhkan kutukan pada klausa akhir. Kehadiran kutukan ini tiada lain tiada bukan ialah untuk menimbulkan efek psikologi kepada para pihak agar senantiasa menjunjung tinggi apa yang mereka telah sepakati agar tidak dilanggar di kemudian hari. 
 
Pada tulisan ini saya akan memberikan tiga contoh kutukan yang muncul pada perjanjian-perjanjian tradisional Mandar. Tiga kutukan ini berasal dari era pra-Islam dan awal Islam serta berhubungan erat dengan kondisi keamanan serta stabilitas di Mandar pada zaman tersebut. Kutukan pertama dan ketiga ditanamkan pada perjanjian yang sifatnya kontrak persekutuan (mirip seperti Treaty Maastrich) dan kutukan kedua menyertai klausula janji sepakat untuk selalu menjunjung adat dan Islam sebagai norma-norma kehidupan masyarakat Mandar.
 
Perjanjian Bocco Tallu di Sibunoang:
“Dan barangsiapa yang ingin memisahkan kita, aliansi tiga kerajaan Bocco Tallu (Sendana, Alu dan Taramanuk): akan dibalik bubungan rumahnya, dijungkirkan tiangnya. Apabila ia beranak maka anaknya tak berkepala, tak berkaki, tak bervagina dan tak berpenis. Barangsiapa ada yang ingin memisahkan kita Bocco Tallu: ia tak akan berbenih, tak berketurunan. Apabila punya keturunan, maka keturunannya akan berbulu. Dan barangsiapa yang bermimpi mengatakan: inilah anak dalam kandunganku yang akan memisahkan aliansi tiga kerajaan, maka Bocco Tallu akan bersepakat untuk membedah perut wanita hamil itu dan kemudian membuang ke sungai si janin agar tidak dapat kembali lagi... Inilah isi persetujuan Bocco Tallu di Sibunoang, kemudian ketiganya (raja masing-masing kerajaan) membuang emas ke air yang dalam... Tenggelam seperti emas ke dalam air yang dalam apabila ada orang yang ingin memisahkan aliansi Bocco Tallu.”
 
Perjanjian antara Daetta Kanna I Pattang (raja pertama Balanipa yang masuk Islam) dengan Syekh Abdurrahim Kamaluddin a.k.a. Tuanta di Benuang (“Our Master who rests in Benuang”):
“Dan besok lusa ada yang ingin merubah apa yang ditulis oleh Pabbicara di Manjopaiq yang bernama Puanna I Ma’una: apabila berada di darat ia terbang laksana abu, di laut ia tenggelam bagai batu asahan; berjalan di lereng gunung maka lerengnya longsor, berpegang ke dahan maka dahannya pun patah; menengadah ke langit langitpun mengutuknya, tunduk ke tanah tanahpun mengutuknya; bertudungkan jalan-jalan, berakar putus lagi, berlembaga kembali menjadi kayu, berdahan patah lagi, terjungkir balik bubungan rumahnya, tiangnya dijungkirkbalikkan; sebab adat dan tata aturan agama yang diletakkan oleh Daetta (raja pertama Balanipa yang masuk Islam) dirusaknya. Demikian pesan Daetta sebagai hasil persepakatan dengan Tuanta di Benuang.”
 
Perjanjian Tammajarra, antara ketujuh kerajaan Mandar untuk membentuk aliansi politik Pitu Babbana Binanga (Tujuh Kerajaan di Muara Sungai Mandar):
“Barangsiapa yang menghianati sumpah, menyimpang dari kesepakatan dan persatuan, maka ia dinyatakan terasing sehingga menjadi orang tidak dikenal. Niscaya ia akan ditimpa kutukan leluhur, piring (porselen) berbulu sekalipun namun keturunannya tidak akan pernah berbulu, tepi jurang yang ia pijak akan longsor, dahan kayu tempatnya bergantung akan patah, akar pohon akan putus, apabila beranak maka anaknya hanya kepala, hanya kaki atau tanpa kepala.”
 
Menarik untuk ditambahkan di sini bahwa beberapa perjanjian yang muncul pasca berkembangnya Islam di Mandar serta masuknya pengaruh Belanda tidak lagi menyertakan kutukan-kutukan sebagaimana yang dicontohkan di atas. Perjanjian Roppogading antara Bone + Belanda (yang saat itu menjadi kekuatan paling ditakuti di jazirah Sulawesi Selatan) dan Mandar diakhiri dengan kalimat ancaman sebagai pengganti kutukan: “Ini keris yang saya tikamkan ke air untuk mengaduk air, di luar dia menyerang masuk, di dalam dia menyerang keluar, jika Bone dan Belanda mendustai kami!” Tradisi mengangkat keris dan “menusukkannya ke air di dalam sebuah wadah yang disediakan” mempunyai arti ganda: ujung keris menjadi komitmen untuk menjaga isi perjanjian namun di saat yang sama juga merupakan ancaman apabila perjanjian tersebut dilanggar. Di sini kutukan memasuki bentuk barunya: ia tidak lagi bersifat supranatural namun mengambil bentuk yang lebih reaksional, agresif dan kontan. 
 
Dari tiga contoh jenis kutukan di atas, ada pola repetitif yang menjadi karakteristik kutukan dalam kebudayaan Mandar. Pertama, kutukan tersebut tidak hanya ditujukan spesifik kepada si pelanggar janji namun juga pada anak keturunannya. Dengan kata lain, kutukan yang disajikan sifatnya hereditary alias dapat ditimpakan dari satu generasi ke generasi lainnya. Tidak disebutkan hingga kapan kutukan ini akan terus menimpa keluarga si pelangar sumpah, sebagaimana halnya “kutukan 7 turunan” yang ada dalam kebudayaan lain (contohnya kutukan Mpu Gandring). 
 
