A number of ancient manuscripts at Pesantren Tebuireng in Jombang, East Java have been preserved through digitization. The knowledge and Islamic thought within the manuscripts can serve as a reference for contemporary knowledge.
The digitalization process was carried out by the Digital Repository of Endangered and Affected Manuscripts in Southeast Asia (DREAMSEA) program, which is a collaboration between the Center for the Study of Islam and Society (PPIM) at Syarif Hidayatullah State Islamic University (UIN) in Jakarta and Pesantren Tebuireng. The pesantren was founded by KH Hasyim Asy’ari, the founder of the Nahdlatul Ulama organization.
According to Oman Fathurahman, a professor of philology at UIN Syarif Hidayatullah Jakarta, the digitization of manuscripts is an effort to preserve Indonesia’s Islamic cultural heritage. He said that the preservation of Islamic cultural heritage in pesantrens has been neglected for several decades. However, preserving the heritage of the Nusantara (Indonesian archipelago) ulama (Muslim scholars) is important.
“I think taking care of the Nusantara ulama’s turats (writings, literature, or inherited knowledge) is the duty of the santri (pesantren students),” Oman said.
Oman estimates that DREAMSEA can digitize up to 5,000 pages of manuscripts at Pesantren Tebuireng. According to the Pesantren Tebuireng website, there are approximately 15 manuscripts in the pesantren’s library. Some of the manuscripts are written in Arabic, Javanese, and Malay, while others are written in Arabic script, Pegon, and Jawi.
Digitization of manuscripts is an important effort in preserving the rich cultural heritage of Indonesia’s Islamic scholars. Through DREAMSEA’s program, thousands of pages of manuscripts have been preserved for future generations to study and appreciate.