The MIPES Indonesia: digitising Islamic manuscript of Indonesian Pondok Pesantren (EAP061)

Aims and objectives

Pondok Pesantren are traditional Islamic schools that since their establishment have become centres for Islamic learning and the dissemination of Islamic knowledge in Indonesia, where Islamic knowledge is taught formally and Islamic values are practised daily. Their role as institutions of Islamic learning and centres for the dissemination of Islamic teaching in Indonesia can be clearly seen from their manuscripts.

MIPES stands for Manuskrip Islam Pesantren (Islamic Manuscripts held in Pondok Pesantren). This term refers to all manuscripts which contain Islamic knowledge, used for the teaching of Islam, and still found in many pondok pesantren in Indonesia. Some MIPES are copies of 'Yellow Books' (Kitab Kuning, a term referring to Islamic works printed on yellowish paper), such as Jawhar al-Tawhid, Hidayat al-Sibyan, Kitab Taqrib, Kitab Sittin Mas'ala etc. However their marginal notes make the MIPES totally different from the original books. The marginal notes in the MIPES are an important resource to study the efforts of Indonesia Ulama to translate Islam into the local context. MIPES provide academic evidence for how Islam interacted with local and Indonesian culture. However, the importance of MIPES in reconstructing the view of Islam from the Indonesian world has not been appreciated, and they have been neglected as subjects of study among students of Islam in Indonesia.

These manuscripts will revise current understandings of Islamic intellectual heritage, and will help to reconstruct the history of intellectual dynamism in Indonesian Islam in the period of the18th century to the first half of the 20th century. The MIPES found in previous research are mostly damaged because of inappropriate treatment and due to natural causes. Even if they are in good condition, they are usually separated from the original parts when they are bound.

This major project will be conducted in three pondok pesantren in three Kabupaten in East Java province. In Kabupaten Tuban, the project will be done in Pondok Pesanntren Langitan; in Kabupaten Lamongan the project will be carried out at Pondok Pesantren Tarbiyya al-Thalabah. And the project also will be conducted at Pondok Pesantren Tegal Sari in Kabupaten Ponorogo. Those three locations were chosen because of their large manuscript collections and as most of the collection is seriously damaged.

The purpose of this project is to preserve Islamic intellectual heritage in Indonesia. All the manuscript collections will be photographed by digital camera and the digital reproductions will be deposited in three institutions: (1) the British Library for wider access by researchers; (2) The Institute for the Study of Religion and Society (Lembaga Pengkajian Agama dan Masyarakat, LPAM) Surabaya for the purpose of research among students of Islam in Indonesia at large; (3) the owners of manuscript collections.


This project was successful in digitising manuscript collections in three Pondok Pesantren: Pondok Pesantren Langitan, Tuban, established in 1852 by KH. Muhammad Nur; Pondok Pesantren Tarbiyyah al-Thalabah, Keranji, established in 1898 by KH Musthofa; and Pondok Pesantren Tegalsari, Jetis Ponorogo, established in the 18th century by Kyai Mohammed Besari.

A total of 40,545 images were created from 302 titles on diverse Islamic knowledge with the archival master TIFF copy deposited in the Institute for the Study of Religion and Society, Surabaya (Lembaga Pengkajian Agama dan Masyarakat, LPAM). TIFF copies have also been deposited with the British Library and each Pondok Pesantren has received JPG copies of their own collection.

The records copied by this project have been catalogued as:


Amiq Ahyad's PhD thesis (Leiden University, 2015) is the authoratitive reference for this collection. It is downloadable by going to