Hundreds of Aceh Manuscripts were conserved by the Team of Manuscript Preservation for the National Library of Indonesia

 150 Manuskrip Kuno Aceh Dikonservasi Perpusnas RI

Banda Aceh - As many as 150 Aceh manuscripts belonging to Aceh manuscript collector, Tarmizi Abdul Hamid, were conserved by the Team of Manuscript Preservation for the National Library of Indonesia. The activity lasted for four days, from 22 to 24 March 2021 at the residence of Tarmizi, Rumoh Manuscript Aceh (House of Aceh Manuscript), Jln Seroja No.8A, Ie Masen Kayee Adang, Banda Aceh City, Indonesia.

One of the team of expert librarians and preservation of ancient manuscripts of the National Library of Indonesia, Leni Sudiarti, explained, National Library has a responsibility to preserve manuscripts in the archipelago (Nusantara), especially original manuscripts.

According to Leni, many manuscripts in the archipelago have their authenticity, especially Aceh. For this reason, his team carried out a manuscript mapping program of the Archipelago. Mapping will be carried out first for the manuscript to be revised. One of the ones that have been recorded in the Nusantara manuscript map is the House of Aceh Manuscript owned by Tarmizi Abdul Hamid.

"So this year we are entrusted with conservation in the House of Aceh Manuscript (Rumoh Manuskrip Aceh)," he said.

The process of manuscript repair activities carried out, said Leni, includes physical repair of the manuscript by cleaning all the manuscript sheets, spraying them with anti-fungal and stain materials, then drying them, then patching them because they have suffered severe damage. Then proceed to the binding process and put it in the cover box according to the size of the script itself, where the cover box has been given a cover using various special materials which are all imported from abroad.

Based on the damage found, Leni revealed that the ancient manuscripts belonging to the Tarmizi were damaged with holes or torn due to being swallowed up by hundreds of years of age and also caused by fungi.

"From the damage we saw, we decided to carry out physical repairs, some were patched, bound again until a storage box was made," he said.

From The Greatness Era of Aceh Darussalam Sultanate

Tarmizi Abdul Hamid, explained that preservation of manuscripts like this is very important to do so that the works of cross-era ulama pen strokes remain intact throughout the ages. What is meant by inter-epochal scholars, is that even though the ancestors of the Acehnese were summoned by Allah 400 years ago, their monumental and masterpieces still soar throughout the archipelago and even the world. The name and work of this Acehnese Islamic intellectual has always been a scientific reference that has been scribbled on papers specially ordered from European soil during the greatness era of the Aceh Darussalam Sultanate.

"That is the reason I gave the motto of this Aceh Manuscript as a lamp that never goes out," he said.

Therefore, Tarmizi continued, he was called by his soul to save this very noble treasure from a sense of responsibility as a son of Aceh to provide authentic evidence to anyone that Aceh is a country under the wind that has a status as a very highly civilized area. Even though Tarmizi is scientifically different from what he is doing today, because Midi check is only a graduate of a bachelor's degree in agricultural science agribusiness, it cannot be denied that this history and civilization are the responsibility of all parties regardless of their background and work profession.

Tarmizi said that one of the reasons and the apparent intention to save Acehnese ancient manuscripts was important to do, when he discovered that many of these scientific treasures were stored in famous museums and libraries abroad. The works of Acehnese manuscripts are stored in this place with very tight security, that is the way foreigners appreciate a work that has become a historical artifact even though it is not a great-grandmother or an indent.

"I found many manuscripts or ancient manuscripts that came from Aceh and many were written from our previous scholars (Ulama)," he said.

He also said that he had been collecting Aceh manuscripts since 1995, but in 2004 several manuscripts were lost due to natural disasters, namely the tsunami. But this disaster did not decrease his intention to collect and maintain ancient Aceh manuscripts until now. His manuscripts have been placed in exhibitions of the Islamic Malay world, including Brunei Darussalam.

Most of the manuscripts he got came from Aceh Besar, because Aceh Besar was the host of the Aceh Darussalam kingdom, and many previous people kept manuscripts in homes in an unguarded state and neglected. Then there are those who are brought home from abroad, and gifts from Acehnese people who live outside Aceh alone.

"So we collect and clean this manuscript again so that it becomes knowledge for our grandchildren later," he said.

Hundreds of manuscripts collected by Check Midi for restoration are in the form of Quran manuscripts, tafsir, fiqh, Sufism, astronomy, worship, prayers, poetry, nazam and past medical techniques, all of which are encapsulated in the treasury of science.

"Until now, the manuscripts we have collected are still the same as in the past, around hundreds, there are no additional collections.

Meanwhile, Syukri Rizki, an Aceh philologist, said that the preservation or conservation of manuscripts abroad starts with the collection, namely by buying them or with a grant and paying for a copyist. The manuscripts that have been obtained are then stored in a safe place, the quality of the temperature and humidity is well maintained, the storage place is free from termites and insects.

The method of studying the manuscript itself, said Syukri, first carried out a very detailed inventory, then cataloged it such as a brief description of the physical and content contained in the manuscript, then this catalog is the main reference for those who want to find a specific manuscript based on the code.

"The European manuscript nurses have very sophisticated and complete facilities in terms of guarding and qualified human resources in their fields. They have many professors, experts and then provide scholarships to the Southeast Asian world, for example to conduct research to access manuscripts that have not been edited, read or the count is still new, "said Syukri who is also a graduate of Goethe University Frankfurt, Germany.

Syukri continued, when compared to Indonesia, many abandoned manuscripts were only collected because they appreciated the manuscripts as an inheritance without wanting to know their content, so what happened was that they were not stored in a proper place, exposed to rain, dew, moisture that causes the quality of the paper to be damaged and makes the ink fluorescent or unsuitable to read again.

"We are still lacking in physical safeguards and content review, while their western campuses and research centers have prepared everything, be it physical facilities, safeguards, budget funds to collect it to the reviewers," said Syukri.

Aceh should have a Manuscript Museum

According to Teuku Farhan as a history and culture enthusiast for Aceh and Turkey, until now Aceh does not have yet a manuscript museum. This is very unfortunate because Aceh has the most complete manuscript collection and the most beautiful tombstone in Southeast Asia. Even the records of the Sultan of Aceh's Letter to the Ottoman Sultan until now can be seen the original manuscript even though it exists outside Aceh. "Aceh should have a manuscript museum, so Aceh can become (again) as a reference center for Islamic scientific studies in Southeast Asia if history and scientific civilization are threatened with extinction," said Farhan.

During the Preservation of the Aceh Manuscript, several government agencies and stakeholders were present who also visited the manuscript conservation process from both the city and provincial levels, including the Chairperson of the Banda Aceh Senator, the Government of Aceh for Library and Education Service, History activists, NGOs, students and the community as well as journalists, local and national.

At the end of the activity session, Tarmizi expressed his deepest gratitude and appreciation to the team who had worked hard to achieve the target of caring for and preserving his manuscripts while maintaining literacy for the use of the archipelago's science, especially Aceh.

"Once again I thank you for the sincerity of the team from the National Library of Indonesia for ancient manuscript preservation center," he said.

"Only Allah can reward him accordingly. The team has completed the preservation of the manuscripts in the Aceh Manuscript Formula for several days, so that they will receive the grace of Allah. Hopefully this activity does not end here but can meet again in the next activities," he said.