Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Muhammadiyah’s Acceptance of Tasawwuf and Its Impacts upon Liberalism and Modernity in Contemporary Indonesian Islam

Ahmad Najib Burhani

For a number of years, Muhammadiyah has been intimately associated with “scriptural” Muslim movement. Scripturalism is a style of religiosity based on the view that the Qur’an, the Hadith and commentaries of the classical schools of law are the only proper bases of religious authority; further, that adherence to that authority should constitute the hold of one’s religious practice. What scripturalists set themselves up against most especially, according to Geertz (1968), were “marboutism and illuminationism”, or in other words, against sufis practices aimed at direct experience of God and against popular traditions of seeking supernatural help from renown adepts, living and deceased. Geertz also depicted an opposition between scripturalists that present a legalistic style of Islamic religiosity and Sufi-inspired traditions. One of the Muhammadiyah’s jargons is its resistance to TBC (taqlid, bid’ah and churafat). It is usually judged as compulsory to fight against tasawwuf. In this discourse, tasawwuf means a behavior that is identical to shirk (belief in more than one God), worship to grave, klenik, horror, against syari’at, leaving world’s enjoyment, etc.

The perception above more increased when Muhammadiyah was considered identical to Wahabism in Arab Saudi that was strongly against tasawuf. It has been well-known that Wahabi ever condemned graves in Mecca and Medina, including the Prophet Muhammad’s grave – an attitude mostly similar to Taliban in Afghanistan. My hypothesis is as follows: Now, scripturalist Islam has been popularly associated with fundamentalism and exclusivism. In other side, sufism has historically been associated with a relatively open attitude to the culture diversity of its social environment. This association has exposed Muhammadiyah as a “modernist” --and “scripturalist”-- to charges of exclusivity, intolerance, and anti-liberalism. This article discusses the relation between scripturalism and sufism based on more sensitive explorations of the linkages between Muhammadiyah and social attitudes.

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