About the Author(s)

Dindin Jamaluddin Email symbol
Department of Islamic Education, Faculty of Tarbiyah and Teacher Training, UIN Sunan Gunung Djati Bandung, Bandung, Indonesia

Hilda Ainissyfa symbol
Department of Islamic Education, Faculty of Tarbiyah and Teacher Training, UIN Sunan Gunung Djati Bandung, Bandung, Indonesia

Teti Ratnasih symbol
Department of Education of Arabic Language, Faculty of Tarbiyah and Teacher Training, UIN Sunan Gunung Djati Bandung, Bandung, Indonesia

Ebi Nabilah symbol
Department of Islamic Education, Postgraduate Programme, UIN Sunan Gunung Djati Bandung, Bandung, Indonesia


Jamaluddin, D., Ainissyfa, H., Ratnasih, T. & Nabilah, E., 2022, ‘Translation of the Qur’an in Priangan: Bridging the gap between Arabic and Sundanese language’, HTS Teologiese Studies/Theological Studies 78(1), a7746. https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v78i1.7746

Original Research

Translation of the Qur’an in Priangan: Bridging the gap between Arabic and Sundanese language

Dindin Jamaluddin, Hilda Ainissyfa, Teti Ratnasih, Ebi Nabilah

Received: 15 May 2022; Accepted: 09 July 2022; Published: 31 Aug. 2022

Copyright: © 2022. The Author(s). Licensee: AOSIS.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


One way to understand the Qur’an is by translating the message using Pegon script and Nadhom media. One expert who uses the method to teach students is Ahmad Dimyati. The purpose of this research is to investigate Ahmad Dimyati’s works, and one of his works was the translation of the Qur’an using the Pegon script and Nadhom media in the context of Priangan, West Java, Indonesia. This research explores how the media aligns with the socio-cultural condition in which it becomes the crucial point of the research. This research belongs to both textual and field studies since it involves observation and documentation data from Ahmad Dimyati’s manuscript, and interviews with Kyai and Ustadz at Pondok Pesantren Sukamiskin, West Java, Indonesia. In addition, this research uses historical and hermeneutic approaches. The historical approach found that the selection of Pegon scripts and Nadhom media involved the segmentation of readers. At the same time, the hermeneutic approach is used to understand the contents of the text. The data obtained were analysed descriptively. This research found that the translation did not change the original meaning and can bridge the gap between Arabic and Sundanese languages so that the students can better understand the content of the quoted verses of the Qur’an. The selection of Nadhom as a media to translate the Qur’an is accurate as shown in its function that supports the achievement of the goal being revealed in the Qur’an. Thus, the use of Pegon script and Nadhom media to translate the Qur’an can bridge the gap between Arabic and Sundanese languages.

Contribution: This research contributes to transferring the Qur’an translation into another language, making it easier for the reader to understand the content.

Keywords: Arabic language; Priangan; Qur’an; Sundanese language; translation.


One of the essential topics in the study of the Qur’an is its translation. It is motivated by the fact that the way to understand Islam for non-Arabs is to read the translation (Saeed 2008). However, the Qur’an has a distinctive style of language, which is hard to understand even for Arabs. Thus, it is translated into other languages to demystify the Qur’an, especially for non-Arabs. One of the languages is Bahasa Indonesia, which is then written using its script. Additionally, the selection of media in translating the Qur’an can make it easier for a person to learn it.

Long before Arabic and Latin entered Indonesia, the scripts used by Indonesians were Javanese, Bugis, Lontarak, Balinese and others. Along with its development, local scripts are rarely used. It can be seen from Indonesian scholars’ works that they wrote books using Arabic. Islamic boarding school scholars borrow Arabic to write true Arabic (Arabic Fusha) in the regional language. Arabic is used in writing regional languages because it is considered a representation of religious language. This process impacted the localisation (vernacularisation) practice, which resulted in Islamisation in the Indonesian archipelago. The process gave birth to new scripts, namely the Pegon, the Jawi, the Serang, the Buri Wolio, etc. Indonesian archipelago scholars use the script model to write and translate their books (Khobir, Jaeni & Basith 2019). It aims to help people in the learning process.

