Dayah has existed since the time of the Sultanate and there were many “daar” (educational institutions) in the past. Based on the research by Chairan M Nur from the Research Center of IAIN ar-Raniry, here is the extensive history of dayah in Aceh.
During the Aceh Sultanate, the education system initially developed through study centers in meunasah or houses, and later expanded to “rangkang” (halls). The earliest teachings began with the recitation of the Qur’an, focusing on the proper pronunciation of Arabic following the rules of Tajweed.
In each village in Aceh, there was a meunasah where basic education for boys took place. The teacher was the Teungku Imum (village religious leader) of the respective meunasah, assisted by others. In the house of the Teungku Imum, education was also provided for girls, with the teacher being the wife of the Teungku Imum.
In addition to teaching the Qur’an, some Teungku Imum also taught Jawoe books (Malay-language books written in Arabic script). For beginners, they were taught books like Masailal Muhtadi (using a question-and-answer system, starting with issues of monotheism and laws related to worship such as prayer and fasting).
Later, they would study more advanced books such as Bidayah, Miftahul Jannah, Sirath Sabilal Muhtadin, Kitab Delapan, and Majmu’. Those who became proficient in reading these books were usually called “malem Jawoe.”
A higher level of education was provided by dayah, usually located near mosques. However, some dayahs had their own separate buildings near the house of the Teungku. At this level, the curriculum expanded, and students began to study sharaf, which focused on the analysis of words and their origins to improve their vocabulary.
Following that, they would study nahu, which is Arabic grammar. Those who mastered this subject were called “malem nahu.” The books used for this level included Al-Jurumiyah, Mukhtasar, Muthmainnah, and finally, Alfiyah. They would then move on to studying fiqh (Islamic jurisprudence), starting with books like Safinatun Naja and Matan Taqrib. Later books included Fathur Qarib, Fathur Muin, Tahrir, Iqna, Fathu al-Wahab, Mahally, Tuhfan, and Nihayah. Only after that, would they study tafsir (Qur’anic exegesis) and hadith.
Dayah educational institutions in Aceh have existed since the early days of the Islamic Kingdom in the Nusantara region (Indonesia). These dayahs were scattered throughout various regions and played a crucial role in the spread of Islam to different parts of the Nusantara.
Before the Dutch arrived, Aceh was a kingdom that adhered to Islam, making Islamic education naturally prevalent in the region. Education primarily took place in meunasahs, rangkangs, and dayahs.
During that time, the Cot Kala Dayah Higher Education Center served as the first Islamic higher education institution in Southeast Asia. This institution played a significant role in spreading Islam, as many scholars and alumni became Islamic preachers across the Nusantara, including places across the Malacca Strait. Their missionary efforts stimulated the emergence of Islamic kingdoms in various regions, such as the Samudera Pasai Sultanate, Benua Sultanate, Lingga Sultanate, Darussalam Sultanate, and Indra Jaya Sultanate.
Dayah has been in existence since the time of the Sultanate. There were many “daar” in the past. Based on the research conducted by Chairan M Nur from the Research Center of IAIN ar-Raniry, here is the lengthy history of dayah in Aceh.
During the Sultanate of Aceh, the education system developed in Aceh initially took place in study centers called “mneunasah” or houses, and later expanded to “rangkang” (similar to halls). The earliest teachings began with Quranic recitation following the rules of Tajweed.
In every village in Aceh, there was a “rneunasah” where basic education was provided for boys. The teacher was the “teungku imum meunasah” (the head of the study center), assisted by several others. Education for girls was also conducted in the house of the “teungku imum,” and the teacher was the wife of the head of the study center.
In addition to teaching the Quran, some “teungku imum” also taught Jawo books (Malay language books written in Arabic script). For beginners, they were taught books like “Masailal Muhtadi” (using a question and answer system, starting with issues of monotheism and laws related to worship such as prayer and fasting).
Later, higher-level books were taught, such as “Bidayah,” “Miftahul Jannah,” “Sirath Sabilal Muhtadin,” “Kitab Delapan,” and “Majmu’.” Those who were proficient in reading these books were usually referred to as “malem Jawo.”
A higher level of education was the “dayah,” usually located near mosques. However, some dayahs were located near the house of the “teungku” who had their own dayah. The curriculum became more advanced, including the study of “sharaf,” which is the study of word formation and memorizing the rules of word derivation. Sharaf lessons were generally useful for understanding the origins of words to improve the dictionary.
