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ISLAM AND LIBERALISM

Budhy Munawar-Rachman Editor: Moh. Shofan

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Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

ISLAM AND LIBERALISM Budhy Munawar-Rachman Editor: Moh. Shofan First Edition, August 2011 Published by Friedrich Naumann Stiftung Jl. Rajasa II No. 7 Kebayoran Baru, Senopati Jakarta Selatan 12110 Phone. + 62 21 725 6012/13 Fax. +62 21 720 3868 Email: jakarta@fnst.org

All rights reserved Cover & Content: mps creativa ISBN: 978-979-1157-31-5

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Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Preface and Acknowledgements -----------ix

Chapter I Introduction -----------1 Liberalism -------2 Liberalism and Human Rights -----3 Liberal Islamic Thought in Indonesia -----11 NU and Liberal Islam ------15 Muhammadiyah and Liberal Islam ----21

Chapter II Liberal Islam ----25 Discourse on Liberal Islam in Indonesia ----55

Chapter III Ethical and Methodical Principles in Liberal Islam ---69 Ethical Principles in Liberal Islam ------69 Ethics of Justice ------70 Ethics of Welfare ------76

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Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

Ethics of Liberation ------82 Ethics of Freedom -------88 Ethics of Brotherhood ------96 Ethics of Peace ---------101 Ethics of Compassion -----104 Liberal Islamic Method of Thinking -------108 The Impact of Textual Interpretation ------110 Asbb al-Nuzul --------114 Nasikh-Mansukh -------117 Makkiyah and Madaniyah -----------119 Tawil Theory -----------121 Mukhamat and Mutasyabihat -----------124 Hermeneutics ---------126

Chapter IV Against the Idea of an Islamic State ---------129 Secularism in Indonesia -------138 Debates on Secularism in Indonesia: Nurcholish Madjid-------144 Reponses to Nurcholish Madjid ---------- 151 Secularism in Indonesia Today ---------167

WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

Chapter V Assuring Gender Equality ---------167 The Mission of Liberal Muslims: Equality ----------169 Efforts Toward a Liberal Interpretation of Islam ---------175 The Use of Postmodern Hermeneutics ----------180 Closing -------184

Chapter VI Promoting Pluralism ---------187 Exclusivism, Inclusivism, Pluralism ----------200 Pluralism in Islam --------213

Chapter VII Theology of Religions: the Liberal Islam Perspective --------229 Salvation in Islam ----------229 The Concept of Ahl al-Kitab ---------239 Religious Freedom -----------248 Freedom of Non-Muslim Minorities ---------254 Jihad and Peace ------------260 Intersection of Religions ------------267 Exemplars of Thoughts on Pluralism in Religions: Interfaith Fiqih ---------275

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Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

Giving Greetings to Non-Muslims -------279 Saying Merry Christmas ---------281 Allowing Non-Muslims to Enter Mosques --------282 Building Synergy Among Religions -----------284 The Concept of Ahl al-Dzimmah (Non-Muslim Minorities) ------286 The Concept of Jizyah (Non-Muslim Tax) Interfaith Marriage --------287 The Issue of Uniformity in Religions -----288

Chapter VIII Closing ----------301

About the Author -----------321

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Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

Preface and Acknowledgements Islam and Liberalism throws light on the most recent developments in global Islamic thought and Islamic thought in Indonesia. As a means of discourse, liberalism is not a novelty in the history of Islamic thought. Since the classical period, Muslim intellectuals have came up with notably liberal and open ideas inspired by Greek philosophical traditions, Persian science, and Indian mysticism during the development of their time. For this reason, if today Muslim intellectuals once again develop liberal traditions inspired from the development of modern thought, this phenomenon is evidently not ground-breakinggiven that terminologically speaking, Islam and Liberalism do not contradict one another. In any event, Islam is surpassingly open in reviving its substance through modern perspectives. This book touches on the most prevailing issues of present day. How Islam positively responds to new ideas, such as democracy, human rights and notions of freedom, including religious freedom and freedom of expression. This book talks of the most recent debates on Islam and the state, particularly the compulsion to embrace the notion of a secular state rather than an Islamic state. Developments on ideas related to gender and pluralism are also discussed. This book elaborates how liberal Islamic intellectuals develop their method of thinking, including their efforts to establish a theology of religions substantial for the foundation of total compliance in pluralism, democracy and human rights. I would like to express my gratitude to Friedrich Naumann Stiftung especially Rainer Heufers, Project Director of Friedrich-Naumann-Stiftung fur die Freiheit, and Muhammad Husni Thamrin, Programme Officer Friedrich-Naumann-Stiftung fur die Freiheit that have made publication of this edition possible and made it known throughout Indonesia.

Jakarta, 22 June 2011 BMR

WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

Chapter I INTRODUCTION

With no holds barred, I strongly object MUIs perspective that has a tendency to be exclusive and judgmental. In translating Islam that is kaffah (comprehensive), they have proven themselves incapable of accommodating the different faces of Islam, let alone talk of liberalism. Siti Ruhaini Dzuhayatin1 MUIs fatwa issued on July 2005 affirmed that the forbiddance of liberalism was due to the limitless use of the mind (ratio) in religious thought (Islam).2 KH. Maruf Amin, Chairman of MUIs Fatwa Commissionnow the Chairman of MUIs National Sharia Councilexplains how liberalism is an attempt to provide interpretation of religious teaching (Islam) out of the corridors of the established convention (qawaid al-tafsir al-nushush).3 He goes on to say how such illimitable use of the mind is generated from hermeneutics, a method used by liberalism to interpret nash. According to himand this is why MUI forbids liberalismthe use of hermeneutics is estranged in Islamic thought. To begin with, hermeneutics is nothing like takwil. Takwil attempts to provide interpretation of nash (religious texts) in cases when nash cannot be corporeally understood. Takwil is customarily used to interpret verses that are zhanni (multiinterpretation) and not qathi (evident). This is because verses that are qathi must not and cannot be interpreted.

Interview with Siti Ruhaini Dzuhayatin, Yogyakarta, October 2006. Siti Ruhaini is a

feminist and a senior lecturer at UIN Sunan Kalijaga, Yogyakarta.


2

Fatwa Decision of the Indonesian Ulema Council No: 7/MUNAS VII/MUI/II/2005 Interview with KH. Maruf Amin, Jakarta, 30 April 2008. WORKING TRANSLATION

concerning pluralism, liberalism and secularism, dated 29 July 2005.


3

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

In addition, according to Maruf Amin, interpretation of nash in Islam must dearly hold the sacredness of nash and the divinity of He who reveals the Koran. This signifies that the divinity of the Koran and the prophecy of Hadith may not be compromised. Hermeneutics, on the other hand, believes that the Koran and Hadith are regular books. Thus, they may be interpreted. What is more, according to Maruf Amin, many of the interpretations lead to amendments to nash. For this reason, he demurs the use of hermeneutics, which is more often than not used as a Liberal Islamic approach. Based on such grounds, according to Maruf Amin and MUI, liberalistic approaches toward religion are considered astray. Maruf Amin believes that liberal interpretation often result in discrepancies from the established convention of interpretation. According to him, liberal interpretation that draws on hermeneutics as an approach is inapt to the Koran.4 The following are remarks by Liberal Muslim intellectuals regarding MUIs fatwa on the forbiddance of liberalism. Starting off with the philosophical meaning of liberalism, continued with the liberal approaches in Islamic thoughts, and closing off with their responses to the forbiddance of the concept of liberalism. Liberalism Before we go any further on the meaning of liberalism, the following is the definition of liberalism as given in a dictionary or encyclopedia. Liberalism refers to a broad array of related ideas and theories on government that consider individual liberty to be the most important political goal. Modern liberalism has its roots in the Age of Enlightenment. Broadly speaking, liberalism emphasizes individual rights and equality of results. Different forms of liberalism may propose very different policies, but they are generally united by their support for a number of principles, including extensive freedom of thought and speech, limitations on the power of governments, the rule of law,

Interview with KH. Maruf Amin, Jakarta, 30 April 2008. WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

free exchange of ideas, a market or mixed economy, and a transparent system of government. All liberalsas well as some adherents of other political ideologiessupport some variant of the form of government known as liberal democracy, with open and fair elections, where all citizens have equal rights by law. There are many disagreements within liberalism, especially when economic freedom and social justice come into conflict. The movement called classical liberalism asserts that the only real freedom is freedom from coercion.5 From the definition, we may conclude that liberalism is a notion that attempts to enlarge the sphere of individual freedom and advance social progress. Liberalism is a notion of freedom. This means that humans are entitled to freedom. From a philosophical perspective, liberalism subsists as a school of thought established on the concept of free humans. Free, as humans can think and act according to their own will. Liberalism is a notion of thinking that sheds optimistic light on humans.6 The principles of liberalism are freedom and responsibility. Without responsibility, social order within a liberal community can by no means be achieved.7 However, this does not mean that liberalism is free of criticism. Yet, it remains the most logical option in the political context of present day. One of the agendas of liberalism is to rely on the ratio and social awareness of individuals in completing their duties. In addition, it relies on the communitys independent development without excessive intervention from the state.
5

Take a look at, Liberalism, Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. See, Michael W.

Strasser, Liberalism in Paul Edwards (ed.), The Encyclopedia of Philosophy (New York: Macmillan Publishing Co., Inc & The Free Press, 1967), p. 548-461
6

Rizal Mallarangeng, Demokrasi dan Liberalisme, in, Hamid Basyaib (ed.),

Membela Kebebasan Percakapan tentang Demokrasi Liberal (Jakarta: Freedom Institute, 2006), p. 136-136
7

Frits Bolkestein, Liberalisme dalam Dunia yang Tengah Berubah (Jakarta: Sumatra

Institute, 2006), p. 54 WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

According to Bolkestein, liberals must determine the course of future debates by emphasizing on freedom as the highest notion in the hierarchy of liberal values, giving priority to competitive culture, taking the bottom-up approach for radical decentralization, maintaining the pattern of diversity, and bringing decision-making policy as close to the people as possible. Based on present days reality in which many ideologies adhere to liberal ideas, Bolkestein gave one very important advice to the supporters of liberalism: If it is liberalism that you desire, do not opt for ideologies that parrot the implementation of liberal ideas; instead refer to the true liberalism. Liberalism is acknowledgement of civil rights. For this reason, liberalism always goes together with the rule of law; in view of the fact that freedom will not transpire in the absence of legal regulations. In reality, a persons freedom is always limited by other peoples rights. Ones freedom cannot be exercised at the expense of other peoples freedom. Freedom applies for each and every human being. (Rachman 2009: 13) M. Dawam Rahardjo, Chair of the Foundation of Religious and Philosophical Studies. Former Director of LP3ES. Once the Chief of Prisma magazine (1980-1986) and Chair of ICMI Centre (1995-2000). He is now Rector of Proklamasi 45 University, Yogyakarta.

In liberalism, law enforcement is something fundamental. Constraints on civil order and security defy freedom. As John Locke states: The death of the function of the law is not by getting rid or taking into custody those who are alleged to have violated it, but by preserving and expanding freedom.8 According to John Locke, the state was founded to protect personal property rights. Not to create uniformity, or to
8

Frits Bolkestein, Liberalisme dalam Dunia yang Tengah Berubah, p. 46. WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

control imbalanced growth of personal property, but to maintain the entirety of personal property that increasingly differs in amounts. When talking about property, it does not only refer to estates, but also lives and liberties. They are inalienable rights and, in point of fact, the state was established to protect them.9 The impact of Lockes teaching of the state is in general huge, particularly in the United Kingdom, France, and the United States. It would not be an overstatement to say that the constitution of the United States was composed with Locke in mind. Concepts, such as government by consent of the people and the peoples trust in the government as the legitimate basis, are the foundation of modern politics. The head of state cannot avoid liability by arguing that one is only responsible to God as the authority was initially bestowed by humans through original compact. Locke once again correlates the governments authority and delegation; the bestowal of authority by those governed. Locke uproots the sovereigns claim that authority is absolute and illimitable. In view of that, the state can only exercise its authority for purposes delegated through original compact. The states duty is therefore limited by its purpose that is understood as servitude to the peoples needs. The state has no right to exercise its sovereignty to intervene in all sectors of the peoples life. The state does not have legitimacy to govern all matters. Thus, the core of liberal notion on the subject of the state is that the states authority must be minimized. The principle that the states authority must be limited to what needs to be done to run the essential function is a very important and fundamental definition. Limitation of authority is based on the belief that as a human each and every person has equal position. No person, or no group has the right to order something to be done to another person. So, first of all, it is our individual right for freedom; the right to determine how one would like to live and what one would like to do; while the second is limitation of freedom. Humans freedom is indeed not illimitable. The rights of other people over the same freedom and the rights of the society over the sacrifice
9

Franz Magnis Suseno, Etika Politik: Prinsip-prinisp Moral Dasar Keagamaan

Modern (Jakarta: Gramedia Pustaka Utama, 1999), p. 221. WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

by each of its members for the sake of mutual interest essentially limit individual freedom.10 John Lockes biggest contribution toward modern awareness on matters pertaining to the state is that limitation of the states authority must be put in the form of demands in which the government must act based on the constitution. Demands that the government must be run based on the constitution have become a modern state awareness. In such a condition, citizens must be able to formulate and make their decisions without the states intervention. In liberalism, political stability extensively depends on the governments ability to respond to the peoples aspiration. Law supremacy is one of the pillars of individual freedom and democracy. For this reason, efforts to put aside procedural and legal structures based on claims of national interests or irresponsible demands from the people must not be viewed as democratic efforts. As stated by Aristoteles, the best government involves law supremacy and not people supremacy.11 Democracy and freedom are two very essential concepts in politics. Freedom or civil rights can be illustrated as a supposition in which the state has a positive role in securing legal protection and equal opportunities for each and every citizen regardless of the race, religion, and gender. Civil rights include freedom of mind, freedom of opinion, freedom of assembly and association, freedom of religion and freedom of the press. If they fail to be acknowledged and enforced by state regulations, the state cannot be called democratic. Civil rights also call for protection, as they are very important for a person, for example, the right to have or not have a religion. Civil rights must serve as an important parameter to measure whether a state is democratic or not. In the case of civil rights, democracy itself requires liberalism. If these rights do not exist, there is

10

Franz Magnis Suseno, Etika Politik: Prinsip-prinsip Moral Dasar Kenegaraan

Modern, p. 230.
11

David Beetham and Kevin Boyle, Demokrasi 80 Tanya Jawab (Yogyakarta:

Kanisius, 1995), p. 110-111. WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

no democracy.12 It would not be an exaggeration to say that support for democracy almost cannot be compromised in present day. Even liberal constitutionalists, such as Bruce Ackerman, agree that under important times during the formation and amendment of the constitution, a popular democratic legitimation is required, if the results are to be legitimate. The same goes for Robert Dahl, who reminds us that substantial political freedom is better valued in a democratic system compared to a non-democratic one. In states where freedom to give opinion and associate are recognized, personal properties are acknowledged, torture is restricted, equality before the law is guaranteed, a democratic political system prevails.13 For this reason, Bolkestein imparts the following fine perspective on liberalism. In the past fifteen years, the world has looked toward the power of liberalization, both in the economy sector and politics. Such power has brought profound changes in attitude and appearance. It has opened a new horizon and has gone beyond what was envisioned several decades ago. The power of liberalization has increased the standard of living and enlarged the sphere of freedom for billions of humans throughout the world. The potential of this power will never reach a saturation point. Nearing the upcoming Millennium, it gives us greater prospects of progress and supports us to be able to strengthen and expand our liberalization authority that has in the past proven to generate welfare.14 Liberalism sees individual freedom as an absolute value. They see Human Rights (HR) as something that is fundamental and universal. For this reason,

12

R. William Liddle, Demokrasi dalam Kebebasan Sipil, in Hamid Basyaib (ed.),

Membela Kebebasan: Percakapan Tentang Demokrasi Liberal, p. 146-147.


13

Ian Shapiro, Asas Moral dalam Politik, p. 232. Also see, John Gray, Two Faces of

Liberalism (New York: The New Press, 2000)


14

Frits Bolkestein, Liberalisme dalam Dunia yang Tengah Berubah, p. 84. WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

enforcement of HR becomes the official purpose of foreign affair policies. 15 Respect for HR can be enforced through economic development. The most prosperous states are democratic states and vice versa. Liberalism and Human Rights Liberalism is very much related to Human Rights (HR). When talking about HR, one should adhere to the law on International Human Rights. The law was established by the UN through international participation and universal aspiration. It defies local particularism and different traditions based on the standard HR (UDHR [the Universal Declaration of Human Rights]) formulated in 1948then DUHAM) put up in the West and the non-West. The values constituted within DUHAM are set as the general standard for the progress of nations and should be sustained by the people of the member states as well as the people in their areas of authority. 16

15

Human rights are legal rights that belong to each and every individual, rich and

poor, man and woman. These rights may be violated, but they can never be revoked. Human rights are legal rights, and this means that they are the law. Human rights are protected by the constitution and the national law of many states in the world. Take a look at John Fray, Two Faces of Liberalism (New York: The New Press, 2000).
16

The principles of HR, constituted in DUHAM, basically originates from the thoughts

of 17th, 18th, and 19th century philosophers from the West, such as John Locke, Baruch Spinoza, Montesquieu, Voltaire, Rousseau, Immanuel Kant, Jeremy Bentham, John Smith Mill, and his son John Stuart Mill. History notes that the initial formula of HR in the West was from the Magna Charta in 1215. From the Magna Charta, came the documents of Rights of Man France (1789), Bill of Rights of USA (1791) and International Bill of Rights (1966). On January 6, 1941, President Roosevelt initiated notions of freedom of religion, freedom from fear and freedom from wanting that became popular throughout America. From the many formulas, came the final formula in 1948 that was released by the UNs General Assembly under the name DUHAM. Take a look at Tri Wahyu Hidayat, Apakah Kebebasan WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

By and large, DUHAM is constituted of four general ideas. Firstly, individual rights or the rights that belong to each and every person. Second is collective rights or the peoples rights that can only be enjoyed collectively, such as the right for peace, the right for development and the right for a clean living environment. Third covers civil and political rights; among them are: the right to determine ones own fate; the right to receive compensation for those who have their freedom violated; the right over life, the right for freedom of thinking, the right to have a faith and a religion, the same right for woman and man to enjoy civil and political rights, the right to be informed on the reasons of an arrest, equality in rights and responsibilities between husband and wife, the right for freedom to express. Fourthly, economic rights, social and cultural rights; among them include rights to relish in freedom from fear and poverty; restriction on race discrimination, skin color, sex, gender and religion, equal rights between man and woman to enjoy economic, social and cultural rights; right to protest; right for education; right to be free from hunger.17 The basic concept of Liberal Islam is faith that there is meaning beyond the sacred text; there is text and context. Liberal, at some point, means to liberate religion from things outside religion, from interpretation that crosses private borders,

especially politicization and capitalization toward it. (Rachman 2009: 41) Abd Ala, Professor in the History of Political Islamic Thought at IAIN Sunan Ampel

Beragama = Bebas Pindah Agama? Perspektif Hukum Islam dan HAM (Salatiga, STAIN Salatiga Pers, 2008), p. 7, 104 and 108.
17

Siti Musdah Mulia, Potret Kebebasan Berkeyakinan di IndonesiaSebuah

Refleksi Masa Depan Kebangsaan Indonesia, in Di Sekitar Masalah Kebebasan Beragama dan Berkeyakinan di Indonesia (Jakarta: PSIK Universitas Paramadina, 2009). Not published. WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

Surabaya. He received his masters and doctoral degrees from Universitas Islam Negeri Syarif Hidayatullah Jakarta.

The right for religious freedom is also stated in details in the International Covenant concerning Civil and Political Rights article 18. The covenant was ratified by the Indonesian government through Law No. 12 Year 2005.18 The content is as follows: (1) Each and every person is entitled to freedom of thought and freedom of faith and religion. This covers the freedom to follow or accept a religion or a faith based on ones own choice, and freedom, individually as well as collectively, in public space or private space, to conduct the religion or faith in the form of religious activities, loyalty, implementation and teaching; (2) No one can be forced to accept a religion or faith in such a way so that it disturbs the persons freedom. DUHAM mentions the term basic human rights that is the most basic human rights, and they are categorized as the most important rights to be prioritized in various laws and policies, both on national and international levels. Basic human rights are a list of rights that assure the primary material and non-material needs of humans in order to create a holistic humanistic existence for humans, i.e. humans with value and dignity. Even though we may not find any regulation or explanation that explicitly states in details all of the rights that are included as basic human

18

Indonesia has in fact ratified instruments of international human rights that are

related to religious freedom, such as Declaration of Human Rights (1948), International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (1966), International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (1965). According to the Presidential Decree No. 40 Year 2004 on the National Action Plan on Human Rights (RANHAM), 2004-2009, Indonesia also ratified the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights 1966. Take a look at Fernando J. M. M. Karisoh, Kebebasan Beragama Ditinjau dari Aspek Perlindungan Hak Asasi Manusia in Di Sekitar Masalah Kebebasan Beragama dan Berkeyakinan di Indonesia (Jakarta: PSIK Universitas Paramadina, 2009). WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

rights, but in general they cover the right to live, the right to eat, medical service, freedom from suffering, and religious freedom. These rights and also the whole human rights are based on a fundamental base, i.e. appreciation and respect towards humans dignity. These human rights cannot be revoked, as they are the very essence of man. They continue to exist as a moral right. Respect toward human rights distinguishes states that are humane from states that are based on pure authority.19 One cannot deny the fact that typically the state is the perpetrator. Even in the United States, the actor behind the violation of the black peoples civil rights is the state, and not the civil society. The same goes for Indonesia.20 We must admit that Indonesia is not yet experienced enough to develop democracy amidst extreme demands to present a religious discourse in the domain of social politics. According to John Stuart Mill, one of the theorists behind the concept of freedom in the United Kingdom in the 19th century, with freedom and appreciation over other peoples conduct and thoughts, the prospect of a community to develop and engage in dialogues for better solutions widens. The space expands. This is the key to a communitys successful growth. In a community where freedom has become an institution, which means it has become institutionalized into conduct, a law code, a political system, and so on, accelerated progress is evident, and in due course transformation into developed states is achieved.21

19

Franz Magnis-Suseno, 2001, Kuasa dan Moral, (Jakarta, PT Gramedia Pustaka

Utama, 2001), p. 21. Take a look at Hikmat Budiman (ed.), Komunalisme dan Demokrasi Negosiasi Rakyat dan Negara (Jakarta: The Japan Foundation Asia Center, 2003), p. 51.
20

Anis Baswedan, Kovenan Tentang Hak-hak Sipil dan Politik in, Hamid Basyaib

(ed.), Kebebasan Percakapan Tentang Demokrasi Liberal (Jakarta: Freedom Institute, 2006), p. 55.
21

Rizal Mallarangeng, Sebuah Kerangka Hukum in Hamid Basyaib (ed.),

Defending Freedom: A Conversation on Liberal Democracy, p. 13. WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

Liberal Islam Thought in Indonesia Nowadays, the term Liberal Islam is used by the young generation of both NU and Muhammadiyah who attempt to develop in-depth, or to be precise, more progressive moderate ideas (Moderate Islam) that is the fundamental notion of NU and Muhammadiyah. Liberal Islam hopes to drive a main emphasis on the development of knowledge, the discourse of justice, openness, tolerance, and the need to establish the moral integrity of Muslims in building Indonesias nationality. Liberal Islam does not only comprehend Islam as a religion, but furthermore Islam as a civilization.22 The reformed definition of liberalism requires a methodology; the bedrock of its knowledge. Do not become non-historical. Do not become like Wahhabi, non-historical. Conducting reform, but cutting away history. For this reason, liberal here means liberation and reform. And, its translation in Islam can be found in liberal models, such as Iqbal and Ali Syariati. (Rachman 2009: 67) Abdul Hadi WM, a poet with special interests in Sufism and Indonesias intellectual treasure. He teaches at the Faculty of Philosophy and Civilization of Universitas Paramadina Jakarta and the Islamic College for Advanced Studies (ICAS) Jakarta.

22

Ahmad Gaus AF, Islam Progresif: Wacana Pasca Arus Utama (Peta Pemikiran

dan Gerakan Islam di Indonesia), in Jurnal Tashwirul Afkar, Edition No. 22 Year 2007, p. 96. For example, Zuhairi Misrawi and Novriantoni, both young intellectuals of NU who wrote the book entitled Doktrin Islam Progresif: Memahami Islam Sebagai Ajaran Rahmat (Jakarta: LSIP, 2004), and Zuly Qodir and friends (Ed.), Muhammadiyah Progresif: Manifesto Pemikiran Kaum Muda (Yogyakarta: LesfiJIMM, 2007). Dr. Zuly Qodir is a young Muhammadiyah intellectual. WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

The term Liberal Islam, an advanced development of the thought and the position of Moderate Islam, is often placed side by side with Radical Islam; Liberal Islam being more secular. Even so, the notion of Liberal Islam and Liberal Islam can at times be interchangeable.23 The first scholar to use the terms Liberal Islam and Liberal Islam as one in Indonesia is Greg Barton. Such a term illustrates the most recent movement in Islam in Indonesia that goes beyond the traditional Islam movement and the modern Islam movement. The liberal progressive moment I am referring to is the movement that Fazlur Rahman (RIP Professor at the University of Chicago) called as Neo-modernist Islamwhich in Indonesia was developed by his students, i.e. Ahmad Syafii Maarif and Nurcholish Madjid. Recently, Abdurrahman Wahid, M. Dawam Rahardjo, and Djohan Effendi have also been included in this category.24 The Liberal Islam thought analyzed in the subsequent passage reveals various theological interpretations related to contemporary problems, especially issues of secularism, liberalism and pluralism. In developing Liberal Islam, the following actions have been conducted: First, renewal of Islamic understanding (especially fikih or Islamic law), particularly to make religious understanding in line with todays development. They realize the necessity of a new fikih that can answer problems faced by people today. For example, the Islamic community is required to develop a fikih that can engage in dialogues regarding issues of democracy (fikih on democracy), pluralisme (fikih on tolerance or interfaith fikih), liberalism (fikih on politics, fikih on human rights, fikih on gender) and so on.25

23

Ahmad Gaus AF, Islam Progresif: Wacana Pasca Arus Utama, p. 96. The term

Progressive Islam in the context of Islamic thought, take a look at Omid Safi (ed.), Progressive Muslims: On Justice, Gender and Pluralism (Oxford: One World, 2006).
24 25

Ahmad Gaus AF, Islam Progresif: Wacana Pasca Arus Utama, p. 97. According to them, such fikih is very important to prove the relevancy of Islam in

an increasingly plural and global world. In facing the global reality, a true Islamic WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

Next, dissemination of the correction information about Islam. Recently, the voice of Islam has been represented by groups who do not signify the majority of the Islam communityin this book these groups will be called Fundamental and Radical Islam. The Islam Community receives a stigma because of the image of Radical Islam. Instead of competing on a global stage, the Islam community is shrouded by a bad image before the eyes of the international community with stigmas of radicalism, and even terrorism. Islam is identified with actions that involve violence. For this reason, Liberal Islam intellectuals work hard to put forward the face of Liberal Islamunder Islam that is full of peace, tolerance, moderation, and is even liberal and civilized. The emergence of Liberal Islam intellectuals during the mid-90s has an ideological as well as sociological continuity with previous Islam movements known as Traditional Islam and Modern Islam that emerged at the outset of the 20th century.26 In the course of history, traditional and modern thoughts represented by the mainstream which are NU and Muhammadiyah27 have ignited new thoughts

intellectual should provide alternatives for the Islamic community that is not only symbolic, but also substantive. Islam, according to them is a religion that aspires for progress and rejects transgress. For these reasonsthrough their institutions, and characteristic approachesthey develop religious perspectives that are progressive.
26

Mohamad Ali, Islam Muda Liberal, Post-Puritan, Post-Tradisional (Yogyakarta:

Apeiron Philotes, 2006), p. 33.


27

In the discourse of Islamic thought, the conflict between ideological Islam and

cultural Islam, or Literal Islam versus Liberal Islam, is written down in history. What is unique is that both literal and liberal can be found within NU and Muhammadiyah. Thus, we have the literal Muhammadiyah that is identical with the Right, and we have liberal Muhammadiyah that is identical with the Left. The same goes for NU: We have the Right NU and the Left NU. Such mapping has been put out in the open by Indonesian Islamic expertsespecially regarding the Radical Islam phenomenon, such as MMI, FPI, HTI, Ikhwanul Muslimin, and many more that are often associated with the Right. They have high awareness and are strongly WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

through critical reading toward their own traditions: in Muhammadiyah, they criticize the logic structure of Muhammadiyah; and in NU they also criticize the logic structure of NU. Their criticism goes beyond the text. They interpret, and even deconstruct thoughts. This new critical generation created progressive groups that gave birth to reform through the 90s generation.28 In general, their ideological tendency is indeed passionate on criticism toward religious texts, deconstructive, and in certain aspects, characterized with the left-wing side.29 From the wombs of NU and Muhammadiyah, Liberal Islam communities with different focuses and strategies were born, and they continue to expand their issues along with the development of new ideas. However, they are in fact still within the moderate tradition of these two mass organizations. 30 In the post reform era, when many Radical Islam groups surfaced, NU and Muhammadiyah were considered as moderate groups and were believed to be the power of the civil society that could tone down Islam radicalism and militanism that transpired with the open climate of the social political condition of the reform era. TheyNU and Muhammadiyah produced a more moderate Islam that is inclusive and progressive. From there, NU and Muhammadiyah trained apprentices to enter institutions spread out within the community, either in education, social, politics, economy or religion. Unlike the supporters of the Islam fundamentalists or the radicals, the supporters of NU and Muhammadiyah had a relatively high distribution potential, so they spread out

motivated in terms of ideology in strengthening themselves as people who set straight religious practices that are considered not Islamic. Exclusivism and militant sectarianism were then born.
28

Nur Khalik Ridwan, Berharap pada Islam Muda, epilogue in Mohamad Ali, Islam

Muda Liberal, Post-Puritan, Post-Tradisional, p. 150.


29

Nur Khalik Ridwan, Santri Baru, Pemetaan, Wacana Ideologi dan Kritik Muhamad Ali, Gerakan Islam Moderat di Indonesia Kontemporer in Rizal Sukma

(Yogyakarta: Gerigi Pustaka, 2004), p.24.


30

and Clara Juwono (Ed.), Gerakan dan Pemikiran Islam di Indonesia Kontemporer (Jakarta: CSIS, 2007), p. 211. WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

throughout all areas in Indonesia, including the villages. 31 This is why NU and Muhammadiyah are expected to play an important role in the process of democratization in Indonesia, as NU and Muhammadiyah are Islam community organizations that have many members and can hold an important role in the process of democratization, commitment on pluralism, fight for justice, responsive toward the minorities and support the values of civilization and good. 32 The emergence of young Indonesia Islam intellectuals together with the reform wave of Mei 1998 must be seen as part of a new link of reform in the history of Islam intellectualism in Indonesia. Liberal Islamists set out to renew the perspective towards Islam in the context of a world that continues to change. The following passage will illustrate the Liberal Islam movement from the traditionalists represented by NU and the modern Islam movement represented by Muhammadiyah.

NU and Liberal Islam Among the Liberal Islam movements originating from the traditionalists, particularly NU33 that emerged post the reform era, stands Liberal Islam Network (JIL) Jakarta, motored by Ulil Abshar-Abdalla. They have significant contribution in fostering Liberal Islam ideas on secularism, liberalism and pluralism through radio programs, the media, community service advertisements, and publications of books. 34 Another movement was Institute of Islam and Social Study (LKiS) in Yogyakarta. This

31

Jamhari and Jajang Jahroni (ed.), Gerakan Salafi Radikal di Indonesia (Jakarta:

Rajawali Pers, 2004), p. 235.


32

Fuad

Fachruddin,

Agama

dan

Pendidikan

Demokrasi:

Pengalaman

Muhammadiyah dan Nahdlatul Ulama (Jakarta: INSEP, 2006), p.47.


33

Marzuki Wahid, Post-Tradisionalisme Islam: Gairah Baru Pemikiran Islam di

Indonesia, in the Tashwirul Afkar Journal, Edition No. 10 Year 2001, p. 16.
34

www.islamlib.com WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

movement had its own way in packaging programs related to secularism, liberalism and pluralism. LKiS published Islamic books that were critical and transformative, and also conducted research and studies regularly, assisted the community, especially university students, and published the Friday periodicals al-Ikhtilaf. LAKPESDAM (Institute of Human Resource Study and Development) NU Jakarta also has networks throughout Indonesia. In addition to publishing books, holding trainings, researches and community assistance, LAKPESDAM NU also publishes the scientific journal Tashwirul Afkar, where ideas on secularism, liberalism and pluralism were advocated to the readers who the majority were young NU intellectuals. United Development of Islamic Schools and Communities (P3M) Jakarta has developed ideas of secularism, liberalism and pluralism in the language of Islamic schools. During the course of history, P3M has a significant role in maturing the communityespecially NU members in Islamic schoolsin progressive Islamic thoughts, such as the development of Islamic arguments on secularism, liberalism and pluralism.35 These movements are scientific movements that not only conduct studies, but also do research on various religious, philosophical and social theory thoughts. Issues of secularism, liberalism and pluralism have received the main attention.36 Besides bachelors, the background education of most of the people in these movements is diplomas from salafiyah Islamic schools (traditional).37

35

Muhammad Ali, Gerakan Islam Moderat di Indonesia Kontemporer, p. 219-220.

Take a look at Angela Rabasa, et.all. Building Moderate Muslim Networks, particularly the chapter Secular Muslims: A Forgotten Dimension in the War of Ideas p. 121-138.
36 37

Muhammad Ali, Gerakan Islam Moderat di Indonesia Kontemporer, p. 14. Before enrolling in higher education, they usually have received education in

Islamic schools in their villages. As a junior cleric, these young traditionalists undergo two phases. In the first phase, acquaintance with an Islamic school is established, as the school is located in their neighborhood. They are used to studying in two places, formal school (elementary school) in the morning, and in the WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

The word khilafah in the Koran is not meant to establish khilafah Islamiyah. The concept khilafah itself in fact did not emerge until recently. Thus, due to political considerations and many other factors, the concept of khilafah Islamiyah came up. The word al-khulafa al rasyidun that is claimed to be based on Hadith, after I checked, was never mentioned by the Prophet, but came up, during the era of Umar ibn Abdul Azis. (Rachman 2009: 77) Abdul Moqsith Ghazali, received his master and doctoral degrees from UIN Syarif Hidayatullah Jakarta. Besides teaching at UIN Jakarta and Universitas Paramadina Jakarta, he is a Liberal Islam Network (JIL) activist.

The process to become an urban religious school student begins when these youngsters enroll in higher education. Most of them enroll in IAIN or other religious institutions, as their main choice, besides education outside the course of religious education. These youngsters of NU then feel that they are different from the mid-afternoon they recite the Koran with their religion teachers, or take the formal approach through Madrasah Ibtidaiyah. The second stage, after graduating from elementary school, they enroll in a boarding program in certain Islamic schools for two reasons. First, because there is a famous Islamic school in the area. Second, because there is a certain cleric that they look up to as the Patron in the Islamic school they study at. Take a look at Nuriyati Samatan, Dinamika Pemikiran Kalangan Muda Nahdlatul Ulama, Dissertation for the Postgraduate Program, Universitas Padjajaran, Bandung 2007, p. 222-223. WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

others. They realize they have a bond with Traditional Islam (NU) after they interact with othersespecially those from the Muhammadiyah sub-culture or general. Their background as devotees of Traditional Islam is what forms their self-identities when they have become bachelors, and work in Islamic thinking fields in NGOs with NU culture. They form their own image, especially in the thinking concept and the movement developed. The basis of their student organization, besides NU, also includes PMII (Indonesian Islamic Student Movement). Martin van Bruinessenan Islamic scholar in Indonesia from the

Netherlandsdepicted this phenomenon as an incredible event in the phenomenon of Islam in contemporary Indonesia, especially approaching the reform era. Many of the young people were experienced in various activities to develop the community and concerned toward social and economic issues. Student organizations that affiliated with NU, PMII, for several years have become one of the most dynamic student organizations for intellectual debate. In contrast with the modernist Islam students, members of PMII usually master traditional knowledge better, but their reading is more extensive than the traditional curriculum. Modernist students, however, are still influenced by authors, such as [Abu Ala al-] Maududi and Sayyid Qutb. PMII students show a great interest to more radical authors, such as Hassan Hanafi, the Egyptian philosopher. Discussions in their forum aim at the heart of the matter of the underdevelopment of the Third World, economic justice, and human rights, including difficult questions about the rights of women in Islam.38 In general, the NU youth movement is liberal and open, appreciative of new things, but remains pro-people. They have a high tolerance, respect for human rights, and consistency on strengthening civil society. According to Djohan Effendi, who wrote his doctoral dissertation on the development of the progressive young NU at Deakin University in Australiaone of the interesting things of this movement is

38

Martin van Bruinessen, NU: Tradisi, Relasi-relasi Kuasa, Pencarian Wacana Baru

(Yogyakarta: LKiS, 1997), p. 233-234 WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

that these young clerics develop and appreciate new ideas with a foothold in a rich intellectual tradition.39 The presence of young progressive NU intellectuals in this cultural path, is different from the situation when Abdurrahman Wahid played a role in shifting the structure of NU, balancing between the world of Islamic schools with their conservative clerics and stimulating progressive thoughts. These young progressive NU who currently reside in the cultural path are the new wave of "liberal" development in this traditional organization.40 Perhaps these young progressive NU intellectuals in this cultural path have an intellectual awareness so profound that makes them unwilling to be left behind from other Islamic movements which had already made progress in the field of intellectual property, such as young progressive Muhammadiyah intellectuals who are now also growing like mushrooms. These young progressive NU intellectuals rise up and seem to understand the true message of Nurcholish Madjid, that "When a nation fails to understand the past, then what will happen is intellectual poverty."41 According to Martin van Bruinessen, the existence of these progressive young intellectuals who are now a new elite within NU is not separated from the support and protection of a number of figures from the elites of NU, such as Fahmi Syaifuddin, Mustofa Bisri and Abdurrahman Wahid.42 These young NU are referred by Ken Miichi as the urban intellectuals starting from the important role of Abdurrahman Wahid and Masdar F. Mas'udi who are part

39

Also take a look at Marzuki Wahid, Post-Tradisionalisme Islam: Gairah Baru

Pemikiran Islam di Indonesia, p. 16.


40

La Ode Ida, NU Muda, Kaum Progresif dan Sekularisme Baru (Jakarta: Erlanga, Nurcholish Madjid, Jangan Tinggalkan Masa Lalu, in Republika, Friday 25 June

2004), p. xiv.
41

1999, p. 8. Also take a leave at Yasmin, Modernisasi Pesantren: Kritik Nurcholis Madjid terhadap Pendidikan Islam Tradisional (Jakarta: Quantum Teaching, 2005), p. 128.
42

La Ode Ida, NU Muda, Kaum Progresif dan Sekularisme Baru, p. xiv. WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

of the leftist intellectual network as well as being famous figures from NU who have five characters.43 First, "radical" (in the "left" sense and not in the sense of "Radical Islam" which will be discussed later on in this book). The radicalism of young NU emerged in the early days when they took part in cultural avenues and were still students. Stretching of thought and movement began to appear "radical" for example in the IAIN (now UIN) Sunan Kalijaga, Yogyakarta. They were the ones who later joined the LKiS and spread what was known in the early 1990s as "Leftist Islam ".44 Second, "critical". Critical thinking is not only directed at phenomena outside of NU, but also at NU's objective conditions, or as a self-criticism. Criticism mostly done by progressive young NU is criticism of discourse, especially criticism at the yellow book and the established thinking among clerics and the Nahdliyin public (NU).45 This activity is important because the yellow book was never questioned before. Such critical reading seeks social relevance of this book which has for so long been "established" for the Nahdliyin. This critical movement was once halted due to objections among conservative clerics.46 Later on critical reading of the yellow book was followed by Masdar F. Mas'udi through P3M since the reform era (1998), and now it has become a tradition of liberal Muslim intellectuals a generation under Masdar.

43

Nuriyati Samatan, Dinamika Pemikiran Kalangan Muda Nahdlatul Ulama, p. 244.

Also take a look at Ken Miichi, Kiri Islam, Jaringan Intelektual dan Partai Politik: Sebuah Catatan Awal, in Jurnal Tashwirul Afkarl, Edition No. 10 Year 2001.
44 45

Nuriyati Samatan, Dinamika Pemikiran Kalangan Muda Nahdlatul Ulama, p. 229. Andree Feillard, NU vis--vis Negara: Pencarian Isi, Bentuk dan Makna

(Yogyakarta: LKiS, 1999), p. 377


46

Martin van Bruinessen, NU: Tradisi, Relasi-relasi Kuasa, Pencarian Wacana Baru,

p. 221. Andree Feillard, NU vis--vis Negara: Pencarian Isi, Bentuk dan Makna, p. 377. WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

According to me, when a person holds a religion, he must be certain that his religion is the truest of all. At the same time, he must also realize that other people may have the very same certainty, but have different religions or faiths. Such social awareness is what I call as pluralism. Thus, as I am a believer of Islam, I am at utmost certainty that Islam is the truest religion. I also realize that other people will believe that their religions are the truest. (Rachman 2009: 41) Abdul Munir Mulkhan, Professor in Islamic Philosophy Education at the Tarbiyah Faculty of UIN Sunan Kalijaga Yogyakarta. He became the Advisory Board of Pusham UII and Impulse (Institute for Multiculturalism & Pluralism Studies) Yogyakarta. Third, this NU progressive youth movement is out of the structure of NU. The movement which they motor is generally organized through independent nongovernment organizations (NGOs). Through these organizations, creative and enlightening thoughts are created.47 Fourth, "resistance". Resistance is put forward not only against movement which in this book is called "Fundamental Radical Islam," but also against the organizing board of NU.48

47

The development of discourse in NU after the reform era, take a look at, Rumadi,

Post Tradisionalisme Islam: Wacana Intelektualisme dalam Komunitas NU (Jakarta: Fahmina Institute, 2008).
48

Resistance against the organizing members of NU was demonstrated openly

during the Musyawarah Besar of Nahdlatul Ulama Members on 8-10 October 2004 at the Islamic School of Babakan Ciwaringin, Cirebon.

WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

Fifth, progressive young intellectual NU movement is all about openness. Openness is demonstrated through dialogues and accommodation of contemporary thoughts, such as contemporary Eastern thought (Middle East Islam), critical Western thought (such as the Western social philosophy), and accommodation to local heritage, both the locality which is the NU's tradition as well as local treasures in the tradition of Indonesian society. Accommodation is expected to yield a unique Indonesian Islamic thought, which is conceptually capable of bringing locality to modernity. They aspire to globalize Indonesian Islam (globalized Islam). The emergence of the NU Liberal Islam community today has spread widely, from student activities on campus to the formation of new NGOs with a number of agenda for social transformation, whether in the form of discussion of critical discourse, social movements, cultural movements, scientific research and book publishing. The issue of secularism, liberalism and pluralism became one of the issues intensively explored by intellectuals as well as young activists of NU.49

Muhammadiyah and Islam Liberal

In addition to the progressive young NU intellectuals, the young intellectuals of Muhammadiyah began to grow and produce critical discourse. Attempts to translate back to the basic teachings of Muhammadiyah, that is the theology of al-M'n (siding with the poor) pioneered by KH. Ahmad Dahlan50--which is in fact the
49

Very intensive and interesting development has encouraged Rumadi to write a

dissertation during his time at the Graduate School of Universitas Islam Negeri Syarif Hidayatullah, Jakarta, 2006, which was then published as a book entitled, Post Tradisionalisme Islam: Wacana Intelektualisme dalam Komunitas NU (Jakarta: Fahmina Institute, 2008). Nuriyati Samatan also wrote a dissertation on the Dinamika Pemikiran Kalangan Muda Nahdlatul Ulama (Studi Komunikasi Peradaban tentang Transformasi Pemikiran Sosio-Kultural Keagamaan Kalangan Muda Nahdlatul Ulama Dewaasa Ini) in the Graduate Program of Universitas Padjajaran, Bandung, 2007.
50

Mohamad Ali, Islam Muda Liberal, Post-Puritan, Post-Tradisional, p.36. WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

development of Muhammadiyah's charitable efforts in order to solve real life problems of the dlu'af '(poor, oppressed)became their concern. KH. Ahmad Dahlan is known as a person who appreciates various religious groups. He is also known as a friend among Christian pastors and Catholic priests. This is one indication that Dahlan puts forward an inclusive and pluralistic attitude.51 Such attitude is what became the spirit of progressive young intellectuals in Muhammadiyah. Compared to the young NU intellectuals, the social movements of the young Muhammadiyah intellectuals are left behind in pioneering NGOs. NU's younger generation has pioneered the NGO since the 1980s, while such phenomena did not emerge in Muhammadiyah until the latter half of the 1990s. Under Syafii Maarifs leadership, there were at least three Muhammadiyah intellectual communities that began to accommodate the progressive young intellectuals of Muhammadiyah. They are the Center for the Study of Religion and Civilization (PSAP), Maarif Institute, and the Muhammadiyah Young Intellectuals Network (jimm). The emergence of these communities opened a new leaf of Muhammadiyahs journey as an intellectual movement and a new notion in Islamic thought. At the outset, these movements were still limited in Jakarta, Yogyakarta and Malang. Although still new, bursts of their critical thinking has been able to attract the attention of the public, especially members of Muhammadiyah. PSAP Muhammadiyah was initially managed by Pramono U. Tantowi and friends, a study institute that affirm a commitment to realize a democratic and civilized society based on religious and humane values. In the beginning, the Maarif Institute for Culture and Humanity was a committee that would prepare for the 70th anniversary of Ahmad Syafii Maarif by publishing his work and a number of books about him. But given the dynamics of the nation that was leading toward disintegration and a modernist Islamic movement that tends to be politicallyexclusive, the Maarif Institute was compelled to seek new avenues for the crisis by developing a discourse of Muhammadiyah as "the tent of the nation", in the form of
51

Fuad Fachruddin, Agama dan Pendidikan Demokrasi: Pengalaman

Muhammadiyah dan Nahdlatul Ulama, p. 112. WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

an inclusive and pluralistic consolidation of national power. The young intellectuals who are currently developing the Maarif Institute are Raja Juli Antoni and Fajar Riza ul-Haq.52 In addition to PSAP and Maarif Institute, a group of young intellectuals who later associated themselves with the Muhammadiyah Young Intellectuals Network (JIMM) broke through the stagnation or conservatism of Muhammadiyah53 out of their audacity to reinterpret the Koran as the word of God that became the notion of faith in a life that rapidly changes.54 Muhammadiyahs progressive young intellectualsthat will be further described in the passage belowdevelop for an ultimate goal, namely establish a network of young Muslim intellectuals for the enlightenment of reasoning and
52 53

Mohamad Ali, Islam Muda Liberal, Post-Puritan, Post-Tradisional, p. 104-105. Muhammadiyahs development is interesting because it was once indicated by

Nurcholish Madjid who said that Muhammadiyah has ceased to become an organization of renewal, while its counterpart, i.e. NU has in fact experienced renewal. If Muhammadiyah is now progressing to a more conservative and fundamental course, NU is undergoing a liberalization of thought. However, we cannot disregard that the emergence of progressive young people in

Muhammadiyah is the anti-thesis of a group of older generation that are puritans and conservative. Take a look at, M. Dawam Rahardjo, Kata Pengantar: Membaca Shofan, Membaca Masa Depan Muhammadiyah in Ali Usman (ed.), Menegakkan Pluralisme: Fundamentalisme-Konservatif di Tubuh Muhammadiyah (Yogyakarta: Ar-Ruzzmedia-LSAF, 2008), p.15.
54

Pradana Boy ZTF and M. Hilmi Faiq (ed), Kembali ke al-Quran: Menafsir Makna

Zaman (Malang: UMM Press, 2004). This book contains 19 articles by JIMM activists that wrote about new interpretations of the Islamic theology with a Hermeneutics approach. Take a look at the Preface by Moeslim Abdurrahman, Memperebutkan Kebenaran Firman in the latest book by JIMM, Zuly Qodir and friends. (ed.), Muhammadiyah Progresif: Manifesto pemikiran Kaum Muda (Yogyakarta: LesfiJIMM, 2007), p. xxii. WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

conscience, liberation, realizing democracy and social transformation. Their main program is pedagogical humanity through media campaigns, scientific pulpit, organized street lectern; intellectual advocacy and movements for social justice; Publication of ideas and inclusive, tolerant and multicultural Islamic discourse; Promotion of networking among young Muslim intellectuals, across religion, ethnicity and culture to prepare for a future of transformative leadership; and establishment of communication and relationships with various institutions that have a similar concern for understanding and collaboration for social change based on justice and civilization.55 Issues of secularism, liberalism and pluralism are some of the issues developed by these modernist Islamic institutions. According to Zuly Qodirone of the founders of JIMMJIMM is a community of young Muhammadiyah intellectuals who are no longer on the board of Muhammadiyah but still remain a member. They have a style of thinking and methods of interpretation of the Koran that are different from those who become leaders on the region level, county level, as well as the central level.56 The founder of JIMM is Zuly Qodir, Sukidi Mulyadi, and Zakiyuddin Baidhawy. Since its inception in October 2003, with support from Moeslim Abdurrahman and Ahmad Syafii Maarif, JIMM has done many activities regarding the dissemination of Islam, secularism, liberalism and pluralism in Indonesia. Senior members of Progressive Muhammadiyah who partake in the cadre of Muhammadiyahs young intellectuals are Syafii Maarif, M. Dawam Rahardjo, Abdurrahman Moeslim, M. Amin Abdullah, and Abdul Munir Mulkhan. They are the source of inspiration to many young progressive Muhammadiyah intellectuals committed to notions of secularism, liberalism and pluralism, including ideas about
55

Ahmad Fuad Fanani, Jihad Membumikan Pluralisme, Bersatu Menghadang

Fundamentalisme; the paper was presented in the Pluralism, Democracy and Civil Society Workshop at Puncak, Bogor, 6-8 June 2007. The event was organizaed by PSIK Universitas Paramadina.
56

Zuly Qodir, Islam Syariah vis a vis Negara, Ideologi Gerakan Politik di Indonesia

(Yogyakarta: Pustaka Pelajar, 2007), p. 198. WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

democracy, tolerance, human rights and religious freedom. The presence of these young progressive Muhammadiyah intellectuals can be read as the new milestone of revival after Muhammadiyah, though known as the tajdid (renewal) movement, went adrift for so long in scriptural-literary tradition. By way of the young generations way of thinking, that is the liberal-progressive way, these young Muhammadiyah intellectualsborrowing the saying of Moeslim Abdurrahmanwill reap the call of their own history". According to Moeslim, Muhammadiyah needs something to replay the dynamism and reach back progress. Such hope may possibly be met if Muhammadiyah is under the hands of these young progressive, liberal and pluralist intellectuals.

WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

CHAPTER II LIBERAL ISLAM

The development of modern and contemporary Islamic thought cannot be separated from the mainstream agenda of how Islam must endeavor amidst the development of liberalism, or liberal democracy. The struggle between Islamic thought and the empirical reality is on how to build a self image of Islam at the heart of a world that is endlessly changing and developing. This state of affairs bequaths Islamic intellectuals the perplexing task of formulating and providing intellectual solutions. Such inevitability of solutions subsequently gives rise to various orientations of Islamic thought, such as modernity (asraniyah, hadatsiyah), traditionalist (salafiyah), and eclectic (tawfqiyah).57 Even in its development, the emergence of the term "Liberal Islam" has been widely attributed to Liberal Islamic thinkers. The term "Liberal Islam" was first used by Western writers, such as Leonard Binder58 and Charles Kurzman59. According to Luthfi Assyaukanie, as a global movement, Liberal Islam has in fact existed for more than two centuries. Taking the year 1798 as the benchmark, Liberal Islam is now in its 210th year60. According to Lutfi, 1798 is a very historical year. Bernard Lewis calls it a watershed in history and the first shock to the Islamic complacency, the first impulse to westernization and reform. Historians agree that the arrival of Napoleon Bonaparte in Egypt is an important milestone for the Muslim community and also for the Europeans.
57

Take a look at, M. Abid al-Jabiri, Post-Tradisionalisme Islam (Yogyakarta: LKiS,

2000), p. 186.
58

Take a look at, Leonard Binder, Islamic Liberalism: Critique of Development

Ideologies, Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1988.


59

Take a look at, Charles Kurzman (ed.), Liberal Islam, a Sourcebook (New York: Luthfi Assyaukanie, Dua Abad Islam Liberal, Bentara, Kompas March 2, 2007. WORKING TRANSLATION

Oxford University Press, Inc., 1998).


60

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

From the perspective of Liberal Muslims, "Liberal Islam"or liberalismis a supplemental tool in studying Islam so that the religious teachings may live and engage in dialogue with context and reality in a productive and progressive manner. Islam is proposed to be interpreted and presented through a liberal-progressive approach using hermeneutics that is a method of reading and interpreting text, context and reality. In actual fact, the choice to go with hermeneutics was a cognizant decision intrinsically built-in within Liberal Muslims as a method to assist reading and interpretation. As confirmed by Charles Kurzman in Liberal Islam: A Sourcebook, Liberal Islam is merely a supplemental tool for analysis, not an absolute category.61 Liberal Islam defines itself to be contrastingly different with customary Islam and revivalist Islam. Liberal Islam conjures the past for the sake of modernity. The most fundamental element of Liberal Islam is its criticism towards tradition, customary Islam, and revivalist Islam which the liberals call "backwardness". In their view, it will impede the Islamic world from modernity,such as economic progress, democracy, legal rights, and so on. In addition, liberal tradition argues that Islam, when properly understood, is in line withor even a "pioneer" for the course of Western liberalism.62

61 62

Charles Kurzman (ed.), Liberal Islam, a Sourcebook, p. xiii. Islams long history is characterized by three traditions. The first tradition is

customary Islam denoted by a fusion of little tradition and great tradition that are personified as original Islam and pure Islam. Islam that is fused with various little traditions can be considered as Islam that is brimming of bidah and khufarat. Departing from this, the second orientation of tradition known as Revivalist Islam emerged adhering to fundamentalism and Wahabism. This tradition attempts to purify Islam that is fused with little tradition and considered to be non-Islamic and a deviation towards the pure doctrine of Islam with their jargon resuming to the Koran and Hadith. The third orientation of tradition is known as Liberal Islam. According to Kurzman, as a supporter of Revivalist, Liberal Islam defines itself to be contrastingly different with Customary Islam and emphasizes on the concentration WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

Liberal Islam emerged amidst revivalist movements in the 18th century, a prolific period for Islamic debate. In the context of revivalist, Liberal Islam roots back to Syah Waliyullah (India, 1703-1762). Waliyullah saw that Islam was in danger and sought to revitalize the Muslim community by incorporating theology reform into socio-political organizations. He also saw customary Islam traditions to be the source of problems in Islam. Fazlur Rahman, a liberal thinker, summarizes Waliyullahs approaches as follows: Given that it remains associated to the Law, Waliyullah does not stop at schools of medieval Islamic law, but resumes to its original source, the Koran and the Hadith of the Prophet, and recommends ijtihadimplementation of an independent opinions as opposed to taklid against the authorities of the medieval century... He argues that although the fundamental sources of religion and morality of man are the same for each age and climate, they should be able to organize and express themselves according to the ability of the age and certain people... to become a universal religion, Islam must find a means to propagate itself and simultaneously bound by the color and shade of Arabic tradition and lifestyle. However, in different cultures, such means will definitely undergo change.63 Kurzman, identifies three main forms of Liberal Islam. This encompasses the connection between liberalism and primary sources of Islam: the book of revelation (the Koran) and the practices of the Prophet Muhammad (sunna) which together of Islam during its early period to affirm the illegitimacy of religious practices today. Liberal Islam conjures the past for the sake of modernity, while Revivalist Islam restates modernity for the sake of the past. Although there are many versions to the liberalism of Islam, Kurzman believes that there is a red line that connects them all, that is his criticism towards customary Islam and Revivalist Islam traditions. Thus, Liberal Islam is illustrated as an opposition for two orientations at the same time: customary Islam and revivalist Islam. Take a look at, Charles Kurzman (ed.), Liberal Islam, a Sourcebook, p. xvii
63

Charles Kurzman (ed.), Liberal Islam, a Sourcebook, p. xix-xx. WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

establish the basis of Islamic law (shari'a). The first form uses a liberal position or attitude as something that is explicitly supported by the shari'a; the second form states that Muslims are free to adopt a liberal attitude in matters left open by the shari'a to be understood by human reasoning and intelligence; the third form gives the impression that the divine nature of shari'a is open to a diverse range of human interpretations. Kurzman calls these three forms liberal, silent and interpreted sharia.64 "Liberal sharia" is the most influential form of Liberal Islam. There are three explanations. First, "liberal shari'a" avoids accusations of unauthentic authenticity by firmly basing liberal positions in the sources of orthodox Islam. Secondly, "liberal shari'a" states that liberal positions are not merely human choices, but a commandment from God. Third, "liberal shari'a" gives a sense of pride on new inventions; argues that Liberal Islam is "older" than Western liberalism. "Silent sharia" adheres to the interpretation of the Koran in forming its main idea. But the burden of proof is slightly lighter than that of "liberal shari'a" which only needs to show positive commands for the ability of forming human decisions in an abstract manner, rather than liberal practices in particular. So, he moved the whole area of human action from the scholastic area of the Koran, where orthodox education has distinct advantages, and to the area of public debate. The third form of argument of Liberal Islam, and the closest to Western liberal senses or thoughts, states that shari'a is mediated by human interpretation. In this view, sharia is a divine dimension, whereas human interpretation may lead to conflicts and errors. "Interpreted shari'a" denies the claim that orthodox knowledge once reached its final word. "To insist on absolute uniformity of interpretation is neither possible nor necessary. Differences of opinion whose existence is meaningful, must be given a high positive value.65 However, of the three forms of Liberal Islam, according to Kurzman, all are vulnerable to accusations of apostacy, and in particularly potential in the "interpreted
64 65

Charles Kurzman (ed.), Liberal Islam, a Sourcebook, p. xxxiii Charles Kurzman (ed.), Liberal Islam, a Sourcebook, p. lx. WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

shari'a", given the sensitive nature of the challenge to the orthodox. Meanwhile, the form "liberal shari'a" enters the orthodox scientific debate, and the form "silent shari'a" attempts to spread to areas not accessible to orthodox science. There are six notions that can be used as a benchmark on whether an Islamic thought is considered to be "liberal" or not. First, it is against theocracy, that is ideas aspiring to establish an Islamic state. Second, it supports of the idea of democracy. Third, it defends the rights of women. Fourth, it defends the rights of non-Muslims. Fifth, it defends freedom of mind.

Liberalism, both in politics and economics, is in fact not a part of the Islamic world, but the Western world. However, what needs to be underlined here is that: there is no freedom without limitation, unless of course what we want is anarchy. (Rachman 2009: 13) Ahmad Syafii Maarif, Advisor PP Muhammadiyah and founder of the Maarif Institute. He received his MA from Ohio University and his PhD from the University of Chicago. He was once the Chairman of PP Muhammadiyah during the 2000-2004 period.

And the last, the sixth, it fosters the notion of progress. Any person who fosters one of the six ideas above, may be referred to as a follower of Liberal Islam. The notion of Liberal Islam endeavors in integrating Islam and modernity as something inevitable, so that Islam remains capable of answering the social changes that constantly occur. Islam must remain the guardian towards the ultimate historical reality in the midst of the turbulent situation of modernity and the globalization era. Charles Kurzman in Liberal Islam justifies the growing number of liberal notions in the Islamic world in which they differ from the traditionalists. And this is a fact that must be observed wisely, that traditionalism will always lie vis--vis with WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

liberalism.66 The roots of liberalism can in fact be traced back to the tradition of Islam itself. What is meant by Islamic tradition is certainly not only the Koran and Hadith, but also all efforts of interpretation and understanding of these two sources. He found two sources of Islam, namely the philosophical tradition and the tradition of Sufism. These are what Smith considers to be the roots of Islamic liberalism. They have even been around since the early days of Islam. Thoughs or efforts to be critical towards orthodoxy are considered to embed liberal character, both from the

66

What is meant with Islam traditionalism is understanding Islam by adhering to

tradition (turats) from the time of the prophet until today. This means that conserving tradition set by the prophet, his companions, tabiin to jumhur ulama, and salafus shalih must serve as the legal guideline for the sustiainability of the Muslim community. Thus, at times, the tradition itself is more important than the reinterpretation of the Koran. What have been covered through holy books are considered to be sufficient and can contain all issues that develop in the community. Tradition implies a sacral aspect, as conveyed to mankind through revelation and development of the sacral message in the history of the man. It is sent in a way that implies both horizontal sustainability with a vertical source or link that connects every pulse of traditional life discussed through metahistorical transcendent reality. According to Seyyed Hossein Nasr, tradition can mean al-din, al-sunnah and alsilsilah. Tradition is like a tree. Its roots are planted through revelations and throughout time from them grow a trunk and branches. At the heart of the tree of tradition lies religion, and its essence comprise of blessings that originate from revelation which allows the tree to live. Tradition implies a serene Truth that is everlasting, definite, contains eternal wisdom, as well as has continuous implementation of its everlasting principles toward various spatial situations and time. Take a look at, Seyyed Hossein Nasr, Islam Tradisi di Tengah Kancah Dunia Modern, (Bandung, Pustaka,1994), p. 3. WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

discipline of philosophy, Sufism and others. And generally speaking, many liberalism activities in Islam are derived from philosophical tradition and the Sufism theory.67 Luthfi Assyaukanie noted that throughout the 1970s and 1980s, the term Liberal Islam could be considered virtually absent; almost no one mentioned the term. It was not until the 1990s, Leonard Binder, a political scientist from the University of Chicago, used it.68 However, Leonard Binders Islamic Liberalism and Kurzmans Liberal Islam are different in terms of definition and perspective. As acknowledged by Kurzman, Binder uses the point of view that Islam is a subset of liberalism, while Kurzman uses an antipodal approach in which liberalism is a subset of Islam.69 Binder attempts to objectively see the dialogue between Islam and the West and allows it to undergo a series of dialectic process of receiving and giving, including local traditions, while Kurzman emphasizes more on the Islamic context by examining the ideas of Muslim Liberals in the light of Islamic tradition. Kurzmans liberal Islamic model evidently coincides with Islamic modernism.70 Islamic modernism acknowledges the authority of the Koran. Hence, the dynamics of Islamic thought is always within the framework of doctrine, in the sense that the thoughts of the Muslim community are emitted or reflected from religious doctrine, as though nothing else could affect the heritage of Islamic thought. Though the many versions of Islamic liberalism have been acknowledged, there is a red line that can unite them all; criticism toward traditional Islam,

67

Luthfi Assyaukanie, Islam dan Liberalisme, in Hamid Basyaib (ed.), Membela Luthri Assyaukanie, Islam dan Liberalisme, in Hamid Basyaib (ed.), Membela

Kebebasan: Percakapan tentang Demokrasi Liberal, p. 246-247.


68

Kebebasan: Percakapan tentang Demokrasi Liberal, p. 246.


69 70

Charles Kurzman, Liberal Islam: a Sourcebook, the preface. Take a look at, Rumadi, Post Tradisionalisme Islam: Wacana Intelektualisme

dalam Komunitas NU (Cirebon: Fahmina Institute, 2008), p. 152 WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

customary Islam and revivalist Islam.71 Thus, Liberal Islam still pays attention to the pursue of authentic Islam, the "original Islam", which is the "the true Islam". Authentic
71

Charles Kurzman notes, Liberal Islam and Revivalist Islam are often involved in

clashes that protract tensely. In these clases, the liberals almost always become the victim, especially when the state and the authority side to the revivalist. A number of cases, for example, in Muslim states, Farag Fuda, Naguib Mahfudh, Nawal elSadari, Fatima Mernissi, Muhammad Arkoun, and Muhammad Ahmad Khalafullah, Mahmoud Muhamed Thaha, Maulvi Farook, Mohammad Saiid, Subhi al-Shalih, Nasr Hamid Abu Zayd, are names who received the article on freedom of mind. They received a fatwa as kaffir (infidel) as their views were considered to not be in line with the orthodoxy of Islam. Take a look at, Kurzman, Liberal Islam: a Sourcebook, p. xxviii-xxix.2 In Lutfu Assyaukanies view, manifestation of disbelief in the Western world is said to be complete. Even if they still occur, it is a special case and it no longer becomes the central issue. Freedom of mind and expression is truly held high. Take a look at, Luthfi Assyaukanie, Pengafiran di Era Pemikiran: Matinya Kebebasan dan Akal Pikiran in Abd Hakin and Yudi Latif (ed.), Bayang-bayang Fanatisisme: Esaiesai untuk Mengenang Nurcholish Madjid (Jakarta: PSIK Universitas Paramadina, 2007), p. 233-234. In Indonesia, books with Islamic themes, written by Hartono Ahmad Jaiz, Adian Husaini, are written with a provocative and explosive style, while astraying other books that are written by groups with a different orientation to theirs. Hartono Ahmad Jaiz wrote the book Ada Pemurtadan di IAIN memelesetkan IAIN menjadi Ingkar Allah Ingkar Nabi is evidence of resistency for the liberal group. Cak Nur (Ahmad Sahal, Umar bin Khaththab dan Islam Liberal, and Luthfi Assyaukanie (ed.), Wajah Liberal Islam di Indonesia (Jakarta: Jaringan Islam Liberal, 2002), p. 405. Nurcholish Madjid) continues to receive criticism and remarks of disbelief by Adian Husaini even after his death. The book that explains the criticism is written and entitled Kontroversi Kematian Cak Nur. Mentalities of remarks of disbelief and criticism did not cease in the phenomenon of contemporary Islam. It even grew. In fact, the law of apostasy established by Islam lawmakers opposes the religious WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

Islam is: "The authenticity of Islam requires efforts to resume to the Koran and Sunna. (This) is not to obtain justification, but to draw elements for renovation and revitalization of Islamic philosophy. " Truth is, sharia can be defined as a broad religious provision; but it can also be understood by its narrow definition, i.e. a divine revelation, particularly regarding the law. The verses of the Koran that are related to law are sharia, while details are in the form of fikih. Sharia cannot be changed, but require details in order to be implemented by the Muslim community. Due to this, the verses of the Koran must be detailed in the form of fikih. (Rachman 2009: 205) Azyumardi Azra, Professor of History and Director of the Postgraduate Program of UIN Syarif Hidayatullah, Jakarta. He was once the rector of the same university for two periods (1998-2006). He received his MA and PhD in history from Columbia University.

In Luthfi Assyaukanies notean activist of the Liberal Islam Network (JIL) liberalism once triumphed in the history of Islam. Therefore, Islamic thinkers need to continue working hard so that liberal traditions may revive.72 Liberal Islam has a firm genealogy in Islam as their source of energy is the ray orientation that promotes freedom of Islam. It is not a surprise that if Abu Shalih stated that at times the true formula of religious freedom in Islam has only one meaning: freedom to enter Islam and restriction to exitwhich in fact can no longer be said to be religious freedom. Take a look at, Ayang Utriza NWAY, Islam dan Pluralisme di Indonesia: Pandangan Sejarah. In Abdul Hakim and Yudi Latief (ed.), Bayang-bayang Fanatisisme, p. 306 Luthfi Assyaukanie, Islam dan Liberalisme, in, Hamid Basyaib (ed.), Membela Kebebasan: Percakapan tentang Demokrasi Liberal, p. 251.
72

WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

rational reasoning, especially whenever dealing with text (nash), particularly those involving public life, where we are required to distinguish which is the provision relating to a particular historical situation and which is the universal moral principle, such as justice, equality and benefit that are becomes the spirit and purpose of nash itself.73 The history of Islam notes a caliph who is the most inspiring caliph, compared to the other three caliphs. He was not rigid in making laws and placed more emphasis on the spirit and soul of the Koran and Sunna rather than the text; he is Umar ibn Khattab. In Umar's ijtihad for example, the position of reasoning occupies the main sphere. This makes him known as the founder of the ray (reasoning) mazhab. Until today, Umars ijtihad is still considered quite controversial. Islams past is a dynamic and progressive one.74 As an illustration of the dynamic past of Islam, Muhammad Iqbal, in his book Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam suggests an astonishing data: according to him, between the years 800 to 1100 no less than one hundred systems of theology appeared in Islam.75 The Prophet Mohammed has provided creative consciousness for creating a world of new ideas (of Islam) in facing historical forces. This is in contrast to the Sufis who share a more mystical dimension; while the appearance of the Prophet on the face of the earth has incorporated elements of prophecy in the roots of early life. This means that the reality of the Prophets "struggle" is more down to earth and suits the scene and turbulent times of human history.76

Ahmad Sahal, Umar bin Khaththab dan Islam Liberal, in Luthfi Assyaukanie (ed.), Wajah Liberal Islam di Indonesia (Jakarta: Jaringan Islam Liberal, 2002), p. 45.
73 74

Umar, for example once stopped zakat (alms), for muallaf (the poor), yet textually speaking it is required by surat al-Taubah, 60;
75 76

Zezen Zaenal Mutaqin, Menyegarkan Kembali Pintu Ijtihad, www.islamlib.com

Take a Look at, Muhammad Iqbal, The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam (Batu Caves, Selangor Darul Ehsan: Masterpiece Publication, SDN, BHD., 2006), p. 141 and so on. WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

Like Iqbal, Fazlur Rahman also ellaborates on how the early generation of Muslims did not consider the teachings of the Koran and the Sunna of the Prophet (Sunnah of the Prophet) as something static, but essentially as something that moves creatively through different social forms. Rahman considers the actuality of the Prophet's life as a very important tool in understanding the Koran. Within this framework, the dynamics of the value of the Koran finds it momentum. Therefore, the actual reduction of the Prophet's life into formulations that are considered standard would stultify the original Holy Book. Rahman is a figure of neo-modernism Islam and one of the main initiators who outlined Islamic values into a framework of religious humanitarianistic understanding. The most visible outcome is the systematization of Islamic values that although liberal, still remain orthodox.77 Both Liberal Islam and the neo-modernism paradigm78 depart from the same background, that is Islamic modernism. Neo-modernism thought, as demonstrated by one of the figures, Fazlur Rahman, has produced a methodology and perfect theological concepts as well as built a theology that is more rooted to the Koran by using a methodology that leads to liberalism.79 However, continued Rahman, the revivalism movementas mentioned above by Kurzman as opposed to Liberal Islamrevives the meaning and importance of the norms of the Koran in every age. Abd Ala, Dari Modernisme ke Islam Liberal: Jejak Fazlur Rahman dalam Wacana Islam di Indonesia (Jakarta: Paramadina, 2003), p. 47
77 78

Neo-modernism is a term proposed by Fazlur Rahman as a group that emerged as a reaction to those who criticized the weaknesses of modernity, revivalist and traditionalism. According to Fazlur Rahman, the modernist perspective believes that focusing on the existing reality and subsequently seeking the answer in the Koran is the right thing. However, due to the inability of the leaders to create a suitable and appropriate methodology has caused inconsistency in analysis. This has caused them, not only as modernists, to fall into westernism. Such event triggers reaction toward modernist, not only from the traditionalists, but also the neo-revivalists. Neomodernism also means a concept that attempts to deconstruct an established understanding. Take a look at, M. Hasbi Amiruddin, Konsep Negara Islam Menururt Fazlur Rahman (Yogyakarta: UII Press, 2000), p. 22. Take a look also at, Ahmad Amir Aziz, Neo-Modernisme Islam di Indonesia Gagasan Sentral Nurcholish Madjid dan Abdurrahman Wahid (Jakarta: Rineka Cipta, 1999), p. 15. Abd Ala, Dari Modernisme ke Islam Liberal: Jejak Fazlur Rahman dalam Wacana Islam di Indonesia, p. 226.
79

WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

They are a group of pre-modern "fundamentalist-conservative-traditionalists" who rebelled against the interpretation of the Koran that is driven by religious tradition, as a resistance against interpretation which is propped on the intertextual hermeneutics of the Koran.80 Rahman uses the term revival of orthodoxy to address the emergence of the Fundamental Islamic movement. This orthodoxy movement rose to resolve religious damage and outhrust as well as moral degeneration prevalent in Muslim communities throughout the provinces of the Ottoman Empire (Ottoman) and in India. He pointed to the Wahhabi movement which is a revival orthodoxy movement as the movement that is often labeled as fundamentalism.81 Rahman called fundamentalists "shallow and superficial people", "anti-intellectual" with thoughts that do not "trace back to the Koran and intellectual culture of traditional Islam intellectual." The term "fundamentalism" is used negatively to refer to extreme Islamic movements, as seen in Libya, Algeria, Lebanon, and Iran.82

80

Take a look at, Fazlur Rahman, Gelombang Perubahan dalam Islam: Studi Tentang Fundamentalisme Islam (Jakarta: Rajawali Press, 2000), p. 14.
81

Take a look at, Fazlur Rahman, Islam (Bandung: Pustaka, 1997), p. 286. Basically, Fundamental Islam has developed into a jihad issue with an intention to fight for religion. An ideology that often has a function to stimulate militancy and radicalization of the community. In the forthcoming, fundamental Islam is realized in the context of upholding Islam sharia that is considered to be an alternative solution towards national crisis. They intend to conduct Islam sharia based on kaffah with a literal interpretation approach to the Koran. The underlying concept of the fundamentalists in upholding Islam sharia is hakmiyat Allah. That is, acknowledgement on the authority of God and His sharia on the face of the earth, and mankinds submissal towards Him. There is no authority or sharia except His authority and sharia. This has an epistemology implication to all the negations of Allah and everything from Allah as polytheists, disbelievers, wicked and unjust. Take a look at Nasr Hamid Abu Zayd, Kritik Wacana Keagamaan, (Yogyakarta: LKiS, 2003), p. 59-61.
82

Yusril Ihza Mahendra, Modernisme dan Fundamentalisme dalam Politik Islam: Perbandingan Partai Masyumi (Indonesia) dan Partai Jamaat-i-Islami (Pakistan) (Jakarta: Paramdina, 1999), p. 6. WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

Fundamentalism is a global fact and as a response to the problems of modernization it is present in all faiths.83 The fundamentalism movement did not merely rise as a spontaneous response to the advent of modernization, which is considered too far out. All religious people seek to reform their traditions and combine them with modern culture, as do Muslim reformers. When moderate ways are found to be unsuccessful, that is when fundamentalism is born.84 According to them, the truth is a number of doctrines and dogmas that are available in the past. Things that emerge afterwards, being new and modern, should refer to the past. This is one of the characteristics of the most popular Islamic thought: to see the present through the spectacles of the past (al-fahm al-turatsi li al-ashr). What is more, according to them, modernity is part of the past tradition, so what emerges is an all blame and "denial of others" either from "insiders" or "outsiders". Islam then becomes a very exclusive religion: unable to understand progress. Islam is considered as a religion decreed to be defensive as well as offensive.

83

Karen Armstrong, Islam a Short History (Yogyakarta: Ikon Teralitera, 2002), p. 193. Talking about the term fundamentalism, many scholars acknowledge that the use of the term fundamentalism is problematic and inaccurate. According to William Montgomery Watt, this term is basically an old English term from the Protestants that was specifically directed to those who believed that the Koran must be accepted and interpreted literally. The closest equivalent in French is integrism that refers to the same tendency but not under the definition of the tendency among the Catholics. The Sunni fundamentalists accepted the Koran literally, even though in a number of cases it is accepted under certain prerequisites, but there was also a different side to it. The Syiah of Iran, which in a general definition are fundamentalists, is not attached to the literal interpretation of the Koran. Watt defines Muslim fundamentalists as a Muslim community who entirely embraces the conception of the traditional world and intends to maintain it holistically. Take a look at William Montgomery Watt, Fundamentalisme Islam dan Modernitas, (Jakarta: PT Raja Grafido Persada, 1997), p. 3-4. This kind of attitude has of course made the scripturalists receive a pitched disfigure that is fundamentalists. As often displayed, such attitude can be understood as a defensive reaction towards the confidence of the arrogant Western culture, although the heart of the matter in fact goes deeper than that. Take a look at Robert N. Bellah, Beyond Belief: Esai-esai tentang Agama di Dunia Modern (Jakarta: Paramadina, 2000), p. 226-27.
84

Karen Armstrong, Islam A Short History, p. 193. WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

Although not the only thing, the law must be enforced first. This way, the order in running state affairs can be assured. Without it, we can only expect chaos. Freedom requires a legal basis. Through it, the state can serve as a buffer against conflict of interests. (Rachman 2009: 227) Bahtiar Effendy, Dean of FISIP UIN Jakarta. He received his MA degree in Southeast Asian Studies from Ohio University, Athens, 1988 and his MA degree in Political Science from Ohio State University, Colombus, 1991. His Doctor degree in Political Science was from Ohio State University, 1994.

Departing from such understanding, the urgency to critically reinterpret religious texts with a liberal approach echoed by Muslim intellectuals from all over the world felt very important. To mention some of them, Fazlur Rahman (Pakistan, once lived in the United States for a long period, known for his Double Movement methodology), Mohammed Arkoun (Algeria, once lived in France for a long period, known for his "Project on the Critique of Islamic Reasoning"), Mohammed Abied alJabiri (Morocco, known for his as "Project on the Critique of Arabic Reasoning"), Nasr Hamid Abu Zayd (Egypt, known for his "Project on the Critique of the Textuality of the Koran" or the conception of text), Hassan Hanafi (Egypt, known for his "Leftist Project on Islam" or Turts Revolution), Farid Esack (Africa, known for his " Hermeneutics of Liberation" Project), and Ali Harb (Lebanon, known for his "Critique of Islamic Reasoning" Project) and so on. There are two types of Muslim scholars who respond to modernity. On one hand, stands those who adopt Western key ideas and their regulations, some of which are justified by adding citations from the Koran. On the other hand, stands those who gravely refuse modernity and propose an apologetic alternative, based on the literal understanding of the Koran. Due to this partial understanding of the Koran, Fazlur Rahman, in Islam and Modernity, suggested a way out through two movements in the interpretation of the Koranor known as the double movement. WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

This solution was created to resolve the classic modernists who tend to be apologetic towards the West, and the neo-revivalists (fundamentalists) who tend to be scripturalists, by: First, understanding the definition or the meaning of a statement by studying the situation or historic problem in which the statement from the Koran serves as the answer. According to Rahman, before studying specific verses in the light of specific situations, a study on the macro situation regarding the social context of the society at that time (when the Koran was revealed) must be conducted. Second, generalizing the specific answers and stating them as statements that have a general social moral purpose that can be filtered from specific verses in the light of a socio-historic background and ration legis that is often stated.85 If the first step, departs from specific issues in the Koran and seeks to uncover a systematization of general principles, values and long-term goals, the second step must be done from a public view to a specific view that must be formulated and related to the present moment. If these two steps can be run on this understanding, according to Rahman, the commandments of the Qur'an will once again revive and be effectivehave meaning in a perpetually changing social-political situation. Interestingly, although the methodological cycle of Rahmans version of Islam covers two stages: the ethics of the Koran as the first stage, and sociological as the second stagethese two stages require hard work. For example, according to Rahman, efforts to build the ethics of the Koran is more intensive than just providing a sociological interpretation of the Koran based on contemporaty problems. This can be read from his key book, Major Themes of the Koran (1980). Sociological interpretation only covers micro problems of the Islamic community, such as the

85

Take a look at, Fazlur Rahman, Islam dan Modernitas: Tentang Transformasi Intelektual (Bandung: Pustaka, 1995), p. 7. WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

ordinance of the law for Muslim families, family planning, usury (riba) and bank interests, zakat (alms) as tax, slaughter machines, Sunna, Hadith, and revelation.86 In the intellectual world, Rahmans concept has started a serious study of the Koran. For Rahman, only one-tenth of the Koran is visible to the surface while the rest remains submerged in the surface of history. This concept is known as "the theory of the floating tip of the iceberg".87 Rahmans works and research results brings him to the conclusion that there is a need for systematic reconstruction in Islamic thought, particularly in matters relating to the field of theology, philosophy and social sciences.88 The term liberalism in converse cannot be detached from various contexts. People may talk about liberalism in the context of economy People may also talk about liberalism in the Budhy Munawar-Rachman, Dari Tahapan Moral ke Periode Sejarah: Pemikiran Neo-Modernisme Islam di Indonesia, in Asep Gunawan, (ed.), Artikulasi Islam Kultural dari Tahapan Moral ke Periode Sejarah (Jakarta: Srigunting, 2004), p. 460.
86

In Rahmans perspective, sciences regarding the Koran as a disciplinary subject become important references in understanding the Koran in order to receive attention. This is because understanding the Koran without reconstructing these sciences will result in a Koranic understanding, but not a contextual one. This means that reading the Koran will only affirm the sacredness of the Koran, but will not add an accurate significance to the context of today. This is where the importance of hermeneutics comes in as a way to read, comprehend, understand and possibly go beyond meaning. The presence of the Koran in fact does not disregard hermeneutics. It even speaks about it. This is because most of the verses in the Koran must be approached through interpretation. Take a look at Fazlur Rahman, Metode dan Alternatif Neomodernisme Islam, (Bandung, Mizan, 1990), p. 56. Hassan Hanafi in Dialog Agama dan Revolusi states that hermeneutics is not only a science of interpretation or a theory of understanding, but also a science that explains the acceptance of revelation from word level to global level. A science about the process of revelation from letters to reality, from logos to praxsis and also the transformation of revelation from the mind of God to human life. Take a look at Hassan Hanafi, Dialog Agama dan Revolusi, (Jakarta: Pustaka FIrdaus, 1994), p.1.
87

Amin Abdullah, Arkoun dan Kritik Nalar Islam in Kata Pengantar of the book by Johan Hendrik Mouleman, (ed.), Tradisi, Kemodernan dan Metamodernisme: Memperbincangkan Pemikiran Mohammed Arkoun (Yogyakarta: LKis, 1996), p.3.
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context of politics For example, in relation to a democratic government that upholds the principle of the peoples sovereignty and guarantees freedom of thought and expression as another option to a theocratic government I believe, the discourse of liberalism here is more related to the discourse of the freedom to think, particularly in the context of religion. (Rachman 2009: 301) Djohan Effendi, former Chair of the Indonesian Conference of Religion and Peace (ICRP), Jakarta. He was once the General Secretary Staff of the Department of Religion (1973-1978) and the State Secretary Minister (2000-2001).

Rahman implies an understanding that hermeneutics89 is a superior methodological tool. He also explores the theories of hermeneutics when most Muslim intellectuals were oblivious of it. Therefore, in the field of Islamic thought, he is seen as a figure who helped pioneer the application of hermeneutics to understand the text of the Koran. Rereading of the Koran intends to explore how the Koran, as is the issue of hermeneutics, is approached from a disciplinary science. Its epistemologic context is to dismantle the interpretation of the meanings of the Koran

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Hermeneutics is basically a method or a way to interpret symbols in the form of text or something that is treated like a text in order to seek its definition and meaning. The method of hermeneutics requires an ability to interpret an unexperienced past, and bring it to the present. Hermeneutics is expected to become an ideology of the knowledge of Islam that can answer the problems of the mystery of sciences on Islam in answering the challenges of the era and humanity that is plural in terms of all religions, races and global culture. Claims of the truth of religion that tend to be exclusive to all religions are threats toward humanity. The function of hermeneutics in scientific cognition is to make humans aware that religion is not only forces of legitimation and justification, but also a power of transformation and prophetic in building the community. Take a look at Fakhruddin Faiz, Hermeneutika Quran: Antara Teks, Konteks dan Kontekstualisasi (Yogyakarta: Qalam, 2002), p. 9. WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

that is outmoded and does not touch the problems of the social reality of Muslims.90 Rahman formulates the hermeneutics of the Koran, in which the study of history, the sociology of the Koran and Islamic traditions of classical heritage are components that lead to the excavation of the moral ideal of the Koran, the principle of unity in message and its relation to the historical context of the revelation of the Koran.91 In interpreting the Koran, analysis of the context has a quite important role in understanding the events of revelation, because the concept of "revelation" can not be understood except by looking at the context first. This indicates that there is a relationship between reality (the context) and the text. Therefore, asbab al-Nuzul (events occurring and accompanying the revelation of the verses of the Koran) is required to understand the condition. But the context here is more extensive than asbab al-Nuzul, because asbab al-Nuzul is required only to look at special events. Such an assumption is quite prevalent in contemporary Islamic thought, such as Nasr Hamid Abu Zayd, especially when he developed his theory of layers of context, namely the "theory of cultural context" in understanding and interpreting the text of the Koran.92

Sibawaihi, Hermeneutika al-Quran Fazlur Rahman (Yogyakarta: Jalasutra, 2007), p. 4.


90

Ahmad Syukri Saleh, Metodologi Tafsir Al-Quran Kontemporer dalam Pandangan Fazlur Rahman (Jakarta: Gaung Persada Press, 2007), p.83.
91 92

Abu Zayd pointed out that the status of the textuality of the Koran is affirmed by the text of the Koran. First, the word wahy in the Koran is semantically equivalent to the word of God (kalam Allah) and that the Koran is a message (risalah). As the word and message of God, the Koran must be trated as a text. Second, the order of the letters and the verses of the Koran is different from the chronological order of the revelation. The order of the revelation of the Koran (tanjim) reflects the historicity of the text of the Koran, while the structure and the order of it today reflects the textuality. Third, the Koran covers evident verses (ayat muhkamat) that are the mother of the text (umm al-kitab), and ambiguous verses (ayat mutasyabihat) that must be understood on their relation to the first. The presence of these two types of verses require the reader to not only identify ambiguous verses, but also determine which verses are evident and which of them are the key to explain and clarify ambiguous verses. As clarity/ambiguity are characteristics of the textuality of the Koran, then it will automatically determine the type of interpretation. According to Abu Zayd, the text of the Koran must be approached from various readings. One of it WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

No text is free from historical context. As a text, the Koran is no exception, therefore, it is always the subject of interpretation. Throughout the course of history, the Qur'an has become the subject of various schools of interpretation; stating that that the text of the Koran is historic does not mean that it comes from man. However, to declare that the words of the eternal God was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad in seventh century Arabia in a specific region at a particular time and space, is what makes it a historical text. Nonetheless, the words of the eternal God is beyond human knowledge; a historic text can become a subject for historical interpretation and understanding as well.93 According to Abu Zayd, Arabic language, like other languages, is an instrument of communication that can not be separated from socio-historical context. There is no sacredness in language, even when it becomes the instrument of human communication with other agents outside the human world. With its historical bias, the language of the Koran is subject to social prerequisites. Thus, understanding it is also limited to the scope of the socio-human epistemology.94 Text (nash, the Koran) is a "cultural product" (muntj tsaqaf). This means that text is formed in reality and culture with a long process in which the Koran is formed for 20 years. During the long process that occurs, it is the social and cultural dialectic in a society as a reality

is by understanding the Koran as a text in the form of language. If the Koran is the language, there should be a cultural dimension included, which would allow a dialectics between text and context to take place. Abu Zayd realized that the type of interpretation, which he believes borrows the tradition of semiotics, as a final sign of a text is rarely used for political interests. For this reason, he finds it necessary to redefine the essence of text so that we may be more objective when dealing with texts. Take a look at Hilman Latief, Nasr Hamid Abu Zayd: Kritik Teks Keagaman (Yogyakarta: Elsaq Press, 2003), p. 45.

93 94

Hilman Latief, Nasr Hamid Abu Zayd Kritik Teks Keagaman Text, p. 45.

Luthfi Assyaukanie (ed.), Wajah Liberal Islam di Indonesia (Jakarta: Jaringan Islam Liberal, 2002), p. xxi. WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

that determines how the text was then addressed.95 The Koran itself qualifies as a treatise, which represents the relationship between the sender and the receiver through the medium or system of language. Realities that govern human movement into the target text and the recipient of the first text (the Apostle), and culture is manifested in the form of language. Thus, study of the text departs from empirical reality conditions.96 Hermeneutic approach in the attempt to apply the framework objective (mawdl') and the science to analyze and interpret religious texts, is composed of two main elements in which between them there is a relationship between dialectics. First, is the historical aspect in the semiologic sense which aims to place these texts in context as an attempt to prepare the original meaning, then enter the historical context, and furthermore the specific language context of the texts. Second, drawing on the real meaning and bringing it into the frameworks of contemporary sociocultural and practical destinations (ghyah), so that it may explain the charge of ideological interpretation of the original historical meaning. A productive reading will result in movement between the dimensions of origin (ashl) and goals (ghyah) or between the meaning (dalalah) and its significance (maghz).97 Meanwhile, Mohamed Arkounan Islamic thinker in Francehas done what he calls a "criticism of Islamic reasoning", namely Islamic reasoning as it developed and functioned at a certain period. Islamic reasoning, the object of Arkouns criticism, can be criticized because according to him, Islamic reasoning is not the only way of

95

The Arab-Islam civilization is known as the civilization of text. It is a civilization that affirms the principles of epistemology and its tradition as a basis of attitude that does not disregard the centre of the text it contains. What Abu Zayd means by text is the Koran. In other words, the Islam civilization positions text as the pivotal center. Take a look at Ulil Abshar Abdalla, Inter-Tekstualitas Quran dan Wahyu Yang Hidup: Upaya Konstruktif Menghindari Bibiolatry, www.islamlib.com
96

Take a look at Hilman Latief, Kritik Wacana Keagamaan Nashr Hamid Abu Zayd, p. 23. Take a look also at Nashr Hamid Abu Zayd, Hermeneutika Inklusif:Mengatasi Problematika Bacaan dan Cara-cara Penakwilan atas Diskursus Keagamaan (Jakarta: ICIP, 2004), p.9.
97

Take a look at M. Hanif A., Nashr Hamid Abu Zayd, in A. Khudhori Sholeh (ed.), Pemikiran Islam Kontemporer, (Yogyakarta: Jendela, 2003), p. 370. WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

thinking and understanding in Islam. Arkoun uses a historical-critical method (manhajiyat al-naqd al-trkh) to perform criticism of Islamic reasoning. Arkoun saw the need for a critical method for reading the history of the Arabic Islam thought. He departed from issues regarding historical reading or problems of historicism and the issue of interpretation (hermeneutic). With historicism, Arkoun aimed to see the whole socio-cultural phenomena through a historical perspective in which the past should be seen by its history.98 According to Arkouns perspective, data on the life of the early generation of Islam that are presented in classical books will interject information and new meanings when approached with new perspectives, especially when using the historical hermeneutic method. Since every author, text, and reader can not escape from the social, political, psychological, theological and other contexts in space and time, in understanding history what is needed is not only a transfer of meaning, but also a transformation of meaning. Understanding Islamic tradition is always open and never finished, because its meaning and comprehension is always evolving as the Muslims who are always involved in the reinterpretation from age to age. In Arkouns view, at least three conclusions emerge when we approach the Koran and

In some of his works, among them are Berbagai Pembacaan Quran, Arkoun also revealted how the Koran could be read in the first place because it could be interpreter in many ways. These are what inspired Arkoun to venture on an exporation towards the many meanings of the Koran. Thus, for Arkoun, the main condition in order to reach openness (enlightenment) of Islamic though in the middle of the modern world is through deconstruction toward the episteme orthodoxy and dogmatism of the Middle Ages. In lifting the meaning of the Koran, the first thing most avoided by Arkoun is pretention to establish a true meaning of the Koran. This is because Arkoun did not want to standardize the meaning of the Koran in a certain way, except by presentingin the most possible wayvarious meanings. For that, reading requires three moments: A linguistic moment that allows us to find a basic order under the visible order; An anthropological moment to understand the language of the Koran that has a mystical order and; A historical moment in which we establish our span and limitations of logico-lexicography interpretation and imaginative interpretations that until today have been practiced by Muslims. Take a look at Luthfi Assyaukanie, Tipologi dan Wacana Pemikiran Arab Kontemporer, Jurnal Pemikiran Islam Paramadina, Vol. I No. 1, July-Desember 1998, p. 77. Take a look also at Mohammed Arkoun, Berbagai Pembacaan Quran, (Jakarta: INIS, 1997), p. 48.
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Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

Islamic tradition. First, the truth of the statements in the Koran will only be evident in the future. Second, the truth in the Koran is layered or has plural dimensions, so that plural interpretation toward the content of the Koran is common or even desired by the Koran itself. Third, there exists a doctrine and Islamic tradition that is historical, and requires multiple readings and creation of new tradition.99 If such an approach is developed, the implication will be quite significant, as deconstruction (dismantling) of interpretation of the text of the Koran in which part of its conclusions has been considered to be standard and final will take place. Arkoun explains how although the human mind is bound by language, uncaptured by language, dismantling is possible. Thought is still a free activity. Therefore, critical thinking can create a way out of "confined logosentric".100 Religion should be viewed from two directions. On one hand, religion is viewed as a standard teaching, such as the pillars of Islam, the pillars of faith and so on. However, religion can also be viewed from a maximum angle, that is Islamic teaching that includes various aspects, including morality or akhlak. All of these can be run by the society, and not the state. As the state is co-

99

Johan Hendrik Mouleman (ed.), Tradisi, Kemodernan dan Metamodernisme (Yogyakarta: LKiS, 1996), p. 26. The term logosentrism was popularized by Jacques Derrida who stated that truth in this world is merely due to a logic result of two elements with binary oppositions, in which one is the alibi of the other, and the other is accepted to be more superior than the other: the soul is transcendental and true. It is proved by the existence of the body that is visible to the eye and is isleading; the man exists and he has power, the proof lies in women who are weak. Take a look at Yasraf Amir Pilliang, Sebuah Dunia Yang Dilipat, Realitas Kebudayaan Menjelang Milenium Ketiga dan Matinya Posmodernisme, p. 138. Within this binary opposition, according to the Western philosophy, the terms that were first considered superior, and according to Derrida this term contains Logostruth or truth from the truth. While the second term is only intermediary or an imitated truth. Take a look at Yasraf Amir Pilliang, Hiper-realitas Kebudayaan, (Yogyakarta, LKis, 1999), p. 7
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owned. (Rachman 2009: 13) Abdurrahman Wahid, the late Abdurrahman Wahid is the founder of WAHID Institute. Former President of Republic of Indonesia (1999-2001), he was once the Honorary President at the International Islamic Christian Organization for Reconciliation and Reconstruction (IICORR), London.

Arkoun is known as a deconstructionist thinker. Luthfi Assyaukanie, categorized Arkoun into reformistic typology. Arkoun was influenced by the thoughts and philosophy of French contemporary movements, especially the movement of (post) structuralism. Arkoun believed that the problems faced by Islamic thinkers is a problem of reading tradition, whether in the form of text and reality. According to them, the most modern and most powerful way to read the tradition (turts) is deconstruction.101 Like Arkoun, Jabri stressed the necessity to repackage tradition or turts in order to suit modernity. Such process of repackaging was formulated in three volumes of his monumental work, which he called a "Criticism Project of Arab Reasoning" (al-'Aql naqd Masyr al-'Arabi). However, in his works, Jabri not address issues such as orthodoxy, revelation, myth, imaginary, or other symbols of the dominant theological issues, such as in the works Arkoun. Jabri departs from the methodological question "How to interact with turts?" To answer that question, Jabri felt it necessary to redefine the meaning of turts. According to him, turts is something that is present and accompanies our contemporary condition and comes from our past or the past of others. Such past is a distant future or a near future",102 i.e. a legacy of the past in the history of a nation that takes the form of behavior, work ethic, achievement of cultural and scientific Take a look at Luthfi Assyaukani, Tipologi dan Wacana Pemikiran Arab Kontemporer, Journal of Islamic Thought Paramadina, Vol. 1 Number 1, JulyDecember 1998, p. 75-80.
101 102

M. Abid al-Jabiri, Post Tradisionalisme Islam (Yogyakarta: LKiS, 2000), p. 24. WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

works. Furthermore, turts according to Jabri is a historical problem that oscillates among each other, complements each other, criticizes each other, and even trips each other. Therefore, it cannot be studied with a "historical materialism" approach as commonly used by the Orientalists, but it should be assessed with special methods, namely: structuralist, in which review must be based on the texts as they are; historical analysis, to see the whole scope of culture, politics and sociology; ideological criticism, to uncover the ideological function, including political functions contained in a text or a certain thought.103 Then the question posed by Jabri is, "How to read these texts?" According to Jabri, in the end the issue is ultimately foundered on the question of authority (sulthah), namely who has the authority in determining the readings; the reader or the reading, us or the turats? According to him, turts should be seen as a wellestablished structure that is "a system of fixed relations within the framework of change and transformation". Therefore, in the dialectic of readers and reading, and regarding the issue of who holds the authority, there are three models of how turts must be addressed: first reading turts in the framework of modernity. The second is reading turts in the framework of turts; and the third is reading modernity in the framework of turts. Among these three options, Jabri went for the first, arguing that if it was not decided quickly, the authority will move to the second and the third, and that would be very dangerous. In other words, the problem of authority is not only limited to turts and reading of turts, but also what is more dangerous is measuring everything including modernity in the frame of turts. Therefore, in the face of both (tradition and modernity) we must take a firm stand that is we should criticize classification of the intellectuals in relation to the dichotomous "tradition and modernity", i.e. the classification of the modernists, the traditionalists and the selectivists. The first, tend to deny turts and accept modernity at face value, the second vice versa, and the third claim to unite the two by being

Take a look at Luthfi Assyaukani, Tipologi dan Wacana Pemikiran Arab Kontemporer, Journal of Islamic Thought Paramadina, Vol. 1 Number 1, JulyDecember 1998.
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Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

more fair to turts and modernity. For Jabri, tradition and modernity appear in front of us just like that, without our power to choose so. Both come with their own power of discourse, as an offer of idealistic authoritarian. Turts come from the past through hereditary succession. No one is able to reject a legacy and a past that one grew up with. Likewise, modernity, came imposed without us being able to resist it. We are never given the freedom to choose one from both or leave them both. So how should we act? According to Jabri, as long as we are never asked to choose one over the other, or refuse both, then what should be done is act critically toward both; turats and modernity with the true meaning of criticism. Amid such criticism did Jabri implement his deconstruction method. For him, the first thing is deconstruction of turats as long as turats are considered to be the longest to stuck and unite with Arabic reasoning. The method of deconstruction used by Jabiri at first was in the form of analysis. This means that the first job that must be done by an Arabic intellectual is to analyze the structure of a well-established building by studying the relation among elements that create and unite the building. After structual analysis, then change or dismantling of the structure takes place. From here, deconstruction is intended to change the permanent and bring change, the absolute to the relative, the a-historical to the historical.104 The methodology used by al-Jabri in reviewing the issue of tradition is through the "objectivism" (mawdl'iyah) approach and "rationality" (ma'qliyah) approach.105 Objectivism means making tradition more contextual than itself, and separating itself from our contemporary condition. This stage is deconstruction, that is liberating oneself from a priori conditions on tradition and present desires by separating the analyzing subject and the analyzed object. On the other hand, what is meant with rationality is by making tradition more contextual with our contemporary condition. The second state is reconstructing new thoughts by relating the subject and object of analysis. What al-Jabiri means is that this in done in order to achieve a holistic reading toward tradition.