Kedua, masih berhubungan dengan keturunan, salah satu bentuk laknat yang diharapkan diterima si pelanggar janji ialah cacatnya anak cucu mereka secara fisik. Pada contoh-contoh di atas disebutkan kelainan seperti tak berjenis kelamin, tak berkepala atau pun tak berkaki. Disebutkan pula kelainan-kelainan seperti “berbulu” maupun “tidak berbulu”. Saya sendiri masih kurang referensi dengan apa maksud kutukan fisik jenis seperti ini akan tetapi penganalogian “piring porselen berbulu” yang bisa dipastikan tidak akan pernah terjadi mengindikasikan bahwa si penerima kutuk tidak akan memiliki rambut kepala maupun bulu lainnya di sekujur tubuh sejak ia dilahirkan.
 
Ketiga, kutukan yang sifatnya berhubungan dengan alam. Longsornya tanah, patahnya dahan dan putusnya akar; merupakan pengejawentahan dari ketidakstabilan alam yang mengakibatkan terjadinya siksaan kepada si pelanggar sumpah. Kutukan jenis seperti ini dikalangan umat Islam biasanya dikategorikan sebagai azab, yang seringkali secara sempit diasosikan dengan bencana alam. Tanah yang longsor, dahan dan akar sebagai tempat berpegang yang patah menunjukkan bahwa si pelanggar janji diharapkan kehilangan tempat bertumpu dalam ruang gerak (alam) itu sendiri. Kutukan jenis seperti ini membuat si pelaku tidak memiliki tempat untuk berlindung.
 
Keempat, kutukan yang berhubungan dengan aksi manusia. Dalam hal ini kegiatan seperti merobohkan rumah (di balik atapnya, tiangnya dijungkirbalikkan) disematkan pula bersama efek-efek lain yang karakternya lebih “supranatural”. Lebih tepatnya disebut ancaman, kutukan dengan tipe seperti ini adalah sanksi adat yang dijatuhkan terhadap properti si pelanggar sumpah. Dengan demikian maka lengkaplah penderitaan siapa-siapa yang berani untuk mengkhianati kata sepakat yang telah diikrarkan tersebut: tidak hanya fisiknya dan keturunannya yang dilaknat, properti mereka pun menjadi sasaran kebinasaan.
 
Ketiga contoh kutukan di atas masih dapat dikaji lebih dalam lagi terkait simbolisme-simbolismenya. Demikian pula dengan kutukan-kutukan menarik lain yang tersimpan di naskah-naskah kuno Mandar. Ragam kutukan tersebut menunjukkan bahwa tidak hanya aspek spiritual yang berusaha ditonjolkan oleh leluhur kita dahulu dalam usaha mereka untuk menjaga agar komitmen yang telah disepakati tidak dilanggar, namun juga efek psikologi yang ditanamkan kepada para pihak. Kutukan adalah alat pencipta rasa takut, sementara kita tahu bahwa ketakutan merupakan alat kontrol sosial yang paling efektif. Setelah Islam masuk, kutukan tersebut beserta dewa-dewa dan roh-roh lokal yang biasanya dipanggil untuk menjadi saksi atas perjanjian pun menghilang. Pada akhirnya, masyarakat Mandar tidak lagi takut oleh kutukan mendapatkan anak yang tak berkelamin, ujung keris yang mengaduk-aduk air lebih memiliki efek ketimbang rasa takut yang timbul oleh deretan kata-kata kuno. Citarasa, leluhur kita benar-benar paham caranya untuk menimbulkan rasa takut dengan citarasa.

Berkel en Rodenrijs,
17 Maret 2017



Thursday, March 16, 2017

By the Rijn

I just want to sit by the Rijn
During the sunset hour
Watching the reflections of old house and the shadows of passers-by on the water
And listen to birds that are busy chirping on their way home
And not thinking about those starlike eyes
Or the nights that are very long and packed
May we are free from misleading thoughts and repetitive songs, I pray
To walk the future on the new brick road
They say here there will be no tsunami and flood
But check those ruins on my shelf
Who cracks the dam’s wall?
I say, take it, I don’t wanna sing anymore.
 
Berkel, 16 March 2017

Monday, February 20, 2017

Protes Trump di Den Haag: Aksi Bela Muslim dan Solidaritas Kaum Kafir

Seumur-umur baru kemarin itu saya merasakan yang namanya ikutan unjuk rasa atau demo di tempat terbuka. Sebelumnya jika ingin melayangkan protes atau menyuarakan ketidaksukaan, saya lebih memilih untuk membuat tulisan atau membuat petisi. Saya selalu berpikir bahwa yang namanya unjuk rasa atau selain menghabiskan energi juga dapat menganggu ketentraman hidup orang banyak. Apalagi jika sampai memblokir jalan dan main bakar-bakaran ban, bendera, boneka, atau apapun itu yang biasanya dibakar.

Ya, harap maklum, saya punya pengalaman yang cukup buruk dengan yang namanya demo-demo ini. Kota asal saya, Makassar, adalah gudangnya demo-demo anarkis yang berakibat buruk tidak hanya ke nama universitas tempat aksi-aksi tersebut terjadi tapi juga ke nama kami, warga kota yang sebenarnya juga amat dirugikan olehnya. Bayangkan, dulu kakak saya yang hamil muda pernah terjebak tidak bisa pulang kantor karena jalanan diblokade oleh para pengunjuk rasa. Kenyamanan kami untuk dapat bergerak jadi terbatasi dan banyak fasilitas umum yang akhirnya rusak hanya karena pemuda-pemuda ini ingin melampiaskan hasrat mereka agar harga gorengan di kantin diturunkan atau bebaskan lapangan parkir kampus dari retribusi.





