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NUSANTARA UNDER THE RISING SUN: Japanese Rule in Indonesia, 1942-45

Hizbullah

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On early September 1943, after forming the PETA, 'Saiko Sikikan' (supreme commander) in Java proclaimed about Japanese intention to form a special reinforcement unit that consisted from 400,000 Muslim youths. This Japanese plan got a warmth response from Masjumi. Thus, on December 15, 1944, Japanese proclaimed the formation of ‘Hizbullah’ (‘Kaikyo Seinen Teishintai’, or God Army). According the plan, the ‘Hizbullah’ would become a replacement for PETA.

‘Hizbullah’ recruits came from ‘santri’ (religious student) youths who physically fit. Theirs age between 17 – 25 years. ‘Hizbullah’ training centre located in Cibarusa village in West Java. During the training, the volunteers, who came from ‘pesantren’ and ‘madrassah’ (Islamic religious schools), got spiritual education from kyais and ulemas (Islamic religious teachers). They got theirs military instructions from Japanese and PETA officers.

In first fourth months since the start of recruitment, ‘Hizbullah’ already exist in almost every place in Java and Madura. The unit also formed in Sumatra and Borneo, although didn’t extensively spread like in Java and Madura.

‘Hizbullah’ headquarter located in Jakarta. Its supreme commander was K.H. Masykur, while its military leader was Zainul Arifin. The other leaders came from Muslim organizations, like Muhamaddiyah, Nahdlatul Ulama, Partai Syarikat Islam Indonesia, etc. Until the collapse of Japan, ‘Hizbullah’ have 50,000 members.