104 105

Luthfi Assyaukani, Tipologi dan Wacana Pemikiran Arab Kontemporer. M. Abid al-Jabiri, Post Tradisionalisme Islam, p. 24 WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

To aviod interpretations that lead to stigmatization or exclusivism, al-Jabri raised the dimension of rationality in the Islamic tradition. He said one factor in the slow modernization of the Muslim world is due to rationality in the Islamic tradition that has "suspended in animation". The barrenness of ijtihad in the kalam and legal traditions is closely related to the cessation of the rationalist movements step to make sense as a demonstrative mechanism of the empirical truth. A quandary in the mind is due to an expanding textuality that occurs in the Islamic World. For this reason, the emphasis of this contemporary Muslim intellectual from Morrocco is the choice of making burhani (demonstrative-rationalist method) as an alternative to textual tendency (bayani) and gnostic ('irfani). For al-Jabiri, historically the epistemology system indication or explication (bayani) is the earliest epistemology system in the Arabic school of thought. 106 This system is very dominant in basic sciences, such as philology, jurisprudence (fikih), the science of the Koran (interpretation, hermeneutics and reading), dialectic theology (kalam), and non-philosophical literary theory. The bayani approach is a philosophical study on the structural system of knowledge that places text (wahy) as the absolute truth, while the mind is placed on a secondary level, and functions to explain and defend the existing text. In other words, the bayani people only work on text level (nizam al-kitab) above the mind level (nizham al-aql). For this reason, the power of this approach lies in language, both on the grammatical and structural levels (nahwu-sharaf) as well as literature (balaghah: bayan, mani and badi). The burhani approach or the argumentative rational approach is an approach that props on the power of ratio that is conducted through logic statements. This approach makes the reality of the text as well as the context as the source of study. In the burhani approach there is the talili method that attempts to understand the reality of the text based on rationality; and the method istishlahi that attempts to approach and understand the objective reality or context based on philosophy. This reality covers natural reality (kawniyah reality), historical reality (tarikhiyah), social
106

Take a look at Muhammed Abid al-Jabiri, Kritik Kontemporer atas Filsafat ArabIslam (Yogyakarta: Fajar Pustaka, 2003), p. xxi. WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

reality (ijtimaiyah) and cultural reality (thaqafiyah). In this approach, text and contextas two sources of studyare located in one interrelated area. Text does not stand alone, it is always related to the context that surrounds and creates it as well as the context from where the text is intended to be read and interpreted, so that understanding of bayani will strengthen. For this reason, understanding the reality of social-religious life and social islamic life will be more sufficient when sociological (ijtimaiyah), anthropological (antrupulujiah), cultural (tsaqafiyah) and historical (tarikhiyah) approaches are used. The irfani approach (implementation of the intuitive-esoteric analysis), on the other hand, is expected to capture the essential meaning or the deepest meaning that is hidden beneath text and context. If the basic assumption or bayani paradigm focuses more on the text as a linguistic phenomenon, the burhani paradigm focuses more on text as something that is related to context, and the irfani paradigm focuses more on text as a symbol and sign (al-ramziyah wa al-ima) that requires reading and dismantling of the deepest meaning (batin) of symbols and signs by involving emotional, intellectual and spiritual intelligence. Within religious dialectic context and the plurality of the tradition of arts or local culture, the irfani approach like the burhani approach has two important tasks that is: first, reading the deepest meanings of symbols and signs of religious texts (nushush al-diniyah); and second, reading the deepest meanings of symbols and signs that are embedded in the form of the tradition of arts or local culture. The substance of new religious notions, such as Liberal Islam or whatever they are named, should not be trapped in the tendency of which class we are in. Another point that needs to be taken into consideration is we should not waste our energy only to be at service to clashes of thoughts, and be indifferent and forget to focus our energy on eradicating poverty,

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uphelding economic justice and so one; which are more essential. (Rachman 2009: 417) Fachry Ali, the Director of the Institute of Studies and Develoment of Indonesian Working Ethics (LSPEUI). He received his MA from Monash University, Australia. He was also actively involved in LP3ES.

Based on these three approaches, it is hoped that the issue of the relation between religion and the plurality of the art of tradition can receive comprehensive, integral, and holistic explanation containing norms, history and spirituality, so as to becoming the base for actual policy in developing cultural strategy and tadjid of religious thought.107 Through bayani, burhani and irfani epistemology, al-Jabiri affirms that Islam in its historicity definition, is not one, but is varied according to the type of approach that is taken. The meaning embedded in the Koran is thus not final and absolute. The historicity side of religion must be further explored so it may be engaged in dialogue with present day reality. The tradition of epistemology criticism opens space for criticism toward established knowledge, including in it understanding on religion. Criticism on the criticism of truth must continue as there is no absolute truth, including truth on religious knowledge. Amin Abdullah mentions the third epistemology approach above as al-tawil al-ilmi that attempts to make text, or to be precise individual, group, mazhab, orientation, organization, and cultural understanding of text, an object to be analyzed by new Islamic knowledge. Al-tawil al-ilmi makes use of classic, modern and contemporary hermeneutic approach.108 The al-tawil al-ilmi approach as an alternative interpretation approach for text uses the circular path of hermeneutic that

107 108

Muhammed Abid al-Jabiri, Kritik Kontemporer atas Filsafat Arab-Islam, p. 2-6

Take a look at Amin Abdullah, Islamic Studies di Perguruan Tinggi: Pendekatan Integratif Interkonektif (Yogyakarta: Pustaka Pelajar, 2006), p. 221 WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

truly engages in dialogues among bayani, burhani, and irfani epistemology paradigms in a circular motion that controls, criticizes, improves, and perfects the disadvantages in each paradigm, especially when each stands alone, separated one from the other. Along with Arkoun and al-Jabiri, Ali Harb believes that reconstruction of mind is nonsense when the deconstruction process towards the text that has produced reasoning is not conducted.109 And from this criticism toward reasoning, it continues to textual criticism. The reason is because these texts are the ones behind the reasoning. Ali Harb stated that texts created in the past no longer need to be read as it will dismantle the present. As texts are something that cause reasoning, assessment, belief and are also understood as something that exist, then each text has a strategy to maintain existence, that is by covering (hijab) other texts. From here, openness towards texts with regard to differences and plurality becomes possible. If the text isnt as so, that is it is not open to possible various readings, then the reader will not change and its significance becomes limited during each reading. What is more, every reading towards a text is a reading within it that is reading that is active productive, reforms the text, and produces meaning. There are three intrinsic elements in the process of understanding texts. First, it enters the mind of the author. In the case of the Koran, God is pictured as the author. A Muslim needs to enter the mind of God. In the mystical tradition of Islam, there was a methodology of piety that is combined with knowledge to produce meaning. For this reason, God has a direct role in understanding text; this makes Muhammad as the key to produce meaning. For Fazlur Rahman and the traditionalists, meaning lies within a text and can be revealed by the pure mind. This is known as a personal approach. The real problem is how to implement this approach consciously in the social-political arena or to the domain of public morality in a certain way.

109

M. Kholidul Adib, Menggugat Teks dan Kebenaran Agama, www.islamlib.com WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

Second, the readers are humans who are with many conditions. The active participation of the reader in producing meaning means receiving the text and extracting meaning from itin which before there was no meaning in the reader as the previous reader. Bur receiving and reading, and meaning are always partial. Every reader enters the interpretation prcess with pre-understanding of the issues within the text. Meaning is always different in the structure of understanding. Thus, there is no perfect interpretation, there is no perfect reader and there is no perfect text. Pre-understanding is the prerequisites of living in history. We need to be able to distinguish between self and the condition where the self is. Disregarding ambiguity in language and history and their impacts on interpretarion will cause uniformity among normative Islam and what the people of faith think. Third, interpretation does not run far from language, history and tradition. The past is the present. Whoever uses the language having pre-understanding are halfconscious and those who are often not conscious on the history and the tradition of language. We cannot run away from all of this. The meaning of a word is always in process. Using a word means participation in the historical process of meaning that perpetuates. The literal meaning of a saying is always problematic and is never free from values. This is particularly related to symbolic and pure sayings. The plurality of language and the ambiguity of history cannot be hindered in the efforts to understand it. The problem of language is not limited only to the reader but also expands to tradition of the text being read. The act of interpreting anyting is participation of the linguistic-historic process. Formation of such tradition and participation takes place in a certain space and time. Our attitude to the Koran also occurs within these boundaries; we cannot get escape and place ourselves outside language, culture and tradition.110 The Koran is a text. And a text cannot be separated from context. Thus, the text of the Koran cannot be separated from the context of Saudi Arabia 14 centuries ago, the place where the Koran was revealed. The basic context itself has preceded Farid Esack, Al-Quran, Liberalisme, Pluralisme: Membebaskan yang Tertindas (Bandung: Mizan, 2000), p. 75-76
110

WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

the text. The text of the Koran is the result of a heterodoxy process, attitude, and the answer of Muhammad in the context of Saudi Arabia at that time. Thus, the Koran is designed, constructed and interpreted based on its context. This way the approach to read the Koran must be deconstructedborrowing Ali Harbs wordsa creative reading system. A creative reading system that dismantles the meaning of truth that has not been revealed through the text made Ali Harb question the meaning of essence or truth. As truth or essence exists, then they must be absorbed based on what is written in the form of texts that in fact cover the essence or other truth that is not revealed through the text. It is from here that criticism of truth emerges. From criticism of text (naqd al-nash), moving on to religious truth. The truth that all this time has been revealed by religions as standardized in their religious texts. In the religious truth criticism (naqd al-haqiqah al-dini), we must criticize our own religion before criticizing others.111 Texts must be understood again on a more expanded note in order to avoid monolithic, non-varied and lack of variety understanding. As this will only escort us back to a theological-dogmatic thought and understanding. Critical attitude toward religious texts is not only the agenda of Islam, but also the agenda of all religion as religion holds universal values, such as justice, freedom, egalitarianism, democracy and so on. This way, a deconstruction of understanding toward the interpretation of the Koran that is literalist-scripturalist, rigid, non-flexible, textual should be conducted urgently. At least there are a number of reasons why we must conduct deconstruction toward the language of religion and how we can do it. Among them include:112 First, the Holy Book as the word of God that has been revealed through space and time, while humans who are the purpose continue to develop in building their civilization. Through the heritage of the culmination of civilization that has been passed down, the modern society may develop without referring to the holy book.
111 112

Take a look at Ali Harb Kritik Kebenaran Agama (Yogyakarta: LKiS, 2004), p.8.

Komaruddin Hidayat, Melampaui Nama-nama Islam dan Postmodernisme, www.filsafatkita.f2g.net WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

Hence, the position of the holy book becomes increasingly unfamiliar although without us knowing it, the substance of it and various of its teachings is applied by the society. Next, all languages, including the language of holy books, have a local limitation as language is a cultural reality. On the other hand, the messages and the truth of religion that are embedded within local language have universal claims. Here, the language of religion will have its sophistication tested to contain the messages of religion without having to undergo anomaly or be shackled by the language it uses. Third, when the language of religion is made scared, several possibilities emerge. It is possible that the message of the religion is maintained strongly, but there also lies a possibility that the fundamental meaning and message of the religion is caged within the text that has been made sacred. Fourth, the Holy Bookbesides the codification of the law of Godis a record of the dialogue of God with a history in which the presence of God is represented by His prophet. When the dialogue is notulated, there is a big possibility for a reduction and an impoverishment of ambiance to occur so that the dialogue between God and humans loses it spirit when after hundreds of years what is left of it is in the form of a text. Fifth, when the society is faced with an epistemology crisis, returning to the text of the Holy Book that has been made sacred will be more calming compared to taking a deconstruction notion that moves toward the direction of relativism-nihilism. Sixth, the more autonomous and developed human mind becomes, the more autonomous humans become in following or refusing teachings of religion and the holy book. More than that, when people read the holy book, it is possible that what is truly happening is in fact a process of critical dialogue between two subjects. Thus, instead of interpreting and asking for fatwa from the holy book, people tend to position the holy book as a friend to engage in dialogue that is free from domination.

WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

Such are the main arguments from Liberal Islam on why liberalism is needed for religious thinking. What have been mentioned above are only a number of examples to show that what is the main concern of their thought is the freedom to think. Humans are created by God with a free condition. Freedom is the largest blessing given by God to human. Freedom of expression is an individual right that no one can stop. Even in a verse of the Koran, God does not prevent His creations to express their opinions (Q. 2:30). Freedom of expression is part of the requirements for a progressed society. A society that is restricted and cannot express their opinion is a society that is stagnant and does not have a future.113 Besides that, they also suggest to open widely the gate of ijtihad, provide freedom to interpret religious doctrines, and review the tradition and the variety of religions for the Muslim community. The red line that can be concluded from a number of Liberal Islam intellectuals is the feeling and the passion to liberate the Islamic community from shackles of backwardness and rigidity from the past five centuries. This shackle is considered to be the main cause of the helplessness of the Muslim nations in front of foreign nations that are more progressed. Only by rebuilding the perspective and their attitude toward variety, this condition can be improved. If we take a look at the history written by Marshall Hodgson, The Venture of Islam, it is evidently seen how Islam once gave birth to a huge civilization. The freedom to think and express creation in the Islamic World filled the empty spaces of global civilization. However, today the role of Islam has been cornered and sunk in ritual. For this reason, liberalization movement is required to make text, logic, and civilization balanced.114 The dialectics of the three is without question. If not, then the Islamic World will once again fall into stagnation and necrosis. The following passage will show how the necessity of Islamic Liberal thought in Indonesia also develops like other parts in the Islamic World.
113 114

Luthfi Assyaukanie, Islam Benar vs Islam Salah (Jakarta: Kata Kita, 2007), p. 69.

Komaruddin Hidayat, Islam Liberal dan Masa Depannya, Repubika, 17 July 2001. WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

The Discourse of Liberal Islam in Indonesia In Indonesias context, there is a special book written by Greg Barton in 1995 on the emergence of liberal thought among Indonesian intellectuals. This book was then translated into Indonesian language entitled The Notion of Liberal Islam in Indonesia: Neomodernism Thoughts of Nurcholish Madjid, Djohan Effendi, Ahmad Wahib, and Abdurrahman Wahid, published by Paramadina, in 1999.115 From a number of modernist groups, Islamic neo-modernism was born in Indonesia and represented by figures, such as Nurchoish Madjid and Syafii Maarif that then underwent a metamorphosis into Liberal Islam.116 Liberal Islam thought, which is often shorten into Islib and them popularized by a group of youngsters by establishing a network of cooperation in and out of the country, which they named Liberal Islam Network (JIL). By understanding liberalism as liberation of a person from the bars of a despotic system, unfair and forceful, without

granting space to individuals to think rationally, and be conscious of their future actions. (Rachman 2009: 447) Faqihuddin Abdul Kodir, a teaching staff at STAIN Cirebon who was once the Director of the Fahmina Institute, Cirebon. and be responsible to their

115

Take a look at Greg Barton, Gagasan Islam Liberal di Indonesia: Pemikiran NeoModernisme Nurcholish Madjid, Djohan Effendi, Ahmad Wahib, dan Abdurrahman Wahid (Jakarta: Paramadina, 1999)
116

Take a look at Rumadi, Post Tradisionalisme Islam Wacana Intelektualisme dalam Komunitas NU, p. 141 WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

Liberal Islamic movement in Indonesia discovered its momentum in the early 1970s, along with the political transformation from the Soekarno era to the Soeharto era. This movement was triggered by the emergence of a generation of new clerics who had more opportunities to study Islam and conduct a more serious reflection on various social-religious issues. As mentioned before, the most important figure in the reform movement is Nurcholish Madjid, a Muslim scholar who met all the requirements to become a reformist. Born and raised in a cleric family, Nurcholish is a writer and an incredible public orator. He mastered Arabic and English. His fluency talking about social science theories was as good as his elaboration on the variety of Islam. Nurcholish is the perfect successor of the Islamic reform movement that began in Indonesia since the 19th century. His concern, bravery and carefulness in reading the political anthropology of the Indonesian community in the end helped build the right cultural strategy to change the perspective towards Islam that was sectarian, communal, traditional and exclusive. He also became an example of how a prominent Muslim Indonesian intellectual saw religion face to face with the challenges of modern culture.117

117

According to Luthfi, Muhammad Tahir Djalaluddin (1869-1956) is Muhammad Abduhs most accomplished student in spreading the notion of Islamic reform in Indonesia. After he finished his study with Abduh, he left Egypt. Due to an inconvenient political situation, he did not return to Indonesia, but stopped-over at Singapore to begin spreading reform notions there. In Singapore (1906), he founded the Islamic magazine, al-Imam. This name was inspired from Abduhs nickname. Abduhs students are loyal and love him very much. In Egypt, they set up a discussion group known as madrasat al-imam and founded a political party known as hizb al-imam. Through Djalaluddin, the notion of reform and liberalism of Islam in the Middle East was spread in Indonesia and Malaysia. Al-Afghani and Abduhs writings in al-Urwah al-Wutsqa and al-Manar have been translated and pubished in al-Imam. Themes on progress, freedom, and women emancipation characterize this magazine. Al-Imam became the first Islamic media to spread the notion of liberalism Islam in Indonesia. In 1911, another Islamic magazine, al-Munir, was published in Sumatera. The founder, Abdullah Ahmad, is a student of Ahmad Khatib, a Malay reformist who resided in Mecca. This magazine, alongwith al-Imam, became the vocal point of the young generation in spreading the notion of Islam Liberal. Entering Indonesias independence, movements on Islamic reform declined. Islamic figures focused their energy on achieving and characterizing Indonesias independence. Most were WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

As an Islamic reformist who was categorized into the neo-modernist thought, the thoughts of Nurcholish Madjid is thoroughly based on theology, that is the theological perspective by Kurzman known as liberal theology. Its characteristics is that the movement is progressive (accepts modernity); The modern West is not seen as a threat, but as reinventing Islam to straighten the modernity of the West; opens opportunities for worldly autonomy in living as a nation and a state; and the way of Islamic understanding that is open, tolerant and inclusive. As a successor to his teachers thoughts, Fazlur Rahman, Nurcholish Madjid, realized that an Islam that could not provide a solution to humanitarian issue does not have a bright future. What he has done to Islamic thought, all of them can be upheld above an academic foundation of high quality. However, the fact that there are many people that misunderstand his thought is another issue. Nurcholish Madjid has put forward intellectual efforts for quite a long time.118 Nurcholish Madjid expected his people to be able to be liberated from absolutism and the emergence of religious authority. He dreamt that the people could be freed from immature attitudes in religious activities, the variety that is full of claim of truth, plots of truth only for ones self and ones group, intellectual arrogance, authority and religious institution that act as the patron of faith and akidah, formalistic-normative religion. Departing from that Nurcholish Madjid

involved in the debate of Islamic issues in the 1930s. Agus Salim and Muhammad Natsir were absorbed in politics, actively involved in the Soekarno-Hatta government. Salim was once the Minister of Foreign Affairs; Natsir the Ministry of Information and then the Prime Minister. Probably because of their intensive involvement in the political world, the Islamic figures did not find the time to contemplate and depply reflect in issues on Islamic reform. (Take a look at Luthfie Assyaukanie, Dua Abad Islam Liberal, Bentara Kompas, 2 Martch 2007. Take a look also at Luthfi Assyaukanie, Islam Benar vs Islam Salah, p. 77.)
118

This group is known as neomodernist as it reformed the muslim-modernist in developing notions of Islam modernization. The figure is Fazlur Rahman. The neomodernist group was formed as not only did they have access to the heritage of the modern Western intellectual tradition, but they also had access to the heritage of classic-Islamic school tradition. Take a look at Greg Barton, Gagasan Islam Liberal di Indonesia: Pemikiran Neo-Modernisme Nurcholish Madjid, Djohan Effendi, Ahmad Wahib, dan Abdurrahman Wahid (Jakarta: Paramadina, 1999). WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

proposes an inclusive Islam, the al-hanifiyah al-samhah passion, egaliter, pluralistic and democratic. Nurcholish Madjid is also certain (even too certainBMR) that in present day, Islam compared to other religions is the one most prepared to enter the modern world. Because the Muslim community, as proved by history can absorb various positive aspects of the human civilization, as well as maintain the firmness of faith to refuse those that are not considered good.119 The source of universalism as well as cosmopolitanism of Islamic teaching, according to Nurcholish Madjid, is in fact contained in the meaning of al-Islam that means to succumb totally to God which is actually the religion of man for all time. By referring to this meaning, al-Islam is a concept of unity of prophecy, and humanity, that emerges from the concept of the unity of the oneness of God (tawhid).120 Based on such religious argument, according to Nurcholish Madjid, the social aim of Islam is everywhere. Nurcholish Madjid believed that as the Islamic social aim which is pure always appears as al-nashihah (message) from the divinity, then the translation into the social system, Islam is not only good for the Islamic community, but it also will bring welfare for everyone (rahmatan li al-alamin). In Nurcholish Madjids language, it is revealed that the victory of Islam is the victory of all groups,

In an interview, Cak Nur, stated, Historically speaking, the Islamic society is the society that has accomplished the most in studying pluralism. For this reason, Islamic states are averagely multi-religious, except Saudi Arabia. This country implemented political policies since Umar bin Khattab for the Hijaz area. For Hijaz, there may not be any othr religion, as it is set to be a safe homebase. Those exiting hijaz, and those willing to leave Iraq or Yemen, were given large compensation. But if we go to Egypt, Yemen, United Arab Emirates, Lebanon and many others, we can still find many Christians, Jews, etc, with their churches and synagogues. In this case, Europe is way behind. It is not until recently that Europe acknowledges and interacts with other religions. In the past, Europe did not acknowledge other religions. What is more, it was famous for how the Jews faced the extremist NAZI with the genocide and holocaust. Take a look at www.islamlib.com
119 120

Take a look at Nurcholish Madjid, Atas Nama Pengalaman: Beragama dan Berbangsa di Masa Transisi: Kumpulan Dialog Jumat di Paramadina (Jakarta: Paramadina, 2002), p. 54-56. WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

the victory of ideas on justice, sameness, truth that enlightens all humans.121 These are the most important foundations from the social modern Islamic thought established by Nurcholish Madijd in the involvement of Islam in building modern Islam that is liberal. He says in todays modern world, as long as the Muslim community can be able to understand their religion truly, then Islam will become a relevant religion and level up to the most recent development of todays human.122 In its development, the neo-modernism Islam movement in Indonesiawith its leading figure Nurcholish Madjid and Abdurrahman Wahidexperienced a metamorphosis in Liberal Islam. On that basis, although the history of the birth and the geneaology is slightly different, it is now often considered to be identic, both from the epistemology aspect as well as the intellectual agenda. Greg Barton mentions neomodernism Islam and Liberal Islam to be congruous.123 Outside whether Liberal Islam and Islam Neo-modernism have the same intellectual agenda or not, the empirical reality is that the fresh new ideas of Nurcholish Madjid regarding Islam, modernity and Indonesia, until today inspires and colours the thoughts of a number of young liberal Islam generations in Indonesia. The emergence of young Muslim intellectuals in Indonesia, both from the NU that are united in the Liberal Islam Network (JIL) and the Muhammadiyah in the Young Muhammadiyah Intellectual Network (JIMM), and various groups of young Muslim Progressives, has ignited hope for once again development of the tradition of thought of the people of Islam that is needed to answer the challenges of the era. It can be said that the young critical generation that is more dominated by the young intellectuals from NU and Muhammadiyah would aspire to continue the critical intellectual tradition that has been established by their founding fathers. Such critical tradition that has been initially developed by the first edition intellectual generation,
121

Take a look at Nurcholish Madjid, Pintu-pintu Menuju Tuhan (Jakarta: Paramadina, 1995), p. 279-281.
122 123

Nurcholish Madjid, Pintu-pintu Menuju Tuhan, p. 280.

According to Rumadi, until today no one has seen this as an issue. However, even so, Ahmad Baso, disagrees with the act of equalizing Liberal Islam and Neomodernism. According to him, WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

such asborrowing the Indonesianis analysis by Greg BartonCak Nur, Gus Dur, Ahmad Wahib and Djohan Effendy, and continued by the second edition intellectual, for example, Azyumardi Azra, Komaruddin Hidayat, Amin Abdullah, Bakhtiar Effendy, Moeslim Abdurrahman and Munir Mulkhan, has propelled the young generation of NU and Muhammadiyah to set in motion their intellectual activity to a more dynamic stage. Freedom of thought is a prerequisite of religious essence. The conservatives are so enthusiastic in promoting the idea that when a person uses his or her mind freely, then that person will lose faith. This is a bizzare perspective. It is in fact the opposite. A person can experience genuine religiousity when he or she processes the model of diversity in his or her own head. (Rachman 2009: 471) Farid Wajidi, Director of LKiS (Institute of Islamic and Social Studies) Yogyakarta. He received his MA in the History of Islam in Indonesia from Leiden University, the Netherlands (1999) and is now working on his dissertation entitled Muslim Civil Society in Transitional Indonesia: A Study on Muslim NGOs and Alternative Informal Networks in Java in Utrecht University, the Netherlands.

Not only that, their presence is also expected to help accelerate the paradigm of the Islamic community that is considered to progress very slowly. Theythe young Liberal Islam grouprealize that all this time the Islamic community has experienced stagnancy due to the fading out of rationalism in Islamic thought. The names mentioned previously can be said to have congruent intellectual vision as a continuance of the large notions that were set off by Nurcholish Madjid in WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

the 1970s. Say, for example, Amin Abdullah who is known for his weight toward kalam and philosophy; The same goes for Jalaluddin Rahmat and Abdul Munir Mulkhan that is more toward the tasawuf for freedom. M. Syafii Anwar, in his book Islamic Thought and Action in Indonesia mentions Kuntowijoyo and Moeslim Abdurragman, an Islamic intellectual who came up with transformative theology had the same purpose that is issues of life regarding ignorance, backwardness, social gap and defense toward the underprivileged, dluafa.124 The emergence of the Liberal Islam Network (JIL), as mentioned earlier above, is mostly comprised of young clerics who are critical toward various indoctrination of religion, conservatism and dogmatism in the study of Islam and attempt to make the thoughts of Liberal Islam as a tool of analysis to present a friendly, tolerant, inclusive, liberal and liberating Islam. They interpret Islam (the Koran) as stated by Ahmad Wahib in finding Islam: I do not know what Islam actually is. I only know what Islam is according to Hamka; Islam according to Natsir; Islam according to Abduh; Islam according to the others. To be honest, I am not satisfied. What I am looking for has not been found, does not exist yet, that is Islam according to Allah, the Creator. How? Straight from the study of the Koran and al-Sunnah? I will try. But other people also assume that what I have is Islam according to me. But let it be, what is important is my faith in my mind that what I understand is Islam according to Allah. I must be sure of that!125 Ahmad Wahibs statement at least awakens the generation of young Muslims (the liberals) on how Islam is always interpreted by humans using various readings. Liberal Islam can be said to be the model of Islamic interpretation according to and from the perspective of Liberal Muslim of course equipped with hermeneutics (the Koran). Liberal Islam is the new outfit of Islam neo-modernism. If Islam neoM SyafiI Anwar, Pemikiran dan Aksi Islam di Indonesia: Sebuah Kajian Politik tentang Cendekiawan Muslim Orde Baru, (Bandung: Mizan, 1995), p. 173
124 125

For details Take a Look at Ahmad Wahib, Pergolakan Pemikiran Islam, Catatan Harian Ahmad Wahib, LP3ES, Jakarta 1983. WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

modernism in Indonesia used to be pioneeredborrowing Greg Bartons termby Nurcholish Madjid, Abdurrahman Wahid, Djohan Effendy and Ahmad Wahib, the list could also be added with M. Dawam Rahardkowith more weight given to the power of reform on a personal individual level, then the Islam reform movement generated by Liberal Islam is more collective. The project of religious reform of Liberal Islam leans on the jargon Taking the good from the past, and the present becomes better (al-muhafazhatu ala al-qadim al-shalih wa al-akhdzu ala al-jadid alashlah). One of the initiators of the Liberal Islam Network in Indonesia is Luthfi Assyaukaniea lecturer at Universitas Paramadinawho formulated four agendas of Liberal Islam that are liberating. First, political agenda, related to the behavior of Muslim politicians in running the political system, especially regarding the type and the system of the government. According to him, the type of state is a human choice, not a divine choice. Next, regarding the interfaith life of the Muslim community. With the increasingly plural context of the communities in Muslim states, the quest of the theology of pluralism becomes a necessity. Third, gathering Muslims to rethink a number of religious doctrines that tend to disadvantage and discredit women. This is because these doctrines truly contest the basic passion of Islam that acknowledges equality and respects the rights of all sexes (Q. 33:35, 49:13, 4:1). Fourth, freedom of expression. This becomes very important in the modern world, particularly when the issue is strongly related to human rights (HR). If Islam is described to be a religion that respects HR, Islam must respect freedom of expression. There is no reason for Islam to fear freedom of expression.126 Ulil, one of the prominent intellectuals in the Liberal Islam Network (JIL), states how one of the issues that always haunts the Muslim community throughout history is: how we can live according to the demands of religious texts on one hand, and placing ourselves congruently with human development on the the other hand. How, on one hand we can adapt to changes, but on the other hand remain a good Muslim? Or in other words, how to remain authentic, but at the same time become
126

Luthfi Assyaukanie, Islam Benar vs Islam Salah, p. 71-76 WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

modern? How can we change, but sill hold on faithfully to the main principles established by religion? Or a popular saying in todays Arabic community, how to maintain the balance between ashlah and hadatsa (the old and the new)?127 Ulils anxiety has a reason. The literal approach to reading Islamas done by the fundamentalists, particularly the Radical Islamthat is people who loyally hold the textuality of texts, avoids tafsir and takwil. The textualists believe that within a text there is only the birth aspect, and that lafzah only contains one meaning. Meaning, according to this opinion, is seen by itself, explains with expressions that are read or written alone, and does not require comments or explanations. In brief, according to this perspective, text explains will, has clear meaning, has fixed expression and a clear purpose. Over a long period of time, the Islam community has been provided with Islamic science that is established, mutabar, strong and in accordance to the consensus (mujmaalayh). Ulil illustrates this type of Islam in the form of Isolationism of Theology, that is a perspective that sees Islam as a religion isolated from other religions. Islam is the only true religion, and this way it does not foster others. 128 Among it, discussions on the Koran has always been considered final, including discussions regarding knowledge from the Koran. For this reason, textual reading always triggers priblems that is the textualists propose their opinions and ijtihad to investigate the deepst meaning, in which they consider that the meaning has been explained (manshush alayh) and does not need to be deducted or undergo a process of understanding.129 Such reading, according to Khaled M. Abou El-Fadla Muslim intellectual, a lecturer at the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA)

Ulil Abshar Abdalla, Inter-tekstualitas Quran dan Wahyu yang Hidup: Upaya Konstruktif Menghindari Bibiolatry, www.islamlib.com
127 128

Take a look at Ulil Abshar Abdalla, Menyegarkan Kembali Pemikiran Islam: Bunga Rampai Surat-surat Tersiar, (Jakarta: Serambi, 2004), p. 56-57
129

Khaled Aboe El-Fadl, Melawan Tentara TuhanYang Berwenang dan Yang Sewenang-wenang dalam Wacana Islam (Jakarta: Serambi, 2004), p. 56-57. WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

who has changed the perspective of the young Muslim Progressives in Indonesia has altered the text from authoritative to authoritarian.130 This way it can be assured that diversity of religious communities cannot be detached from the influence of religious text as well as interpretation. It is not a surprise that then the phenomenon of radicalism, fanaticism, fundamentalism, even extremism of the religious community are allegedly believed by the Liberal Islam to be caused initially from interpretation of text that is formalistic and symbolic making it stiff, rigid and not flexible. The understanding that often emerges is often literalverbal, textual, and not contextual. As a result, religious text can only be understood on the surficial level. While the basic (essential) thing becomes ignored. In one of his writing, Ulil mentioned how the only way to achieve progress in Islam is by bringing up the issue of how we interpret this religion. 131 In order to go to this direction, according to him several points are required. First, a non-literal, substantial, contextual interpretation of Islam that is in line to the pulse of the human civilization that is and continues to change is needed. Second, an interpretation of Islam that can separate which elements contain local creation, and which require fundamental values. Third, the Islam community must not see themselves as a community or society that is separated from other groups.
130

Khaled criticized the authoritarian manner of several Muslim communities who felt they were the most right in interpreting the text of the Holy Koran and Hadith. They, according to Khaled, should have said that their interpretation is only one of the thousand different interpretations of the Koran that prevails in the Muslim community. Khaled emphasized more on study on criticism of fikih Islam. His comprehensive understanding on the heritage of the classic fiqih of Islam allows him to criticize the wrongdoings of the ijtihad way of a Muslim community. For example, groups that literally understand the hadith or the verses of the Holy Koran without understanding the context, meaning and moral significance. They make the verses of the Holy Koran and Hadith a project of positive law without realizing that both authoritative sources are sources of moral. As a source of moral, the Koran and the Sunna will provide enlightenment to the readers in their life. Take a look at Khaled Abou al-Fadl, Atas Nama Tuhan: dari Fikih Otoriter Ke Fikih Otoritatif (Jakarta: Serambi, 2003), p. 137.
131

Take a look at Ulil Abshar Abdalla, Menjadi Muslim Liberal (Jakarta: Nalar 2005), p. 3-4. WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

Mankind is a universal family that is united through humanity itself. Humanity is a value that is in line with Islam, and does not contest it. Fourth, we need a social structure that clearly separates which is political authority and which is religious authority. Religion is a personal matter; while regulating the public life is entirely the result of an agreement in the society through the procedure of democracy. Kuntowijoyo, in translating the progress of Islam that was also aspired by Nurcholish Madjid and Ulil and other liberal intellectuals, has high concern on social theories that can bridge the Islam ideal and the social reality of the people.132 In building the Islamic social theory, he was faced with the reality that the social theory that endures until today, particularly in the academic environment in Indonesia, is insufficient.133 In order to achieve transformation for the Muslim community, he felt it was necessary to establish what he calls transformative social science or prophetic social science. The birth of prophetic social sciences departed from the perspective that in todays development, the Islamic community needs to change the way of thinking and their actions, from using the ideology pattern to the science pattern. Islam, as a normative concept can be elaborated as an ideology, as what has been done all this time. However, Kunto suggests an alternative to elaborate normative Islam theoretical sciences. Here, Islam is understood as and in a framework of science. Because this framework of science, particularly the empirical, the Islam community can further understand the reality. This way, the community can experience transformation or change as shown by the Koran that are humanization, liberation, and transcendence.134 In the event of recovering the aspirations of Islam that have not yet been executed as they were distorted due to partial interpretation, a program of reform of

132 133

Kuntowijoyo, Paradigma Islam, Menjadi Muslim Liberal (Bandung: Mizan, 1993).

Take a look at Budhy Munawar-Rachman, Dari Tahapan Moral Ke Periode Sejarah: Pemikiran Neo-Modernisme Islam di Indonesia in Asep Gunawan (ed.), Artikulasi Islam Kultural dari Tahapan Moral ke Periode Sejarah (Jakarta: Sri Gunting, 2004), p. 475
134

Take a look at Ulumul Quran Journal, No. 1, Vol. 1, April-June 1989, p. 12-15. WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

thought is needed for reactualization and transformation of Islam for today and the future.135 The first program is the need to develop a structural social interpretation more than an individual interpretation when understanding certain provisions in the Koran. For instance, when we are prohibited to live lavishly, and that provision we respond to as an individual, it will make us curse those who live lavishly. While a social understanding will identify the structural causes to why the symptoms of lavish living appear in a social and economic context. From such interpretation, the root problem of lavish living may be found, that is capital concentration, accumulation of wealth, and the ownership system of sources of income. The second program is by changing the subjective way of thinking into an objective way. For example in determining the amount of alms (zakat), subjectively speaking it is intended for cleansing our wealth, and souls. However, from an objective perspective the purpose of zakat aims to achieve social welfare. The third program is to change Islam that is normative to theoretical. All this time we tend to interpret the verses of the Koran on a normative level, and pay less attention to the possibilities of developing the norms into frameworks of theoretical sciences. The fourth program is changing a-historical understanding into historical understanding. All this time understanding on stories wtitten by the Koran tend to be a-historical, while in fact the intention of the Koran is to retell the stories so that we may think historically. The last program, fifth, is probably the knot of the four other programs that is how to formulate the formulas of revelation that is general into formulas that are specific and empirical.

135

M. Fahmi, Islam Transendental: Menelusuri Jejak-jejak Pemikiran Islam Kuntowijoyo (Yogyakarta: Pilar Media, 2005), p. 6-7. WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

In order to realize these five programs, Kuntowijaya introduced the term, the Koran as the paradigm which means making the Koran as the framework of epistemology and axiology for the Islam community in interpreting and transforming reality. Uch intellectual work, according to him requires efforts free from historical burden or bias. Kuntowijaya usually calls it transcending the Koran (liberating ones self from the bias of interpretations that are limited to a historical sutation, or recovering the meaning of the text) that is often the response toward the historical reality to the universal message and the transcendental meaning. In transcending the Koran, Kuntowijoyo had already realized that the same efforts will remain stuck in new bias as the system of understanding toward contemporary historical situation formed a new perspective. However for Kuntowijoyo, the bias formed in understanding the contemporary historical situation is a positive bias. Why Kuntowijoyo is certain that it is necessary to build a new paradigm of social science and that it is right for the Islam community today is because from the very beginning he was sure that the science is relative, or in Thomas Kuhns words paradigmatic.136 This science is also ideological (Marx), and is linguistic (Wittgenstein). For all of these reasons, according to Kuntowijoyo building an Islamic

136

The term paradigm became very famous only when Thomas Kuhn wrote his book entitled The Structures of Scientific Revolutions. In his book, Kuhn explained the model on how an orientation of theory was born and developed. According to him, a discipline of science is born as a process of paradigm revolution, where a theoretical perspective is subverted by another new perspective. Paradigm is defined as a framework of reference or global perspective that is the basis of a faith or theory. Kuhn also believed that paradigm will always replace the position of an old paradigm, and if not, scientists will not have an established working framework. Kuhn, understood paradigm as a constellation of theory, questions, approaches as well as procedures used by a value and a theme of thought. This constellation is developed in order to understand the historical or social condition so as to provide a conception framework in providing meaning to social reality. Paradigm is where we stand within view of reality. The power of paradigm lies in its ability to form what we see, how we see something, what we consider as problems, what problems due we consider to be advantageous to be solved, as well as that method can we use to analyze and act. Paradigm, on the other hand, affects what we do not choose, what we do not want to see, and what we do not want to know. Take a look at Mansour Fakhir, Sesat Pikir Teori Pembangunan dan Globalisasi (Yogyakarta: Pustaka Pelajar dan Insist Press, 2001), p. 19. WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

social science is valid. The Islam community can establish their own paradigm of science (theory) that is in line with the sociological demands of the Islam community. Transformative social science itself, according to Kuntowijoyo must be founded on the paradigm of the Koran. What is meant with paradigm here is mode of thought, mode of inquiry that are expected to be able to produce mode of knowing. Within this paradigmatic definition, from the Koran we can expect a construction of knowledge that allows us to understand reality, as the Koran understands it. According to Kuntowijoyo, Construction of knowledge (must) be founded on the Koran, so that we may all have the moral lessons, in which on that basis we can form behavior that is in line with the normative values of the Koran, both on a moral level, and social level. For Kunto, construction of knowledge is expected to formulate the grand design of the Islamic system in relation to the theory system.137 From what is proposed by the Liberal Islam intelellectuals above, it can be concluded that: the Muslim community that is liberal feel obliged to review the entire classic doctrine that is not in line with the basic passion of Islam that is liberal. As a religion that claims itself valid for each and every era and condition, Islam according to themmust be able to run along with the demands and the challenges in each and every era and condition.

137

Kuntowijoyo, Paradigma Islam: Interpretasi untuk Aksi (Bandung: Mizan, 1991), p. 286-91. WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

CHAPTER III ETHICAL AND METHODICAL PRINCIPLES IN LIBERAL ISLAM After the value judgement expressed by Liberal Muslim thinkers in dispraise of MUIs fatwa on the forbiddance of pluralism, liberalism, secularism, and the widespread issues circulating these three concepts, this chapter will touch upon the liberalism perspective taken by the Liberal Muslim thinkers. The ethical philosophical principles and the methodical perspective of Islam espoused by these Liberal Muslim thinkers will in turn be analyzed and synthesized. These aspects are the ones most contested (implicitly) by MUIs fatwa and the discourse of Islam fundamentalists and radicals. MUIs fatwa is only one tenth (1/10) of the real content, nine tenth (9/10) was rejected by MUI and Islam fundamentalists and radicals. This chapter will proceed to disentangle and elaborate the nine tenth of the judgement unwritten in the fatwa. Through analysis and synthesis, this chapter will cover two main issues: First is the ethical working principles of Liberal Muslim thinkers. Second is the method adopted by Liberal Muslim thinkers in resolving problems on the subjects of secularism, liberalism and pluralism that is renowned as the method of Liberal Islam in setting Islamic thought into discourse. These ethical and methodical principles of Liberal Islam have in time developed through a discourse of Islam Liberalism.

Ethical Principles of Liberal Islam The following is the first ethical principle or value developed by Liberal Muslims as an ethical principle, i.e. ethics of justice.

Ethics of Justice Liberal Muslims are well concerned on the ethics of justice. In the Islamic tradition, particularly in the science of kalam, dialogues over Gods justice are notionally of importance, as the principle of the ethics of justice in its many dimensions is the zenith of hope for mankind, which is often difficult to attain. Ibnu Khalduna social philosopher of classical Islameven stated that justice is the epicenter of social

WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

theories regarding the society.138 It was thus not a surprise that an exceptionally fervent phrase aspiring for justice was created, justice must be done, even if it means the sky falls. Nurcholish Madjid describes the ethics of justice as cosmic law or part of the law of nature. This way it plays an important role in the life of mankind. Those who violate the principle of the ethics of justice thus oppose the sunna of Allah in creating and enforcing the law of the universe.139 In relation to the exactitude of the sunna, ethics are objective and immutable. Objective, as they exist without having to depend on the thoughts or the will of mankind. Immutable, as they are undyingly effectual without interruption or connection to anyone. And so, whoever comprehends and abides by them will experience good fortune, and whoever violates them, although unaware of their violations, will experience disfortune. Nurcholish gives an analogy of the law of nature as the heat from fire. The ethics of justice is effective regardless of the person abiding by them or violating them.140 The word just is derived from the Arabic word adl. It is mentioned 14 times in the Koran.141 Besides adl and qisth, the definition of just or justice in the Koran is expressed in a number of words,. For example, ahkam, qawam, amtsal, iqtishad, shadaqah, shiddiq, or barr.142
138

Majid Khadduri, Teologi Keadilan Perspektif Islam (Surabaya: Risalah Gusti,

1999), p. 278.
139

Zuhairi Misrawi and Novriantoni, Doktrin Islam Progresif: Memahami Islam

sebagai Ajaran Rahmat (Jakarta: LSIP, 2004), p. 42.


140 141

Nurcholish Madjid, Pintu-pintu Menuju Tuhan (Jakarta: Paramadina, 1996), p. 43. M. Dawam Rahardjo, Ensiklopedi al-Quran: Tafsir Sosial Berdasarkan KonsepMakna

Konsep Kunci (Jakarta: Paramadina, 1996), p. 369. Also take a look at, Munzir Hitami,
142

Din

dan

Universalitas

Nilai-nilai

Islam:

Kendala-Kendala

Pemahaman PSIK Paper Universitas Paramadina, 2007. Unpublished. The word al-adl itself located in 28 places with various forms. has two original meanings that are contradictive. They are istiwa was Iwijaj, straight and bent. The word formed from the letters ayn-dal-lam is used in the Koran with both meanings, but what is meant with the word al-adl here is in the sense of al-istiwato act fairly WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

Literally, the word adl is an abstract noun that is derived from the verb adala which means: first, to straighten or sit straight, to amend or change; second, to escape, depart or avoid from a path (the wrong path) to another path (the right path); third, to be the same, be equivalent or level up; fourth, to balance or offset, to compare or be in a state of equilibrium.143 Adl also means to defend rights, the right ones.144 While for Nurcholish Madjid, the true meaning of adl is balance; the concept of in the middle. The Koran states that the universe is governed by the law of equilibrium, thus man is prohibited to violate the principle of equilibrium. This implies that scales work according to the law of the universe. Whoever manipulates the measurements of a scale is thus in fact violating the law of cosmos, the law of the entire universe, and is breeding a large sinthe sin of injustice.145 The basic concept of the word justice is balance (al-mizan) which means acting without overdoing it, both in the direction of the left and the right. For this reason, the symbol of justice is depicted in the figure of a goddess with closed eyes clutching a scale. This illustrates impartiality towards either objects being weighed.146Balance is also one of the preconditions required in order for a person to which means to act straight and not disadvantage or show a tendency to a certain party by making a decision or giving the same treatment based on the size or measurement. The word al-qisth mentioned 25 times in the Koran also has two basic meanings that are contradictive. The word al-qisth (pronounce the first letter with kasrah) is synonymous to the word al-adl. The verb used in the meaning is aqsathayuqsithu, while the word al-qasth (pronounce the first letter with fathah) means al-jur. Take a look at, Munzir Hitami, Makna Din dan Universalitas Nilai-nilai Islam: Kendala-Kendala Pemahaman.
143 144 145

Majid Khadduri, Teologi Keadilan Perspektif Islam, p. 8. Harun Nasution, Islam Rasional (Bandung: Mizan, 1995), p. 61. Budhy Munawar-Rachman (ed.), Ensiklopedi Nurcholish Madjid Volume I M. Dawam Rahardjo, Ensiklopedi al-Quran: Tafsir Sosial Berdasarkan Konsep-

(Bandung: Mizan in association with Paramadina), p. 22.


146

Konsep Kunci, p. 373. WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

not fall when standing and particularly when moving. It is balance that brings about an unwavered heart and robustness. Through such a balance, a person may act justly. In the Encyclopedia of the Koran: Social Interpretations Based on Key Concepts, Dawam Rahardjo illustrates justice with a function that considers or asseses actions. Every element of action, both from the positive and negative aspect, will be considered, appreciated, and rewarded. A fair person is one who makes calculations. God Himself in acting fair makes calculations. Within the terms, balance (mizan) and calculation (hisab) are definitions of measurements used for assesment. In the context of action, these measurements are values that are needless to say set by God. Henceforward, Gods justice cannot be separated from the morality that He set out. In this case, the measurement for justice is the law. This value can be found among other verses in Q. 5:8. Many definitions of justice have been developed by Liberal Muslim thinkers. However, they believe that the definition coined by classical theologians still remains relevant until this very day, i.e. to occupy something in a proportional manner (wadl syay fi mahallih). In Islam, as said by them, the ethics of justice are not only practiced in the context of the law and the government, but also in daily life, including in the household.147 Murtadla Muthaharian Islamic philosopher originating from Iran who lived a century ago and is often quoted by Liberal Muslim thinkers in Indonesiadefines the term just in four ways: First, it is a balanced state. Second, it is an equivalence and a disclaimer for all types of discrimination. Third, it fosters individual rights and bestows rights to those entitled to it. Fourth, it nurtures the right for the continuance of existence.148 Besides Muthahhari, Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyah, a theologian of classical Islam who has strong influence in Indonesia, believes that justice is a raison

147

Masykuri Abdillah, Makna Din dan Universalitas Nilai-nilai Islam: Kendala-

Kendala Pemahaman PSIK Paper Universitas Paramadina, 2007. Unpublished.


