Sunan Muria is one of the Wali Songo who is known for his quite unique way of preaching, namely by using the free course method. It should be noted that Sunan Muria is one of the children of Sunan Kalijaga and Dewi Saroh, who is the daughter of Sheikh Maulana Ishaq.
The name Sunan Kalijaga may be familiar to most people. He is a Wali Songo figure who is quite influential in the spread of Islam in the island of Java. He is a Wali Allah who is the son of the Duke of Tuban.
Not far from his father, Sunan Muria also had an influence in spreading Islam in Java. It is not known exactly when Sunan Muria was born, but in history it is recorded that he died in 1551. Even though he is good at preaching, Sunan Muria chose to preach in remote areas compared to urban areas.
Get to know Sunan Muria
Raden Umar Said or better known as Sunan Muria is one of the Wali Songo who lives in the Mount Muria area. Muria’s name was taken from his last residence, namely on the slopes of Mount Muria, 18 kilometers to the north from the Holy City. Besides having pious morals, he is also known to have supernatural powers in battle.
There is one version which says that Sunan Muria is the son of Sunan Kalijaga. Historians named AM Noertjahjo and Solihin Salam are sure of this version. Based on his research, the marriage between Sunan Kalijaga and Dewi Saroh bint Maulana Ishaq produced three children, namely Sunan Muria, Dewi Rukayah, and also Dewi Sofiah.
There is another version which reveals that Sunan Muria is the son of Raden Usman Haji or Sunan Ngudung. R. Darmowasito’s work, Pustoko Darat Agung, which contains history and also genealogies of Javanese walis and kings, reveals that Sunan Muria was the son of Raden Usman Haji. In fact, there are also those who say that he is of Chinese descent.
In a book entitled The Collapse of the Hindu-Javanese Empire and the Emergence of Islamic Countries in the Archipelago (1968), Prof. Dr. Slamet Muljana revealed that Sunan Muria’s father, Sunan Kalijaga, was none other than a Chinese captain named Gan Sie. Sunan Muria is said to be not good at speaking Chinese because he has mingled with the Javanese.
Slamet himself refers to an ancient manuscript found in the Sam Po Kong Temple, Semarang in 1928. The New Order government at that time was worried that Slamet’s discovery could cause a public uproar. As a result, Slamet’s work was included in the list of books banned by the Attorney General’s Office in 1971. Unfortunately, there has been no further study of the various versions.
So far, Usman Hasyim’s work entitled Sunan Muria: Between Facts and Legend (1983), can be classified as an initial study that attempts to trace the lineage of Sunan Muria more scientifically. He also attempted to distinguish folklore from fact. For example, about Sunan Muria as a Chinese descendant.
Umar tried to collect a number of opinions from historians. As it turned out, the validity of the ancient text was still in doubt, because it was mixed with folk tales. However, Umar admits that he is sometimes forced to rely on his interpretation in tracing Sunan Muria’s footsteps. As a result, Umar tended to believe more in the version that Sunan Muria was the son of Sunan Kalijaga.
How to Preach Sunan Muria
From the various versions, no one doubts Sunan Muria’s reputation in doing his preaching. His moderate style, following Sunan Kalijaga, is infiltrating through various Javanese cultural traditions. For example, the custom of feasts that are held on certain days after someone’s death, such as nelung dino to nyewu, which is not prohibited. It’s just that traditions that have a clinical smell, such as burning incense or offering offerings, have been replaced by praying or praying.
Apart from that, Sunan Muria also preached through various kinds of Javanese arts. For example, he wrote macapat, Javanese songs, sinom and also kinanti songs which are believed to be the works of Sunan Muria, which are still preserved today. Through these songs, he invites his people to practice Islamic teachings.
Therefore, Sunan Muria preferred to preach to the common people compared to the nobility. That is why the preaching area is quite wide and spread to various regions. Starting from the slopes of Mount Muria, Kudus, remote Pati, Juana, to the north coast.
It was this way of preaching that caused Sunan Muria to be known as a sunan who likes to preach topo ngeli. That means, by “immersing yourself” in society. The targets of Sunan Muria’s da’wah were fishermen, traders, sailors, and other common people. He is the only wali who still maintains gamelan and wayang as tools of da’wah to convey Islamic teachings.
The skills of farming, trading, and also fishing are his favorite. Sunan Muria was used as a mediator in the internal conflicts that existed in the Sultanate of Demak (1518-1530). He is known as someone who can solve various kinds of problems no matter how complicated the problem is.
The solution is also always acceptable to all conflicting parties. Sunan Muria preached from Tayu, Jepara, Juana, to the vicinity of Kudus and Pati. One of the results of his da’wah through art media is the song Sinom and Kinanti.
The place of preaching itself is around Mount Muria, then expanded again to Tayu, Kudus, Juana, and the slopes of Mount Muria. He is known as Sunan Muria because he lives on Mount Muria. Until now, the Sunan Muria tomb complex in Colo Village has never been empty of pilgrims. In a day, the place can be visited by 15,000 pilgrims who come from various regions.
Interesting Facts about Sunan Muria
The following are some interesting facts about Sunan Muria during his lifetime, including:
1. Sunan Muria likes to live in the interior
There is one unique thing that Sunan Muria has. Even though his name is very well known and he is a very influential figure in the Sultanate of Demak, Sunan Muria prefers to live in remote areas and away from downtown life. He also decided to stay and settle down on Mount Muria. Mount Muria is one of the mountains on the north coast of Central Java. The place itself is located in the northeast of Semarang City.
