Monday, April 25, 2011

Mohamadijah, TKNM, and the First Radical Movement in Solo

Below is the letter from KH Ahmad Dahlan answering the allegation of his involvement in giving protection to Djojodikoro and Martodharsono, two actors who inflamed religious conflict in Indonesia in the beginning of the 20th century.


Seperti koetipan di bawah ini:

SIPAT JANG ADIL. Kelemaren sore angkoe Hoofd Redacteur terima soerat dari Bestuur MOHAMADIJAH di Djokdja, (1) tertanggal 22-2-`18, dengan pendek member tahoe, bahwa madrasah soedah bikin vergadering, pendeknja angkoe Hoofd Redacteur dan Mas Djojodikoro djangan sampai ketjil hati, tentang hal itoe kalau ditanja orang, angkoe Hoofd Redacteur dan Mas Djojo disoeroeh bilang sadja itoe semoenja soedah moefakat dengan Padoeka Kijai Ketib Amin President Mohamadijah enz, enz, enz. (2)

Noh! Pembatja jang terhormat, toean2 tentoe ma’loem, bahwa toean Ketib Amin itoe Oelama jang sempoerna. (3) djaoeh bedanja dengan hadji Misbah, kena apa soedah kirim soerat begitoe roepa? Itoe boekti, bahwa toean Ketib Amim boekan orang jang moedah diboedjoek dan diadjak djalan fitnah. Awaslah bangsakoe sekarang banjak badjingan. (4)

Maka saudara2 Moeslimin jang terhormat, djangan sekali kali ketjil hati membatja ini kabar karena pertjaja pada apa jang terseboet di atas ini, sebab inilah semoea pembohong.

Maka saja mendjawab begini:

(1). Bestuur atau saja tiada memberasa kirim soerat kepada redactie “Djawi-Kondo.”

(2). Pada tg. 22 2-18 betoel madrasah Mohamadijah telah memboeat vergadering, akan tetapi poetoesannja berlainan sekali dengan maksoed Djawi-Kondo terseboet di atas. Poetoesan vergadering itoe jaitoe; “dengan sangat memohonkan hoekoeman pada Pemerintah Agoeng bagi kedoea doerhaka itoe.

(3). Tiada sekali kali saja pernah bermoefakat dengan Djojodikoro orang jang tiada seka… [not clear] senang, atau orang jang soedah m…[not clear] kepada Allah ta`ala dan Padoeka [not clear]…ngan kita Kangdjeng Nabi Moh…[not clear] s.a.w. Djangan saja pernah bermoefakat dengan Djojodikoro atau Martodarsono, mengira sadja pon tiada pernah, bahwa ada orang di doenia seperti Djojo dan Marto terseboet.

(4). Poedjian jang terseboet di atas ini saja terima seperti penghina kepada saja, sebab saja dipandang seperti anak ketjil jang belom dapat membedakan kebaikan dan kedjahatan.

Moedah-moedahan saudara Moeslimin tiada sekali-kali mengindahkan apa jang terseboet di dalam Djawi Kando (soerat kabar jang dipegang oleh Hoofdredacteur R. Martodharsono, jaitoe orang jang baroe djadi perkara.)

Soenggoeh saudara-saudara jang terhormat Ketib Amin tiada berobah hatinja seperti Martodarsoko dan Djojodikoro.

Salam dan hormat

dari saja,




This letter is published for the first time by Oetoesan - Hindia, No. 41, Tahoen jang ke 6. Hari Rebo, 27 Februari 1918 / 16 Djoemadilawal 1336/1848. p. 1