148

Abdul Hakim and Yudi Latif (ed.), Bayang-bayang Fanatisisme: Esai-esai untuk

Mengenang Nurcholish Madjid (Jakarta: Paramadina, 2007), p. 356. WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

detre for the furtherance of religion.149 In Ibn Taimiyahs perspectivealso a theologian of classical Islam, with a strong say among Liberal Muslimsonly in the aspiration of justice can a state be expected to meet the purposes the state was intentionally founded for. Liberalism departs from the notion of freedom. Again this is something very natural, and the idea that man is a free individual is something

irrefutable. How can we deny such a notion? Brought into this world by its parents with mental capacities that already lie within it; it has a sense of survival; it moves to save itself before others. (Rachman 2009: 617) Hamid Basyaib, Program Director of the Freedom Institute, researcher at the Aksara Foundation and the Indonesian Institute. Former Coordinator of the Liberal Islam Network (JIL) and was once a journalist for Republika and Ummat.

The notion of justice that Ibn Taimiyah fought forwhich was a novelty concept in its erawas set in stone within al-siyasah al-syariyah, political sharia. It can be made comparable to social justice, as both of their purposes are to serve the publics interests. Ibn Taimiyah believes that social justice can bridge the gap between the

149

Elaborated by Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyyah in his book, al-Thuruq al-Hukmiyah fi al-

Siyasah al-Syariyah. Cairo. Publisher not given. Also take a look at, Farid Esack, Al-Quran, Liberalisme, Pluralisme Membebaskan Yang Tertindas (Bandung: Mizan, 2000), p. 142. WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

leader and the people, and in the end progresses the social conditions and heightens the Islamic authority.150 Regarding the importance of justice in Islam, Mahmud Syaltut, an ulema at AlAzhar explained how the Korans commandment to enforce justice on earth is a universal commandment without discrimination over another. Justice does not only apply to one community and not to another. This is because the principle of justice is the regulation of God that applies objectively. Humans are the subjects and creations of God and both men and women, Muslim and non-Muslim, are all entitled to an equivalent portion in justice. For some time, dialogues on justice have been more oriented toward the justice of God as practiced by many al-mutakallimun (classic theologians). The justice of mankind on the surface of the earth has rarely been the topic. For this reason, it is interesting to follow al-Jabiris perspective on the concept of justice that is currently being developed by Liberal Muslim thinkers in Indonesia. According to him, it is important to work on a change of paradigm from a divine justice to a contemporary physical justice. Al-Jabiris invitation to a contemporary context of Islam does find its relevancy. This world and the Islamic World, according to alJabiri, need a form of real justice; no longerwhat he callsmetaphysical justice.151 Based on such a perspective on the ethics of justice, Sumanto al-Qurtuby, a young intellectual from NU, observed how the struggles done to carry out democracy, which has been the main theme of demonstrations all over the world since the last century, reflect a strong desire for a more just social politics.152 In a
150

Elaborated by Ibn Tamiyah, Kitab al-Siyasah al-Syariyah fi Ishlah al-RaI wa al-

Raiyah (Cairo, 1951).


151 152

Zuhairi Misrawi and Novriantoni, Doktrin Islam Progresif, p.52 Compare this to Al-Maududi, the founder of Jamaat-e-Islami and a fanatic

supporter of a theocratic state who had an adverse perspective. Islam fundamentalists and especially radicals strongly oppose products of modernity and Western secularism including democracy. They believe that democracy is what they call product of a satanic culture. These groups also refuse modernization efforts WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

democratic system, struggles to achieve the dream of justice are far more conceivable than other existing systems. According to them, democracy is one form of a government believed to be able to attain a better and more comprehensive justice principle. The democratic system is a system that allows the society to insist

upon Islam. For them, people who think of reform or modernization of Islam are astray and believe that any attempts of such kind will fail. Efforts of modernization is in fact not needed as Islam itself is already perfect and applies to each and every age. The emergence of the idea of Islam as an ideology, including the formalization of the sharia as the ethical and legal foundation of Islam prevalent in many areas of Islam was in fact born from this thought. Take a look at, Sumanto Al-Qurtuby, Lubang Hitam Agama: Mengkritik Fundamentalisme Agama, Menggugat Islam Tunggal (Yogyakarta: Ilham Institute and Rumah Kata, 2005), p. 123 This is why fundamentalists and radicals who oppose the idea of democracy as the realization of the notion of justice believe that ontologically speaking, the city of mankind cannot stand side by side in peace with the city of God. It is by this passion that we can understand why rejectionist Islam fundamentalists and radicals oppose democracy as the regulator of the social structure, as democracy is a subversion or coup dtat toward the absolute authority of God replacing it with humans. The slogans that they promote, Islam is the light, democracy is darkness, are in practice merely a tool for campaign in order to gather support from the Muslim public which is then turned into a legitimate basis to oppress on behalf of Islam. Oppression is not only done to non-Muslims and ethnic minorities, but also minority sects within Islam, and Muslim women who remain marginalized within the Islamic discourse. This a phenomenon that is often called by observers as Islamic politics which is widely defined as the mobility of the identity of Islam (the use of Islamic symbols) in the making of public policy that are related to the intern relation within the Muslim community and the relation between the Muslim community with others. Take a look at, Santoso, Kekerasan Agama Tanpa Agama, (Jakarta: Pustaka Utan Kayu, 2002), p. 8. WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

on the implementation of the principles of justice.153 The main normative function of a democratic political system is to guarantee and protect individual freedom in which individuals have the right to run their lives according to their choices.154 The running of a government or a state must be based on pillars of justice, honesty, trustworthiness, assurance over the protection of essential rights, freedom of expression and association, equal rights, and the right to opinionate. These pillars support the founding of the state and the running of the wheels of the government effectively. Defying or disregarding these pillars would mean making way for chaos and anarchy, and thus allowing obstruction of the implementation of the ethical values of religion. Thus, studying and implementing democracy is mandatory. Moreover, according to Said Aqiel Siradj, the law to study and implement democracy is wajib ayn (very mandatory) for each and every Muslim.155 On broader terms, the Muslim community is compelled to implement justice as the basis of socio-political life. The Koran every so often specifically states social sectors that are at risk of falsification, such as the wealth of orphans and adopted children (Q. 4:3; 33:5), matrimonial relationships (Q. 4: 3; 49:9), contracts (Q. 2:282), legal matters (Q. 5: 42; 4:56), interfaith relationships (Q. 60: 8), businesses (Q. 11:65), and disputes (Q. 5:8). The Koran postulated the idea that justice is the basis of the creation of nature. The regularity of the universe, according to the Koran, is based on justice, and any deviations toward the law of nature, such as syirik, although centuries old like the pre-Islam Mecca community are still considered disturbances toward balance.156

153

Sumanto Al-Qurtuby, Lubang Hitam Agama: Mengkritik Fundamentalisme

Agama, Menggugat Islam Tunggal, p. 52-53.


154

Ulil Abshar Abdalla (ed.), Islam dan Barat: Demokrasi dalam Masyarakat Islam

(Jakarta: Paramadina, 2002), p. 112.


155

Said Aqiel Siradj, Tasawuf sebagai Kritik Sosial Mengedepankan Islam sebagai Take a look at, Farid Esack, Al-Quran, Liberalisme, Pluralisme: Membebaskan

Inspirasi Bukan Aspirasi (Bandung: Mizan, 2006), p. 221-222.


156

Yang Tertindas (Bandung: Mizan, 2000), p. 142-143. WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

In keeping with the paradigm of the Koran, justice and regulations based on the Koran are values that must be upheld. The same, however, cannot be said about the stability of socio-politics per se. In facing disturbances to the orderliness caused by erosion of human rights (threats to the ecosystem), the Koran mandates the faithful to defy such a system until it crashes and the orderliness recovers to its natural state. The Koran positions itself as a dynamic compulsion for justice, authorizes the use of an iron fist with incredible power as a facility to achieve and support active struggle. The Koran continues to contest justice with oppression and violation of the law (Q. 3:25; 6:160; 10:47; 16:111) and mandates the faithful to eradicate the latter two and uphold the first. Below is the second principle or value of ethics developed by the Liberal Muslims, i.e. ethics of maslahat.

Ethics of Maslahat Liberal Muslims are very concerned with the ethics of maslahat (ethics of goodness). One of the characteristics that is very prominent of the message of Islam is the necessity in which Islam is to be understood from its deepest or spiritual meaning. The prophets practices in delivering the messages of Islam apprise us how they are not only decrees to be completed, but also preceded with the process of understanding. The messages of Islam embedded in the Koran and Hadith will need to be probed through dialogues before they can be implemented. Through such dialogues can understanding regarding the spiritual meaning of the messages take place. In other words, the content of the messages are not decrees that should not be accompanied with dialogues. Such assumption propelled many ulemas to explore the messages of Islam in order to formulate their main ideas.157 The search of the deepest message of Islam has awakened the consciousness of intellectuals of classical Islam in formulating the central and main teachings of Islam (identifying which are the main ideas and which are the branches, and how to establish a way of thinking in identifying them). From the long historical process of Islamic thought, through the stage of reflection and debate on the
157

Zahairi Misrawi and Novriantoni, Doktrin Islam Progresif, p. 55-56. WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

contents of the teaching of Islam, were born theories and methods of understanding religion that are established into concepts on istihsan (the search of goodness), istishlah (the search of maslahat), and in this case common goodness and maslahat (al-maslahah al-ammah, al-mashlahah al-mursalah) or generally known as the necessity of the publics interest (umum al-balwa).158 The rationale that forms the concept of the ethics of maslahat is the reality that the sharia of Islam in the form of various regulations and the law is directed to the achievement of maslahat (what becomes the interest and what is needed by humans to live on earth). Efforts to actualize maslahat and prevent mafsadah (things that are damaging) are ultimately needed by each and every person. Such is clearly stated in the sharia revealed by Allah to all His prophets. And this serves as the main aim of the law of Islam.159 Almost every ulema believes that there is not a single message from God that is useless and does not contain anything on maslahat. Malahat is a vocabulary in Arabic that literally means virtue (al-shalah) and benefit (al-manfaah). Maslahat is usually defined as everything that contains benefits. Within the Koran, the origin of the word maslahat and derivatives of the word can be found in 267 places. Among these 267 places, the specific word al-shalihat or virtue appears 62 times. At times, the word maslahat is also used together with the sentence al-naf or benefit.160 Take a look at Europe and the United States. The liberalism that develops there continues to refer to certain bonds. What binds them is the Law or the constitution. No matter how liberal
158

Nurcholish Madjid, Islam, Doktrin dan Peradaban: Sebuah Telaah Kritis tentang

Masalah Keimanan, Kemanusiaan, dan Kemodernan (Jakarta: Paramadina, 1992), p. 390.


159

KH. Ali Yafie, Konsep-konsep Istihsan, Istihlah, dan al-Mashlahah al-Ammah in

Budhy Munawar-Rachman (ed.), Kontektualisasi Doktrin Islam dalam Sejarah, (Jakarta: Paramadina, 1995), p. 365.
160

Zuhairi Misrawi and Novriantoni, Doktrin Islam Progresif, p. 59. WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

a person it, he or she remains limited by the constitution. (Rachman 2009: 641) Hamka Haq, the Chair of the Religious and Spiritual Affairs of DPP PDIP and the chairman of Baitul Muslimin Indonesia (Barmusi). He received his doctoral degree from UIN Syarif Hidayatullah Jakarta. He is now a professor at UIN Alauddin, Makassar. Among others, the term maslahat according to Imam al-Ghazali (w.1111) and Jalal al-Din al-Suyuti, dar al-mafasid wa jalb al-maslahih, means to gain benefit and castoff harm (kemudaratan) in the attempt to maintain the purpose of syara.161 Meanwhile, in order to be able to categorize something as maslahat, referring to the classical perspective, there are five criteria in determining maslahat, that is: First, it prioritizes the purposes of syara (sharia); Second, it does not contradict the Koran; Third, it does not contradict the sunna; Fourth, it does not contradict the Qiyas principle; and fifth, it takes into account the more important (bigger) maslahat.162 The ethics of maslahat is the overseer of the performance of Islamic politics. According to KH. Ali Yafie, in the study of ahl al-ijtihad, there are three categories of maslahat:163
161

Abdul Hadi Ahumza, Islam dan Tantangan Demokrasi di Indonesia. PSIK Paper Amir Muallim and Yusdani, Konfigurasi Pemikiran Hukum Islam, (Yogyakarta: UII KH. Ali Yafie, Konsep-konsep Istihsan, Istislah, dan Maslahat al-Ammah, in

Universitas Paramadina, 2007. Unpublished.


162

Press, 1999), p. 39-41


163

Budhy Munawar-Rachman (ed), Kontektualisasi Doktrin Islam dalam Sejarah, p. 366. Liberal Muslims often make al-kulliyyat al-khams or al-daruriyyat al-khams as the basis of acceptance of human rights (HR). They develop a program for Islam and HR by analyzing and further developing al-kulliyyat al-khams or al-daruriyyat alkhams. Take a look at, Najib Kailani and Muhammad Mustafied, Islam dan Politik KewarganegaraanModul Belajar Bersama (Yogyakarta: LKiS, 2007), p. 40-45 (Reading Materials al-Dlaruriyyat al-Khamsah in the context of citizenship and WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

First, the maslahat acknowledged by the teaching of sharia that comprises of three levels of human needs. They are: (1). Dlaruriyah (absolute) is maslahat or human interests that become a necessity in life. Such is their importance that if they is not fulfilled then the existence of man and their life system will be defected. This form of maslahat covers five things, that is religion (din), soul (nafs), mind (aql), descendant (nasl) and wealth (mal). These five are known as al-kulliyat al-khamsah or al-dlaruriyat al-khamsah and is the foundation of maslahat (humans interests and necessities).164 (2) Hajjiyah (primary needs) is human needs in order to simplify daily activities and avoid difficulties that lead to danger or loss, for example economic activities that are meant to support the existence of man. (3) Tahsiniyah (complementary needs) is human needs that is a complementary need to support the implementation of ethics and morality as a realization of a better, orderly, comfortable life that offers physical and non-physical happiness. Second, maslahat not acknowledged by sharia teaching: interests that contradict the maslahat acknowledged, especially the first category. Third, maslahat that is not bound to the first and second category. This category of maslahat (second and third) will not be discussed here. Although from a legal perspective there are already specific provisions, many ulemas have established the philosophy and morality of the Islamic law that became human rights (HR), take a look at Muhammed Abed al-Jabiri, Syura, Tradisi, Parikularitas, Universalitas (Yogyakarta: LKiS, 2003), p. 153-162.
164

Protection of religion is defined as acknowledgement of religious rights, rights to

perform, announce and defend religion. Protection of the soul is defined as the right to live and the right to not have life taken, to not be harmed, to not be assaulted and many more. Protection of the mind is defined as freedom to think, the right to know and receive education, the right to state an opinion and many more. Protection of dignity is defined as the right to receive dignified treatment and not have dignity tarnished. While protection of wealth is defined as acknowledgement of the rights of ownership, the rights of wealth, the right to work, the rights to attempt and many more. WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

the general principle of the Islamic law. This is illustrated in the general purpose (maqashid al-syariah) that is to realize maslahat for mankind and avoid madlarat (danger). Maslahat here means all things that are needed and utilized to bring goodness for humans. There are several other principles besides the principle of maslahat. They are justice (adalah), compassion (rahmah) and wisdom (hikmah).165 The ethics of maslahat is a valuable discovery that was inherited from the ulema of classic Islam. This theory asserts that when we are delivering the messages of Islam, God must have certain purposes. The principle of maslahat is so important in the religious Islamic perspective, it is not a surprise that many clerics have tried to explain various maslahat, moral lessons, philosophies and ethics contained in the messages of Islam in various issues. The contents of sharia attempt to at least attain four things. First is to be acquainted with God (the theological aspect). Second is to have knowledge of religious rituals (the ritual aspect). Third includes commandments to act virtuously and prohibitions to act depravedly. Humans are incited to abide by virtuous ethics, such as being honest, being trustworthy, being gentle, and so on. Fourth is to deter rioters from taking over. Henceforth, sharia sets limitations (hudud) that are required to control the society so that the social structure does not crumble. Discussions over classic maslahat require furtherance by putting into account a number of aspects, such as first, the need to synchronize them with the fundamental conception of Islamic sermons that rely on a persuasive approach. Next is appreciation of the importance of human reasoning. Third is that the maslahat principle can also prevent falsification and manipulative use of religion. A religious figure who declares knowledge of the maslahat theory is thus expected to have sufficient knowledge to explain the purpose of religious teachings. 166 This way when
165

Masykuri Abdillah, Makna Din dan Universalitas Nilai-nilai Islam. PSIK Paper

Universitas Paramadina. Unpublished.


166

In his book Fikih al-Awlawiyah, Yusuf al-Qardlawi mentioned that it had been

agreed by ulemas that the laws of sharia could all be explained. Behind the physical demands of the Koran and Hadith are purposes that are the aim of sharia. The aim of sharia according to al-Qardlawi could be revealed. For example, the Koran WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

conversing over debatable aspects of the sharia, one cannot simply say, the main thing is that God said so in the Koran! Based on such ethics of maslahat, the gate of authoritarianism over the name of religion is thus closed.167

mentions the reason to establish regular prayer (shalat) that is to prevent shameful and unjust deeds (Q. 29: 45); Alms (zakat) functions to purify and clean the soul (Q. 9:103); Fasting functions to attain God-consciousness (taqwa) (Q. 2:183); and haj to witness various advantages for those who perform it and for those who continually chant dzikir to Allah (Q. 22:28). From this comprehension, it is explained that there is not a even the smallest part in the Islamic sharia that does not contain the element of maslahat and benefit for mankind. Every message embedded in the Koran is assumed to have maslahat and benefit for mankind. The Koran made the word maslahat or benefit as part of Gods wisdom in allowing or prohibiting a law. Even the experts in classical fikih, such as Ibn al-Qayyim, acknowledged the supposition of maslahat in every part of the sharia. Ibn al-Qayyim, asserted that the structure and foundation of the sharia is the maslahat of mankind, both physical life and spiritual (ukhrawi) life. The sharis is the elaboration of justice, blessings, welfare, and goodness. All those that are adverse to them, such as oppression, cruelty, crime, and absurdity, cannot be considered as the sharia. Such is the importance of the position of maslahat in Islam that, according to Najamuddin alThufi, it must be given precedence when a contradiction occurs with text. Al-Thufis notion on masalhat was slightly more advanced andmust be further considered in creating the legislation of Islamic law, particularly amid the tendency toward a formalistic symbolic form of diversity. According to al-Thufi, maslahat is the strongest and most specific component of the sharia. And thus, we must give precedence to it before the physical text. Maslahat is the soul of the sharia, while the physical aspect of religious texts can be seen as the body. The basics of the theory of maslahat are what will be further developed by Liberal Muslims, including in Indonesia. Take a look at, Asghar Ali Engineer, Pembebasan Perempuan (Yogyakarta: LKiS, 2003), p. 35. Zuhairi Misrawi and Novriantoni, Doktrin Islam Progresif, p. 65.
167

Zuhairi Misrawi and Novriantoni, Doktrin Islam Progresif, p. 62-63 WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

For this reason, all religious laws should contain a legal basis (illah, ratio legis) in which their enforcement should be in line with the publics interest (almashlahah al-ammah) and in accordance to the responsibility of a leader and the conduct of the law in the area.168 For example, the aim of the Islamic democracy system is the conduct of Islamic teachings that are whole and consequential so that it creates the aspired maslahat al-siyasah al-syariyah.169 The test for important concepts belonging to the modernistssuch as secularism, liberalism and pluralismis embedded within the maslahah principle that contains an aim to synchronize the principles of Islam with the challenges of modern life, in which humans play a huge.170 Below is the third principle or value of ethics that is developed by Liberal Muslims that is the ethics of liberation.

Ethics of Liberation Liberal Muslims are very concerned about the ethics of liberation. Islamic teachings on liberation can be traced back to the history of Arabia before Islam and subsequently be compared to the passion of liberating Islam. Historians noted that the city of Mecca before Islam was a prominent city of trade. Perhaps this was because the city had no areas for plantation, ergo the economics of Mecca depended or was supported by the trading sector. Social relations among the people were shaped by the trading culture and were essentially established on the principle of trade. Spiritual, religious and cultural lives were built upon the principle of buying and selling and pure profit. The merchants truly became the master of the society.

168

Nurcholish Madjid, Konsep Asbab al-Nuzul: Relevansinya Bagi Pandangan

Historisis Segi-segi Tertentu Ajaran Keagaman, in Budhy-Munawar-Rachman (ed.), Kontektualisasi Doktrin Islam dalam Sejarah, (Jakarta: Paramadina, 1999).
169

Nurcholish Madjid, Cita-cita Politik Islam Era Reformasi, (Jakarta: Paramadina,

1999).
170

Budhy Munawar-Rachman (ed.), Ensiklopedi Nurcholish Madjid, volume II, p.

1735. WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

They were the elites who established rules in the society and built a tradition that protected and profited their interests in the structure of social relations.171 When Islam was born, Mecca had already become a world trade center. The powerful merchants specialized themselves in financial operations and complex international trade transactions that emerged in the social area of Mecca. The rich merchants established inter-tribe corporations to engage in trade with the Byzantine Empire and monopolize it without distributing part of their profit to the poor and those in need in their own tribe. This violated the tribal norms and resulted in a social bankruptcy for Mecca.172 It was under such conditions that the Prophet Muhammad came with Islams passion of liberation. Many believed that if only he came with a calling for the unity of God (tauhid) minus the social and economic systems, the equality between the free people and the slaves, the rich and the poor, the strong and the weak, and did not insist on having the poor to have some rights within the wealth of the rich, many Quraishi would have embraced Muhammads calling easily. This was because essentially the Quraishi did not entirely believe in their idols. They also did not truly defend their gods. The Quraishi insisted in defending their gods just to preserve their interests within the Arabic society. They hated Muhammad as he had a mission to reform the existing social system and establish a form of justice that did not support the interests of prominent figures of the Quraishi.173 The prophet presaged the rich merchants of Mecca, detained them from hoarding their wealth, and instructed them to take care of the poor, the orphans and the people in need. The makiyah verses that were revealed to the Prophet condemned the hoarding of wealth and warned the merchants of Mecca of the

171 172

Zuhairi Misrawi and Novriantoni, Doktrin Islam Progresif, p. 70-71. Asghar Ali Engineer, Islam dan Pembebasan (Yogyakarta: LKiS, 1993), p. 119-

120.
173

As a comparison, take a look at, Thaha Husein Malapetaka Terbesar dalam

Sejarah Islam (Jakarta: Pustaka Jaya, 1985), p. 22. WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

dangerous impacts that would materialize if they did not make use of their wealth in the path of Allah (Q. 104: 2-9; 102: 1-8).174 The authority belonging to the leaders of Mecca was based on their wealth and the number of children they had.175 As stated, the Koran was revealed in order to end that authority in the society. The Koran clearly propositioned to humans that such authority had no advantages. Except when it benefits the society. The purpose of life should not be about winning authority by depriving facilities, but by virtuous acts (amal saleh) that lead to a society that is healthy, just and prosper. On the other hand, an unjust society that is based on seizure of power and sources of wealth is an unstable society and becomes one of the causes that resuscitate opposing power that will eventually lead to its destruction. The Koran also states that (unjust) authority and wealth can simply not walk hand in hand with justice. Islam began as a religious movement and because of that, these terms have received profound religious connotation. Islam is not only about spiritual life, but also about physical life. It intently holds a project to establish a just society on the surface of this earth. When the Koran strongly condemns oppression and unjust acts, its concern over virtuous social forms of an egalitarian society cannot be denied. For that, a redefinition of the terms often used by the Koran in order to develop the theology of liberation is required. Thus, the term kafir does not only mean religious disbelief, as supposed by traditional theologians, but also it implies a challenge towards a just and egalitarian society that is free from all forms of exploitation and oppression. In the context of social ethics, kufr is understood as one of the paths

174

The Koran reveals that the prophets are saviors of the mustadhafin (the

oppressed). Moses was the savior of Bani Israil from the oppression of Firaun. The same for Jesus. Muhammad is the savior for those oppressed by the Jahiliyah social system and by leaders of the Quraishi. Take a look at, Abad Badruzaman, Teologi Kaum Tertindas Kajian Tematik Ayat-ayat Mustadhafin dengan Pendekatan Keindonesiaan (Yogyakarta, Pustaka Pelajar, 2007), p. 99.
175

Asghar Ali Engineer, Islam dan Pembebasan, p. 122. WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

contradicting liberation efforts. Such a definition becomes the motor of the social liberation movement.176 The saying dont think too far, for me, is irrelevant. Freedom cannot be measured except by other peoples freedom. For this reason, I believe that you are free to think about anything because in the end that freedom will be limited by other peoples freedom. Not to mention the issue of stigmatization towards liberal thinking. These kinds of things will kill the creativity of Islamic thought. I believe that thinking liberally (hurriyat al-tafkir) is good and it is demanded by the Koran. So, I dont understand why liberal thinking is seen

negatively. (Rachman 2009: 693) Husein Muhammad, caretaker of the Islamic School Dar al Tauhid, Arjawinangun, Cirebon. He is the founder of Puan Amal Hayati (Jakarta), and Fahmina Institute (Cirebon), and member of the National Board of the International Center for Islam and Pluralism (ICIP) and the Wahid Institute.

Thus, a kafir is a person who does not believe in Allah and actively defies honest efforts to reform the society, eradicate acts of hoarding wealth, oppression, exploitation and all forms of injustice.177

176

Islah Gusmian, Khazanah Tafsir Indonesia Dari Hermeneutika Hingga Ideologi

(Jakarta: Teraju, 2003), p. 302.


177

Asghar Ali Engineer, Islam dan Pembebasan, p. 127. WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

The theology of Islam liberation was inspired from the Koran and the struggle of the prophets. Dogma may precede praxis, but this does not apply for the theology directed towards liberation. Theology, for the marginalized, is a result of reflection that follows the praxis of liberation. A verse in the Koran, And those who strive In Our (Cause) We will Certainly guide them To Our Paths (Q. 29: 69) affirms the theological perspective of this action.178 The quest of the hermeneutics of liberation indicates the existence of a group of people who are determined to reconstruct the society according to principles of justice, liberation, honesty and integrity. Islam encourages humans to apply the principle of equality both spiritually and socially according to the words of God as explained in Q. 3: 110. This verse elucidates Allahs social transformation vision that is based on the principle of equality to achieve ethical and prophetic dreams. This vision can be found in the words: enforce justice, prevent danger (kemungkaran) and have faith in Allah. Kuntowijoyo interpreted these three words as humanization (amr bi al-maruf), liberation (nahy an al-munkar), and transcendence (iman billah).179 Humanization according to the ethics of prophetic is one fueled by divine values and aims for dehumanization, aggressiveness and loneliness. The value of liberation based on the ethics of prophetic is inspired by the liberating passion in the theology of liberation and communism. However, liberation according to the ethics of prophetic uses liberation in the context of knowledge, and not liberation a la ideology or a la theology. It also bases liberation on transcendental values. The aims of liberation in the ethics of prophetic include the system of knowledge, the social system, and the political system that binds humans.180

178

Farid Esack, Al-Quran, Liberalisme, Pluralisme Membebaskan Yang Tertindas, Fuad Fanani, Islam, Visi Kesetaraan, dan Pembebasan Kemanusiaan in Zuly (ed), Muhammadiyah Progresif: Manifesto Pemikiran Kaum Muda

p. 122.
179

Qodir
180

(Yogyakarta: JIMM-LESFI, 2007), p. 587. Kuntowijoyo, Muslim Tanpa Masjid: Esai-esai Agama, Budaya dan Politik dalam

Bingkai Strukturalisme Transendental (Bandung: Mizan, 2001), p. 369. Also take a WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

While transcendence is the foundation of the two elements previously mentioned in the ethics of prophetic (humanization, liberation), it has a duty to set the directions and the purposes of humanization and liberation. These three elements of the ethics of prophetic are a unity that cannot be separated. Transcendence has a critical function and serves as the benchmark of progress and regression of humans. In the context of transcendence, Kuntowijoyo proposes methodological objectivism as a substitute to methodological secularism and methodological atheism.181 The three elements of the ethics of prophetic touched by the social teachings of Islam is the result of reading the Koran using a structuralism method. Each element of the ethics of prophetic, which constitute the verse Q. 3: 110, works as a system that regulates itself, and as an internally whole and dynamic system (langue). Each element of the ethics of prophetic regulates itself. For example, humanization and liberation although inspired from anthropocentric humanism and the theology of liberation, they still refer and move toward divine values (transcendence). Thus, the result is a theocentric humanization and liberation a la social science. Although in many of his writings Kuntowijoyo did not use the term social hermeneutics in understanding the Koran, he often used the Korans paradigm which would then become the hermeneutics of the Koran. Kuntowijoyos approach in reading Islam more critically was to deconstruct the classical religious texts that were more dominant in establishing a tradition of Islam that is free of criticism. He offered a new approach that is a prophetic Islam. The social science of prophetic not only explained and changed the social phenomenon, but also gave guidance regarding where transformation can be done, for what and by who. Because of this, the social science of prophetic does not merely change for change, but change for certain ethical and prophetic aspirations. Islam and liberation are committed to humanity, equality, and justice. Such commitment is recurrently strengthened and maintained through acts of empathy look at, Kuntowijoyo, Paradigma Islam: Interpretasi untuk Aksi, (Bandung, Mizan, 1991).
181

Kuntowijoyo, Muslim Tanpa Masjid, p. 373. WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

emerging from their sufferings. The social justice of Islam has a purpose to liberate the weak and the oppressed mass and reform the free society from primodialistic interests. What must be understood is that the theology of liberation is more than a rational theology.182 Dawam sees that the concept of fakk-u raqabah (Q. 90: 13) or tahrir-u raqabah (Q.5: 89), which means human liberation from slavery that was historically manifested in the struggle of the prophet Moses, as a social form of the concept of liberation, and serves as a consequence of the doctrine of the divinity of God and the concrete form of the meaning of Islam in a social dimension.183 Islam as a liberating power, from both foolishness and slavery, was a symptom that was real during the time of the prophet. According to Liberal Muslims, a liberating and emancipating Islam is not an abstract definition as it is based on a concept in which the society is stirred to progress toward revolutionary change. The Koran explains how vertical dimension is related to horizontal dimension. Belief in God has a direct consequence to the relation with humanity. The Koran also states that if a person does not have these two ties, chaos is inevitable (Q. 3: 111; 4:12). Islam as a religion that liberates moves towards the realization of a just society that is the true aim of a tawhid society. Because of this, the theology of liberation is contested by movements attempting to revive traditional issues, and thus opening the sphere of life that comprises of traditional theology and contemporary world problems, such as economic exploitation, social injustice and support toward the fight of anti-imperialism.184 This fight can be won hand in hand as a form of interfaith solidarity. Islam serving as the religion for mankind can provide reference to hinder hegemony and can act as a compulsion for humane works that are emancipatory.185

182 183

Asghar Ali Engineer, Islam dan Pembebasan, p. 118. M. Dawam Rahardjo, Paradigma Al-Quran: Metodologi Tafsir dan Kritik Sosial

(Jakarta: PSAP, 2005), p. 206.


184 185

Asghar Ali Engineer, Islam dan Pembebasan, p. 118 Moeslim Abdurrahman, Islam yang Memihak (Yogyakarta: LKiS, 2005), p. 106. WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

Islamic thought does not only converse on texts in the realm of intellectual independence, but also on how to discover divine ideas in order to resolve the process of dehumanization that is faced by mankind today through a theological reflection referring to the history of daily life. A process of theologizing that revives the different meanings of Islam based on the differences seen when humans individually fight against anti-hegemony, or collectively counter hegemony to fight oppression in relation to the structure of the different faces of the authority. Below is the fourth principle or value of ethics developed by Liberal Muslims, i.e. the ethics of freedom.

Ethics of Freedom Liberal Muslims are very concerned about the ethics of freedom (liberty, freedom). Zainun Kamal, a lecturer at UIN Syarif Hidayatullah Jakarta, states how Islam is drawn to the ethics of freedom. Among all of Gods creations, humans are the most special creation. Humans are Gods sole creation that has freedom of choice and the mandate (amanat) of free will that could not be carried out by the sky, the earth, and the mountain. Discussion on the teaching of freedom in Islam can be historically traced to the discussion of classic theology. Theology began, like other Islamic sciences, based on naqal (nash, text) and the mind. There are at least three orientations of theologians in this case. First, those who prioritize the mind over naql. This is the tendency of the Mutazilah. Second, those who opt authority over the text, and provide no space for the mind in the text. This is the orientation of the Hasywiyah, Zahiriyah and the kind. Third, those who to try and find a solution between mind and text; by prioritizing the text over the mind, but allowing the mind to enter text. This is the notion taken by Abu al-Hasan al-Asyari, the founder of Ahl alSunnah wa al-Jamaah, who is very influential in Indonesia.186 One of the teachings of Islam on freedom can be found in (Q.2: 256). Also, one may find many expressions commanding the use of the mind and religious freedom in the Koran, such as la ikrah-a fi al-din (there is no compulsion in religion)
186

Zainun Kamal, Tradisi Kalam dalam Islam. PSIK Paper Universitas Paramadina

2007. Unpublished. WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

and laallakum taqilun (so that you may understand). From these two forms of fundamental freedom, that is religious freedom and freedom of the mind, transpires other forms of freedom, such as freedom of speech, freedom to choose a job and so on. However, there is a debate among Muslim ulemas and intellectuals on the boundaries of this so-called freedom, particularly when that very freedom contradicts the fundamental teachings of Islam. For Rumi, humans freedom to choose is real, and not illusory. Because of this, he was strongly against the concept of Jabariyah and thought it to be a betrayal of freedom.187 According to me, the generic

meaning of the word liberal itself is liberation. And Islam is liberation. Islam provides space to think freely and differently from other

perspectives. Monotheism itself is actually no other than liberalization over the clutches of polytheism and the sacredness of nature. This means that liberalism has long

existed in our religion. (Rachman 2009: 847) Jamhari Makruf, Assistant to the Rector in the Field of Academics of UIN Syarif Hidayatullah Jakarta and former Director of the Center of Islamic and Social Study (PPIM) UIN Jakarta.

A liberal thinker from Egypt named Ibrahim Isa, who influenced the discourse of Liberal Muslims, inspired freedom and the need to fight for freedom as part of the path of God. In his book al-Hurriyah fi Sabilillah (Freedom in the path of God) he wrote a sentence that illustrates the need of freedom. Freedom feels beautiful when it is possible to speak. Speaking feels beautiful when it is done on the basis of
187

Mulyadhi Kertanegara, Menyelami Lubuk Tasawuf (Jakarta: Erlangga, 2006), p.

80-83. WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

consciousness. And, the most beautiful form of consciousness is what we believe to be true. And, truth is most beautiful when it is allowed to be corrected when it is proven wrong.188 With such freedom, Liberal Muslims affirm how Islam has a strong commitment and even provides a highly regarded position for the development of science and technology. The coverage of Islams mission is to be able to unify freedom and regulations, individualism and collectivism, science and religion, rationalism and effectiveness, soul and matter, revelation and reasoning, stability and evolution, the past and the present, and the preservation and renovation of Islam and humanity. Freedom is the essence of the humanity of man. The importance of freedom in Islam is clear. The Islamic modern world is the history of a struggle for these two important values: freedom and justice.189 The dimensions of freedom that can be understood from textual-normative Islamic documents as well as historical documents include religious freedom, politics, mind, civil freedom, work and residence. The many dimensions of freedom are then set in stone within Human Rights (HR). The principle of religious freedom has been applied in history by the leaders of classic Islam due to the religions of the Middle East especially Christianity that is divided into a number of sects in which each believes to be the one and only truth and breed hate among each other. The leaders of Islam have upheld the principle in which each sect has the right to live and proclaim themselves and is equal before the law. Such religious freedom is relished by nations in the Middle East and Islamic World. Normatively speaking, religious freedom receives justification from the following indicators: first, the prohibition to compulsion other people to abandon their religion or to embrace another faith. The teaching of religious freedom receives a strong textual reference from the Koran and prophecies. In the Koran, for example, it is explained that Let there be no compulsion In religion: Truth stands out Clear from Error (Q. 2:256). If it had been the Lords Will, They would all have believed All

188 189

Zuhairi Misrawi and Novriantoni, Doktrin Islam Progresif, p. 82 Zuhairi Misrawi and Novriantoni, Doktrin Islam Progresif, p. 83. WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

who are on earth! Wilt thou then compel mankind Against their will, to believe! (Q. 10:99) This verse explicitly explains the concept of religious freedom in Islamic teaching. The religion Islam should not be forced upon anyone as it cannot and it should not. The act of forcing someone to embrace a religion is not right and it is also not praxis. Islam does not justify this and even condemns it. A persons religion cannot be considered right, and cannot be accepted, except when that person accepts it under free will. Compulsion destroys the concept of responsibility that is based on the fact that the physical life of a human is a test in which one is given the freedom to choose between the right and the wrong. The individuals success in the hereafter lies in ones actions on earth. Whether one will under free will embrace the truth and walk in the path of Allah, or deny it and choose the path of the devil. Such a concept lies within the individuals freedom to choose among the various paths. And using compulsion will take away this test. Islam cannot accept compulsion in spreading religion under any circumstances, as it will destroy the philosophical purpose of life that is when a persons happiness lies in ones own choice.190 Theologically, the Prophet Muhammad through the verses of the Koran invited mankind to follow the teachings of Islam in a wise, persuasive and convincing manner. The prophet elucidated the truth about mankind, the universe and God in the most resounding and interesting way. His invitation was saturated with love and compassion. It was delivered in a wise way; the best of ways and briefly (Q. 39: 5359). The prophet disclosed the truth to them in a clear and articulate way convoyed with deep compassion, so that they may follow the right path for their own good. People embraced Islam under free will after they felt assured with the truth. The Prophets obligation was to only deliver the message (risala) clearly and effectively in the best of ways so that people may understand it. It is then up to them whether they will embrace it or deny it (Q. 3:20). A similar principle of religious freedom is also

190

Zainun Kamal, Kebebasan Beragama dalam Islam. PSIK Paper Universitas

Paramadina, Unpublished. WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

stated in Q18: 29). Even toward non-Muslims and ahl al-kitab191, the Koran takes on a definite perspective that is there is no element of compulsion in embracing Islam.192 Religious freedom or freedom of faith should provide space for the emergence of certain religious orientations and even new religions as long as they does not disturb the publics peace and are not involved in practices that violate the law, such
191

The concept of Ahli Kitab is basically the acknowledgement of Islam over other

religions that existed before the Prophet Muhammad. In general, the Jews and the Christians were two religious communities mentioned in the Koran as Ahli Kitab and have continuance with Muslims. The Koran identifies its existence as to enlighten part of the teachings of the Torah (Old Testament) and the Gospel (Q. 3:3; Q. 5:48 and Q. 6:92). Islam is the continuation of previous religions. Such viewpoint also existed within Christianity. The Prophet Jesus, as mentioned in the Koran, invited the followers of Judaism to embrace the teaching that he brought with him as the continuance of the teaching of the Prophet Moses (Q. 61:6). The discourse of the Koran on Ahli Kitab as well as other explanations that are related to this community shows the high level of tolerance and religious freedom consented by the Koran. Take a look at, Abd Moqsith Ghazali, Interpretations of Ahli Kitab in the Koran PSIK Paper Universitas Paramadina, 2007. Not published.
192

As narrated by Ibu Ishaq, an Anshar had two sons who were both Christians and

were unwilling to embrace Islam. The Anshar approached the Prophet and asked whether or not he should force his sons to embrace Islam. This was when the verse in which there should be no compulsion in religion (Q.S. 2:256) was revealed. In interpreting this verse, Ibu Atsir concluded that Do not force a person to embrace Islam as it is a religion so real and illumined, and the arguments and thoughts that support it are so substantial and resounding, that there is no need to force a person to embrace it. Whoever receives guidance from Allah and opens their heart to the truth and has the wisdom to comprehend, then they will embrace it willingly. And when one is so blind and thus cannot see these reasons, then embracing Islam would be of no use. Take a look at, Zainun Kamal, Kebebasan Beragama dalam Islam. WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

as fraud or fooling of the people, and use religion as a buffer. Such freedom applies to those who would like to establish a group intended for health, or emotional and spiritual intelligence based on certain religious teachings with consent of their members as long as they do not oblige a certain religion or faith as a requirement. The consequence is that the state cannot create a fatwa or a legal decision that states a certain religious orientation or faith that is new is false and misleading.193 Religious freedom is a human right that cannot be denied by anyone.194 The principle of religious freedom applies not only to Muslims, but also other religions.195 Every citizen has the same right to live and progress in the society. The freedom to choose a religion is a blessing that is owned by every individual or religious group through the essence of humanity.196 From there, the principle of religious freedom is a natural tendency (fitrah) for man from God, as God acknowledges humans right to choose their own path.197 Islam also values freedom of the mind. To think is one of the functions of the mind honored by Islam. The Mutazilah call the mind as the most just organ in man (adal al-assya qismat-an laday al-insan).198 Freedom to think requires a climate to freely express, both verbally or in written form. Freedom of expression also requires sufficient freedom to state opinions and reveal facts. In todays context, it also seems

193

Musdah Mulia, Potret Kebebasan Berkeyakinan Di Indonesia (Sebuah Refleksi

Masa Depan Kebangsaan Indonesia. PSIK Paper Universitas Paramadina, 2007. Unpublished.
194

Ulil Abshar Abdalla, Islam dan Kebebasan in Hamid Basyaib, Membela

Kebebasan Percakapan Tentang demokrasi Liberal (Jakarta: Freedom Institute, 2006), p. 223.
195

M. Dawam Rahardjo, Ensiklopedi al-Quran: Tafsir Sosial Berdasarkan Konsep-

Konsep Kunci, p. 406


196

Zakiyuddin Baidhawi, Kredo Kebebasan Beragama (Jakarta: PSAP, 2005), p. 2-

3.
197 198

Nurcholish Madjid, Pintu-pintu Menuju Tuhan, p. 219. Zuhairi Misrawi and Novriantoni, Doktrin Islam Progresif, p. 91-93. WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

necessary to include freedom of the press, freedom of oration, and freedom to reveal scientific findings. Freedom of the mind is very important. Nurcholish Madjid once said that all forms of thoughts and ideas no matter how bizarre they may sound to the ears should be revealed in one way or another. The chaos of the hierarchy in determining which values are (spiritual) ukrawi and which are physical is due to the absence of freedom of the mind. The way of thinking is still cloaked with taboo and a priori. While the fact is that quite often these thoughts and ideas that were initially thought to be wrong and false in the end turn out to be true. This reality is experienced by every reform movement, individually or through an organization. For this reason, the teachings of submission to God has a definition of submit in its dynamic meaning. In takes the form of sincere and untainted efforts to find, and to continue to find the truth. Submit in the Arabic language is called Islam which means to conform to Allah that is directly taken to freedom and self-liberation from each value and norm that grasps the sole. On the long run, Islam essentially aspires for a free society, because it is within freedom that humans can bask in dignity. A society that enjoys dignity, selfrespect, taqrim or honor is a society with individuals that revel in complete freedom. This is what is truly meant by civil liberty.199 If a religion cannot solve the problems of the global modern world, the role of religion will decline and eventually diminish. However, if religion responds creatively, a revitalization of religion will take place, as what happened in Latin America where the theology of liberation was born. Islam has in fact experienced revitalization with new discourses as mentioned by Hassan Hanafi, Asghar Ali Engineer, or Mohammed Abied al-Jabiri200 and in Indonesia through a group of Liberal Muslims; Muslim thinkers who offer a contextualization of an open, friendly Islam interpretation that is responsive toward humanity issuesas

199

Ulil Abshar Abdalla, Islam dan Kebebasan in Hamid Basyaib, Membela M. Dawam Rahardjo, Hari Depan Kebebasan Beragama di Indonesia PSIK

Kebebasan Percakapan Tentang demokrasi Liberal, p. 227.


200

Paper Universitas Paramadina, 2007. Unpublished. WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

mentioned abovethat is a variety which emphasizes on the creation of pluralism that is socially just.201 Political freedom is also a dimension of the ethics of freedom that needs to be fought for by the Muslim community. Freedom in politics covers two important points. First is the freedom to participate in governance through self-election, election or a free referendum. Second, control over the performance of the government, criticism or providing alternative views and solutions. In Islam, political freedom becomes an area that highly needs to be emphasized. In the issue of governance. Islam highly emphasizes on the important of the voice of the people as the source of the legitimacy of authority. Authority in Islam is based on authority of the people, while leadership is based on people representatives in running the government. 202 Political freedom as a form of modern freedom is practiced in states with established democracy. Freedom is the key word to the idea of modernity and is the fortress for its legitimacy. However, freedom is only truly beneficial when it is realized in a system that provides opportunity to oversee forms that tend to be uncontrolled.203 With the implementation of justice, freedom is the source of dynamic energy for the society to encourage the growth of productive initiatives. Freedom is also the entirety of idea on democracy that must be done through trial and error, that is something that cannot be avoided. Freedom as the precondition for the creation of a mechanism of social supervision is realized through political institutionalization in which each of its components recognizes a clear working division that is inter-related in terms of check and balance or control and balancing in relation to the issue of the dynamics in the working relation and the authority among executive, legislative and judicative institutions.204
201

M. Nurcholish Setiawan, Akar-akar Pemikiran Progresif dalam Kajian al-Quran

(Yogyakarta: Elsaq Press, 2008), p. 27.


202 203

Zuhairi Misrawi and Novriantoni, Doktrin Islam Progresif, p. 93. Budhy Munawar-Rachman (ed.), Ensiklopedi Nurcholish Madjid, volume II, p.

1332.
204

Budhy Munawar-Rachman (ed.), Ensiklopedi Nurcholish Madjid, volume II, p.

1336-1338. WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

The following is the fifth principle or the value of ethics developed by Liberal Muslims, i.e. the ethics of brotherhood.

