Walking in the Prophet's footsteps

Solo residents march on Isra Wal Mi'iraj to preserve Islamic culture and ponder its true teachings.

By Yenny Herawati for Khabar Southeast Asia in Solo, Central Java

June 22, 2013
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As thousands of Muslims in Solo marked Isra Wal Mi'raj, celebrated this year on June 6th, city and religious leaders reminded them to preserve the culture of Islam and reflect on its true teachings.

  • Muslims parade through Solo in celebration of Isra Wal Mi'raj on June 6th. The parade reflects the journey of the Prophet Muhammad from Mecca to Jerusalem. [Marwan/Khabar]

    Muslims parade through Solo in celebration of Isra Wal Mi'raj on June 6th. The parade reflects the journey of the Prophet Muhammad from Mecca to Jerusalem. [Marwan/Khabar]

Isra Wal Mi'raj commemorates the journey of the Prophet Muhammad from Mecca to Jerusalem, and his ascent to heaven where Allah instructed him about the five daily prayers that Muslims must observe.

Events in Solo included a major parade with hundreds of rebana (tambourine) players.

"This is the third time we've conducted the events. This year we also included a rebana festival in the parade, which involved 200 groups. Each group had 30 to 50 people" event organiser Sonny Marsono told reporters.

"We hope this activity can unite Indonesian youths as one Muslim entity as well as one nation. We need to practice Muhammad's teachings of peace" he said.

The celebration included many participants from Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), Muhammadiyah and the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI), executive committee member Achmad Fathin told reporters.

"This activity is also to preserve the culture of Islam, including rebana and shalawat (Muslim worships and prayers)."

In a speech, Solo Mayor Hadi Rudiyatmo said Isra Wal Mi'raj is a reminder of Muhammad's moral and ethical teachings.

"Isra Wal Mi'raj is a celebration of Muhammad's life and we should follow his good example in creating harmony and follow Allah's rules to achieve religious unity" Hadi said.

"In addition to being a city of culture and tourism, Solo is also a city of shalawat" he proclaimed.

Deputy mayor Ahmad Purnomo encouraged Muslims to be more disciplined, including by praying five times a day and building stronger relationships.

"If we are able to increase community solidarity and tolerance, we will be able to create harmony in Solo" Purnomo said.

Rejecting violence

Kusnaedi, a student who marched in the parade, welcomed the reminders from city leaders who strengthened his resolve to reject those who would sully Islam with violence.

"The city will encourage its community to be faithful and practice good teachings of Islam" Kusnaedi told Khabar Southeast Asia. "It will arise in carrying out the spirit of everyday life. We refuse any terrorist acts in the region"

Such vigilance is needed to protect Solo's economy and culture, other participants said.

"The city has experienced a difficult time against terrorism in the last few years. A few terrorist arrests happened in Solo, indicating that the region has a lot of risk of terror. Therefore, people in Solo need to unite, and be tolerant and vigilant" Solo resident Sudiro Budianto told Khabar.

"We heard a lot about militants fleeing Aceh and creating bases in Poso. We do not want that happening here. As a central industry of batik and Javanese handicrafts, we want the region to be safe" he said. "We could not continue to build a strong economy if we do not have security.

"Isra Wal Mi'raj is a good reminder for Muslims to avoid the trap of materialism, which is temporary and fleeting" said Sakdilah Helmi, chairman of the NU branch in Solo. He encouraged all Muslims to balance their relationship with God and society.

"We should realise that life is too short, but we can prepare for eternal happiness" Sakdilah said.

Reader Comments
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    • M. BAHRI
      July 13, 2013 @ 06:07:56AM
    • We are proud and thankful that this program exists. Congratulations and hopefully it brings about change, especially for East Java and the faithful in this beloved country. Amien.
    • Marjan
      July 12, 2013 @ 10:07:26PM
    • Ramadan offers opportunities for charity and worship to the faithful and devout because it is in this month that the faithful remember their brothers. Let Allah SWT inspire us to share in our faith. Amen.
    • Dewi Ambarwati
      June 21, 2013 @ 08:06:07PM
    • A unique and beautiful tradition. This is a valuable cultural asset. This sort of thing must be preserved.

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