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M. Saekan Muchith : Kudus Kiai’s Profile in Central Java, Indonesia

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Notes for Muslim in the World.///


Profile is the way of thinking or vision, attitude, behavior or dominant factors within an individual that easily recognized by the society. In this theme, it is understood as the way of thinking, attitude or things done by a Kiai (Islamic clergy) to manage and developing his religious school (commonly known in Indonesia as PondokPesantren). According to a research done in 2005, it is found that Kiai, as the religious figure or the leader of a religious school in Kudus, divided to several types as follows:

First, the leadership of Kiai is based on the society or as a community leader, which means that he is known for his position in a social religious organization, political organization or has a power in certain post. Therefore, his popularity is based on his position in a society, not by his school.

Second, the leadership based on intellectuality or being an intellectual leader, being popular for his expertise in a field of knowledge, so that the society agrees to make him as a role model as well as problem solver. In daily basis, this type of Kiai is being positioned as a reference, not only for religious affairs, but also for social, political and cultural affairs.

Third, the leadership based on the role as a spiritual leader, best known for his competence in religious affairs: being an Imam(prayer’s leader) in the mosque or mushala, the religious teacher and as an example for religious morality. This Kiai usually gives fatwa(an Islamic religious ruling, a scholarly opinion on a matter of Islamic law)to the society, yet limited to personal or religious affairs. The figure is often positioned as the Imam in mushala, or leading a prayer in certain family’s event.

Fourth, the leadership based on the figure as an administrative leader. The Kiai is merely a director within his school; he delegates the management of teaching and learning activities to somebody who has good qualification and be able to running well with his school’s vision and mission. Thus, this Kiai is simply become a manager and not directly get involved with his school’s learning activities. This administrative leadership is commonly caused by two factors: first, Kiai’s bustling duties, and second, by hereditary; the Kiai just continues the work of his deceased father.

Fifth, the Kiai as an economic leader; the management of his school is done by implementing potential empowerment program, involving both the society and his students. It goes with an effort to empowering economics activity in society; opening a business operated by the students.

The writer is a lecturer in STAIN Kudus Central Java, Indonesia.

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