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EXCLUSIVE GUEST POST: The Indonesian Jamā’ah Islāmiyyah’s Constitution (PUPJI)

NOTE: As with all guest posts, the opinions expressed below are those of the guest author and they do not represent the views of this blogs administrator and does not at all represent his employer at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

Jihadology.net aims to not only provide primary sources for researchers and occasional analysis of them, but also to allow other young and upcoming students as well as established academics or policy wonks to contribute original analysis on issues related to jihadism. If you would like to contribute a piece, please email your idea/post to azelin [at] jihadology [dot] net. Pieces should be no longer than 2,000 words please.

The below guest post is from the Australian Jack Roche who is a former member of Jamā’ah Islāmiyyah. Roche was trained in an al-Qaeda camp in Afghanistan and was arrested in November 2002 for a plot against the Israeli Embassy in Canberra, Australia. Roche later said that he did not intend to carry out the plot.  After his arrest Roche helped provide vital information and intelligence on al-Qaeda and Jamā’ah Islāmiyyah. Roche was convicted to four and a half years in prison, and was released in May 2007 after serving his time. Below he explains Jamā’ah Islāmiyyah’s constitution based on his perspective and background. He also has provided an English translation of the entire constitution, which you can read here.

Past Guest Posts:

Kévin Jackson, “The Pledge of Allegiance and its Implications,” July 27, 2012.

Behnam Said, “A Brief Look at the History and Power of Anasheed in Jihadist Culture,” May 31, 2012.

Jonah Ondieki and Jake Zenn, “Gaidi Mtaani,” April 24, 2012.

Joshua Foust, “Jihadi Ideology Is Not As Important As We Think,” January 25, 2011.

Charles Cameron, “Hitting the Blind-Spot- A Review of Jean-Pierre Filiu’s “Apocalypse in Islam,” January 24, 2011.

Daveed Gartenstein-Ross, “Why Jihadi Ideology Matters,” January 21, 2011.

Joshua Foust, “Some Inchoate Thoughts on Ideology,” January 19, 2011.

Marissa Allison, “Militants Seize Mecca: Juhaymān al ‘Utaybī and the Siege of the Grand Mosque in Mecca,” June 9, 2010.

PUPJI: Pedoman Umum Perjuangan Jamaah Islamiyah (General Guidelines for the Struggle of (an/the) Islāmic Group)

By Jack Roche

PUPJI was a document produced by the Indonesian based group JI, that is, Jamaah Islamiyah – the Islāmic Group. Once produced, production was merely the photo-copying, scanning or retyping of an extant original. It was only available to high-ranking members within the group (as attested to by Nasir Abas [a former high ranking member of JI] in his book)…‘the Amir of Al Jamaah al Islāmiyah, daily executive Amir (a person who has authority like the Amir), members of the Markaziy (Majlis Qiyādah Markazīyah) – Central Command Administration, and regional leaders as well as staff members (Majlis Qiyādah Wakālah – Proxy Command Administration)’.[1] [2]

In order to partially answer why it was that PUPJI was not made available to rank and file members, it is perhaps prudent to refer to a statement given by Nasir Abas:

‘…knowledge of PUPJI is restricted to the level of leader and above alone. Other members are guided and given instructions without the knowledge that those guidelines and instructions originate from the book of guidelines for the daʿwah of Al Jamaah al Islāmiyah, namely PUPJI, and without in fact having any knowledge of PUPJI. Likewise also, not all members of the Al Jamaah al Islāmiyah organization have ever physically seen the book of PUPJI but there are those who have knowledge of its existence or have heard of it but never actually seen it.’[3]

Whilst this does not completely answer the question of why the restricted availability of PUPJI, it does signpost guidance and instruction within JI being given by those personnel that have been made privy to PUPJI. Were it to be the case that copies of PUPJI were made available to each and every member of JI, then without correct supervision all manner of individual interpretations would abound. Such a system would be no system at all other than a form of anarchy. The distribution of PUPJI is therefore a managerial strategy, one that aligns itself with Islāmic methodology (namely that command comes from above) and ‘those personnel that have been made privy’, that is those individuals who possess a reasonably high degree of Islāmic knowledge and/or knowledge of the mechanisms and objectives of JI as a whole as well as leadership skills, are tasked with disseminating the precepts contained within PUPJI towards those members of JI tasked under their care.