Monday, April 11, 2011

Muhammadiyah, Salafism, and conservatism

Quoted from: Eliraz, Giora. 2004. Islam in Indonesia: modernism, radicalism, and the Middle East dimension. Brighton: Sussex Academic Press.
This organization [Muhammadiyah] was described at the end of the 1970s as “the most powerful living reformist movement in Muslim Southeast Asia, perhaps in the entire Muslim culture” (p. 21).[1]
The Islamic modernist movement, significantly influenced by `Abduh’s heritage, made a strong, vivid impact in the Malay-Indonesian world early on. In contrast, in Egypt `Abduh’s heritage dissolved quite early on into various and contradicting conceptual trends, ideologies, and movements. Its elements were to be found almost everywhere in Egypt in the first decades of the first twentieth century, and were echoed in almost every ideological and intellectual discourse, debate, and conflict that took place at the time in Egypt. Prominent among these conflicts were those that resembled the major cultural and theological debates going on in the Malay-Indonesian would, such as modernity versus tradition, and the determination of the collective national identity. But at the same time `Abduh’s heritage, with many of its authentic characteristics, did not exist there as a solid, vivid corpus of ideas, and definitely not as a formidable organizational reality, as the Muhammadiyah organization has been in Indonesia (p. 18).
It must be noted that from a later historical perspective, beyond the boundaries of the formative period and into recent decades, Muhammadiyah, in Indonesia, is alleged to show more of a link with Rashid Rida’s salafism than with the modernist ideas of `Abduh, and has adopted a position of “neo-salafism”, including an ideological emphasis on a return to pristine Islam and strict Scripturalism (p. 20).[2]
The traditionalist NU is regarded as more liberal, tolerant, and confortable with the idea of a secular state, as well as with syncretic patterns of Islam.[3] This can be partly explained by the fact that NU’s followers are mainly from the rural areas of Java, and as much they share the Sufi tradition of tolerance, and are also influenced by Javanese Hindu-Buddhist and animist traditions to a certain degree. Muhamadiyah has become more conservative in strictly Islamic terms and there are still some people within this movement who bid for a greater role for Islam in the Indonesia polity (86).
It must be noted that it is among modernist Muslims that many of the present day Islamic radical organizations in Indonesia have their origins (p. 78).[4]

[1] Peacock, Purifying the Faith, p. 6.
[2] M. Din Syamsuddin, Religion and Politics in Islam: The Case of Muhammadiyah in Indonesia’s New Order (Ph.D. dissertation, Los Angeles: University of California, 1991), pp. 268-70, 287-8; M. Din Syamsuddin, “The Muhammadiyah Da`wah and Allocative Politics in the New Order Indonesia”, Studia Islamika, vol 2, no. 2 (1995), pp. 63-4. See also Azra, “The Transmission of al-Manar’s Reformism”, p. 97.
[3] Robert W. Hefner, “Print Islam: Mass Media and Ideological Rivalries among Indonesian Muslims”, Indonesia, 64 (October 1997), p. 86. See also van Bruinessen, “Geneologies”, pp. 123, 127.
[4][4] ICG, Indonesia: Violence and Radical Muslims, p. 11; ICG, Al-Qaeda in Southeast Asia, pp. 3-4.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Ahmad Dahlan, Muhammadiyah, and Christianity in Indonesia

Quoted from: Boland, B. J., and I. Farjon. 1983. Islam in Indonesia: a bibliographical survey, 1600-1942, with post-1945 addenda. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Foris Publications Holland.
“The Reverend D. Bakker arrived in Central Java in 1900 and was a lecturer at the theological college in Yogyakarta from 1906… After an initial brief communication on Muhammadiyah in 1915 a more important article was published by him in 1922. In it he mentions the possibility of friendly relations between Christians and members of Muhammadiyah, in particular Ahmad Dahlan, the founder of Muhammadiyah. He further plead for the serious study of Islam within the missions, stating that, while Islam may have a great many prejudices against Christianity, ‘we for our part are not always fair towards Mohammedanism’, so that ‘a sound knowledge of Islam’ is required (p. 262)” (pp. 43-4).
F.L. Bakker, D. Bakker’s son, also wrote about Muhammadiyah: “In 1925 he confirmed his father’s report (D. Bakker 1922) that Muhammadiyah had been not unsympathetic towards Christianity and Christians until the death of Dahlan in 1923, when the situation had changed under the influence of H. Fachruddin, who placed a stronger emphasis on the renewal and strengthening of Islam in Java vis-à-vis Christianity” (44).
Of the third generation of Yogyakarta Bakkers, there was a younger D Bakker attached to the Theological College in Yogya as a lecturer in the 1950s…For there was yet another Bakker living in Yogya at the same time, who should not be confused with the above three, namely Father J.W.M. Bakker SJ, the current Jesuit authority on Indonesian Islamic affairs (p. 45).
Quite different were the personality and work of H(endrik) Kraemer (ae as a in English ‘came’)… He had by that time become Professor of the History of Religions with the theological faculty at Leiden and come to be considered as an expert on Islam (though he is not to be confused with J.H. Kramers –a as a in English ‘arms’--, who was Professor of Arabic and Islam at the University of Leiden at the same time, and who provided a new Dutch translation of the Koran)… his article ‘Culture, Politics and Religion’ (1935b), in which he remarks with reference to Muhammadiyah, in the footsteps of D. and F.L. Bakker, that the broad-mindedness of Dahlan gave way after the latter’s death to an aggressive rejection of the West and Christianity (pp. 45-6).

