Syamsiyatun-S-ASAA2004 by fjzhxb


The Origin of Nasyiatul Aisyiyah: Organising for Articulating Religious-based Womanhood in Pre-Independent Indonesia1

Siti Syamsiyatun Ph D Candidate, the School of Political and Social Inquiry Monash University, Australia

Abstract There is always a reason why people develop an organization; the questions to be raised are at least why and how people are organizing. The present paper attempts to investigate similar questions as experienced by Indonesian Muslim women who have organized themselves in an association called Nasyiatul Aisyiyah. This organization has evolved from a group of female students, Siswa Praja Wanita (Respectable Female Pupils), in a Muhammadiyah Standard School founded in 1991, to being one of the largest Muslim women’s organizations in Indonesia today. In this paper I am focusing my analysis on the organization’s development during pre-independent Indonesia and putting the phenomenon of Nasyiatul Aisyiyah’s growth in specific perspectives, namely social and religious. The data for this study is generated from both library and field research, the latter of which was undertaken in June-October 2003. The rise of Indonesian feminism undoubtedly has always been associated with the publication of letters written by a Javanese priyayi woman Raden Ajeng Kartini, as a result of her correspondence with Dutch feminists and her exposure to Western feminist thought. While Kartini’s ideas are based in Javanese culture, another kind of feminist demand was articulated from a religious (Islamic) perspective emerging in the second decade of twentieth century Indonesia. This voice was made public by Muslim women who organized themselves through Sapa Tresna (Those Who Love) and Siswa Praja Wanita/SPW (Respectable Female Students) who later on merged their groups. SPW, later to become Nasyiatul Aisyiyah, undertook activities to cater for the needs of its ever larger audiences. Some of its most noticeable achievements have been providing education for women, even to reach those denied by the colonial and religious authorities of the time; and preparing women preachers who became the backbone of religious learning among women even until today. The organization also cultivated its special characteristics for leadership from religious values. However, this does not mean that Nasyiatul Aisyiyah ignored its cultural roots, in shaping the internal culture of the organization. Key words: Women, Islam, Organization, Indonesia, Colonial Period

Introduction Most studies of feminist activism in Indonesia focus their analysis on the period since independence. Little research has been done on the Indonesian women's movement during colonial rule, and works on the topic have tended to be very scanty and too general (Suryochondro 1984; Vreede-De Stuers 1960; Blackburn 1997; Locher-Scholten 2000). There is a particular lack of research on Islamic women’s organizations. The present paper examines how one particular women's organization, namely Nasyiatul Aisyiyah (henceforth shortened as Nasyiah), has articulated its views on young womanhood based on religious teachings. This organization, which was founded in 1919, has survived over the changing regimes experienced by Indonesian until today; and my focus is on its organizational behaviour in pre-independent Indonesia. This paper attempts to analyze the reasons for the creation of this women’s organization, and how it developed during the Dutch colonial period until Indonesia claimed its independence in 1945. The first section is devoted to investigating the ideology underlying the making of Nasyiah. The second and third sections will discuss the growth of the organization, and provide a portrait of Nasyiah’s membership as well as its leadership.

Genesis of women organizing: Social-religious perspective Although my focus is Nasyiah in the colonial era, I will briefly sketch the current situation of the organization to give an idea how it has changed over time. Nasyiah is one among the few Indonesian mass-based women’s organizations which has a nation-wide membership. Its long- standing existence has witnessed the changing political status of what is now Indonesia: from the reign of the Dutch colonial government to the present reform era. In the 9th Muktamar (highest national congress) of the organization, which was held in Jakarta in 8-11 July 2000, and was attended by its representatives from almost all Indonesian provinces, Nasyiah reconfirmed the organization’s vision, that is to become a young Muslim women’s movement, Muhammadiyah’s women cadre who always perform Islamic dakwah, amar makruf nahi munkar (religious promulgation for applying good deeds and avoiding evil) with the focus on women’s empowerment in order to create a virtuous Muslim community. To put the vision into practice, during this present leadership period (2000-2004) Nasyiah has developed five departments: Dakwah (religious proliferation), Cadre, Social and Economic Affairs, Information and Documentation, and Art and Culture; two semi independent institutes: one for research, and the other for organizational development; and a bureau of public relations and foreign affairs (Pimpinan Pusat Nasyiatul Aisyiyah 2001ab:63-65).

Basically, any Muslim woman aged between 17-35 years who agrees to adopt the rules and the goals of Nasyiah may join the organization (Pimpinan Pusat Nasyiatul Aisyiyah 2001a). In order to manage

its massive membership of 4 million spread all over the Indonesian territory, Nasyiah divides its leadership authority into five levels, ranging from the hamlet to the national level. In a report presented in 2000 Nasyiah claims to have representatives in 29 provinces, 229 municipalities, 697 districts and 2.091 hamlets. To take care such a wide network spread all over Indonesian archipelago, Nasyiah has approximately 46,000 women who currently hold positions in the organization’s leadership at all levels. A survey conducted by Nasyiah in 1995 found that 76% of its members assuming leadership positions were university students and graduates. 82% of Nasyiah’s leaders were occupying jobs related to teaching in all levels of education and research. 87% of these women were reported to have a habit of reading daily newspaper, and 55% of Nasyiah leaders acknowledged owning a private library or book collection. Cross-membership between Nasyiah and other NGOs is common phenomenon (Pimpinan Pusat Nasyiatul Aisyiyah 2001b:28-29).

By focusing on the early decades of Nasyiah’s history, this paper will demonstrate how much has changed within the organization in the area of membership, leadership, activities as well as organizational structure. As the notion of youth among Nasyiah women has changed considerably since it gained its autonomy in 1965 due to rapid changes in social and economic situations in Indonesia since the independence. In recent years, the core members of Nasyiah are university students and graduates, whereas in the colonial period the membership mainly consisted of young girls aged between 7 and 15 years; a few of them had an opportunity to attend primary and secondary school, while most of these girls had never attended formal education. The type of activities prioritized by Nasyiah has changed as we shall discuss in the following sections.

Analysing the birth of Nasyiah involves discussion of Muhammadiyah and Aisyiyah. From the formation of Nasyiah to the present day, relationships among the three organizations have been very close. In one way, the creation of Nasyiah could be understood as one of the many outcomes of religious reforms and social changes in Muslim women’s status propagated by Kyai Haji Ahmad Dahlan and his wife through the Muhammadiyah movement in their first years of struggle (Puar 1989:233; Noer 1978:79; Peacock 1978a:51). In this paper, nevertheless, it will be argued that these reforms would not have been so successful without the willingness and courage from the women of Nasyiah to educate themselves. As will be shown later, these women took over most of the control of their organization's development.