Kedua, pengalaman tidak menyenangkan lainnya datang dari kampus tempat saya menuntut ilmu di Jogja dulu. Di kampus ini fakultas saya memang terkenal akan hobinya untuk turun ke jalan. Tidak ada yang salah dengan itu, toh selama tiga setengah tahun di sana saya tidak pernah melihat aksi-aksi mereka berubah jadi pesta liar di tempat umum. Teman-teman saya cukup santun dalam mengekspresikan diri mereka. Hanya saja, beberapa dari mereka yang menganggap dirinya aktifis ini sering memandang sebelah mata mereka-mereka yang tidak turut mengambil andil dalam protes-protes di jalan. Saya bahkan pernah disindir oleh salah seorang teman yang menganugerahi dirinya dengan titel aktifis bahwa: "Lo belum mahasiswa kalo lo belum ikutan aksi turun ke jalan!". Alhamdulillahnya saya tidak terjebak dengan omongan sempit yang membuat definisi mahasiswa Indonesia terlihat dangkal itu. Toh, saya masih bisa berkontribusi untuk masyarakat di sekitar saya dengan apa yang saya pelajari dan menjadi mahasiswa sesuai dengan apa yang saya bayangkan sendiri.

Akan tetapi, tanggal 1 Februari 2017 kemarin akhirnya saya memutuskan untuk turun juga ke jalan. Sore yang indah. Meskipun basah oleh gerimis hujan di suhu 3 derajat Celcius, semangat warga Belanda dan kaum imigran untuk berkumpul di kota The Hague dalam rangka memprotes kebijakan Muslim Ban, anti-refugee serta Walled Border US-Mexico amatlah tinggi. I have had enough, demikian batin saya. Kali ini saya harus turun ke jalan, menyuarakan keberatan saya atas katastrofi yang sifatnya global ini. Seluruh dunia harus tahu bahwa akibat negatif yang disebabkan oleh presiden negara adidaya tersebut sudah di luar batas-batas kewajaran. Ia sudah melakukan sesuatu yang sifatnya tak dapat lagi dilawan lewat tulisan atau petisi. Kali ini saya adalah kami. Saya turun ke jalan. Saya tak berdiri sendirian.

Jumlah kami mungkin tidak menyapai angka tujuh juta. Kebanyakan dari kami yang hadir di aksi solidaritas ini juga mayoritas kafir ateis, kafir Yahudi (banyak orang tua survivor Perang Dunia II), kafir Nasrani, kafir Hindu, kafir Buddha, orang Asia Timur (Cina-Belanda), orang Afrika, kaum homoseks, liberal, dan bahkan dari Partai Sosialis Belanda. Kaum-kaum yang paling dibenci Tuhan ini (menurut segelintir kaum Muslim bersuara lantang di tanah air yang melarang seorang Tionghoa non-Muslim untuk terpilih sebagai gubernur) alhamdulillahnya memekikkan teriakan-teriakan kebebasan untuk kaum Muslimin rahimakumullah yang tengah menderita akibat kebijakan Donald Trump, sahabat beberapa petinggi politik di tanah air yang menutup mata dari apa yang terjadi terhadap saudara-saudara Muslim kita di luar sana. Mereka menyuarakan perlawanan terhadap xenofobia, diskriminasi dan rasisme dalam bentuk apapun dimana saja di muka bumi ini.

Di antara kumpulan orang-orang kafir dan penuh dosa ini ada pula sahabat-sahabat kita dari Palestina. Mereka ini telah menetap lama di negeri kafir Belanda dan bersyukur bahwa mereka mendapatkan dukungan positif dari orang-orang di sekitar mereka. Aksi berjalan dengan damai, kami lanjut dari lapangan Malieveld menuju ke kedutaan Amrik. Meskipun dikepung oleh blokade polisi, alhamdulillah kami masih diizinkan untuk berorasi.

Indahnya persatuan. Pada dasarnya semua manusia ini adalah sama derajat dan martabatnya. Bersatu kita melawan segala bentuk kebencian dan kebodohan. Di hari itu saya tersadarkan bahwa menjadi orang yang berakal itu membawa banyak kemanfaatan serta rasa persaudaraan ketimbang menjadi seseorang yang hanya beriman tanpa berakal.

The Unsung Hero of Integration: Hoo Eng Djie from Makassar

Makassar's Chinatown

Chinese people has been living in South Sulawesi for several hundred years now. They’ve been there even before the arrival of the Europeans in Southeast Asia. The prosperous port city of Makassar is the core of their existence in South Sulawesi peninsula, during colonial time they were allowed by the authority to run business and build permanent residence at what is now known as Pecinan of Makassar.

 

Like other typical Dutch-administrated city in colonial East Indies, Makassar was split onto several resident-districts based on racial division. The European stick with their own kind in a beautifully paved neighborhood called Vlaardingen. The natives are spread around the port area, jostling at Kampong Wadjo, Kampong Djawa, Kampong Maloku, Kampong Butung (Buton) and others. The Chinese stayed next to Vlaardingen in a kampong not too far from pasar (market). Although lived separately from one-another, just like other trade-based town, interactions between these racial groups were common. On the eve of Indonesian Independence, the Chinese community in the city of Makassar, made an important statement which mark their existence in the history of Indonesian nationalist movement.

In Java around the same time, some Chinese people still kept their identity as foreigners (vreemde oosterlingen). Meanwhile in Makassar, the Chinese-Makassarese people proudly referred themselves as Makassarese, or as the citizen of Makassar. The spirit of integrity was shown by their community. In his dissertation (The History of Chinese-Makassarese from 17th — 20th Century, 2013, Ecole francaise d’Extreme-Orient and KITLV Jakarta) Yerry Wirawan mentioned a name: Hoo Eng Djie, who is a poet, a musician and also an activist supporting the integration of Chinese-Makassarese to Indonesian society. Hoo Eng Djie is a brilliant example of how art and culture was used to play important role on Chinese-Indonesian nationalism.

