Academy of Strategic Management Journal (Print ISSN: 1544-1458; Online ISSN: 1939-6104)

Research Article: 2019 Vol: 18 Issue: 5

The Strategies of Teungku Chiek Dirundeng to Develop Islamic Education in Aceh, Indonesia

Syamsuar, STAIN Meulaboh

Rahmat Saputra, Universiti Sultan Zainal Abidin

Zawawi Bin Yusoff, Universiti Sultan Zainal Abidin

Ummi Habibatul Islamiyah, STAIN Meulaboh

Zikriati, Universiti Sultan Zainal Abidin

Najamul Wathan, STAIN Meulaboh


The Dutch empire had colonized Aceh for decades, during the colonial period all public access was restricted and controlled by the Dutch empire, including education. Only children from the upper class can study in quality schools. Most children have difficulty getting an education, especially Islamic education. Teungku Chiek Dirundeng succeeded in providing solutions to the community by building Islamic education with his strategy. Therefore, the main objective of this paper is to find out the strategies of Teungku Chiek Dirundeng to develop Islamic education in Aceh as the only province in Indonesia that implements Islamic syari’ah in its territory. Teungku Chiek Dirundeng is one of the religious leaders in Aceh who has contributed to building the civilization of human life in educating people. The story of Teungku Chiek Dirundeng has been immortalized in several places, recorded in the saga of Aceh, and written directly in Dutch history books. This research uses qualitative methods to examine the history and strategies of Teungku Chiek Dirundeng to develop Islamic-based education in Aceh. For this, the researcher reviewed the various documents published from the 1960s to 2018s. The research finds that the strategy used by Teungku Chiek Dirundeng to develop Islamic education focused on establishing Islamic educational institutions. This educational institution is known as "Dayah" or Pesantren in Indonesian. Historians record that he has founded Dayah in Meukek, Labuhan Haji, and Rundeng areas by mobilizing the community to contribute together. He was able to convince people to participate in establishing dayah. Not only that, but his leadership was also able to mobilize the community to defend the country that was being colonized by the Dutch empire. The research is unique in its kind as there is lack of research relating to the history of Islamic leaders who are very meritorious in providing the basic foundations of Islamic education in Aceh.


Teungku Chiek Dirundeng, Education Development Strategy, Islamic Education, Aceh.


Aceh province has long been known as a city that implements Islamic syari’ah in the life of its people. Even in the past, Aceh province earned the nickname “Veranda of Mecca” (Dhuhri, 2017). Aceh province is the only province in the Republic of Indonesia, which entirely operates Islamic syari’ah (Syamsuar et al., 2018). Privileges given by the state of Indonesia is inseparable from the history of the Aceh people who have long lived in an Islamic environment led by religious leaders (Berutu, 2016; Chambert-Loir, 2017).

Tengku is another name of religious leaders who are considered to play an essential role in the Acehnese society. They are also regarded as local leaders by the community. Especially in the past, after a central government vacuum as a result of the defeat of the King by the Dutch in the aggression against the Sultanate of Aceh that launched in 1873. That is why the religious leaders who were initially outside the power structure came forward as the leader of the people. This emptiness became more pronounced when some of the local leaders (uleebalang), successfully defeated by the Dutch (Abdullah, 1983).

Teungku Chiek Dirundeng was an influential religious leader in the western coast of Aceh at the end of the 19th century, because of his significant influence, his name has been immortalized in several places such as the name of the region, the name of the street, the name of the university, the name of the foundation, recorded in the saga of Aceh, and written directly in Dutch history books (Hurgronje, 1996; Isa & Malem, 1983; Zainuddin, 1961).

At that time, the name of Tengku Chiek Dirundeng was popular in the minds of the people, but references to the history of his struggle are still few that are discussed by the researchers. That's why this study was conducted that intends to examine the history and strategies of the struggle Teungku Chiek Dirundeng to develop Islamic-based education in Aceh.

Literature Review

Research conducted by Son & Manan (2017) explained that the contribution of ulama upon the development of Islam could be observed by their effort in establishing dayah (traditional Islamic institution) in their region to serve their role as warasatul ambiya. The Islamic institution became the center of transformation, socialization, and internalization of Islamic values, as well as the place to preserve and to teach Islam (Suyanta, 2008). There were several famous dayah, one of them is Dayah Dirundeng that was established by Teungku Chik Dirundeng. He was known for his contribution to the development of Islamic knowledge within the coastal area of western and southern Aceh. He taught Islamic knowledge in the area of Rundeng, Singkil until Meulaboh, West Aceh.

