Sunday, August 6, 2017

The Educational Value of Sang Pencerah Film by Hanung Bramantyo: Aesthetic Research of Chiaroscuro

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Muhammadiyah's 'progressive Islam': Guideline or tagline?

  • Ahmad Imam Mujadid Rais
    The Jakarta Post
Jakarta | Mon, August 3, 2015 | 06:14 am

Muhammadiyah, the country's second largest Muslim organization, will hold its 47th national congress (muktamar) in Makassar, South Sulawesi, this week. The congress will set up a new agenda for the next five years, including electing a new leader who will replace two-time chairman Din Syamsuddin.
Muhammadiyah's challenges and plans include internal consolidation of leadership, bureaucratic improvement and dealing with external issues of globalization, poverty and lack of education, low quality of human resources and the upcoming integrated ASEAN economic community. 
In response to such challenges, Muhammadiyah's central board in the past years reformulated its movement through the notion of Islam berkemajuan, a hot topic among its members and activists. 
'Progressive Islam', a loose translation of Islam berkemajuan, is clearly a part of the efforts to cope with challenges among its followers and among Indonesian Muslims, challenges which include poverty, injustice and human resources. 
The translation itself is still problematic. Amin Abdullah, a former rector of the UIN Kalijaga, Yogyakarta, described in 2011 the slight differences between Islam berkemajuan, which emerged in the early 20th century, and Islam progresif as understood by academics. But let's just focus on the similarities. 
Since the establishment of Muhammadiyah in 1912, its founder Kyai Haji (revered cleric and haj) Ahmad Dahlan fully understood that Islam is compatible with the idea of being progressive, and that Islam encourages its followers to be the best and reach the highest quality of life in political, economic, social, cultural and religious terms.
The idea of being progressive is deeply entrenched in Muhammadiyah's history. During the colonial period, shortly after Muhammadiyah's establishment, meetings held by Ahmad Dahlan with his students included proposals to build hospitals and orphanages. 
One student, the future cleric KH Syuja, had laughed, saying it was impossible at the time. He later acknowledged confidence in the plans: Dutch people who built hospitals and orphanages, he wrote, 'are ordinary people who also eat rice. If others can do it, I am sure we can do it too.' History has recorded the program as a brilliant achievement for a new-born Muslim organization at the time.
The idea of fastabiqulkhairat (competition in goodness) also deeply inspired Muhammadiyah's activities. As a former chairman of Muhammadiyah, Buya (revered ulema) Syafii Maarif said, doing good deeds through the establishment of massive numbers of Muhammadiyah schools and clinics is not the main focus of the organization ' it is their quality and thus continued improvement. 
According to Muhammadiyah's manifesto at its 46th national congress of 2010 in Yogyakarta, Islam berkemajuan should sow the seeds of truth, goodness, peace, justice, welfare and prosperity.
Islam upholds human dignity of both men and women without discrimination ' and inflames awareness against war, terrorism, violence, oppression, backwardness and all forms of destruction and degradation of life such as corruption, abuse of authority, crimes against humanity and exploitation of nature.
Attempts to summarize the spirit of Islam berkemajuan based on the teachings of Ahmad Dahlan and the writings of his students and companions reveal five features of the concept. 
First is pure faith (tauhid), the central doctrine in Islamic teachings. Muslims committed to tauhid should have high social, intellectual and spiritual awareness. They should be optimists and hard working honest persons with no fear except of Allah. They should have the conviction that life is part of worshiping God. 
Secondly, he or she should have a deep understanding of the primary sources of Islam, the Koran and the Prophet's sayings or hadith.
Third, there should be an institutionalization of charity aimed to solve problems based on the scripture and hadith. For instance, the establishment of hospitals and orphanages are part of the practice of surah Al-Ma'un. The establishment of Muhammadiyah itself is proof of faith as mentioned in surah Ali Imran: 104: to organize others to do good deeds, and prohibit them from committing sins.
Fourth, focus on the present and future. Islam berkemajuan prefers to solve present problems and prepare for the future rather than praise the glories of past Islamic kingdoms. Thus, Muhammadiyah should be well-prepared to overcome current problems and benefit the most from today's developments. Globalization and an integrated ASEAN economic community, for example, provides benefits such as through trade, science and global citizenship, though with negative impacts such as trafficking in persons, drug abuse, conflict and insecurity. 
The rapid development of information and technology also provide tools for Muhammadiyah to contribute through innovations and creativity for Indonesia's development.
Fifth is a focus on being moderate and cooperation-oriented. Amid the resurgence of sectarianism and violent extremism the spirit of Muhammadiyah in its early years were open-mindedness, moderation, tolerance and promotion of dialogue among different groups and beliefs.
For example, in one gathering Ahmad Dahlan invited a leader of the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI) to explain the purpose of the party and their responses toward social and economic problems at that time. At Muhammadiyah's first hospital Ahmad Dahlan himself asked for the assistance of a Catholic physician, since the Muslim community at the time had no doctor.
These examples show that openness and cooperation in social matters is a part of Islamic teaching apart from egalitarianism and self-confidence to promote ideas and beliefs.
Overall, in its post-centennial era, Muhammadiyah must play a pivotal role to make Indonesian society more developed and prosperous. The spirit of Islam berkemajuan becomes a guideline for Muhammadiyah elements to be more proactive, responsive and provide solutions to current problems. To this end Muhammadiyah needs a modern and responsive management, led by strong and capable leaders, comprising a self-confident chairman and solid collegiality among its 13 leaders ' along with a strong vision for the future. Otherwise, the notion of its progressive Islam will be a mere tagline rather than concrete action.

