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Tomb of Sunan Drajat, Lamongan (East Java) Neelakantan, Vivek


Sunan Drajat (1470-1522)—known variously as Raden Qosim, Masaikh Munat, Raden Syarifuddin, Maulana Hasyim, Pangeran Kadrajat, or Sunan Mayang Madu—was the younger son of Sunan Ampel and Nyi Ageng Manila and a member of the Wali Songo. The Wali Songo collectively refers to the nine founders of Islam on the island of Java. Both genealogical and teacher-pupil relationships establish connections among these figures. Sunan Ampel and Sunan Gunung Jati instructed Raden Qosim on Islam. Subsequently, Raden Qosim married Dewi Sufiyah, the daughter of Sunan Gunung Jati and settled in the coastal hamlet of Drajat, not far from Lamongan. Soon after his marriage to Dewi Sufiyah, he engaged in asceticism for three months and earned the appellation of Sunan Drajat. Sunan Drajat’s dakwah (act of inviting people to embrace Islam) strategy included: (a) mobilizing villagers in responding to natural calamities based on the Javanese notion of cooperation (gotong royong); and, (b) nurturing empathy for the downtrodden and hard work. The gist of his teachings are reflected in the doctrine of Pepali Pitu (seven basic principles). The architecture at the tomb of Sunan Drajat, located in Drajat village, Lamongan district of East Java, reflects the acculturation of Islam to Javanese culture whilst incorporating elements from Chinese and Champa cultures.

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