There are also studies conducted by Hasjmy (1977) in the book of Aceh Culture in History, mentions clearly that there are a very well-known Islamic educational institutions in Aceh led by Teungku Chiek Dirundeng. Research conducted by Drewes (1980) describes the story of Teungku Chik Dirundeng struggle in the form of a saga. The story of this struggle is about the thought between Teungku Chiek Dirundeng and uleebalang Meulaboh Teuku Tjik Lila Perkasa. The Dutch colonizer was not happy with Teungku Chik Dirundeng who built Islamic educational institutions in their region. Therefore the Dutch instigated uleebalang to fight, where Teungku Chiek Dirundeng eventually lost the war against the uleebalang supported by the Dutch.

There are also studies conducted by Bahri (2012) explained that Islamic education in Aceh is not something new within the territory of the Republic of Indonesia. Since before the Indonesian state gained its independence, the region of Aceh has been known for its Islamic empires, such as Samudera Pasai and the kingdom of Aceh Darussalam and until now, Islamic education is still the top priority of Acehnese people. Based on the literature review above, there has been no discussion yet about the strategies of Teungku Chiek Dirundeng to develop Islamic-based education in Aceh.


This is a literature review paper. This paper also examined secondary sources of data for which the researchers reviewed the various documents published from the 1960s to 2018s related to the History of Aceh and Teungku Chik Dirundeng. The researchers selected the references from the book like Teungku Chiek Dirundeng Birth and Struggle History, conference proceedings like Proceedings of The 1st International Conference on Innovative Pedagogy (ICIP) 2017 and journal like Journal of Indonesian Islam, 4(1). These references play a significant role in Islamic studies research, history, and education.

Aceh Province As Islamic Syari’ah Province

Islamic religion occupies an essential position in the cultural life of Acehnese society. The people of Aceh cannot be separated between cultural life and religious life. Sometimes it is difficult to distinguish between Muslims who follow culture or follow a religion (Ibrahim, 1992; Shadiqin, 2010). There is a phrase in the language of Aceh “Adat ngon Hukum Lagee Zat ngon Sifeut”, and phrases “Adat bak Pho Teumeureuhom, Hukom bak Syiah Kuala”, the phrase written in Aceh's language has a meaning that the cultural life and religious life cannot be separated (Abubakar, 2011; Chambert-Loir, 2017).

The first phrase, affirms the merging of the concept of the state in religious concept, while in the second phrase the Aceh culture considered the need to divide the roles to manage the two fields namely the state and religious affairs. The Sultan is responsible for cultural life (government), and the religious leader becomes responsible for religious life. These two concepts have an impact on the establishment of two institutions, the position of the Sultan and the position of Kadhi Malikul Adil (Reid, 2005).

Aceh province is the only province in the Republic of Indonesia which entirely operates Islamic syari’ah based on Act No. 18 of 2001. Under the Act, the authority to operate the Islamic syari’ah is an integral part of the special autonomy granted by the central government by the special needs of communities in Aceh province (Kamarusdiana, 2016; Surbakti, 2015).

The authority of Islamic law enforcement is then implemented through the establishment of some provincial regulations known as syari’ah qanun. The compilation of various qanun is done based on the policy lines outlined in the local regulation No. 5 of 2000 as the implementation of the law No. 44 of 1999. Syari’ah qanun is an application of Islamic syari’ah which is the only one in the Republic of Indonesia. It is not easy to create qanun that can be approved by the legislature and the executive. Once approved, it becomes part of legislative rules that have permanent legal force in Aceh (Shadiqin, 2010).

Teungku Chiek Dirundeng

The full name of Teungku Chiek Dirundeng is T. Teungku Abdullah bin T. King Ibrahim. He was born in 1830 in a village near to the international flight route of Sultan Iskandar Muda Banda Aceh, precisely in the area of Cot Mancang, adjacent to Bueng Bak Jok Village, Kuta Baro Sub-district, Aceh Besar District. Teungku Chiek Dirundeng was born from an honorable family, because his father and his mother are the family of religious leaders in Aceh Besar area, as well as having a lineage of King (Syamsuar, 2018).

Teungku Chiek Dirundeng while living in Dama Tutong he also opened various religious teachings for the community in the area. He became the leader of the people in spreading Islam, besides he is also famous for his courage to lead the Aceh people war which was colonized by the Dutch. He is also known as a very generous Figure 1. The generosity he did with the amount of money and donated his property for the benefit of the ummah. One of them is Al-Muqaddas Mosque which was once a fortress of Teungku Chiek Dirundeng located in Gampong Darat, Johan Pahlawan Sub-district, West Aceh District. Also, many other lands were donated by Teungku Chiek Dirundeng such as the land of the Bulog offices located at the compound of Muhammadiyah, the Midwifery Academy, and the area of Nurul Huda Mosque (Manan & Putra, 2017).