Born in 1906, Hoo Eng Djie showed his stance against Dutch colonial government on many of his arts. He spread his idea through poems, speeches and songs. He was remembered as a “maestro” of Buginese traditional music instruments and also as the composer of the famous “Ati Radja” which is nowadays regarded as traditional song from South Sulawesi. In 1940 he already produced 20.000 records on traditional songs from Sulawesi. His idea about nation was simple: an integrated Chinese-Makassarese community with the rest of other ethnic group in Indonesia and the independence of Dutch East Indies.

Although coming from a purely Chinese blood family, instead of involved in Kuomintang (a local party which had close relationship with Chinese government and was suspected by the Dutch government for spreading propoganda among the Chinese-Makassarese people to always remain loyal to their ancestral land), he grew up learning Malay, Bugis and Makassarese language. He was mentored by Incik Baoe Sandi at Malay Quarter (Kampung Melayu) in Makassar. He didn’t see himself as a Chinese people who lived in Makassar, but simply as a Makassarese with Chinese heritage. He still paid homage to his ancestral land as the rest of Chinese-Makassarese did, though. In 1914 the Chinese-Makassarese community collected 1.000 guilders to help victim of flood in Shandong province and later received a medallion of honor “Tjoei Liok Puan Tjiong” from Chinese government. He contributed for the donation too. Japanese expansion to China also caught his attention. In this sense, while deeply rooted to local culture, Hoo Eng Djie saw himself linked to the greater connection in Asia and was aware of the current world situation.

His main objective as an activist was to support Chinese community integration to Indonesian community, in this case specifically Makassar. He saw the Chinese-Makassarese as one entity as other ethnic group in Indonesia, hence supported the idea of Indonesia as an independent state. Through his music group, poetry club and philanthropy organization, he gained public attention. He spread his idea at events such as wedding ceremony or huge holiday gathering with audiences ranged from Chinese-Makassarese to local Makassarese. His actions lead to prohibition from speaking in public in 1931 by the Dutch government. He was once jailed for awhile due to his involvement in an anti-Dutch movement. He resisted against the Japanese occupation in 1942, and showed his support for the Republic during Dutch military aggression in later years through his art.

To me, Hoo Eng Djie is still significant. In time when hatred towards certain ethnic group and minorities is popularized by Indonesians against another Indonesian-fellas, we need to take a seat and see what history has in store. Colonial rule that was based on racial prejudice and class stratification could produce spirit of integration and the longing for unity among the Chinese and the native people. Why then, after having a free democratic republic run by ourselves we can be so easily provoked with hate speech with issues on race and ethnicity? What makes us better than the not-independent East Indies then? Don’t fall to the same pit of ignorance twice.

In spirit of Chinese New Year, Gong Xi Fat Cai!

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Islamo-Iberian Caliphate: Freedom of Religion, Freedom of Fashion and a Gay Caliph

On January 2016 I visited the city of Cordoba in Southern Spain. That city left a very good impression in my heart. The narrow Arabian-style alleys, the orange trees along Guadalquivir River, the majestic Puente de Romano next to Cathedral La Mezquita, magnificent Moorish carvings, statues of angel from Renaissance period and many more. Cordoba that was once the capital of Islamo-Iberian Caliphate in Spain preserved its history very well so that you can still see what did the Romans, the Visigoths, the Muslims and the Catholic Monarch of Spain leave for us. I fell in love to Cordoba immediately.

As you might probably aware from my old blog posts, I have some sort of obsession towards the Islamic civilization in Andalusia, or as I prefer to call it "the Islamo-Iberian" civilization. The reason behind this is not because I see this period of time as an era when Islam ruled the world, no. I ain't no megalomaniac. I have more civilized motives behind my obsession to Andalucia. Two periods in Common Era - Europe that fascinate me the most are the Islamo-Iberian era and the Renaissance. And I have reasons for that.

I am interested on the culture of harmony that was established by the Omayyad Caliphate in Spain. Local Spanish historian call it "La Convivencia" or the tradition of living together, when the Muslims, Christians and the Jews coexisted together under one culture. This type of peace was very fundamental for this specific time and in this geographical location. The result was, something that for a historian like me, a very fascinating period when scientific discoveries and artistic explorations reached the zenith. To save time, I could only mention two names to represent hundreds of secular scientists, theologians and artists who contributed to the pool of knowledge in Cordoba. They are Averroes or Ibn Rushd the Father of Analytical Thinking and Ibn Hazm the Father of Comparative Religious Studies. Without these two people, our world would never be the same. As the true heirs of knowledge, they expressed their ideas through writing and seminar and also provided opportunities for public debate to let them intellectually be challenged by other scholars. This type of learning help ideas to be explored and exchanged.

Of course, of course, some skeptics will attack my reasonings. I admit that there were several down moments when minority was persecuted by the Islamic monarch in Al-Andalus but nonetheless based on historical records, the tolerance that is performed by Islamo-Iberian Caliphate was considered as the best one in Europe, in that, note this, particular century. Obama even mentioned this in his visit to Cairo in 2009 by saying that "Islam has a proud tradition of tolerance. We see it in the history of Al-Andalus and Cordoba during the Inquisition." (check the video here)

Just across the Alcazar of Cordoba. A beautiful and peaceful park with doves, orange and palm trees.
In a city where the Jewish quarter located near by the Grand Mosque and the Christians were free to walk to their churches, Cordoba offered not just the guarantee of freedom of religion but also the excellence of life in Dark Aged Europe. Among the Sephardim community (Jewish that was expelled from Spain) in Europe, the time when their ancestors lived in Cordoba is still commemorated as the golden age. Its true that the Jews and Christians must paid special tax (jizya) for their status as non-Muslims, however this practice did not stop them from enjoying the same public facilities as the Muslims. In a time of intolerance and hostility, Cordoba sprung out to be a nicer host for her Jewish and Christian people than other European city.

