[About this blog] Inspired by local soccer player Mike Lim during my rookie reporter days at Singapore Polytechnic, I set up this blog in August 2002. I feel that blogging is a novel platform to document interesting facets of my life and my thoughts on certain issues. [Email blogger] ephraim@singnet.com.sg

Friday, May 23, 2008

[Wali Songo ]
1. Nine Muslim holy men brought Islam to Java during a few hundred years ago. They are called the Nine Walis or Wali Songo in Javanese. Their backgrounds are not all clear but many were Hadrami Arabs. At least one was Chinese. I visited the tomb or Makham of Wali Sunan Ampel in Surabaya on Wednesday. The others are scattered in various towns in East and Central Java.

2. The Makham was a big complex of mosques, prayer areas and cemetries accessed through long alleyways with shops on both sides. It was in the Arab quarter of Surabaya. The sufi atmosphere was plainly evident. There was an air of calm and solace.

3. At the end of the visit, we were brought into a meeting room where we were served glasses of plain water while sitting on the carpet. Two members of the Wakf Committee told me that only descendants of the Wali could sit on the committee. With a smile, they said it was nepotism. I replied that being on the Wakf was a responsibility not a privilege, adding that it fell on the descendants to bear the moral burden of Sunan Ampel.

4. My grassroots leader Jalil Kunimin had visited all the tombs of the Wali Songo and told me about them. I will try to visit the others when I have the opportunity.

Do also read my posts on Beyond SG


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