Only a person who has belief in his heart can be trusted by other people” – Erich Fromm.

Belief is not a strange thing to hear anymore. It is so common that we could say everyone must have belief in his life, no matter in what form those beliefs are. Belief means any attitude that something is the case, or that some world proposition is valid

However, to believe in something that has no form, can not be seen, and can not be heard is something else. This is what Sunda Wiwitan, a Sundanese local belief that is located in some region in Java, Indonesia does. In Sunda Wiwitan’s perspective, belief is more correlated to an unusual thing, such as spirits and the afterlife. This belief is also often considered similar to other religions in our country. 

The weird thing is even they do what other religions do, they pray, they have a house of worship and they believe in someone above all, they are still not classified as a religion. How it is happening? Do they do anything wrong?

What is Sunda Wiwitan?

“Islam itu Sunda, Sunda itu Islam” That term may rarely be heard by many people. That term is made by H. Endang Saifuddin Anshari, son of Isa Anshari, Magnate in their belief, but how come did that term appear? And what it means?

JakobSumardjo in “Paradox Stories of SiKabayan (2014)” explains that this term is based on the character of the Sundanese people who live in the way of “Huma” or field. Compared to the Javanese kingdom based on the settling fields, the Sundanese kingdom only developed in the state community.

The state society is the Sundanese people in the region which is controlled by the kingdom directly. However, outside the kingdom’s territory. There were stillSundanese Villages that moved around as a result of living from farming.

the nomadic life makes the ties between the kingdom and the people outside territory very loose. This made it free for the cleric and religious leaders to enter and exit Sundanese villages. As a result, it makes the Islamic teachings better known than the teachings of other religions in Sunda. They believe that the religion of Islam been in Sunda since the beginning

The world Wiwitan itself means origin, first, principal and teak. Sunda Wiwitan is a belief in the worship of natural forces and ancestral spirits (Animism and Dynamism) adhered to by traditional Sundanese Society. However, some argue that the Sunda Wiwitan religion also has elements of ancient monotheism, worship “Sang Hyang Kersa” or the one above all.

The teachings of Sundanese Wiwitan are contained in the book Sanghyang Siksakandang Karesian, a book originating from the era of the Sundanese kingdom which contains religious teachings, moral guidance, rules, and Character lessons.

Is Sunda Wiwitan a Religion?

In Sundanese Wiwitanteachings, the delivery of prayers is carried out through the singing of rhymes and songs and dance movements. This tradition can be seen from the rice harvest thanksgiving 

Even though there has been inculturation and many Sundanese people have embraced religions outside Sunda Wiwitan, the understanding and customs that have been taught by this religion are still used as a guide in the life of the Sundanese people

A holy place or place of worship that is considered sacred in the SundaneseWiwitan Religion is called Pamunjungan or Kabuyutan. Pamunjungan is a Pundenwith terrace that is usually found on a hill and in Pamunjungan there are usually Menhirs, Arca, Cengkuk Stone, Bowl Stone, Flat Stone, and others.

We can see, Sunda Wiwitan has what another religion has, but still, it is considered as a belief than as a religion. How is it happen? Is a country has the right to decide which are believed and which are religious? When both of them still have faith in the same thing?

According to the Ministry of Religion, There are at least four requirements that a belief group must have to be recognized as a religion in Indonesia These requirements include, faith groups, have different teachings from others, have a different system of worship, have a minimum number of people, and have an organization that represents them for their activities

Sunda Wiwitan Excluded? 

The thing about a country that so many diversities, there will always be dissent and intolerance about other cultures and religions. People sometimes will think that their choice of belief is better than others and other people's belief is wrong. There is no mistake other than believing your own belief, but preventing someone from having a belief is not the right thing to do.

This is what Sunda Wiwitan people feel in Kuningan, West Java. There is a polemic that happens months ago involving the existence of Sunda Wiwitan and the people that fight against the development of Sunda Wiwitan’s cemetery

Discrimination and intolerance are thought to be re-experienced by followers of faith in Indonesia when the construction of the tomb of the Karuhun Urang (AKUR)Sundanese Wiwitan community was prohibited by the local government of Kuningan, West Java

That problem arises from the perception of residents who are afraid that the cemetery is used as a place of Heretical worship. This problem Inderectlyreflects the reaction of residents to beliefs that are not yet widely known. Sunda Wiwitan’s people claim that they feel discriminated against even in their own homes

This polemic also happens not only to Sunda Wiwitan, there are several cases that similar to this involving other religions and beliefs. Defending your belief is not wrong, but rejecting discriminates against other belief in the name of your belief is wrong