... the spirit of Muhammadiyah in its early years were open-mindedness, moderation, tolerance and promotion of dialogue ...

The author is a secretary at LAZIS Muhammadiyah, the organization'€™s alms body, and a researcher at the Maarif Institute for Cultural and Humanitarian Studies. He graduated with a Masters of International Relations from the University of Melbourne, Australia.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

The Tajdid Movement of Muhammadiyah in Aceh "Negotiating Identity Between Salafism and Modernism"

Niki Alma Febriana Fauzi


The Muhammadiyah movement aims to stimulate religious life according to Koran and Sunnah. Nevertheless, many Indonesians still believe that Muhammadiyah refuses to recognize local cultural heritage and traditions. This paper discusses two aspects of Muhammadiyah, namely Salafism and modernism, as elements of tajdid (renewal) that encourage modernity in Aceh. The spirit of tajdid in Muhamadiyah’s perspective has two meanings: (1) purification in akidah and ibadah (worship) in line with the practices of Prophet Muhammad SAW; and (2) tajdid means dynamizing people’s lives with a creative spirit that is suitable to the challenges and demands of modern era.


Muhammadiyah, Tajdid, Aceh, Religious Movement.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Penghargaan Maestro Seni Tradisi Kategori Perorangan Asing: Mitsuo Nakamura

Anugerah Kebudayaan dan Penghargaan Maestro Seni Tradisi Kategori Perorangan Asing tahun 2017 untuk Prof. Mitsuo Nakamura. Diberikan oleh Direktorat Jenderal Kebudayaan, Kemendikbud.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Film Nyai Ahmad Dahlan Menyampaikan Pesan dan Pelajaran Penting dari Kehidupan Nyai Walidah