Nasyiah has evolved from a simple group of a few Muslim girls, called Siswa Praja Wanita/SPW (Respectable Female Students) in Kauman quarter of Yogyakarta, founded in 1919. The girls were

pupils of Muhammadiyah Standard School, a five-year elementary school, one of the first educational institutions built by Muhammadiyah in 1918. The formation of this female pupils association was encouraged by Mr. Somodirdjo, then the school teacher, and a prominent member of local Muhammadiyah. The activity of SPW was conducted outside class hours, usually in the afternoons. It was intended to provide some space for the pupils to put into practice the theoretical knowledge they acquired in morning classes and to promote solidarity among the pupils. Later on the afternoon activity was supplemented with life and practical skills necessary for Muslim girls, such as home management, sewing, cooking, and tabligh (delivering public speaking on religious matters) (Setiawati 1985:34).

Due to the simple fact that SPW was born in the same place of Muhammadiyah, that is the Kauman quarter in Yogyakarta, and delivered by certain pupils of a Muhammadiyah Standard School, it is therefore not totally inappropriate that some researchers have claimed that Nasyiah was a manifestation of Muhammadiyah’s reform agenda on women’s issues (Puar 1989:233; Noer 1978:79). What is lacking from their presentation is a careful elaboration of Nasyiah girls’ consciousness and struggles. Since it was not normal among common people for girls to go to school before and during the early twentieth century Indonesia, it was obviously a more difficult decision for these girls to have extra activity outside school and home, particularly among Muslim families.

The formation of SPW in Kauman was made smoother by the fact that a few years earlier, in 1914, a more general association of Muslim women for learning religious texts, Sapa Tresna (Those Who Love) had been established there. The creation of the Sapa Tresna was assisted by Kyai Haji Ahmad Dahlan, the founder of Muhammadiyah, and his wife Siti Walidah (Pimpinan Pusat Nasyiatul Aisyiyah 1999c:3; Setiawati 1985:4). Kyai Dahlan’s apprehension about women’s conditions in his community was as strong as his concerns about other issues, such as religious practices, education, health, welfare, economic and politics. Worse than the dreadful conditions experienced by indigenous people in general under the Dutch colonial government and local practice of Islamic faith, Javanese women in his community were denied access to any public service institutions, such as education and politics. Having studied the Qur’anic worldview on women’s issues more seriously, Kyai Dahlan began to give more attention to his fellow women’s conditions from a religious perspective (Setiawati 1985:4).

Kyai Dahlan was most renowned as a Muslim reformer of twentieth century Indonesia, through his establishment of the socio-religious Muhammadiyah movement, in November 1912. His most

apparent uniqueness lies in his approaches to religious messages and his comprehension of the social problems faced by his Muslim community. Kyai Dahlan was always reconstructing creative dialogue and intensive consultations between the Islamic texts (i.e. the Qur’an and the Prophetic traditions) and the actual practices and conditions of Muslim community. In matters where there were significant gaps between the Islamic normative code of ethics, as he understood them, and the historical practices as manifested in the daily behaviour and conduct of his Muslim fellows, he would re-examine the prevailing popular understanding regarding the issues and work out better ways to implement the Qur’anic messages. Thus involving human reason and applying independent reasoning in understanding religious messages became one of Kyai Dahlan’s principles (Jainuri 2002:99-110).

Relevant to our discussion of Nasyiah’s organizational development here is Kyai Dahlan’s revolutionary social treatment of women. Focusing his energy to comprehend the divine message of verse 97 of An-Nahl, which says: “Whosoever does a righteous deed, be it male or female, believing, We shall assuredly give him to live a goodly life; and We shall recompense them their wage, according to the best of what they did”,2 Kyai Dahlan came to a conclusion that women are independent human beings who must be responsible and accountable for their own deeds as much as men are. Accordingly, in his view, women should be given access and opportunity to religious knowledge, so that they might accumulate good deeds as they wish and be individually rewarded. Yet he found women in his community were kept unaware of such religious imperatives (Setiawati 1985:11-13).

Stimulated by his understanding of the verse, Kyai Dahlan launched his revolt which challenged the tradition of the time. The first step taken by Kyai Dahlan and his wife, Siti Walidah, was inviting their closest family and neighbours to his home to discuss the verse. Having seen the message was fairly understood, they began openly asking Muhammadiyah members to provide support for their wives and daughters to learn religion and to get better formal education. After a number of years of persuasion, eventually more members of Muhammadiyah were convinced that women have the right to earn heavenly rewards on their own, independent of their parents or husbands. They gave permission to their wives and daughters to seek religious knowledge in formal schools as well as in the newly founded organization of Sapa Tresna. Later, more families gave approval to their schoolaged daughters to be involved in the SPW, as mentioned earlier (Setiawati 1985:16).

Once these women were given access to knowledge and learning institutions, they developed themselves further than might have been expected. A similar step was taken by Raden Ajeng Kartini

who had clearly acknowledged that her education and knowledge of the Dutch language facilitated her quest for new self consciousness as a Javanese woman (Soebadio and Sadli 1990; Soeroto 1979). Female pupils, in this case the Sapa Tresna and Siswa Praja Wanita, as the recipients of teachings from male ulama have been active agents in claiming a wider space in public life. Through group meetings women learned about broader social issues such as education, health and employment, as well as acquiring other skills, than merely religious ibadah (strict worship or prayers). An example of how good the women of Sapa Tresna were at using these meetings to advance their interests can be seen when Yogyakarta was experiencing many riots against the Dutch sovereign and the huge eruptions of the volcanic mountain of Kelud in 1918. Muhammadiyah men and women hand in hand established a foundation called Penolong Kesengsaraan Umum/PKU (Assistance for the Relief of Public Suffering) to provide assistance to the victims (Nakamura 1983:90). During that time the health and economic conditions of the people were deteriorating and there were also many children who lost their parents, or who were living with a single parent without enough money to meet their daily needs. The women in Sapa Tresna were particularly passionate about caring for the orphans, by providing them shelter, food and education. The women delivered public speeches urging cooperation and set up many activities for fundraising. Education and care of orphans became prominent programs for them. It is evident here that common Muslim women were becoming visible in public spaces in the early twentieth century, organising themselves to articulate their thoughts and opinion. Like other Indonesian women’s associations founded in the first two decades of twentieth century Indonesia, such as Wanito Utomo (Noble Women), Puteri Mardika (Independent Daughter) (Suryochondro 1984), Sapa Tresna members were focusing their efforts on improving social status and condition of women and on demanding access to education for them.

