The position of Surau in Minangkabau
The Minang people are identical with Islam and their character is attached to the philosophy of tradition and adopted tradition. In other words, Minang Adat was totally merged into the concept of Islamic society.
In the beginning before Islam came, traditional philosophy in Minangkabau based itself on natural provisions, and after Islam entered Minangkabau, the Minangkabau traditional philosophy was perfected by religious law (syara’). So that begins the rivalry between competing tradition and religion.
The proverb:‘Basandi syara’, syara ‘basandi Kitabullah is the culmination of the whole process of contact, clash, adjustment, and fusion between the tradition that have come first in Minangkabau with the religion of Islam that came later. The reality that occurs in the life of the Minangkabau people, has made religion and tradition as a perspective and attitude on life. Tradition walks hand in hand with syara ‘. So that customs and syara’ cannot be separated from one another, cannot be contradicted with each other, its inapplicable if it is contradict with each other.
If these two have played a perfect role, it will be found a community who live by having a laudable and noble character (akhlakul-karimah) according to the guidance of syara’.
In Ayahku, Buya Hamka said that between adat and syara’ in Minangkabau, it was hard to set them aside because it was not oil with water, but combined one as a combination of oil and water in milk, because Islam was not a patch in the Minangkabau tradition, but an Islamic arrangement, made according to the Minangkabau outlook on life.
Such is the position of customary relations with religion in Minangkabau that one of the traditional experts, Datuk Panduko Alam, the author of Rancak in Labuh, once said, that is “However much knowledge, though like a star in the sky, like sand on the beach, only two matters at the end: first, faith, and second, Islam”.
One important Islamic institution in Minangkabau is surau. Surau is an indigenous institution that has become a prominent center of Islamic teaching, also a starting point for the Islamization of the Minangkabau.
Surau is Very Popular In Nagari, Nobody Does Not Know about Surau. Surau Also Becomes the Identity of a Tribe and a Nagari.
Surau is also inseparable from Minang tradition. Surau building refers to a typical Minang tribe. The roof is pointed like a buffalo horn, the architecture of this building looks like a blend of the Gadang house and Indonesian mosque in general.
In Islamic Encyclopedia, surau is a place for people to study the Koran, educational facilities or madrasa tarbiyah for village children in Ranah Minangkabau. Monotheism guidance instilled through generations through the tradition of surau.
But the surau in the Minang tradition does not only function as a place of worship. Customary and social activities can also be carried out in Surau. Surau also becomes a place for the cultivation of identity through the learning and development of identity and life skills of the Minangkabau people. Practicing traditional speeches, making petitihs, playing silat and performing arts is another form of concrete training that is obtained in surau other than as a place to carry out religious routines, learn the Koran and its meaning. Surau has also facilitated the process of instilling cultural values, tolerance, leadership, cooperation and honesty.
The school of surau has produced many great people in this country, such as Buya Hamka, Bung Hatta, H. Agus Salim, and Sutan Syahrir.
Thus, the mosque becomes a comprehensive tool for cultural teachings, philosophical teachings of life, and Islamic teachings.
The following expression illustrates the importance of the mosque for the Minang people. Nagari have a mosque (ba-musajik) and a surau (ba-surau) as place of worship,
Musajik tampek ba ibadah,
tampek balapa ba ma’ana,
tampek baraja Al Qur’an 30 juz,
tampek mangaji sah jo batal.
It means that the mosque and surau are the centers of community development to establish good community relations (hablum-minan-naas) and the guaranteed maintenance of worship with Khalik (hablum minallah).
The close ties between adat and syara ‘are what make the Minangkabau people believe that surau is a place where people learn Islam and at the same time learn the tradition. So the ‘surau’ institution plays a very important role in fostering and educating the public to understand tradition and the practice of the Shari’a.
Muhammadiyah and Islamization of Surau
According to Dr. Suaidi Asyari, M.A., Ph. In his book Nalar Politik NU-Muhammadiyah: Overcrossing Java Sentris, there is not a single Muslim group in this country that truly practices Islam without mixing it with local traditions. In this case, Harry J. Benda emphasized that “Indonesia has not yet been fully Islamized”.
If we look back into the history, the relationship between religion and culture has a strong correlation in the complex structure of Indonesian society and its cultural diversity. The correlation factor between religion and culture also causes the differences in religious culture between one region and another.
Likewise the success of the Islamization process in Indonesia that forced Islam as a newcomer, to obtain cultural symbols that were in harmony with the ability to capture and to understand, the community it entered for the recognition of the Islamic world. This step is one of the pluralistic character of Islam that was possessed since its inception.
Thus the development of Islam in the archipelago is closely related to cultural symbols or local assets. It can be said that local assets are mediators-facilitators as well as being the center of Islamic activities and civilization development. In Minangkabau, the most strategic local asset used in spreading Islam is surau.
Surau, which became an important institution in the transformation of Islamic religious knowledge in Minangkabau, has experienced cultural dynamics or cultural transformation
The background of the presence of the mosque at first was not motivated by Islamic culture. Surau in Minangkabau existed before the arrival of Islam. Surau in Minangkabau history is estimated to be found in 1356 AD which was built during the time of King Adityawarman in the Gonbak hill region. As we know in the archipelago’s historical trajectory, that at this time it was a golden period for Hindu-Buddhist religion, it could be indirectly ascertained that the existence and essence of the mosque at that time was as a ritual place for Hindus and Buddhists.