With clean running water for public use, street lights, paved road, water mills to buzz up agriculture productivity, public libraries, schools and hammam or Arab baths accessible for the inhabitants despite of their race and religion, Cordoba was truly a gem. High culture developed in this prosperous community. The three meal-course tradition was first brought by an African artisan named Ziryab the Blackbird from Baghdad who worked in the court of the Caliph. This tradition is still kept by modern Europeans. In its international politics, the Caliphate of Cordoba built good partnership not just to the Islamic world in Northern Africa and the Middle East. Abdur Rahman III the founder of the Caliphate also mingled with France, Germany and Constantinople by sending exotic diplomatic gifts to those kings. In short, it was a peaceful time and better to live here than the other rest of Europe.
Interior of the Great Mosque of Cordoba

Being advanced in science and technology doesn't mean that Cordoba was left from being stylish. Just like Paris or Milan nowadays, it was the pinnacle of fashion industry. People in Cordoba has been recorded to use shampoo, toothpaste, perfume and deodorant since the 9th century. People walked on the streets of Cordoba with their finest gowns and fashionable turbans, smelled with oriental fragrance that came as far as Egypt and Persia. Thanks to Ziryab the Blackbird who not just introduced the art of fine dining but also grooming and fashion. As quoted from The Daily Beagle:
An extension of this was Ziryab’s insistence that men be clean-shaven. In an age where, to western eyes, the beard forms part of the image of the pious Muslim this sounds like a very radical change for the musician to make. Grooming wasnt limited to the beard though, hairstyles became a vital part of the fashion and everyone was eager to copy Ziryab’s hairstyles. Ziryab is also credited with establishing the first hair removal clinic in Western Europe. In Muslim Spain excess body hair was a social sin for both men and women.
Ziryab did not limit him self to cuisine, cleanliness and grooming. Fashion was, for the first time, altered into something recognisable to us in the modern era. Ziryab introduced winter and summer fashions as well as dress for the “half-seasons” (the seasons between seasons) with set dates for when one should switch. Under his regime fashion industry became a huge part of Spain’s appeal introducing coloured striped fabrics and translucent coats both of which can still be found in Morocco today.
Ziryab made Cordoba stylish with his innovation. He introduced fashion for all seasons. His signature was: "wear bright colors of wool, cotton and linen fabrics in spring; white for summer; and wear darker colors and cloaks trimmed with rabbit fur, lamb or weasel for fall and winter" (for real, gurl! check). Before he came to Spain, the only season-related fashion statement that Europe knew was the change of summer to winter garments. Finally, probably the coolest thing he ever done, was opening an Institute of Beauty in Cordoba which focused on the creation of cosmetic for both genders and to teach people to beautify themselves. With the coming of Ziryab, the face of Islam in Cordoba was far from the creepy terrorists that we know today. Islam in Cordoba was the clean-shaved, good-smelled and fashionable one.

The Great Mosque from the outside
Another surprise that I unearthed from Cordoba was the fact that a gay caliph ruled over the Islamo-Iberian peninsula, once upon a time. Yes, an homosexual man named Abu'l As al-Muntasir bi'llah Al Hakam ibn Abdur Rahman III or best known as Al Hakam II held the office as the 16th Caliph of Islamo Iberian Caliphate. This blue eyed man with reddish hair is praised in both the Islamic and European sources as the man of Golden Age. He established peace treaties with Christian kingdoms on the north and sponsored the building of great library of Cordoba to rival Baitul Hikmah in Baghdad. He was a big fan of science, he created a special department consist of Jewish and Christian translators to translate books from Greek and Latin. He employed a woman mathematician named Lubna of Cordoba as private secretary and sponsored Abul Qasim (Abulcasis) the royal surgeon to conduct his monumental surgical experiments. Oh, he is also remembered as the Caliph who finished the Medina Azahara project, a fairytale-like city-sized palace on the suburb of Cordoba. Medina Azahara was the capital of the Caliphate and praised by many other European ambassadors who visited the place as magical. In short, he was like the Abbasid's Harun Al Rashid of Omayyad Spain.
The statue of Al Hakam II in Cordoba

Interesting information about this young and brilliant Caliph isn't just stop there. He was described by both Arab and Western sources as openly and exclusively gay during his youth. He chose men as his sexual partners and established an all-male harem. When he became the Caliph, the caliphate advisory counsels began to worry. An heir must be produced by him in order to secure the kingdom. A solution was then agreed: a Basque girl named Subh was married to the Caliph when he was 46 year-old. Subh had to cut her hair short, dressed up like a ghulam or young boy and changed her name to "Jafar" in order to seduce Al Hakam. This witty idea is proven to be a success. A son was born from this union, Hisham the dauphin. He'd be the next Caliph, while Subh enjoyed an affair with Almanzor, the old vizier of Al Hakam.  (Don't trust me? Read this and this)

According to several sources, it seems like the practice of homosexuality was not just for the Cordoban highborns and autocrats, it was also common within the society itself (click here). Cordoba was quiet secular not just on term of science but also on term of accepting sexual orientation. Some contemporary Christian's records described how Cordoba was disgustingly filled with "libertines" who supported the practice of same-sex relationship. As quoted from Louis Compton in an article entitled "Male Love and Islamic Law in Arab Spain":
Popular attitudes appear much less hostile than in Christendom, and European visitors to Muslim lands were repeatedly shocked by the relaxed tolerance of Arabs, Turks, and Persians who seemed to find nothing unnatural in relations between men and boys.
Ibn Hazm, a polymath who wrote about the psychology of love also recorded the homosexuality phenomenon in Islamo-Iberia. In his book he mentioned the love story of a government official named Ibn Quzman and Aslam, the brother of the prime minister. Ibn Hazm makes no distinction between the love for slave women and free, so he makes no distinction between the love of women and the love of men, morally or socially. To him all love is psychologically one and the same. Many cases of same-sex relationships in Islamo-Iberian are still well preserved in poems and fragments by poets and scholars of that century. This fact is often neglected even by Muslim historians themselves. They would praise the Islamo-Iberian civilization as the golden age of Islam only as limited as science development and religious tolerance. Accepting the reality that there was a gay caliph or openness in the society in regard to same-sex relationship are impossible for them.