Apart from their involvement in social affairs, these Muslim women of the Muhammadiyah family made a further claim in one of the most important Islamic rituals, prayer. In 1922, they successfully built a prayer house in Kauman, Yogyakarta, allegedly the first in Indonesia, in which women might perform their prayers together in a public space as men did (Puar 1989:235; Peacock 1978a:51). The action taken by these women was considered radical given the social context of the time. From a theological perspective, these Muslim women attempted to accumulate heavenly rewards in a better way by performing shalat jamaáh (prayers conducted together as opposed to those done individually); this is because it has been said by the Prophet as narrated by Imam Bukhori and Imam Muslim, that the reward or virtue of conducting prayers in jama’ah (collective ways) is 27 times more valuable than that of individual prayers (Ash-Shiddieqy 1974:4). By performing prayers together, these women also learned leadership, not only in prayers but also in social affairs, such as managing schedules,

developing training manuals for women to lead the prayers and give sermons. Following the example of the Kauman prayer house, Aisyiyah women in Garut, West Java, and in Pekajangan, Central Java, also built women’s mushalla (prayer halls) in 1926 and in 1937, respectively (Salam 1965:88)

At this point, it can be argued that Kyai Dahlan’s religious reform of women’s status and condition in the Indonesian Muslim community was launched though two broad schemes: social recognition and education opportunity for women, both of which have been well utilized by Muslim women. Viewed from religious practices of Muslim communities in the early twentieth century Indonesia, Kyai Dahlan’s idea of allowing, let alone encouraging, women to seek religious knowledge outside their home compounds, was alien. Qur’anic imperatives recognizing women’s autonomous virtue to seek divine reward and to act independently had never been encouraged. Most popular religious books used by the Indonesian Muslim community in pengajian (informal religious learning) and pesantren (traditional boarding school for learning Islamic subjects) until at least the early twentieth century always emphasized women’s piety in association with obedience to their husbands. Consequently, such a religious doctrine was deeply believed and practiced by the Muslim community (Forum Kajian Kitab Kuning 2003; Khilmiyah 2003; Sya'roni 2001). From a cultural point of view, the teachings which highlighted women’s total obedience to their husbands, and their sexual roles were also given emphasis within Javanese culture. Such dictum can be found in a number of well known ancient Javanese literatures like Serat Baratayuda, Serat Gatholoco, Serat Wedatama, Serat Panitisastra, Serat Candrarini and Serat Centhini (Sudewa 1992:38-44). Kyai Dahlan’s assertion of women’s religious autonomy and Muslim women’s positive responses, in fact, should be more highly appreciated if we consider that Islam has at least penetrated Java since the 14th century, yet women’s right for independent status was not properly recognized by religious authorities until the last century.

In addition, from a cultural point of view, the long standing popular belief regarding Javanese women held by most urban and middle class Javanese, to which Kyai Dahlan belonged, was that women’s appropriate place was in the house of their parents or their husbands (Koentjaraningrat 1984:245). Women’s life focused mainly on fulfilling their reproductive functions, and was constructed to provide service and pleasure to their husbands, and comfort to the family and society (Sudewa 1992:38-44). A Javanese woman, as a member of a family and the larger social and spiritual society, practically did not possess any right to make decisions over important issues. This belief was perfectly expressed in a Javanese saying: wadon iku suwargo nunut neraka katut (a woman is carried to heaven and is dragged to hell [by her husband]), which underscores that a woman’s destiny depended on or was caused by her husband’s deeds (Jamhari and Ropi 2003:7). There are arguments

that Javanese women have exercised considerable authority in family decision making by their management of financial dealings of the household, and that rural women have enjoyed more freedom in their movement in public sphere than their urban middle and upper class counterparts (Koentjaraningrat 1984:145, 264). However, women’s considerable control of family finance does not mean that women automatically have command in family decision making in a broader sense (Sullivan 1994:113-114), and moreover, their domain was mostly associated with economic and financial matters that in Javanese philosophy were regarded as inferior and worldly affairs not suitable for noble men to manage (Susanto 1992:85-86; Koentjaraningrat 1984:264). It was believed by Javanese people that activities involving money-making would distract someone from attaining the spiritual-psychological condition required to engross power (Sullivan 1994: 143-144). From these accounts it is noticeable that Javanese Muslim women of the early twentieth century were denied recognition of independent status and rights from both social and religious perspectives.

It is obvious from the experiences of Sapa Tresna and SPW women, that having been given opportunity to seek religious knowledge from some learned ulama (religious scholars) they began to have intellectual and spiritual encounters with new understanding of religious messages. They started to develop a new discourse of independent and accountable womanhood based on these newly acquired justifications from religion. Such a new awareness transformed Muslim women of Sapa Tresna and SPW from being passive recipients of any religious teachings to becoming active participants in the religious community. The Javanese motto of wadon iku suwarga nunut neraka katut which had been believed to be true, even by the Muslim community, was challenged by this newly acquired Islamic doctrine which favoured women’s independent position in matters of enjoying the after life in Heaven or receiving severe punishment in Hell. Apparently once these Muslim women had confidence in the validity of their religious understanding, they had more drive to enhance their self–development, as well as promoting the idea of empowering other women in their community.

Speaking about the development of feminism in Indonesia, undoubtedly most credit will be given to a Javanese priyayi woman, Raden Ajeng Kartini (Cote 1995), who was influenced by Western feminist thought. Kartini’s correspondence, which clearly reveals her feminist consciousness, began to reach a larger community after the publication of selected letters in the book Door Duisternis tot Licht, published in 1911. While Kartini was more confident in challenging the prevailing beliefs regarding women's fate from a Javanese cultural point of view, the women who were organizing in Sapa Tresna and SPW were demanding better recognition and status mainly from a religious perspective. As such,

the women of Sapa Tresna and SPW were gaining greater self-assurance not only about religious argumentation, but also by concerning themselves with public issues and in public space in active ways, such as by pursuing knowledge, conveying their opinions and setting up social services; endeavours that for centuries had been believed to be reserved for men.

The new social activities performed by women of Sapa Tresna and SPW in public space had positive impacts on the organization, despite severe criticism launched by some religious groups who were not very happy to see women outside their home compounds (Setiawati 1985:44; Puar 1989:235). Later on, the association of Sapa Tresna became more popular and attracted many more members. Following the rapid development of women’s groups in Muhammadiyah communities, it was agreed in a Muhammadiyah congress held in 1917 in Yogyakarta that Sapa Tresna should be officially and organizationally incorporated into Muhammadiyah. Since the name Sapa Tresna was purely Javanese, while at that time there had been many Muhammadiyah branches developed outside the principalities of Yogyakarta and Surakarta, it was proposed that the name be changed to one derived from Malay or Arabic languages. It was then agreed to be renamed Aisyiyah, that means the followers or those who embrace the quality of Aisyah, the Prophet’s wife (Kuntowijoyo 1993:129).

