Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) is the largest Islamic organization in Indonesia, with a long and rich history of tradition and influence in Indonesian society. Founded in 1926 in Surabaya by Javanese ulama, NU aims to preserve moderate traditional Islamic teachings and help improve the social and economic conditions of Muslims in Indonesia.
Before NU was founded, the Muslim community in Indonesia was fragmented and influenced by local culture, traditions, and radical Islamic ideologies. Javanese ulama who understood these conditions felt the need to develop an organization that could help Muslims understand and practice true Islam.
NU was founded by KH Hasyim Asy’ari, a prominent Javanese ulama, and his colleagues who believed it was important to form a platform to develop correct understanding of Islam and help Muslims improve their lives. NU initially consisted of only a few hundred members, but it quickly grew to become one of the largest social and political forces in Indonesia.
NU is also well-known for its quality pesantrens (Islamic boarding schools). NU pesantrens provide strong Islamic education and produce influential ulama in Indonesian society. Additionally, NU also pays attention to social welfare through its programs such as Baitul Arqam, NU Peduli, and Banser.
NU has played a significant role in Indonesian history. During the Dutch colonial era, NU led resistance against colonial policies and supported the Indonesian independence struggle. After Indonesia gained independence, NU continued to play a crucial role in Indonesian politics and society. Many prominent Indonesian politicians, including former President Abdurrahman Wahid, come from NU.