The ruins of Medina Azahara
Islam in the ancient Andalucia was indeed very tolerant. Compare to the current condition that we witness nowadays, it seems like we need to step back to the 9th century to learn about accepting differences and being open to ideas. May the golden age return not in the form of silly ambition to ruin other country to reinstate caliphate. Let's be more substantive. May the golden age return to us in the form of quality development and self improvement. Knowledge is powerful and hate would not lead us anywhere, after al. 

Peace from Berkel,
05 January 2017
0:36

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Negeri Rendang dan Soto Ayam



Sebagai seorang pelajar asing yang telah bermukim di Belanda selama tiga tahun, saya selalu mencoba menampilkan diri sebagai duta Indonesia yang baik. Tidak hanya dengan rajin mengikuti latihan talempong dan tari tradisional yang diinisiasi oleh kalangan Indonesianis dan keturunan campuran Indo-Belanda, membuat acara diskusi dengan Persatuan Pelajar Indonesia (PPI) juga merupakan upaya yang kami lakukan agar Indonesia tidak menjadi wajah yang asing di kota Leiden ini. Di luar negeri, Indonesia memang dinilai dari bagaimana warganya menampilkan diri mereka di hadapan dunia. Sebagai pelajar peran kami pun dituntut lebih, tidak hanya merepresentasikan orang Indonesia kami juga merupakan delegasi kaum terdidik bangsa yang dipercaya untuk menuntut ilmu di sini.
 
Latihan talempong di Voorschoten setiap weekend

Diplomasi untuk mempromosikan kekayaan tanah air juga gencar saya jalankan lewat ringannya dentingan sendok dan garpu. Kawan-kawan saya yang asli Belanda maupun yang berasal dari negara lain kerap saya ajak untuk menikmati kuliner nusantara. Ragam bumbu-bumbu dapur yang dulunya dikejar-kejar oleh nenek moyang hingga berlayar ke Maluku itu ternyata masih dapat menyihir lidah mereka. Salah seorang kawan saya yang berasal dari Italia bahkan pernah membawa ibunya yang sedang berkunjung ke Belanda untuk makan di sebuah restoran Indonesia yang dulu saya rekomendasikan untuknya. Di akhir liburan tersebut, sang ibu kembali ke Milan sambil membawa cerita tentang rendang dan soto ayam, bukannya tentang keju atau stampot khas Belanda.  

Hidup di Negeri Kincir Angin ini sebagai seorang pendatang asal Indonesia tidaklah susah. Bahan makanan melimpah-ruah. Rekan sebangsa pun tersebar dimana-mana, mulai dari ujung kota Groningen hingga ke tepian Maastricht. Belanda sudah sedemikian familiarnya dengan Indonesia. Bagi Belanda, pendatang dari Indonesia terkenal ramah, baik dan rajin bekerja. Belanda yang notabene merupakan negara berlandaskan prinsip-prinsip tradisional Protestan juga telah terbiasa dengan kehadiran kaum pendatang dari negara-negera muslim. Selain muslim asal Indonesia, komunitas imigran muslim terbesar di Belanda berasal dari Maroko dan Turki. Tercatat migran muslim paling awal yang berasal dari Indonesia telah bermukim di Belanda sejak era penjajahan. Makam muslim tertua di Belanda ialah makam seorang budak asal Sulawesi bernama Le Pejou (La Beyu) alias Apollo yang dibawa oleh tuannya ke kota Zwolle pada tahun 1840.
 
Salah satu restoran Indonesia ternama di Den Haag
Kajian-kajian mengenai Islam sebagai agama yang dianut oleh mayoritas penduduk di Hindia Belanda bahkan mendapatkan porsi yang besar dalam bahasan-bahasan akademis di ruang-ruang kuliah Universitas Leiden pada abad ke-19. Snouck Hurgronje, salah seorang pengajar terkemuka hukum adat di Leiden dikenang sebagai salah seorang Islamolog termashyur yang banyak mengumpulkan bahan-bahan terkait perkembangan Islam di Nusantara pada zamannya. Bagi kalangan kaum terdidik, Islam bukanlah fenomena langka. Islam adalah bagian dari peradaban dunia internasional yang turut juga mempengaruhi perjalanan Belanda sebagai sebuah bangsa. Hari ini, walikota Rotterdam, kota dagang terbesar di Eropa Barat adalah seorang Belanda muslim keturunan Maroko. Bagaimana mungkin seorang muslim keturunan Timur Tengah terpilih menjadi walikota Rotterdam? Itu semua dapat terjadi karena di Belanda ini latar belakang ras atau pun agama tidak dijadikan tolak ukur dalam menilai keprofesionalitasan seseorang.

Meskipun pemerintah Belanda belum mengakui hari libur Islam sebagai bahagian dari hari libur nasional, akan tetapi karyawan maupun pelajar yang ingin merayakannya tidak pernah dilarang atau dipersulit untuk mendapatkan izin. Demikian pula halnya dengan ibadah lainnya seperti puasa. Kaum muslim bebas dalam melaksanakan ibadahnya tanpa halangan dari masyarakat Belanda. Tidak ada sama sekali catatan diskriminasi yang dirasakan oleh rekan-rekan pelajar Indonesia selama melaksanakan ibadah puasa di Belanda. Tempat ibadah pun juga banyak tersebar dimana-mana. Di Leiden sendiri ada tiga buah mesjid dimana dua di antaranya dilengkapi oleh kubah dan minaret. Saya belum pernah menyaksikan ada unjuk rasa yang dilakukan oleh warga Belanda di kota Leiden untuk menentang kehadiran mesjid-mesjid tersebut.
 
