In Betawi, clerical status and duties are not only carried out and dominated by men, but also women. Prof. Dr. Hj. Tutty Alawiyah, Dr. Hj. Suryani Thahir and Dr. Faizah Ali Syibromalisi are three female Betawi scholars known today.
Indeed there is still very little information about the history and action of female Betawi scholars of the past. Two of them wereUstadzah Saleha Thabrani (a muballighah) and Nyai Hj. Siti Zubaidah KH. Hasbiyallah (author of a Malay Arabic-language treatise entitled Kaifiyah Sembahyang Tarawih and Iedain Prayer).
Information about Ustadzah Salehah Thabrani was obtained from Ridwan Saidi. Ridwan mentioned that Ustadzah or Ny. Salehah Thabrani was a famous preacher in Betawi for almost two decades, 1950-1960. Information about Ustadzah Salelah Thabrani is very difficult to get as there have not been found sources that can provide information about her profile. While information about Nyai Hj. Siti Zubaidah KH. Hasbiyallah could be said to be adequate indeed it was obtained from a reliable source that was from her second child, H. Saifullah Hasbiyallah.
- Nyai Hj. Siti Zubaidah KH. Hasbiyallah
Her full name is Siti Zubaidah binti H. Hasanuddin. She was the first child of nine siblings from the marriage of H. Hasanuddin and Hj. Hindun. She was born around 1941 or 1942 in Cipinang Kebembem, Jatinegara. Since childhood until marriage, she studied the yellow book from KH. Abdul Hadi, a Betawi ulama in Cipinang Kebembem. She learned Nahwu Shorof, Aqeedah, Morals and Fiqh. At the age of about 21 years or in 1962, she married to KH. Hasbiyallah founder of Al-Wathoniyah Islamic institution as the third wife. From the results of this marriage, she was blessed with two children, sons and daughters, namely Hj. Hilmah and H. Saifullah Hasbiyallah. She performed the first pilgrimage In 1973. Then she performed the pilgrimage again in 1978, 1994, 1995, and 1996. She often performed hajj as she run the hajj travel in 1994. In 1996, his hajj guidance was incorporated as a foundation under the name KBIH Al-Istiqamah Az-Zubaidiyyah which is now continued and led by his son, KH. Saifullah Hasbiyallah.
After her marriage and had children, she still continued her informal religious education by learning the yellow book from her husband, KH. Hasbiyallah. She is a diligent and persistent type of learner. Almost every day, she recited the yellow book after the midday prayer or the asr prayer, depending on the time spent by her husband so she completed or khatam the reading. Then it is natural that she was very knowledgeable about the contents of the book Alfiyah Syarah Ibn Malik, Bulughul Maram and Ihya `Ulumiddin.
Along with the Islamic learning, she also taught in 22 female majelis taklim every month. Its majors were scattered around Klender, Tanah Koja, Bulak Village, Sumur Village, Rawa Badung, Jati Village, Cipinang and Pulo Kambing. She was also a permanent teacher in the female majelis taklim in Jatinegara Village, Cakung District, East Jakarta. In addition to teaching out from the family house, she was also trusted by her husband to take care of Putri Al-Banatul Wathoniyah Islamic Boarding School. In fact, she helped her husband to find funds when the boarding school was under construction. The way she conducted in developing funds was quite unique and even fairly intelligent at that time, she wrote a Malay Arabic book entitled Kaifiyah Sembahyang Tarawih and Sholat Iedain. She then printed these copies and sold it to her students and to his husband’s students or congregants. The proceeds from the sale of the book were then used to build the women’s boarding school. She has written a lot of books, however it did not get printed. The books that were still in the form of manuscripts, were now lost when her residence was renovated to widen the highway.
The boarding and round trip students came from around Klender, Bogor, Cinere, Taman Mini, and most were from Bekasi. In 1986, she no longer accepted students who were staying overnight, and only received students who were round trip until she died in 1996 precisely on the 22nd of Rabi`ul Tsani. She then was buried in the funeral complex of the KH. Hasbiyallah’s family in front of the Jami` Al-Ma`mur Mosque, Klender.
- Hj. Tuti Alawiyah
Her full name and title are Dr. Hj. Tuty Alawiyah Abdullah Syafi’ie. She was born in Jakarta, March 30, 1942 and died in Jakarta, May 4, 2016 at the age of 74 years. The biological daughter of KH. Abdullah Syafi`ie, founder and leader of the As-Syafi’iyah Islamic Education Institute, served as the State Minister for Women’s Empowerment in 1998 to 1999 in the Cabinet of the VII Development Cabinet and the Development Reform Cabinet. She graduated from IAIN Syarif Hidayatullah, Ciputat, South Tangerang. She also served as a member of the People’s Consultative Assembly from 1992 to 2004 of the Group Envoy.
