The Role of Kiai Pondok in Upholding Independence

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The 10th of November holds a pivotal place in Indonesia’s history, marking the monumental struggle between the Indonesian people and colonial forces on November 10, 1945. This fight encompassed not only the endeavor for liberation but also the defense of the attained independence. Within this context, various societal elements, including national figures, kiai of pesantren, and their students (santri), played pivotal roles.

The significance of the kiai of pesantren in defending independence is reflected in the commemoration of National Heroes Day, established on November 10 through Presidential Decree Number 316 of 1959. Kiai from pesantren, such as KH Hasyim Asy’ari and KHR As’ad Samsul Arifin, made significant contributions through religious decrees (fatwa) and by leading pioneering forces.


An exceptional example of extraordinary involvement was evident in the role of KHR As’ad Samsul Arifin with his concept of ‘niat’ (intention). This concept not only encompassed students (santri) but also women, ruffians, champions, and bandits as part of his pioneering force. This vanguard, identified by its black attire and traditional weapons like the machete, dagger, and rattan stick, demonstrated obedience and reverence to Kiai As’ad.

The simple yet profound guidance from Kiai As’ad emphasized that war should be waged with the intention of upholding religion and reclaiming the nation. This concept motivated fighters not merely to pursue worldly power but also to strive for the afterlife with pure intentions.

During the commemoration of National Heroes Day, we are reminded to reflect on the values upheld by these figures, beyond routine ceremonies. Considering the various issues within our nation, including corruption, collusion, and nepotism, we must acknowledge these circumstances. Figures, youth, religious adherents, and society at large need to cultivate strong intentions, prioritizing humanity and justice. Through this approach, Indonesia’s aspirations for a secure, comfortable, and fair life can come to fruition.

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