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Why Indonesia is Important for Uzbekistan?
Wednesday, 21 June, 2017 | 15:54 WIB
Why Indonesia is Important for Uzbekistan?

TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - Where can other soil in earth that can be the one of the oldest centers of human civilization, arts & culture? The answer is Central Asia as proved by numerous relics and evidences.

I still can figure the oldest soil of that ancient Great Silk Road when standing firmly at the previous center of Karvon Saray, the place of gathering and exchanging the finest stuffs such as Silk, Rugs and Spices coming from all over the continents and Uzbekistan is the center of the location in Asia.

The smell of the 11th century soil brought my wild ideas to trace all the hidden stories from each land in Central Asia such as Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, and Tajikistan that were going in one direction with Persia, Turkey, even India and Indonesia. What made Ikat fabrics in Nusa Tenggara, Indonesia having very similar motifs, colors, and even name with the ones in Uzbekistan? The way of the dye methode for sure.

When talking about Central Asia, you always need to include the important role of Uzbekistan as the country in the middle position of Central Asia. The present territory of this country was the crossroads of Eurasia which was connected Europe and China, passing through the oasis settlement of Kokand, Samarkand and Bukhara that was well-known as Sogdiana region in ancient history.

I had an exclusive encounter for an hour and half with Uzbekistan Tourism Minister, H.E. Anvar Sharapov (52) recently in Jakarta where he brought his small delegation to meet with his counterpart, H.E. Arief Yahya, Indonesian Tourism Minister. Minister Sharapov who was accompanied by Ambassador Uzbekistan to Indonesia, H.E. Shavkat Jamolov, in his detailed explanation with me, would support the bilateral relationship of both countries especially in the tourism sector.

The gracious smile of this Uzbekistan Tourism Minister reminds me of the people of Uzbekistan in general and especially of an elderly couple I met at Tashkent Airport on my way to Bukhara. The couple even asked for taking photos together when they knew I come from Indonesia. They talked about Soekarno who according to Uzbek people has been instrumental in the discovery of the tomb of Al-Bukhari in Samarkand. Minister Anvar certainly knows who Soekarno was and even he mentioned how important the relationship was at that time and keen on continuing the relationship to be more closer with the tourism activity of Holy Sites pilgrim.

From the large edition of Ziyarat Tours Book around the Holy Sites of Uzbekistan, which Minister Anvar has delivered to me, again he stressed the importance of the Holy Sites of Uzbekistan that should be regarded as the future pilgrim for Indonesian Muslims.

To flashback the relations between Uzbekistan and Indonesia, we may turn to the time when some clerics had done the magnificent of Islamic learnings in Java and one of them was Maulana Malik Ibrahim who was believed originally from Samarkand. He was the founding father of this first Wali Songo or the Nine Saint in Islam history in Java. The evidence can be found by several written sources on Wali Songo, among others by Ranggawarsita in the 19th century and from the writings of former Mufti Johor who died in 1962. As people may know, Java played the historic role in the spread of Islam in Indonesia. Maulana Malik Ibrahim had arrived in Java around 1392 CE, disseminated Islam in the region and well-known as Sunan Gresik. This great cleric died in 1419. In Indonesia, some religious traditions that were believed part of the tradition that still exists in Central Asia like in Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan are practiced in most places in Indonesia, such as ceremonies of 3, 7, 40, 100 and 1000 days after someone’s death and this is not a native Javanese nor the Hindu tradition.

Central Asia witnessed the rise and fall of the various ancient states including Bactria, Sogdiana and Khorezm, the state of the Achaemenids, Alexander the Great in Greece, (Selivkids) Greco-Bactrian, Parthian and Kushan Kingdoms since 800 B.C. In the 6th century B.C. Central Asia was conquered by Cyrus the Great, founder of the Persian Empire and in 330 B.C. the Persian Empire was destroyed by Alexander the Great and brought Greek ideas and the Greek way of doing things to all the countries he conquered.

It was in 327 B.C., the beginning of the crash of Alexander’s Army. Alexander left some of his soldiers in Central Asia and because of this as the legend says, some Uzbek people appear with green eyes and blond hair. Greek roots are still present in Uzbek culture.

The collapse of the Arab Caliphate led to the resurrection of the independent statehoods in Central Asia. Between the 9th and 15th centuries a succession of the large independent feudal states replaced in Central Asia: the monarchies of Samanids, Seljuks, Khorezmshah and Timurlane Empire (known as Amir Timur).

Ismail Samanid was the representative of the Eastern dynasty that ruled in 819-999 over the vast territory of Mawarannahr. Ismail Samanid reigned from 892 till 907. He was the person who erected the marvelous Mausoleum in Bukhara over his father’s grave and later of his own and the family.

Amir Timur was born in Khodja-Ilgar, near Shahrisabs, Uzbekistan. He was the son of Emir Taragay. Amir Timur knew lots of military training since his teenshood and took part in civil wars. He was promoted in the period of invasion to Mawarannahr. Ulugbek was the great successor of Amir Timur who was born in 1394 in Sultania. At age of 15, Ulugbek became the ruler of Samarkand and when he was 17 became the ruler of Mawarannahr and ruled the state for 40 years. His talent in astronomy brought Ulugbek’s knowledge to compile the catalog of stars, which is very popular even today.

Imagine how Ulugbek tried to send human ideas to the stars and to get new knowledge from a very long distance and at that time Samarkand was enlightened by the stars and became the center of Arts & Science, whilst Mawarannahr was a powerful region.

