islam referances

Islam and TTS, what’s wrong?

Islam and TTS, what’s wrong?

Islam and TTS, what’s wrong?

My initial encounter with Crosswords (TTS) was a truly unique experience. It all began during my time at a boarding school in high school. Whenever I returned home from boarding school, I would always make it a point to visit the local market and browse through the books available. Apart from regular books, the seller also had a collection of TTS books, mostly featuring women.

Back then, I didn’t particularly enjoy TTS that much. However, ever since I gained access to TTS through one of the local mass media platforms, I have developed a deep appreciation for it. For me, TTS offers the opportunity to explore a diverse range of vocabulary and delve into the richness of the Indonesian language.

Recently, I received a photo from a renowned writer that showcased a page from a 1979 edition of Tempo magazine. What caught my interest was the significant number of words related to Islam on that page. Seeing Islam featured in Tempo magazine, which was a popular mass media outlet at the time, was indeed noteworthy. Upon delving deeper into the topic, I discovered numerous unique stories associated with TTS, dating back to its inception by Arthur Wynne.

To me, TTS goes beyond being just a “brain sport.” It serves as a “small” historical record that often goes unnoticed or unacknowledged. The language embedded within TTS, unbeknownst to many, documents fragments of our life stories, including our religious affiliation.


The presence of TTS and its portrayal of Islam in Tempo magazine serves as a reminder that language cannot be divorced from human history, including that of Muslims. Some of the words associated with Islamic religious teachings in Tempo’s TTS magazine may seem unfamiliar to today’s Muslim community.

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Before delving further, let us examine how the vocabulary used in present-day Muslim societies can vary widely. Conversations within different circles of Muslims may consist of distinct terminologies, influenced not only by language and cultural differences but also by ideologies, individual experiences, as well as advancements in technology and modernization.

A prime example is the word “study.” It appears that rural communities or traditionalist Muslim groups are less likely to utilize this term, especially when it pertains to Islam. Conversely, among urban Muslims and the Hijrah movement, this word holds considerable popularity.

“Research” represents a delivery model of knowledge prevalent in urban Muslim communities. It emphasizes rationality and embodies modern narratives, relating to contemporary urban life in various contexts. The study is perceived as a progressive replacement for outdated and ineffective models.

Hence, every era and Islamic society may have its distinct keywords or vocabulary. Words may come and go, parallel to the development of Islamic society. The presence of such vocabulary acts as markers of their respective eras, be it loanwords from other languages or indicators of prevailing ideologies, thereby enshrined in words that surface, circulate, are discussed, and utilized.


A crossword puzzle featured in Tempo magazine in 1979 presented the words “Rejecting God.” The answer in the TTS was “Kafir.” This word holds a certain uniqueness. Today, it can indeed pose problems as it has acquired a negative connotation, becoming a tool for verbal attacks and bullying against non-Muslims. However, in 1979, it lacked the same negative undertones and remained more neutral.

Kompas, for instance, as a prominent media outlet that regularly includes TTS in its printed pages, also records the historical transformations that have transpired. In the TTS collection books frequently published by Kompas, the editor had to substitute questions in TTS that had previously appeared in the newspaper. For example, the former Chelsea team coach was replaced by a renowned soccer coach known as “The Special One.”

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These changes vividly illustrate the intertwined relationship between TTS and the history of human existence. Islam, being one of the largest religions globally, is not exempt from this phenomenon. By studying the language documented in TTS, we can gain valuable insights into the practice of Islam, particularly through linguistic expressions.

Moreover, the words recorded in TTS back in 1979 also exemplify how Islam and various other values or beliefs can coexist harmoniously. Terms like “Goddess of Love” and “Date,” which stem from different realms of memory and imagery, can coexist within the world of TTS. This is reflective of our shared human experience and collective knowledge gained from diverse cultures, religions, and rich historical backgrounds, which in turn, contribute to the development of well-rounded individuals.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ):

Q: What is TTS?
A: TTS stands for “Teka-Teki Silang” in Indonesian, which translates to “Crossword” in English. It is a popular word puzzle game that involves filling in words based on given clues, with intersecting letters.

Q: How does TTS contribute to understanding Islam?
A: TTS serves as a lens through which we can observe the language and vocabulary associated with Islam in different periods. By studying the words used in TTS, we can gain insights into how Islam is practiced and the changes that have occurred over time. It offers a unique perspective on the relationship between the language, history, and culture of Muslims.

Q: Why do certain words in TTS have different meanings over time?
A: Language is fluid and evolves with societal changes. The meaning of words can shift based on the socio-cultural context and prevailing ideologies. Thus, it is not uncommon for words to acquire different connotations or implications as time progresses.

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Q: What can we learn from the changes in TTS questions over the years?
A: The modifications and substitutions made to TTS questions reflect the evolving nature of our society, including shifts in popular culture, historical events, and individuals’ interests. These changes can provide valuable insights into the broader transformations that have taken place within the community.

Q: How does TTS showcase the coexistence of diverse values and beliefs?
A: TTS puzzles often include words and concepts from various traditions, cultures, and religions. It demonstrates how different values and beliefs can exist side by side within the puzzle, highlighting the potential for mutual understanding and acceptance. This diversity serves as a testament to the richness of our shared human experience.


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