Kiprah 1, Edition 41

Pesantren Rahima – an Effort to Nurture Women Ulama for the Common Good of Ummha

Pera Sopariyanti 

Pesantren Rahima is one of the grand ideas proposed by Rahima that is systematically aimed to give birth to Women Ulama. The effort to realize Pesantren Rahima is one of the ways for Rahima to improve the education system for women ulama which has been done since 2005. One of the objectives of this program is to prepare cadres of women ulama who are able to answer various humanitarian problems that exist in the midst of society by using gender equitable religious argumentation.

However, there are some shortcomings that need to be refined from the program. First, it is still difficult to find a cadre of ulama who have been established in the mastery of religious texts / the ability to read the kitab kuning (Islamic classical text of which the paper colors are yellow). Secondly, potential cadres, in general, have daily routines that cannot be left to take part in tadarus / training. Third, the obstacle that is the direct impact of the relationship imbalance is the absence of permission from the husband. Therefore, along with the mandate of Rahima Association (Perhimpunan Rahima) in 2010, the idea of Pesantren Rahima needs to be realized and become one of the agendas specified in the strategic plan that will be done by Rahima within four years (2011-2014).

Following up the idea, in November 2012 Rahima conducted a Pesantren Pilot Workshop conducted at Wisma PKBI Central Java, in Semarang. The event was attended by a number of religious leaders, academics, Islamic organizations, representatives from the alumni of Women Ulama and religious leaders as partners of Rahima from various regions such as Jakarta, West Java, Central Java, East Java and Yogyakarta. In addition, the Board of Supervisors, Administrators, and Executives of Perhimpunan Rahima were also present.

From the first workshop, the framework of Pesantren Rahima’s design along with its education curriculum was produced. The education system of this pesantren follows the level of formal education, namely Marhalah Ula (Beginner level equivalent to Madrasah Tsanawiyah or Junior High School), Marhalah Tsani (Intermediate level equivalent to Madrasah Aliyah or high school level) and Marhalah Ulya (advanced level equivalent to the undergraduate level in college). There are some materials that will be integrated according to each level in the education. These materials include the Methodology of Islamic Studies (in which there are Arabic, Quranic Exegesis and Quranic Studies, Hadith and Hadith Studies, Fiqh and Ushul Fiqh), gender and gender analysis, reproductive health, social analysis, globalization, organization, advocacy, writing, and foreign languages.

There are several output criteria of Women Ulama that are expected to be generated from the Pesantren  Rahima education process. They are expected to master classical and contemporary religious texts with the perspective of Islamic gender equality, be able to read social reality critically (inequality of relations, oppressive structures, cultures and oppressive religious understanding), able and daring to argue and articulate ideas (written and oral) on the perspective of Islam on the values of justice, able and courageous to dialogue the interests of marginalized communities to local, national and global policy makers, able and courageous to communicate fluently in the local, national and international languages as well as to appreciate the traditions (local wisdom) .

Several other discussions on the criteria of Pesantren Rahima, the steps or operational stages to implement the idea of Pesantren Rahima became the agenda of the follow-up plan of the meeting. This agenda was discussed by 11 people of the formulation team on January 10, 2013, at Rahima’s office. {} Pera Sopariyanti


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