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Title : Berhala Kontemporer
Author : Ahmad Tohari
Publisher : Risalah Gusti
Year : 1996
Pages : 249 pages

Berhala Kontemporer
Berhala Kontemporer is a collection of Ahmad Tohari’s daily newspaper column which was published by Risalah Gusti Publishing in 1996. The contents are about socialism, humanism, the essence of Islam, the urban culture societies, and the respectful of pluralism. Risalah Gusti Publishing gave the title “Berhala Kontemporer” based on the topic which Ahmad Tohari had written

When the 3rd conference of ASEAN literature held in Singapore last 1987, Moh. Ridho ( one of literary critic ) made a statement. All of Ahmad Tohari’s works are close related to Islam missionary endeavor. His literary works as Trilogi Ronggeng Dukuh Paruk, Lintang Kemukus Dini Hari and Jantera Bianglala have great values of Islam. He had broken the bound to the tradition and glorification and formality symbols of Islam. It’s shown from his literary works. In 1985 up to 1995 he always gave his daily column to Majalah Panji Masyarakat. He wrote about humanism, the real comprehension in understanding Islam, and broken the common habit. Etc.

It’s inspire Risalah Gusti to publish his newspaper daily column collection be one book. And in 1995 Risalah Gusti asked Ahmad Tohari to be a partner in publishing his works. Ahmad Tohari very glad hear the Risalah Gusti offer and accepted it. M. Zainal Arifin, Risalah Gusti crew and Wachid Hasyim, Librarian in Islamic boarding school of Tebuireng were collecting all of Ahmad Tohari daily column of Majalah Panji Masyarakat and Majalah Amanah from 1985 edition to 1995 edition. And in 1996 Risalah Gusti for first time publish this book.

I think this book has just few response, because I bought this book in 2009. And I get first publication edition.


This book is consist of three discourse part. First part is discussed about Islam, Behaviour, and Humanity. This part is focus on study about human social daily life. Some anecdotes show the situation of Indonesian urban, and proletarian societies. Ahmad Tohari try to broke all of old tradition by describing the betrayal of proletarian societies to the comfort condition which is enjoyed by egalitarian societies and “Ulama” who still make a glorification to Islam symbols without knowing about the Islam symbols substance .

Islam, Political Regulation, Cultural Expression and Inner Self be a second main discourse. In this part, Ahmad Tohari give his views about the political regulation which is released by he government, the relation between two big Islam organization in Indonesia, NU and Muhammadiyah, and his critics to the partial comprehension of Islam by all Indonesian. One of anecdote there describe about wearing jilbab for Muslimah truly.

The last part of this book is discussed about Islam, Social Reality, and Life Style. Some common life style such as school, unpredictable human characterization, the nature smart of human, ideal youth, and many common life which growth with globalization era are discussed there. In this part, we are let to view another side of one thing. Not only from one point of view. For example, why people who have income less than 300 thousand rupiah prefer buy color TV to use his money for another needs? Education, health? If we used just one view, we have a conclusion that this person is not effective and can’t manage his money optimally. But if we try to view another side, we can get conclusion that this person is modern one. Because he don’t will to be person without flash information. He choose buying TV so that he can renew his information.


It’s important for us to think about one thing from many point of view. From that ways, Ahmad Tohari let us to rethinking about understanding thing especially about Islam. Not only knowing about Islam Symbols and loving islam formally, but we can try to transform the values of Islam to our social life. Because in Qur’an, verses about humanism (habluminannaas) is more than mahdoh (habluminAllloh). I recommend you to read this book. It’s useful.

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