Wali Sanga

Indonesia is fast becoming recognized as an exciting country to visit. Of course, many of the nation's attractions are already world famous and some, like Java's Temple of Borobudur, Sumatra's Lake Toba and the Island of Bali have for years been compelling destinations. More recently, the Province of East Java has begun to reveal a wealth of cultural and natural resources, among them the spectacular volcanic regions of Mt Bromo and Kawah Ijen, the rugged southern coastline and, in the field of history, the rich cultural heritage to be wit nessed at sites such as Trowulan, ancient capital of the Hindu kingdom of Majapahit. 
The purpose of this blog is to expose yet another of Indonesia's hidden treasures; the as yet little known area of Java's north coast, in particular the legacy left to us by the island's first Muslim missionaries, who have come to be known as the Wali Songo, or 'Nine Saints of Islam'. According to tradition, there were nine outstanding figures who together were largely responsible for the dissemination of the Islamic faith. Known as the Wali Songo, they are recognized today as having been especially influential in the transformation of Javanese religion and culture.
The Wali Sanga (also transcribed as Wali Songo) are revered saints of Islam in Indonesia, especially on the island of Java, because of their historic role in the Spread of Islam in Indonesia. The word wali is Arabic for "trusted one" ("guardian" in other contexts in Indonesia) or "friend of God" ("saint" in this context), while the word songo is Javanese for the number nine. Thus, the term is often translated as "9 saints".

Each man is often attributed the title sunan in Javanese, which may derive from suhun, in this context meaning "honoured"
Most of the wali were also called raden during their lifetimes, because they were members of royal houses. (See "Style and Title" section of Yogyakarta Sultanate for an explanation of Javanese nobility terms.)

The graves of Wali Sanga are venerated as locations of ziarah (ziyarat) or local pilgrimage in Java. The graves are also known as pundhen in Javanese.


Maulana Malik Ibrahim
Sunan Ampel (Raden Rachmat)
Sunan Giri (Raden Paku)
Sunan Bonang (Raden Machdum Ibrahim)
Sunan Drajat (Raden Qosim)
Sunan Kudus (Ja'far Shodiq)
Sunan Kalijaga (Raden Mas Said)
Sunan Muria (Raden Umar Said)
Sunan Gunung Jati (Syarif Hidayatullah)
Gapura Wetan, Gresik
Ampeldenta, Surabaya
Giri, Gresik
Paciran, Lamongan
Kadilangu, Demak
Colo, Mt. Muria
Mt. Sembung, Cirebon

  1. Maulana Malik Ibrahim also called Sunan Gresik: Arrived on Java 1404 CE, died in 1419 CE, buried in Gresik, East Java. Activities included commerce, healing, and improvement of agricultural techniques. Father of Sunan Ampel and uncle of Sunan Giri.
  2. Sunan Ampel: Born in Champa in 1401 CE, died in 1481 CE in Demak, Central Java. Can be considered a focal point of the wali songo: he was the son of Sunan Gresik and the father of Sunan Bonang and Sunan Dradjat. Sunan Ampel was also the cousin and father-in-law of Sunan Giri. In addition, Sunan Ampel was the grandfather of Sunan Kudus. Sunan Bonang in turn taught Sunan Kalijaga, who was the father of Sunan Muria. Sunan Ampel was also the teacher of Raden Patah.
  3. Sunan Giri: Born in Blambangan (now Banyuwangi, the easternmost part of Java) in 1442 CE. His father Maulana Ishak was the brother of Maulana Malik Ibrahim. Sunan Giri's grave is in Gresik near Surabaya.
  4. Sunan Bonang: Born in 1465 CE in Rembang (near Tuban) on the north coast of Central Java. Died in 1525 CE. Brother of Sunan Drajat. Composed songs for gamelan orchestra.
  5. Sunan Drajat: Born in 1470 CE. Brother of Sunan Bonang. Composed songs for gamelan orchestra.
  6. Sunan Kudus: Died 1550 CE, buried in Kudus. Possible originator of wayang golek puppetry.
  7. Sunan Kalijaga: Buried in Kadilangu. Used wayang kulit shadow puppets and gamelan music to convey spiritual teachings.
  8. Sunan Muria: Buried in Gunung Muria, Kudus. Son of Sunan Kalijaga and Dewi Soejinah (sister of Sunan Giri), thus grandson of Maulana Ishak.
  9. Sunan Gunung Jati: Buried in Cirebon. Founder and first ruler of the Banten Sultanate.
Additional Wali sanga  :
  • Sunan Ngampel-Denta - (mentioned in the Babad Tanah Jawi)
  • Sunan Sitijenar - (mentioned in the Babad Tanah Jawi)
  • Sunan Walilanang - (mentioned in the Babad Tanah Jawi)
  • Sunan Bayat (mentioned in Babad Tanah Jawi)
  • Sunan Ngudung (son-in-law of Sunan Ampel and father of Sunan Kudus)


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