Mount Muria is included in three district areas, namely Kudus Regency, Jepara Regency, and also Pati Regency. It is said that one of the reasons why Sunan Muria chose to preach in the interior was because he felt that people in remote villages did not gain knowledge of Islamic teachings.
In addition, the economic conditions of the people there are classified as underprivileged. So that Sunan Muria wanted to preach while at the same time advancing the economic life that was there. Even though the center of his preaching was on Mount Muria, Sunan Muria’s influence was very broad. His preaching could even reach the areas of Tayu, Jepara, Juwana, and also the area around Kudus.
2. Modifying Old Javanese Cultural Traditions
The Javanese people, who at that time had quite strong cultural traditions, made it difficult for Islamic teachings to be accepted. Therefore, Sunan Muria, who has high tolerance, also modifies old Javanese old traditions with Islamic teachings. So, it can be said that Sunan Muria did not preach black and white. He acculturated Javanese culture with Islamic teachings. One strategy is to modify the tradition of offerings.
The Javanese people, who at that time mostly adhered to Hinduism, Buddhism, and also animism, were taught not to offer food to the spirits of their ancestors, but to distribute food to their neighbors who were around them. Therefore, if someone has an intention, they can gather neighbors and pray for the ancestors together in the Islamic way. The local people at that time named it the Kenduri tradition.
This tradition is now better known as sending prayers which are carried out before the month of Ramadan, before weddings, until before carrying out other big events. The goal itself is still the same, praying for the ancestors or relatives who have died. However, they do not present offerings, but send prayers by reciting verses from the Al-Quran and also blessings.
3. Preaching by Providing Free Skills Courses
Sunan Muria is known for his way of preaching which can be said to be different from other methods of preaching. Where he chose the preaching method by giving free courses to the local community. It is known, if people who live in remote areas have less knowledge and skills. Sunan Muria then provided special skills courses for farmers, traders, sailors, and fishermen. In the course, the community will be given knowledge about how to grow crops, how to trade, catch fish, make boats, and more.
After teaching a free course on these skills, then Sunan Muria will teach them Islamic teachings. By building the trust of the community, Sunan Muria can more easily spread the teachings of Islam there.
Not only the people living on Mount Muria and its surroundings, but people from outside the city to outside Java also came to see Sunan Muria to get the free course. That is what later made Sunan Muria known to people from outside Central Java.
4. Sunan Muria Preaching with Art
The form of struggle from Sunan Muria in spreading the teachings of Islam is by preaching and combining it with art. Not much different from his father and teacher, namely Sunan Kalijaga. Sunan Muria has the ability to perform a puppet like his father. One of the puppet stories that is often performed by Sunan Muria is Topo Ngeli.
In the Topo Ngeli story, there is a main character named Dewa Ruci who is the master of the Majapahit Kingdom. Dewa Ruci is said to mingle with the local community, especially the common people. By mingling with the common people, Dewa Ruci then establishes kinship and eliminates social status.
In fact, he also often held puppet shows based on his father’s compositions such as Dewi Ruci, Semar Ambarang, Dewa Srani, Jamus Kalimasada, Begawan Ciptaning, and many more. When masterminding, he will include Islamic elements in the puppet show. Thus, the people who watch the show can learn about Islam.
5. Death of Sunan Muria
No reliable information has been found about when Sunan Muria died. However, some data states that Sunan Muria died in 1560 AD He was buried in Celo Village, Dawe District, Kudus. Currently, his burial place is located at the top of Mount Muria. To get to the cemetery, visitors have to climb hundreds of steps to get to the tomb complex.
Relics of Sunan Muria
As one of the most influential figures, surely he has so many relics. The following are some relics of Sunan Muria, among others:
1. The mosque at the top of Mount Muria
This mosque is located at an altitude of 1,600 meters above sea level. Inside this mosque, there are several objects that were used by Sunan Muria during his lifetime. To be able to reach this mosque, visitors must walk as far as 3 km. This mosque has undergone many changes, but some parts are still maintained today.
One part that is maintained is the place of the priesthood. The form of the mosque’s imam is indented. This has the meaning that Muslims must prioritize the interests of the hereafter rather than world affairs. The structure of the building is still the same as the original condition of the mosque. Other objects that are still being maintained are drums made of teak wood with carvings of dragons and roosters.
2. The Sacred Gentong Water Site
This water barrel site is near the Sunan Muria burial complex. Where this site is usually visited when the visitors have finished pilgrimage. The water from the site is believed to be able to cure various kinds of strange diseases that are medically incurable.
Parijoto is a fruit that has the size of a peanut, is pink when it is still unripe, and will be black when it is ripe, and has a sour taste. This fruit has a fairly good nutritional content and is suitable for pregnant mothers. In addition, this fruit is also said to be one of Sunan Muria’s heritage. Pregnant women often look for pari jot because it is believed to be good for the unborn baby.
4. Hajj fern
Pakis Haji is a plant that is believed to have originated from the supernatural power of Sunan Muria. In general, this one plant is used to repel rats. When visiting the tomb area, visitors can see the Hajj fern being sold there. This Hajj fern has a brown parallelogram batik motif. The base is bone white and slightly brown.
If it can be described, this plant at first glance looks like a python. The people believe that this pilgrimage fern can save the rice fields which are threatened with crop failure due to the rat plague. In ancient times, rats ate rice in the fields, then the farmers complained to Sunan Muria. Then, Sunan Muria gave the idea to use the pilgrim fern as a way to fight these rat pests.
This is an explanation of the history of Sunan Muria and some interesting facts about it. For Sinaumed’s who want to know more about Sunan Muria and other Walisongo, you can read related books by visiting sinaumedia.com .