In addition to becoming one of the most learned women in Islamic history, and a trustworthy source of prophetic traditions, Aisyah was also an economically productive woman. She was widely reported to have been an advisor to the khalifahs (Muslim political leaders after the death of the Prophet) due to her vast knowledge, and she even led a political and military movement (Mernissi 1991:5-7, 55-58). The choice of Aisyiyah as a name was based on several considerations. First of all, Aisyah was the beloved wife of Prophet Muhammad; accordingly it was expected that women of Aisyiyah would have an equal, good and harmonious relationship with Muhammadiyah. Secondly, it was hoped that women of Aisyiyah would adopt the excellent characteristics of Aisyah, who was known to be loving, caring, active, smart, knowledgeable, productive and full of courage (Kuntowijoyo 1993:130). In another explanation, behind the selection of the name of Aisyiyah, one can find theological as well as historical arguments for these women to step over the boundaries of the allegedly male world (Jamhari and Ropi 2003:8-9).

As Aisyiyah grew within Muhamadiyah, school-aged girls took more interest in SPW. In an Aisyiyah meeting held in 1923, which was attended also by the girls from SPW, it was decided that SPW should become a section within Aisyiyah to make it easier to manage the organizations. Following this amalgamation, in a congress held in 16 May 1931 SPW was renamed Nasyiatul Aisyiyah,

derived from Arabic, which means the young/new generation of Aisyiyah. This date later on was commemorated as the formal birthday of Nasyiah (Pimpinan Pusat Nasyiatul Aisyiyah 2001b:46). By this time, Nasyiah had ceased its formal relationship with the Muhammadiyah Standard School in Kauman quarter, and broadened its activity to also include young women who had finished the fiveyear elementary school.

In addition to giving social recognition of women’s independent status from a religious perspective, Kyai Dahlan and his wife were also well known for their tireless efforts to promote women’s right to a better education. Their campaign in this matter was in fact in accordance with the demands of other early Indonesian feminists, such as Kartini and Dewi Sartika. Long before the Dutch colonial administrator built modern Western-type schools, there had been many traditional Islamic learning institutions in Java. Unlike Dutch-founded schools, these traditional learning institutions run by Muslims at that time were not systematically built and well organized. The subjects were mainly focused on reading the Qur’an, and performing prayers and other religious obligations. The most basic form of these learning institutions was called pengajian, a group of people learning the recitation of the Qur’an (Steenbrink 1974:10). Another popular and more advanced institution for religious learning was the pesantren, a kind of monastic school headed by a Kyai. More religiousrelated subjects were taught there; nevertheless the methods were traditional and only men participated in these learning institutions (Alfian 1989:81-85; Soebardi 1976:43-50).

As the time passed, the social acknowledgment and education opportunity given to women began to bear fruit. Nasyiah women gained greater confidence to extend their activities. They founded many new pengajian groups, and also delivered speeches, even outside the town of Yogyakarta. This new kind of learning for women developed rapidly. From this time pengajian was no more an exclusive domain for men. In a congress held by Muhammadiyah in Malang, East Java in 1938, also attended by representatives of Aisyiyah and Nasyiah, it was reported that Muhammadiyah had 5516 muballigh (male religious preachers) and 2114 muballighat (women religious preachers) (Noer 1978:95). Viewed from the perspective of how recently Muslim women in Indonesia had been given chances to access and deliver Islamic teachings by religious authority compared to men, this number shows the rapid development of human resources accomplished by these women in the last two decades.

Other new notable activities formed by Nasyiah in the 1920s and 1930s were choir groups and a simple marching band. It was reported that when these Nasyiah women were performing their marching musical band in the city streets, many religious leaders, even some from Muhammadiyah,

criticized them saying that they were behaving like women from the jahiliyah time (the age of ignorance before the Prophet). It seemed that this condemnation did not stop the Nasyiah women; instead they argued that what they were doing was part of new ways of conveying religious messages (Setiawati 1985:44). In 1938, Nasyiah set up a small library called Taman Aisyiyah (Garden of Aisyiyah), where all women might access books as well as obtain training on writing and composition. In this year too, Nasyiah adopted an organizational symbol, in the form of a stalk of rice.3 It also agreed to take a song composed by Mr. Achyar Anies “Nasyiah Simbul Padi” (Nasyiah’s Paddy/Rice Symbol) as the anthem of the organization (Pimpinan Pusat Nasyiatul Aisyiyah 1999c:9). The anthem precisely depicts the new social and religious ethos of the women of Nasyiah:4 Nasyiah girls whose symbol is rice Are educated every day. Islamic glory is sought after; Performing great deeds is favoured. Nasyiah girls whose symbol is rice The symbol of young women: Be alive and rise, with the blessing of our Lord. Chorus: Unified in Nasyiah, the daughters of Aisyiyah Whose symbol is rice, will make human beings all over the world happy. We are the youth, the young women, The sincere Nasyiah; We are eager to perform meaningful work For the cause of God, the Most Magnificent. We are the youth, the young women, In pursuit of divine goals, Not fearing death, for Islam will flourish. Chorus Nasyiah, the youthful girls, The future hope of Aisyiyah To carry on all its endeavours So that they will not vanish. Nasyiah, the youthful daughters From Muhammadiyah circles: We are keen to accomplish works, especially in Indonesia. Chorus The anthem clearly shows that religion has played a major role in transforming the new ethos for Nasyiah women: from a state of passivity to activity. These women were motivated by greater goals beyond worldly expectations for what they were doing. The later part of the anthem also depicts a new consciousness of Indonesian nationalism: that Nasyiah women were eager to provide their labour

for the betterment of the Indonesian community. The seed of this nationalist sentiment can also be seen in its adoption of Indonesian language in the anthem itself.

Nasyiah’s Growth: Vertical and Horizontal Structures To investigate the growth of Nasyiah in this section, I develop two categories, which I have adapted from Mulkhan’s study of the development of Muhammadiyah: vertical and horizontal (1990b:30). The vertical category is used to depict organizational expansion, that is the growth of new branches, while the horizontal category incorporates the increase of departments, bureaus and autonomous organizations. I have modified the horizontal category to designate only the development of Nasyiah’s departments, and its auxiliary institutions.

Let me begin this section by examining the vertical growth of Nasyiah. In its early stages, Nasyiah’s organizational evolution, starting from a Muhammadiyah primary school pupils’ extra curricular association up to the stage of merging with Aisyiyah, had been nurtured in the urban environment of Yogyakarta and its surrounding areas. Its extension to other regions was supported partly by its close cultural and structural relationship with Muhammadiyah. Kyai Dahlan himself always encouraged Muhammadiyah families everywhere to assist women to establish their own group. However, it is difficult to trace the development of Nasyiah in regions other than Yogyakarta. In this paper, therefore, I shall reconstruct the vertical development on Nasyiah based on the scattered notes included in Muhammadiyah’s historical reports. Several interviews with elderly women who are exNasyiah members also constitute important sources for this research. Nevertheless, inevitably my analysis will be more on Nasyiah in Yogyakarta, which represented the headquarters of the organization.