Ethics of Brotherhood Liberal Muslims highly pay attention to the ethics of brotherhood. This value is contained in Q. 49: 10 that is The believers are but A single Brotherhood. Through ijtihad on the relation among citizens today that has experienced development, this brotherhood is then developed into ukhuwah basyariyah (brotherhood of humanity), that is supported by verse Q. 49: 13 that is: O Mankind! We created You from a single (pair) Of a male and a female, And made you into Nations and tribes, that Ye may know each other (Not that ye may despise Each Other). Verily The most honoured of you In the sight of Allah Is (he who is) the most Righteous of you. In the context of abiding in a society and state, the value of pluralism is more developed compared to the value of brotherhood. This is because in a world that is increasingly individualistic, it is difficult to completely actualize the value of brotherhood. The value or the ethics of brotherhood introduced by the Prophet Muhammad is a brotherhood message that is universal, open and ignited by values of humanity. The most important thing done by the Prophet in order to create a solidarity tie is by defying fanaticism. In a very popular expression, the prophet spoke: Those who campaign blind fanaticism are not my followers. And, those who sacrifice their lives for fanaticism are also not my group. And, those who die to defend fanaticism are not my group.205 I find liberalism to be more of an issue of freedom. For that, if we consider liberalism dangerous, the question that we need to propose is: is this right? Or perhaps what takes place in our mind is not always right. Thus, liberalism is more of a phantom than a reality.
205

Zuhairi Misrawi and Novriantoni, Doktrin Islam Progresif, p. 103. WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

(Rachman 2009: 857) Kautsar Azhari Noer, Professor of Comparative Religion, Faculty of Ushuluddin and Philosophy UIN Syarif Hidayatullah Jakarta. He teaches at the postgraduate program at UIN Syarif Hidayatullah, Universitas Indonesia, STF Driyakara and Universitas Muhammadiyah Jakarta. Since 2007, he was appointed as Honorary Fellow Ibn Arabi Society centred in Oxford. Regarding the social relations of the society, ashabiyah (primordialism) quite conversely sets the values of truth in reverse. The perspective of fanaticism is explained by the Arab saying which affirms that the perspective of anger will always reveal the depravity of the other party. Concretely speaking, in social relations, fanaticism only sees the negativity in other groups. There are no efforts or ethos to do self-introspection and correction. It turns out that the bad effects of fanaticism do not go on other groups, but to the group itself. Blind fanaticism leads to backwardness, and even destruction for the followers. For this reason, ulemas created a term on brotherhood among Muslims that is known as ukhuwah Islamiyah (Islamic brotherhood). In the Koran it is mentioned innama al-muminuna ikhwah (The Believers are but A single Brotherhood) (Q. 49: 10) The view of Islamic brotherhood has developed in the society and it has become a mainstream perspective. In the context of a plural community and a nation like Indonesia, according to them this perspective requires further criticism, to eventually be given a new meaning. This is caused by several things. First, ukhuwah Islamiyah that is deduced or concluded from the editorial of the Koran, and then understood as a brotherhood among Muslims is false. The term ukhuwah Islamiyah in fact cannot be referred in a straight line to the verse mentioned previously. The literal translation of the editorial of the verse innama al-muminun that is more precise is brotherhood among the Believers.206 The word muslimun, which means
206

The word mumin here is interpreter as Muslims who believe in God. While when

understood linguistically, the word mumin is derived from the base word that is amana-yuminu-imanan which means believe. Observers agree that the word mumin refers to each and every person who believes in the God Almighty, whether WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

Muslims, is absent in this verse. What is more, there is not a single verse or hadith that begins with the editorial innama al-muslimun or ya ayyuha al-muslimun.207 For that, if we would like to create an accurate term to the concept of brotherhood for Islam, according to Liberal Muslims of course ukhuwah imaniyah would have to be interfaith brotherhood. This way the type of brotherhood that would like to be established by Islam is more open compared to the term ukhuwah Islamiyah, especially when compared to the brotherhood based on tribes as in the context of Arabia before Islam. However, these two concepts of brotherhood mentioned previously, cannot yet be claimed as the brotherhood aspired by Islam. Both the brotherhood among he is a Christian, a Buddhist, a Hindu, a Zoroaster, a Jew, or any other name or form of religion. The same goes out for whoever submits themselves to God Almighty then he is entitled to being called a Muslim. In the same way as the Liberal Muslims perspective, God will guarantee heaven to anyone as long as they do three things, believe in God Almighty, believe in the Hereafter, and do virtue. These three things are the essence of religion. Take a look at, Samsi Pomalingo, Pluralisme Dan Ikatan Peradaban Manusia. PSIK Paper Universitas Paramadina, 2007. Unpublished.
207

Islam is a universal religion intended for mankind from various nations, various

states across continents. Islam is indeed sourced from the Koran and the Hadith of the Prophet which are in Arabic, as they were revealed in Arabia in which the majority of the people spoke Arabic. However, the verses of the Koran textually and contextually are intended for mankind on this earth and throughout the universe. The statements from the Koran always state Ya ayyuha al-nas (O Mankind!) or more specifically Ya ayyuha al-ladzin-a amanu (O ye who believe!). This shows a calling for mankind that is plural, from various tribes and nations with their own cultural traditions. There is not a single verse in the Koran that specifically calls for the Arab nation with the sentence Ya ayyuha al-Arabiyu (O Arabs!) This universal perspective in the practice of Islamic teaching, espouses the birth of tolerance and a positive attitude toward pluralism, so that Islam can truly provide blessing for the entire nature; as the words of Allah in the Koran wanna arsalnaka illa rahmat-an li alalamin. WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

Muslims (ukhuwah Islamiyah) and the brotherhood among the believers (ikhuwah imaniyah), are not sufficient to explain the idea of brotherhood aspired by Islam. This is due to three things. First, this type of brotherhood is still closed and allows the possibility to exclude one or two segments of the community that is still plural. Second, the terms ukhuwah Islamiyah and ukhuwah Imaniyah are still built on the basis of unitary groups. Third, the forms of brotherhood that have been mentioned above, although they do not contest directly the practices of the prophet in fostering a climate of brotherhood, it is still not in line to the vision of the prophet and the mission of the teachings of Islam.208 Thus, the fourth type of brotherhood that can be witnessed in its real form in the history of Islam is required. This brotherhood is known as brotherhood among the grandchildren of Adam, the ancestor of the first man. Or to simplify such type of brotherhood, the term ukhuwah insaniyah or brotherhood of humanity is given. From the concept of ukhuwah insaniyah, it can truly be concluded that the form of brotherhood idealized and wanted by Islam essentially is the type of brotherhood that is open, universal, and does not exclude any man. All man are the grandchildren of Adam, and due to that all are equal before God, the Creator; each person is created differently so that they may understand one another and compete toward goodness.209 The Koran (Q. 117: 70) stated that God bestows his blessings to all the grandchildren of Adam no matter what innate difference they may carry. To be able to call the entire human race as the grandchildren of Adam is important and meaningful; to be able to make the entire human race descendants from the same ancestors. In all aspects, the Koran deals with humans as an individual without regarding the sex, the tribe, the faith, the community, the class or the education, in order to build a strong foundation to communicate of interact. The Koran calls mankind to be forever aware that everything is equal as it all roots back to one
208 209

Zuhairi Misrawi and Novriantoni, Doktrin Islam Progresif, p. 107-108. Mohamed Fathi Osman, Islam, Pluralisme, dan Toleransi Keagamaan:

Pandangan al-Quran, Kemanusiaan, Sejarah, dan Peradaban (Jakarta: PSIK Universitas Paramadina, 2006), P. 29. WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

origin, whether they are man or woman, or the possibilities of nationality or tribe (Q. 4:1; 49: 13). The diversity of the people and their culture should be able to direct a person to acknowledge the presence of the other and know each other well (Q. 49:13), in order to be able to engage in a relation and cooperate for a reciprocal advantage and for the welfare of mankind. According to Liberal Muslims, in the teaching of Islam, equality and social justice are implemented in order to guarantee and uplift the dignity of the extensive values of humanity. The principles of equality and justice taught in Islam will prevent falsification and social crime.210 In the teaching of Islam, there is not a single text in the Koran or Hadith that gives privilege to a Muslim just because he embraces Islam. The factor of akidah or faith is not the only factor or determining factor in igniting Muslims to confront other believers. In the course of history, that becomes the factor to determine rivalry and conflict is sociological factors or the result of social political conditions. Islamic teachings on brotherhood know no boundaries on religion. Throughout history, Islam encourages its people to have a good relationship, even though with those who have different religions or different ways of life. The role of brotherhood can be found within the Prophet Muhammad. Within him we find a beautiful pattern for conduct (Q. 33:21) and more than that, the Holy Book specifically mentions the Prophets personality being full of understanding and tolerance as well as thoughtfulness (Q. 3: 159). The footsteps of the Prophet are decorated with brotherhood spirit, understanding, gentle acts toward one another, and take one of the most real forms of Allahs praise, i.e. a noble character (Q. 68: 4). Below is the sixth principle of value of ethics developed by Liberal Muslims, i.e. the ethics of peace.

Ethics of Peace Liberal Muslims are very concerned on the ethics of peace. This value among others can be found in Q. 8:61 that is But if the enemy Incline towards peace, Do thou (also) incline Towards peace, and trust in Allah. This verse was revealed when the
210

Humaidy Abdussami and Masnun Tahir, Islam dan Hubungan Antar Agama

(Yogyakarta: LKiS, 2007), p. 149. WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

relation among groups were based on the principle of conflict. Peace among social/tribal groups at that time only happened when there was a treaty (ahd) among them. However, today relations among groups/states are based on the principle of peace, so that ulemas and Liberal Muslim intellectuals have made the value of peace as a basic value or ethics in living as a society and a state. The quality of the submissiveness of a Muslim that is derived from the meaning of Islam must be transformed into the reality of life. The quality of submissiveness must be measured from the reality of how much does the life of the Muslim give and guarantee peace for the sustainability of mankind. Peace is a contented situation that is free from the interference of other parties, free from rivalry, hate, revenge and all kinds of behavior that may create difficulty for others. Islam, according to Liberal Muslims, is a peaceful path, the teaching of the Divine that meets in peace. In accordance to this principle, Islam is encouraged to be forgiving, because forgiveness is closest to righteousness (Q.2:237) There is not a single verse in the Koran, and not a single saying the Hadith that mentions acts to breed hatred, rivalry, conflict, or any other form of negative actions, repressiveness that threatens the stability and the quality of a peaceful life. Islam comes with the principle of compassion (mahabbah), togetherness (ijtimaiyah), equality (musawah), justice (adalah), and brotherhood (ukhuwah), as well as appreciation over differences.211 When liberalism is defined as the worship of pure reasoning, humans as the benchmark of truth, thought as the final reference, well of course not only Islam If will oppose such is a the

concept.

reasoning

benchmark of truth, other religions, including Christianity that develop in Europe and America, will also oppose
211

Rumadi (ed.), Kumpulan Khutbah Berwawasan Islam dan Demokrasi (Jakarta:

PPSDM UIN Jakarta, 2003), p. 75-79. WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

it. All religions will oppose it. Because when we are analyzing the area of religion, it automatically means that within it is an absolute source

containing truth going beyond human thought. (Rachman 2009: 893) Komaruddin Hidayat, Rector of Universitas Islam Negeri (UIN), Jakarta. He was the former Director of the Wakaf Paramadina Foundation and received his master and doctorate degrees in Western Philosophy from Middle East Technical University, Ankara, Turkey.

Islam exists to save, defend, and revive peace. Islam is a religion that desires peace. In the aspect of language, Islam actually has a root language that contains the meaning of peace, salvation, maslahat, and justice. Islam is a metamorphosis of the root of three letters (tsulatsi) that is salima-yaslamu-salaman, which means: salvation and peace. While Islam itself comprises of four letters (rubai) that is aslama-yuslimu-islaman, which means to bring peace and safety.212 Islam roots back to the word salam which means to be safe, whole, and integral. The word silm in the Koran (Q. 2:108) means peace, while the word salam in the Koran (Q. 32:29) means whole and it is the opposite of breaking into several parts even though al-salam in the Koran (Q. 4: 91) contains the meaning of peace. The word salam which means peace in all forms of the words is always mentioned repeatedly in the Koran, and more in the form of a noun than a verb (157 times: noun 79 times, adjective 50 times, and verb 28 times).213 One of the noun forms is al-silm that also means Islam which is peace (Q. 2: 108). Normatively, every Muslim is encouraged to give greetings of peace (al-salam212

Munim A. Sirry (ed.), Fiqih Lintas Agama: Membangun Masyarakat Inklusif-

Pluralis (Jakarta: Paramadina, 2003), p. 180.


213

Humaidy Abdussami and Masnun Tahir, Islam dan Hubungan Antar Agama, p.

55-56. WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

u alaykum). Such meaning of Islam, according to the Liberal Muslims, assumes that every Muslim must grow peace in the heart in order to bring peace to others. Islam in order to be internalized in the soul of every Muslim, so that peace, salvation and maslahat can become a principle and a foundation of the diversity of every human. Thus, Islam as an active religion, requires proactive steps in order to spread peace in the social-political area. Also, the last rakaah of salah in which the person turns his hed to the right and the left serves as a strong symbol for Muslims to spread peace not only to mankind, but also to the entire creation of God. The purpose of salah as a means to educate character and humanity is symbolized in the saying of salam as the closing. The saying of salam is a prayer for the salvation, welfare, and tranquility of many and as a statement of humanity and social solidarity.214 Thus, peace is one of the main characteristics of Islam. Islam which contains the meaning salam (peace/salvation), as explained previously encourages the protection of harmony over the relations among people. Islam does not only prioritize the things that are related to religious issues, but also social problems, and opens itself by putting forward friendship among mankind.215 Peace is a communal agreement among individuals, societies and nations to conduct the order of God and the realization of universal peace, and not a disagreement that is based on compulsion to not do something. Efforts to achieve peace are hard work that must be appreciated so that sorrow or feelings of inferiority will be avoided. There is not a single community that can be isolated due to their efforts to create peace. Peace is everybodys dream, and thus the Prophet Muhammad placed it in an important position in the teachings of Islam, as observed by the brotherhood of the Anshar and the Muhajirin (when the prophet migrated to Medina). Such passion of brotherhood is what gave birth to peace in the heart of every Muslim and had impact on the feelings of peace in social relations, even towards non-Muslims. Essentially,
214

Nurcholish Madjid, Shalat in Budhy Munawar-Rachman (ed), Kontekstualsasi

Doktrin Islam dalam Sejarah, (Jakarta: Paramadina, 1995), p. 406.


215

Humaidy Abdussami and Masnun Tahir, Islam dan Hubungan Antar Agama, p.

60-61. WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

every Muslim can spread peace in a pluralistic social life. The presence of Islam should be able to bring peace among two conflicts and dispute. The essence of a persons faith is determined by how far he or she can conduct acts of salvation; so that whatever issue appears amid the society it can be resolved in a peaceful manner (Q. 49: 9).216 The theology of peace is one of the profusion of religion that needs to be embedded in every individual so that being Islam means living in peace and understanding diversity. Being religious means no more conflicts, no more hatred and no more rivalry. As long as peaceful efforts are done, that is where the essence of religion is upheld. The spirit of peace should essentially become a form of culture that decorates daily life. Every individual, family, and society from various ethnic groups, tribes, race and religion should at all might bury all types of doctrines that contradict the values of peace. Religion should be able to divulge the doctrine of peace on earth. Below is the seventh principle or value of ethics developed by Liberal Muslims, i.e. the ethics of compassion.

Ethics of Compassion Liberal Muslims pay close attention to the ethics of compassion. According to them, Islam is a religion that is a blessing for the entire nature, and not only for mankind, but also animals and plants. In short, Islam was revealed to become a blessing for the entire universe. For this reason, the religion Islam and the sharia contained in it is universal. The word rahmah is derived from the verb rahima. From this epistemology, there are other forms of the word in the Koran. They are: rahima, arham, marhamah, rahim, rahman, and ruhm.217 This word is repeated 114 times in various forms of words that are more specific. The word al-rahman is repeated 57 times in the Koran, while the
216

Munim A. Sirry (ed.), Fiqih Lintas Agama: Membangun Masyarakat Inklusif-

Pluralis, p. 180.
217

Humaidy Abdussami and Masnun Tahir, Islam dan Hubungan Antar Agama, p.

81. WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

word al-rahim is repeated 106 times. Both words are also found in the beginning 113 letters of 114 letters in the Koran, with the sounds bism-I l-Laj-I l-rahman-I l-rahim. The most popular word from these forms are rahman and rahim. Both are characteristics of Allah. The teaching of Islam and the mission of its messages (risala) can be summarized into the following verse, We sent thee not, but As a mercy for all creatures (Q. 21: 107). The Prophet Muhammad explained that blessing is not only bestowed to his companions, but will be spread to everyone. He also explained that whoever fails to spread compassion to another, will not be treated with compassion. If this is then related to the Koran (Q. 6:16), those who receive blessings are those fortunate (fawzan), while those who commit sin and do not beg for His forgiveness, will not receive blessings. They are those who are disadvantaged.218 According to Nurcholish Madjid, the ethics of compassion dominates all things (Q. 7:156), thus the spirit of compassion is the main element of the moral divinity conveyed by the Koran in Surah al-Balad (Q.7) to be upheld by mankind. In Surah al-Balad, there is a message to uphold love and compassion among man that is the passion of humanity in general, which is in relation to the message to hold patience. For those blessed by Allah, differences will not become an element of contradiction. For example, the words of God in which we are to always conduct ishlah, peace among mankind, called blessing (Q. 49:10). The ethics of compassion serves as an important characteristic for the believers. In the Hadith, Muslims are encouraged to impersonate the characters of God, Impersonate the characters of Allah. One of the most important characters is compassion. The only character of Allah that is obligated on behalf of His name. There are several interpretations that explain the meaning of al-rahman as Most Gracious in the world and the hereafter. While al-rahim is the characteristic of Allah that is Most Merciful in the hereafter. Gods compassion as al-rahim is the basic consideration of faith. The believers will receive Allahs blessing as al-rahim. Those who receive the blessing from Allah will be humble enough to see the
218

M. Dawam Rahardjo, Ensiklopedi Al-Quran Tafsir Sosial Berdasarkan Konsep-

konsep Kunci, p. 215. WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

possibility if he or she is wrong. Because of this, every day one must read bismillahirrahmanirrahim that is translated as, In the name of Allah Most Gracious, Most Merciful. By saying basmala, Muslims realize that all of their actions are based on their position as Allahs representative (khalifatullah) on earth. For this reason, whatever they do will be accounted for before Allah. Starting any job with basmala is an affirmation that the job must be done well and with full responsibility. The expression basmala in fact has two meanings. First, remembering the greatness of God. This is an expression of the essence of faith. Faith presupposes belief and faith in the divinity of God. Second, understanding the characteristics of God as Most Gracious and Most Merciful. This means the greatness of God is explained in His characteristics that teach compassion and blessings. 219 In the Koran, Surah al-Isra (17) contains verses that illustrate the meaning of rahim (Q. 17: 23-24) that is related to the relation between parent and child. The relation between parent and child is united in a unique love that is rahim. The love and compassion of a child toward the parents is a love closer to the love of Allah compared to other forms of love and compassion. Particularly, the love of the parents, especially the mother, toward the children. A sincere and pure love. That is rahim, compassion. Teaching on compassion is then continued to Q.17: 26 through the obligation to fulfill rights that is the rights of our family and the poor, who are part of compassion. If we defy this right, this means we have forgotten our social responsibility, and thus we have denied religion. As it is based on the law of silogism, according to the Liberal Muslims, among other forms, a form of compassion is by completing a social responsibility. This is the manifestation of our compassion to man, especially for those in need or for those who have rights. 220

Liberalism inspires the spirit of the freedom of mind to the society to find the best solution in facing current
219 220

Zuhairi Misrawi and Novriantoni, Doktrin Islam Progresif, p. 127-128. M. Dawam Rahardjo, Ensiklopedi al-Quran: Tafsir Sosial Berdasarkan Konsep-

konsep Kunci, p. 217. WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

issues. So, if there is a competition of notions or ideas as well as a competition of intellectual resolving for concrete issues, they should should be praised and recommended in Islam. (Rachman 2009: 1017) M. Amien Rais, Head of the Advisory Council Center PAN (Partai Amanat Nasional). He received his Doctorate (Political Science) from University of Chicago. Former Chair of the Peoples Assembly (MPR), he is now Member of the Advisory Council of PP Muhammadiyah.

Manifestation of compassion or rahim is realized in a number of attitude and important actions. First, by spending wealth for those in need, not only in spare time, but also in tight time. Second, by retaining anger. Third, by forgiving the wrongdoings of others. Islam is a religion that is flexible, expressed through appreciation of the heart of faith itself. The heart of faith is compassion. Even without compassion, Islam could not have experienced acceleration of extensive development, like now. Here, the teaching of compassion becomes important. In order to avoid social conflicts, any form of differences must be based on compassion. Compassion must become an external mechanism, particularly in the relation among Muslims with other followers. Calling people to build a tie of compassion (silat al-rahm) is the essence of Islamic teaching. The following passage will elaborate how the principles of ethics are methodically developed in order to achieve an Islamic argument for secularism, liberalism and pluralism.

The Method of Liberal Islamic Thought Interpretation of the Koran from the Liberal Perspective There is a common belief among Muslims that the Koran is the revelation of Allah, the holy book and the only main source and authoritative for daily activities. The Koran itself states itself as an explanation for all things (tibyan li kulli syay). WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

However, this does not mean that the Koran explains the issues of life in details. As in reality, it is not like that. The Koran could not possibly explain in detail all issues of life that continue to develop and change. Because of this, the statement of the Koran as an explanation for all things must be understood precisely. The Koran proposes basic principles, moral values and general provisions. The Koran resembles the tip of a floating iceberg.221 What is visible is only ten percent, while ninety percent of it is still covered by methodological limitation and historical reification. Reification must be deconstructed, and the new methodology must be brought presentthat is a new methodology that is expected to penetrate the sediment of history that has been distorted to the bottom. Liberal Muslims believe that the words of God in the Koran always create a new message, a new law, a new community, and a new civilization. Islam could not be understood unconnectedly from the unique power that moved it, the power of the creative words of God. As long as the words continue to be creatively effective for the soul, society and history of mankind, Islam will achieve progress. As a creative book, the Koran is an amazing illustration of the creative dynamism of God, and His commandments always lie within the circle of dynamism. The dynamism of the creativity of God can be directed to humans, as God has breathed His soul to humans, and made them caliphs on the face of this earth, and bequeaths them trust in the form of creativity. For this reason, with no criticism, it is impossible that the Koran can be understood comprehensively. All this time, there has been an error in the approach of studying Islamic studies. This error lies in the discrepancy between the teaching and the original message of ethics of the Koran that is caused by the approach used that in general did not pay heed to the aspect of the inter-relation of the verses and disregard the relation among verses as well as the historical aspect of religion. For long, intellectual Islamic debates have not been directed to attain new notions, but
221

Sibawaihi, Hermeneutika al-Quran Fazlur Rahman (Bandung: Jalasutra, 2007),

p. 13. Also take a look at, Ahmad Syukri Saleh, Metodologi Tafsir al-Quran Kontemporer dalam Pandangan Fazlur Rahman, (Jakarta: Gaung Persada Press, 2007), p. 119. WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

only to maintain the existing knowledge. Thus, in the discourse of Islamic thought, there is a very strong tendency to intensely defendborrowing the term of Thomas Kuhnnormal science and not the scientific development to enter the area of revolutionary science. Or when we use the term by Karl R. Popper, we often find many things in the context of justification of Islamic studies and is less related to the context of discovery. And so, the demand to reconstruct and again critically test the existing perspective of Muslims toward Islam in the past is palpable. It is an effort to resolve the issues in the area of normal science, by not leaving the heuristic principle that is the principle to conduct continual study and research in order to find new discoveries, and remembering the method and the perspective that has been used in Islamic study, which all this time has been the mainstream and remains in the area of normativity an sich. Study and repeated tests are palpable in integral reinterpretation. Departing from this problem, several methods that have been generally used will be elaborated. However, this does not take away the possibility that elaboration requires a design to show the specialty of ontology and provide illustration on the methodology that will be used. This is meant to liberalize or historically renewto not say Islam is a religion that is not historical, as there are many studies on the discourse of Islam that uses a historical approach, one of them has been done by Liberal Muslims, through Islamic discourse, especially what is related to the interpretation of the Koran on secularism, liberalism and pluralism.

The Impact of Textual Interpretation Liberal Muslims believe that in the various interpretations toward the Koran, the model of textual interpretation that ignores the context and historicity aspect as found among the textualistsfrom the conservative to the radicalon a sociological structure rarely implicates stigmatization towards other groups, such as

stigmatization of apostate (murtad), disbelievers (kafir), and polytheists (musyrik).

WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

An ideological and tendentious reading in the end will give birth to what is called by Khaled Abou el-Fadl as authoritarian hermeneutics222 or in Nasr Hamid Abu Zayds term tendentious ideological reading (qiraah talwiniyah mughridlah) or text.223 For Abou el-Fadl, and approved by Liberal Muslims, authoritarian hermeneutics occurs when the mechanism of searching the meaning of a text is submitted from the text into a subjective and selective reading. Subjectivity and selectivity that is forced by disregarding the textual aim and the reality of the extratextual text is what makes text dominated by the perception of the reader. The text is made to submit to the ideology of the reader, and as a result, the perception of the reader replaces the text. The reader has not only attempted to construct the meaning of the text, but more than that, constructed the text itself. Such reading is very dangerous because the autonomy of the text is disregarded, and the content of the meaning of the text is adjusted to the meaning and the will of the reader. Thus, in the case of texts (that are considered) pure, authoritarian will bring a huge impact. This is because the pure authority that is contained in the textthat is presupposed by the believers as the Divine authoritycould be easily considered the same as the authority of the reader. Such reading would in the end give birth to moral authoritarian. Seeing this tendency, the belief that it is most dangerous when humans claim to be able to precisely understand the will of God that is through the Holy Book is not a surprise. What is given in the Holy Book is reflected in toto to the will of God. 224 The main idea of the textualist-fundamentalists is hakimiyat Allahthat is acknowledgement over the authority of God and His sharia on the surface of the
222

Khaled M. Abou El-Fadl, Atas Nama Tuhan: dari Fikih Otoriter Ke Fikih Otoritatif

(Jakarta: Serambi, 2003), p. 56-57 and 96.


223

Nasr Hamid Abu Zayd, Kritik Wacana Keagamaan (Yogyakarta: LKiS, 2003), p. Ulil Abshar-Abdalla, Fundamentalisme Agama: Mungkinkah Mendirikan Kota

59.
224

Tuhan Kembali? Kata Pengantar from Sumanto Al-Qurtuby, Lubang Hitam Agama: Mengkritik Fundamentalisme Agama, Menggugat Islam Tunggal

(Yogyakarta: Ilham Institute and Rumah Kata, 2005), p. 16-17. WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

earth, and the submission of humans toward Him.225 There is no authority and sharia except the authority and the sharia of Allah. As a result, they become exclusively obsessed in distinguishing diametrically between the self and the other borrowing the term from Hassan Hanafi. Self is the textualist-fundamentalist (the right) and the others (the wrong) are the people outside there. In this case, religion increasingly shows its sacredness as it has been made sacred for long by the believers. Such a religion can no longer enlighten the crisis faced by man, because religion is prohibited from the contemporary reality. Religion becomes speechless.

225

According to Nashr Hamid Abu Zayd, efforts to eliminate reasoning on behalf of

the text started at the mushaf event when copies of the Koran was flagged to spears. The Holy Book of Allah was called by the Muawiyah to be the judge in the Battle of Siffin. Everybody agreed that such behavior was a falsifying ideology on behalf of text. Such falsification brought down the line of power of the enemy and caused chaos among them. Such chaos in the end called of the dispute and won the Umayyad. Falsification by making the mushaf the judge (arbitration/tahkim) brought the falsification from the area of socio-politics to another area, that is the area of religion and text. Thus, reasoning also shifted towards text. Its main task was limited to only developing text to justify the reality ideologically. This attitude in the end supported the status quo, both by government experts and the opposition, as long as the contradiction shifted into a religious debate on the subject of textual interpretation. Besides that, text is also a tool of arbitration in the contradicting area of social politics, and widens the effectiveness of the text so that it reaches a hegemonic limit in the religious discourse recently as can be seen in the principle of al-hakimiyah in contemporary religious discourse, that is the principle that makes the text the arbitration and causes the independence of reasoning to crumble as it shifts into a faithful follower of text, seeks shelter and hides behind text. The reality is that what takes place gradually in the civilization of Arabic Islam so that muktazilah was crushed post the era of al-Makmun, and has a perpetual effect until today. Take a look at, Nasr Hamid Abu Zayd, Kritik Wacana Keagamaan (Yogyakarta: LKiS, 2003), p. 59-61. WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

Religion only defends itself that is by bringing up ritualism and incredible apologetic obedience. If what is meant by liberalism is individual freedom or freedom of the mind, the Koran clearly supports or approves of it. But if what is meant by liberalism is freedom without paying attention to others, the Koran does not disapprove. Thus, our freedom should not disturb the freedom of others. (Rachman 2009: 1053) M. Quraish Shihab, Director of the Center of the Study of the Koran (PSQ). Former Minister of Religious Affairs in the VII Development Cabinet (1998), received his Lc degree, master, and doctorate in Interpretation and Ulum of the Koran from the University of Al-Azhar, Egypt.

Such reality could cause a fatal impact in which religion will lose its vitality. Diversity becomes a compulsion, and in being religious, stiff and rigid religious doctrines are used (interpreted). Religion is forced into a public area by importing all that is available within religion as something taken for granted. In the name of God, religion is then considered as a sacred document that is recited (tasbih) and believed to overcome many things, from general (al-kulliyat) issues to particular (al-juziyat) issues. Islam is understood as a religion that can resolve issues from A to Z. These holy texts that are understood stiffly and rigidly are made into reference. As if religion speaks about many things, but in fact does not shed new light on the problem of humanity. Liberal Muslim thinkers believe that this is a sign that diversity faces a serious problem in which the position of religion in humanitarian issues is not how it should be. It is true that at a glance Islamic religiosity is total religiosity. Islam is not only understood as a religion, but also a formal-legalistic system and regulations. However, there is one thing that is the concern of Liberal Muslim thinkers that is WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

when Islamic religiosity is increasingly limited. Islam would then become a religion that spreads compassion for itself, while provoking suspicion from other religions even from orientations of Islam (for example, the case of Ahmadiyah). Islam becomes a legitimate religion for itself (shalih li-nafish), but not legitimate for other people (ghayr shalih li-ghayrih). This is a negative impact and a misunderstanding toward the concept of Islam as a relevancy for the entire space and time (al-Islam shalih-un li-kulli zaman-in wa makan-in). The conclusion is such textual-literalistic understanding will stimulate various serious problems. First is the claim over truth. This means that Islam is perceived as a religion that can overcome and represent the truth carried by other religions. Not only that, Islam is even perceived as a single truth. Second is the monopoly of interpretation. This tendency is a logic consequence of the claim over truth that causes the sacralization toward religious interpretation. What the ulemas came up with throughout the historical course of Islam is a history that is reproductive and regressive and always refers back to the past. Third is violence in the name of religion. The first and the second impacts are characteristics of sacralization toward religious doctrines and dogmas. While violence and radicalness are the impact of a social context that had impoverished a certain religious community. Such reality legitimates violence as if it was justified by religion. For example, the doctrine of jihad in the Islamic tradition is often justified by part of the group and the sect to legitimate violence. Jihad is made sacred as a sacrifice to God, even though violence is used. Textualists prioritize the establishment of a religious doctrine and base on an intransingent literal attitude and does not acknowledge compromise. Textualists with their extreme attitude clearly does not have a prospect. Their ability in answering problems regarding real meanings that come from todays process of globalization is doubted. Liberal Muslim thinkers are very aware that diversity cannot be detached from the influence of religious texts as well as their interpretation. It is common that the phenomena of radicalism, fanaticism, fundamentalism, even extremism of religious groups is accused to have begun from interpretation of text that are symbolic and formalistic so they are seemingly stiff, rigid and not flexible. The understanding that materializes is one that is often literal-verbal, textual and not contextual. As a result, WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

religious text can only be understood on a surficial level. While the basic thing is disregarded. This is why Liberal Muslims attempt to revive hermeneutics so we may step out from an all-textual perspective by developing a liberal methodology of Islamic thinking, in which part of it is found from the methodology of classic Islamic thoughtthat is then liberalized. Below are a number of methodologies that have been redeveloped liberally by Liberal Muslims. First, asbab al-nuzul (the analysis of the causes of the revelation of the verses).

Asbab al-Nuzul In classic Islamic thought tradition, asbab al-nuzul is a concept, a theory, or news of the causes of the revelation of a certain message of the Koran to the Prophet Muhammad, in the form of a verse, a chain of verses, or a surah. This concept came up because in reality, such as the history of Islam, it is known that there is of course a certain situation or context that surrounds the revelation of a message. Knowledge of asbab al-nuzul will help a person in understanding the context when a holy verse was revealed. This context will provide an explanation on the implication of the message, and add materials for interpretation and thought on how to apply the message in a different situation.226 Thus, knowledge of asbab al-nuzul provides us with ammunition in the form of new materials that look at a text to respond reality, both in strengthening and refusing, and affirming a dialogic and dialectic relation with reality. The source of knowledge on asbab al-nuzul is obtained from the words of the Prophets companion,227 and had its truth researched in the same way as the
226

Take a look at, Nurcholish Madjid, Konsep Asbab al-Nuzul: Relevansinya Bagi

Pandangan Historisis Segi-segi Tertentu Ajaran Keagaman in Budhy MunawarRachman (ed), Kontektualisasi Doktrin Islam dalam Sejarah, (Jakarta: Paramadina, 1995), p. 24-25.
227

At times, the narration of the companions on asbab al-nuzul is so valid that it

reaches the level of Hadis musnad. While, the fact is no one realized that the narration on asbab al-nuzul did not appear until the time of tabiin. During the time of WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

previous Hadith. The same thing as the issue of Hadith in general, words or news about the causes of the revelation of a letter can be varied, along with the variety of the source of news.228 This means, sometimes we are faced with various narrations that mention the different causes of the revelation of a verse. Misunderstanding of the texts of the Koran can be avoided when a person observes each of the contexts, both the linguistic context, the context when the verse was revealed as well as the socio cultural context that surrounds it. Ulemas who do not acknowledge asbab al-nuzul will encounter a problem when interpreting the words of God, because in reality the message has context that sometimes no longer needs to wait for news, such as Hadith as the context has been contained in it. With the concept of asbab al-nuzul, the Koran cannot be understood from its common the companions, it was felt unnecessary to narrate the events that were behind the revelation of the verses; verse per verse or event per event. Practical reality did not compel those who lived during the time of the revelation of the verses to narrate the events and the causes of the revelation in details. What was told of by the companions were only answers toward questions in the upcoming age, that is the time of tabiin who experienced difficulty with the meaning of some texts so that they felt it necessary to understand the asbab al-nuzul in order to reveal these dalalah. Take a look at, Nashr Hamid Abu Zayd, Tekstualitas Al-Quran Kritik Terhadap Ulumul Quran, p. 144-145.
228

Take a look at, Nurcholish Madjid, Konsep Asbab al-Nuzul: Relevansinya Bagi

Pandangan Historisis Segi-segi Tertentu Ajaran Keagaman, p. 25. During the early time of Islam, there was once a dispute in interpreting verses that were unknown in terms of the causes that brought their revelation. Umar bin Khaththab questioned on how the Muslims could be in dispute when the Prophet and the qibla are the same (one). Abdullah bin Abbas answered him: The Koran has been revealed to us. We read it, and we understand how the verses are revealed. One day there will be people like us who read the Koran and are unaware of how it was revealed. They have opinions, they fight over them, and in this arena of dispute they kill one another. Take a look at, Muhammad Said Al-Asymawi, Nalar Kritis Syariat (Yogyakarta: LKiS, 2004), p. 57. WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

lafadz aspect as in the kaidah, al-ibrat-u bi-umum-I l-sabab- la bi-khushus-I l-lafzh-I. Both have to be made as rules that complement and complete so that they can reveal the pearls hidden in the base of the Koran. For those who study the Koran, knowledge of asbab al-nuzul is essential. Misunderstanding can lure a person into misinterpretation, difficulties, contradictions, and dispute among humans. In order to understand the Arabic text in which the Koran was revealed in, knowledge of the conditions and contexts of the text is required (muqtadlayat al-ahwal); the condition of the language (nafs al-khithab), the context of the speaker (mukhathib) and the context of the audience (mukhathab and in order to understand them, more extensive external contexts are also needed (al-umur al-kharijiyah).229 The importance of asbab al-nuzul can be seen here, Supposing the Koran was arranged based on the order of the revelation of the verses according to the reference of asbab al-nuzul, it would most likely help in the formulation of various problems in the study of the Koran in general.230 However, asbab al-nuzul should not be seen as a determining factor or a reason in which with its absence a verse will not be revealed. In reality, there are not a lot of texts regarding one event. The hypothesis that there are many texts as an answer to one event leads to the segregation between text and misguidance (dalalah) and because of this it brings destruction towards the concept of the text itself. In looking at asbab al-nuzul, we always need to realize that within a text there are always signs that when analyzed can reveal what something outside of the text. Thus, disclosure of asbab al-nuzul can be done from within the text, similar to how the straightening of misguidance (dalalah) can be done by understanding the external context. For this reason, asbab al-nuzul must rely entirely on a historical approach in order to discover the meaning of a text and also on analysis of the sociological backgroundin which asbab al-nuzul is part of itin order to
229

Zuhairi Misrawi, Al-Quran Kitab Toleransi: Inklusivisme, Pluralisme dan

Multikulturalisme, p. 87.
230

Nashr Hamid Abu Zayd, Menalar Firman Tuhan: Wacana Majas dalam Al-Quran

Menurut Mutazilah (Bandung: Mizan, 2003), p. 207. WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

understand the aim of the Koran. This is because in order to understand the Koran, there is no better guidance than knowledge of when and in what kind of situation was the verse of the Koran revealed in.231 That is why they still pay heed to the methodical interpretation aspect of nasikh-mansukh (revoking or cancelling, abrogation). The following is the second methodology that has been liberally redeveloped by Liberal Muslims: nasikh-mansukh.

Nasikh-Mansukh In relation to asbab al-nuzul, another theory known as the nsakh theory (erase/nullify) developed. It is a terminology commonly used by Koranic commentators to show the presence of verses that nullify (nasikh) and verses that are nullified (mansukh). This theory was developed by the majority of ulemas due to the existence of verses with contradictive literal meanings which can no longer be compromised. According to this theory, the verses that erase (nasikh) are verses that were revealed later on. While the verses arased (mansukh) were verses revealed earlier. In the traditional study of the Koran and the sharia of Islam, this would mean verification and elaboration of various modes of nullification. There are cases when a number of legal provisions that had been enforced were revoked or defunct and was replaced with another legal provision. Things like this, when observed from a legal science perspective is something common and often happens. That a law or legal provision can be revoked or stated to no longer have any effects is possible. For Liberal Muslim thinkers, the phenomenon of naskh, as acknowledged by most ulemas, is the most concrete evidence of the existence of dialectics between revelation and reality,232 that is the crossroads between normativity and historicity.233

231

Take a look at, Farid Esack, Al-Quran, Liberalisme, Pluralisme Membebaskan Nashr Hamid Abu Zayd, Tekstualitas Al-Quran Kritik Terhadap Ulumul Quran, p.

Yang Tertindas, p. 89.


232

153. WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

Evidence about this is given in the following verse, We do not erase/nullify/abolish from a sign/verse/evidence, or we make it forgotten, (except that) We come/bring with better than it, or similar/equal/alike to it. Do you not know that God (is) on every thing powerful/capable? (Q. 2: 106) Liberalism is not freedom without boundaries, but an effort to

appreciate individual rights. Every individual has basic rights, such as the right to live, the right to express ones self, the right of religiosity, and many more. as If liberalism is over

understood

appreciation

basic rights, then religion becomes a vital elan change. This is in line to a number of verses stating that the Prophet was sent to lighten the burden of man. (Rachman 2009: 1107) Maman Imanul Haq Faqieh, Caretaker of the Islamic School al-Mizan, Majalengka, West Java, and Member of the Syura Council of DPP Kebangitan Bangsa Party.

In general, there are three main categories in the various discussions of nasikh-mansukh. First is revelation that has been erased both in terms of its law as well as its reading in the codex (mushaf) (naskh al-hukm wa al-tilawah). Second is revelation that only been erased in terms of its law, while the text or the reading still remains in the codex (mushaf) (naskh al-hukm duna al-tilawah). And third is

233

For a more comprehensive understanding, take a look at, M. Amin Abdullah,

Islamic Studies di Perguruan Tinggi Pendekatan Integratif Interkonektif (Yogyakarta: Pustaka Pelajar, 2006), p. 26. WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

revelation that has its text or reading erased, but its law remains still effective (naskh al-tilawah duna al-hukm).234 Naskh is something specifically given to the people in order to help simplify things. They (the people who refused naskh) opposed the idea that Allah would conduct the act of naskh on something after it had been revealed and practiced. They asserted that the establishment of naskh from the mansukh from the verses of the Koran basically holds on to the knowledge of welfare that is concerned on asbab al-nuzul and the chronology of the revelation of verses.235 Replacing a text with another text, with all its consequences, in the form of the nullification of a law with another law can be studied from various angles. What is most important, however, is to focus on the law of phasing in the process of change. When the text in its basic concept is a revelation departing from the boundaries of the concept of reality, then of course the development of the text should pay heed to the reality surrounding the text. Change is a constant act that continually accompanies reality. On condition that the text is drawn from reality, then that very reality should be put into consideration. What is meant by replacing verses is replacing the law, and not changing the text by nullifying the old ones with the new ones, both on a textual level and a legal level, but more for reassurance, particularly in the field of law.236 Understanding naskh as a total nullification towards text would contradict the spirit of simplifying the phasing process in the formulation of sharia (pentasyrian). Such thought has also been developed by a number of reformers and contemporary thinkers, such as Sir Sayid Ahmad Khan (w. 1898) and Ismail al-Faruqi (w. 1986) who believed that revelations that were revealed earlier in certain situations, and those that changed or were later on improved, are not truly nullified. They believed that instead of seeing the previous revelations to be nullified by following revelations,
234 235

Taufik Adnan Amal, Rekonstruksi Sejarah Al-Quran, p. 225. Nashr Hamid Abu Zayd, Tekstualitas Al-Quran: Kritik Terhadap Ulumul Quran, p. KH. Ali Yafie, Nasikh Mansukh dalam al-Quran in Budhy-Munawar Rachman

158-159.
236

(ed), Kontektualsasi Doktrin Islam dalam Sejarah, p. 49. WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

it would be more accurate if we see them to still remain effective and open to the possibilities to be implemented in a condition similar to when the revelation was passed down. Thus, the term naskh, erasing or nullifying is better to be understood as a temporary suspension due to irrelevant context. For this reason, they concentrated to other methodological aspects of the interpretation, i.e. the issue of makkiyah and madaniyah (verses revealed in Mecca and Medina). The following is the third methodology liberally redeveloped by Liberal Muslims: makkiyah and madaniyah.

Makkiyah and Madaniyah Makkiyah and madaniyah are the differences between two important phases that contribute to the formation of text, both in terms of content and structure. This means that the text is the fruit of a historically dynamic interaction of reality. If makkiyah verses are the period of the establishment of the foundation for the structure of the new society, madaniyah verses are the period of the formation. In general, makkiyah verses emphasize more on tauhid, the values of universal humanity, such as equality among man, justice, freedom, pluralism and appreciation over the dignity of man. 237 At large, it has been agreed that during the Mecca period, the Koran contains more religious and moral teaching, and does not state about political and legal norms in specifically,238 also, in general, the calling of the Koran is for the entire mankind and not, for example, for those who have already embraced another faith or religion, such as Jewish and Christianity.239 Islam teaches universal humanity values which also means that Islamic teaching does not only apply for the Arabic nation, but also non-Arabic nations. Thus, the Islamic teachings that are expressed in spiritual

237 238

KH. Husen Muhammad and friends, Dawrah Fikih Perempuan, p. 80. Abdullahi Ahmed an-Naim, Dekonstruksi Syariat Wacana Kebebasan Sipil Hak

Asasi Manusia dan Hubungan Internasional dalam Islam (Yogyakarta: LKiS, 1994), p. 28.
239

M. Dawam Rahardjo, Ensiklopedi Al-Quran: Tafsir Sosial Berdasarkan Konsep-

Konsep Kunci (Jakarta: Paramadina, 1996), p. 66 WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

religious idioms are very universal in conduct and cause radical restructuration of the society. While for madaniyah verses, in general they contain verses that state the regulations of living together in an already established society. Besides that, these verses contain messages and certain provisions regarding hypocrites and other communities in Medina. In affirmative, madaniyah verses talk about practical regulations for the Medina community both for the believers and those who have embraced their own religion.240 During the Medina period, the Koran gave a remark regarding a social-political need in a newly established community. With the freedom to develop their institutions and implement their new religious norms, the Muslim society needed a more detailed teaching and guidance. However, the names makkiyah and madaniyah are not intended to indicate location only, but also both historical phases. Makkiyah is a verse/surah revealed before the migration (hijrah), and madani was revealed later on. Both were revealed in Mecca and Medina in the year of liberation (Mecca) or wada haj or in a journey. Other characteristics that are easily found in a number of literatures on makkiyah and madaniyah verses among others include every surah that contains yaayyuha l-nas (wahai man). Every surah that contains ya-ayyuha l-lazdina amanu (O people who believe!) or about hypocrites is madaniyah. These characteristics identified by ulemas are not yet complete and perfect. They include salient and general characteristics, but not the final norm. In this study, time must be put under consideration along with the size of the text, in terms of content and structure. Segregation between makkiyah and madaniyah is of course not clear-cut. This is because among the many madaniyah texts that exist, there are texts containing characteristics of makkiyah texts. And vice versa, among makkiyah texts there are texts that contain characteristics of madaniyah texts. The transition from one phase to anotherin terms of reality and textdoes not happen over one jump, but through a staging process. For this reason, the concept makkiyah and madaniyah for Liberal Muslim thinkers has guided Muslims to understand the Koran as a discourse, besides as a text. Due to this, they must pay heed to other
240

KH. Husen Muhammad and friends, Dawrah Fikih Perempuan, p. 80. WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

methodological aspects of interpretation, i.e. the issue of tawil (metaphorical interpretation). Next, is the fourth method liberally redeveloped by Liberal Muslims: the theory of tawil. Tawil Theory According to Amin Abdullah, metaphorical interpretation or known as tawil is understanding, finding meaning and interpreting241 over textual facts from holy sources (the Koran and al-Sunnah). It is done in such a way, so that what is needed is not the physical meaning of the words in the text, but the inward meaning242 that covers explanations of the general meaning as well as the special meaning or technical terms that point to an allegorical and metaphorical elucidation. For this reason, tawil or tafsir bi alraay (rational interpretation) is often seen negatively as it is not based on historical facts and the language contained in the text. The word tawil appears in the Koran 17 times. Thus, this shows that it is more popular in terms of language and text, than the word interpretation (tafsir).243

241

M. Amin Abdullah, Islamic Studies di Perguruan Tinggi: Pendekatan Integratif Nurcholish Madjid, Masalah Takwil sebagai Metodologi Penafsiran al-Quran in The difference between interpretation and tawil is reflected in the process of

Interkonektif, p. 184.
242

Budhy Munawar-Rachman (ed), Kontektualsasi Doktrin Islam dalam Sejarah, p. 11.


243

interpretation that requires tafsirah that is explanations observed by musafir in order for it to be revealed, while tawil is a process that does not always need this medium. It is even sometimes based on mental movements in finding the origin of a symptom, or in observing the results. In other words, tawil can be done as the foundation of a direct relation between the substance/subject and object, while this relation in the process of interpretation is not a direct relation but through a medium that is in the form of language, or something that has meaning. In both of these situations, there needs to be a medium that presents the sign and through this sign can the process of understanding toward the object and the subject take place. Take a look at Nashr WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

However, it cannot be denied that the tawil method sharpens the understanding on the interpretation of the Koran. Approaching the Koran with a single interpretation is not sufficient enough to understand the Koran integrally because the Koran will lost its essence as the kalam of God that has grandeur and specialty, both in the capacity of a theocentric book as well as an anthropocentric book. The kalam of God must be approached with the right methodology in order to reveal the right meaning with the aim of the text and the contextual reality. Because of this, tawil is an alternative that can be used as one way to understand verses that could generate interpretation that is not in line with the authority of God and the spirit of humanity contained in the Koran. The tawil method has given us the space to approach the Koran with a substantive approach. Tawil as a method in understanding the Koran is not merely because the element of the text that requires interpretation and penakwilan, but because there is a more realistic element, that every man has different natures (fitrah) and abilities in understanding the Koran.244 Because of this, the area of tawil covers all aspect of the text. It is not even limited to the boundaries of the conciseness of the hidden meaning. Tawil can be done after the process of tafsir, that is to dive into the depth of a text through mental movements or ijtihad. Ijtihad is a process that is required along with the development of reality as well as the plurality of the Muslim communities and their differences. Ijtihad is conducting tawil for text and not distinguishing between fikih and law with other areas, because ijtihad is always based on new reading. However, it is a form of new reading that is interpretative and tries to dive into the world of the text and understand the text comprehensivelya form of intertextuality that allows a fusion of Horizons.245 This is a condition of possibilities that is within a text. A condition of Hamid Abu Zayd, Tekstualitas Al-Quran Kritik Terhadap Ulumul Quran, p. 308, 316317.
244

Take a look at, Zuhairi Misrawi, Al-Qur'an Kitab Toleransi Inklusivisme,

Pluralisme dan Multikulturalisme (Jakarta: Fitrah, 2007), p.87.


245

When an activity to understand and interpret something takes place, what is really

taking place is a fusion among horizons that are involved in this interpretation. Those WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

possibilities for Liberal Muslim thinkers is the key word in understanding the text of the Koran. Thus, we can conclude that a person conducting tawil should not only master naqliyah (rational) traditional sciences, but also modern sciences. This is a basic precondition for a person to conduct tawil in order to overcome the position of religious discourse that is full of various conflicts of interests. And so, they must pay attention to other methodological aspects of interpretation: muhkamat and muthasyabihat. The following is the fifth method liberally redeveloped by Liberal Muslims: muhkamat and muthasyabihat.