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Muhammadiyah, Kraton Yogyakarta, Garebeg Mulud, and Sekaten

Quoted from: Woodward, Mark R. 2011. Java, Indonesia and Islam. Dordrecht: Springer.

Yogya nationalism transcends religion. Even Christians and many members of the modernist Islamic organization Muhammadiyah, which has strong fundamentalist tendencies, are devoted subjects.30 So much so that Muhammadiyah members from other parts of Indonesia often say things like: “Muhammadiyah can never really be Muhammadiyah until it stops being part of Yogyakarta” (p. 11).

Muhammadiyah tolerates the Yogyakarta Malud and justifies it continued performance by defining it as kebudayaan instead of agama. An elderly Muhammadiyah woman who ran a food stand at the 2009 Malud explained that: “Agama descends from God, and so of course we can not change it. But this is kebudayaan and it is not perfect like Islam and we change it every year to make it better”... In Yogyakarta it is impossible for Muhammadiyah to condemn the Malud, because the Grand Mosque of the Sultanate is also the “Mother Mosque” of Muhammadiyah. In 2009, Dr. Din Syamsul Din, the General Chairman of Muhammadiyah and other of the organizations’ leaders, endorsed it as a means of uniting the Indonesian Muslim community and as an opportunity for Muhammadiyah Muslims to demonstrate their love and respect for the Prophet Muhammad (p. 170-1).

Perhaps the most significant change is that the slametan for nobles and officials has been moved from the mosque to the palace. It is now held on the day of the Garebeg after the distribution of the gunungan. A high ranking official explained that this change was necessary because the Penghulu does not approve of slametan and would be unhappy if pusaka to be brought into the mosque because he is a Muhammadiyah member, He continued that the purpose of the Sultan’s visit to the mosque was to honor the Prophet, the Penghulu and the santri community and that the ritual must, therefore, fit with the spirit of the times. This theme was echoed in a sermon delivered at Sekaten in 1979. The speaker was a prominent Muhammadiyah theologian. He explained that gamelan, the Javanese shadow theater, and the Garebeg Malud are permissible because they are expressions of Javanese culture (kebudayaan) and that they heighten awareness of an important Muslim holiday, but that unspecified non-Islamic customs should be eliminated. The speaker took great pains to emphasize both the purity of the reformist community and the religious acceptability of customs many consider to be bid’ah (p. 189).

Muhammadiyah interpretations of the changes vary but fall into two basic categories. Some see them as signs that the Sultan supports the movement. Others see them as an attempt to circumvent the reformist program by employing a simpler, though still unacceptable, Javanese ritual performance. Despite these uncertainties, Muhammadiyah have attached indexical symbols of its own to the Sekaten fair. Qur’an recitations and sermons are broadcast over loudspeakers. There are also banners and information booths describing the social, educational, and religious programs of Muhammadiyah and other Muslim organizations (p. 189-90).

