Abdurrahman Wahid, born Abdurrahman Addakhil (7 September 1940 – 30 December 2009), colloquially known as Gus Dur was an Indonesian Muslim religious and political leader who served as the President of Indonesia from 1999 to 2001. The long-time president of the Nahdlatul Ulama and the founder of the National Awakening Party (PKB), Wahid was the first elected president of Indonesia after the resignation of Suharto in 1998.
Like many Indonesian names, “Abdurrahman Wahid” does not contain a family name. The name “Wahid” is patronymic. His popular nickname Gus Dur, is derifed from Gus, a common honorific for a son of kyai, from short-form of bagus (‘handsome lads’ in Javanese language); and Dur, short-form of his name, Abdurrahman.
There are 4 points that will be explained; early life, education, Careers, and Achievements.
- Early life
Abdurrahman ad-Dakhil Wahid was born on the fourth day of the eighth month of the Islamic calendar in 1940 in Jombang, East Java to Abdul Wahid Hasyim and Siti Solichah. This led to a belief that he was born on 4 August; instead, using the Islamic calendar to mark his birth date meant that he was actually born on 4 Sha’aban, equivalent to 7 September 1940. He was named after Abd ar-Rahman I of the Umayyad Caliphate who brought Islam to Spain and was thus nicknamed “ad-Dakhil” (“the conqueror”). His name is stylized in the traditional Arabic naming system as “Abdurrahman, son of Wahid”.
He was the firstborn out of his five siblings, and Wahid was born into a very prestigious family in the East Java Muslim community. His paternal grandfather, Hasyim Asy’ari was the founder of Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) while his maternal grandfather, Bisri Syansuri was the first Muslim educator to introduce classes for women. Wahid’s father, Wahid Hasyim, was involved in the Nationalist Movement and would go on to be Indonesia’s first Minister of Religious Affairs.
In 1944, Wahid moved from Jombang to Jakarta where his father was involved with the Consultative Council of Indonesian Muslims (Masyumi), an organization established by the Imperial Japanese Army which occupied Indonesia at the time. After the Indonesian Declaration of Independence on 17 August 1945, Wahid moved back to Jombang and remained there during the fight for independence from the Netherlands during the Indonesian National Revolution. At the end of the war in 1949, Wahid moved to Jakarta as his father had received appointment as Minister of Religious Affairs. Wahid went about his education in Jakarta, going to KRIS Primary School before moving to Matraman Perwari Primary School. Wahid was also encouraged to read non-Muslim books, magazines, and newspapers by his father to further broaden his horizons. Wahid stayed in Jakarta with his family even after his father’s removal as Minister of Religious Affairs in 1952. In April 1953, Wahid’s father died after being involved in a car crash.
In 1954, Wahid began Junior High School. That year, he failed to graduate to the next year and was forced to repeat. His mother then made the decision to send Wahid to Yogyakarta to continue his education. In 1957, after graduating from Junior High School, Wahid moved to Magelang to begin Muslim Education at Pesantren (Muslim School) Tegalrejo. He completed the pesantren’s course in two years instead of the usual four. In 1959, Wahid moved back to Jombang to Pesantren Tambakberas. There, while continuing his own education, Wahid also received his first job as a teacher and later on as headmaster of a madrasah affiliated with the Pesantren. Wahid also found employment as a journalist for magazines such as Horizon and Majalah Budaya Jaya.
2. Overseas Education
In 1963, Wahid received a scholarship from the Ministry of Religious Affairs to study at Al Azhar University in Cairo, Egypt. He left for Egypt in November 1963. Unable to provide evidence to certify that he spoke Arabic, Wahid was told when arriving that he would have to take a remedial class in the language before enrolling at the University’s Higher Institute for Islamic and Arabic studies.