As explained in the previous section, SPW was founded in 1919 for female pupils of the Muhammadiyah Standard School (five-year elementary school) in Kauman, Yogyakarta. In accordance with the development of other Muhammadiyah schools in the following years, the movement of SPW was also introduced as an important extra-curricular activity for these newly founded schools. In 1922, it was recorded that Muhammadiyah had already built 7 schools (Mulkhan 1990b:44), and in the same year, a year before SPW was integrated with Aisyiyah, it had branches in several Muhammadiyah schools around the Yogyakarta region, such as Suranatan, Bausasaran, Karangkajen and Kotagede. Once a week, representatives from these schools held a meeting with the SPW committee in the Kauman’s Muhammadiyah Standard School, which was apparently viewed as the central coordinator of SPW. All problems and new ideas were discussed in these meetings

(Pimpinan Pusat Nasyiatul Aisyiyah 1999c:7). By 1925 Muhammadiyah had already built 32 Standard Schools (five-year primary schools), 14 madrasah (schools for religious subjects), one Schakelschool, one Kweekschool, and 8 Hollands Inlandse School5 (Noer 1978:85).

From these pieces of information it is clear that the vertical growth of SPW was linked mainly with the founding of Muhammadiyah schools. Networking was developed among school representatives. It was not very clear at this point, however, whether the female pupils who organized SPW in Kauman’s Standard School were formally elected to become the leaders of all the existing SPWs at that time, and whether there was a kind of hierarchical structure embodied amongst these SPW groups. A different mode of vertical development of SPW is observed when it was unified with Aisyiyah in 1923. Following this integration, the growth of SPW was mainly incorporated into that of Aisyiyah. The union seemed to have changed not only the method of SPW’s expansion but also its target audiences and activities, as shown later in this section.

As soon as SPW became a section within Aisyiyah, it emerged as the most progressive section. All existing braches of Aisyiyah then were instructed to create Nasyiah sections, targeting young women in their area; and Muhammadiyah representatives in all regions were called to assist the establishment of Aisyiyah in their neighbourhood (Puar 1989:235). In 1926 several groups of Aisyiyah which were forming Nasyiah sections had established them in regions of Surakarta (Setiawati 1985:38), and it is likely also that Nasyiah had been founded in the south eastern parts of Yogyakarta. According to the memory of Ibu Dalalah (b. 1924), one of the prominent leaders of Aisyiyah in the region in the 1970s to 1980s, Nasyiah was introduced in Kotagede in the latter half of 1920s (Interview 08.10.2003) several years after Muhammadiyah penetrated there in the early 1920s (Nakamura 1983:76).

Although Muhammadiyah leaders in Yogyakarta always encouraged their colleagues in other regions to provide space for women to organize themselves, nevertheless when Muhammadiyah held its 16th congress in Pekalongan, Central Java, in 1927 it was reported that the organization had claimed to have 176 branches, while the number of Aisyiyah branches at that time was only 68 (Mulkhan 1990b:42). Unfortunately, there is no detailed record as to the location of those 68 Aisyiyah branches, nor is it clear whether all of these Aisyiyah groups had Nasyiah sections at that time. However, an Almanak Muhammadiyah 1927-1928 (Muhammadiyah Calendar) showed some pictures of Muhammadiyah and Aisyiyah committees in the branches of Maninjau, Padang Panjang, Tambangan, and Simabur (all in West Sumatra). Evidently by the end of the 1920s Aisyiyah had spread outside Java. From this account one can conclude that Aisyiyah did not always automatically exist in every

branch of Muhammadiyah, perhaps because not all Muhammadiyah members were willing to support their women to engage in organization. I suggest the problem did not lie in women’s lack of enthusiasm to utilize the opportunity, as it was clear that women were looking for opportunities to improve their fate as examined. It sounds as if the Muslim community had responded quite differently to the emergence of Muhammadiyah and Aisyiyah movements, understandably given the fact that women were commonly regarded as second class members of Indonesian community whose opinions should not be considered (Sudewa 1992:43-44)

Meanwhile by the end of the third decade of twentieth century Muhammadiyah had penetrated not only into cities in Java, but also in Madura (Sumenep, Bangkalan and Sampang), Sumatra (Padang Panjang, Bukittinggi, Sungai Liat, Bangka, Bengkulu, Tanjung Limau, Palembang, Sigli, Kotaraja, Lhok Seumawe, Medan, Aceh), Kalimantan (Banjarmasin, Amuntai), Sulawesi (Makassar, Sangir), and Kupang (Mulkhan 1990b:42). Presumably, Nasyiah had also been developed in some of these localities.

As Nasyiah expanded, a mode of communication between the Nasyiah headquarters and those in other areas was required. In its early phase Nasyiah adopted the simple vertical structure of Muhammadiyah, consisting of Hoofd Bestuur/Pusat (central) and Afdeeling which constituted branches of regional/local representatives (Statuten 1930). Before World War II, regional representatives were developed along the lines of ethnic identity or local residency; therefore it is no wonder that sometimes one may notice that an organization’s branch represented a very large community (Bugis and Makassar ethnic groups in South Sulawesi) or just a group of households in certain villages (as in Pasuruhan, East Java, and Pekajangan, Central Java). This is because the statutes of Muhammadiyah in the 1930s said that whenever 10 people agreed to join the organization they might develop a branch (Mulkhan 1990a:132).

During the Japanese military occupation (1942-1945), the vertical structure of Nasyiah changed in accordance with that of Muhammadiyah. The Japanese rulers separated the former Dutch East Indies into four military divisions, namely Sumatra, Kalimantan, Sulawesi, and Java-Madura, each of which was directly under the command of Japanese Imperial Army headquarters for South East Asian colonies stationed in Singapore. This new political and military arrangement enforced by Japanese government affected the civil and social life of organizations such as Muhammadiyah and Nasyiah. During this period, Muhammadiyah’s representatives in those four different Japanese military territories could not make contact with one another very easily. Consequently, the proper relationship

between the Centre and former branches could not be maintained. To overcome this problem in the organization’s management and communication, and also to anticipate any further unexpected situations caused by the war, the Central Executive of Muhammadiyah held an emergency meeting in Surabaya in 1943 and took three decisions, one of which directly affected Nasyiah's existence in these crucial years: If the Pacific War breaks out, and if it is not possible to properly maintain communications between the Central Executive in Yogyakarta (Java) and all the organization’s representatives outside Java, all activities of the organization should be taken care of and managed by each representative independently. The activity of the organization should not cease because of this new political situation (Puar 1989:63-64).

