We owe a lot to the (use of) pegon script
Jakarta (ANTARA) – Religious Affairs Minister Yaqut Cholil Qoumas has recommended that the pegon script—the modified Arabic script used in the Javanese, Sundanese, and Madurese languages—be standardized and digitized so that it can be preserved.
“We owe a lot to the (use of) pegon script. Maybe we would not be able to embrace Islam in the (Indonesian) archipelago if there was no pegon script as the medium for its (Islam’s) dissemination,” he remarked at the opening of the “Pegon Script Congress” here on Friday.
The script is considered very important, especially since a number of historical records on the spread of Islam in Indonesia are written in it.
For instance, the literary works (locally called suluk) of Sunan Bonang—one of the nine notable Islamic experts who played a great role in spreading the religion in Indonesia—were written in the pegon script, the minister noted.
Other examples of works on Islamic studies in the pegon script are Kitab Al-Ibriz and Al-Tarjamah Al-Munbalajah.
The books were written by Kyai Haji (KH) Bisri Mustofa and KH Sahal Mahfudz, respectively, Qoumas said.
“Many books, which were useful for (building) Islamic civilization (in Indonesia), were written in the pegon script,” he added.
The pegon script was also used for correspondence, he noted.
“Prior, the kings (in various regions of Indonesia) used the pegon script to communicate with other kings, thus the colonizers could not read (the letters). Thus, the pegon script became a very (important) tactic to trick the colonizers,” he said.
The script was also used to write the Kitab Mujarobat, a book containing various du’a, he added.
“I expect that it (the congress) will not only standardize (the pegon script), but this congress will also initiate the digitalization of the pegon script,” he said.
The script needs to be digitalized so that it can be preserved as the cultural wealth of the country, he explained.
The “Pegon Script Congress” was initiated by the Religious Affairs Ministry as a part of the 2022 Santri (Islamic boarding school students) Day commemoration, which is observed every October 22.