Muhkamat and Mutashabihat One of the main dispute among Muslims that is strongly related to the issue of tawil as explained previously is the holy verses of the Koran that have an evident or exact meaning (muhkamat) and those that have unclear or unfixed meanings (mutasyabihat), that is interpretable.246 Muhkamat verses are a group of law that is conveyed by the Prophet Muhammad and contains the principles of human behavior, that is prayer, muamalah, akhlaq and other things that form a message (risalah). Muhkamat verses function as a maker between the kosher and the haram. While mutasyabihat verses are a group of the entire essence that Allah gave to the Prophet Muhammad in which part of it is ghaybiyah, that is things that have not yet been known by the human awareness when the Koran was revealed. This book represents the prophecy of at least involved include the horizon of the author, which covers the author, the horizon of the text and horizons that surround the text, as well as the horizon of the reader and other horizons surrounding it, for example its existence in a certain situation, a certain country, or certain psychological state. Take a look at, Fakhruddin Faiz, Hermeneutika Qurani Antara Teks, Konteks dan Kontekstualisasi (Yogyakarta, Qalam, 2002), p. 35-36.
246

Nurcholish Madjid, Masalah Takwil sebagai Metodologi Penafsiran al-Quran in

Budhy Munawar-Rachman (ed.), Kontektualsasi Doktrin Islam dalam Sejarah, p. 12. WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

Muhammad and also distinguishes between the real and the absurd or pure assumption.247 The issue of muhkamat and mutasyahbihat, causes at least three types of differences in perspective: first is a different perspective regarding holy verses that are muhkamat and holy verses that are mutasyahbihat. Because of this dispute, there are holy verses that according to one Islamic group are muhkamat, but to another Islamic group are categorized as mutasyahbihat. Second is a difference in perspective on whether it is allowed or not to conduct tawil on mutasyabihat verses. Part of the Islamic group allows it, but another forbids it. Third, for those who allow interpretation, there is still a dispute about who must do the interpretation. As interpretation is not an easy job, it is understandable that those who are entitled to interpret the Koran should be limited to those who fulfill the requirements, which include extensive knowledge and the ability to think deeply. One of the consequences to this is segregation among members of the community into special groups (al-khawash) and general groups (al-awam). The first are the experts and the second consists of people in general. 248 Every form of understanding toward the Koran based from a person or a groups perspective is open to be tested by the understanding of

another. Thus, a process of selection will occur: which is methodologically established; which is substantively in line with the universal principles of Islam; and which historically gives advantages for the people and for
247

Muhammad Syahrur, Prinsip dan Dasar Hermeneutika al-Quran Kontemporer Nurcholish Madjid, Masalah Takwil sebagai Metodologi Penafsiran al-Quran in

(Yogyakarta: Elsaq Press, 2004), p. 71-72.


248

Budhy Munawar-Rachman (ed), Kontektualsasi Doktrin Islam dalam Sejarah, p. 1213. WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

humanity. Those who can undergo the process of selection are the fittest. Because of this, freedom in reading and understanding the Koran must be accompanied with freedom to test and be responsible over it. (Rachman 2009: 1185) Masdar Farid Masudi, former Director of P3M (Perhimpunan

Pengembangan Pesantren dan Masyarakat), Jakarta. He completed his undergraduate degree at UIN Sunan Kalijaga, Yogyakarta and his Postgraduate degree in Philosophy at the University of Indonesia, Jakarta. He was once the Chair of Tanfidziyah PBNU and now.

A word of God that is relevant to Q. 3:7 and can represent two of the ways of reading. First, for people in general: It is He who has send down to you, O Muhammad, the Book; in it are verses that are precise, they are the foundation of the Book, and others unspecific. As for those in whose hearts is deviation from truth, they will follow that of it which is unspecific, seeking discord and seeking an interpretation (suitable to them). And no one knows its (true) interpretation except Allah. But those firm in knowledge say, We believe in it. All of it is form our Lord. And no one will be reminded except those of understanding. Second, the way of reading of the experts (philosophers): He is the Lord that has revealed to You Muhammad the Holy Book, and among it are muhkamat verses that become the mother of the Book, and the others are mutasyabihat. And there are those who in their heart contain deviation, then they follow the mutasyabihat with a purpose to create slander and create its tawil. And no one shall know except the Lord and those of knowledge. We believe in the Holy Book; all from the side of our Lord. And they shall not be able to contemplate except those with reasoning.249 Seeing the complexity of the issue of muhkmat and muthasyahbihat, Liberal Muslim thinkers also consider other methodical aspects, i.e. the philosophical issue
249

Budhy Munawar-Rachman (ed), Ensiklopedi Nurcholish Madjid, Volume I, p. 310 WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

of interpretation or known as hermeneutics. Next, the sixth methodology that was liberally developed by Liberal Muslims: hermeneutics.

Hermeneutics Along with the change and development of time, demands of an interpretation of the Koran that is operationally practical as guidance in responding the challenges of the era has also become a contest as well as a necessity for mankind. On the other hand, related to the understanding and the interpretation of text, the basic issue is none other than the issue of methodology. Discussions on methodology are similar to that of the philosophy of knowledge or epistemology. A science is determined by its object, and that object determines the method applied. Thus, for Liberal Muslim thinkers, studies on the methodological aspect is basically a valuable contribution to the development and the progress of the object that has been developed, including the Koran in the aspect of understanding and interpretation. In line with the necessity and the challenges of a method of interpretation that is contextual, the philosophical world has developed a method of interpretation that is now seen to be representative and comprehensive enough to intensively cultivate a text in developing contextualization. As it was developed on a philosophical basiscomplete with a reflection and systematic analysisit is not a surprise that when developing this text, this method of interpretation is considered to have a high value of accuracy and validity. This method is known as hermeneutics. 250 The task of hermeneutics as one of the methods of interpretation is to reveal meaning. Because of this, hermeneutics in its most simple definition is to understand text.251 Hermeneutics can also be understood as a way to interpret symbol in the
250

Hermeneutics deals with the task of explaining words or texts that are considered

to be alien speech by the society, either because they come from God who speaks to them the language of the heavens or they come from a generation in the past who lived in an unfamiliar tradition and language. Take a look at, Komaruddin Hidayat, Menafsirkan Kehendak Tuhan, (Jakarta: Teraju, 2003), p. 137-138.
251

Sahiron Syamsuddin, and friends, Hermeneutika al-Quran Mazhab Yogya,

(Yogyakarta: Forstudia and Islamic, 2003), p. 85. WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

form of a text or something that is treated like a text in order to find the definition or meaning. The method of hermeneutics requires the ability to interpret the past that is not experienced, and bring it into the present.252 Hermeneutics is expected to be a method of Islamic science that can answer the problems of the mystery of Islamic science in answering the challenge of the era and humanity that is pluralistic for whatever religion, tribe and global culture. Religious claims of truth that tend to be exclusive from other religions are threats toward humanity that shocks rational humans. The function of hermeneutics in scientific awareness is to provide awareness for man that religion is not only a power of legitimation and justification, but also it is a power of transformation and prophetic in building the society. The term of hermeneutics itself is in the history of Islamic science, especially the classical interpretation of the Koran is not found. This term is popular when Islam is sunk in backwardness. Even so, the practice of hermeneutics has in fact been conducted Muslims for long, especially when facing the Koran. Proofs of this are first, the problems of hermeneutics is continually experienced and studied, although it is not presented definitively. This is proven from studies on asbab al-nuzul and nasikh-mansukh. Second, differences among actual comments toward the Koran (interpretation) with regulation, theory or method of interpretation has existed since the appearance of the interpretation of literature that have been compiled in the form of the science of interpretation (ilmu tafsir). And third, traditional tafsir is always categorized, for example Syiah interpretation, Mutazilah tafsir, legal tafsir, philosophical tafsir, and many more. This shows the presence of certain groups, certain ideologies, and social horizons of tafsir. Henceforward, hermeneutics does not only develop in the Western world. It spreads and penetrates the borders of religion and culture. Islam in which all this time has established itself on interpretation known as the science of interpretation (ilmu tafsir) can also be penetrated by hermeneutics.253 A number of experts on
252

Take a look at Fakhruddin Faiz, Hermeneutika Qurani Antara Teks, Konteks dan Sibawaihi, Hermeneutika al-Quran Fazlur Rahman (Yogyakarta: Jalasutra,

Kontekstualisasi, p. 126-127.
253

2007), p. 11 WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

modern

Islam

observed

the

significance

of

hermeneutics,

particularly

in

understanding the Koran. For example, Fazlur Rahman, Farid Esack, Hassan Hanafi, Nashr Hamid, Abu Zayd and many more. They observed how the science of interpretation that has been used as a reference in understanding the Koran had its limitations. For this reason, sciences regarding the Koran as a disciplinary approach which serve as an important reference in understanding the Koran need serious attention. This is because understanding the Koran without reconstructing the sciences, will only give birth to a Koranic meaning but not a contextual one. Thus, reading the Koran will only fortify the sacredness of the Koran, but will not have any apt significance to todays context. Hermeneutics does not only provide a science of interpretation or a comprehension theory, but also a science that elucidates the revelation of the verses from word level to global level. The science on the process of revelation: from a letter to reality, from logos to praxis, and also transformation of the revelation from the mind of God to the life of humans.254 This is in fact the importance of hermeneutics as a way to read, comprehend, understand, and possibly even transcend beyond meaning that have been provided textually. The presence of the Koran does not disregard hermeneutics, and even voices it out for the reason that most of the verses in the Koran must be approached by interpretation. This is also why entirely accepting hermeneutics that was later on personally developed as a Liberal Islam method of interpretation for Liberal Muslims comprehensible.

254

Take a look at, Hassan Hanafi, Dialog Agama dan Revolusi (Jakarta: Pustaka

Firdaus, 1994), p. 1. WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

CHAPTER IV AGAINST THE IDEA OF AN ISLAMIC STATE

A palpable form of the discourse on secularization and secularism in Islam is manifested through the discourse on the relation between Islam and the state. This chapter will further elaborate the relation between Islam and the statewhich has now become a thought-provoking topic among Liberal Muslim intellectuals throughout the Islamic World.255 Harun Nasution, a specialist in Islamic philosophy, asserted that the issue which triggered the first intellectual conflict in the history of Islam was the issue of the relation between religion and the state. Discussions over this matter are more focused on whether or not a well-defined borderline between the religious domain and the state was required. From the relation between the state and religion, the issue stretched out as far as to whether or not it was necessary to formulate and enforce what is later on called an Islamic state.256

255

Take a look at, Charles Kurzman (ed.), Liberal Islam (Oxford: Oxford University

Press, 1998), specifically Part I Against Theocracy. Several Liberal Muslim thinkers whom Kurzman call as supporters of the segregation between religion and the state include: Ali Abd al-Raziq (Egypt), Muhammad Khalaf-Allah (Egypt), Mahmud Taleqani (Iran), and Muhammad Said al-Ashmawi (Egypt). At present, so many Liberal Muslim thinkers support secularismor segregation between religion and the state in the Islamic World, take a look at, Samsu Rizal Panggabean, Din, Dunya and Dawlah Ensiklopedi Tematis Dunia Islam, Volume 6 (Jakarta: Ichtiar Baru van Hoeve, 2002), p. 45-81.
256

Rusli Karim, Negara dan Peminggiran Islam Politik (Yogyakarta: Tiarawa

Wacana, 1999) p. ix. Recently, there have been talks over a book which punitively criticizes the notion of an Islamic state based on the review of the history of the Islamic caliphates from the perspective of Farag Fouda, an Egyptian thinker. Fouda affirmed that there was no element of idealism in the Islamic caliphateswhich is claimed to be the concrete form of an Islamic state in the past. He further stated that WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

In fact, the correlation between religion and the state in the past and today is not a novelty, and it is certainly not something only associated with Islam.257 However, one could say that discussions over the relation between religion and the state in Islam are the most impressive, expressive and complex ones in the history of mankindparticularly at present day in which discussions have developed so dynamically.258 Throughout the course of history, the relation between Muslims and Western non-Muslims (European Christians) has been intense. Set off by the military-political expansion of classic Islam which demerited the Christians, the relation topped with the release of Constantinopel and later the Crucifix War. It retaliated with the development of the global structure that was increasingly dominated by the imperialistic-colonialistic West wherein the Islamic World was most wounded. The traumatic relation between Islam and the West instigated the resentment embedded in the Islamic discourse concerning the state in which the West is seen as the enemy.259

the conception of a secular modern state is far more constructive than the caliphates, which is no different than the feudal monarchy in Europe during the Middle Ages. The book prompted a convoluted debate in Egypt in 1992 and caused Fouda to be shot to death by a fanatic from Jamaah Islamiyah. Take a look at, Farag Fouda, Kebenaran yang Hilang: Sisi Kelam Praktik Politik dan Kekuasaan dalam Sejarah Kaum Muslim (Jakarta: Paramadina, 2008), translation by Novriantoni.
257

Take a look at the scheme problem between religion and the state that is well

elaborated by Franz Magnis-Suseno in Etika Politik: Prinsip-prinsip Moral Dasar Kenegaraan Modern (Jakarta: Gramedia, 2003), p. 355-366.
258

Nurcholish Madjid, Agama dan Negara dalam Islam: Telaah atas Fikih Siyasi

Sunni in Budhy Munawar-Rachman (ed.), Kontektualsasi Doktrin Islam dalam Sejarah(Jakarta: Paramadina, 1995), p. 588.
259

Nurcholish Madjid, Agama dan Negara dalam Islam: Telaah atas Fikih Siyasi

Sunni, p. 588. Although sharing the same theological roots, and interaction has been established for centuries, the relation between Islam and the West is often characterized by mutual ignorance, stereotyping, mockery and conflict (John L. WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

Islams ironic experience regarding the relation between religion and the state in the modern age is symbolized by self-accusations among Muslims using various theological stigmas, such as infidel (kafir), apostate (murtad), and shirk (syirik), as witnessed from the incidents between the goverments of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Republic Islam of Iran during the early 1980s. Saudi Arabia, as the successor of the Wahabi orientation in the Hanbali school of Sunni Islam, directed harsh rhetorics towards Iran as the successor of Syiah Islam which has throughout history relentlessly been its political archenemy. Outside the complexity and the dynamic thought that split Muslim thinkers into two categories, i.e. those who agree on an Islamic state, and those who disagree on an Islamic state, the relation between religion and the state in Islam has been elucidated through the example given by the Prophet Peace Be Upon Himheedless of the meaning hoped to be ascertained through it. Nurcholish, a Muslim intellectual who has recently influenced the Islamic perspective regarding the concept of state in Indonesia, for example interpreted that after the migration from Mecca to Medina (madinah: city, civilization), the name chosen by the Prophet to replace (the previous name) Yatsrib revealed the Prophets plan in carrying out his holy purpose which is to foster a high-cultured and civilized society, and later on a social-political entity based on the definition of nation-state in which the state is for everyone or for every citizen and is also designed for a common maslahat.260 The state of Medina under Muhammad serves as a prototype for the relation between religion and the state in Islam.261

Esposito)quoted by Abdul Rohim Ghazali, Hubungan IslamBarat dan Prospekprospeknya in Hery Sucipto (ed.), Islam Mahzab Tengah: Persembahan 70 Tahun Tarmizi Taher (Jakarta: Grafindo, 2007), p. 406.
260

Take a look at Nurcholish Madjid, Indonesia Kita (Jakarta: Gramedia and Muhammad Arkoun calls it the Medina Experiment. According to Nurcholish, the

Universitas Paramadina, 2003), p. 48.


261

Medina experiment serves as an example of a social-political structure associated to the delegation of authoritiesparticularly authorities or power that are not under the WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

The debate on the relation between religion and the statebetween those who agree of an Islamic state and those who oppose ittranspired in relation to the differences in interpreting the Koran and Hadith. Such differences occurred due to the multi-interpretative approach, and not a monolithic approach, used in viewing these two sources of Islamic teaching. In Islamic teaching, doctrines on the segregation of religion and the state remain debatable. This is not the same as, for example in Christianity, in which due to the reform movement that gave birth to Protestant Christianity, a strict doctrine on the segregation of religion and the state or secularismwas established. The doctrine on the segregation of religion and the state among Christians is final. This issue, however, continues to be a long and arduous debate that continues until today among Muslim thinkers. What is more, the

control of one hand, unlike the dictatorship system, but are delegated through discussionsand a constitutional life. This means that the chief constituent of authority and power does not lie within personal interests and decisions, but within a written document that contains principles that are jointly agreed on. The main idea of the Prophets Medina Experiment is a social-political structure that is not governed by personal interests, but jointly governed; not by ad hoc principles that may change from time to time depending on the leaders will, but by principles that have been institutionalized in a document containing the basic agreement of all members of the society or known as the constitution. Arkouns and Nurcholishs perspectives are characteristically similar to the perspective of Liberal Islam, and it will be further elaborated in this chapter. Take a look at, Nurcholish Madjid, Agama dan Negara. In-depth elaboration on the Medina Experiment and how it inspired the governing system in Indonesia has been proposed by Deddy Ismatullah, Gagasan Pemerintahan Modern dalam Konstitusi Madinah (Bandung: SAHIFA, 2006). This book was initially a dissertation in the Doctorate Program of Faculty of Law University Padjajaran (2003). WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

debate on the problems of the relation between religion and the state during the 20 th century has increasingly intricated and stirred conflicts.262 In contemporary Islamic political thought, particularly regarding the study of religion and the state, there are at least three schools of thought: secularists, traditionalists and reformists. The secularists believe that Islam only regulates the relation between human and God, and thus state affairs are entirely under the authority of humans. From this perspective, the secular thought that diametrically segregated political affairs and religion was born. This is because if these two authorities unify, absolutism will arise. Such unification would allow the state to intervene in religious matters, including making sure that religious rituals abide by the consent of the religious authority. On the other hand, religion will grant legitimacy to the ruling party and may even consent to the states use of religion for the legitimacy of power. In practice, religion will compel the state to exercise a certain wisdom. For this reason, a secular government aims to moderate reliance between the government and religion, and replace religious law with civil law, as well as eliminate unjust differences that could emerge due to religion. According to this school of thought, the processes of secularization and even secularism can no longer be prevented no matter how much they are defied in discourse. Donald Eugene Smith, a theorist on modernization, asserted how secularization is an inevitable process. This means that the process of segregating the domestic sphere and the public sphere within Muslim communities can no longer be barred. It is bound to take place. It goes together with the processes of modernization and industrialization that will also transpire in developing states inhabited by Muslim citizens. When modernization transpires in these Muslimpopulated states, that is when secularization will too transpire. Although not based on the doctrine of Islam, the disposition to segregate

262

Take a look at Asghar Ali Engineer, The Islamic State (NY: Advent Books, 1980),

particularly Chapter 6, The Resurgence of Islamic State, p. 147-198. WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

religion and the state in Islam is inevitable. Religion simply cannot cover all aspects of human life. (Rachman 2009: 7910 Jajat Burhanudin, former Director of the Center of the Study of Islam and Society (PPIM) UIN Jakarta. He is a Lecturer of the Faculty of Adab and Humanities at UIN Jakarta where he is currently completing his

undergraduate degree. He received his MA and Doctoral degree from Leiden University, the Netherlands.

In the Islamic World, the pioneer of this paradigm is Ali Abd al-Rziq, an ulema and thinker from Egypt. In his well-known book entitled al-Islam wa Ushul alHukm, he proposed that the sharia of Islam is simply spiritually characterized and has no relations to the law and the practices of the physical world; Islam had no correlation whatsoever to the governing system during the time of the Prophet and al-Khulafa al-Rasyidun; The caliphates was not a religious or Islamic political system, but a system based on worldliness; It was not estabished on either the Koran or Hadith. Ali Abd al-Raziq strongly opposed the opinion that the Prophet once founded an Islamic state.263 His thesis liberated political institutions and many social, legal and political practices from the margins of the sharia.264

263

Lili Romli, Islam Yes, Partai IslamYes: Sejarah Perkembangan Partai-partai Islam

di Indonesia (Yogyakarta: Pustaka Pelajar, 2006) p. 25. Ali Abd al-Raziqs book entitled al-Islam was Ushul al-Hukm (Cairo: Matbaah Mishr Syirkah Musahamah Mishriyah, 1925).
264

Antony Black, Pemikiran Politik Islam: Dari Masa Nabi Hingga Masa Kini (Jakarta:

Serambi, 2006), p. 572-573. Regarding the thoughts of Ali Abd. Al-Raziq, take a look at Message Not Government, Religion Not State in Charles Kurzman, Liberal Islam. WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

Abdullah-I Ahmed an-Naim, a contemporary Muslim thinker born of Sudan, stated that the idea of a Muslim community abiding in a secular-liberal state is not a novelty; it is even a necessity. Throughout the course of history: from the early period of Islam during the time of the Prophet Muhammad, the fourth Caliph Rasyidun, the Ummayad Dynasty, the Abbasid Dynasty, the Ottoman Dynasty to the 21st century all refered to the securlar oder. And so, the principle of sharia will be bereaved of its authority and religious value when it is forced upon by the state. Thus, a utilitarian segregation between Islam and the state is highly necessary so as to maintain the positive role of the sharia in enlightening the Muslim community. The sharia will remain important in shaping the attitude and behavior of the Muslim community, though not serving as the states public law.265 An-Naim calls this as the states neutrality toward religion. In the context of Indonesia, in which the majority are Muslims, the state is neutral to all religions, and thus an-Naims thought becomes higly relevant and contextual.266 Such secular perspective also received verification from Abied al-Jabiri, a thinker from Morocco. His book entitled al-Din wa al-Dawlah wa Tathbiq al-Syariah illustrates on what would happen if Islam established a fixed formula for the governing systems, why the Prophets companions were left in uncertainty after the Prophets death, and how the problem was resolved through an agreement at Tsaqifah Bani Saidah. This not only proves, but also indicates that the government prototype post the Prophet was a form of reasoning or a result of negotiation (secular), and not a part of the divine law. For this reason, according to this secular group, the states authority must be limited in order to prevent the states intervention

265

Abdullah-I Ahmed an-Naim, Dekonstruksi Syariat: Wacana Kebebasan Sipil, Hak

Asasi Manusia dan Hubungan Internasional dalam Islam (Yogyakarta: LKiS, 1994), p. 84.
266

Abdullah-I Ahmed an-Naim in his research in Indonesia developed a solution on

the relation between the Islamic sharia and the state. Take a look at his latest book entitled Syariat, Negara dan Sekularisme (Jakarta: CSRC UIN Jakarta, 2007). WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

in nonnegotiable matters of akidah (the foundation of belief), religious rituals and sharia.267 Conversely, the traditionalist-revivalist believed that Islam is not only a system of belief and rituals, but also a system of society and nation. Thus, it is more apt to be called a way of life. Islam does not differentiate sacred things with secular things.268 For this reason, it is the Muslim communitys obligation to establish an Islamic state and apply the sharia of Islam in a comprehensive (kaffah) manner through the formalization of the Islamic law. Run the state based on a theocratic systemand not democracywherein sovereignty of the law is in Gods hand, and it is a teaching that has received legitimacy from the Koran.269 According to them, the appropriate law to govern humans is the law of God (the sharia of Islam). The only legitimate authority is that of Gods (theocracy). This implies that the law or regulations that must be applied in the society are the regulations of God, and not those created by humans. In todays contemporary age, such theocratic perspective, was followed by Imam Khomeini, an ulema and leader of the Iran Revolution in 1979. Khomeinian example of an ulema who established an Islamic state in Iran in the form of a Republic Islam of Irannoted, In an Islamic state, the authority to establish the law lies in God. No one else has the right to
267 268

Imam Wahyudin, Syariat sebagai Hukum Sekular, www.web.uct.ac.za From the results of the survey conducted by Sukron Kamil, There is not a single

specialist in the theory of classic and middle age Islamic politics who believes that Islam and the state are two separate entities Take a look at Sukron Kamil, Pemikiran Politik Islam Klasik dan Pertengahan: Tinjauan terhadap Konsep Hubungan Agama dan Negara in Refleksi, Journal of Religious and Philosophical Studies, Vol. VII, No. 2. 2005. P. 138.
269

Besides Sayyid Quthb, among the Sunnis, the figure who promoted the idea of an

Islamic state is Abdul Ala al-Maududi. Take a look at Zafaryab Ahmed, Maudoodis Islamic State in Asghar Khan (ed.), Islam, Politics and the State (Petaling Jaya, Selangor: Ikraq, 1987), p. 55-57. A more moderate perspective can be seen in, Rifyal Kabah, Penegakan Syariat Islam di Indonesia (Jakarta: Khairul Bayan, 2004). WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

establish a law. And what is legitimate is only the law from God.270 Thus, according to this traditionalist-revivalist group, Islamic teaching includes religious and state affairs (al-Islam din wa dawlah) because Islam does not recognize a segregation between religion and state. Islam does not recognize secularism. Data reveals that there isnt a single country that virginally This is applies because

secularization.

secularization is in fact a process of negotiation between two domains: religion and the state. This case is similar to the negotiation process in legal issues, between religious law and positive law. (Rachman 2009: 993) Luthfi Assyaukanie, Koordinator of the Liberal Islam Network (JIL) and Executive Director of the Religious Reform Project (Repro) Jakarta. He completed his Undergraduate degree at Jordan University, Amman, Jordan, his Masters degree at the International Institute of Islamic Thought and Civilization (ISTAC), Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and his Doctoral degree in Islamic Studies at the University of Melbourne, Australia.

Furthermore, Khomeini states that humans are part of the universe; the law that governs humans is not any different with the law that governs the universe. God is the Creator of the universe and humans. He is behind the creation of the universe and humans; humans obedience towards the law that governs the universe; the

270

M. Din Syamsuddin, Etika Agama dalam Membangun Masyarakat Madani

(Jakarta: Logos, 2000), p. 59. Also take a look at, Khomeini, Sistem Pemerintahan Islam (Jakarta: Pustaka Zahra, 2002), p. 47. WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

establishment of the sharia for human actions. Observing Khomeinis and this traditionalist-revivalist groups statement, we can conclude that they have a unanimous opinion regarding Islam governing all aspects, including the choice of the governing system. Besides Khomeini, Sayyid Quthb, from the revivalist Islam, believed that a state that does not establish its existence on the law of the sharia of Islam cannot be called an Islamic government.271 Quthb believed and was assured that Islam is a comprehensive way of life that departs from the principle of tauhid and religious rituals to Allah.272 From the spectacles of traditionalist-revivalists, the theocratic system is the most apt system legitimized by the Koran. The democratic system is considered to be troubled, as democracy is not an Islamic concept, but a secular product. The concept of the sovereignty of the people is against the concept of the sovereignty of the sharia; Democracys collective leadership contests the concept of sole leadership in Islam; Freedom in democracy opposes the concept of bound to the sharia law.273 The reformists affirmed that although Islam is not merely a religion that regulates the relation between humans and God, it is also not a all-inclusive religion that covers all aspects of regulations in a detailed manner, including regulations on statehood. According to this group, there are no theological arguments both in the Koran and the Sunna that obliges a state to implement a certain form of governance. Matters of the state and governance, as stated by this group, is delegated to the
271

Munawir Sjadzali, Islam dan Tata Negara: Ajaran, Sejarah dan Pemikiran

(Jakarta: UI Press, 1993), p. 150-151.


272 273

John L. Esposito, Islam dan Politik (Jakarta: Bulan Bintang, 1990), p. 187. This sharp perspective is represented by Radical Muslims in Indonesia, take a

look at, Jamhari and Jajang Jahrowi (ed.), Gerakan Salafi Radikal di Indonesia (Jakarta: Rajawali Pers, 2004). For a more moderate perspective, take a look at, Mohammad Natsir, Islam sebagai Dasar Negara: Pidato di Depan Sidang Majelis Konstituante untuk Menentukan Dasar Negara RI (1957-1959) (Bandung: Sega Arsy, 2004), editor: Kholid O. Santosa. WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

ijtihad of humans. However, the structure of ethical values sourcing from the guidance of the Koran can be made as a foundation of the practices in society and nation life. The structure values mentioned here include honesty and responsibility (al-amanah), justice (al-adalah), brotherhood (al-ukhuwah), pluralism (al-ta

addudiyah), equality (al-musawah), discussion (al-syuwa), peace (al-silm), freedom (al-hurriyah), and social control (amr maruf nahy munkar). Those who abide by these thoughts feel it is unnecessary to establish an Islamic state, or even formalize the sharia of Islam into a positive law. As mentioned by Safii Maarif, the most important purpose of the Koran is so that the values and ethical commandments are held high and bind socio-political activities of mankind. These values are tied to one another organically by principles of justice, equality and independence that also occupy the central position in the moral teaching of the Koran.274 Secularism in Indonesia Summarizing the three types mentioned previously, there are at least two typologies that will be used in this analysis. We will proceed to classify the Muslim thinkers in the discourse of the relation between religion and the state. First, the organic intellectuals or revivalists or now better known as Islamists, and even radicals.
274

A. Syafii Maarif, Islam dan Pancasila sebagai Dasar Negara: Studi tentang

Perdebatan dalam Konstituante (Jakarta: LP3ES, 1996) p. 16. These thoughts were also developed by Abdurrahman Wahid, Mengurai Hubungan Agama dan Negara (Jakarta: Grasindo, 1999). Reform thoughts regarding religion and the state through the perspective of Muhammadiyah and NU. In NU, particularly, the debate over this issue has ended, after the issuance of the Declaration of the Relation Between Islam and Pancasila in NUs 26th Congress in 1984 which stated that the Acceptance and the Practice of Pancasila is a realization of the efforts of the Muslim community in Indonesia to be able to implement the sharia of religion. Take a look at, Marzuki and Abd Moqsith Ghazali, Relasi Agama: Perspektif Pemikiran Nahdlatul Ulama in Istiqro Research Journal of the Directorate of Higher Islamic Education, The Ministry of Religious Affairs of Indonesia, Volume 04, Number 1, 2005, p. 148-175. WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

They are those who claim on the need to unify divine dimensions and politics, as according to their opinion, Islam has an extensive coverage and includes all spectrums of life. According to this organic exponent, Islam is the unification of religion and the state. These organic intellectuals are represented by Sayyid Quthb, Rasyid Ridla and al-Maududi from the Islam Sunni, and Khomeini from the Islam Syiah.275 Next is secular intellectuals who are those who claim the need to segregate religion and the state. The purpose is to protect and preserve the eternality and perfection of religion (Islam). This perspective is expressively represented by Ali Abd al-Raziq, who was mentioned previously, and also all Liberal Muslim thinkers.276 Within the Muslim community, the idea to segregate religion and the state was first proposed by Ali Abd al-Raziq in his book, al-Islam wa Ushul al-Hukm, while the first person to put the concept into practice was Kemal Attaturk in Turkey in 1924. Recently, the names of progressive thinkers who proposed ideas of secularism, such as Thoha Husein, Mohammed Arkoun, Abdullahi Ahmad an-Naim, Asghar Ali Engineer, Mohammad Abied al-Jabiri, Abdul Karim Soroush and many others emerged. They believed that state regulations should be made based on rational consideration. Involvement of the religion is only acceptable as a moral source. On the other hand, Radicals, Islamists, Revivalists, or Organic Intellectuals, are actively involved in guiding the community, particularly on matters of how to position the teaching of Islam as the center of social, political and economic life. These theorists have an Islamic thought, which means that they are against separating religion and the state, and such thought has developed along with the belief that Islam is a comprehensive religion that also covers the governing system. The Islamic governing system that is refered to as a prototype for the Muslim community is the system under al-Khulafa al-Rasyudun (the fourth caliph). Al275

Asghar Ali Engineer, The Islamic State, p. 122-148 (on Abdul Ala Al-Maududi

and Jamaat-e Islamic), p. 180-198 (Khomeini and Iran)


276

Debate on the Islamic state and Liberal Muslim thoughts in the modern age, take

a look at, Asghar Ali Engineer, The Islamic State, p. 87-121. WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

Maududi portrayed the social and nation life during the time as congruent, orderly and harmonious, and characterized by the spirit of unison and brotherhood, both in the body of the government and components of the society. However, this pretty picture is unfortunately not supported by the reality of history.277 In the development of Islamic political thought in Indonesia, both the Islamist or radical wing and the secularist or Liberal Islam wing, have attempted to influence the Muslim community.278 The first wing was roused by Agus Salim and Mohammad Natsir, while the second wing transpired from the thought of Soekarno. 279 The issue of the relation between religion and the state first entered debate regarding weltanschauung (the foundation of the state) in the sessions of BPUPKI (Business Investigation Agency Preparation of Indonesian Independence). In the sessions,

277

Munawir Sjadzali, Islam dan Tata Negara, p. 32. Farag Fouda criticized the

romanticizing of the history of the Islamic caliph regime or the Islamic state idealized as well as emphasize on the importance of secularism. Take a look at, Farag Fouda, Kebenaran yang Hilang, p. 185-187.
278

M. Din Syamsuddin, Beberapa Catatan Problematika Politik Islam di Indonesia

in Abuddin Nata (ed.), Problematika Politik Islam di Indonesia (Jakarta: Grasindo, 2002), p. 22-29. According to Din Syamsuddin, The presence of Islamic politics in Indonesias political arena is the continuance of the white and red (santri-abangan) dichotomy in the Muslim community (p. 23).
279

The prototype of the pro-contra polemic of the idea of an Islamic state is reflected

in the debate between Soekarno (those contra to an Islamic state) and M. Natsir (those pro to an Islamic state), and again reflected in the recent debateknown as Liberal Islam (those contra to an Islamic state) and Literal Islam (those pro to an Islamic state). Documentation on the prototype of this polemic, take a look at, Ahmad Suhelmi, Polemik Negara Islam, Soekarno versus Natsir (Jakarta: Teraju, 2002). Chapter 5 of this book covers the development of the history of Indonesia until today from the successors of Soekarno and Natsir, and those who are still in debate, as if there are no new substances in the debate between Islamic issues and the state in Indonesia. WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

there was a debate on the type of foundation for the state. A lengthy debate on this issue eventually gave birth to two large groups in BPUPKI; the secular nationalists and Islam nationalists. The first group aspired for a national ideology for the state. While the second group aspired for a religious ideology, i.e. Islam. In the debate, it is interesting to note that, as written by Ahmad Syafii Maarif, only 20% or around 15 members of BPUPKI that proposed Islam as the foundation of the state. For this reason, it is not a surprise that BPUPKIs decision regarding the foundation of Indonesia is a national ideology and not Islam.280 The lengthy quandary between secular nationalists and Islam nationalists serves as an empirical proof that the tension between the two continued long after the debate of the founding fathers. In his book at the University of Chicago that has been published in Indonesian with the title Islam and State Matters, Syafii explained how the ideas of the Muslim group was refused by non-Muslim groups that were in favor of Pancasila. In this debate, the Muslim group criticized Pancasila as it was considered as a secular ideology and opposed the soul of the Muslim community. During this debate, the Masyumi group favored Islam as the basis of the state.281 However, over time, the Muslim community representing the Muslim nationalists failed to make Islam as the foundation of the state after the 1945 Constitution was officialized in 1945, the Jakarta Charter was revoked and Pancasila was declared as the foundation of the state. It did not end there. The Muslim community was once again involved in conflicts as reflected from Constituante assemblies. The Muslim community also began to be involved in the constitutional struggle during the debate on the draft design of the 1945 Constitution. This time, the Muslim community who represented the Islam nationalist group united and fought for
280 281

A. Syafii Marif, Islam dan Pancasila, p. 109. M. SyafiI Anwar, Agama, Negara, dan Dinamika Civil Islam di Indonesia:

Pelajaran dari Sejarah, Journal Al-Wasathiyyah, Vol. I. No. 3. 2006, p. 12. Regarding Masyumi who defended an Islamic state, take a look at Yusril Ihza Mahendra, Modernisme dan Fundamentalisme dalam Politik Islam: Perbandingan Partai Masyumi (Indonesia) dan Partai Jamaat-i-Islami (Jakarta: Paramadina, 1999). WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

their aspiration to make Islam as the foundation of the state. Nationalists and nonMuslims criticized this Muslim group due to their over-determinant attitude as well as their scripturalist and formal approach to Islam politics. When the debate rolled without an agreement, Soekarno proposed to return to the 1945 Constitution. The Constituante Assembly initially refused Soekarnos proposition. However, with support from the military, Soekarno issued a Presidential Decree on July 5 1959 to return to the 1945 Constitution, and ended the second wave of the demands of the Islamic group to make Islam as the foundation of the state. With the issuance of the Decree of July 5 1959, Soekarno evidently demonstrated his power. Soekarno declared the importance of an implemented Guided Democracy. Systematically, the idea of Pancasila was coined by Soekarno in his speech on June 1, 1945. Soekarno proclaimed Indonesias Five State Principles: The nationhood of Indonesia, a just and civilized humanity, unanimity or democracy, social welfare and belief in the one and only God. From previous explanation, we see how the principle related to religion is placed as number five, while the principle of nationality is placed as number one.282 As it is further developed, the order of Pancasila became: Belief in the one and only God, Humanity, Unity, Democracy and Justice. Regarding the concept of Pancasila, Soekarno once stated his view that Pancasila could be summarized into one principle and that is mutual aid (gotong royong). According to him, the principle on God could even be eliminated. From the very beginning, Soekarno had always resisted attempts from Islamic groups to make Islam as the fighting spirit and the principle of the state. In his speech in Amuntai, South Kalimantan, January 27, 1953, he asked the people to refuse any invitations in making Islam as the state principle as it would make those who are non-Muslims detach themselves from Indonesia.283 This shows the strong influence secular thoughts have among nationalists. However, what is interesting is no matter how secular a thought is, for Soekarno, for example, it will always contain traces of Islamic inspiration. Ridwan Lubis, in his dissertation,

282 283

A. Syafii Maarif, Islam dan Pancasila, p. 179 Rusli Karim, Negara dan Peminggiran, p. 171. WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

for example, explained that the concept of Soekarnos Pancasila was inspired by his view on Islam, particularly on nationalism in relation to the act of defending rights and truth, internasionalism with the Islamic brotherhood (ukhuwah Islamiyah), unanimity through shura, and social welfare with orders to act justly and under one god.284 Kuntowijoyoa Muslim thinker and historian from Universitas Gadjah Mada believed that Pancasila as an ideology is an objectivication of religions. Pancasila is the objectivication of Islam, so Pancasila receives double support: that is ideology with a categorical imperative in which through an internalization process it can penetrate the area of religion285--no matter what the religion is. Furthermore, it is interesting to observe the thought of M. Dawam Rahardjo a Muslim thinker who entirely supported secularism in Indonesia which stated that Pancasila contains elements of secularism. This means that the Republic of Indonesia is not a theocractic state under the leadership of a religious leader, but a state based on Belief of the One and Only God in which the state guarantees religious freedomthe state does not intervene in religious matters, but protects and fosters them; The state absorbs the virtuous values of religion; and the state gives way for religious activities.286 The acceptance of Pancasila as a principle and as a state ideology is the climax of conflict as well as the result of the negtiation among various schools of thought in Indonesia at that time. The most important function in relation to the

284

Ridwan Lubis, Pemikiran Soekarno tentang Islam (Jakarta: CV. Haji Masagung,

1992), p. 111.
285

Kuntowijoyo, Muslim Tanpa Masjid: Esai-esai Agama, Budaya dan Politik dalam

Bingkai Strukturalisme Transendental (Bandung: Mizan, 2001) p. 140


286

M. Dawam Rahardjo, Intelektual, Intelegensia dan Perilaku Politik Bangsa

(Bandung: Mizan, 1999), p. 480 WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

acceptance of the Pancasila principles is to encourage Islam as the majority religion to be tolerant towards other religions.287 In the Indonesian sphere, Pancasila, refering to the term by Robert N. Bellah, can be called as a civil religion. The same goes for the word religion, in Bellahs proposition, the principle Belief in the One and Only God does not serve as a defense for a certain religion. However, it aims to affirm that the religions in Indonesia essentially circle around one God, that is the One and Only God. This is proven from the nullification of the controversial seven words in the Jakarta Charter which is the raw material of Pancasila. However, as indicated by A. R. Zainuddin, the principle Belief in the One and Only god in Pancasila is one principle that inspires other principles, in which the other principles halve also absorbed it.288 During the New Order, the position of Pancasila as the state principle and ideology strengthened. This was fortified by the establishment of October 1 as Pancasila Sanctity Day. However, as in the era of Soekarno, tension and conflict transpired between the supporters of Islamic politics and those refusing it. It worsened due to anti-Islam attiudes by the elites of the New Order. In the era of the New Order, Soeharto had also predicted Islam would be a dangerous threat to his authority in terms of ideology and politics. At the outset of his governance, Soeharto treated Islam as his second political enemy after communist and was condemned as a right wing extrimist. This situation politically developed into a crisis of trust between Islamic groups and the New Order. However, slowly Soehartos political stance toward Islam in certain phases changed. This change of political landscape in fact relied on the political attitude of Soeharto. Nevertheless, in the late 1970s,
287

One of the highest peaks of the acceptance of Pancasila is the thought of KH.

Ahmad Siddiq who proposed the statement that Pancasila is final for the Muslim community. Regarding this, take a look at Munawar Fuad Noeh and Mastuki HS (ed.), Menghidupkan Ruh Pemikiran KH. Ahmad Siddiq (Jakarta: Gramedia, 2002), p. 126-145.
288

A. R. Zainuddin, Pemikiran Politik Islam, Islam, Timur Tengah dan Benturan

Ideologi (Jakarta: Grafika Indah, 2004), p. 39 WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

disregarding the hegemonic approach, Soeharto began to accommodate a number of regio-politic aspirations of Muslims. The decade between 1960s and 1970s is a period where the Muslim community, particularly the thinkers and the activists, felt a heavy burden due to a difficult synthesis between Islam and the state. The most crucial point at that time was the frequency of Islam becoming a target of ideological suspicion and positioned in a marginal place within national political processes.289 In such social-political situations, Nurchlish Madjid proposed the idea of secularization, which we will further discuss in the following passage. The Debate of Secularism in Indonesia: Nurcholish Madjid Aware that the issues mentioned before did not only have political dimensions, but also theological aspects, Nurcholish tried to provide an alternative resolution that is particularly related to the theological aspects.290 Nurcholish believed that the source of the issue faced by the Muslim community at that time was the lost of a psychological striking force which is clearly attained from religion.291 This was
289

M. SyafiI Anwar, Agama, Negara, p. 13. Also take a look at, B. J. Boland, The

Struggle of Islam in Modern Indonesia (The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff, 1971).


290

Nurcholish, as narrated by his close friend, Eki Syachrudin, is one of the best

examples in terms of organization and politics. He is a democrat who is consequent in his words and actions. He positioned himself toward true aspiration, i.e. attaining a healthy and clean community. For more details, take a look at, Eki Syachrudin, Moral Politik sebuah Refleksi (Jakarta: LP3ES, 2006), p. 503-506.
291

Nurcholish proposed the idea of the need of freedom of the mind and triggered

fresh ideas that had a psychological striking force that quickly responded to many claims due to the growth of the society in economics, politics and social aspects. In other words, the Muslim community must be able to take up initiatives in building a society based on worldliness. Thus, the gate of ijtihad for Nurcholish remains open, and the society must understand the religion. What is more, according to Nurcholish, if you want to be consistent with the religious teachings, a Muslim must be opened to WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

marked by the inability of the Muslim community, represented by their leaders, to distinguish between transcendental and temporal values. For this reason, Nurcholish suggested the Muslim community to liberate itself from the tendency to position things that are meant for the physical sphere into the physical sphere, and things that are meant for the spiritual sphere into the spiritual sphere (the hereafter). From here came the notion of secularization which served as a response to the social political phenonmenon that developed at the outset of the New Order, which was the implementation of the notion and thought of Nurcholish regarding Islam as an open religion that fosters the idea of profress. Nurcholish invited the Muslim community to not develop a phobia against the phenomenon of modernization wherein one of the implications is the acceptance of secularization.292 In the world of thought, the notion of secularization is unseparable from the ijtihad of Nurcholish. Secularization is defined as a physical process in the sense that it places knowledge as the main role. Thus, the main definition on secularization is acknowledgement of the authority of knowledge and implementation in guiding the physical world in which that very knowledge will continue to proceed and develop toward perfection.

I believe that we do not need to be afraid in losing revelations. Because future technology will progress and advance and will always be able to

ideas of progress and is willing to listen to the development of humanitarian ideas in an extensive spectrum, and then choose among them that according to objective measurements contain universal truth.
292

Ann Kull, Piety and Politics, Nurcholish Madjid and His Interpretation of Islam in

Modern Indonesia (Lund: Lund University, 2005). WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

assist and present all things that we considered lost before. Technology will never retreat backwards, it will always progress further than before, so there is a possibility that one day technology will help us understand the forms of writings in the Koran in the past. (Rachman 2009: 1247) Moch. Qasim Mathar, Professor of the Faculty of Ushuluddin Universitas Islam Negeri (UIN) Alauddin Makassar. He received his masters and doctorates degree from IAIN Syarif Hidayatullah Jakarta.