One of the areas that are affected by vernacularisation practices in Indonesias is the Sundanese area. According to Oyon (1997) in Rohmana (2014), it is challenging for Muslims in the Sundanese area to separate their Islamic and Sundanese identities. The spread of Islam originating from the Arabian Peninsula has penetrated and spread into Sundanese identity. Both are existences that fill and adapt to each other. Religious life with Sundanese culture is a form of Islamic adaptation. On the contrary, the values of Islam influence the cultural activities of the Sundanese (Rohmana 2014). The form of their existence can be seen in the works of Sundanese scholars.

It does not end there. Despite the use of Pegon that influences the spread of Islam in the Sundanese area, Nadhom media is one of the oral literature that has Islamic influence spread in Priangan. Until now, Sundanese are among those who still maintain and preserve the tradition of singing Nadhoman poetry. Learners are often found in the Taklim assembly chanting Nadhoman during weekly or afternoon studies (Sukayat 2018). Hasuna and Komalasari added that despite spreading it conveyed by word of mouth (orally), oral literature includes cultures that live and develop in a society passed down from generation to generation (Hasuna & Komalasari 2018). In addition, oral literature has the value of beauty. This culture is produced by human creativity (Noermanzah 2017). One scholar who contributed to Islam’s spread in Priangan was Ahmad Dimyati.

In the 1920s, Ahmad Dimyati was known as an Islamic intellectual in Bandung. He wrote and translated Arabic books into Sundanese. Besides, he wrote several Pupujian (Kusdiana 2014). His knowledge is poured into his work in the field of the Qur’an, hadith, creed, tawhid and fiqh. The focus of this study is Ahmad Dimyati’s work in the field of the Qur’an. His work is essential to study because of the author’s interest in his translation media. Ahmad Dimyati translated the Qur’an using Nadhom media. The use of Pegon in his work shows the value of the locality of Sundanese scholars in preaching Islamic teachings in the society he faced. The use of Pegon in Coastal Java has existed for a long time. It is stated that Pegon Arabic is a tradition in understanding Islam in Coastal Java and is very popular after the entry of Islam into the Nusantara (Elmubarok & Qutni 2020). And one of the users of the script is Ahmad Dimyati.

Even though many scholars have conducted a study on the Qur’an, none of them has undertaken it in the form of Pegon script and Nadhom media. As a comparison, the authors found a study of the Qur’an translation using the rules of Pupujian/Nadhom by Yus Rusyana and Enas Mabarti in Rohmana (2019). In their research, the writing of the translation of the Qur’an using Latin script and the rules Pupujian/Nadhom is different from the translation of Ahmad Dimyati. A study on Pegon script was also reported by Ardiansyah (2015), but his study was not on the Qur’an but on Fatḥul’ Ārifīn. In addition, other researchers who studied the use of Pegon script and Nadhom media in translating the Qur’an include Keane (2018) and Muchtar and Luthfiana (2021). The research on the use of Pegon script and Nadhom media in the translation of the Qur’an by Ahmad Dimyati has never been reported. Therefore, this research investigates the function of Ahmad Dimyati’s works and their association with local culture and language. One of his works was the translation of the Qur’an using the Pegon script and Nadhom media. Therefore, this study seeks to fill the gap in research. It hopefully can contribute to the study of Pegon literacy writing in the book, especially in Priangan, West Java, Indonesia.

Research methods and design

In this research, the authors use primary and secondary data sources. The primary data source is the translation of the Qur’an by Ahmad Dimyati, while the secondary data sources are Kyai and Ustadz in Pondok Pesantren Sukamiskin and various related literature. The data have been obtained through interviews, observations and documents.

All the collected data are analysed using historical and hermeneutic approaches. The historical approach is used to reveal the author’s background and the writing in his works. At the same time, the hermeneutic approach is used to understand what is contained in the text. To understand the text, the author uses descriptive analysis with comparative methods. The author describes the contents of the translation, then compares it with the book of interpretation to easily identify the credible level of translation. Despite knowing the level of credibility of his writings, the author tried to analyse the functional value of Nadhom media use in the translation of the Qur’an. To find it out, the author describes the function of using Nadhom media, writing translated and derived from the Qur’an.


