Saturday, January 7, 2012

HAMKA, the Japanese occupation and fight against the Dutch in Qur'an 2:243

By Karel A. Steenbrink, November 22, 2011

In June this year I published a book together with Gé Speelman, a colleague at the Kampen School of Theology. In the academic year 209-2010 I gave a course on intercultural theology in Kampen (replacement for Volker Kuester). Speelman suggested that we write a book on reasfing the Qur'an. She wrote the introduction, while I contributed a commentary on sura 2, Al Baqara, under the titel Een Kleine Koran (a Little Qur'an). I had given courses for HOVO, lectures for retired or 'senior' people. This autumn I resumed these courses in Tilburg and Doetinchem.
While working on the last section I read different interpretation of Qur'an 2:243:
Are you not aware of those who forsook their homeland in their thousands for fear of death, whereupon God said to them: 'Die' and later brought them back to life?
Who are these people? Paret here follows the 'Jewish' interpretation of Speyer and sees a reference to Ezechiel 37 in reference to the Jews who went in exile around 550 BCE.
Muhammad Asad follows here Abduh who rejects any effort to identify the historicity of the people: 'the commentators are most contradictory'.  Sayyid Qutb referes to his earlier references of the Children of Israel and has a vague indication that 'some Muslim generations will be going through situations similar to those experienced by the Israelites'. Was he referring to the Meccans who he to flee to Medina? There is no outspoken reference to Palestians here, although I expected this to find here.

A quite different interpretation is given by HAMKA in his Tafsir al Azhar.
My translation follows here:
We have experienced the time of change, especially the trabsition of the fall of the government of the Dutch-Indies and the arrival of the Japanese army can be read here in this verse. We have seen ourselves, at the time of the fall of Singapore, that the spirit of the Dutch army collapsed and the Dutch who were always so arrogant in our country of Indonesia and who considered themselves as the owners of the land and who hated to true owners of this cuntry, lost their confidence and they delivered their arms without defending themselves. At the moment thousands of people fled their houses and villages and in rows they fled for fear of death. First of all it were the Dutch citizens and the army of the Dutch Indies, but also the original population followed for fear of death. They came out of their houses, not to fight and defend themselves, but fled to save their lives. At that time we heard for the first time the word evacuation, a word that we write as epakuasi in the meaning of flee or run away! [...] The Japanese army entered and the Dutch flag was no longer hoisted, because their power had gone, and instead the Japanese flag was hoisted. The Dutch Governor General was no longer in his palace bu in prison. No power was given to Saiko Sikikan, the highest Japanese authority .. We introduce here this comparison, because many of our readers experienced this period and are themselves witness of it. So, they can easier understand out interpretation of this verse.
The Dutch government collapsed after it was allowed to live by God during 350 years. After the death of the governments of the Indonesian tribes there was the rise of the Dutch power. 
In this style HAMKA continues his interpretationfrom page 338 until343! During a long period the Indonesian kingdoms or sultanates were dead, only living somewhat in the memory of the people (namun mereka terus hidup dalam kenangan). After the fall of the Japanese, the Dutch tried to return, but then there was a Holy War, Sabilillah and it was a personal duty for all Indonesians to join fughting the Dutch , Maka sepakat ahli Fiqhi menyatakan bahwa apabila musuh telah masuk kedalam negeri orang Islam, menjadi fardhu-'ain-lah berperang pada waktu itu
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