Suara Muhammadiyah, Monday 17-07-2017, 09:30 WIB

YOGYAKARTA, Suara Muhammadiyah-Peneliti Senior Lembaga Ilmu Pengetahuan Indonesia, Ahmad Najib Burhani menyambut baik kehadiran Film Nyai Ahmad Dahlan. Film drama-biopik yang mengisahkan tentang pahlawan nasional perempuan pertama Muhammadiyah ini, akan ditayangkan secara serentak di bioskop, pada 24 Agustus 2017.
Menurutnya, pembelajaran sejarah melalui media film menjadi salah satu alternatif. Najib meluruskan pandangan sebagian kalangan bahwa film tidak bisa menjadi acuan referensi. “Meski film Nyai Ahmad Dahlan ini merupakan film berdasarkan kisah nyata, namun film seperti ini sering dianggap bukan bagian dari referensi sejarah yang otentik dan otoritatif. Ia tidak bisa dipakai sebagai bukti sejarah,” tuturnya.
Namun demikian, kata Najib, film memiliki kredibilitas untuk menanamkan keyakinan dan pembelajaran kepada masyarakat luas dalam waktu singkat. Terutama bagi sebagian generasi muda, media film tentu lebih digemari. “Melalui film, pesan-pesan sejarah umumnya justru bisa disampaikan secara efektif. Orang yang sebelumnya tidak mengenal Nyai Walidah dan apalagi perannya dalam pemberdayaan perempuan akan dengan mudah belajar melalui film,” ungkap Najib.
Film tentang tokoh-tokoh penting di Indonesia ini, dianggap Najib, bisa melengkapi narasi lain yang selama ini beredar, seperti dalam novel dan komik. Media seperti novel, film, dan komik, dapat dijadikan pintu masuk untuk memahami sejarah tertentu. “Bagi yang ingin meningkat dari pemahaman awam, tentunya film dan novel tidaklah cukup. Membaca sejarah secara lebih komprehensif tentu saja harus berangkat dari buku-buku sejarah, arsip-arsip, memorabilia, dan sumber-sumber utama lain,” ujar Wakil Ketua Majelis Pustaka dan Informasi (MPI) PP Muhammadiyah ini.
Terlepas dari itu semua, Najib mengapresiasi film yang mengisahkan tentang sosok perempuan berkemajuan ini. Kiprah dari tokoh yang telah menorehkan peran-peran besar untuk umat dan bangsa ini perlu dikenal oleh publik.
“Saya ingin mengucapkan selamat atas film ini. Dengan kehadiran tokoh-tokoh Muhammadiyah dan keluarga KH Ahmad Dahlan sebagai aktor dalam film ini, maka saya yakin film ini bisa secara kredibel menyampaikan pesan dan pelajaran penting dari kehidupan Nyai Walidah kepada masyarakat Indonesia,” kata Najib Burhani.
Sebagaimana diketahui, film yang disutradarai Olla Atta Adonara ini memadukan para artis nasional dan dari pihak keluarga serta para aktivis Muhammadiyah. Naskah film yang diproduseri Iras Film ini ditulis oleh Dyah Kalsitorini dengan data utama dari keluarga Kiai Ahmad Dahlan dan dokumen lainnya. (Ribas)

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Akoid doel Iman

Siapa bilang KH Ahmad Dahlan tak pernah menulis buku? Kata siapa ia tak memiliki karya tulis? Akhirnya ditemukan buku2 karya Dahlan. Yang terbaru berjudul "Akoid doel Iman". Dicetak pertama kali thn 1941. Setebal 20 halaman. Ini menambah daftar buku karya Dahlan yang kini telah ditemukan. Sebelumnya, telah ditemukan makalah "Tali Pengikat Hidup" dan "Korespondensi Dahlan".

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Persepsi Santri dan Kiai terhadap Pluralisme Agama di Pandidikan Ulama Tarjih Muhammadiyah (PUTM) dan Aswaja Nusantara Yogyakarta