Since childhood, Hj. Tuti Alawiyah already has shown the preaching talent inherited from her father. When she was young, she often listened her father taught the Quranic knowledge. So, at the age of 9 years, she was invited to the State Palace to recite the Qur’an in front of President Soekarno.
When she graduated from Slamet Riyadi Elementary School in 1954, his father encouraged him to enter the Madrasah Tsanawiyah. As a child who obeyed his parents, she devouted. But, secretly she also enrolled to general middle school. His mother, Hajjah Rogayah, who then knew her double school, was worried. However, then the mother supported her when she realized that young Tuti able to perform it.
Hj. Tuti Alawiyah continued her studies and earned a bachelor’s degree at the Ushuludin Faculty, Jakarta State Islamic Institute (lAIN). And at the same time she also completed a course at the Indonesian-American Institute (LlA) Jakarta.
She then actively served various social organizations both locally and internationally. Among them are as Founding Members of the As-Syafi’iyah Foundation, the Chancellor of the As-Syafi’iyah Islamic University (UIA), Deputy Chair of the Advisory Council for Muslim Scholars in Indonesia (ICMI), Deputy Chairperson of GUPPI (Joint Association for Islamic Education Reform), member of CIDES (Center for Information and Development Studies), a member of the Board of Trustees of the Betawi Community Consultative Council (BAMUS BETAWI) and the Minister for Women’s Role in the New Order era.
Her childhood, she admitted as a happy period. The family’s economic life was unstable. Sometimes it was sufficient, but at other times life was completely mediocre. His father, despite being a great scholar, adopted a simple life within his family.
As told by her, one day when she was about to eat, her mother fried a fried egg. Once cooked, the father divided it into four parts. One each for Father, Mother, herself, and her siblings. “We all got eggs, even a little,” she laughed, remembering a beautiful childhood.
She had an artistic talent since childhood. But she could not express her artistic soul, for fear of his father who taught religious education strictly. However, she secretly wrote poems and collected them. The collection of her poetry is quite a lot. The through the Majlis Ta’lim Contact Agency (BKMT) she leads, she also composed the qosidah song. Moreover, she arranged a colossal dance (configuration dance) with various forms, forming the BKMT logo, lafadz Allah, to AI Qur’an.
BKMT is one of the breakthroughs in developing dakwah among mothers. Initially, she saw the great potential of the female majelis taklim, then she formed a professional institution so that dakwah could effectively attach the people’ hearts. BKMT was established on January 1, 1981, and was attended by around 800 religious leaders of majelis taklim.
BKMT is a place for consultation and guidance for its members. BKMT under its leadership has programs, including; improving the quality and skills of teaching staff in majlis ta’lim, so that management of majlis ta’lim is more professional. To achieve the objectives, speech training was held, starting from the preparation of the manuscript to its presentation.
To be better able to answer the challenges of the times, the clerics were invited to attend seminars in various places, especially at the As-syfi’iayah Islamic University (UIA) Jakarta. In addition to oral preaching and education, BKMT also conducts actual preaching action “Da’wah bil thing” such as orphan compensation, compensation for disaster victims, scholarships and others.
BKMT is a media for consultation and guidance for its members. BKMT under her leadership has programs, these are; improving the quality and skills of teaching staff in majelis taklim, to encourage the professionality management of majelis taklim. Then to achieve such objectives, speech training was held, starting from the preparation of the manuscript to its presentation.
The ustazahs were invited to attend seminars in various places, so they able to answer the challenges of the times, especially to the As-Syafiíyyah Islamic University (UIA) Jakarta. In addition to oral preaching and education, BKMT also conducts actual preaching action Dakwah bil hal such as orphan donation, disaster victims donation, scholarships and the like.
- Hj. Siti Suryani Taher
Dr. Hj. Siti Suryani Taher was born in Jakarta, January 1, 1940, to the late KH. M. Thohir and the late Hj. Salbiyah, a family who strictly adhered to the teachings of Islam. And she died on Saturday, September 5, 2015.
Her parents were the founders and owners of Islamic schools under the Addiniyah Attahiriyah Foundation. Her formal education was in Islamic educational institutions, ranging from elementary to college levels. She attended the Madrasah Diniyah Awaliyah As-Syafi’iyah Bali, Matraman Tebet, care of KH. Abdullah Syafi’ie, since the age of seven years. She then continued her education at the female Tsanawiyah Diniyah School in Padang Panjang, West Sumatra in 1953. After graduating, she went on to study for another year at Mualimat Madrasah Tanah Tinggi, Jakarta, in 1958.