After that, the study of “nahu,” which is Arabic grammar, was introduced. Those who mastered this subject were called “malem nahu.” The books used for this subject included “Ajrumiyah,” “Mukhtasar,” “Muthmainnah,” and finally “Alfiyah.” Then, the study of “fikih” (Islamic jurisprudence), starting with books like “Safinatun Naja” and “Matan Taqrib,” was taught. Subsequently, “Fathur Qarib,” “Fathur Muin,” “Tahrir,” “Iqna,” “Fathu al-Wahab,” “Mahally,” “Tuhfan,” and “Nihayah” were taught. Only after that were the subjects of Quranic interpretation (tafsir) and hadith taught.
Dayah educational institutions in Aceh have existed since the early establishment of the Islamic Kingdom in the Nusantara region. These dayahs were spread across various regions and played a significant role in spreading Islam to different parts of the Nusantara archipelago.
Before the Dutch arrived, Aceh was a kingdom that embraced Islam as its religion, so naturally, the education system had an Islamic character. The education took place primarily in “meunasah,” “rangkang,” and dayah.
The dayahs spread across different regions in Aceh significantly influenced the Islamic character that developed in the region.
During that time, the Cot Kala Dayah Higher Education Center served as the first Islamic higher education institution in Southeast Asia. This institution played a significant role in spreading Islam through the education it provided to students from various parts of the region.
Dayahs in Aceh continued to flourish and evolve over the centuries, adapting to the changing times and needs of the community. They remained centers of Islamic education, preserving the traditions and teachings of Islam while also incorporating new knowledge and subjects.
In the early 20th century, Aceh experienced significant changes with the arrival of Dutch colonial rule. The Dutch implemented their own education system, which posed challenges to the traditional dayahs. However, many dayahs managed to survive and maintain their educational activities despite the obstacles.
During the Indonesian National Revolution in the late 1940s, Aceh played a crucial role in the struggle for independence. Dayahs became centers of resistance and played an active role in mobilizing support for the nationalist cause. Many ulama (Islamic scholars) from dayahs took part in the resistance movement and provided guidance and leadership to the people.
After Indonesia gained independence, the education system underwent further changes, with the government introducing a standardized national curriculum. Dayahs were integrated into the national education system, and efforts were made to harmonize Islamic teachings with modern subjects.
Today, dayahs in Aceh continue to play a vital role in the education and development of the community. They provide Islamic education and guidance to students, instilling moral values and deepening their understanding of the Islamic faith. The curriculum in dayahs typically includes subjects such as Quranic studies, Arabic language, Islamic jurisprudence, Islamic history, and other relevant disciplines.
In recent years, there has been a growing emphasis on incorporating modern subjects such as mathematics, science, and computer literacy into the dayah curriculum. This allows students to acquire a well-rounded education that prepares them for the challenges of the modern world while preserving the Islamic values and teachings.
Furthermore, dayahs have expanded their reach by establishing networks and collaborations with other educational institutions, both within Indonesia and internationally. This exchange of knowledge and resources contributes to the enrichment of the dayah curriculum and the development of a broader perspective among students.
In conclusion, dayahs in Aceh have a rich and extensive history, dating back to the time of the Sultanate. They have served as centers of Islamic education, preserving and spreading the teachings of Islam throughout the region. Despite challenges posed by colonial rule and changes in the education system, dayahs have persevered and continue to play a significant role in shaping the religious and intellectual landscape of Aceh.
In addition to their educational role, dayahs in Aceh also serve as important social and cultural institutions. They provide a sense of community and foster strong bonds among students and teachers. Dayahs often serve as centers for religious activities, where students engage in daily prayers, recitation of the Quran, and other religious rituals.
Many dayahs also offer support and assistance to the local community. They provide services such as healthcare, counseling, and charitable initiatives to help those in need. Dayahs often play a vital role in times of crisis or natural disasters, mobilizing resources and offering shelter and aid to affected individuals and families.
The influence of dayahs extends beyond Aceh, with graduates from these institutions assuming leadership roles in various fields. Many former students of dayahs have become prominent scholars, politicians, community leaders, and religious figures, both within Aceh and in other parts of Indonesia.