PUPJI describes itself as,…‘a general objective that is able to provide a systematic overview for the motivational steps of a jamāʿah that integrates careful, objective standardized principles and operational measures’. This clause of PUPJI gels with the description given by Nasir Abas, that it was ‘…conferral of a systematic illustration of the Jamaah’s steps which are cohesive between the principal values (Islām) and the undertaking of actions that are prudent, guided, and regulated’.[4] It is within this context that it acts as a ‘guide-book’ or ‘book of guidelines’ for the workings of a/the jamā‘ah – that is a group that functions within and along Islāmic principles. For these reasons one often hears it described as JI’s constitution.

JI was officially formed around January of 1993 when some members of NII (Negara Islām Indonesia – Islāmic State of Indonesia) group broke away from its leadership. The breakaway members were ‘lead’ by ‘Abdullāh Sungkar and Abū Bakar Ba’asyir. Many of the members of NII had undergone training in Afghanistan under the auspices of such individuals as Shaikh ‘Abdur-Rabb rasul Sayyaf. Whilst the members of JI were now detached from NII, they were still able to make use of whatever facilities were available for training in Afghanistan.

As a group/organization, NII possessed ‘state statutes’.[5]  This is something that is often overlooked when examining the genealogy of JI, that is it is seldom made mention of. These ‘state statutes’ had been drawn up by, amongst others, S. M. Kartosoewirjo when he proclaimed the Islāmic Nation of Indonesia (NII) in a regional area in West Java on the 7th of August 1949. According to Nasir Abas, they were in book form and known as ‘Pedoman Dharma Bhakti’ (Negara Islam Indonesia) – ‘Manual of Devotional Obligations’ (Islāmic State of Indonesia) and ‘Qanun Asasi’ (sometimes referred to as Qanun Azasi) – ‘Founding Principles’ or ‘Statutes’, ‘Constitution’).[6]

In fact, ‘Pedoman Dharma Bhakti’ was a conglomeration of a number of smaller publications. These included, ‘Qanun Azasi’, ‘UU Hukum Pidana’ (Criminal Laws), ‘Maklumat Imam’ (Edicts of the Leader), ‘Maklumat Militer’ (Military Edicts), ‘Maklumat Komandemen Tertinggi’ (High Command Edicts), ‘Statement Pemerintah’ (Government Statement), and ‘Manifesto Politik’ (Political Manifesto). It is reasonable to determine that PUPJI was in fact a revised version of those publications.

Whilst ‘Pedoman Dharma Bhakti’ was written in Indonesian, PUPJI was written in both Indonesian and Arabic, wherein the main text is Indonesian and ‘references’ being in Arabic. ‘References’ within the document are quotations from Al Qur‘ān and the aḥādīth (‘sayings’) or Sunnah (sayings, non-sayings, actions or non-actions of the Prophet Muḥammad).

I was taught in 1996/97 that the principles upheld by JI towards the individuals within the group, and as such inculcated and practiced, were in accordance with those adhered to and upheld as belonging to the ‘aqīdah (belief) of the Ahlus Sunnah wa’l Jamā‘ah minhajus-Salafuṣ-Ṣāli. The beliefs of the Ahlus Sunnah wa’l Jamā‘ah is the belief and method of that which the Messenger of Allāh came with, and how his Ṣaḥābat understood this belief and their application of this method.

Ahlus Sunnah wa’l Jamāfiah minhajus-Salafuṣ-Ṣāli is explainable as:

Those who adhere to the Sunnah [of the Prophet Muḥammad] and who are assembled together in a group and who follow the methodology and practices of the Pious Predecessors. The ‘Pious Predecessors’ are the 1st three generations of Muslims, namely:

  1. The Prophet Muḥammad and his Ṣaḥābat (companions who followed the Prophet Muḥammad in his application of the Deen (religion) of Islām);
  2. The Tābi‘īn (followers of the Ṣaḥābat);
  3. The Tābi‘at-Tābi‘īn (followers of the followers of the Ṣaḥābat)].