The enthusiasm of the first child of fifteen siblings to keep on learning was passionate. This could be seen from the continuation of education for eight years at Al-Azhar University, Cairo, Egypt. After returning from studying abroad, she established the female Majelis Ta’lim Kaum Ibu At-Tahiriyah (Majelis Taklim of the At-tahiriyah Community- MTKIA), by holding regular halaqah at the Mushalla At Taqwa every Saturday morning. In its development, due to the increasing number of worshipers, the Attaqwa Jami Mosque was built in 1968. MTKIA then developed into Arabic and Religious Language Courses (Kursus Bahasa Arab dan Agama – KURBA), which later produced many intellectual mulbalighs. All of them lead to strengthening the development of the Attahiriyah College, which includes basic to high education with branches spread almost all over Jakarta.
- Saidah Said, MA
Hj Saidah Said, MA was born in Jakarta on August 7, 1945. Like the nature of rice science which is semakin berisi semakin menunduk the more it contained the more it looked down, it is a picture of the attitude that she always exemplified. Her marriage to H. Syarifudin resulted in nine children. But in the midst of her busy life as a wife and mother, she tried to devote herself for the community.
Hj. Saidah Said completed her education at Al-Munawwir Krapyak Islamic Boarding School, Yogyakarta, in 1966. As an alumny of Islamic boarding school, Hj. Saidah Said had enough religious knowledge. Considering the social developments that exist, she was very aware that people increasingly needed guidance and teaching of religion, to strengthen their faith and strengthen their mentality in facing various temptations in the era of globalization. Along with her husband, H. Syarifudin (deceased) and other figures, she then established the Al-Hikmah Foundation since 1970. While the inauguration was only done in 1972, after receiving the blessing of one of the Betawi scholars, KH. Abdullah Syafi’ie. The aim of the Al-Hikmah Foundation was to develop the Islamic symbols.
The name Al-Hikmah is based on the Qurán in Surah Al-Baqarah verse 269 which means, “He gives wisdom to whomever He wishes. Whoever is given wisdom, actually he has been given a lot of good. And no one is given can take lessons unless people have common sense. ”
Majelis Taklim Al-Hikmah adheres to Ahlussunah Wal Jamaah: a pattern of Islamic reasoning that refers to the Qurán, the Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad, Sunnah Khulafa’ur Rasyidin (four Islamic Caliphs who were the main companions of the Prophet).
At its inception, the Majelis Taklim Al-Hikmah was attended by only 8 (eight) people. But the situation did not discourage her spirit to convey the Islamic teachings, or share the knowledges he has. Through majlis taklim AI-Hikmah Saidah taught positive attitudes in the community. Those attitudes are Tawassuth (moderate attitude which is based on the principle of justice and tries to avoid all forms of at-tatharruf (extreme) approach, but with the tasammuh approach (tolerant attitude which is concerned with respecting differences in views and diversity of cultural identity of the community), and tawazun (balanced attitude in serving for the sake of creating harmonious relations between fellow human beings and between humans and Allah SWT).
Gradually, Majlis Taklim Al-Hikmah also won the trust of the community. The congregation continues to grow. Over time and coupled with the enthusiasm of mothers throughout Jabodetabek on positive activities that are often held by the Majelis Taklim al-Hikmah, now the members of the taklim assembly have reached thousands, including 35 majelis taklim spread across the Greater Jakarta area.
Thousands of mothers often hold mawlid, manaqiban, read hizib, jausan and others. They are willing to set aside time on the sidelines of work activities for those who are still productive, or set aside time from activities at home for the elderly.
The lessons that were given are the material of Aqeedah, Tafsir, Nahwu Shorof, Jurisprudence and Sufism. They use reference books like mu’tabaroh which are usually conveyed in traditional pesantren.
At this time, at an old age, she is still very active in attending majlis taklim activities. Not just attending, she is also often asked by the majlis taklim congregants to deliver lectures held by various majlis taklim in Jabotabek (Jakarta Bogor-Tangerang-Bekasi). This shows the depth of knowledge she gained and she practiced in everyday life. Aside from being a teacher, Hj. Saidah Said also wrote books. Two of her works that have been circulating are entitled Fiqih Keumatan and Doa-doa Menggapai Keberkahan (Fiqh of Resilience and Prayers for Blessing).
 Ridwan Saidi, Potret Budaya Manusia Betawi, (Jakarta: Perkumpulan Renaissance Indonesia, 2011), First edition, P.116.
 The last interview with H. Saifullah Hasbiyallah was conducted at his residence on 5 February 2010.
Rakhmad Zailani Kiki (Ed.), Sylviana Murni, Database Orang Betawi, Dinas Komunikasi, Informatika, dan Kehumasan, Pemerintah Provinsi DKI Jakarta, 2012