In

Nurcholishs

perspective,

secularization

is

strongly

related

to

desacralization, as both contain elements of liberation. Secularization means the detachment or the liberation of the world from religious definition. The same goes for desacralization, in which it is meant as nullification or liberation from sacred legitimacy. Absolute transcendence to God should in fact give birth to desacralization of thought other than God; as sacralization to something besides God is essentially considered to be shirkwhich is the opposite of tauhid. Thus, all objects that are believed to be sacred must be desacralized.293 Through liberation, humans direct their lives toward their natural state (fitrah), in harmony with their existence, and liberate the self from physical aspirations that tend to be secular. Islam does not provide a sacred meaning to nature and its content, to the sky, the earth, the stars, the mountains, the rivers, the trees, the

293

Greg Barton, Gagasan Islam Liberal di Indonesia: Pemikiran Neo-Modernisme

Nurcholish Madjid, Djohan Effendi, Ahmad Wahib dan Abdurrahman Wahid (Jakarta: Paramadina, 1995), p. 108-109. WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

stones, the seas and all found in nature. Islam sees them all as creation of God, as the verses of God that must not be sacralized. What is more, it is these verses or signs that must be revealed, investigated, and used for the benefit of humans. The surplus that has been given by God in the form of mind should be used to reveal the secret of nature in the form of fundamental components in the development of knowledge. With its elaboration on secularization, Nurcholish intends to distinguish and not differentiate physical and spiritual issues. This differentiation was brought about as the Muslim community could not see and understand issues proportionally. The parameter to asess Islamic values is related to an established tradition. Thus, Islam is placed side by side with tradition, and being Islamic is equalized to being traditionalist. Thus, defending Islam is the same as defending tradition, so there is the impression that the strength of Islam is a reactive traditional power. These perspectives of Islamic leaders, as according to Nurcholish, have caused them to not give sufficient reponse toward the development of thought in todays present time. With an intention to affirm what is meant as secularization, Nurcholish once again states that his ideal concept of secularization does not intend to implement secularization and change Muslims into seculars. But it is meant to transform pysical values that should be physical, and liberate the Muslim community from the tendency to spiritualize it. Through this type of definition, the Muslim community will be accustomed to the mental attitude to always test the truth of a value before material, moral and historical realities. According to Nurcholish, secularization is not secularism, and not even identical to secularism as a closed belief. It remains as its own ideology that is detached from religion. Secularism in such a contect is not a process but a closed ideology that functions closely with religion.294 The notion of secularization that is meant by Nurcholish is not the secularism known in the West (Europe), but secularization as one of the forms of liberalization
294

Nurcholish Madjid, Islam, Kemodernan, dan Keindonesiaan, p. 218-219. WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

or liberation of false established perspectives. In its elaboration, Nurcholish openly proposed that he did not intend to implement secularism. It was even consistent with the perspective that he wrote two years ago. He strongly opposed secularism. Nurcholish explained: What is meant by secularization here is not implementation of secularism, because secularism is the name of an ideology, a new closed world view which functions very much like a new religion. In this case, what is meant is every form of liberating development. This exemption process is required because the Muslims, due to their own historical journey, are no longer able to distinguish which are temporal and transcendental values of presumable Islamic values.295 According to Nurcholish, a linguistic approach will help in understanding the meaning of a term. Regarding the etymology of secularization, he believed that: The words secular and secularization are derived from Western language (English, Dutch and many more). However, these words are in fact originally from Latin, that is saeculum which means today. And the word saeculum is actually one of two Latin words which means world. The other word is mundus. However, if saeculum is the word for time, mundus is the word for space. This is why from the linguistic aspect, the term secular does not invite any objections. Quite the opposite, it is not only correct based on terminology, but also true based on reality. Thus, etymologically, according to Nurcholish, it is not a problem to use the word secular for Islam, as humans are secular beings. Furthermore, Nurcholish explains about this by stating how the difference between secularization and secularism can be better grasped when analogusly compared to the differentiation between rationalization and rationalism. A Muslim must act rationally, but must not be a believer of rationalism. Rationalization is a method to obtain an accurate definition and assessment on an issue and its resolution. He recommends every Muslim to act rationally and forbid them to become rationalists. Being a rationalist would mean supporting rationalism, while rationalism according to Nurcholish is a notion that contradicts Islam. Rationalism denies the
295

Greg Barton, Gagasan Islam Liberal di Indonesia, p. 207. WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

existence of revelations as a media to discover the truth, and only acknowledges revelations. Thus, rationalization has a wide meaning as it is a process, while rationalism has a closed meaning as it is an ideological notion.296 The central aspect of secularization is that secularization is a process in the sense that it undergoes change and develops toward process and the aim of the process. In this case, as the definition of secular refers to worldliness, the understanding of secularization is often understood as a worldly process. With a worldly process that attempts to harmonize it with the development of the day, this process is also threatened by degradation of exisiting values, particularly those who have become the victims of the value of religion. The definiton of secularization refers more to the erosion of the religious values of the personalities of humans. Thus, people tend to set aside religious affairs from physical affairs. Religious affairs must become personal isseus that are separated from state affairs, such as the political arena, social, economic, cultural, education and other worldly affairs. Nurcholish also stated that his ideal concept of secularization is one that makes more use of the worldly mission of humans, and not one without a basis. According to him, the teachings of the Koran which revolves around the position of humans as the servant of Allah and His representatives on earth serve as the foundation of Islam doctrines on secularization. In other words, Nurcholish understood the process of secularization as earthing the teachings of Islam in order to be inherent with the mission of humans as caliphates. In the Koran, there are a number of verses that affirms the position of man as the servant and representative of Allah on earth. According to him, this attitude is a logic consequence from the conception of Islam tauhid which is basically about the confinement of transcendence only to God.297 Unfortunately, based on Nurcholishs observation, there is an absence of fresh thoughts from the Muslim community. Due to the absence of an institution that can think freely and focuses its attention on historical claims from the society as well
296 297

Greg Barton, Gagasan Islam Liberal di Indonesia, p. 219. Fachry Ali and Bachtiar Effendi, Merambah Jalan Baru Islam, p. 130. WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

as the dynamics of economic, political and social development, the Muslim community loseswhat was mentioned previously asa psychological striking force. This condition implicates the Muslim community and sets the impression that they have lost creativity, are defensive, apologetic in responding global big ideas, such as democracy, social justice, socialism, and many more. As a result, the initiative is always taken by other parties and the same goes out for strategic positions in the field of thought and the idea; while the Muslim community is excluded.298 However, recently, the movement of Islamic reform motored by Nurcholish in the 1970s has indirectly strengthened the process of secularization by supporting Islams commandment to strip itself free from political claims in order to focus on ethical and spiritual imperatives. Nurcholishs most popular Dictum, Islam, Yes; Islamic Party, No, and Abdurrahman Wahids statement several days after Nurcholish, that Islam is not a political ideology is the culmination of the project borrowing the term by Yudi LatifPolity-Separation Secularization in Indonesia. It was not until lately did the process of secularization proposed by Nurcholish in the 1970s finally found its resonance among Liberal Muslim intellectuals. As a Muslim reformist categorized into a neo-Modernist, Nurcholishs thoughts were essentially based on theology, that is the theological perspective of Charles Kurzman called Liberal Islam299 in which its characteristics are progressive movement (accepts modernity); does not see the modern West as a threat; Opens opportunity for various forms of physical autonomy in nation and state; and an open, tolerant, inclusive-pluralist way of understanding Islam. As stated by
298

For discussion regarding this, take a look at, M. Syafii Anwar, Pemikiran dan Aksi

Islam Indonesia: Sebuah Kajian Politik tentang Cendekiawan Musim Orde Baru (Jakarta: Paramadina, 1995), p. 50-53.
299

Charles Kurzman, Liberal Islam, Also Greg Barton, Indonesias Nurcholish

Madjid and Abdurrahman Wahid as Intellectual Ulama: The Meeting of Islamic Traditionalism and Modernism in Neo-Modernist Thought, in Studi Islamika: Indonesian Journal for Islamic Studies, Vol 4 (I), 1997, p. 29-82. WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

Rahman,300 the most real characteristic from the challenge of modernity; secularism being the most dominant. Liberal Islam is in fact related to the main issue of secularism in which the definition of it continues to develop.301 As a successor to his teacher, Fazlur Rahman, Nurcholish realized that the idea of Islam not providing a solution to the issues of humanity will not have a bright future. What has been done to Islamic thought, particularly social-political-religious issues, such as secularization, Islam Yes, Islamic Party No, is part of Nurcholishs long intellectual ijtihad, even though at the beginning the notions stirred a debate from the pro and the cons. However, recently, these notions have found their most illuminated form and received appreciation from many intellectuals. The emergence of the Liberal Islam Network (JIL) motored by young progressive NU intellectuals is a concrete form of the continuance of the thought of Nurcholish.302

300

Taufik Adnan Amal, Islam dan Tantangan Modernitas: Studi atas Pemikiran Take a look at, Arskal Salim and Azyumardi Azra, Negara dan Syariat dalam

Hukum Fazlur Rahman (Bandung: Mizan, 1989), p. 187.


301

Perspektif Politik Hukum Indonesia in Syariat Islam: Pandangan Muslim Liberal (Jakarta: Liberal Islam Network, 2003), p. 53-81. In relation to the development of this secular notion, the question such as, Will Indonesia be more inclined to adopt the concept of an Islamic state? becomes important and needs to be observed in terms of its social political development. Liberal Muslimsor another term used in this writing, Liberal Islamis very aware on the possibility of Indonesias inclination toward an Islamic state, because the issue of an Islamic stateas proposed previouslyundergoes a process of contestation in a debate regarding the Islamic political system, internally among Muslims. However, above all, looking at the tendency today, wherein all aspirations of the implementation of the Islamic sharia formally does not receive positive response, thus the transformation of Indonesia into an Islamic state, according to them remains far from the flames of fire, ibid, p.80.
302

MUIs Fatwa is a criticism toward the development of the thought of JIL. WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

Reponse towards Nurcholish Madjid The notions of secularization and secularism in Indonesia cannot be separated from the name Nurcholish Madjid. On January 3, 1970, Nurcholish presented his notion in a discussion held by HMI, PII, GPI and Persami, in Menteng Raya 58. At that time, Nurcholish released his paper entitled The Necessity of Reform in Islamic Thought and the Issue of Integrity of Mankindthat contained notions on secularization and liberalization of Islam. 22 years later, the notion was strengthened with his speech at Ismail Marzuki (TIM) Jakarta, on October 21, 1992, entitled A Number of Contemplations on Religious Living in Indonesiacontaining the foundation of Islamic pluralism.303 These two papers have established the discourse of secularization (secularism), liberalization (liberalism), and pluralism in Indonesia, until the issuance of MUIs fatwa on the forbiddance of secularism, liberalism and pluralism in 2005. The controversy of Nurcholishs ideas triggered a huge and lengthy polemic among Muslim intellectuals and initiators of Islamic reform in Indonesia. The trigger is the semantic controversy used by Nurcholish around rationalization, secularization and desacralization. Nurcholiss thesis that the Muslim community needs to be liberated by an apparent sacredess and religious ideologies that ties the potential intelligence and become thick and high walls that hinder the rate and the progress of civilization.304
303 304

M. Dawam Rahardjo, Sekularisme and Sekularisasi, Media Indonesia. Nurcholishs concern was further developed by M. Dawam Rahardjoas well as

criticizing the conservative tendency of MUI and the Muslim communityin the Speech of Culture at Universitas Paramadina, Jakarta 30 December 2006. In his speech, Dawam asserted that Nurcholish Madjids thought regarding Islamic civilization is in fact still oriented to the past, that is the Middle Ages, during the golden age of Islam, and even on occassion to the time of the Prophet and the Salafiyah generation. Gus Dur looked to the future. And the same goes out for the young Liberal group of Ulil Abshar. Its characteristic is affirmation of secularism and more further pluralism. What makes it different is that Gus Dur is more inclined to WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

The main ideas of Nurcholishs view is in his paper written in 1970 that is the need to have a way to understand religious teachings of Islam that is more progressed by not getting stuck in traditionalism, that is the concept of secularization that according to his explanation dies not direct toward secularism; and the need of the freedom to think, the idea of progress and an open attitude. In the mind of Nurcholish, the Muslim community today can no longer distinguish which are truly stated in religion and which are only understanding and opinion of an ulema. For that, the people need to conduct a profanitation of physical issues in which the approach requires an objective-rational attitude from issues of faith, belief and religious rituals that are spiritual. According to me, the state of Medina is not a model of an Islamic state, but a secular state. A state that requires between religion, religious affairs

conducted by the community, with a communal regulation. Here we can see that the most basic thing is agreement. When the agreement is violated, problem occurs. (Rachman 2009: 1257) Mohammad Imam Aziz, Council of the Founder of Syarikat Islam. He also established the Forum of Brotherhood of the Believers (FPUB Yogyakarta),

notions of nationality, while Nurcholish Madjid was more into a universal Islam. It was the task of the young liberal generation to integrate the tendency of Nurcholish Madjid, but with a starting point that was more toward nationality, and based on a criticism toward the Islamic civilization. Take a look at, M. Dawam Rahardjo, Krisis Peradaban Islam in Abdul Hakim and Yudi Latif, Bayang-bayang Fanatisisme: Esaiesai untuk Mengenang Nurcholish Madjid (Jakarta: PSIK Universitas Paramadina, 2007), p. 42. WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

198, and the Center of Islamic and Social Studies (LkiS Yogyakarta) where he was once director (1996-1998).

Nurcholish hoped that the Muslim community could be liberalized from absolutism and religious authority could emerge. He dreamt that the people could be liberated from immature acts in religiosity, a diversity characterized with claims of turth, allotments of truth only for the self and the group, intellectual arrogance, religious authority and institution of guardian of faith and akidah, and formalisticnormative diversity.305 Departing from that, Nurcholish in 1992 proposed the idea of an inclusive Islam, the spirit of al-hanafiyah al-samhah, egaliter, pluralistic and democratic.306 The polemic towards Nurcholish Madjids thought among Muslim intellectuals has resulted in two dicotomic groups: those who strongly oppose and those who support it. The first group is often known as the conservative group, a group that strongly opposes secularization that is identic to secularism. Among the conservative group, the idea received a negative response. They responded to the discourse with concern that the secularism that took place in Turkey, where bidah in the sharia and belief, blindless ijtihad, and free interpretation of Islamic laws took place and would cause pragmatism in the community. The second group is known as the reformists who stated that secularization is understood as efforts to liberate the community from a life of magic and superstitions by conducting desacralization of nature.

305

This perspective was delivered in three papers on the reform of Islam in 1970

1973, which were then compiled into a book in Nurcholish Madjids, Islam, Kemodernan, dan Keindonesiaan (Bandung: Mizan, 2008 new edition).
306

Take a look at Nurcholish Madjids paper, Pesan Keagamaan untuk Generasi

Muda. This paper was presented in 1992, and caused a national controversy on pluralism throughout 1993. WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

Nurcholishs perspective was misunderstood, even by his close friends, such as Buya Ismail Materereum, Sulastomo, Endang Saefuddin Ansori and M. Amien Rais. The Masyumi were the ones most angry as they felt they were cut in the crease when Nurcholish called for a termination of the public discourse of an Islamic state. On the other hand, he adviced Islamic organizations to disseminate the discourse on social justice as the realization of Pancasila. Those who harshly criticized Nurcholish was his own seniors: M. Natsir and M. Rasjidi. Rasjidi wrote a book which contained pure rejections of Nurcholishs notion of secularization. His rejection was fundamental because this leader of Muhammadiyah believed that secularism will diminish the role of religion as witnessed in other states. For Rasjidi, Nurcholish had once again explained that what is meant by secularism is secularization as proposed by the theologian Kristen Harvey Cox. Rasjidi rejected the concept of secularization as according to him in the end secularization will result in secularism.307 On the other hand, later on M. Dawam Rahardjoand many Liberal Muslim thinkers who will be elaborated belowrealize that the struggle for secularization, is no different with secularism. Andthis is the most important and newest pointthat secularism does not have to mean a decline of religion. 308 In general, Rasjidis perspective on secularism was a response and even the most extreme form of condemnation toward Nurcholishs thought on secularization. According to Rasjidi, there has not been any notes in history in which the term secularism or secularization does not contain the principle of the separation between worldly issues and religion. Secularization, according to Rasjidi, could bring a disadvantegeous influence for Islam and the people. For this reason, both (secularization and secularism) must be eliminated.309

307

Ahmad A. Sofyan, Gagasan Cak Nur tentang Negara dan Islam (Yogyakarta:

Titian Ilahi Press, 2003), p. 100.


308 309

Interview with M. Dawam Rahardjo, October 2006. HM. Rasjidi, Koreksi terhadap Nurcholish Madjid tentang Sekularisasi (Jakarta:

Bulan Bintang, 1977). Also take a look at Nurcholish Madjid, Sekitar Usaha Membangkitkan Etos Intelektualisme Islam di Indonesia, in, Endang Basri Ananda WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

Rasjidi who has long dwelled in scientific research, and is a professor of philosophy, spoke in sarcasm toward young Nurcholish with sharp words: Even though I myself understood English since 40 years ago and I once taught in a University in English, I did not dare insist on a term that had been acceptly worldwide in the area of knowledge. For Nurcholish, secularization means considering the world as the arena of human activities, nothing is taboo, nothing is sacred. This notion is the wrong one and it will cause huge impacts; those we dont expect of. Rasjidi concluded that young Nurcholishs thought at that time was not mature yet, was raw and did not fulfill the requirements of reform in Islam. Not only that, his thoughts were very dangerous and must be put at precaution. I am a type of person who does not want to insist on having all Islamic teachings included into the state legislation. For me, the law of Islam that needs to be included into the

(ed.), 70 Tahun Prof. Dr. H. M. Rasjidi (Jakarta: Harian Umum Pelita, 1985), p. 217218. In this book, Nurcholish explained in the footnotes how the use of the word secularization in sociology means liberation, that is liberation from acts of sacrading what should not be sacred. If projecting this into the modern situation of Islam today, then Robert N. Bellahs secularization will take the form of eradication of bidah, khufarat and other shirk practices, in which all of them occur under the motto return to the holy book and the sunna in attempt to purify religion. And so, I once proposed an argument that such form of secularization is a consequence of tauhid but although the sociological understanding of secularization has often been used by many social science specialists, it must be admitted that there is still a controversy around the term due to such controversy on the terms secular, secularization and secularism, it is wise to not use these terms and replace them with other technical terms that are more accurate and neutral. WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

state legislation are laws related to the structure of the community that are considered central, such as the law of marriage, haj, and many more. Not all Islamic law must be legislated. What is more important is how Islamic values can substantially characterize the life of nation and state. (Rachman 2009: 1275) Muhammad Tholhah Hasan, former Minister of Religion of the Republic of Indonesia Cabinet of National Unity during the era of President Abdurrahman Wahid and was once Rector of Universitas Malang (Unisma) for two periods. He is now Chair of the Indonesian Endowment Agency (Badan Wakaf Indonesia).

In an event held by the Art Council of Jakarta (Dewan Kesenian Jakarta DKJ) in 1972, Nurcholish used this opportunity to lessen the misunderstanding over the ideas he proposed in his previous speech. He once again explained his ideas, among others through elaboration on the principle of faith and good deeds where he explained that the material dimension of the physical world is knowledge, while the dimension of spiritual life is faith, and thus the approach used must also then be different. He acknowledged the presence of violence in his speeches, and called it as a big mistake that is tactic but he did not deny the ideas that he had expressed.310 Besides Rasjidi, Muhammad Naquib al-AttasProfessor at ISTAC,

Universitas Islam Antarbangsa (UIA), Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, who wrote Islam and Secularism, studied the issue of secularism holistically with a desire to bridge

310

Nurcholish Madjid, Keharusan Pembaruan.., p. 484. WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

Western and Muslim thinkers. According to him, Islam is not the same as Christianity. For this reason, the secularization that occurred in the Western Christian community is different with the one occuring in Muslims. Opening his opinion on secularization, al-Attas distinguished the definition of secular to have a connotation of space and time, that is refering to the definition of today. Next, secularization is defined as liberation of humans from religion and metaphysics, or the release of humans from religion and metaphysics, or the release of the world from religious definition (in Webers term), the liberation of nature from religion. Secularism points out to an ideology.311 Next, according to al-Atas, Islam refused to implement anything regarding concepts of secular, secularization, and secularism. All these concepts did not belong to Islam and opposed it in all aspects. In other words, Islam totally refuses the manifestation and the definition of secularization both explicitly and implicitly because secularization is a deadly poison toward the true faith. The most important dimension of secularization, as Harvey Coxs opinion, is the desacralization of nature. Islam, on the other hand, embraced this definition, in the sense that it rejected all forms of superstition, animism, magic as well as fake Gods from nature. The definition of Islam regarding the sacredness of nature is a normal definition that does not bring secularization along with it. Secularization in Islam according to Nurcholish in fact does not reach the stage where the Muslim community no longer feels tied to the basic teachings, but only the teaching of the result of the ijtihad of ulema. Nurcholishs recommendation on the need of secularization as one form of liberalization or the liberation toward misunderstood perspectives that have been established, has in fact developed into a widened controversy. Nurcholish was then accused to have changed notions into a secularist. What is more, M. Kamal Hassana prominent Malaysian intellectual has associated him as a secular modernist. Apparently, Hassan and people with the same notion in Indonesia refuse to acknowledge that Nurcholish is opposed to the notion on secularism, simply because he recommends a special definition of
311

Naquib al-Attas, op.cit., p. 18-19. WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

secularization. However, Nurcholish chooses to hold on to ideas than public opinion. Choosing rationalization of the route of thought than dogmatic worship. In his speechas stated previouslyNurcholish elaborates how his definition of secularization is not about the implementation of secularism and changing Muslims into secularists. It is meant to secularize values that should be physical, and liberate the Muslim community from the tendency to spiritualize. Thus, mental preparation to always test again and again the truth of a value before material, moral and historical realities are established; characteristics of Muslims. Clearly this illustrates Nurcholish who did not intend to accept the notion of secularism that developed in Western social sciences, and tragically even refused them. This is because in the tradition of Western social science, the strong definition on secularization is setting aside religion from public life. Religion should only become the personal matters of each individual; it does not have a meaningful social message. Seeing the extending debate of the thoughts of Nurcholish both in the 1970s and in the 1990s until today, Yudi Latif called Nurcholish as the empire of mind.312 It is through Nurcholishs thought that a huge transformation in Islamic and Indonesian thought and praxis occured, beyond its time.313 Nowadays, secularism thought post MUIs Fatwa on the forbiddance of secularism, must be reviewed and studied in-depth. What he calls as a more comprehensive thought on religion and state has been arranged in a more sharp
312 313

Yudi Latif, Cak Nur, Kekuatan Satu Visi, Republika, 30 August 2005. This is admitted by Robert W. Hefner, a specialist in Islam in contemporary

Indonesia. According to him, secularism does not make Islam anti modernity. The secularism underwent by the Western society, as illustrated by the theorists of secularism all this time, does not apply to the Muslim society. At least the hard theory of secularism must be revised when faced with the reality that developed in the Muslim community. Secularism in Islam does not mean rejecting the role of religion in the public sphere. Religion can hold a role as a source of value in the society. Take a look at Modernity and the Challenge of Pluralism: Some Indonesian Lessons in Studia Islamika, Vol. 2, No. 4, 1995, p. 21-45. WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

and clear manner through various studies, and has brought about what is known as the Cultural Islam Movement which will be further discussed below. Secularism in Indonesia Today According to Nurcholish, the social political purpose of humans should return back to their nature that is humans nature (fitrah) that is pure (hanif). From here, Nurcholish established the theological foundation on Islam as the religion of humanity which will later on become the underlying idea of Islamic political notions. These realities will also impact the notions surrounding the adaptation between the idealism religion and political reality. In the constellation of thought regarding the relation between Islam and the state, Nurcholish realized that it was not easy to find a reconciliation between the idealism of religion and political reality. When that reality was spread out from the initial eras of political history (that is characterized by Islam), we will find many thoughts that trigger statements and polemics that are basically ranging between whether or not the Muslim community must establish a state, how the composition and the type of state be, who has the rights to take the position of head of state, how the position of sharia is in relation to the mechanism of the government and many more.314 Even in todays modern time, there is an issue related to whether the religion must unite with the state, or whether Islam governs the people to form and establish an Islamic state or not.315 Based on the historical process aspect and the development of thought, the idea of an Islamic State is a form of apologetic tendency. At least, according to Nurcholish, an apolegetic attitude can be perceived from two aspects: First, its
314

For example, in the early history of Islam, it is very clear that there is not any

uniformity in electing a state leader. This proves that there is not a fixed ruling in what is called an Islamic State. For a historical review on this issue, take a look at Sirojuddin Aly, the Paradigma Pemilihan Kepala Negara di Zaman Khulafa alRasyidin in Refleksi, Journal of Religious and Philosophical Studies, Vol. VII, No. 2. 2005. P. 109-126.
315

Nurcholish Madjid, Harun Nasution: Tentang Islam dan Masalah Kenegaraan, in

Refleksi Pembaruan Pemikiran Islam (Jakarta: LSAF, 1989), p. 219. WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

emergence is an apology toward Western ideologies, such as democracy, socialism, communism and many others. Cultural invasion in the form of ideologies is responded by appreciation that is ideologically political and gave birth to a perspective and ended in a struggle of political Islam aspiring for the formation of an Islamic state, as found in democratic, socialist, commmunist states, and many more. Next, the current legalism perspective is the continuance of jurisprudency that is so dominant among Muslimsmade to fulfill the need of a legal system that regulates the government and the state in the past. Such an understanding strongly accompanies modern Islamic political discourse that assumed that in order to enforce sharia then it must begin from the state as being an element of authority that can regulate and enforce it. While, according to Nurcholish, jurisprudence has lost its relevance with today. Total modification to make it adjust to the pattern of modern life is no longer a competence and an interest of the Muslim community, but also others. Thus, the results does not necessarily only be in the form of Islamic law, but a law that covers everyone, in order to regulate life together.316 From this context, it seems that Nurcholish was obsesed to explain that Islam essentially is not purely a structure or arrangement and collection of law, that erects upon the formalism of the state and government. However, Islam as the elaboration of tauhid, is a form of spiritual strength that can give birth to a hanif, inclusive, democratic soul that appreciates the pluralism of the society. Furthermore, Nurcholish saw that a more principle act from the conception of an Islamic state is a distortion of a proportional relation between the state and religion. For Nurcholish, the state is one aspect of physical life, and its dimension is rational and collective. While religion is another aspect of life that has a spiritual and personal dimensions. Between religion and state indeed cannot be distinguished, but both of them must still be distinguished in terms of dimensions and ways of approach.

316

Nurcholish Madjid, Islam, Kemodernan, 2008, p. 255. WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

For this reason, Liberal Muslim intellectualswho will continue the thoughts of Nurcholishconsistent with the perspective that secularization is an obligation for every religious community, and more particularly the Muslim community, in the form of the elaboration of the thesis menduniawikan values that shhould be physical and liberate the Muslim community from the tendency to spiritualize it. The notion was developed in political life with Nurcholishs famous motto, Islam, Yes; Islamic Party, No. This idea was developed again based on the inspiration of the rejection of John Naisbitt and Patricia Aburdene toward religion, who said Spirituality, Yes; Organized Religion, No. Nurcholish developed the motto Islam, Yes; Islamic Party, No into (Islamic) Spirituality, Yes; Organized Religion, Yes By this, the most important thing in religious life is substance, more in-depth and more spiritualnot formalism, particularly only sharia formalism. When we compare the Middle East as the place of birth of Islam, we see that until today it is in the form of a kingdom. Do not dream to become a president if you are not a descendant of blue blood. Kuwait is a rich country, but it has a kingdom system. The kingdom system in fact goes back to the qabilah leadership, and not ummah. Indonesia is a prototype ummah. (Rachman 2009: 1305) Nasaruddin Umar, Professor in Ilmu Tafsir, Fakultas Ushuluddin, Universitas Islam Negeri Syarif Hidayatullah, Jakarta. He is now Director General of Counseling for Muslim Community, Ministry of Religious Affairs.

WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

Efforts to discover the conception of the state in the history of Islamic political thought of course contains a certain aim and intention. They can be observed from two things. First, in order to find an ideal Islam regarding the state by emphasizing on the theoretical and formal aspects, begins with the conceptual question What is the form of a state in Islam?, and this departed from the assumption that Islam has a certain concept regarding the state. Second, in order to idealize from the Islamic perspective toward the process of state governance by adding emphasis on praxis and substantial aspects. This second aspect attempts to answer the conceptual question What should a state contain of according to Islam? This departed from the assumption that Islam does not carry a certain concept on the state but it offers basic principles in the form of ethical and moral foundations. Although both aims are different in approach, but both have the same intentions, that is to find a reconciliation between the idealism of religion and political or state reality.317 Reconciliation between religious aspiration and political or state reality becomes the main task of Islamic political thought because the idealism of religion and political reality in the history of Islam often displays a phenomenon of disparity and conflict. This phenomenon at least originates from two causes, that is: First, there is conceptual difference between religion and the state that causes difficulty in bringing them together in practice; and second, there is a deviation of political practices from the ethics and morality of religion. This means that even though the entire Muslim community has the same faith, in terms of the implementation of ethics and morality of religion in the political and state dimension, it is diametral different between one group and another. This reality implicated in the issue of finding a solution that can be negotiated in the attempt to mediate the disparity of the relation between religion and the state, that results in two schools of thoughtwhich are in this book called as Radical Islam and Liberal Islam.318
317 318

Din Syamsuddin, Etika Agama, p. 41. Din Syamsuddin, Etika Agama, p. 42. Din Syamsuddin divided three schools of

Islam and politics, that is formalistic, substantivistic, and fundamentalistic. Take a WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

The notions of Nurcholish above have left a mark on the influence toward the thought of the next Liberal Islam generation.319 Nurcholish himself believed that he has passed times cloaked with misunderstanding and suspicion in attempt to spread ideas.320 This can be understood that the notion today is relatively more accepted by various communities compared to before in which they tend to be limited to the elites both from the intellectual-religious aspect and economic aspect.321 Although the development of Islam in politics is less pleasing due to a chain of policies issued by the New Order, but in ritual and social (a more formalist Islam) dimensions it has developed quickly. This can been seen from the prevalence of religious life, such as the increase of people leaving on haj from priyayi people, the number of mosques, the number of Islamic study groups; thus, due to the

look at Islamic Political Thought and Cultural Revival in Modern Indonesia in Studia Islamika, Vol 2, No. 4, 1995, p. 47-68. In line with the development of Islam in Indonesia post the reform era, I divided the development of thought (discourse) on Islam and the state into two schools, that is progressive and radical. Liberal Islam is derived from substantivistic thoughts, while Radical Muslims, are derived from formalistic and fundamentalistic thoughts, in the term Din.
319

Thoughts like the one of Nurcholish became more expressive, and have an

ambiance of motion through thoughts on religion and the state under Abdurrahman Wahid. For example, take a look at Abdurrahman Wahid, Mengurai Hubungan Agama dan Negara (Jakarta: Grasindo, 1999). The thoughts of Abdurrahman Wahid were once implemented in a short period. 19 months of his presidentship (20 October 1999 23 July 2001). Regarding this, take a look at, Rumadi, Dinamika Keagamaan dalam Pemerintahan Gus Dur in Khamami Zada (ed.), Neraca Gus Dur di Panggung Kekuasaan (Jakarta: LAKPESDAM, 2002), p. 119-154.
320

Nurcholish Madjid, Dialog Keterbukaan: Artikulasi Nilai Islam dalam Wacana This notion is often called Neo-Modernism. Take a look at Greg Barton, Neo-

Sosial-Politik Kontemporer (Jakarta: Paramadina, 1998), p. 333.


321

Modernism: A Vital Synthesis of Traditionalist and Modernist Islamic Thought in Indonesia in Studia Islamica, Vol. 2., No. 3, 1995, p. 1-75. WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

development of religious activities, there has been a convergence among ulema and the abandan, between traditionalists and modernists.322 The reinterpretation of Liberal Muslim intellectuals toward Islamic notions on politics and state has formed the image of Islam as inclusive, friendly and scientific before the government. This encouraged the realization of a conducive situation in order to attain a friendly relation between the Muslim community and the New Order government. It is not an overstatement to say that the New Orderwhether realized or nothas a contribution in changing the image of Islam from traditional toward modern religious values. What is most prominent is reform in education provided by the government that is IAIN.323 For the young middle class Muslim intellectuals, the thoughts of popular Muslim intellectuals are read extensively, and uses a contextual approach to enrich the intellectual horizon as well as the analysis capacity toward issues of the society in the Islamic perspective. For the middle class Muslim intellectuals, particularly those in the bureaucracy, the thoughts of Muslim intellectuals have prepared them mentally and intellectually to participate in the process of modernization and development. While for those outside the bureaucracy, the thought of political Muslim intellectuals inspires movements and social-economic activities in order to overcome concrete issues of the community, such as poverty, backwardness, injustice and many more. Secularization does not mean a person must leave a religious

teaching. It means that a certain religious teaching does not disturb the convenience of other believers.

322 323

Lili Romli, Islam Yes, Partai Islam Yes, p. 85. Saiful Mujani, Agama, Intelektual, dan Legitimasi Politik dalam Indonesia Orde

Baru, in, Kebebasan Cendekiawan: Refleksi Kaum Muda (Yogyakarta: Bentang, 1996), p. 163 WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

Secularization does not mean not upholding values of virtue. They highly appreciate values of virtues and hold them. We can witness these in a number of countries who are proud to speak themselve as secular and have a low level of corruption and have a clean government, such as Finland, Sweden, New Zealand, and many more. (Rachman 2009: 1319) Neng Dara Affiah, Commisioner and Chair of the Sub Commission of Education and Research of Women Komnas. She is also the Chair of PP Fatayat NU and a Consultant for the Women Empowerment Moslem Context (WEMC) program.

Social dynamics and interaction has caused the process of a loss of culture where a process of satiating among variants takes place, and thus diminishes cultural limitations among them. This is one of the success stories of the modernist Islam movement. Since its establishment, it has provided various modern education institutions, that is the appearance of a new generation of Muslims with modern education as well as built a way into modern norms. The transformation movement of Islamic thought and political practices started since the 1970s until a certain time when it was capable of toning down the political tension between Islam and the state.324 They believe that although the

324

Pramono U. Tanthowi, Kebangkitan Politik Kaum Santri: Islam dan Demokrasi di

Indonesia, 1999-2000 (Jakarta: PSAP, 2005), p. 75. The stage of Islamic politics in Indonesia provides a good example of an uneasy synthesis over the problems of WORKING TRANSLATION

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struggle takes the forms of political roots, the issue becomes theological in the sense that the interpretation toward Islam influences and forms political thoughts and activism in the Muslim community. These efforts are done particularly through various statements regarding political ideas and actions that are believed to be more in accordance to the reality of socio-cultural and religious diversity in Indonesia. In such a framework, a transformation of political thought and practices in Indonesia, according to Bachtiar Effendy, ranges on three important areas. 325 First, theological reform that focuses on the discovery of new theological foundations that allows the creation of a possible synthesis between Islam and the state. Nurcholish Madjid, Harun Nasution, Abdurrahman Wahid and Munawir Sjazali are the backbone of this orientation. Second, political/bureaucratic reform that intends to bridge the relation between Muslims and the government so that political suspicion and ideolgy can be eroded. Mintaredja, Sulastomo, Akbar Tandjung, Bintoro Tjokroamidjojo, Marie Muhammad, Sadillah Mursyid is part of he activity in this lane. Third, this orientation of social-economy transformation with a main concern, both in the villages as well as cities. It must be acknowledged that social-economic transformation amonf Muslims since several decades ago had become a quite

Islam and the state. Bahtiar Effendy affirms that there are three periods. The first is 1945-1970, the inimical periodthat is the fight between Islam and state construction, or national ideology. Second is 1970-1990s, that is the complementary period (Abdurrahman Wahids term) between Islam and the state. And third, the reform period, 1998-now, that is the competitive period, which caused a fight between Liberal Muslims and Radical Muslims in interpreting the problem of Islam and the state. Take a look at Bachtiar Effendi, Problematika Politik Islam: Refleksi Tiga Periode in Abuddin Nata (ed.), Problematika Politik Islam di Indonesia (Jakarta: Grasindo, 2002), p. 155-160.
325

Take a look at Bachtiar Effendy, Islam and the State in Indonesia: Munawir

Sjadzali and the Development of a New Theological Underpinning of Political Islam Studia Islamika, Vol. 2, No. 2, 1995. WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

significant political factor. Sudjoko Prasodjo, M. Dawam Rahardjo, Tawang Alun, Utomo Danandjaja and Adi Sasono are pioneers of this movement. From these three movements of reform, the first issue, that is the relation between religion and politics is the most important part of efforts to find a solution over the issue of tension between Islam and the state. For this reason, they believe that the relation between Pancasila and Islam must be clarified first in the public dicourse as it is strongly related to the problem of motivation in moving a person into the process of social change and religious responsibility. Thus, on behalf of the Liberal Muslim intellectuals, it is not a surprise if an Indonesianist Robert W. Hefner said that: It is true that a number of observers have assessed the ability to contextualize the message of Islam in the modern world as a phenomenon that occurs in the history of Islam throughout the world. Revivalist Muslims and reformists have truly emerged across the globe. Even so, there is a certain characteristic for Indonesia. It is not only a fact that Indonesia has brought up Muslim thinkers, but also their ideas and notions of thought have received a warm reception from a wide segment of the Indonesian community. The result, part of the idea and notion of intellectual thought is followed by a wide public, and even used as a tool to enhance the dynamics of the intellectual of the Indonesian Muslim community.326 Whatever the reason may be, fact points out that during the 1990s and until today, Indonesia has witnessed a revival of a very progressive Islam, and has so much in its future. This was initiated and resulted by the attitude of Soeharto who disregarded the Muslim groups to be directly involved in political parties and the process of democracy. Thus, when Islam is not involved in the political parties of the New Order, more opportunities and cultural paths are opened. This before the eye of the community is considered a change of form from a catastrophe to a blessing, and not due to efforts based on the principle of benefit but through a deep innovation of thinking on the best ways for Islam to influence and guide the society, among others

326

Robert W. Hefner, op.cit. WORKING TRANSLATION

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on the thoughts regarding the form of secularism in the Muslim community in Indonesia.327

327

A comprehensive illustration of Islam and the State during the New Order and its

development until today has been mapped out by Bachtiar Effendy in Islam and the State in Indonesia (Singapore: ISEAS, 2003). WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

CHAPTER V DEFENDING GENDER EQUALITY

Some interpretations of holy scriptures have become a concern for Liberal Muslims in Indonesia, particularly those who seek justice for womens rights in terms of gender. The most important one is related to the deconstruction of the interpretations of verses which position men as the center of life for women. Liberal Muslims great effort in actualizing women rights is often called the Islamic feminist movement. In essence, [Islamic feminism is] Awareness of the oppression and extortion toward women in the society, the working place, and the family, as well as the conscious acts done by women and men to change this condition [by referring to sacred scriptures as their supporting structure]. According to this definition, it is thus insufficient to call a person a feminist just because he or she is able to diagnose discrimination based on the sexes and the domination of men and the patriarchal system. One must be able to act. In other words, diagnosis must be followed by acts to change the conditions that devalue women. Patriarchy, one of the main problems faced by Islamic feminists, is believed to be the source of misogini The intendment of feminist struggle is to achieve equality, self-worth, and freedom for women to be able to choose and control their life and body, both within the household and outside it The purpose is to establish a just social structure for women and men that is free from predisposition, discrimination based on class and caste, and prejudice related to the sexes Islamic feminists demand an equal position between men and women as citizens in the public sphere, and a complementary role in the domestic area (the household).328 For this reason, these Liberal Muslims critically debate religious scriptures that do not support the notion of equality between men and women as citizens of a public sphere and a complementary role in the domestic area. For example, a classic holy manuscript used in Islamic schools in Java, written by Imam Nawawi al-Bantany
328

Nurul Agustina, Islam dan Feminisme, paper unpublished. WORKING TRANSLATION

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entitled, Uqud-u l-Lujain fi Bayan Huquq-I l-Zawjayn. This prominent manuscript which is a free adaptation of the manuscript entitled Ihya Ulumuddin, by Imam alGhazaliillustrates the different obligations and rights of men and women as husbands and wives. According to this book, a womens obedience to her husband is almost absolute. By referring to many holy scriptures, this Sheikh from Banten points out to the readers that men have rights that are more superior than women, or their wives. The basis of this preeminence is the Korans statement; a husband has the obligation to provide a livelihood.329 Men are in charge of women by right of what Allah has given one over the other and what they spend for maintenance from their wealth. So righteous women are devoutly obedient, guarding in the husbands absence what Allah would have them guard. But those wives from whom you fear arrogance first advise them, and then if they persist, forsake them in bed, and finally strike them. But if they obey you once more, seek no means against them. Indeed, Allah is ever Exalted and Grand. (QS., al-Nisa / 4:34). On account of this verse, Sheikh Nawawi al-Bantany, inferred that religion allows men to seek other pleasures, (by polygamy), while women are not. At times, regarding these functional issues (wherein the verse mentions who should provide a livelihood), the readers reign and invade other subjects, for example in interpreting the safety of women to rely on men. A Hadith quoted by this Sheikh, Verily, a wife does not yet fulfill the rights from Allah SWT, therefore she is to fulfill the rights of her husband. Allah proclaimed Men are in charge of women in the sense that men lead women when they astray; as a leader, an official, a judge, and an educator. As Allah has given one over the other, because men are the main subjects compared to women, and men are better than women. This is why prophecies are specified for men. The same applies to the highest authority. Based on
329

Various interpretations that strengthen the supremacy over women are based on

this verse, take a look at Didin Syafruddin, Argumen Supremsi atas Perempuan: Penafsiran Klasik Q.S. al-Nisa: 34, Journal Ulumul Quran Special Edition No. 5 & 6, 1994, p. 4 - 9 WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

the words of the Prophet Peace Be Upon Him, Fortune will be far from those who bestow their leadership to women Hadith Bukhari from Abd al-Rahman bin Abi Bakrah from his father. The same also applies to the position of a judge and many more. And because they spend for maintenance from their wealth, in the form of mahr, livelihood, expenditure, obliged by Allah in the Koran and the Sunna of the Prophet Peace Be Upon Him to men on behalf of women. For this reason, men are main subjects compared to women, and must share with her. Therefore, it is true if they became the leader for women, as stated in the words of Allah SWT, For men their degree is above women.330 Many verses from the Koran and Hadith are often used and referred to as a legitimate basis for gender inequality between men and women, and they also serve as a theological basis of womens reliance to men regarding their safety.331

The Mission of Liberal Islam: Equality Observing this lopsided interpretationwhich places mens self-worth above womensto achieve gender equality based on the spirit of the equality of rights and obligations which Liberal Muslims consider to be the basic message of the Koran, efforts were directed to question those related to the sociological term, i.e. interpretation of the existence of a central structure, in this case, the theological perspective of men in Islam. Men in Islam are often interpreted by traditionalists to have rights that are a level above women. The verse in the Koran that underlies this is as mentioned previously: Men are in charge of women (Q. 4:34). Such gender inequality is often justified in Islamic interpretation from the perspective of traditionalists due to the presence of this verse.
330

Quoted from Tasfeer Ibn Katsir I: 608, by Jalaluddin Rakhmat, Pandangan Tafsir

Modern tentang Perempuan, paper unpublished.


331

This issue has been discussed for some time by Asghar Ali Engineer, Hak-hak

Perempuan dalam Islam, translated by Farid Wajidi and Cici Farkha Assegaf (Yogyakarta: Yayasan Bentang Budaya, 1994). WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

The question is: how do Liberal Muslims react toward this? Riffat Hasan, whose writings influenced the theological feminist perspective in Indonesia, attempted to further trace this to the Islamic perspective on the creation of Adam and Eve: Was is it true that Eve was created from a piece of Adams ribs, and thus making Eve the secondary creation (after Adam). If so, based on this cosmology, the argument of the supremacy over women can be justified. And in the subsequent stems, the gender inequality in controversial issues that have become a discussion and polemic among Liberal Muslims in Indonesia: regarding the apportioning of inheritance, witness, marriageincluding in it womens sexual rights over their bodypolygamy, divorce, and womens leadership in prayer, and in social-political life, and so on, can also be justified.332 From the readings of Islamic traditional scriptures, it is believed that the function of women in the life of men is principally as mens sexual partner, although this in fact has nothing to do with taqwa. As in the end, the measurement of taqwa before God is not related to the role of gender in social life, but how much both men and womenare faithful and conducted good deeds. Or the language of the Koran which directly points out the religious obligations of men and women. For Muslim men and women, for believing men and women, for devout men and women, for true men and women, for men and women who are patient and constant, for men and women who humble themselves, for men and women who give in charity, for men and women who fast (and deny themselves), for men and women who guard their chastity, and for men and women who engage much in Allahs praise, for them has Allah prepared forgiveness and great reward. (Q. 33:35)

Islam believes that women need to be protected and appreciated, but not by
332

Riffat Hassa, Isu Kesetaraan Laki-laki dan Perempuan dalam Tradisi Islam, in

Fatima Mernissi and Riffat Hassan, Setara Dihadapan Allah, Relasi Laki-laki dan Perempuan dalam Tradisi Islam Pasca Patriarkhi (Yogyakarta: Yayasan Prakrsa, 1995), p. 33-65. WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

confining their freedom as a human being who is equal to men, but by creating a system that in one hand provides safety, and on the other hand implements a heavy sanction for those who violate the regulation and the system. (Rachman 2010: 249) Badriyah Faymi, member of the House of Representatives of the Republic of Indonesia and Vice Chair of FKB DPR RI; with Puan Amal Hayati studies Islamic literature sources that are gender biased.

It is interesting to read a long comment from Abdullah Yusuf Ali, a traveler who is known to be liberal, which reveals that all of these values are the submission of our willmen and womento the will of Allah, A number of obligations a Muslim has are elaborated in this verse, but the main emphasis lies in the reality that all virtues are highly entailed for men and women. Their rights and the obligations, in terms of spiritual and humanitarian aspects, are of the same level, and their rewards in the hereafter, which is spiritual happiness, is granted equally to each of them. These values are: (1) faith, hope and tawakkul to Allah and His regulations that are good for this world; (2) devoted and perform prayer in daily life; (3) compassionate and honest in the sense of the mind and the heart, the words and the actions; (4) patient and steadfast in facing suffering and in attempting to do the righteous; (5) humble, avoids arrogance and feelings of superiority; (6) giving alms by helping the poor and those underprivileged, particularly obligations that are propelled by the obligation to perform prayer and dedication to one another; (7) sacrifice ones personal interests, to eat in a certain manner, but in general according to taste; (8) a pure sexual life, a pure heart, mind, words and actions; and (9) always pays heed to religious teachings and embed a longing to always be closer to Allah.

WORKING TRANSLATION

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Thus, the issue of gender inequality in traditional interpretation is a matter of social life that is not related to spirituality. However, sometimes, the readers, due to a misogynies (hatred toward women) tendency and prejudice, often exaggerate what is literally affirmed by the Koran regarding this issue of equality. The issue of gender inequality is only a functional issue in social life that must be understood in a framework process where the Koran is reforming the society toward equality, in which time is required. Unfortunately, these traditionalist readers often see the concept of equality in the Koran as part of the Korans perspective. It is this very point that makes the issue of gender inequality socially a question among Liberal Muslimsparticularly those defending womens rights before men: If women and men are equal before God, why are they the opposite before man? For Liberal Muslims, this question animates deconstruction attempts to obtain a new perspective (a reconstruction process for) a more just Islamic interpretation in terms of gender. For this reason, the origin and the processes of global (weltanschauung) perspectives that have caused such social injustice of gender have been sought. As known in sociology, it all began from a misogynist prejudice and a global patriarchal perspective that then became a general vision of society life. Such misogynist act and patriarchal perspective then, consciously or unconsciously, entered religious interpretation.333 It is interesting to notice the works of Fatima Mernissi who deeply influenced the perspective of Liberal Islam in Indonesia. After analyzing the patriarchal forms in religious interpretation that have been fostered and legitimized for centuries, interpretation of traditional scriptures that position women in inequality must be suspected, and later on deconstructed. From here, they departed to build a future filled with a just gender relation. The answer is of course to be found in the mirror of time, where Muslims can see themselves in order to predict the future. The image of women will change if she emphasizes on the need to determine her future on the memory of freedom. Perhaps women should help to emphasize on equality in daily life that will take them to a fascinating present time. And the present is always

333

Ibid. WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

fascinating, as it is there that everything is possible, the end of the past and the beginning of faith in enjoying the harmony of the times that we have. 334 Deconstruction of textual interpretation is so important for these Liberal Muslims. It is the acts of reconstruction of the equality of rights between women and men that become their serious attention. Deconstruction of the interpretation of Islamic scriptures related to women is so important as a term of Hermeneutics by Paul Ricoer, that is exercise of suspicion, in observing the way Islamic scriptures have been interpreted by traditionalists for centuries. Exercise of suspicion should be implemented in all forms of methodologies applied in sciences of interpretation, social sciences, and philosophy. The main thing is that deconstruction needs to be done. From here, a new interpretation is developed based on the vision of gender equality. All arguments on the supremacy over women must be suspected, even though they are holy scriptures that literally reveal inequality. And regarding efforts related to this new interpretation, a new reading of the verses of the Koran is also in need. Fazlur Rahmans thought on the Way to Read the Koran, influences the methodology of Liberal Muslims in Indonesia, which is formulated into two cycles: First is the double methodology cycle in understanding the Koran. In this cycle, we must first understand the meaning or connotation of a statement by studying its historical and sociological situations in which the statements of the Koran serve as an answer. According to Rahman, before studying the specific verses in light of specific situations, a study on the macro situation of the social context of the society when the Koran was revealed must be done. Second is generalizing the specific answers, and declaring them as statements with general moral-social purposes filtered from the specific verses in light of the socio-historic background and the logic ratio that are often presented. From Rahmans formula, these two steps were palpably simplified by Liberal Muslims by first seeking the ethical foundation of a verse through historicalcontextual analysis of the verse (which in the science of interpretation is known as asbab al-nuzul, but can be enriched by new sciences, such as history, sociology,
334

Ibid, p. 248. WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

hermeneutics, and many more). Such morality within the Koran is expected to justify the social condition of today shined by the spirit of the Koran. Among the thoughts of Indonesian Liberal Muslims, Nurcholish Madjid could be called as one of the thinkers who dealt with the ethics of the Koran in a way that Fazlur Rahman did, to seek a modern Indonesian Muslim community. Regarding the way to respond to the challenge of Muslims today, Nurcholish asserts, [In order to] respond to the challenges of present day, we need to first capture the message within the Holy Book. Because [as asserted by] Fazlur Rahman, we have certain criteria before stepping forward, and these criteria must be derived from the Koran. First, we must scrutinize our Islamic tradition under the limelight of these criteria and principles, and then critically study the knowledge produced by modernity. We must also remember that science in Islam is formed to allow us to act, to change the state of the world. We must truly develop this method and first of all assess our own tradition, the rights and the wrongs. Then we must also assess the Western tradition. The level of creative knowledge will only surface when inspired by an attitude that the Koran aims to embed within us. Only then can we express appreciations and sit during assessments of both our tradition and the Western tradition. Even then, assessments and criticism are not the final destination; they are just the first step in discovering new knowledge, which is the true aim of Islamic intellectuals.335

335

Quoted by Nurcholish Madjid, from Fazlur Rahman, Islamization of Knowledge:

A Response, in The American Journal of Islamic Social Science, (Herndon, VA, USA), Vol. 5, 1 September 1988, p. 11. Take a look at Nurcholish Madjid, Ajaran Nilai Etis dalam Kitab Suci dan Relevansinya bagi Kehidupan Modern, in Islam Doktrin dan Peradaban, (Jakarta: Paramadina, 1992), p. 485-486. WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

Efforts Toward a Liberal Islamic Interpretation In reality, the use of Liberal Islamic interpretation to understand the issue of gender equality has a spectrum.336 I will summarize in general a number of notable things among Muslim intellectuals, such as the English essays that influenced the discourse of Liberal Islam in Indonesia, and from the Islamic thinkers in Indonesia themselves. Initial Efforts of Liberal Islamic Interpretation. We have seen how the apologetics (the thought that will be deconstructed by Liberal Muslims) support the traditional interpretation mentioned previously. Principally, the apologetics

differentiate authoritative texts from cultural practices. This difference is important, as later on it is through these authoritative texts that religious culture in the society will be assessed. A number of thinkers have begun with a more liberal effort compared to the traditional perspective of the apologetics. They were more concerned on the differences between authoritative texts and their interpretation. Initial efforts to make a more liberal Islamic interpretation began by opening a space known as textual interpretation. Religious authoritative scriptures alone cannot assist in the direct capturing of meaning, without an interpretation. Thus, it is the discourse of interpretation that needs to be observed, whether or not it is sufficient in a certain vision as contained in these authoritative texts. And so the agenda of hermeneutics was made to open the issue of gender. They prioritized just like the traditionalists/apologeticsphilological analysis, and contextual arguments (sabab nuzul), under the pressure that such analysis is a process of interpretation, unlike the apologetic who made use of the element of context to justify a literal aspect of a verse. These liberals often question the results of traditional interpretation. However, theylike the apologeticsbelieve that the Koran is as literal as the kalam of God. But not only that, a new awareness was established, in which the same text can produce differences in interpretation regarding an issue. In this context, moderate figures, such as Prof. Quraish Shihab, and lecturers of

336

Take a look at Ghazala Anwar, Muslim Feminist Discourses in Concilium,

1991/1, p. 55-61 WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

interpretation at IAIN (State Institute of Islam Religion) in general, adopted this perspective.337 Different interpretations between travelers and Muslim feminists occur due to the different backgrounds behind each thought. Muslim feminists interpreted the verses of the Koran through a feminism perspective, while the travelers did the opposite. Another cause is the aspect of methodology. The travelers did not use a contextual approach unlike the Muslim feminists. And they too are different in assessing the quality of Hadith, even though both acknowledge Hadith as bayan [explanation] of the Koran.338 From a thought that began to open this discourse of interpretation, more efforts liberally developed in attempt to transform tradition, but by still using the methodology of classic Islamic hermeneutics known in the discourse of classic Liberal Islam. These liberal bases referred to by specialists of Islam are taken from the discourse of classic Liberal Islam. In conducting interpretation of the Koran, for example, they use a distinction that has for long been accepted by specialists of the Koran, i.e. the presence of muhkamat (evident and exact) verses, and mutasyabihat (difficult to directly capture their meaning). These two types of verses need to be well defined. This hermeneutic methodology was supported by the Koran itself that stated, He it is who has revealed to you the Scripture whereof some verses are muhkamat (decisive in meaning), these are the mother of the scripture, the others are mutasyabihat (Q. 3:7.) From the interpretation of these Liberal Muslims, the differentiation between (1) the mother or the foundation of the Scripturethe Mother of the Scripture, and (2), the part that is connotative and tamsil becomes important. In the latter, room for interpretation is opened widely which then led to the madhabs in Islam. In fact, interpretation of these mutasyabihat verses trained these Liberal Muslims to sharpen their abilities in revealing the inner meaning of the Koran. However, there is a basic
337

Take a look at M. Quraish Shihab, Wawasan al-Quran: Tafsir Maudhu I atas Yunahar Ilyas, Feminisme dalam Kajian Tafsir al-Quran, Klasik dan Kontemporer

Pelbagai Persoalan Umat, (Bandung: Mizan, 1997), p. 296-318


338

(Yogyakarta: Pustaka Pelajar, 1997), p. 151 WORKING TRANSLATION

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problem that surfaces here that is the problem in determining which verses are muhkamat and which are mutasyabihat. Abdullah Yusuf Ali, commented on the previous verse, Specialists in interpretation usually define the verses that have a decisive meaning (muhkan) into categories of legal sharia regulations, that has a clear meaning for everyone. However, this meaning can no longer expand: the Mother of Scripture must cover the most basic, the place where all laws rest and become the main teaching of Allah that is different to all kinds of images, symbols, connotations and regulations. Some concluded that the movement of Muslim women in Indonesia was much better compated to the feminist groups in other Muslim-populated countries. In a number of ways, I agree with this opinion. First,

Indonesian Islam is a peripheral Islam far from the center. Second, culturally we have the same culture that can absorb Islamic teachings and no longer separate them. Third, we have a tradition of Islamic schools that does not only take the form of physical buildings where men and women are educated and raised together, but also theological

buildings that are derived from the classic scriptures open to

reinterpretation for the sake of the enforcement of womens rights. (Rachman 2010: 943) Lies Macoes-Natsir, a woman activist who graduated from the State Institute of Islam Religion (IAIN) Syarif Hidayatullah Jakarta (now UIN).