Figure 1:The Strategy Of Islamic Education Development.

He is one of the major religious leaders in the West Coast Aceh. He has students and loyal followers. The students of Teungku Chiek Dirundeng originated from Padang, Banda Aceh, Aceh Besar, Labuhan Haji, Peulumat, Bakongan, Trumon, and from Fajar City. His students numbered hundreds from various circles, among them are Teungku Muhammad Ali (grandmother of Tgk H. Mukhtar Daud, Head of Pesantren Darus Sa'adah.) A very well-known student and a national hero are Teuku Umar Johan Pahlawan (Erwansyah, 2006; Syamsuar, 2018).

Islamic Education Development Strategy

The spirit of Teungku Chik Dirundeng in developing Islamic education for the next generation in Aceh is very high. In many kinds of literature mentioned that the strategy used by Teungku Chiek Dirundeng to develop Islamic education focused on establishing Islamic educational institutions. This educational institution is known as “dayah” or pesantren in Indonesian. (Erwansyah, 2006).

The leadership of Teungku Chik Dirundeng at that time was able to mobilize people to build dayah in various places in Aceh. Not only that, but his leadership was also able to mobilize the community to defend the country that was being colonized by the Dutch Nation (Abdullah, 2000; Syamsuar, 2018).

He established a dayah in the villages of Meukek, Labuhan Haji and Rundeng in Aceh Province. Followers of Teungku Chiek Dirundeng often follow him in the dayah. Dayah is one of the main places of Aceh people in maintaining the purity of Islamic religion. That's where children, youth, and adults are educated and mentored to be good Muslims. Islamic science is taught in hereditary in dayah (Isa & Malem, 1983; Syamsuar, 2018). Since the founding of the Peureulak Islamic Empire until the fall of the Kingdom of Aceh Darussalam, many dayahs have been established in Aceh. There were 22 dayahs in Aceh at that time who consistently taught the religion of Islam (Hasjmy, 1977).

Dayah is an Aceh dialect that comes from the word “zawiyah” (Arabic) which means angle or corner. The use of this word because it imitates the teaching-learning process at the time of Prophet Muhammad SAW and his companions in Mecca and Medina who used the corner of the mosque building for teaching-learning process (Ibrahim, 2015; Srimulyani, 2016; Wathan, 2019).

Building a dayah is one of the main strategies of religious leaders at that time to develop Islamic education in Aceh. This is also supported by the Government of Aceh's policy, which began to give special attention to the dayah because of the dayah roles is very important to maintain the faith of the young generation of Aceh. Also, the existence of dayah also supports the implementation of Islamic syari’ah in Aceh (Purnamawati, 2009).

No wonder Teungku Chiek Dirundeng build a dayah as his primary strategy to develop Islam in Aceh, considering the institution shaped like a dayah is the oldest model of an educational institution in Aceh. The great religious leaders at that time also chose to establish dayah as a medium for developing Islam. And it has been proven to date. Its consistency has brought a very positive contribution in educating the people of Aceh, especially in the context of internalizing Islamic values. Dayah has also played a vital role as a social control function of the Aceh people (Mashuri, 2013).

The advantages of educational institutions in the form of dayah are: first, dayah educates intellectual intelligence, emotional intelligence, and spiritual intelligence to students. Second, the dayah environment is maintained with an Islamic atmosphere. Third, the friendship bond is stronger because the student lives with his friends. Fourth, students are more controlled and protected because the student has rules and lives with his teachers. Fifth: dayah teaches simplicity and independence in life. The results of this study are in accordance with the opinions of education experts about the superiority of Islamic boarding school rather than ordinary school (Alawi, 2017; Annisa, 2017; Thufi, 2016; Tolib, 2015).


Establishing “dayah” is the primary strategy of Teungku Chiek Dirundeng in developing Islamic Education in Aceh with his ability to mobilize the community, he was able to establish dayah in the villages of Meukek, Labuhan Haji and Rundeng, Aceh Province. The great contribution made by religious leaders in the past has become the basis for the Aceh government to create policies that support the development of Islamic education institutions by establishing “Aceh Dayah Education Development Board” because the role of dayah is crucial to maintaining the faith of the young generation of Aceh. Also, the existence of dayah also supports the implementation of Islamic syari’ah in Aceh as the only province in Indonesia that implements Islamic syari’ah in its territory. Hopefully, this study will inspire present and future researchers to examine the history of other religious leaders in developing Islamic education because no great nation forgets history. We need to know history to learn from the past and build a better future.


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