Ahmad Dimyati and his works

Ahmad Dimyati’s full name is Ahmad Dimyati Haedar (1822 AD–1946 AD). He was the son of Kyai Muhammad bin Muhammad Alqo and the grandson of Kyai Muhammad Alqo, the founder of Pondok Pesantren Sukamiskin, West Java, Indonesia (founded in 1881 AD). In 1912 AD–1946 AD, he and his wife, Anisah, led the pesantren. (Other sources say that the leadership of Kyai Ahmad Dimyati began in 1911 AD. – 1946 AD, marked by the death of his father in 1911 AD.) Under his leadership, Pesantren Sukamiskin reached its golden age. As a nomadic student, he had studied at Pesantren Keresek Garut. He had even lived in Mecca for about nine years. In Mecca, he met Shaykh Nawawi al-Bantani. He helped him in interpreting the book Safinah. Besides nurturing Pondok Pesantren Sukamiskin, he was once appointed as the Advisor to the Regent of Bandung, R. Adipati Aria Wiranatakusumah V or known as Dalem Haji.

During his tenure, Pesantren Sukamiskin was known as a pesantren who developed the science of medicine. Ahmad Dimyati developed traditional medicine practices with a spiritual approach. In 1916 AD, he set up a printing press that published religious books. All of his works have been published, albeit in limited numbers. Not surprisingly, around 1920, he was known as an Islamic intellectual in Bandung. In 1926 AD, he became an editorial member in the field of religion on the publication of Wahya Djatnika, and some of the Sundanese Pupujian that he wrote were published in Wahya Djatnika (Kusdiana 2014).

Most of his works are still used as teaching materials at Pondok Pesantren Sukamiskin, such as the translation of the Book of Safinatun an-Najah, the Book of Lam Yatul Ap’al, the Book of Tijan and many more. Some works are not used as teaching materials but are still used as reference materials. To date, almost all of his works are intact and original. Some of his works were printed and then disseminated; others survived with a hereditary handwritten process from generation to generation. However, some of his works are lost and incomplete because of the evacuation policy. This policy impacts the colonial process, thus hindering the process of refinement and completion of his works. Kyai Ahmad Dimyati’s fleeing marked the end of his activities as a writer because there he breathed his last.

One of his works that still remains intact is the translation of 33 verses of the Qur’an in the form of Nadhom. Apart from it, he translated short letters into Purwakanti form and interpreted some verses in the Qur’an. One of the verses that is the primary source in this study is Q.S. al-Baqarah: 22.

Translation of QS. Al-Baqarah: 22

الَّذِي جَعَلَ لَكُمُ الْأَرْضَ فِرَاشًا وَالسَّمَاءَ بِنَاءً وَأَنْزَلَ مِنَ السَّمَاءِ مَاءً فَأَخْرَجَ بِهِ مِنَ الثَّمَرَاتِ رِزْقًا لَكُمْ فَلَا تَجْعَلُوا لِلَّهِ أَنْدَادًا وَأَنْتُمْ تَعْلَمُونَ (22)

(He) who made for you the earth a bed [spread out] and the sky a ceiling and sent down from the sky, rain and brought forth thereby fruits as provision for you. So do not attribute to Allāh equals while you know (that there is nothing similar to Him)

اِيهْ سَكَابَيْهْ جلمَا سِع رُوْمَسَا * عَجَادِ اَبْدِيْ كُسْتِي اَللهْ نُوْ وَسَا

عَاجَادِكنْ كَا مَرَنَيْهْ جعْ كَا سَكُوْرْ * جَلْمَا سَمَيْمَيْهْ مَرَنَيْهْ سَعْكَانْ سُكُوْرْ

بُوْكْتِيْنَ عَابَكْتِي نُمُوْتْكنْ تمبلن * تَرَامَوَا كَارفْ مَنَيْهْ ؤُعْكَلْ جَلَنْ

نُوْمَعْ دَملْكنْ كرْ مَرَانَيْهْ اَمْفَرَنْ * تمْفَتْ جِجِعْ بُوْمِي لكَانَانَاكرَنْ

تُوْهْ دِيْ لُهُوْرْ لَاعِتْ مَسِهْ دَملَنَا * تِيْتُوْتُرُوْنْ هُوْجَنْ كِتُوْ مُرُوْلَنَا

كُوْاَيْتَ دِيْ بُوْمِي رنُوْعْ نُوْ جَرَدِيْ * رِزْقِيْ اَكُرْنُوْجَرِ جِعْنَا كسْ وِدِىْ

اَسَلْ دِنَا لبَحْ عَبَاكِى بَاكِنَا * تُمُوْتْ فَعَاتَرَانْ فَعرْسَا مَنْتنَا

كَادَىْ اَرَيْكْ يِئنْ فَعَيْرَانْ سَوْرَعَنْ * سَلَهْ كدّىْ كَانُوْ ترَاعْ كَا ترَعَنْ