Nasyiah’s vertical communications, from the headquarters in Yogyakarta to its branches and vise versa were interrupted during the Japanese military occupation; and became even worse during the independence war (1945-1949). Each branch was expected to survive independently and find ways to maintain the organization which suited to its local condition. Ibu Dalalah recalled her experience in taking care of Nasyiah during the occupation and independence war as follows:
Living under the Japanese military rulers was very difficult. It was also a difficult time in terms of organizing Nasyiah. Communication with the city (she meant the Central Board) ceased, we did not hold any congresses where we might meet our friends from different regions. I remember in a Muhammadiyah congress held in Yogyakarta in 1940, we –Nasyiah from Kotagede- performed many activities, marching, choir, and drama. I led Nasyiah delegates from Kotagede. It was a great congress; after that for so long we did not have any congress. Although the situation was different and difficult, Nasyiah in Kotagede still operated in the 1940s, albeit in a very limited sense. The grouping we had before was not thoroughly followed. We conducted our activities only in afternoons; the night activities, such as pengajian, sholat jamaáh, were reduced to the minimum. Only in Ramadhan (fasting month based on the Islamic calendar) we had night programs. However, on most occasions we were given warning of danger, or there was sound of sirens or gunfire, and activities had to stop immediately. During the war, there were a lot of refugees from West Java coming to our region, and we invited their daughters to join Nasyiah. I remember it was during this time that I saw indigenous young women (from a West Java refugees family) wearing western attire and having a short haircut (Interview with Ibu Dalalah, 08.10.2003). 6

As for the horizontal structure, Nasyiah experienced several changes too during its historical course from 1919 to 1945. From the previous section it is obvious that Nasyiah originated from an independent female pupils’ association in Muhammadiyah schools in the early twentieth century by

the name of Siswa Praja Wanita/SPW. While it was still in this phase, no record ever mentions that SPW had any sections or divisions despite its handling a variety of activities. It seems that the organization adopted a very simple structure of leadership and membership at its early stage.

The incorporation of SPW into Aisyiyah in 1923 signified a transformation of the horizontal structure of SPW. As a result of the merger, viewed from the macro structure of the organization, it seems that Nasyiah was set into a small ‘corner.’ Nasyiah was a section within Aisyiyah besides other existing sections of Tabligh (religious sermons), Madrasah (schools), Dzakirat (literally means ‘remainder’), while Aisyiyah itself was a Majlis (Council) for Women in Muhammadiyah’s structure. On the one hand, this unification indeed resulted in SPW’s losing its independence as a female students’ group in Muhammadiyah schools, but on the other hand, it provided SPW with the opportunity to extend its membership to also include young women who had graduated from the schools as well as those who never attended them. The latter group evidently constituted the largest population of Indonesian women, since at that time the number of women attending schools was very low.

Another advantage was that Nasyiah might have access to broader networks developed before by Muhammadiyah and Aisyiyah. It seems Nasyiah was prioritizing the achievements it might gain through the unification rather than defending its independent status as a female students’ association. During these early decades of the twentieth century, student unions were not yet very popular. It is very likely that SPW was the first Muslim female student association in Java. The most common category used to found social-political organizations at that time was based on sex (Budi Utomo/Putri Mardika, Muhammadiyah/Aisyiyah, Syarikat Islam/Wanodya Utomo) and age: (Aisyiyah/Nasyiah, Jong Islamieten Bond, Jong Sumatranen Bond, Jong Ambon, Jong Batak Bond).

As Nasyiah’s range of coverage, in terms of age and activity, following its fusion had become wider than before, its leaders tried to make better arrangements to provide different activities for different age groups. They ended up making four categories. Firstly, for girls aged 7-10 years Nasyiah made a group called Jamiatul Athfal (Children’s Group), who gathered twice a week to receive training in reciting the Qur’an, singing, hand-crafts and sports. The second group was for those aged 10-15 years, called Tajmilul Akhlak (literally means Refining the Character) who met every Friday evening, during which the Islamic teachings on women’s virtues and other issues were discussed, and public speaking was taught. Simple life skills, such as cooking, knitting and sewing were also imparted to the group. The third group was designed for women aged 15 years and more, whose group was called Thalabus Saadah (Quest of Happiness). In this group the discussion of Islamic family laws and codes of

conduct for establishing a happy family were given emphasis. They also practiced their lessons of public speaking in pengajian, and had training in administration of the organization. The last group was named Dirasatul Banat (Girls’ Studies) whose activity mainly consisted of reading the Qur’an for girls of all ages in the evenings (Pimpinan Pusat Nasyiatul Aisyiyah 1999c:7; Puar 1989:247).

With regard to the question of who provided the labour of organizing and teaching for each of these groups, in fact Nasyiah women were both the deliverers and receivers of the programs. Such an interchangeable position was very possible because of the ranges of ages and programs adopted by Nasyiah. To explain the situation, Ibu Dalalah, one of my respondents who witnessed the periods of Dutch colonial rule, Japanese Military occupation as well as Indonesia’s Old, New and Reform Orders, recalls her experience as follows:
I began to join Nasyiah in Kotagede, Yogyakarta, when I was in the third grade of Standard School, and I was put in Jamiyatul Athfal before I was moved to Tajmilul Akhlak. In the latter group we received training in public speaking, and my favourite theme was the history of the Prophets. All Nasyiah’s activity at that time was held in the house of Ibu Rosyidi (the wife of Mr. Rosyidi, later Minister of Religious Affairs in Natsir’s cabinet), the only house which had electricity. When I attended Madrasah Muallimat Muhammadiyah (Muhammadiyah Female Teachers College) in 1937 I was already in the group of Thalabus Saadah and I became a pengurus (executive board member) of Nasyiah in my region. In this situation I was a pupil as well as a teacher at the same time: a pupil in Thalabus Saadah, but I also taught singing, knitting and delivered religious subjects to the girls in Jamiyatul Athfal. … When we reached the age of 14 or 15, we entered the group of Thalabus Saadah. In my time, at 15 years old a girl was considered adult and mature; many of us were getting married around this age. Being adult Nasyiah members, we acted more as teachers or leaders than as pupils in Nasyiah’s groups (Interview 08.10.2003)

When asked whether Ibu Dalalah was paid for teaching in Nasyiah, she replied that she was not. Instead she carried out these tasks in expectation of heavenly rewards from God; she found them spiritually very rewarding and satisfying. The specific Islamic term she used to describe her intention was ikhlas lillahi ta’ala (sincere devotion to God the Almighty). Another purpose was to perform religious duty to improve women’s lives. She said that Nasyiah did collect a financial contribution from the members, but the fund was not for paying the teachers: it was used to purchase equipments and tools needed by Nasyiah, such as mats, clothe, cooking materials, books, pencils, sabak and grip (small blackboard and special chalk used by pupils to write before the paper/note books were introduced), blackboard, etc (Interview 08.10.2003).