Zainal Ari n dan Yu’timaalahuyatazaka 

Perdebatan pluralisme agama masih mengemuka dalam konteks masyarakat majemuk di Nusantara. Bahkan, tidak jarang menimbulkan konflik dan perang pemikiran. Menarik melihat perspektif kiai dan santri Muhammadiyah dan NU terhadap isu pluralisme melalui praktik pendidikan di Ulama Tarjih Muhammadiyah (PUTM) Yogyakarta dan Pondok Pesantren Aswaja Nusantara Yogyakarta yang dianggap representatif karena membawa muatan konsep, ide dan paradigma dari Muhammadiyah dan NU. Penelitian ini bersifat kualitatif,  data diperoleh dari wawancara dan studi kepustakaan dengan saling memberikan verifikasi, koreksi dan pelengkap. Hasil penelitian ini, PUTM dan Pesantren Aswaja Nusantara memiliki konsep yang sama dalam memegang teguh akidah, yakni sikap eksklusif dan menolak pluralisme secara teologis namun menerimanya secara sosiologis. Sehingga, paradigma dari dua lembaga tersebut merepresentasikan dari paradigma Muhammadiyah dan NU dalam merespon fenomena pluralisme agama dan budaya.


Sunday, May 28, 2017

Review: The Crescent Arises over the Banyan Tree

Review: The Crescent Arises over the Banyan Tree: A Study of the Muhammadiyah Movement in a Central Javanese Town, c. 1910s–2010 by Mitsuo Nakamura

Reviewed Work: The Crescent Arises over the Banyan Tree: A Study of the Muhammadiyah Movement in a Central Javanese Town, c. 1910s–2010 by Mitsuo Nakamura
Review by: Daniel Andrew Birchok
No. 101 (April 2016), pp. 121-125
DOI: 10.5728/indonesia.101.0121
Stable URL:
Page Count: 5

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Muhammadiyah vs. Mammon: The Economic Trials and Tribulations of an Islamic Modernist Mass Organization in Indonesia (1990s–2000s)


The emergence of Commercialized Islam is seen as a significant development that illustrates how Muslim societies adapt to modern capitalism. This chapter examines a seldom-studied side of this process through the case of one of Indonesia’s oldest and largest Muslim organizations, Muhammadiyah. In the 2000s, this modernist organization that until then was mainly concerned with education, health and charitable activities, attempted to develop a business sector. The chapter illustrates how the organization faced severe conflict between ethical values stemming from the socio-religious sphere and instrumental rationality implied by business practices. It is argued that these axiological tensions were amplified by the organizational dynamics of Muhammadiyah. This process shows the various ways through which an Islamic moral economy is emerging in the Muslim world.
  • Gwenaël Njoto-Feillard
    • 1
  1. 1.Center for Southeast Asian Studies (CASE)CASE, a joint research center of CNRS-EHESS-InalcoParisFrance

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Islamic Modernism and Architectural Modernism of Muhammadiyah’s Lio Mosque

A F Prajawisastra, T Aryanti Universitas Pendidikan Indonesia, Bandung, Indonesia


The Muhammadiyah’s Lio Mosque is one of the masterpieces of Achmad Noe’man, the great Indonesian mosque architect. The mosque was built as a community mosque at the center of Muhammadiyah’s quarter in Garut, West Java, in conjuction with the construction of the district’s Muhammadiyah branch. Having a shape out of the existing grip, the mosque has neither a dome nor a tajug tumpang tiga (three-tiered pyramidal roof) like other mosques nearby, but instead uses a gable roof and minarets towering. This article aims to analyze the architecture of the Lio Mosque and to learn Achmad Noe’man’s interpretation of modernism, both Islamic modernism and architectural modernism, reflected in the mosque design. Employing a qualitative approach, this study used observation and interviews with the mosque’s stakeholders. This article argues that the ideology of modernism, believed by Achmad Noe’man and the Muhammadiyah organization, was embodied in the Lio Mosque architecture.

1st Annual Applied Science and Engineering Conference IOP Publishing IOP Conf. Series: Materials Science and Engineering 180 (2017) 012089 doi:10.1088/1757-899X/180/1/012089

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Muhammadiyah dan NU: Penjaga Moderatisme Islam di Indonesia

Hayula, Vol. 1, No. 1, 2017

Zakiya Darajat


Islam has been expressed through its adherents in many ways. Sometimes the expression has been judged as hard and even arrogant. This is not the case with Islam in Indonesia which has been shown more friendly expression of Islam. However, the radical movements have challenged this peaceful image of Islam in Indonesian. The research which mainly utilized the library sources has concludes that Islam in Indonesia is still considered to be a moderate Islam and in this case, Muhammadiyah and Nahdlatul Ulama are two organizations which can be seen as the guardians of Islamic moderatism in Indonesia. 


