“THE TENTH SAINT”: THE CONSTRUCTION OF GUS DUR’S SAINTHOOD

Research output: ThesisThesis fully external

Abstract

This thesis highlights what transpired in the aftermath of the death and funeral of K.H. Abdurrahman Wahid, who is well known as Gus Dur. He was one of the charismatic religious leaders of Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) and the fourth Indonesian President who died in the end of 2009. Immediately after his funeral, pilgrims began to arrive to pay their respects. Since then, the number of pilgrims to the site has significantly increased to currently 5000 – 7000 pilgrims everyday around the clock. This phenomenon has initiated many changes in the area such as the development of road infrastructure, the expanded pilgrimage location, parking lot expansion and the emergence of a new class of merchants offering wide range of goods. Interestingly, some people justify this phenomenon as a sign of Gus Dur’s sainthood say that Gus Dur deserves to be the tenth saint (Wali Kesepuluh) in Java. To understand the above phenomena, this paper examines the new social understanding of sainthood in Java regarding to the pilgrimage phenomenon at Gus Dur’s grave in Tebuireng, Jombang, East Java. Using the theory of social construction, theory of structuration and the additional concept of charisma, this thesis discusses the social understanding of wali and how it relates to the perception of Gus Dur as the Tenth saint. Generally, the recognition of sainthood can usually be traced to someone's contribution in the spread of Islam, as well as the recognition of a high level of spirituality. Spirituality can be discerned through a high level of piety and the magic power of a person. In the case of Wali Songo (Nine saints), people recognized them as saints by a combination of two things; their roles as propagators of Islam and their possessions of magical power. The research suggests that the pilgrims and the people around Tebuireng share common understanding of the Gus Dur’s sainthood. However, they have different opinions and reasoning about Gus Dur’s status as the Tenth saint in Java. This difference emerges when they attempt to extend the concept of nine saints into ten and what similar roles that can be drawn from both terms.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationMaster of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Center for Religious and Cross-cultural Studies, Universitas Gadjah Mada, Yogyakarta
Award date14-Apr-2014
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes

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