Sang Kiai (2013)
In 1942 Japan invades Indonesia. In East Java several kiais (kiai, a venerated elders of a pesantren/Islamic learning institution) from different pesantrens are arrested on account of fomenting resistance. KH (Kiai Haji, or Hajj Kiai) Hasyim Asy’ari as the leader of Pondok Pesantren Tebu Ireng is arrested because he fights against the Japanese. The arrest causes insurgence in Tebu Ireng and provokes reactions from his sons, namely KH Wahid Hasyim, Karim Hasyim and Yusuf Hasyim, not to mention a host of santris (students at pesantren) such as Baidlowi (Hasyim As’ari’s son-in-law), Kang Solichin (Hasyim’s confidante) and three others Harun, Kamid and Abdi.
The situation at the pesantren is chaotic. Maisyaroh, known as Nyai Kapu, Hasyim Asy’ari’s wife, is evacuated to Denaran. KH Wahid Hasyim and KH Wahab Hasbullah request that KH Hasyim Asy’ari be released. The head of Kempetai (Japanese military police) ignores them. He even moves KH Hasyim Asy’ari three times, from a detention house in Jombang to those in Mojokerto and then Bubutan, Surabaya. Subsequently KH Wahid Hasyim and KH Wahab Hasbullah ask for the help of Abdul Hamid Ono, a Japanese and their family connection. While a plan is cooked up, KH Wahid Hasyim and KH Wahab Hasbullah arrange an NU (Nahdlatul Ulama, a traditionalist Islamic organisation) meeting in Jakarta with an agenda to liberate the kiais. The result is an agreement to resort to peaceful ways.
After KH Hasyim Asy’ari is gone, some santris decide to leave the pesantren. Harun and Kamid who have followed KH Hasyim Asy’ari’s upon his arrest meet their tragic fate. Kamid is shot to death when a Japanese patrol team catches him in the act. Kamid’s death and KH Hasyim Asy’ari’s arrest infuriate Harun. Unlike Abdi who follows KH Wahid Hasyim’s peaceful way, Harun joins a militant group, stealing Japanese rations.
The Japanese then release the kiais, including KH Hasyim Asy’ari. The invaders do that because they want these kiais to collaborate. They even install KH Hasyim Asy’ari as the chairman of Masyumi (Majelis Syuro Muslimin Indonesia, a Japanese-made Islamic organisation). Because he doesn’t reside in Jakarta, KH Hasyim Asy’ari assigns KH Wahid Hasyim to lead the organisation while he returns to Tebu Ireng.
Through Masyumi—in their speeches in mosques—the Japanese demands that the natives multiply their crops. Shumubu (the department of religion), led by Husein Djajadiningrat and an official, Wirohadjono, using the media Suara Muslimin, ask Masyumi to quote Quranic verses in order to authorise a mobilisation of crops. A tension between Masyumi and Shumubu begins.
Harun questions Masyumi’s policies to KH Hasyim Asy’ari. Harun feels that Masyumi sides with Japan. But KH Hasyim Asy’ari responds that Masyumi only sides with just leaders. Harun is disappointed and intending to leave the pesantren. Knowing that, Abdi prevents him, believing that Harun is not able to read the leader’s plan. But Harun insists.
Next, the Japanese inaugurates KH Hasyim Asy’ari as the chairman of Shumubu as well as Masyumi. KH Hasyim Asy’ari accepts the positions considering a struggle from “the inside”. He can refuse an order in which santris have to join Heiho (a Japanese military group). Instead he creates Hizbullah.
The Japanese starts to lose battles. But they restore the region’s sovereignty to the Allies. President Soekarno’s envoy comes before KH Hasyim Asy’ari. The president’s message is about the obligation to defend the motherland. The Jihad Resolution is declared in Surabaya, urging santris to prepare for battle. At this point Harun’s eyes are open. Mallaby’s death in Surabaya marks the beginning of the 10 November 1945 fierce battle involving the people, various youth groups and Hizbullah soldiers made of santris.