The government of Aceh recognizes the importance of dayahs and has taken steps to support their development. Efforts have been made to improve infrastructure, provide financial assistance, and enhance the quality of education in dayahs. The government also collaborates with dayahs to ensure that their curriculum aligns with national education standards while preserving their distinct Islamic character.
Furthermore, dayah education has gained recognition beyond religious circles. Graduates from dayahs are now eligible to pursue higher education at universities and colleges across Indonesia. This recognition has opened up opportunities for dayah students to expand their knowledge and skills in various academic disciplines while maintaining their religious grounding.
In recent years, there has been an increasing interest in studying the model of dayah education, both within Indonesia and internationally. Scholars and researchers have recognized the unique approach of dayahs in combining religious education with academic subjects, and they have sought to learn from this model to inform educational practices in other contexts.
As Aceh continues to progress and adapt to the modern world, dayahs remain an integral part of the region’s identity and heritage. They serve as guardians of Aceh’s cultural and religious traditions. The dayahs continue to play a crucial role in preserving and transmitting the values, teachings, and customs that have shaped the region for centuries.
In recent years, there has been a growing emphasis on modernizing dayah education while maintaining its core principles. Efforts have been made to incorporate subjects such as science, mathematics, and computer literacy into the curriculum, alongside Islamic studies. This approach aims to equip students with a well-rounded education that prepares them for the challenges of the contemporary world.
Furthermore, dayahs have also embraced technological advancements to enhance their teaching methods and reach a wider audience. Online platforms, digital learning resources, and virtual classrooms are being utilized to facilitate remote learning and provide access to education beyond the physical confines of the dayahs.
The inclusivity of dayah education has also seen positive developments. There has been a conscious effort to welcome female students into dayahs, enabling them to benefit from the same educational opportunities as their male counterparts. This shift reflects the recognition of the important role that women play in society and their right to access quality education.
As dayahs continue to evolve, challenges remain. Funding constraints, maintaining qualified teachers, and ensuring the compatibility of the curriculum with national standards are ongoing concerns. However, the resilience and determination of the dayah community, coupled with the support of the government and various stakeholders, continue to drive the development and sustainability of dayah education in Aceh.
The success and significance of dayahs in Aceh serve as a testament to the strength and resilience of the region’s Islamic heritage. By blending tradition with innovation, dayah education continues to shape the lives of countless individuals, empowering them with knowledge, instilling values, and fostering a deep connection to their faith and community.
In conclusion, dayahs in Aceh embody the rich Islamic heritage of the region while adapting to the changing needs of society. These institutions provide not only religious education but also contribute to the social, cultural, and intellectual development of individuals. The continued commitment to nurturing future generations in both religious and academic domains ensures that the legacy of dayah education in Aceh will endure for years to come.
Moreover, dayahs have also been actively involved in community development initiatives. They serve as centers for social welfare, offering support to the underprivileged, providing healthcare services, and organizing charitable activities. Dayahs often act as catalysts for positive change, addressing societal issues and promoting harmony and unity among the local population.
In addition to their educational and social contributions, dayahs also play a significant role in preserving Aceh’s cultural heritage. They serve as repositories of traditional arts, crafts, and performing arts, keeping these traditions alive through various cultural programs and events. Dayahs provide a platform for students to learn and showcase their talents in fields such as music, dance, calligraphy, and traditional craftsmanship.
Furthermore, dayahs in Aceh have fostered strong ties with international Islamic communities, serving as important hubs for religious and cultural exchange. Students from various countries come to Aceh to study in dayahs, creating a diverse and global environment that promotes intercultural understanding and cooperation. This international collaboration not only enriches the educational experience but also strengthens diplomatic and cultural ties between nations.
The resilience and adaptability of dayahs have been particularly evident in the face of challenges such as natural disasters. Aceh has experienced devastating earthquakes and tsunamis in the past, causing immense loss of life and infrastructure. However, dayahs have been at the forefront of relief efforts, providing shelter, food, and support to affected communities. Their strong community networks and organizational capacities have played a crucial role in the recovery and rebuilding process.
Looking ahead, dayahs in Aceh will continue to evolve and adapt to meet the changing needs of society. They will embrace technology, expand their educational offerings, and further engage with the global Muslim community. By staying true to their foundational principles while embracing innovation, dayahs will continue to be beacons of knowledge, spirituality, and community empowerment in Aceh.