Ahmad Dimyati’s original translation uses Pegon characters. If the author copies into Latin, it becomes:

Ieu sakabeh jelema sing rumasa (All people must feel)

Ngajadi abdi Gusti Allah nu wasa (Allah Almighty)

Ngajadiken ka maraneh jeng kasakur (Make you and all)

Jalma samemeh maraneh sangkan sukur (the people before you to be grateful)

Nu mang damelken ker maraneh amparan (Who make the expanse for you)

Tempat cicing bumi legana na keran (The place where the earth stands)

Tuh di luhur langit masih damelana (that, above, the sky is still his creation)

Tituturun hujan kitu murulana (from the start of heavy rain)

Ku eta di bumi renung nu jaradi (by its, what is on the earth grows)

Rizki akur nu caricingna ges widi (Peaceful sustenance, which inhabits the earth has asked permission)

Asal dina lebah ngabagi-bagina (as long as it’s time to share)

Tumut pangataran pangersa mantena (According to his guidance, the Almighty)

Kade arek nyien pangeran sorangan (watch out if you want to make your own god)

Salah gede ka nu terang ka terangan (Big mistake for people who know the information)

Analysis of Pegon script rules in Q.S. translation. al-Baqarah: 22

The translation of Ahmad Dimyati’s work is written using Pegon scripts. As there is an addition of the letter ng (ڠ) in the sing (that), ngajadi (make), jeng (and), sangkan(to be), ngabakti(worship), unggal(every), mang(certainly), cicing(stay), langit (sky), renung(grow), caricing(stay), ngabagi (share), pangaturan (setting), pangeran (god), sorangan (alone), terang (know) and katerangan (description). The letter g (ڬ) is found in the word gusti (God), unggal (every), lega (broad), ges (after), ngabagi-bagina (share) and gede (big). The letter c (چ) in the word cicing (stay) and caricing (stay). Harakat eu (~) in the word ieuh (this), jeng (and), jelma (people), karep (too), damelken (make), tempat (place), lega (broad), keran (faucet), damelana (work), renung (grow), ges (after), lebah (close), pangersa (those), mantena (them), nyieun (make) and terang (know).

The Pegon script is used to translate Quranic verses based on the user’s needs. In this case, Ahmad Dimyati at Pesantren Sukamiskin uses the Pegon script to make it easier for students (readers and listeners) to understand Quran verses adapted to the Sundanese accent. In addition to the Pegon script by Ahmad Dimyati, other researchers used Pegon script to increase the fluency of reading the Qur’an in junior high schools in the Demak Regency (Rohman, Izati & Khosim 2022).

Pegon scripts and reader segmentation

Ahmad Dimyati adjusted his work to the level of understanding the reader would aim for. In writing the translations, the use of Pegon script with Nadhom media is intended for santri. Here lies the segmentation of readers that the writers should be aware of. Not only used by the student community in Pesantren, but this Pegon script is also used in Qur’anic verses and writing Islamic boarding school works such as Tafsir (Baidowi 2020). It can also be used in a text of praise, as described by Apriyanto and Nurjanah (2021).

Pegon script and the substance of the Qur’an translation

Qur’an surah al-Baqarah verse 22 describes the oneness of His divinity with its various creations (skies and the earth). The earth can be used as an expanse and the sky as a roof. From creating the sky, rain can bring sustenance (fruits) for humans, and the grass can be used as food for livestock. With all forms of His creation, man should not worship other than Allah SWT. Below is the meaning of Ahmad Dimyati’s translation:

Ieu sakabeh jelema sing rumasa (All people must feel)

Ngajadi abdi Gusti Allah nu wasa (Allah Almighty)

Ngajadiken ka maraneh jeng kasakur (Make you and all)

Jalma samemeh maraneh sangkan sukur (the people before you are already grateful)

The stanza contains the meaning of reminding us that man is a servant (servant) of God Almighty. Allah can make man grateful by being devoted to God. The form of Allah’s oneness is found in the following stanza:

Nu mang damelken ker maraneh amparan (Who make the expanse for you)

Tempat cicing bumi legana na keran (The place where the earth stands)

Tuh di luhur langit masih damelana (that, above, the sky is still his creation)

Tituturun hujan kitu murulana (from the start of heavy rain)

Ku eta di bumi renung nu jaradi (by its, what is on the earth grows)

Rizki akur nu caricingna ges widi (Peaceful sustenance, which inhabits the earth has asked permission)

Asal dina lebah ngabagi-bagina (as long as it’s time to share)

Tumut pangataran pangersa mantena (According to his guidance, the Almighty)

Kade arek nyien pangeran sorangan (watch out if you want to make your own god)

Salah gede ka nu terang ka terangan (Big mistake for people who know the information)

Nadhom media

One of the works in the form of Nadhom that contains about the greatness of God is the translation of Ahamd Dimyati in Q.S. al-Baqarah: 22.

