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The Role of NU Scholars in Expelling Colonizers

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After 350 years of Dutch rule, the nation called the Netherland has been named the nation that has colonized Indonesia the longest. During that half century, the Netherlands often made policies that were very detrimental to the people, such as forced labor, monopolizing trade, and ending up being tortured. However, the Dutch attitude like that even made the Indonesian people aware of the spirit of independence. Realizing the Dutch treatment, the Indonesian people began to muster up resistance.

Not only nationalists, religious leaders also took part in gathering forces so that religious-based organizations emerged. One of them is Nahdlatul Ulama (NU). As a representation of society, NU is very influential in every policy issued by the Netherlands. However, the influence of NU, which is considered strong, made the Netherlands adrift to keep NU away from its political influence.

The views and ways of life of Islam that gave rise to the ulama and their pesantren, are expressed not only by carrying out social changes, but rather tending to foster a social revolution as a radical and widespread change based on changes in mental attitudes. This flow of change in turn faces a new challenge, namely the existence of trade and religious aggression launched by the Western imperialists. Responding to this challenge, the ulama worked hard to develop their students to have a combat-ready spirit. The Islamic boarding school, which was previously an educational institution, has increased its function as a place for fostering voluntary troops to be donated to defend religion, the nation, especially the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia.

The strategic role of the ulama group was not the result of voting or the influence of the king’s charisma at that time, but was born from the development of Islam itself which views the ulama as an Islamic intellectual group, and seems to have become the basic character of the Indonesian nation which always raises the knowledgeable community as its leader. The presence of the ulama in society has been accepted as a pioneer of reform, and the influence of the ulama has deepened after successfully fostering the pesantren. The existence of the ulema should not be seen only as a pesantren builder, but their role in the history of the nation’s struggle is quite militant. Even though many historians have ruled out the role of the ulama in their work, how big was the role of the ulama against the Dutch.

If we look back, it is clear that the Dutch interests in Indonesia faced obstacles from the ulama, especially in the fields of trade and colonial political policies. The Dutch saw the activities of Muslims who had a dual function as “da’i” and traders, resulting in Dutch trading businesses facing threats from Muslims, so it is not surprising that Islam was used as a political weapon against the Dutch.

The ulama and kiai have a very large influence, especially because of the nature of religious education in Islamic boarding schools, Islamic boarding schools that lead to a vertical orientation of santri to teachers, which causes the influence of the authority of the ulama and kiai to be very large. For this reason, in reaching the perspective of political development in Indonesia in the broadest sense, the ulama play an important role in the life of society, nation and state.

The role of the ulama in the struggle for independence of the Republic of Indonesia is not only as an invigorator of the spirit of the students and their people, but also aims to influence the government to immediately determine its attitude against foreign powers who want to thwart the independence of the Republic of Indonesia.

Long before, namely during the Japanese occupation, the ulama and their students were already preparing to form a force. Laskar izbullah, and Sabilillah were founded towards the end of Japanese rule, and received military training in Cibarusah, a village in Bekasi Regency, West Java. Laskar izbullah is under the spiritual command, namely KH. Hasyim Asy’ari and militarily led by KH. Zaenul Arifin. Meanwhile, the Sabilillah army was led by KH. Thank you. The role of kiai and santri in the war for independence was not only in the izbullah and Sabilillah troops, but many of them became members of the PETA (Defenders of the Homeland) army.

The resolution of Jihad cannot be separated from the role of izbullah, their role was clearly seen after the gathering of kiai from Java and Madura at the office of Ansor Nahdlatul Ulama on October 21, 1945. After an emergency meeting one day and night, then on October 22 the call for jihad fi sabilillah was declared which later known as the Jihad Resolution. The spirit of the Jihad Resolution is the spirit of nationalism of the kiai to defend independence and guard the continuity of the Unitary Republic of Indonesia. Through this resolution, the spirit of jihad of the kiai and santri along with other fighters seemed to be on fire. Meanwhile, the NU cleric who initiated the Jihad Resolution was KH. Hasyim Asy’ari (1871-1947 AD), KH. Wahab Hasbullah (1888-1971 AD), Kiai Bisri Syansuri (1886-1980 AD) and Kiai Abbad Buntet (1879-1946 AD).

When NU saw a threat to a country that had declared its independence proclamation, and already had its own constitution (UUD 1945), then on October 22, 1945, this organization issued a Jihad Resolution. However, previously NU sent an official letter to the government which reads: It sincerely requests the Indonesian government to determine a real and commensurate attitude and action against any efforts that will endanger the independence of religion and the state of Indonesia, especially against the Dutch and their accomplices. So that the government will continue the struggle that is fi sabilillah for the establishment of an independent and Islamic Republic of Indonesia.

The jihad resolution was finally able to raise the spirit of the Surabaya youths to fight it out against the invaders. With the spirit of takbir shouted by Bung Tomo, there was a terrible people’s war on November 10, 1945 in Surabaya. From this history, NU residents and their elites, especially PMII children, have not become allergic when recently there have been attempts to castrate and obscure the meaning of jihad. The Jihad resolution called for by KH. Hasyim Asy’ari, should be reminded again to provide motivation to the younger generation in defending the independence and sovereignty of the nation and state.

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