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Muhammadiyah and Fatwā on the Indonesian Communist Party

Quoted from: Boland, B. J. 1971. The struggle of Islam in modern Indonesia. The Hague: Nijhoff. Pp. 145-146.
“An influential Muslim told me that in Java (perhaps in Central Java) a fatwā of the Muhammadiyah chairman had been a great significance in the extermination of the “Gestapu/P.K.I.”, because in this fatwā it was stated that their destruction ought to be considered a religious duty. The informant was probably referring to the statement issued at an emergency meeting of the Muhammadijah held on November 9th- 11th, 1965, in Djakarta.[17]
From this period, there are more statements known, made by Muslim leaders who declared this conflict to be a “Holy War”. This Muhammadijah statement, however, can be taken as an authoritative example.”
Under the heading Ibadah dan Djihad (Religious Duty and the Holy War), this statement explains that the action on September 30th, 1965, is to be regarded as an extension of the Madiun Communist rising of 1948. Officers such as Untung, Latif, Supardjo, Bambang Supeno and others are said to have been involved in the Madiun Affair. Therefore this time a decisive follow-up ought to be carried through in order to prevent a third Communist attempt at a coup in the future. The statement continues as follows:
“Therefore it was right for the Muhammadiyah, together with [the leaders of] its youth movement, during an emergency meeting in Djakarta, November 9th-11th, 1965, trusting in God (tawakkal), to make this pronouncement: THE EXTERMINATION OF THE GESTAPU/PKI AND THE NEKOLIM IS A RELIGIOUS DUTY.[18] … This religious duty is not (only) recommended (sunnat) but obligatory (wadjib), even an individual obligation” (wadjib `ain…) … “And because this action and this struggle must be carried out by consolidating all our strength –mental, physical and material—therefore this action and this struggle are nothing less than a HOLY WAR (DJIHAD). This Holy War, according to religious law, is not (only) recommended, but obligatory, even an individual obligation…” Finally it is stated –in accordance with Islamic law—that when carrying out this djihad “destructive excesses, defamation, revenge, etc. must be prevented”.
It is not explicitly stated what interpretation the (modern) Muhammadijah at that moment gave to the term djihad. But the conclusion drawn by the average Muslim as well as his enemy can easily be guessed. It is, however, hard to assess to what extent this fatwā had a result similar to that which earlier “djihad resolution” had on events in Surabaja in November 1945.

[17] Published in Suara Muhammadiyah, no. 9, November 1965.
[18] “NEKOLIM” is a SOekarno abbreviation for “neo-colonialist imperialists”; they, too, were not forgotten in this statement!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Contesting models of Islamic governance in Malaysia and Indonesia

Stark, Jan. 2004. "Contesting models of Islamic governance in Malaysia and Indonesia". Global Change, Peace & Security. 16 (2): 115-131.


This article suggests that there is much to be learnt from studying Islam in Malaysia and Indonesia comparatively to trace their emerging similarities. Various models of an Islamic state, be it by directly involving the shariah as the only source of reference, as it is proposed Parti Islam SeMalaysia (PAS), or by gradually Islamizing the society (shariah haraki), a model that has been applied with considerable success by both ABIM and the Mahathir administration and receives backing from Islamic mass organizations such as the NU and Muhammadiyah. This suggests that there is a gradual transformation of the Wahhabi-inspired dakwah-Islam of the late 1970s into new discourses of Islamic civil society undertaken by the emerging middle classes of both countries. However, Wahhabi-Islam is nevertheless still important and its impact on the future shape of political Islam in the region cannot be underestimated, especially since dakwah-organizations link up internationally and continue to be generously sponsored by Saudi Arabia.

It is neither the clash of Islam and ethnicity in multi-cultural Malaysia nor the 'thin veneer' of Indonesian Islam limited to the sphere of cultural anthropology that is able to explain the growing interdependence of the emerging main discourses on Islam in the region. What this article has tried to show is that these discourses center on a number of themes that are remarkably similar in Indonesia and Malaysia. One is the discussion on the various models of an Islamic state, be it by directly involving the shariah as the only source of reference, as proposed by Parti Islam SeMalaysia (PAS), or by gradually Islamizing the society (shariah haraki), a model that has been applied with considerable success by both ABIM and the Mahathir administration, and also receives increasing backing from Islamic mass organizations such as the NU and Muhammadiyah. The ideological proximity between former ABIM president Anwar Ibrahim and Amien Rais of the Muhammadiyah over this issue has signaled the gradual transformation of the Wahhabi-inspired dakwah-Islam of the late 1970s into new discourses of Islamic civil society undertaken by the emerging middle classes of both countries.
Wahhabi-Islam is nevertheless still gaining ground in both countries, its impact on the future shape of political Islam in the region cannot be underestimated, especially since dakwah-organizations link up internationally and continue to be generously sponsored by Saudi Arabia: as such, groups fostering Islamic welfare and missionary work have played an increasingly political role in the propagation of fundamentalist Islam, such as the Malaysia Perkim, which considerably changed its orientation during recent years.
The emerging radicalism at the fringes of Southeast Asian societies is also a phenomenon that countries all over the region are facing, being partly motivated by the inabilities of central governments to offer conclusive models of economic development and political participation. On the other hand, Southeast Asia is increasingly drawn into the conflicts arising from globalized economies, political and strategic interests and the networks of Islamic militancy over the last decade. Looking at Southeast Asian political Islam from a more regional perspective might thus become even more necessary in the near future.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Crafting a New Democracy: Civic education in Indonesian Islamic universities