Nadhom media and reader segmentation

Not only in his character selection, but he also considers his learning media, such as the use of Nadhom media to translate the Qur’an. Nadhom, better known as a poem, was chosen because this medium was based on the influence of Nadhoman in the spread of Islamic teachings in the Sundanese region, especially among students. Therefore, the significant impact of Nadhom in achieving learning objectives in pesantren can be ascertained. That is why Dimyati chose the medium of Nadhom in translating the Qur’an.

Nadhom media and the translation of Q.S. al-Baqarah: 22

The translation of Q.S. al-Baqarah: 22, which has been copied into the Latin script, shows that the rule of Nadhom used by Ahmad Dimyati in his translation consists of 12 lines, two-two rhythmic (a-a-b-b), and contains about the oppression. There is a difference in the theory of Nadhom or Pupujian between Alwi and Yus Rusyana. If you look at the rules used in the translation, it can be confirmed that Ahmad Dimyati used the theory of Alwi et al.


In general, according to Shihabuddin, there are four obstacles in the process of translating Arabic texts into Bahasa Indonesia such as (1) complexity and difficulty in translation activities; (2) substantial difference between Arabic and Bahasa Indonesia; (3) lack of mastery of the recipient’s language to cause symptoms of interference; and (4) lack of mastery of the theory to be translated (Nurbayan 2014). Seeing some of these obstacles, Ahmad Izzah suggested that a translator understand Arabic texts or texts inscribed with traditional Arabic generally found in the Kitab Kuning. It is a skill in taking thoughts captive in Arabic or other languages. After understanding the meaning of writing, the translator informs his ideas/understanding to others by using Bahasa Indonesia or vice versa, in verbal or written form. Thus, several approaches are needed (Izzan 2011). One of the Arabic scriptures that can be translated into other languages is the Qur’an.

Muhammad Ali as-Shobuni said that translating the Qur’an means quoting it in languages other than Arabic (Ahmadi 2015). In his book entitled Studi Ilmu-Ilmu al-Qur’an, Muhammad Amin Suma argues that translation has a meaning of description or explanation: in terms of meaning, sentences or words that are expressed using other languages. Besides, translating the Qur’an means telling its meaning using another language (Umar 2017). One theory that explains translation techniques is Ustadz al-Hasan Azzayat. He, called by as-Shafadi, argues that there are two kinds of techniques for translating the Qur’an. First, the technique that was embraced by the Jihanes Patriarch, Ibn N’imah al-Himshiy and others. Its translation focuses on finding the equivalent of each Greek word and its meaning content of Arabic words. This technique is not good because not all Greeks have Arabic equivalents, and there is a difference between one language and another in the characteristics of its syntactic arrangement. Second, the technique that Hunain bin Ishaq, al-Juhari and others focus the translator on understanding a concept in a sentence and then expressing it with a balanced sentence. The second technique has two translation methods: harfiyah (literal meaning) and tafsiriyah (interpretation) (Heryani 2019).

According to az-Zarqoni, the harfiyah translation, which can be called lafziyah or maknawiyah, is the transfer of language according to the order of the source word. The trick is only to search for a commensurate word and arrange it according to the order of words from the source (Lubis 2004). While the translation of tafsiriyah (interpretation) or maknawiyah (literal meaning), according to Manna Kholil al-Qattan in his book Mabahits fi Ulumil Qur’an, is a transfer of language that is not bound to the order and arrangement of words at the source (Ahmadi 2015). The method of using tafsiriyah translation is similar to the interpretation technique, even though it is not merely interpretation. The method is to understand the meaning of the text first. Then, it is arranged into the target language without being tied to the order of the source language words or sentences (Lubis 2004).