With the availability of such free learning resources for women provided by Nasyiah, many families greatly benefited. Those parents who could not afford to send their daughters to attend formal schools were now able to let their daughters gain religious knowledge in Nasyiah’s groups and pengajian. In fact, the obstacles to women’s access to education in earlier decades were caused not only by lack of money of their parents, but also by colonial rule and cultural conviction. The colonial government prioritized schooling for Dutch children, and later on for those of priyayi families. It was thought to be enough for women to learn how to cook and have some skills to provide pleasures for their future husbands (Koentjaraningrat 1984: 77; Sudewa 1992:38-44). It is within such a social-religious context of the early twentieth century Indonesia that one can better appreciate the importance of Nasyiah’s social and educational commitment to women. And it is in this desire for education that Nasyiah’s embryonic religious-based feminism accorded with the form of cultural-based feminism launched by Raden Ajeng Kartini and her supporters.

During the Japanese occupation, Aisyiyah and automatically Nasyiah were temporarily dissolved due to the strict regulations imposed by the Japanese military. The Japanese military authority for JavaMadura issued a decree on 10 September 1943 saying that while allowing Muhammadiyah to operate as a Perkumpulan Agama Islam (Muslim association) it could not have its own women’s, and youth wings (Puar 1989:64-65). All women’s groups should be organized in the Fujinkai (Suryochondro 1984:134). Nevertheless, Nasyiah women did not lose their concern for social issues during the 1940s; they simply had different modes of participating in social life. After the Japanese occupation, together with other women from various groups Nasyiah women individually were involved in the struggle for the independence of Indonesia: some of them worked in the public kitchens, the Red Cross, even in such risky jobs as intelligence couriers (Interview with Ibu Khadijah, 16.09.2003). The rapid social and political changes experienced by Indonesians since the 1920s had affected not only the vertical and horizontal structures of the organization, but also the characteristics of women who joined and led Nasyiah.

Profile: Leadership and Membership The first generations of Nasyiah witnessed the era of Kyai Dahlan, the founder of Muhammadiyah. Nasyiah girls in the early period were supervised by Aisyiyah women who received intensive education directly from Kyai Dahlan and his wife. At least six women (Siti Bariyah, Siti Dawimah, Siti Dalalah, Siti Busyra, Siti Wadingah, and Siti Badilah) were prepared and trained by Siti Walidah to take over and continue the organization’s endeavours (Salam 1965:87; Puar 1989:237-238). Unsurprisingly, these women were family and close neighbours of Kyai Dahlan. 7 This step is

perfectly understandable since what he did, i.e. opening up the opportunity for women to seek religious knowledge from schools, was something new in the Muslim community. Naturally, Kyai Dahlan needed to give an example for his fellows that his idea was religiously valid and worthwhile. He also required support from his family and neighbours; therefore he included his own daughter Siti Busyra, and close friends’ daughters among the cadre group.

Such a pattern of spreading and developing new cadre through familial and marital relationships adopted by the organization in its early stage influenced the behaviour of the organization in later periods. The central leadership of Nasyiah for the first decades was always in the hands of women from Kauman, Yogyakarta, who were incidentally connected to Muhammadiyah elite through genealogical or marital lines (Setiawati 1985:34-44). A study of Muhammadiyah in Kotagede Yogyakarta by Mitsuo Nakamura (1983: 56, 82) shows that a similar pattern of recruiting membership and electing local Muhammadiyah leaders was practiced.

Kyai Dahlan tried to provide religious education for women as early as possible. His lectures were wide-ranging, not only about reading and writing Qur’anic verses. Although Kyai Dahlan’s female pupils were still quite young in the early 1920s (about 15 years old), Kyai and Nyai Dahlan often invited them to discuss current social and religious situations in the Muslim community around them, and what the Qur’an had said regarding such issues. At other times, Kyai Dahlan also gave instruction and advice to them whenever needed. Some of Kyai Dahlan’s most remembered messages for his female disciples are: 1. As Muslims we should always perform our duties and responsibilities as human beings with all our knowledge, skills and talents for the sake of devotion to God (ikhlas lillahi ta’ala). We do not seek praise from people for our work, and we will never be downhearted or despair up because of criticism. 2. Keep in mind that to be able to perform our duties well we need to acquire proper knowledge and skills. 3. We should accept any responsibilities given to us as a human so long as they are not violating religious rules. 4. Have courage to maintain and defend the holiness of Islam. 5. Develop strong persaudaraan (sisterhood) and unity among Muslim women (Puar 1989: 238239). >From what is reported, it is evident that Kyai Dahlan requested several qualities to be adopted by the (future) leaders of the organization: ikhlas (sincere devotion to God), knowledge, responsibility,

courage, and sense of persaudaraan (sisterhood/brotherhood). Obviously the message was well received and transferred from one generation to the next. What has been expressed in the previous section by Ibu Dalalah who was a Nasyiah activist in the late 1930s and early 1940s regarding her keikhlasan and enthusiasm to run the organization, perfectly reflected the requisites demanded by the founder.

The level of education attained by leaders of Nasyiah it has clearly increased from one generation to the next. The first generations of Nasyiah leaders in the 1920s graduated from five-year elementary schools. A decade later, in the 1930s, more Nasyiah leaders had achieved higher levels of education; some of them were graduates from Schakel School/ five-year link or secondary school, and Madrasah Muallimat Muhammadiyah /Teachers Training College for Women (Interview with Dalalah 08.10.2003). Women of the 1940s generation were very much disadvantaged in term of attaining education. This is because during the Pacific War and struggle for Independence, many different types of schools were closed, or at least their operation were interrupted (Aiko 1990:179), including the Madrasah Muallimat Muhammadiyah, the most prolific producer of Nasyiah cadres. Although what had been emphasized by Kyai Dahlan was not the level of formal education, but rather the level of knowledge and understanding regarding women’s duties and rights as human beings, nevertheless it has been a common assumption among people that the higher the level of education someone achieved the more knowledge she gained. Because of such a hypothesis, in order to elect knowledgeable leaders, many Nasyiah members would consider the level of education of the candidates, as pointed out by Ibu Dalalah earlier.

With regard to the age of Nasyiah membership, many changes have been noticed. These changes appear to relate to the level of education achieved by most members of Nasyiah. When Nasyiah was still a section within Aisyiyah, particularly before the World War II, it targeted Muslim women aged between 7 and 20 years, as shown in the previous section. There were also lots of girls who never attended schools who became members of Nasyiah and benefited from its program as explained by Ibu Dalalah:
In my region (Kotagede), in my time (1930-40s), the members of Nasyiah came from different social backgrounds: some from Muhammadiyah families, some from abangan families, rich merchant families, while others from very poor families. I myself was attending a school, but there were many who never came to school. Lots of poor families were happy to find that their daughter were receiving lessons such as reading, writing, sewing, cooking, and knitting from Nasyiah (Interview 08.10.2003).

