JUM’ATAN IN THE GRAVEYARD: An Anthropological Study of Pilgrims in the Grave of Sunan Gunung Jati Cirebon, West Java

Burhanudin Sanusi


Pilgrimage to graves of saints is popular among traditionalist Muslims in Java. Pilgrims believe that the graves are sacred. Further, they are convinced that the spirits of those holy people still can facilitate them to get God’s blessings. Such a case is also applied to the grave of Sunan Gunung Jati, one of the nine saints of Java, in Cirebon, West Java. In fact, the pilgrims acquire God’s blessing with the facilitation of the spirit of Sunan Gunung Jati. They call this ritual jum’atan, a ritual of performing prayers and chanting holy words in Friday afternoon until midnight. A number of people with economic, family, and health problems flock into the grave of the Sunan seeking for an inspiration to get a solution. In this case, religion, orthodoxy, culture and their interplay in Java is a really complex issue. Moreover, the notion of orthodoxy has been challenged by the thick of myth surrounding Sunan Gunung Jati in particular.


Pilgrims; jum’atan; traditionalist Muslims; ritual

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DOI: 10.15642/JIIS.2010.4.2.317-340


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