In conclusion, dayahs in Aceh are invaluable institutions that embody the region’s rich Islamic heritage, while simultaneously addressing contemporary challenges. Through their educational, social, cultural, and humanitarian contributions, dayahs have become integral to the fabric of Acehnese society. As they continue to evolve and flourish, dayahs will play a vital role in shaping the future of Aceh, nurturing generations of individuals who are deeply rooted in their faith, committed to their communities, and equipped with the knowledge and skills to thrive in the modern world.
Dayahs in Aceh have also been instrumental in promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment. While traditional Islamic education has historically been dominated by male students, there has been a significant shift in recent years. Many dayahs now actively encourage the enrollment of female students and offer specialized programs to meet their unique educational needs. This progressive approach not only empowers women to pursue higher education but also challenges societal norms and promotes gender inclusivity within religious institutions.
Additionally, dayahs have taken steps to incorporate modern subjects and disciplines into their curriculum, ensuring that students receive a well-rounded education. Alongside religious studies, students are exposed to a range of academic subjects such as mathematics, science, languages, and social sciences. This holistic approach equips graduates with a diverse skill set, enabling them to navigate the complexities of the modern world and contribute effectively to their communities.
Furthermore, dayahs have become centers of research and intellectual discourse. Scholars and academics from around the world visit these institutions to exchange ideas, engage in theological debates, and collaborate on research projects. This intellectual vibrancy fosters a culture of critical thinking, innovation, and scholarly development within the dayah system. As a result, dayahs are not only places of education but also important contributors to the intellectual and academic landscape of Aceh.
The success of dayahs in Aceh can be attributed to the strong commitment of teachers, scholars, and the local community. Their tireless dedication to providing quality education, fostering social cohesion, and promoting religious values has been pivotal in the growth and development of these institutions. Moreover, the support and recognition from the regional government have played a crucial role in ensuring the sustainability and expansion of dayahs in Aceh.
In conclusion, dayahs in Aceh represent a unique and vital aspect of the region’s educational and cultural landscape. They have successfully preserved traditional Islamic knowledge while adapting to meet the needs of contemporary society. Dayahs have played a pivotal role in shaping the intellectual, social, and cultural fabric of Aceh, and they continue to be a source of inspiration, enlightenment, and progress for generations to come.
The impact of dayahs extends beyond the boundaries of Aceh, influencing Islamic education and scholarship throughout the wider Muslim world. Scholars and students from other regions and countries visit Aceh to study at prestigious dayahs and learn from the wealth of knowledge and expertise available. This exchange of ideas and experiences further enriches the educational environment and contributes to the global understanding of Islamic studies.
Moreover, dayah graduates are actively involved in various sectors, including academia, government, business, and civil society. Their education equips them with not only religious knowledge but also critical thinking skills, leadership abilities, and a strong ethical foundation. Many dayah alumni hold influential positions and play key roles in shaping policies, promoting social harmony, and contributing to the overall development of their communities.
In recent years, there has been an increased focus on preserving and documenting the rich heritage of dayahs in Aceh. Efforts are being made to digitize and archive important manuscripts, documents, and historical artifacts related to Islamic education in the region. These initiatives aim to safeguard the valuable intellectual and cultural legacy of dayahs for future generations and facilitate research and academic studies.
Furthermore, collaborations between dayahs and mainstream educational institutions have emerged, fostering greater synergy and exchange of knowledge. This partnership allows for the integration of traditional Islamic teachings into formal education systems and promotes a comprehensive understanding of Islam among students from diverse backgrounds.
In conclusion, dayahs in Aceh continue to thrive as centers of Islamic education, intellectual growth, and community development. Their adaptability, commitment to gender equality, inclusion of modern subjects, and engagement in research and intellectual discourse have positioned them as dynamic educational institutions. The contributions of dayahs extend beyond the local context, influencing Islamic education globally and producing graduates who make significant contributions to society. As Aceh moves forward, dayahs will remain integral to its cultural and educational identity, ensuring the preservation and advancement of Islamic knowledge for generations to come.
In addition to their educational role, dayahs in Aceh also play a significant role in promoting social welfare and community development. Many dayahs have established charitable foundations and initiatives to provide assistance to those in need. These initiatives include programs such as healthcare clinics, orphanages, vocational training centers, and poverty alleviation projects. Dayahs actively engage in humanitarian activities, addressing the socio-economic challenges faced by their communities.