Instead of attending classes, Wahid spent 1964 enjoying life in Egypt; watching European and American movies as well indulging in his hobby of watching football. Wahid was also involved with the Association of Indonesian Students and became a journalist for the association’s magazine. After passing the remedial Arabic examination, he finally began studies at the Higher Institute for Islamic and Arabic Studies in 1965, but was disappointed. He had already studied many of the texts offered at the Institute in Java and disapproved of the rote learning method used by the University. Wahid attended Karachi Grammar School in Pakistan. In Egypt, Wahid found employment with the Indonesian Embassy. It was during his stint with the Embassy that coup attempt was launched by the 30 September Movement, which the Communist Party of Indonesia was accused of leading. With Army Stretegic Reserves commander Major General Suharto taking control of the situation in Jakarta, a crackdown against suspected communists was initiated. The Indonesian Embassy in Egypt was ordered to conduct an investigation into the political views of university students. This order was passed to Wahid, who was charged with writing the reports.
Wahid’s displeasure at the method of education and his work following the coup attempt distracted him from his studies. Wahid sought and received another scholarship at the University of Baghdad and moved to Iraq. There Wahid continued his involvement with the Association of Indonesian Students as well as with writing journalistic pieces to be read in Indonesia.
After completing his education at the University of Baghdad in 1970, Wahid went to the Netherlands to continue his education. Wahid wanted to attend Leiden University but was disappointed as there was little recognition for the studies that he had undertaken at the University of Baghdad. From the Netherlands, Wahid went to Germany and France before returning to Indonesia in 1971.
Wahid returned to Jakarta expecting that in a year’s time, he would be abroad again to study at McGill University in Canada. He kept himself busy by joining the Institute for Economic and Social Research, Education and Information (LP3ES), an organization which consisted of intellectuals with progressive Muslims and social-democratic views. LP3ES established the magazine Prisma and Wahid became one of the main contributors to the magazine. Whilst working as a contributor for LP3ES, Wahid also conducted tours to pesantrens and madrasahs across Java. It was a time when pesantren were desperate to gain state funding by adopting state-endorsed curricula and Wahid was concerned that the traditional values of the pesantren were being damaged because of this change. Wahid was also concerned with the poverty of the pesantren which he saw during his tours. At the same time as it was encouraging pesantren to adopt state-endorsed curricula, the Government was also encouraging pesantren as agents for change and to help assist the Government in the economic development of Indonesia. It was at this time that Wahid finally decided to drop plans for overseas studies in favor of promoting the development of the pesantren.
Wahid continued his career as a journalist, writing for the magazine Tempo and Kompas, a leading Indonesian newspaper. His articles were well-received and he began to develop a reputation as a social commentator. Wahid’s popularity was such that at this time he was invited to give lectures and seminars, obliging him to travel back and forth between Jakarta and Jombang where he now lived with his family.
Despite having a successful career up to that point, Wahid still found it hard to make ends meet and he worked to earn extra income by selling peanuts and delivering ice to be used for his wife’s Es Lilin (popsicle) business. In 1974, Wahid found extra employment in Jombang as a Muslim Legal Studies teacher at Pesantren Tambakberas and soon developed a good reputation. A year later, Wahid added to his workload as a teacher of Kitab Al Hikam, a classical text of sufism.
In 1977, Wahid joined the Hasyim Asyari University as Dean of the Faculty of Islamic Beliefs and Practices. Again Wahid excelled in his job and the University wanted to Wahid to teach extra subjects such as pedagogy, sharia, and missiology. However, his excellence caused some resentment from within the ranks of university and Wahid was blocked from teaching the subjects. Whilst undertaking all these ventures Wahid also regularly delivered speeches during Ramadan to the Muslim community in Jombang.
There are many achievements that he already got. But, in this occasion I’d like to talk about two points.
First, it is about human rights of religion freedom. Before gusdur periode, all of tiong hoa people could not celebrate their festival day. Afterwards, they get a special day for the celebration as holyday. Besides that, at the time gusdur declared that all of citizens have their rights to join military which was forbidden for Chinese generation by the previous president.
Second, corruption eradication started becoming main program. So, all of the corruptors in previous period, got their judgment to the court, even for the ex-president.