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).

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