Moderatisme; Islam Indonesia; Muhammadiyah; Nahdlatul Ulama

Full Text:



A. Syafi’i Ma’arif, Hubungan Muhammadiyah dan Negara: Tinjauan Teologis, dalam ‎Rekonstruksi Gerakan Muhammadiyah pada Era Multiperadaban, Yogyakarta: UII ‎Press, 2000.‎
Azyumardi Azra, Renaisans Islam Asia Tenggara; Sejarah Wacana dan Kekuasaan Bandung: ‎Remaja Rosdakarya, 1999.‎
‎----------, Muhammadiyah dan Negara: Tinjauan Teologis-Historis, dalam Rekonstruksi ‎Gerakan Muhammadiyah pada Era Multiperadaban, Yogyakarta; UII Press, 2000.‎
‎----------, Radikalisme NU dan Liberalisme Pemikiran NU dalam Konflik Baru Antar ‎Peradaban; Globalisasi, Radikalisasi dan Pluralitas, Jakarta: RajaGrafindo Persada, ‎‎2002. ‎
Abdul Rouf, NU dan Civil Islam di Indonesia, Jakarta: Intimedia, 2010,‎
Abdul Mun’im DZ, Piagam Perjuangan Kebangsaan, Jakarta: PBNU, 2013.‎
Airlangga Pribadi dan M. Yudhi R. Haryono, Post Islam Liberal, Jakarta: Gugus Press, 2002.‎
Deliar Noer, Gerakan Modern Islam di Indonesia 1900-1942, Jakarta: LP3ES, 1996.‎
Greg Fealy, Ijtihad Politik Ulama; Sejarah NU 1952-1967, Yogyakarta; LkiS, 2003.‎
Greg Fealy, “Islamic Radicalism in Indonesia; the Faltering Revival?”, Institute of Southeast ‎Asian Studies (2004),‎
Imam Samudra, Aku Melawan Teroris, Solo; Jazeera, 2004.‎
James Turner Johnson, The Holy War Idea in Western and Islamic Tradition (terj), Yogyakarta: ‎Qalam, 1997.‎
John. L. Esposito, Islam and Politics, New York: Syracuse University, 1998.‎
Karel Steenbrink, Beberapa Aspek tentang Islam di Indonesia Abad ke-19, Jakarta; Bulan ‎Bintang, 1984. ‎
Madjid Khadduri, War and Peace in The Law of Islam, New Jersey; The John Hopkins ‎University Press, 2006.‎
M. Imdadun Rahmat, Islam Pribumi, Islam Indonesia, Jakarta: Erlangga, 2003.‎
Martin Van Bruinessen, NU; Tradisi Relasi –Relasi Kuasa, Pencarian Wacana Baru, ‎Yogyakarta; LkiS, 2009.‎
Syarifuddin Jurdi, Muhammadiyah dalam Dinamika Politik Indonesia 1966-2006, Yogyakarta: ‎Pustaka Pelajar, 2010.‎

Transforming the writing of history: The new narrative of enlightenment within Muhammadiyah

