Saturday, January 2, 2010

In Defence of Pure Islam: The Conservative-Progressive Debate within Muhammadiyah


In Defence of Pure Islam: The Conservative-Progressive Debate within Muhammadiyah

This research is about the contestation between conservative and progressive groups within Muhammadiyah. Although the organisation has long been known for its promotion of ‘rational’, open and contextual understandings of Islam, during the past decade, it has been seen as becoming more conservative. This growing conservatism has galvanised progressive-minded Muhammadiyah members to push more boldly for the adoption of new and innovative Islamic thought. Institutionally, the Majlis Tarjih (the Tarjih Council) led the campaign for a new orientation, particularly to solving legal problems. Part of the Majlis Tarjih’s new stance involved heavily revising Islamic legal and philosophical methodologies as a reaction to conservatism. In addition, a number of ‘non-structural’ progressive groups emerged within Muhammadiyah, the best of known of which is JIMM. Interestingly, the promotion of progressive Islamic thought prompted a conservative backlash, pushing Muhammadiyah even further to the right. Consequently, there has been increasing doctrinal tension between the two groups.

This thesis describes and analyses the conservative and progressive views on two key issues: religious pluralism; and approaches to disseminating new Islamic thought (manhaj tarjih). It reveals how both groups show significant and growing differences in responding to these issues. Historically, the emergence of conservative group is influenced by three factors: politics, ideology, and education. In contrast, the rise of progressive groups was motivated by two main factors: Muhammadiyah’s increasing conservatism and the perceived intellectual stagnation within the organization. Furthermore, the conservative and progressive contestation has moved from having an open doctrinal and intellectual character to being increasingly hegemonic on the part of anti-liberal forces and punitive for progressive activists. Hence, progressives find themselves marginalised within and repressed by the organisation’s conservative-dominated power structures. In terms of popular support, conservatives have a greater ability to attract a wider Muhammadiyah audience compared to the progressives. Conversely, progressives lack a popular basis and this has made them vulnerable within the organisation.

This thesis has been published with a new title: The defenders of puritan Islam: the conservative-progressive debate within a modern Indonesian Islam (2011).

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About the Author

Pradana Boy ZTF. Holder of MA in Asian Studies from the Australian National University (ANU), Canberra. He teaches at University of Muhammadiyah in Malang, Indonesia. He has published several works on Islamic thought. In addition to lecturing, he also runs the Center for Religious and Social Studies (RESIST) in Malang, Indonesia.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 140 pages
  • Publisher: LAP LAMBERT Academic Publishing (April 22, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 3844333606
  • ISBN-13: 978-3844333602
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