The methods of translating the Qur’an seem to cause debate. Some scholars prohibit translating the Qur’an using harfiyah method. Others allow it with the condition of limitation use the method for complete translation. Muhammad Talib said that the council of seven countries in the Middle East issued a haram fatwa in translating the Qur’an using the harfiyah. The councils are Jami’ah al-Azhar, Kiro, The Fatwa Council of Saudi Arabia Scholars, Adz-Dzahabi University and Shaik ali ashShabuni. Those agreed to state, ‘Translating the Qur’an using tafsiriyah (interpretation) is permissible. While translated harfiyah (literal meaning) is forbidden or invalid’ (Thalib 2011). Otherwise, al-Maraghi stated, ‘Some verses of the Qur’an may be translated literally, and others may not be’ (Rohmana 2015).

Despite differences of opinion in translating the Qur’an, it has some benefits, especially for Muslims who do not understand Arabic. Departing from the function of the Qur’an as a guide to life and the fact that not all Muslims acquire the language of the Qur’an, its translation into various languages becomes essential. The Qur’an needs to be read, studied, understood and practiced. Then, the translation of the Qur’an can help the lay community and include the means of conveying the contents of the Qur’an to humankind, both Muslims and non-Muslims (Yusuf 2013). The translation of the Qur’an is not similar to the original Qur’an; it is the interpretation of the Qur’an (Al-Qattan & Mudzakir 2016).

Pegon scripts

Language translation in translating the Qur’an can be written using Pegon scripts. Hisham argues that Arabic-Pegon (especially in Javanese) results from assimilating the phoneme of hijaiyah letters into the local language. Another meaning from the same source reveals that Arabic-Pegon comes from the Javanese word ‘pego’ which means ‘unusual’. Arabic-Pegon refers to some of the letters of the composition and its hijaiyah (Noordyanto 2016). Strengthening the opinion of Hisham, Sri Wahyuni and Rustam Ibrahim quoted the term Pegon from Wikipedia. In his quote, Pegon comes from the word ‘pego’, which means deviant. It is said to deviate because the language written in Arabic letters is considered something uncommon (Wahyuni & Ibrahim 2017).

Coolsma, in Sundanese Grammar, explained that there are several different ways of writing Pegon letters with other characters, including (1) letters written from right to left; (2) have 33 letters; and (3) the sound of the vowels in the Pegon ُletters is the same as Arabic letters, that is, the sound a written (َ) is called jabar, the sound i written (َ) is called kasrah, the sound of u written (ُ) is called dhammah, the e sound is written (ْيَ) is called paneling, the o sound is written (وَ) is called panolong and the eu written (~) sound is called paneuleung. Pegon has 33 letters, while hijaiyah has 30 letters. The Pegon letter adopts the Arabic letter (hijaiyah), although after becoming a pegon letter, the hijaiyah letter is added and rarely used. Some additions in Pegon, including the c sound written (چ), the sound ng written (ڠ) and the g sound written (ڬ). However, the hijaiyah letter is only used for Arabic foreign words, including tz, kh, dz, z, sy, dl, tl, th, ain, ghain, fa and qaf (Puspita & Yuliani 2021). The use of vowels in Arabic writing lengthens the reading of letters and replaces the letters. The letters alif (ا), wau (و) and ya (ي) extend the reading of the letters. The letter wau can also be used to replace the letters u and o. In comparison, the letter e is written without any auxiliary letters or sometimes used as a particular sign in a wavy line (~). In Arabic, the consonant letter is represented by the letter hijaiyah, which sounds like the letter m with (م) (Sa’adah 2019).

Pegon scripts and reader segmentation

Pegon script and Nadhom media’s selection in translating the Qur’an involves the reader (Pink 2020). Historically, the writing of translations using Pegon script was motivated by his education and career, which is not far from pesantren and his life in the Sundanese area. It can be ascertained that he can master Arabic, Arabic script and Sundanese. Among santri and Kyai, the use of Pegon script is accustomed. Therefore, writing the Quran translations using Pegon script becomes its primary choice.

Pegon script and the substance of the Qur’an translation

As it is already explained, translating the Qur’an into another language is not easy. Considering the complicated style of qur’anic language, which is difficult to understand, Ahmad Dimyati used the method of translating tafsiriyah (interpretation) or maknawiyah (literal meaning) in translating the Qur’an. Therefore, one way to find out the credibility of the translation, the comparative method, is used in this research, which is to compare the meaning (interpretation translation) with the translation after it was changed into Sundanese.