Perayaan Idul Adha di Moskee Alhijra, Leiden
Sebagai seorang pelajar muslim asal Indonesia, saya selalu senang untuk berbagi kisah tentang kebhinnekaan Indonesia. Biasanya teman-teman sekelas dan dosen-dosen saya tercengang ketika angka 17.000 muncul untuk menggambarkan jumlah pulau yang dimiliki oleh negara kita. Luas Belanda yang lebih kecil dari pada provinsi Jawa Timur ini tidak ada apa-apanya dibanding luas Indonesia. Mata mereka membelalak ketika saya berkisah bahwa di Indonesia kita punya lebih dari 300 bahasa daerah. Jumlah etnik grup, ragam flora dan fauna, bermacam-macam peninggalan peradaban kuno, keindahan alam pegunungan serta lautannya; singkat kata segala sesuatu yang saya ceritakan tentang Indonesia selalu berhasil membuat mereka berdecak kagum. Saya selalu tersenyum puas ketika di akhir kelas mereka hanya dapat terpana dan berimajinasi akan negeri seperti apakah itu Indonesia yang punya kekayaan tak terhingga ini. Indonesia bagaikan surga yang penuh misteri. Mungkin benar kata Alkitab bahwa Taman Eden itu letaknya ada di sebelah timur, tepatnya di sudut bumi yang bernama Indonesia.


Di balik senyum puas itu, saya tidak pernah bercerita kepada mereka mengenai kasus-kasus intoleransi yang terjadi di tanah air. Saya seakan dilanda amnesia akut untuk menambahkan tentang betapa minoritas di Indonesia menderita oleh perlakuan semena-mena mereka yang menganggap dirinya mayoritas. Saya lupa bercerita mengenai orang-orang Papua yang hidup di bawah bayang-bayang militer dan jadi bahan bulan-bulanan dalam ejek-ejekan rasial suku-suku bangsa lainnya. Saya juga lupa bahwa ada banyak kasus pelanggaran HAM dari masa lalu yang tabu untuk diangkat-angkat kembali.

Saya lupa mengisahkan kepada teman-teman sekelas dan dosen-dosen saya mengenai kaum Syiah dan Ahmadiyah yang dibakar rumahnya dan diancam untuk dibunuh apabila tidak segera mengikuti Islam versi mayoritas yang telah diinstitusionalisasi oleh pemerintah. Saya juga khilaf tidak menceritakan kepada mereka bahwa ada banyak gereja yang tidak diberikan izin untuk berdiri sehingga banyak warga Indonesia penganut agama Kristen yang mengadakan kebaktian di mall-mall dan lapangan parkir. Belum lagi belakangan ini makin marak isu politik yang memanfaatkan fenomena penistaan agama. Saya lupa untuk bercerita bahwa di Indonesia amat mudah bagi orang untuk percaya berita hoax bahwa seorang ibu paruh baya yang menjual makanan di siang hari saat bulan puasa adalah istri dari seorang bandar judi merangkap mucikari. Saya lupa untuk menambahkan narasi-narasi di atas, mungkin karena waktu makan kami yang terlalu singkat atau karena di ruang kelas saya harus segera mengizinkan kelompok lainnya untuk presentasi.

Saya senang sekali menjadi pelajar Indonesia di Belanda. Indonesia di sini seperti sebuah negeri dongeng utopis yang jauh dari isu-isu disintegrasi. Indonesia benar-benar seperti Taman Eden dimana manusianya hidup rukun dan saling menghormati satu sama lain. Saya berharap semoga suatu hari nanti tidak ada orang Belanda yang memetik buah khuldi dan memakannya. Saya takut nanti setelah menelan buah kutukan itu mata mereka jadi terbuka lebar dan dapat melihat aib-aib yang seharusnya tidak ada di negeri surgawi. Biarlah Indonesiaku di Belanda ini hanya sebatas rendang dan soto ayam. Tidak ada kejelekan yang pernah muncul dari rendnag dan soto ayam.

Leiden,
18 Desember 2016
11:42

Sunday, January 1, 2017

2017: The Hope is Still There

I have to admit that 2016 was not an easy year. It was very busy, hasty, required a lot of decision-making process which involved some heartbreaking situation. I struggled to finish my Master program until the half of the year. Starting from July to December, I pretty much lived like a hobo who moved from one settlement to another while thinking about what should I do next: applying for the orientation year for the international student to find a job in the Netherlands or go back to Indonesia? Several misunderstandings also occurred between me and my friends, all of them are settled by the end of the year, but still a broken mirror left cracks on its surface.

Amidst all these craziness, I however, still managed to escape. I traveled to 11 countries this year (Spain, Italy, Romania, Germany, France, Belgium, Czech Republic, Austria, Hungary, Poland, Portugal). I visited places that I've been craving to see since I was a little child with the best traveling mates I could ask. Of course there were problems here and there, but I enjoyed the memories very well.

Some achievements from last year? Well, I won a photography competition, thanks to my trip to Seville. I won a music group acoustic competition in Rotterdam. My abstract for paper related to legal history got accepted for an international conference in Leiden and I received very wonderful appreciations from scholars who attended the seminar and watched my presentation.

I am grateful for 2016 regardless of its shitty-ness. Amidst war in Syria, Brexit, Trump became the elected president of USA, the future is still there to give us space for better living. Even in a hopeless and broken-hearted situation like this, I am still surrounded by them who truly love and supportive to me. After all, I could not make it by my own. Let's be positive. Although I personally have no fixed idea about what will happen to me and the world, my magic mantra for 2017 is: let it flow. Whatever will be, will be.

15:28, 1 January 2017
With much love from the cold Berkel

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Why Muslims Are Afraid to Celebrate The Birthday of Their Saviour?

Every year around the Christmas time in Indonesia, an annual "Don't wish the Christians a Merry Christmas!" propaganda is launched by unsympathetic radical Muslims and commoners with narrow minds and lazy fingers to find out the reason behind that statement. In a country which has the biggest Muslim population in the world, Indonesia is naturally quite tolerant. It is not until these recent years when strong fanaticism that lead to bigotry found their voices loud enough on the legislations, streets and social media. As a respond to this poor accusation of Christianization and the loss of rationality among the Muslims-themselves, I dare myself to write this piece.

