PRESERVING ARAB TRADITION: The Cultural Expression of Habsyian in East Kalimantan


The Habsyian tradition is one of well-preserved Arabic traditions in East Kalimantan. The tradition is the recitation of shalawat and historical narratives (maulid) and poems about the Prophet Muhammad in a melody. The rhyme of maulid follows the book of Simt al-Durar written by Yemeni scholar, ‘Ali b. Muhammad b. Husayn al-Habshi (d. 1913). The Habsyian was initially conveyed by some imigrants of Banjar working as traders and missionaries. They share musical instrument like tambourine (rebana) to advance the tradition of people reciting shalawat and story in maulid and it attracts attention. This is how the tradition of Habsyiyan begun and mixed with local tradition. Furthermore, the tradition has functioned as media for social bond that successfully promote unity of varied elements within the society regardless of age differences, social classes, and others. In this case, although the Habsyian tradition was originated from non-local tradition, its movement has played a pivotal role in promoting peace and social harmony life.