Abstract: This article seeks to account for a recent change in the method of history writing within the major Indonesian social organisation Muhammadiyah, namely a shift from chronology to historical narrative. Until recently, Muhammadiyah's history had always been written as a chronicle, a form with minimal moral import. But in 2010 Muhammadiyah published an historical account that takes the form of a narrative, a form with a beginning, middle and moral end. This historical account has been constructed around three ideas: the importance of individual enlightenment, that the founder of Muhammadiyah (Ahmad Dahlan) was the prototype of the enlightened individual, and that divine intervention served to monitor this process. Further, this article suggests that the change to a narrative form can be explained by shifts in the political balance within Muhammadiyah as it responds to a changing social context.
To cite this article: Harijanto, Christian and Chalmers, Ian. Transforming the writing of history: The new narrative of enlightenment within Muhammadiyah [online].  RIMA: Review of Indonesian and Malaysian Affairs, Vol. 47, No. 2, 2013: 63-90. Availability: ISSN: 0815-7251. [cited 23 Apr 17].
Personal Author: Harijanto, ChristianChalmers, Ian Source: RIMA: Review of Indonesian and Malaysian Affairs, Vol. 47, No. 2, 2013: 63-90 DOI:  Document Type: Journal Article ISSN: 0815-7251 Subject: Islam and politics--HistoriographyCultural pluralism--Religious aspects--IslamKnowledge, Theory of (Islam)Muhammadiyah (Organization)Islamic renewal  

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Sekolah Agama dan Perdamaian Perpektif Muhammadiyah dan NU bagian 4/4

Ulil Abshar Abdalla menjelaskan bahwa Agama berawal dari kritik sosial. Ulil juga menerangkan sejumlah tren di negara Arab saat ini tentang banyaknya orang yang keluar dari Islam. Pada bagian ini, terdapat juga sejumlah pertanyaan yang ditujukan pada kedua narasumber yang kemudian dijawab dengan lugas juga oleh kedua narasumber.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Sekolah Agama dan Perdamaian Perpektif Muhammadiyah dan NU bagian 3/4

Dr. Ahmad Najib Burhani berbicara tentang RUU Perlindungan Umat Beragama, tentang ortodoksi dan pahaman-pahamann minoritas, serta perubahan Moralitas terhadap bangsa termasuk menjawab isu LGBT. Sementara itu Ulil Abshar Abdalla sebagai perwakilan dari NU menjelaskan eksesnsi dari seseorang beragama. Seri Sekolah Agama ICRP dalam perspektif NU dan Muhammadiyah, pada 12 Juni 2015.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Sekolah Agama dan Perdamaian Perpektif Muhammadiyah dan NU bagian 2/4

Dr. Ahmad Najib Burhani, menjelaskan tentang tafsir Tematik yang dipakai oleh Muhammadiyah, yang menjelaskan tentang orang-orang non Muslim di luar Islam menurut pandangan Muhammadiyah. Namun prinsip-prinsip yang diterapkan dalam Muhammdiyah tidak selamanya juga diterapkan secara total oleh Masyarakat Muhammadiyah bahkan ada juga yang melakukan penolakan. Seri Sekolah Agama dan Perdamaian dalam perspektif Islam, NU dan Muhammadiyah di ICRP, Jakarta pada 5 Juni 2015.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Sekolah Agama dan Perdamaian Perpektif Muhammadiyah dan NU bagian 1/4

Dr. Ahmad Najib Burhani, Peneliti LIPI dan sekaligus merupakan aktivis Muhammadiyah menjelaskan tentang Islam, Kemuhammadiyahan, Perdamaian dan tentang prinsip serta teks yang menjadi pengangan hidup sehari-hari masyarakat Muhammadiyah dan bagaimana masyarakat Muhammadiyah menerapkannya. Pertemuan kedua seri sekolah Agama ini dilaksanakan pada tanggal 12 Juni 2015 di kantor ICRP, Jakarta.

Friday, March 10, 2017


Zakiyuddin BaidhawyIAIN Salatiga–Indonesia |

This study is aimed at exploring Muhammadiyah theological stand on disaster; its role and strategies in disaster management and mitigation. The ways in involving others and partnering with multiple stakeholders nationally and internationally also will be pictured. This study will show several things: First, Muhammadiyah perceives disaster in a positive way. As a consequence, it promotes awareness and on the importance of environment protection and management of risk and vulnerability. Second, Muhammadiyah establishes Muhammadiyah Disaster Management Center (MDMC) that focuses on organizing relief initiatives and disaster recovery which include mitigation and disaster anticipation trough Sekolah Siaga Bencana (Disaster-Prepared School) and Rumah Sakit Siaga Bencana (Disaster-Prepared Hospital). Third, Muham­ma­diyah works are guided by al-Ma‘un theology and prin­ciples of universal humanism (al-nas), mutual recognition and understanding (ta‘aruf), mutual assistance (ta‘awun), and fulfilment of the rights of the survivors. Muhammadiyah works with various parties of communities at local, national, and international level. Muhammadiyah is able to escape missionary (da‘wa) trap and provide relief to all victims and survivors in a non-discriminatory manner.


