On first impressions, it may not seem that there is anything different about Pura Dalem Jawa in Bunutin Village, Bali, but on entering the Hindu temple you may be surprised see in one corner there are facilities for Muslim ablutions.
"This temple has traditionally been visited by Muslim visitors, especially from Java, since they believe this temple was established by the descendants of the Blambangan King in East Java," Anak Agung Gede Wiatna, a guardian of the shrine, told The Jakarta Post here Wednesday.
The Blambangan King was the ancestor of an influential Muslim sage, Sunan Giri, but the king himself was Hindu.
Also known as Pura Langgar, the temple was constructed around 300 years ago, by a descendent of the Blambangan King, the King of Bunutin, I Dewa Mas Wilis. Wiatna said Muslim visitors often pray at the temple’s inner court, and thus their Hindu hosts felt obliged to provide an ablution facility for Muslim visitors. The temple is considered to be a monument representing the acculturation of Muslim and Hindu in Bali, Wiatna said.
When a group of Muslims visited the shrine that afternoon, Wiatna and other guardians welcomed them warmly. "Om Swastiastu, Assalamu alaikum," he said to the visitors who answered with the similar greetings. The greeting, which combines Hindu and Muslim salutations, was another testament to the religious acculturation.
One of the Muslim visitors, Didi Sunardi, said his group had come from Jawa Village in Denpasar. He and his family regularly came to the shrine because his ancestors were also from Blambangan, and they felt a strong bond to the place, Sunardi said. "We were born in Bali and have lived here all our lives, so we are Balinese even though we are Muslims," he said, adding that Islam had been a part of Bali’s culture for a long time. "If you ask me where my hometown is or which village in Java I must go back to for Lebaran, I honestly don’t know because Bali is our home — we don’t call any other place home now," he said.
Another Muslim visitor, Hasan Nawawi, said he was deeply saddened by the Bali bombings because the brutal terrorist attacks had introduced tension to the historical relationships binding Muslim and Hindu people. "We have tried to find ways to improve our relationship with Balinese Hindus, including through the establishment of the Balinese Hindu-Muslim Brotherhood," he said.
After the 2002 Bali bombing, some Hindu and Muslim leaders in Bali felt they needed to create a communication forum for both parties, to develop better understanding between them, Nawawi said. "It is really unfortunate that our brotherhood with Balinese Hindus was damaged by the actions of one person or one group" Hasan said. Visiting the temple was one way to reinforce their relationship with Hindu brothers, Nawawi added.
That same day, Bunutin Village residents had conducted a sacrificial ritual called Titimamah, in which locals offer a young, red-haired cow to the natural elements to maintain cosmic harmony. "The Cow is a symbol of mother earth because all of its parts can be used for the benefit of humans," Temple elder Ida I Dewa Oka Widyarshana said. They were banned from using pigs for offerings in all rituals conducted in the shrine, Widyarshana said.
"I don’t know the reason, but that was a regulation set by our ancestors," he said. Pigs and any part of a pig is considered haram (forbidden by Islamic law), so no Muslims are willing to consume pig-based products.