Islam in Uzbekistan is colorful and derived from some high Arts & Culture like the one influenced by Babur Zahir-Iddin (1483-1530) who was the founder of the great Mogul dynasty in India and was born in the town of Andijan in Fergana Valley.  He was a Barlos Turk descended from Amir Timur and on the female side from Chagatay Khan, the son of Genghis Khan. In 1494 at the age of eleven, he succeeded his father, Sultan Mirza. Babur’s creative work and state activity played a very important role in unification the cultures of Central Asia, Iran, Afghanistan and India.

Babur established his empire after defeating Ibrahim Lodi and his kingdom extended  to Kabul and Kandhahar. He was not able enjoy the fruits of his hard-earned victories, only after 4 years of his rule he died. His interest in reading, society, hunting, nature, poetry, politic’s and economics and his love for nature led him to create gardens of great beauty which became an intrinsic part of every Mughal fort, palace, and state buildings during the centuries. Babur was really a powerful man, as well as a romantic ruler, seen his most interest in nature and his poetic feeling. To his high taste in Arts and Culture, this romantic King left many beautiful relics of buildings in Fergana, Bukhara and West Kabul that bordering Uzbekistan and Afghanistan. A splendor classical Moghul-style gardens in an amazing landscaped hillside will give you beautiful words of unending admiration and that is also the final place for Babur to rest.

Uzbek sources claim him as an ethnic Uzbek and he is also considered a national hero in Uzbekistan. Many of his poems also have become popular folk songs.

Samarkand history is one of the most ancient in the world and Mausoleum of the great Imam Al-Bukhari should be the most important site to visit followed his great works of Hadiths in the Islamic world, besides of other great preserved buildings like the ones of Registan Square and the Mausoleum of Amir Timur.

Samarkand is also the final place for Imam Al-Bukhari. He was asked to leave Bukhara by the Royal family after he rejected to come to the Palace for giving the teaching. The importance reason of why Al-Bukhari had refused to give his teaching to the Noble family that time was because according to him, knowledge never comes to people, but the people who must find for it.

Heading 376,6 km to Termez, I feel like going to the time tunnel of the active routes of the Great Silk Road from Samarkand to the south-west, then in the direction of Kesh and near Guzar turned to the south, afterwards in the direction of mountainous region, and through the passage of Akrabat reached Dar-i-ahanin, where there was a border between the ancient countries in the past of the so called Sogdiana and Bactria. From Dar-i-ahanin the road goes along Sherobod Darya and led to the city of Sherobod which is located on the flatland, and from where you go further to the south, heading to the Valley of Amu Darya. Do not let your appetite fade away, try the local bademjan salad and chuchvara soup and not to be missed the local kefir (yogurt). Wise word says “A region's culinary arts is one of the best ways to understand a region's character.” Finally you will arrive in Termez safely.

Termez was one of the most ancient and largest cities of the East. Termez is definitely situated in the strategic location and played important point in that period and is one of the reasons why Termez, even nowadays, is considered the Southern gates of Uzbekistan.

Abu Isa Muhammad ibn Isa as-Sulami ad-Darir al-Bughi at-Tirmidhi often referred to as Imam at-Termezi or Tirmidhi who wrote al-Jami as-Sahih, one of the six canonical hadith compilations in Sunni Islam. Imam Termezi also wrote Shama'il Muhammadiyah, a compilation of hadiths concerning the person and character of the Islamic prophet, Muhammad. He was born in Bugh village in Termez in Southern Uzbekistan.

At-Tirmidhi began the study of hadith at the age of 20 and was the student of the great Imam Al-Bukhari. He was blind in the last two years of his life, according to adh-Dhahabi. His blindness is said to have been the consequence of excessive weeping, either due to fear of God or over the death of al-Bukhari. He died in Bugh on 8 October 892 and was buried on the outskirts of Sherobod, a 60 kilometers north of Termez, Uzbekistan.

What Uzbekistan hopes from Indonesia is a sustainable synergy between the two best friends that have been very good relations for a long time, even since Uzbekistan was still under Soviet Union. The common historical background in religion as well as the more dominant Asian characteristics of the Uzbek people, will facilitate the cooperation of the Holy Sites tourism sector and will encourage bilateral relations between the two countries more closely in the future.

Uzbekistan is blessed by the Almighty to have such influential Sufis and Great Imams.  Mosques, Madrasahs and Mausoleums were decorated in very beautiful patterns and letters and are recognized as the best examples of calligraphy in the Islamic world. The city of Bukhara even was seen by Prophet Muhammad SAW during his ascension (Mi'raj) and foretold that thousands of great scientists will emerge in this ancient city and Bukhara was named as Fahir or Magnificent.

The Uzbek government will focus more on the "tapestry" of Islamic tourism objects that will become an integral part of the tourism journey of Uzbekistan, and the 14 new tourist destinations shall be also inaugurated in the near future. Tourism becomes one of the main sectors to increase state’s revenues apart from other main sectors. Uzbekistan appears as a beautiful young woman at age of 25 who tries to be the most prettiest and knowledgeable woman in Central Asia.

Then I saw in my dreams, Babur was writing “Kand-i Badam or the almond town, 18 miles east of Khujand which Babur tried to describe the excellence of the local almonds in his home land around the Fergana Valley in his literacy works.



An Indonesian author, journalist and linguist. She writes on culture, international affairs, multicultarism and religious studies. Her acticles have appeared in over thirthy newspapers that are published in Europe, Asia, and United States.


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    Wow. Keren Alhamdulillahh