The basis of Ahlus Sunnah wa’l Jamā‘ah is upon such aḥādīth as:

It was narrated from ‘Awf bin Mālik that the Messenger of Allāh said: “The Jews split into seventy-one sects, one of which will be in Paradise and seventy in Hell. The Christians split into seventy-two sects, seventy-one of which will be in Hell and one in Paradise. I swear by the One in Whose Hand is the soul of Muḥammad, my nation will split into seventy-three sects, one of which will be in Paradise and seventy-two in Hell.” It was said: “O Messenger of Allāh who are they?” He said: “Al Jamā‘ah – The main body.” (Sunan Ibnu Mājah 3992).

And:

“…adhere to my sunnah and the sunnah of the rightly guided caliphs…” (Sunan At-Tirmidhī 2685).

The general principles espoused within PUPJI are influenced by the likes of such people as Muḥammad bin ‘Abdul-Wahhāb, Abū’l A‘lā Maudūdī, and Sayyid Qutb. This would also have been the case for many of the precepts contained within the ‘state statutes’ of NII. However, since PUPJI was drawn up in 1996, its precepts were also influenced by the likes of ‘Abdullāh fiAzzam, Ayman Aẓ-Ẓawāhirī, and Usāmah bin Lādin, amongst others. This influence is in no small part due to the presence of NII members under training in Afghanistan in the 80’s and 90’s wherein the ideals espoused by those latter mentioned individuals were commonplace. In effect, the creation of JI in 1993 and hence the ‘constitution’ of PUPJI in 1996 was in large part to some of the ideologues espoused by those latter mentioned individuals.

This is hinted at by Nasir Abas when he mentions that his exposure to the ideals contained within ‘Pedoman Dharma Bhakti’ was sometime around 1992 when Abū Bakar Ba’asyir visited the camp he was at ‘Camp Towrkham’ in Pakistan on the border with Afghanistan. I personally recall hearing of ‘Abdullāh Sungkar attending a meeting in Afghanistan in the mid 90’s. This meeting was called for by Usāmah bin Lādin and those who attended were leaders of various Islāmic groups throughout the world. The essence of the meeting was the creation of a global network of like-minded groups in order to counter those non-Muslim forces/powers deemed to applying aggression towards Islām. Thus, both Abū Bakar Ba’asyir and ‘Abdullāh Sungkar moved in the same circles as ‘Abdullāh fiAzzam, Ayman Aẓ-Ẓawāhirī, and Usāmah bin Lādin, for a number of years so much so, that ties of mutual cooperation existed between both JI and Al Qaidah. (In fact, this relationship of mutual cooperation between the two groups is mentioned in a personal communication between myself and Abdur-Rahim the son of Abū Bakar Ba’asyir).

All of the people named as having influenced the general principles espoused within PUPJI are generally considered within the realm of Western thought to be radical and extremist in their ideologies. Thus, as a rule, it has been concluded that since the source of the Islāmic principles inherent within PUPJI is from the aforementioned people, then the content of PUPJI is itself radical and extremist.

The generally held assessment of PUPJI therefore is that it is held to be radical and thus, in the parlance of Western thought, extreme (Unfortunately both of these terms, radical and extreme, are interchangeable within today’s English language even though the one does not necessarily equate to the other). However, be that as it may, there is no doubting the professionalism and depth inherent within PUPJI as a document. It is unfortunate that prior to this translation of PUPJI the only ‘available’ references in English (and for that matter in Indonesian) to PUPJI were that of a synopsis of PUPJI’s contents and a far from complete translation. My use of the word ‘available’ is because the original is actually nowhere to be found except in a very few hands throughout the world. Basically it is kept under wraps.

In my opinion, this is a sad state of affairs since there is actually nothing within its contents that is unheard of throughout any search within any internet browser, which is not already readily ‘available’. My main reason for ‘putting it out there’ is to remove whatever mystery appears to cloud PUPJI as a document.


[2] The copy that has been translated here is dated May 1996, which coincides with the time that I perchance saw a copy belonging to Abdur-Rahim Ayub, the Amir of JI in Australia, laying on his photo-copying machine in his Sydney apartment around 1996/97.

[4] Ibid., p. 82.

[5] Nasir Abas, Uncovering Jamafiah Islamiyah, p. 67.

[6] Ibid.


1 Comment

  1. [...] Roche, “The Indonesian Jamā’ah Islāmiyyah’s Constitution (PUPJI),” November 14, [...]

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