Jackson, Elisabeth. 2007. "Crafting a New Democracy: Civic education in Indonesian Islamic universities". Asia Pacific Journal of Education. 27 (1): 41-54.

Author: Elisabeth Jacksona
DOI: 10.1080/02188790601142892
Affiliation: a The Asia Foundation, Jakarta, Indonesia


Indonesia's post-1998 transition to democracy has presented Muslim educators with the opportunity to take part in shaping the future of Indonesian democracy in ways that are consistent with Muslim social, political, and educational aspirations. One of the key vehicles for doing so is civic education. For Muslim educators in the Islamic higher education sector, the challenge has been to develop a civic education curriculum which can educate the young generation about democratic citizenship while incorporating the values and perspectives of Islam on civil society, democracy, and human rights. This paper examines civic education initiatives in two Islamic university systems, suggesting that the development of the new curriculum reveals clear differences in perceptions about civil society and the state within the institutions which make up these two systems. This is reflected by the extent to which Islamic concepts of the state and citizenship are integrated with Western thought and practice on civil society and democratic pluralism in the civic education curriculum and in teaching practice. The success of the Indonesian experience, the paper concludes, provides an example of how Western and Islamic concepts and values can be successfully combined in the teaching of civic education.

This paper has provided an account of the development of a new civic education curriculum in Muslim institutions of higher education in the context of Indonesia's post-1998 transition to democracy. Within the plural environment of Indonesian Islam, the integration of Islamic concepts of citizenship with Western notions of democracy within this new civic education curriculum has not given rise to significant conflict among Muslim educators. Rather, with few exceptions, the curriculum has been welcomed by university administrators, teaching staff, and students alike. The introduction of participatory and student-centred teaching methodologies—a significant departure from the teacher-centred teaching methodologies which prevail in Indonesia's rural Islamic boarding schools (pesantren) and which characterised the teaching of civic education from the 1970s onwards—has also been received positively by both students and teaching staff.
What lessons can this experience offer for the development of civic education in other Muslim-majority nations? Firstly, the approach taken in the development of both civic education programs—whether in the texts produced for students or in actual classroom teaching—was an integrated one, in which principles of democracy, human rights, and civil society were represented as fundamentally compatible with the values of Islam. Secondly, the process of developing the new curriculum was itself a democratic one, in which all relevant stakeholders—university leaders, lecturers, and students—were actively involved at all stages. This approach helped to identify practical obstacles to the implementation of the curriculum as well as areas of conflict over curriculum content and approach early in the process.
Indonesia's experience of civic education curriculum innovation took place in an environment of increasing decentralisation and devolution of educational authority that was an integral part of the post-1998 transition to a more open and democratic political culture. This provided Indonesian Islamic higher education institutions with the autonomy to determine curriculum content. However, the implementation of the new curriculum in both the state Islamic university system and the Muhammadiyah university system, and its application in all institutions within these two systems, was a relatively centralised process, in which curriculum development took place and key decisions were made by two of the most influential universities within these university systems. The decentralisation of authority for education is not unproblematic. In some regions of Indonesia, decentralisation has enabled local conservatives to seek to limit public freedoms. Such efforts have important implications for educational independence, including freedom from political intervention in determining curricula. These developments underline the importance of a robust civic education curriculum in Islamic universities, which will produce citizens who are able to articulate their rights and interests and openly express their concerns regarding political freedoms.