A brief history of Ampel Denta
Raden Muhammad Ali Rahmatullah
Also known as Sunan Ampel, a descendant of the holy messenger Muhammad SAW, was born in Champa (southern part of Cambodia, CMIIW). Raden Muhammad Ali Rahmatullah arrived at Java in the early of 15th century. His mission was to fix the moral of Majapahit kingdom's noble and peasant, which has been a total riot after Prabu Hayam Wuruk and Mahapatih Gajah Mada have departed.
Raden Muhammad Ali Rahmatullah practices the Hanafian mahzab rules (fiqih). However, to his pupils, he only teaches one simple principle: 'Moh limo' (five no's).
1. Moh main (no gambling)
2. Moh minum (no drinking)
3. Moh maling (no stealing, no corrupting)
4. Moh madat (no drugs)
5. Moh madon (no free sex)
The background of Sunan Ampel's pupils varied from Majapahit officials, Majapahit citizens, and even people from remote areas. Even in 1470s, came a Persian (Iran), young man named Ali Saksar to study to Sunan Ampel. Later, he was known as Syeikh Siti Jenar.
The Great Mosque of Sunan Ampel
Built in 1421 and located in Ampel district, Pabean Cantikan, in the northern part of Surabaya (7°13'45.42" S, 112°44'30.84" E).
With ancient javanese architectural style, it uses three leveled roof, unlike the one in middle east and eastern europe, it doesn't have any dome. Supported by 16 pillars of teak wood, 17m in length and 60cm in diameter. The amazing thing about these wooden pillars is that they stand 'without any brace', causing unsolved mystery up until today: How to transport those gigantic logs to Ampel when all transportation and construction means were still unsophisticated at that time?
In the west side of the mosque there is a graveyard where Sunan Ampel and his best friends are buried, along with the hajj syuhadas. Nearby the graveyard entry there are several large earthenware bowl contains drinking water from a well under the mosque that never dry up.
In Ampel quarter, there are 5 gates surrounding the site of The Great Mosque of Sunan Ampel (as the symbol of 5 Pillars of Islam):
1. Gapura Peneksen (Syahadat, a testimony that there's no god but Allah SWT)
2. Gapura Madep (Sholat, to worship god facing the kiblat)
3. Gapura Ngamal (Zakat, to do zakat/shodaqoh when afford to)
4. Gapura Poso (Puasa, to fast such as in the ramadhan month)
5. Gapura Munggah (Haji, to do hajj when afford to)
Mbah Bolong and the kiblat
Shonhaji was one of Sunan Ampel's pupils. At the time of the mosque's construction, Shonhaji was the one who points the kiblat direction. The direction was then used as reference to the mosque building.
When the mosque was completely built, Sunan Ampel's pupils were still having doubt on the mosque's direction. Is it accurately facing the kiblat? Shonhaji then made a hole at mosque's wall, just at the right of imam's position in the mosque. And he said "Look through this hole, the holy ka'bah should be visible to you". Thus Sunan Ampel's pupils look through the hole, and they see the holy ka'bah with their very own eyes. Since then, Shonhaji known as Mbah Bolong.
Mbah Sholeh and the nine graves
Mbah Sholeh was a janitor at The Great Mosque of Sunan Ampel during the life of Sunan Ampel. He worked very dilligent, very clean. So no people would ever felt dust when praying anywhere inside the great mosque.
When Mbah Sholeh passed away, he was buried at the eastern part of the mosque complex. Thus the mosque became dirty. And Sunan Ampel uttered "If only Mbah Sholeh was still alive, this mosque should have been clean". Suddenly there was Mbah Sholeh sweeping the floor at the imam's position. Few months later, Mbah Sholeh passed away (again), and buried (again) next to his previous grave. The case was then reoccured, and Sunan Ampel's utterance was again spoken. Thus Mbah Sholeh came back to life.
After eight deaths of Mbah Sholeh, Sunan Ampel passed away. And few months later, Mbah Sholeh passed away too. And never came back to life. So there are nine graves of Mbah Sholeh in the complex of The Great Mosque of Sunan Ampel.
Our responsibilities as the next generation
So how do we honor Sunan Ampel, and the other wise men of wali songo?
As the next generation, we must protect what has been developed, and continue their works. We also pray to Allah SWT, wish them a lot of rewards (pahala) for their works and a place in heaven.
Pictures of Ampel
More pictures of Ampel are available in my multiply album:
Bonus: Culinary exotics of Ampel Denta
Ampel Denta is known as Arab district of Surabaya city. Arab cuisine and restaurants are easy to find in this area. One of them is Al-Mutlik Restaurant, at the Kyai Haji Mas Mansyur street. Not only serves Arab cuisine, Al-Mutlik also has javanese food on the menu list. But of course, the Arab style of various kinds of food from lamb of this restaurant holds the best reputation for its fine quality.
The reputation of Al-Mutlik is widely known. Food at Al-Mutlik has been labeled 'Mak Nyus' by Mr. Bondan Winarno (Wisata Kuliner, TransTV). And also labeled 'Ajiiib...' by Fauzi Baadila (Nikmatnya Dunia, SCTV).
Al-Mutlik kebuli rice, is served with big portion of fried lamb ribs. The rice tastes rich, tough it might be a bit too spicy for caucasian appetite. One serving of kebuli rice is quite generous, but surprisingly inexpensive. It costs eight thousand rupiah only. Considering the quality of the cuisine, I personally think it is still fair if such delicacy is valued sixteen thousand rupiah. Another menu for you sould try: maryam bread. It costs three thousand rupiah only.
So if you ever have a chance to visit Ampel, feel free to explore Nyamplungan or Kyai Haji Mas Mansyur streets. You will find so many Arab culinary spots there :)
- Para Pencari Tuhan
- Spiritualisme Abadi Masjid Ampel
- Masjid Tiban, Makam Aulia Sunan Kuning
- Cheng Hoo
- Zam and Galihsatria for the inspiration
- Bapak juru kunci for the info
- Atas and Tyka for the lingo