Volume 09, Number 02, December 2015

Thursday, March 9, 2017

MITSUO NAKAMURA, Bio-Note and Major Publications

Mitsuo Nakamura is a cultural anthropologist and Professor Emeritus of Anthropology at Chiba University, specializing in the study of Islamic social movements in Indonesia. He was born in 1933 to a Japanese Christian family living in Manchuria, which was then part of the Japanese empire. Two years after the end of the war, he and his family returned to Japan. During his high school and college years, he was actively engaged in the left-wing student movement protesting against the threat of nuclear war and the imperialistic resurgence of Japan.
He obtained his higher education from the University of Tokyo; a Bachelor’s degree in Western philosophy (1960), and then switching his major to cultural anthropology and receiving a Master’s degree (1965) from the same university. He continued his graduate studies in anthropology at Cornell University in the USA on a Fulbright scholarship, and obtained a Ph.D. (1976) on the basis of field observation on the Muhammadiyah movement in Kotagede, Yogyakarta. The Carnegie Foundation funded his fieldwork. His PhD work on this modernist Muslim social movement was one of the earliest in the Western scholarship that witnessed and predicted the rising tide of Islamization in Indonesia.
During a brief stay at the University of Adelaide as a senior teaching fellow (1974-75), where he worked on his dissertation for completion, he was requested by Professor Selo Soemardjan of the University of Indonesia (UI) to join the Social Science Research Training Program (PLPIIS) as a research associate for its Jakarta station, which was attached to the Faculty of Social Sciences (FIS) at UI. The Canadian International Development Research Centre (IDRC) financially supported his position at PLPIIS.
After working for the PLPIIS at UI in Jakarta for two years (1976-77), he moved back to Australia as a visiting research fellow at the Research School of Pacific Studies, Australian National University (ANU), (1978-80), supported by a fund from the Toyota Foundation. He then met Professor William Graham of Harvard University who came to attend an international conference held at ANU, commemorating the beginning of the 15th century in the Islamic calendar. Professor Graham introduced him to join Harvard’s Center for the Study of World Religions as a visiting scholar, 1981-82.
 While at Harvard, he completed the revision of his doctoral dissertation for publication, which was issued by Gadjah Mada University Press, Yogyakarta, Indonesia, in 1983 under the title, The Crescent Arises over the Banyan Tree: A Study of the Muhammadiyah Movement in a Central Javanese Town.
Meanwhile, he expanded his research coverage to Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), the traditionalist wing of Indonesian Islam, upon the suggestion of Abdurrahman Wahid (Gus Dur, NU’s chairperson and who much later became 4th President of the Republic of Indonesia), who invited him to attend its 1979 Muktamar (national congress) as an observer. This experience resulted in  an article entitled,  "The Radical Traditionalism of the Nahdlatul Ulama in Indonesia: A Personal Account of Its 26th National Congress, June 1979, Semarang," TONAN AJIA KENKYU (Southeast Asian Studies), 19:2, (CSEAS, Kyoto University, 1981).With his article, he became one of the earliest among the Western scholars who paid serious attention to this robust organization of Indonesian ulama (Islamic scholars) established in 1926, which had previously been dismissed as too backward to be worthy of academic attention.
In 1983, he was granted a Professorship at Chiba University, Japan, where he taught anthropology, Southeast Asian studies and Islamic studies until his retirement in 1999. While at Chiba University, he organized the Study Group on Islam in Southeast Asia, through which he encouraged a number of junior colleagues and graduate students of Japan to engage in research on Islam and Muslim societies in the region.