In terms of meaning (the translation of his interpretation), according to tafsir al-Jalalain it is said that Allah:

(He has made) created (for you the earth as an expanse), that is, an expanse in between hard and soft which is impossible to live permanently (and the sky as shade) as a roof (and He lowered it from the sky rainwater and removed from it) means various things (fruits as sustenance for you) for you to eat and you give the grass to your livestock (so do not have allies for Allah), meaning His unions in devotion (though you know) that He is the creator, while they cannot create anything, so it is not worthy to be called and said by the Lord. (Asy-Syuyuthi & Al-Mahalliy 2010:12)

Qur’an surah al-Baqarah verse 22 describes that the oneness of Allah (SWT) is evident in the creation of the earth and heaven. Through its creation, the sky produces rain that can bring sustenance to humans. The form of human gratitude is to share nourishment with those who deserve it. With His blessings, humans should not worship God other than Allah SWT. If a comparison between the original and Sundanese is made, then the meaning alignment can be identified. Indeed, there is no change in the original meaning after becoming a Sundanese translation. Thus, it can prove the credibility of its translation.

Nadhom media

Unlike the Pegon letter, Nadhom or Pupujian is related to the learning media (Sukayat 2018). According to Rus Yusyana, Pupujian is a poem that is delivered orally by singing. Pupujian is still circulating in pesantren and mosques. This usually happens while waiting for the time of prayer (Rusyana 1971). The use of Nadhom media in pesantren shows the great contribution of pesantren to the development of Sundanese literature (Romli 2005).

Complementing the opinion of Yus Rusyana, Alwi et al., in Kamus Besar Bahasa Indonesia, said that Nadhom, according to language, is an essay. While according to the term, Nadhom is a poem that comes from Persia, consists of 12 lines, two-two or four-four rhymed and contains about the faithful and pious servants of the palace. Another name for Nadhoman is pupujian. The content is almost the same as Nadhom. Pupujian contains praises, prayers, advice and Islamic teachings. Nadhom and Pupujian are sometimes distinguished. Nadhom is a poem that contains religious teachings. At the same time, Pupujian is a poem that contains praise to Allah SWT. Although sometimes distinguished, there are similarities in the content of Nadhom and Pupujian, such as: (1) concerning the greatness of Allah; (2) Sholawat to Rasulullah; (3) prayer and repentance to Allah; (4) asking for the intercession of the Prophet; (5) advising the people to perform worship and stay away from immorality; and (6) provide lessons on religion such as Tafsir, Faith, Tarikh, Pillars of Islam, Fiqh, Akhlak and Sorof. Besides, the content of Pupujian is in the form of mantras and ethics in association, such as visiting those who are sick, being kind to the government, writing a letter and meeting someone (Sukayat 2018).

Pupujian has several structures in its writing. In general, it consists of several patterns of poetry, either two, four, five or eight strings (Kartini, Kusmiyati & Sumadipura 1986). Complementing the opinion of Alwi et al. and Tini Kartini, the rule in Pupujian consists of the number of lines, the number of syllables in each line and the similarity of the final vowel sound in each line (Rusyana 1971). Additional details are summarised in Table 1.

TABLE 1: Rules of Pupujian.

The rules listed in Table 1 indicate that the use of Nadhom or Pupujian in the translation of the Qur’an looks more complicated. A translator must understand the content of the verse, then change it into the Sundanese language with proper diction. The translation results are considered good if the translation results are able to redirect the message contained from the source language into the target language with accuracy, firmness and naturalness (Sanusi 2019). And the results of the translation carried out by Ahmad Dimyati meet these characteristics. The writing has to be adapted to the applicable rules. Translators should consider the number of lines, guru lagu, guru wilangan, pupuh character, pedotam and the combination between lines (Rohmana 2015).

Nadhom serves as entertainment, education and spirituality. Nadhom as entertainment is related to how it is taught, whether it is sung using music or not. Its relation to education expresses didactic values related to morals and complex Islamic knowledge and the use of Nadhom as a teaching material or medium. Nadhom is said to have a spiritual function on the servitude of din (worship) to Allah SWT to strengthen faith and piety. The three functions are interrelated. Nadhom gives spirit to worship and a pleasant way of conveying knowledge (Sukayat 2018). In addition, it is stated that this Nadhom can be used to increase spiritual intelligence through nadhom asmaul husna (Sholekha 2022).