Growing up as a Muslim in Indonesia, Jesus the Messiah, or some prefer to call him in his Arabized name "Isa Almasih", is no stranger. We learned at school during weekly class of 'Pendidikan Agama Islam' or Islamic Education that he is one of the 25 prophets sent by Allah (Arabic name for God) to humankind. Jesus is called Ruh Allah or the Spirit of Allah, a title that is later claimed by Khomeini in the 21st century. He is very honored in Islamic tradition, just like many other Jewish prophets that are mentioned in Holy Quran. Yes, don't be shocked, Jewish prophets from the Old Testament such as Yunus (Jonah) and Yahya (John) have prominent place in Islam.

Basilika Oudenbosch, Noord Brabant. Tiruan Vatikan di Belanda.
Jesus was specifically assigned as the 24th one (right before Mohammed the last prophet), sent to the children of Israel to lead them back to the law of Moses. He is commemorated inside the Holy Quran in many occasions, especially in the events related to his miraculous birth (immaculate conception of Virgin Mary whose name is actually honored as the title of one of the chapters in the Book) and many miracles that he manifested. In many hadith and pseudo-hadith (Islamic legend and myth, israilliyat) he is depicted as an awesome middle-aged man who can bring life to clay-bird, heal sicklings and possessed people, has a see-through vision and provided food for uncountable numbers of people. 
Mary said, ‘My Lord, how can I have a son when no man has touched me.’  He said, ‘So (it will be,) for God creates what He wants.  When He decides something, He only says to it, ‘Be,’ and it is.  And He will teach him the Book and wisdom and the Torah and the Gospel.  And (will make him) a messenger to the Children of Israel (saying), ‘Indeed I have come to you with a sign from your Lord.  I make for you out of clay the likeness of a bird, then breathe into it, and it becomes a bird by the permission of God.  And I heal the blind and the leper, and I bring the dead to life by the permission of God.  And I inform you of what you eat and what you store in your houses.  Surely, there is a sign for you in that, if you are believers.  And (I have come) confirming the Torah that was (revealed) before me, and to allow you some of what was forbidden to you.  And I have come to you with a proof from your Lord, so fear God and obey me.  Indeed, God is my Lord and your Lord, so worship Him.  This is the straight path.” (Quran 3:45-51)
Jesus was sent as God's emissary during the chaotic period. The rabbis were very corrupt, the Israelis were Romanized by the invading Romans; people started to leave their ancestral traditions, the coming of foreign nations from the different part of the empire brought paganism threatening the monotheistic nature of the holy land. He experienced a hard time to reform the old mindset of these so-called Torah guardians and repeatedly asked people of Israel to perform good deeds. After a series of terrible events that happened to him and his followers, he could finally escaped maltreatments by the Romans. According to Quran, he was not crucified. He was saved and being elevated to heaven and stay there for an unknown period of time to come back to earth. In many End of Time themed hadiths, he is believed by Muslims to be escorted by two angels on the top of a white minaret at Damascus with one main mission: slaying the one-eyed evil self-claimed messiah named Dajjal.

Many radical Muslim sites will mention him as the leader of Islamic hordes during the time of Armageddon. He is quoted repeatedly inside Friday sermon when the talk about the Judgement Day is chosen by fiery preachers to stimulate the spirit of jihad. This is true, every Muslims know by heart that Jesus will return to earth as their Messiah. Together with Imam Mahdi they will establish a world peace.
In the meantime, while the Dajjal will be busy doing this and this, Allah will send down the Messiah son of Mary (Jesus عليه السلام). He (Jesus عليه السلام ) will descend in the eastern part of Damascus, near the white minaret (tower), dressed in the two yellowish garments, with his hands resting on the arms of two angels. When he will bend down his head, water drops will appear trickling down, and when he will raise it, it will appear as though pearl--like drops are rolling down. Any disbeliever whom the air of his breath reaches, and it will reach up to the last limit of his sight, will fall dead. Then, the son of Mary will go in pursuit of the Dajjal, and will overtake him at the gate of Lud , and will kill him." (Sahih Muslim, Tirmizi, Ibn Majah).
Jesus in Islamic version of Judgement Day
Jesus that is worshiped in Christianity is the source of hopes for Muslims at the end of the day. I do not find any irony in this, what I really see is actually a diplomatic potential between the two religions. Unfortunately, the 'claimation' of Jesus as savior in both religion only lead to the creation of wider gap. His birthday was deemed to be the day of the Sun-god in Romanic tradition; wishing Christians a happy Jesus-born day will offend the true Islamic spirit of monotheism, and so on, and so on. When faith is so fragile, these reasons are being reproduced again and again. There is no obvious fatwa forbidding to wish Christians a very merry Christmas, but one thing that is sure, wishing it to your Christian neighbor would not magically change your belief to the unnegotiable oneness of Allah unless you are secretly really that insecure with your own belief.

The real irony here is that these radical Muslims are very afraid to celebrate the (traditional) birthday of someone that they consider as Saviour, while in many occasions they mention his name and believe wholeheartedly that Jesus will come back for them. For these people, I wish you a Happy Christmas. May peace be with all of us in Jesus' birthday today, as he once requested it to the Lord of Heaven and Earth. In my wildest dream, I imagine that one day when Jesus return to earth, he reject those people by saying: "Not invited to my birthday party." How sad.
Jesus said, ‘Indeed, I am a slave of God.  He has given me the Scripture and made me a prophet. And He has made me blessed wherever I may be, and He has enjoined on me prayer and charity as long as I remain alive.  And (has made) me kind to my mother, and did not make me arrogant or miserable. And peace be upon me the day I was born, and the day I will die, and the day I will be raised alive.’” (Quran 19:22-33)

Delft,
24 December 2016
12:38