During the last decades of the twentieth century, the emergence of Islamic civil society organizations in the ‘public space’ of Muslim-majority as well as Muslim-minority societies in Southeast Asia became increasingly visible. Their contribution towards democratization and the advancement of social justice in each country has become real as well as a subject of academic study. In 1999, he organized an international workshop on Islam and civil society in Southeast Asia in collaboration with a number of activist-scholars of the region, including most notably Dr. Nurcholish Madjid of Indonesia, sponsored by the Sasakawa Peace Foundation. Contributions at the meeting were published later by ISEAS with the title, Islam and Civil Society in Southeast Asia, edited with Sharon Siddique and Omar Farouk Bajunid (Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, Singapore, 2001).
The economic and political crises which hit Indonesia in 1997-98 was a source of great worry for the Japanese government and the public, which became concerned the future of Indonesia after the fall of President Soeharto. The Japanese government decided to send an observation team to monitor the first general elections in the post-Soeharto era in 1999, in which he participated with his wife Hisako. He was also entrusted by the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) as its senior research advisor to assess the sovereign risk of Indonesia: from 2001 to 2003, he carried out this assignment by visiting a number of regions in Indonesia for field observation and interviewing, and presented a report to JBIC, which was later published as Religious, Ethnic and Social Problems in Indonesia and Prospects for its National Re-Integration, (JBICI Research Paper No.25, Tokyo, 2003 in Japanese). He emphasized in the report that Indonesia had ushered in an irreversible process of democratization, to which Japan should contribute positively.
From 2004 to 2005, during his tenure as a Fulbright senior visiting scholar at the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at Harvard University, he and Hisako volunteered to join again an international observation corps of the 2004 general and presidential elections in Indonesia. The result was published by the Islamic Legal Studies Program, Harvard Law School, as a booklet entitled, Islam and Democracy in Indonesia: Observations on the 2004 General and Presidential Elections, Occasional Publications 6, December 2005.
In more recent years, he has been concentrating again on the study of Islamic social movements like Muhammadiyah and NU in the Post-Soeharto era. He re-visited the Muhammadiyah in Kotagede, 2008-2009, for follow-up research, and published his findings as a revised/enlarged edition of the old Banyan Tree book from ISEAS, Singapore, with the title: The Crescent Arises Over the Banyan Tree: A Study of the Muhammadiyah Movement in a Central Javanese Town, c 1910s - 2010. The new edition includes Part Two, covering the development of Muhammadiyah in Kotagede for almost forty years from 1972 to 2010. Together with Part One (reprint of the original Banyan Tree book), the new book traces the history of Muhammadiyah in Kotagede for about 100 years, i.e. from 1910s to 2010. He regards this publication to be his personal project to celebrate academically the centennial anniversary of the establishment of the Muhammadiyah in the city of Yogyakarta in 1912.
Meanwhile, he organized, together with Professor Azyumardi Azra, former rector of the State Islamic University of Jakarta (UIN) and current director of its graduate school, and Dr. Ahmad Najib Burhani, a young researcher at the LIPI (Indonesian Institute of Sciences), as well as a number of other Indonesian and foreign colleagues, an international research conference on the one-hundred years old Muhammadiyah at the Muhammadiyah University of Malang (UMM), East Java, in late 2012. Contributions to the conference are to be published in the near future under the general editorship of Dr. Najib Burhani. The book will be a scholarly, yet sympathetic appraisal on the Muhamamdiyah movement, which is undoubtedly one of the oldest, largest, and progressive Muslim voluntary associations engaged in philanthropic activities in education and social welfare in the contemporary Islamic world.       
Mitsuo Nakamura is married to Hisako, with three children, and three grandchildren.                                                  

Home address of Prof. Mitsuo Nakamura:
4-10-20 Josui-honcho, Kodaira-shi
Tokyo, Japan 187-0022
HP in Japan: +81-(0)80-5111-3297

                                           (As at October 2014)