The functional value of Nadhom media in the translation of the Qur’an

The precise selection of learning media will undoubtedly affect the achievement of learning goals (Talaue et al. 2018). Every medium can have a good impact if it is used properly, such as the use of Nadhom media in translating the Qur’an. Nadhoman has entertainment, and educational and spiritual functions. Entertainment and education are felt to be very beneficial in all learning materials. For the spiritual function, the choice of Nadhom media to translate the Qur’an is said to be very precise. Spiritually, Nadhom can strengthen one’s faith and piety. The Qur’an is translated into other languages to make it easier for people to learn and understand its meaning. Besides, it can facilitate a person in the process of their practice. The Qur’an is the word of Allah SWT as a guide for human life. Human faith and purity have to be solid and thick as the foundation of living the life that Allah wants in the Qur’an.

The author tries to link the usefulness between Nadhom media, translation and the Qur’an. Translating the Qur’an into another language makes it easier for one to practice the teachings contained in the Qur’an. It has teachings that must be practiced as a guide for human life. In the process of its practice, it takes strong faith and piety. In the end, one of the learning media that can facilitate a person in practicing the teachings of the Qur’an and have benefits in strengthening one’s faith and purity is the Nadhom media.

From this point, it can be seen that the use of Nadhom media in the translation of the Qur’an is one of the ways that can support the achievement of the goal of the Qur’an revelation to humankind when the Qur’an as a guide for metacognitive and morals support (Yusoff 2021). Thus, the functional value of the use of Nadhom media in the translation of the Qur’an is very high.

Bridging the gap between Arabic and Sundanese language

To sum up, it should be noted that there are relevance and logical connection between the messages of the selected examples adduced above and the conveyed ones in the attached translation. Moreover, such examples are difficult to understand out of context or simply from the meaning of their separate words. Rather, they are translated with equal value, context, implied meaning and resorting to different translation strategies (addition, omission, paraphrasing, borrowing, transliteration, approximation, etc.). Such effective strategies are used to overcome the obstacles that Ahmad Dimyati faces as sometimes there are no target equivalents that match the source text idioms or expressions and vice versa. It also proves that translation is both a linguistic and cultural activity. This is following Torop’s (2002:603) equation of culture and translation, ‘culture is a translation, and also that translation is culture’. Moreover, translating the texts that are deeply embedded in the culture cannot be done in isolation from their cultural contexts; otherwise, it distorts the text characteristics and the intended meanings. Hence, the translation of the above examples supports Al-Dosari’s (2013) idea that translators should not limit themselves to bilingualism. Rather, they should consider the involvement of the cultural side of the source and target texts.

Consequently, the translation of such terms, expressions, idioms and proverbs might not be achieved away from their culture (Al-Sofi & Abouabdulqader 2020). This view supports the authors’ opinion that cultural matters play a crucial role in the creation of good translation and that disregarding its accurate transfer into the target text and audience may lead to failure in conveying the intended message. It denotes that the importance of bridging the cultural gap lies in its role in conveying the intended meaning and hence its contribution to the success of the translation process. Hence, Ahmad Dimyati should be fully immersed in both cultures in order to convey the meaning and cultural equivalence. Otherwise, they will be at a loss with culturally laden texts. Taken together, it seems convenient to suggest that cultural competence needs to be developed alongside linguistics.


Translation of the Qur’an into Sundanese aims to make it easier for students to understand. That is why Ahmad Dimyati wrote a translation of the Qur’an into Sundanese. The translation was written using Pegon scripts and Nadhom media. Sundanese translations written using Pegon scripts do not lose the meaning and purpose of the original translation. Therefore, the credibility level of the Sundanese translation can be ascertained. The use of Nadhom media in its translation is considered appropriate, given that the function of Nadhom can support the achievement of the purpose of the Qur’an revelation.


The authors thank those who supported them during the writing of this article, particularly Prof. Dr. Supiana, M.Ag, for reviewing this manuscript, and UIN Sunan Gunung Djati Bandung.

Competing interests

The authors declare that they have no financial or personal relationships that may have inappropriately influenced them in writing this article.

Authors’ contributions

D.J. contributed to the conceptual framework, H.A. conducted the data analysis, T.R. reviewed the manuscript and E.N. wrote the original manuscript.

Ethical considerations

This article followed all ethical standards without direct contact with human or animal subjects.

Funding information

This research received no specific grant from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

Data availability

Data sharing is not applicable to this article as no new data were created or analysed in this study.


The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any affiliated agency of the authors.


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