Furthermore, dayahs serve as centers for the preservation and promotion of local culture and traditions. Alongside religious studies, students are encouraged to learn traditional arts, music, and dance. This cultural integration fosters a sense of identity and pride among the students, and it helps preserve the unique cultural heritage of Aceh. Dayahs often organize cultural events, festivals, and performances that showcase the region’s artistic traditions and provide a platform for young talents to express themselves.
Another significant aspect of dayahs is their emphasis on promoting peace and tolerance. The teachings and practices within these institutions promote dialogue, understanding, and respect among individuals from different backgrounds. Students are encouraged to develop a strong moral compass, rooted in compassion and empathy, which helps foster peaceful coexistence within Aceh’s diverse society.
It is important to note that dayahs are not static institutions; they evolve and adapt to the changing needs of society. They strive to strike a balance between preserving traditional Islamic teachings and embracing modern knowledge and advancements. By incorporating subjects such as science, technology, and humanities into their curriculum, dayahs equip their students with a well-rounded education that prepares them for the challenges and opportunities of the modern world.
In conclusion, dayahs in Aceh serve as multifaceted institutions that provide not only religious education but also contribute to various aspects of community life. Their efforts in education, social welfare, cultural preservation, and peace-building make them integral to the fabric of Acehnese society. With their continued commitment to excellence and innovation, dayahs will undoubtedly play a vital role in shaping the future of both Aceh and Islamic education as a whole.
In recent years, dayahs in Aceh have also embraced technology to enhance their educational practices. Many dayahs now utilize digital tools and online platforms to supplement traditional teaching methods. This integration of technology allows students to access a wide range of educational resources, connect with scholars from around the world, and engage in virtual learning experiences.
Additionally, dayahs have started to establish partnerships and collaborations with universities and educational institutions both within Indonesia and internationally. These collaborations enable students to pursue higher education and gain exposure to a broader academic landscape. By fostering these connections, dayahs are expanding the opportunities available to their students and ensuring their continued growth and success.
The success of dayahs in Aceh has also attracted attention and recognition on a global scale. Scholars, researchers, and educators from various countries have visited Aceh to study the dayah system and learn from its experiences. This exchange of knowledge and ideas helps to enrich both local and global educational practices and promotes cross-cultural understanding.
Moreover, the achievements of dayahs in Aceh have had a positive impact on the region’s overall development. The graduates of dayahs, equipped with a strong educational foundation and values-based upbringing, are actively contributing to various sectors such as education, government, business, and community development. Their leadership skills, moral integrity, and commitment to serving society are invaluable assets in driving positive change and progress.
Looking ahead, dayahs in Aceh will continue to evolve and adapt to the changing needs of their students and communities. They will remain steadfast in their commitment to providing quality education, promoting social welfare, preserving culture, fostering peace, and embracing innovation. With their rich history and continued dedication, dayahs will continue to be pillars of strength and enlightenment in Aceh, shaping the future of generations to come.
As dayahs in Aceh continue to thrive, efforts are being made to ensure their sustainability and expansion. The government, in collaboration with local communities and stakeholders, is working towards providing adequate support and resources to dayahs. This includes financial assistance, infrastructure development, and professional development opportunities for teachers.
To further enhance the educational experience, dayahs are also focusing on curriculum development. They are integrating modern subjects such as science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) alongside Islamic studies, languages, and social sciences. This balanced curriculum equips students with a well-rounded education that prepares them for a rapidly changing world while preserving the essence of their religious and cultural heritage.
Additionally, dayahs are increasingly emphasizing character development and instilling strong moral values in their students. Alongside academic instruction, they prioritize teachings on compassion, integrity, and social responsibility. By nurturing students’ ethical and spiritual growth, dayahs aim to produce individuals who are not only academically accomplished but also compassionate and ethical leaders.
Furthermore, dayahs are actively engaged in community outreach programs. They organize initiatives to address social issues, promote environmental sustainability, and provide assistance to marginalized groups. Through these endeavors, dayah students learn the importance of social justice, empathy, and community engagement, and they actively contribute to the betterment of society.
In conclusion, dayahs in Aceh have demonstrated remarkable resilience, adaptability, and commitment to education. Their ability to integrate traditional values with modern approaches has allowed them to flourish and produce graduates who are academically competent, ethically grounded, and socially responsible. As Aceh continues to progress, dayahs will play a pivotal role in shaping the future of the region by nurturing generations of educated, compassionate, and socially conscious individuals.