Marital status and age were major criteria of youthfulness at the time, and determined whether a woman was appropriately joining Aisyiyah or Nasyiah. Before Indonesian independence period the most common marital age for women was between 12-18 years (Soeroto 1979:48-49; Blackburn and Bessell 1997:109-112). Married women, regardless of the age, were considered adult; therefore they usually preferred to join Aisyiyah instead of Nasyiah. Only very few women who were married in their teens stayed in Nasyiah (Interview Dalalah 08.10.2003)

Conclusion Religious reform launched by Kyai Haji Ahmad Dahlan, which he channeled through the Muhammadiyah movement, inspired Muslim women to develop a new awareness of womanhood based on religious values. Although the Islamic reform of women’s status was initiated by male ulama, nevertheless women showed their willingness and capability to actively create more space and opportunity for women. Having learned that women have equal rights and responsibilities as men do in terms of pursuing heavenly rewards, they began creating new activities through which to apply their faith in beneficial ways. Thus in 1922, these women built a prayer house for women, in which women performed shalat jama’ah and one of them would act as the prayer leader. By performing shalat jama’ah, women gained leadership skills and this generated other social relationships and opportunities. To enhance their endeavour in elevating women’s circumstances in the light of religion, the women formed the organizations Aisyiyah and Nasyiah, a strategic step taken by most activist women in early twentieth century Indonesia (Suryochondro 1984; Vreede-De Stuers 1960). In fact, founding an organization is still considered a strategic decision for Indonesian women for campaigning women’s gender interests living a century later (Mukhtar 1999).

The rise of Muslim women’s organizations, such as Nasyiah, in the late 1910s, could be regarded as an early form of religious feminism in Indonesia. Nasyiah has taken its inspiration to champion women’s rights and status from religious norms. The era also witnessed the rise of local, cultural feminism pioneered by a priyayi woman, Raden Ajeng Kartini. Most of her aspirations stemmed from her intensive correspondence with Dutch feminist, and her readings from Dutch materials on feminism (Soeroto 1979; Cote 1995). Both kinds of feminism came together in the area of women’s education and awareness of new nationalism. In fact, education has played a major role in disseminating and developing new self esteem and awareness among Indonesian women. Historical account from early twentieth century Indonesia show that most feminist ideas promoted by various women’s organizations have been propagated by educated women (Vreede-De Stuers 1960; Suryochondro 1984).


During the Dutch colonial era until Indonesia gained its independence in 1945 education was a very scarce resource to which only privileged people might have access. When most women were denied access to education, Nasyiah focused on providing it for free and encouraging learning resources for them. Nasyiah women developed informal learning spaces for girls and young women aged from 7 to about 18 years. In order to be able to provide appropriate lessons to different groups of its audience, Nasyiah developed three groups for those aged 7-10 years, 10-15 years, and for young women aged 15 years and more. To expand the reach of the organization, Nasyiah women utilized the existing Muhammadiyah schools and Aisyiyah branches to create its organizational network. Through these groups Nasyiah disseminated its vision of womanhood based on Islam, as well as put it into practices. Thus although the term feminism was not yet known to Nasyiah women in early period, they in fact had performed feminist activities. References:

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This paper was presented to the 15th Biennial Conference of the Asian Studies Association of Australia in Canberra 29 June-2 July 2004. It has been peer-reviewed and appears on the Conference Proceedings website by permission of the author who retains copyright. The paper may be downloaded for fair use under the Copyright Act (1954), its later amendments and other relevant legislation. 2 Translation of the Qur’anic verse is by Arberry (1982). 3 The meaning of Nasyiah’s stalk of paddy/rice symbol is as follow: For Indonesians, rice signifies good character. It forms people’s main diet, and the fuller rice is, the heavier it becomes, and it bows accordingly. It is expected that Nasyiah women would maintain similar traits, avoiding arrogance. The number of rice seeds, which is 12, symbolizes the organization’s set of ethics codes such as: tawhid (monotheism), open-mindedness, budi pekerti (social etiquette), introspection, unity, justice, wisdom, deliberation, and sisterhood. Four intercrossed leaves indicate that Nasyiah women are willing to take over the endeavours of their predecessors before they vanish. Ribbons underneath signify good spirits, optimism and joy in carrying out the tasks. The motto is “albirru manit taqa” taken from Qur’anic verse 189 of Al-Baqarah. It means: good virtue belongs to those obey God’s commands (Setiawati 1985: appendix C). 4 The original text of Nasyiah’s anthem is in Indonesian, as follows: Nasyiah yang bersimbul padi, Terdidik tiap hari Kemulyaan Islam dicari, Bekerja digemari Nasyiah yang bersimbul padi, Simbul kumpulan putri Hidup, berdiri, Rahmat Tuhanku memberi Bersatu di dalam Nasyiah, dari putri Aisyiyah Simbulnya padi, berbahagia umat seluruh dunia Kita pemudi kaum putri, Nasyiah yang sejati Ringan kerja dengan berarti, Karena Tuhan ‘Izzati Kita pemudi kaum putri, Menuju maksud suci Tak sayang mati, Islamlah akan berseri Bersatu di dalam Nasyiah, dari putri Aisyiyah Simbulnya padi, berbahagia umat seluruh dunia



Nasyiah putri yang belia Harapan Aisyiyah Untuk melanjutkan usahanya Jangan tersia-sia Nasyiah putri yang belia Dari Muhammadiyah Suka berkarya, terutama di Indonesia Bersatu di dalam Nasyiah, dari putri Aisyiyah Simbulnya padi, berbahagia umat seluruh dunia

Standard School was a five year primary school for indigenous people; schakelschool was a link school which offered five-year course for those who had completed five-year primary education; kweekschool was teachers training college, and Hollands Inlandse School (HIS) was a seven-year primary school which adopted the Dutch curriculum (Aiko 1990:190). Following the event of Youth Pledge in 1928, Muhammadiyah in 1932 decided to rename all its schools which used the Dutch language to ones using Indonesian or Arabic language for religious schools. Hence Standard school was renamed Sekolah Muhammadiyah category I, Schakelschool became Sekolah Persambungan, Kweekschool became Sekolah Guru, and HIS was renamed Sekolah Muhammadiyah category II (Mulkhan 1990b:38). 6 All interviews quoted in this thesis have been translated into English by the author. Original interviews were conducted either in Indonesian language or Javanese language. 7 Siti Bariyah was the younger sister of K.H. Fachruddin, a keen supporter and family of Kyai Dahlan; Siti Dawimah was K.H. Fachruddin’s cousin; Siti Dalalah, a neighbour’s daughter and later became Kyai Dahlan’s daughter in law; Siti Busyra was Kyai Dahlan’s daughter, Siti Badilah was a close neighbour’s daughter (Puar 1989:237-238).

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