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This hermeneutic prototype evidently has further implications and has provided a wide possibility for Liberal Muslims to reinterpret the verses of the Koran in transforming the traditional interpretation that appeared sexist. Literal reading of the verses of the Koran that differentiated the rights of women was transformed toward equality, which means that the gender bias was transformed into a more equal meaning in terms of gender. In this context, the Sudanese thinker, Mahmud Muhammad Thaha, gave a more liberal hermeneutic framework, by adding elements of differentiation between Makkiyah and Madaniah verses. The verses revealed in Mecca that were poetic, prophetic, egalitarian and visionary had served as a basis of an ethical vision that became the foundation of the reading of the verses revealed in Medina, which were more about regulating the social life. This approach clearly assisted Liberal Muslim thinkers in reading the verses of the Koran regarding gender equality. Abdullahi AnNaima student of Mahmud Muhammad Thahaused this hermeneutic way in his liberal agendas, and more or less had come to enliven the Islamic discourse in Indonesia, as one of his books had been translated. And as they used a hermeneutic framework with traditional liberal roots, they were more easily accepted, appreciated and developed by Muslim thinkers. From the liberal basics that were pioneered by Islam thinkers all this time, a par excellence model of interpretation developed, or now known as Liberal Muslim thinkers. All this time, they have been called by various names in the Islamic discourse. At times neo-modernist Muslims, at other times, Rationalist Muslims, feminists and many more. This Liberal Islam hermeneutic prototype departs from a faith that the basic vision of the Koran is justice. All the verses in the Koran essentially bring about the discourse of justice, which means a vision of gender equality. However, justice and the idea of gender equality are not abstract concepts. Justice and gender equality often appear in the elimination of a problem. For this reason, many verses on gender justice are contextual. But many verses also talk about justice in a philosophical senseas ethical norms. Thus, the way to use a hermeneutic method is by reading contextual verses and by facing this problem in light of other verses that voiced out this vision of ethics. Many of Riffat Hassans books voiced out this vision. He himself WORKING TRANSLATION

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admitted to be influenced by Fazlur Rahman in interpreting the Koran. We know that Fazlur Rahman is a great Islamic thinker who created a very liberal method of interpretation, known as the double hermeneutic cycle, which was mentioned previously. In a verse that has contextin this case verses related to womenwe formulate the vision of justice and gender equality in it. This vision of abstract ethics brings us to the issue of today, we place it within discourse, and we create new interpretations that are in line with todays spirit, but are still loyal to the moral messages of the Koran. We obtain a new theoretical working framework in interpreting legal verses, in which part of them are about the relation between men and women. In the Indonesian version of Asghar Ali Engineers book, and even more in Fatima Mernissis book, the best examples of how the theoretical working framework of interpretation of the Koran is liberally implemented. In addition, Fatimah Mernissi also gave a highly qualified criticism of Hadith. In her book Women in Islam, (Bandung: Pustaka, 1994), she rivetingly made us conscious of the many problems of the use of Hadith that were turned into the foundation of gender inequality in Islam. And it turned out that the Hadith that were used to legitimize gender inequality, were those included into the category of weak Hadith (dlaif). And for that very reason we must refuse them. I myself believe that if these Hadith were true, they are highly unlikely to be sexist and misogynic. However, it is true thatas believed by many rationalist Muslims, for example Fazlur Rahmanthe issue is not only that these Hadith are weak and cannot be accounted for in terms of their authenticity, but also because they are different compared to the Koran; which has its authenticity guaranteed. The use of Hadith themselves as the legal basis of religiosity is problematic! This is due to a search method for the authenticity of Hadith that that has its accuracy called into doubt, which was pioneered by Imam SyafiI from the spectacles of modern criticism. Departing from this context, many Indonesian Muslim thinkers can be categorized as liberal thinkers. Regarding the senior figures, we have Prof. Harun

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Nasution, Prof. Nurcholish Madjid, Prof. Munawir Sjadzali, 339 and many among the younger generation who will eventually develop liberal notions from these seniors, such as Wardah Hafidz, Lies Marcoes-Natsier, Masdar F. Masudi,340 Siti Ruhaini Dzuhayatin, Nazaruddin Umar341 and many more. They have become the provocateurs for ideas on gender equality in Indonesia.

The Use of Postmodern Hermeneutics In Paul Ricoers terminology, the Liberal Muslims applied a methodology of interpretation that conducted an exercise of suspicion. However, the Muslims that were affected by feminist thought and post-modern thoughts continued this aspect of suspicion further than what had been done by liberal Muslim travelers. Within the Islamic feminism discourse in Indonesia, this discourse was developed by Mansour Fakhir342, an alumni of IAIN Jakarta who dealt with transformative methodologies in developing the society. The international Islamic thought that entered Indonesia was much developed by Mohammad Arkoun. Essentially, postmodern hermeneutics departed from a perspective that there was no grand narrative. This means that regarding the context being discussed right now, we become authoritarian when women are placed within the grand narrative of men. For this reason, the key word of the Liberal Islamic perspective that was influenced by postmodern philosophy was the opposite: Instead of reading women from the perspective of men, reading must be done in an ex-centralism manner that is outside (ex) whatever tendencies that place men as the center of the social (and
339

Take a look at Munawir Sjadzali, Ijtihad Kemanusiaan, (Jakarta: Paramadina, Take a look at Masdar F. Masudi, Islam & Hak-hak Reproduksi Perempuan: Take a look at Nasaruddin Umar, Perspektif Gender dalam Islam, this paper will

1997), p. 4-11
340

Dialog Fiqih Pemberdayaan (Bandung: Mizan, 1997)


341

be published in the Journal of Contemporary Islamic Studies, (Jakarta: Paramadina, 1998)


342

Take a look at Mansour Fakhir, Menggeser Konsepsi Gender dan Transformasi

Sosial (Yogyakarta: Pustaka Pelajar, 1996) WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

spiritual) life of women. Moreover, when they are done to place men as the foundation of the theological existence of women, as excessively done by the apologetic Muslims. For Liberal Muslims who use this postmodern method as an exercise of suspicion, all forms of centralism is totalitarianism: Reading women from the central perspective of men is opposed to the basic message of religiosity which places men and women equal before Allah. The way to deconstruct all of these forms of centralism is by refusing any argument of inequality that is contained within the Islamic discourse for the sake of an egalitarian concept that upholds the notion of equality for men and women. The theological foundation used is equality before Allah that is contrasted with traditional and even modern perspectives that (remain) passionate in showing inequality. There are two sociological key words that are very important in the process of deconstructing this exercise of suspicion. They are the understanding of the entire process of representationa term from the philosopher Francois Lyotardand the linkage of knowledge as power by Michael Foucault. First, is representation. This is everything that is related to idea, illustration, image, narratives, visual and scientific products that are associated to the interpretation of women in Islam all this time. Another word that is often used in depicting this representation is text. Thus, representation is the text itself. While social reality is intertextuality. The social reality of Muslim women is the intertextuality from books interpreting the Koran and Hadith. All forms of their interpretation then become the jurisprudence of women. According to these post-modern Liberal Muslims, the reality of the existence of women is established on the linkage of texts that live in the society. For example, we can show how much influence is given by these traditional scriptures that are always read in Islamic schools. This means that the interpretation regarding women that we have accepted so far is the result of the texts that we use, orin a more accurate social science terma presented representation. That is to say, if only we could use another text, another representation, the reality for women today would be different. Postmodern Muslim feminists who apply the exercise of suspicion are so

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convinced that the process required is one that presents a new interpretation, and by way of presenting a new text. If everything that is related to the reality of women is a representation, then every representation is a text, thus when we suspect the existing representation, what we must suspect is the text. This is the subversive aspect: we need to immediately suspect the old texts, as they clearly contain a certain global perspective and prejudice of time that is not a prejudice of our time today. According to them, the Islamic vision of today is different than Islam in the past. We have the right to construct another representation that is in line with the global perspective of today, without having to consider that Holy texts are textually gender characterized. The latter needs to be affirmed here, as they still believe that the Holy texts essentiallyusing a terminology from Islamic schools, shalih li kulli zaman wa makan (applies for every era and place). But what is shalih li kulli zaman wa makan, if not a universal ethic perspective? The definition of the sharia is

reduced by the imagination of power. The sharia is understood as a force: the requirement to wear a veil, women must cover their private parts (aurat), must not leave the house as it may trigger slander and invite

adultery. This definition is only a small part of the entire large system. If you want to see the sharia that is kaffah (comprehensive), try to see the whole picture. The mission of Islam is the sharia. Lily Zakiyah Munir, Director for the Center for Pesantren and Democracy Studies (CePDeS), Jakarta, which focuses on gender issues and human rights from the Islamic perspective.

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Fundamentally, until today all texts about women clearly have their own representationsfor example, the religious thoughts that we receive, the myths and the images on women that are religiously officialized. These representations are then considered to be natural and innate. It is clear that those suspecting refuses the traditionalists assumptions. In general, the differences is not only biological, but also has a psychological and spiritual significance. This gender distinction according to postmodern Liberal Muslims is not natural, because no representations are natural and innate. Every representation (and text) isaccording to Peter L. Bergersocially constructed. There is not a single representation that is not man-made and based on prejudices of their era. The task of the Liberal Muslim thinkers is to suspect interpretations of Islamic texts about womento be critical toward their own creation. For example, all interpretations about women that we consider to be inapt with the vision of our era that emphasizes on the principles of justice, openness and democracy. The purpose of this is not to change part of the Koran that when literally interpreted does have gender characteristics, but to put forward the basic spirit of the Koran regarding equality where we completely realize that what is called as the concept of equality has apparently existed along with the prejudices of the era. Criticism towards text means suspicion, and furthermore deconstruction towards the text. This makes the textwhich was initially closedopened, by refusing all norms that were considered the only truth in interpreting the text, formulated by old travelers or the Islamic apologetics. With an open approach after suspecting a text that has been considered established, we are introduced to the many possibilities of a text, the possibility of representation and various possibilities of images as well as their implications. Thus, the interpretation of plural women will be open, and alternative constructive thoughts are introduced. Now when the key word representation is brought forward, postmodern Liberal Muslims use the second key word that is: Second, deconstruction-reconstruction, that is very important in order to understand the relation between knowledge and power. Knowledge of text, representation, ideas, images, imaging, narratives, visual and scientific products, is power. No knowledge is free from power. It is the opposite. Power is always related WORKING TRANSLATION

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to knowledge, always full of interests. Thus, all interpretations contain interests. The question is: Who is prioritized in the process of interpretation? Men? Women? Is there domination? Or an equality that sides with justice?

Closing The followers of Liberal Islam who emphasize on sociological reading over an unequal gender relation in the Muslim society put great efforts to show the origins of inequality in gender. What is most important from all of these readings of Islamic scriptures is the issue of the interpretation of the Koran. This is why they suspect traditional interpretations. The attitude that places the position of men and women unequally must be eliminated. I believe that morally, spiritually, and socially this will create productivity. We need to help in order to create harmony in the relation between the two. Evidences contained in the teachings of the Koran strengthened this opinion, and emphasizes how in fact men and women need one another. Regarding the issue of social justice, it becomes a necessity to defy the patriarchy system, but of course not in order to apply the matriarchy system, but for efficiency of cooperation and distribution of the system, which will foster maximum participation from each member of the society. This system will truly respect the sexes and each of their contribution as well as the tasks they hold. This will also give birth to individual growth and development, and also society growth and development. Thus, women will have full access to participate in politics, economy, and the intellectual field, and be appreciated by men. Also, men can, or there is a possibility for them to fully participate at home and also take care of the children. This will create a society that is more equal and just. Another principle from the Koran that I have included as the relation between men and women is the act of respect and unanimity (syura). Usually, syura is used to discuss and resolve problems between responsible adults. Even so, many writers deny this in the dispute between husband and wife. The Koran recommends men and women to marry as a form of protection toward the moral acts of both sexes. However, the interpretations that appear regarding the rights and obligations between the married couple confine WORKING TRANSLATION

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women, so marriage becomes an institution that oppresses women. If marriage is a tool to reject the individuality of women, and the oppression of women who have the same capacity with men, both in terms of humanity and spirituality, then clearly marriage contests the aim of the Koran that aspires to create justice and a social-moral order that recommends to do good deeds, and prevent bad deeds. Misinterpretation of this kind must be straightened.343 To conclude, principally, the agenda of Liberal Muslims comprise of efforts to: First, create a condition for women with freedom of choice based on the same rights as men. This is what is what has been absent or has lacked of concern in Islamic interpretation; Second, women are not perpetually forced to become a housewife, in which they are pressured to accept is as their main task (and even natural state) as women. This is the most striking reality in books regarding the jurisprudence of women; Third, women should not be pushed to do feminine rolesbased on their feminine modesty. Realization of this agenda would mean the natural rejection of the extreme polarizing of men and women through stereotypes that are embedded in Islamic interpretation with men as the focal point. According to Liberal Muslims, a deconstruction is required for imaging (representation) of women that is established from the perspective of the interests of men (power relation through a certain discourse, such as patriarchy) in order to obtain a perspective from the interests of women as an autonomous subject. Particularly, when the Koran itself states Whoever works righteousness, Man or woman, and has Faith, Verily to him will We give A new Life, and life That is good and pure, and We Will bestow on such their reward According to the best of their actions. (Q. 16:97)

343

Amina Wadud Muhsin, Wanita di Dalam al-Quran (Bandung: Pustaka, 1994) WORKING TRANSLATION

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CHAPTER VI PROMOTING PLURALISM

As a result of the exclusive approach taken by religions for the past centuries, pluralism or diversity has become a challenge for all religionsparticularly the monotheis religions: Judaism, Christianity and Islam.344 For example, Christianity, which was the first religion to be aware of the theological issue of pluralism, once believed that the number of missionaries throughout the world was sufficient enough to engender acts of repentance and lead man to walk the path of Jesus Christ. However, this did not take place. Today, many Christian theologians are aware that religions, such as Judaism, Islam, Hindhu, and Buddha, did not disappear from the surface of the earth. Quite the contrary, they have survived and continue to flourish. And so, initially pluralism became a serious challenge for Christianity, and in due course for all religions. In present day, there is not a single religion that does not face the issue of religious pluralism.345 We will briefly go through the development of theological pluralism thought in the Christian setting, which has triggered dispute between religions and pluralism, and also observe and analyze it from its long-term perspective regarding to how Liberal Islamic thought has also struggled with the issue of pluralism.

344

John Hick, A Philosophy of Religious Pluralism in Paul Badham (ed.), A John Take a look at Roger Haight, On Pluralism in Christology Budhi, 1, 1997, p. 31-

Hick Reader (London: Macmillan, 1990), p. 161-177.


345

46. What is very interesting in the latest development is that the issue of pluralism has entered todays discussion on religious philosophy, particularly books in the past decade. For example, Gary E. Kessner, Philosophy of Religion: Toward a Global Perspective (Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Publishing Company, 1999). In this book, there is a part (Chapter 11, p. 529-581) entitled Are All Religions True? which discusses the most recent debate on pluralism among prominent figures of pluralism, such as Raimundo Panikkar, John Hick, Arvin Sharma, Frithjof Schuon, Gavin DCosta and Purusottama Bilimoria. WORKING TRANSLATION

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We begin with the definition of religious pluralism according to the dictionary or encyclopedia. Religious pluralism (re. comparative religion) is a loosely defined expression concerning acceptance of different religions, and is used in a number of related ways: As the name of the worldview according to which ones religion is not the sole and exclusive source of truth, and thus that at least some truths and values exist in other religions. As acceptance of the concept that two or more religions with mutually exclusive truth claims are equally valid. This posture often emphasizes religions common aspects. Sometimes as a synonym for ecumenism, i.e. the promotion of some level of unity, co-operation, and improved understanding between different religions or different denominations within a single religion. And as a synonym for religious tolerance, which is a condition of harmonious co-existence between
346

adherents

of

different

religions

or

religious

denominations.

The issue of religious pluralism today has become an integral part of the Christian thought reform. The reality and the complexity of the world at present day has caused Christian thinkers to thoughtfully revaluate their understanding of the will of Allah, the teaching of the Bible on Jesus, and theological doctrines regarding Christology and proclamation of the Gospel. Many Christian theologians today believe that theology cannot continue to be formulated separately from other religions, and how in fact the development of Christian theology in the future will be a direct result of a pensive dialogue with other religions.347
346

Religious Pluralism, Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia, A similar definition is

also given in Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, in the entry Religious Pluralism.


347

Terry O Keeffe, Religion and Pluralism in David Archard (ed.), Philosophy and

Pluralism (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996), p. 61-72. Harold Coward, Pluralisme: Tantangan bagi Agama-agama (Yogyakarta: Kanisius, 1989), p. 31. WORKING TRANSLATION

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In attempt to retrieve lost contacts with the world, as a first step the church has agreed to engage in dialogues with world communities and world religions. Part of this is due to the development of the worlds pluralistic tendency that is caused by globalization, particularly development of information technology and

communication. In specific context, the church aspires to share the truth with others. This new situation forces the Christian churches to change courses from Let us teach you, an all-knowing attitude, to a more attentive attitude that listens to the wisdom and problems of other religions. This new dialogic attitude brought about an important change to the Christians traditional doctrine regarding the church. A narrow interpretation of the doctrine There is no salvation outside the church (extra exclesiam nulla sallus) was left behind. The spiritual feature of other religions has been acknowledged as the will of God on salvation that is presented in the teachings and the practices of other religions.348 Terry OKeeffe, Religion and Pluralism in David Archard (ed.), Philosophy in David Archard (ed.), Philosophy and Pluralism (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996), p. 61-72.
348

Harold Coward, Pluralisme: Tantangan bagi Agama-agama, p. 34 It is now customary to distinguish three main approaches to other religions

within Christian thought. Alan Race in Christians and Religious Pluralism (1983) adopts the headings Exclusivism, Inclusivism and Pluralism. Exclusivism asserts that only Christianity possesses the truth and that there can be no truth or salvation outside it. It depends on the belief that the Christian revelation is true and final and that no other revelation is possible. Inclusivism, on the other hand, suggests that other great world religions like Islam, Hinduism or Buddhism can offer important spiritual insights and visions of holiness, but not as alternatives to the Christian vision. They are included in Christianity and must be regarded as partial and incomplete articulations of the truth that can be found within Christianity. The inclusive view, like exclusivism, only sees Christianity to be truly salvic. There is a third approach, which is the pluralist view [pluralism]. In opposition to the absolutist claims of exclusivism or inclusivism, a pluralist version claims that the true content of faith can have a variety of legitimate articulations. So, for example, Gavin DCosta WORKING TRANSLATION

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According to thinkers of religious philosophy today, the understanding of pluralism can only occur when the believers of every religion work to set aside their exclusive perspective, let in the assumptions coming from others and see the universe from their concepts. If these efforts develop, a reciprocal acknowledgement will occur in which various world religions accept one another as fellow companions hiking a mountain covered in clouds in which God who Encompasses All rests on top of the mountain, unseen before our eyes. From the development of Christian theology today, it has been understood that in order to grasp a rich understanding of the traditions of other religions inclusive and pluralist actions that embrace diversity are required. In the Christian world, the theology of pluralism has been developed by many philosophers, theologians, and scientists, such as John Hick, Karl Rahner, Raimundo Panikkar, Wilffred Cantwel Smith, Rosemary Ruether, Paul F. Knitter, Gordon D. Kaufmann and many more. The thoughts of Karl Rahner, who is known to be one of the biggest Catholic theologians of the 20th century, has significantly influenced the theology post the Conciliation of Vatican II (1962-1965) which predisposed the Catholic Church to revise its perspective toward other religions. Rahner developed an inclusive theory that is in line with the Conciliation of Vatican II, which revised the churchs perspective on extra eclessiam nulla salus (there is no salvation outside the church). In the long run, the theological thought of Rahner gained impact through its decisive articulation in the interpretation of Christian doctrines. In Rahners perspective, the believers of other religions have most likely discovered the blessing from Jesus through their own religion without having to become a believer of Christianity. This is what made Rahner well known: the term anonymous Christian.349 Jesus, in argues that other religions are equally salvific paths to God and Christianitys claim that it is the only path or the fulfillment of other paths should be rejected for good theological and phenomenological grounds. Take a look at Terry OKeeffe, Religion and Pluralism, p. 61-62.
349

Karl Rahner believed that Christians not only could, but also must consider other

religions to be valid and serve as salvific paths, because Allah offers His blessings to the entire mankind. It is true that salvation is within Jesus Christ, and the WORKING TRANSLATION

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Rahners perspective, still remains the norm in which truth is found and becomes the path of salvation. However, people do not need to necessarily and explicitly become a believer of Christianity in order to obtain the truth and achieve salvation. Pluralism is respect towards diversity by still referring to ones own faith. There is no need to consider all faiths the same. For me, such values have for long belonged to Indonesia as a nation. (Rachman 2009: 157) Ahmad Suaedy, one of the founders, and since 2004, has become the Executive Director of the Wahid Institute, Jakarta. He was once a coordinator of the Islamic program, democracy and HR at P3M. He was also a member of the management of LAKPESDAM NU in 2001-2003.

Rahner asserted that other religions are in fact inherent forms of Christianity. Universal salvation is ontologically based on the creative acts of Allah and is historically brought into being through Jesus. As explained in Rahners theology,

church must not condemn other religions to be false and not offer salvation. Even though they may not be as perfect as the church, but as this blessing is universal, then the salvation within the Christ is also present there, though not under the name of Christ. Thus, in other religions, Christ, the savior, is also there, although not with the name Christ. Rahner calls this anonymous Christ. For this reason, the believers of other religions are in fact anonymous Christians. Take a look at Karl Rahner, Christianity and the non-Christian Religions in Carl E. Braaten and Robert W. Jenson, A Map of Twentieth Century Theology: Readings from Karl Bath to Radical Pluralism (Minneapolis, Fortress Press, 1995), p. 231-246. WORKING TRANSLATION

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Christ-centric approaches and theocentric approaches divert the attention from the uniqueness of Christ to the universality of Allah.350 Besides Rahner, Raimundo Panikkar also developed a theology of pluralism. Panikkar is a Spanish Catholic whose father is a Hindu. He is also a Catholic Pasteur, who received his Doctorate degree in science, philosophy and theology. Panikkar claimed that he lives in four worlds: Catholic where he was brought up, Hindu, the culture and religion of his father, Buddha and the modern secular world where he grew up and socialized intensively with the culture and tradition of Europe. He affirmed this by asserting: I left my Christianity, discovered myself as a Hindu, and returned to being a Buddha, without stopping being a Christian. 351 His approach towards other religions reflects such complexity. In the Catholic setting, his writings pioneered efforts in the field of interfaith. Panikkar drew together two opposite areas and poles: the West and the East. He established a new theology of religions without having to remove the particular identity of the religious culture and tradition of each religion. Panikkar himself admitted that in order to reach a perspective and concept on the fusion of culture and religious, he had to venture on a spiritual pilgrimage, an existential adventure

350

Harold Coward, Pluralisme: Tantangan bagi Agama-agama, p. 75. Also take a

look at George F. McLean and John P. Hogan (ed.), Ecumenism and Nostra Aetate in 21st Century (Washington DC: John Paul II Cultural CenterThe Council for Research in Values and Philosophy). Karl Rahner in the issue of religious pluralism is very much influenced by the Thomism evolution. Thomism has formed and provided a context for Rahners thought and theology. Take a look at G. McCool, From Unity to Pluralism: The Internal Evolution of Thomism (New York: Fordam University Press, 1989)
351

Raimundo Panikkar, The Intra-Religious Dialogue (New York: Paulist Press,

1978), p. 36. WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

where he explored various religious traditions that were fortified by history, philosophy, theology and other presumptions.352 Panikkar departed from the belief that the truth proposed by the teachings of Christianity and Hindu are universal, and he eventually considered them both to be particular and limited establishments. While in fact, both are formulations limited by cultural factors regarding a more universal truth.353 Panikkars thesis is that dialogues of particular experiences on the truthfor example Christ for Christians, Veda for Hinduscan be extended and deepened so as to reveal new experiences about the truth. Through dialogues, there will be an extension and intensification of every particular experience of the Divine Truth. Interreligious dialogue is not assimilation, nor substitution, but mutual enrichment. According to Panikkar, exclusive and self-righteous acts are the pinnacle of hypocrisy.354 For this reason, in engaging in dialogues and expanding the awareness of pluralism, as stated by Indonesias Christian theologian, Th. Sumartana, we should at least cover two main things: first, animating new awareness regarding the main faith of others; and second, fostering cooperation in order to together solve humanitarian issues in the society. Dialogues move toward an authentic understanding on the faith of others, without acts of disparage, let alone distortion of noble faiths. In this relation, a truly dialogic conversation can serve as the first step to achieve mutual enrichment for
352

This method of spiritual pilgrimage in the tradition of religious pluralism thought is

called passing over and coming back whichonce again I quote, evidently illustrates what was experienced by Panikkar. I left my Christianity, discovered myself as a Hindu, and returned to being a Buddha, without stopping being a Christian. Most philosophers and theologians of religions today do what is called as passing over and coming back. Take a look at John S. Dunne, The Way of All the Earth (London: Collier Macmillan Publisher, 1978)
353

Harold Coward, Pluralisme: Tantangan bagi Agama-agama, p. 78. Raimundo Panikkar, The Intra-Religious Dialogue, p. 20. WORKING TRANSLATION

354

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

different faiths. We are brought to an opulent experience of faiths that is truly rich and maintained through a long and diverse tradition. Furthermore, a dialogic conversation is also an opportunity to establish interreligious cooperation in order to resolve actual humanitarian problems in the society. The concern of these religions will serve as a new power for humanity to overcome the escalation of inter-religious problems. The individual abilities of religions to face the issues of humanity in this modern era are no longer sufficient. A new interreligious alliance is required.355 Pannikar explains that developing pluralism in religions means putting great efforts to understand other religions, their languages and their concepts. We cannot overcome and bridge these differences by shallowly saying that all religions are the same or are one (as stated by MUIs fatwa on pluralism). We also cannot disregard what other people say (other religions). Each religion reflects, corrects, completes, and challenges other religions in an interconnection known as inter-religious dialogues. For this reason, Panikkar states that each religion expresses an important principle of the truth. Expressions can take the form of reflection, correction, complementary and challenge between one religion and another. This is pluralism. Panikkar admits that the meeting of religions can only take place in the heart of religious traditions themselves. These traditions must also be understood from a wider perspective that goes beyond geographical and cultural boundaries. 356 Another religious pluralism thought that is well known and controversial belongs to John Hick. Hick is a contemporary religious philosopher who is concerned
355

Th. Sumartana, Menuju Dialog Antariman, in Dialog: Kritik dan Identitas Agama

(Yogyakarta: Interfidei, 1993), p. xxvi-xxvii. Regarding the reflection of theological dialogue, take a look at Leonard Swidler, Interreligious and Interideological Dialogue; The Matrix for All Systematic Reflection Today in Leonard Swidler (ed.), Toward a Universal Theology of Religion (Maryknoll, NY: Orbish Books, 1988), p. 550. Also Martin Forward, A Short Introduction Inter-Religious Dialogue (Oxford: Onewworld, 2001).
356

Raimundo Panikkar, The Intra-Religious Dialogue, p. 67. WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

on the issues of pluralism and inter-religious relations.357 In Hicks definition and understanding, religious pluralism should be defined by normatively avoiding the claim of truth of one religion over another. Unlike Rahner, Hick disagrees with the statement that Christianity holds more truth than other religions. For this reason, according to Hick, in developing religious pluralism, the use of the term anonymous Christian, anonymous Islam, anonymous Hindu, anonymous Buddha, must be avoided. Allah, as reflected in various civilizations, in Hicks perspective actualizes in different revelations or religions. However, even though there are differences among different revelations, we must be certain that God is everywhere and pressing in upon the human spirit. According to Hick, the use of the term God is not to show the personalities of God from theistic religions, but to show an infinite reality that can be understood in a number of ways through various religious experiences. Henceforward, as Hick sees it, a more wise way to understand the truth of other religions is by accepting that all religions represent the many ways toward One Single Reality, that is God who brings truth and salvation. There cannot be one way (religion) that claims itself to be truer than another, because we (all religions) are as close and are as far from the Single Reality. The Single Reality is the same reality that is sought by all religions.358 In explaining this Single Reality, Hick uses the dualism of Immanuel Kant on the Real in-it-self (an sich) and the Real as humanly thought-and-experienced. The real-in-itself is in fact the Single Reality aimed by all religions. As the Single Reality is Most Kind, Most Great, Most Encompassed, Most Gracious, Most Infinite and so on, humans (who are limited) experience limitations to understand it comprehensively. This is what according to Hick refers to the Real as humanly thought-and357

His famous book on pluralism, John Hick, God and the Universe of Faith

(London/NY/: 1979), God Has Many Names (London, 1980) and Problem of Religious Pluralism (London, 1985).
358

Harold Coward, Pluralisme: Tantangan bagi Agama-agama, p. 60. Take a look at

John Hick, Conflicting Truth Claims in Gary E. Kessner, Philosophy of Religion: Toward a Global Perspective, p. 537-546. WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

experienced (the single reality that can only be thought and experienced by humans). Limitations and cultural factors are what then engender humans response on the illustration of the single reality that differs. What appears next is the question how do we connect these two concepts of Real? Or how the Real as humanly thought-and-experienced that might differ from one religion to another take us to the same the Real in-it-self? According to Hick, all religions with different concepts of Real move toward the same the Real in-it-self as long as it can produce a soteriological function from religion. This means that the religion must be able to give a good influence in terms of morality and ethics for the followers in the social life of humans. For this reason, Hick asserts that the paths of other religions are entitled to the same validity as our religion in the quest of truth and salvation from the Real in-it-self. John Hick concludes that a pluralist pattern of diversity is the most apt pattern for todays plural present life. A wise way, according to Hick, is to accept that all religions represent the many ways toward One Single Reality (God) and carry the truth and salvation.359 Islam is my way of life. As a way, there must be a certainty in my faith. However, a social level must always contain a relative space, a place where everyone meets and engages in dialogues. For me that is pluralism. Fuad Jabali, Assistant to the Director of the Postgraduate Program of UIN Jakarta and Editor of the Journal Studia Islamik. Member of the Advisory Board of PPIM UIN Jakarta who received his MA degree from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London (1992), and PhD degree from the Institute of Islamic Studies, McGill University (1999)

359

John Hick, Religious Pluralism and Salvation in Phillip L. Quinn and Kevin

Meeker (ed.), The Philosophical Challenge of Religious Diversity (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000), p. 54-98. WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

Another figure is Wilfred Cantwell Smith. Smith is a religious historian who has firsthand experience with various religions when he taught in India in 1941-1945. When he returned to Canada, he was appointed as Professor of Religious Comparative Studies at McGill University, and succeeded to organize the establishment of McGill Institute of Islamic Studies. In 1964, Smith became the Director of Harvard Universitys Center for the Study of World Religions. According to Smith, religious pluralism is a new phase experienced by world religions. The main precondition to this phase is we are asked to understand other religious traditions besides our own religious tradition. Establishing a theology within the fort of one religion is no longer sufficient. In the past, Christian theologians felt it was necessary to establish a theology in the light of Greek philosophy or scientific development. The same applies to the challenges faced by Christian theologians todaythat is when they develop their theology, they should be aware of their position as a world citizen along with other world citizens and other theologians who are Hindu, Buddha or Islam. Smith began his theological statement on religious pluralism by explaining the moral implication and the implication of conceptual revelations. On a moral sense, the revelation of God should aspire for reconciliation and a profound togetherness. While on a conceptual revelation sense, Smith began by stating that every formulation of the faith of a religion must cover a doctrine from another religion. The establishment of this theology, by Smith, was inserted into the analysis of how we use the term religion. In his classic work entitled The Meaning and End of Religion, Smith explains that the use of exclusive theology causes other religions to be associated with the worship of idols and equating Gods as deities. For example, Smith quotes a statement from a Christian theologian named Emil Brunner who asserts that the Gods in other religions are always idols. Examples of exclusive attitudes like these are portraits of the arrogance of religion that can no longer be accepted. All religions move toward the final destination that is God. Smith wrote, God is the final destination of religion, in the sense that He has so openly appeared before us, in His depths and compassion, thus other truths will not cease to fade. At

WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

best, the decoration of religion will fall to the earth, where it should be, and the concept of religion will end.360 Smith felt that his understanding of religion is required if we would like to act justly in the world we live in, and to God as revealed by the religion we follow. All religions, whether it is Islam, Christianity, Hindu, Buddhism and many more, must be understood as an important and dynamic meeting between the Divine and humans. Smith affirmed, It is a fact that humans worship God in different ways, and captures God in different ways; it is a fact that the most secular humans live in a society that among others is based on various ways of worshiping and capturing God; it is a fact that intellectual and spiritual aspects are important, and surfacing intellectual and spiritual issues should be a concern.361 Through this understanding, Smith hopes for tolerance among the various religious communities. He calls his thought, A Universal Theology of Religion.362 Another theologian who can also be called as the pioneer of religious pluralism thought is Paul F. Knittera recommender of the soteriocentric approach in religious theology. Knitters pluralism approach departs from the main concern of how religions can engage in an open and honest dialogue so as to contribute significantly in overcoming human suffering and severe environmental damage. It is not of the right place in relation to other religions to express absolutist language, such as the one and only, definitive, superior, absolute, final, unsurpassable, and total to explain the truth revealed by a religion. Without claiming that all religions are equal, the Christians with correlational mentality
360

Harold Coward, Pluralisme: Tantangan bagi Agama-agama, p. 63-64. The work

of Wilfred Cantwell Smith, The Meaning and End of Religion (NY, 1978). Reviews on the thoughts of Smith, take a look at N. J. Woly, The Language of Global Theology: A Global Theology of Religions According to Wilfred Cantwell Smith in Meeting at the Precincts of Faith (Kampen: Drukkerij van den Berg, 1998), p. 130-164.
361

Wilfred C. Smith, Memburu Makna Agama, p. 16-17. Wilfred Cantwell Smith, Theology and the Worlds Religious History in Leonad

362

Swidler (ed.), Toward a Universal Theology of Religion, p. 51-72. WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

believed that from the very beginning all religions must acknowledge the equality of rights in inter-religious dialogue so that every religious follower has the right to speak, claim and other religious believers open their hearts and minds toward this new truth shared by their dialogue partner. This step opens the path for anyone who is interested in inter-religious dialogues and to meet a dialogue partner who does not only come from another religion and culture, but also from a different socialeconomic condition.363 According to Knitter, dialogues will lose their moral credibility when they are only established on an intellectual or spiritual level, and far from issues of social, physical and psychological sufferings of millions of humans. Inter-religious dialogues should be more than an academic intellectual interest regarding what is revealed by Hindu or Buddha or Islam about theological and anthropological issues. Knitter believes that political and social victims must have special voting rights in dialogues. In all religions, as said by Knitter, there is a rough parity. What he means is not that all religions are essentially saying the same thing, but due to their difference with Christianity, other religions may be as effective and successful in bringing their believers to the truth, peace and welfare with Allah. In other words, with correlational theology, the Christians hold on to the possibilities, and propel the likelihood that the Source of Truth and Transformation whom they call Allah in Jesus Christ has more truth and various forms of transformation that are more than what Jesus has said. Pluralist or correlational theology does not acknowledge a distinct inter-religious difference, let alone one that is incomparable. However, it acknowledges the value and the validity of this world of differences. Other religions are not only different, but they can also be very valuable.364

363

Paul F. Knitter, Satu Bumi Banyak Agama: Dialog Multi Agama dan Tanggung

Jawab Global (Jakarta: PT BPK Gunung Mulia, 2003), p. xiii.


364

Theologically, Christians say that they believe in an Allah that will truly save

everyone, that is the Allah of Jesus Christ, Allah with a pure compassion that is bondless, that embraces all and aspires for life and salvation. Allah embraces every WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

From the explanation of the theologians aforementioned, we can conclude that the theology of pluralism prerequisites dialogue as an important element in interacting with other religions. Inter-religious dialogue does not intend to create one final sole religion, but to enrich and celebrate the diversity that increasingly develops and weighs meaning in religions. Correlational dialogues must be accompanied by global responsibility and because of that the approach should not be ecleciocentric, christocentric or theocentric, but soteriocentric (rotates around safety) that is based on the same foundation that is global responsibility toward the welfare of mankind and the environment. The joint foundation for pluralism and inter-religious dialogue is the issue of human suffering and ecological damage, or in other words the welfare of mankind and the environment. This establishment of this foundation is important in order to avoid a moral fatigue and to be able to make an ethical decision for the welfare of mankind and Earth. A concrete innovation is the formulation of a global ethics as a joint action. This global ethics can become a reality when a global dialogue is held first so that in the end global responsibility can be shared.365

human being that he loves within and through the church association and associations from the believers of all religions. Christians can and must approach other religions not only with the hope that they can possibly find the truth and virtue, but also because they probably will. Thus, a pluralistic theology fosters religious communities to communicate and share the valuable content of their own religion. Religions must engage in dialogue. The truth within every religion is not for itself and disregards others, but to be met so that a learning process can take place in furthering each truth. The essence of religion is relational and dialogical. And so, religions need to speak and act together. The differences in each religion do not obstruct the relation among those between them. Take a look at Paul F. Knitter, Satu Bumi Banyak Agama, p. 47.
365

Paul F. Knitter, Satu Bumi Banyak Agama, p. xiv. WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

Pluralism theology affirms that being religious means living a responsible life globally. With global responsibility, as a joint ethic task, all religious communities can mutually revive and renew one another.366

Exclusivism, Inclusivism, and Pluralism Pluralism thoughts that are rooted to the Christian theology above have become a global issue and caused Islamic thought to recently be cognizant of the importance of developing a pluralist thought,367 including in Indonesia.368 When we compare Christian theology and Islamic theology, pluralism is not a new phenomenon for Islam. Islam, theologically and historically, cannot be detached from other religions.369 However, the form and the characteristic of the relation transpire according to the context of Islamic relation with other religions in a specific historical course. At times, it took place polemically, but dialogues dominated. Yet, the principle that underlie the relation between Islam and other religions remained the sameas stated in the Koran and put into example by the Prophet Muhammad that is there is acknowledgement and respect of the existence of other religions, and there is freedom for the followers to carry out each of their religions. In Dale F. Eickelmans words, a specialist in contemporary Islam, The Koran offers a distinctly

366

Jay McDanieL, Gandhis Hope: Learning from Other Religions as a Path to Peace

(Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2005).


367

For example, Abdulaziz Sachedina, The Islamic Roots of Democratic Pluralism

(New York: Oxford University Press, Inc., 2001).


368

For example, Nurcholish Madjid, In Search of the Islamic Roots of Modern

Pluralism: the Indonesian Experience in The True Face of Islam: Essays on Islam and Modernity in Indonesia (Jakarta: The Voice Center, 2003), p. 156-174.
369

Asghar Ali Engineer, Islam and Pluralism in Paul F. Knitter (2005), The Myth of

Religious Superiority: A Multifaith Exploration, Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, p. 211219. WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

modern perspective on the role of Islam as a force for tolerance and mutual recognition in a multiethnic, multicommunity world.370 There are three definitions of contemporary pluralism that have been developed and made into the basis of analysis in theology as well as Islamic history. The three definitions are: First, pluralism is active involvement in diversity and its differences in order to build a joint civilization. As seen in the Islamic history, pluralism is more than acknowledging plurality in diversity and differences, but actively arranging diversity and differences for a higher social cause that is togetherness in building a civilization. In Nurcholish Madjids words, Pluralism is understood as the true ties of diversity in the bonds of civilly.371 Second, pluralism under the first definition means to presuppose acceptance of active tolerance toward another. However, pluralism surpasses tolerance. Pluralism presupposes in-depth knowing over another, so that there is mutual understanding which fosters one another to actively fill tolerance with more constructive things for the first purpose, to together actively build a civilization. 372

370

Dale F. Eickelman, Islam and Ethical Pluralism in Sohail H. Hashmi, Islamic

Political Ethics: Civil Society, Pluralism and Conflict (Princeton and Oxford: Princeton University Press, 2002), p. 115.
371

Genuine engagement of diversities within the bonds of civility. It is emphasized

here that the issue of active involvement within diversity (differences regarding religion, ethnicity, ideology) so that it becomes something constructive in building civility or civilization. This definition of pluralism is strongly voiced out within the writing of Nurcholish Madjid. Another Muslim figure who emphasized on this definition of pluralism is Mohamed Fathi Osman, The Children of Adam: an Islamic Perspective on Pluralism (Washington DC: Center for Muslim-Christian

Understanding, Georgetown University, 1996)


372

For further discussion on this definition of tolerance, take a look at Michael

Walzer, On Tolerance (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1997) WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

This once happened in the history of Islam. Spain (Andaluca) is the most expressive example.373 Third, under the second definition, pluralism is not relativism. In-depth knowledge over another will bring the consequence of complete acknowledgement of the values of the other group. Active tolerance refuses the notion of relativism, for example, the simplistic statement, that all religions are the same. It is the differences that are in fact the huge potential here, the commitment to together build active tolerance in order to establish a civilization.374

373

Andaluca (711-1492) is known for its experience of tolerance among Jews,

Christians, and Muslims. Tolerance is an inherent aspect of the people of Andaluca (Medieval Spain). Take a look at Vivian B. Mann, et.al. (ed.), Convivencia: Jews, Muslims and Christians in Medieval Spain (New York: The Jewish Museum, 1992) Convivencia is a Spanish word, which means coexistence. Coexistence among these three religious communities is indicated by a creative mutual loan and influence.
374

Pluralism, as said by an Indian philosopher, Raimundo Panikkar, stands between

a non-associated plurality and a monolithic unity. Pluralism does not mean plurality or a reduction of plurality to unity. It is a fact that there is a plurality of religions. It is also a fact that these religions have not been reduced to any sort of unity. Pluralism means something more than sheer acknowledgement of plurality and the mere wishful thinking of unity; Pluralism does not consider unity indispensable ideal, even if allowance is made for variations within that unity. Pluralism accepts the irreconcilable aspects of religions without being blind to their common aspect. Pluralism is not the eschatological expectation that in the end all shall be one; Pluralism affirms neither that the truth is one nor that it is many. If truth were one, we could not accept the positive tolerance of a pluralistic attitude and would have to consider pluralism a connivance with error. If truth were many, we would fall into a plain contradiction Pluralism does not stand for pluralitya plurality of truths in this case. Pluralism adopts a non-dualistic, atavistic, attitude that defends the pluralism of truth because reality itself is pluralisticthat is, incommensurable with either unity WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

The three definitions of pluralism theologically means that humans must handle their differences in the best of ways (fastabiq-u l-khayrat, to compete in goodness, a term in the Koran), while placing the final judgment of the truth in Gods hands. Because there is not a single method that can be used objectively to reach an agreement on the absolute truth.375 Public religion can only happen when there is tolerance towards another. If we want the public expression of our religion to be actualized, we should also open the possibility for the public expression of other religions. This means, internal and external

pluralism needs to be implemented. Ihsan Ali-Fauzi, Program Director of the Paramadina Waqf Foundation (YWP), Jakarta. He received his MA degree from Ohio University, Athens, US.

Mohammed Fathi Osman defined pluralism as: A form of institutionalization where acceptance of diversity covers a certain society of the world as whole that has a meaning, which surpasses moral tolerance and passive co-existence. Tolerance is an issue of habit and personal feelings, while co-existence is purely acceptance of another that does not go beyond the absence of conflict. Pluralism, in one hand, requires institutional and legal measurements that protect and validate equality and develop brotherhood among humans as individuals or as a group, may these measurements be innate or obtained. Subsequently, pluralism demands a of plurality. Take a look at R. Panikkar, The Intra-religious Dialogue (New York: Paulist Press, 1978), p. xxvii-xxviii.
375

In line with Q. 2: 113; 3:55; 5:48; 6:164; 10:93; 16:92, 124; 22:69; 32:25;

39:3, 46; 45:17. WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

serious approach in order to understand one another and cooperate to construct universal goodness. All humans should be able to enjoy the same rights and opportunities, and should in turn fulfill the same obligations as state citizens and global citizens. Every group should have the right to associate and develop, maintain their identities and interests, and enjoy equality of rights and obligations within the state and the international community. 376 Then again, theologically, pluralism is discoursed through hermeneutics in which explicitly the Koran affirms that Islam is the successor (millah) of the religion of Abraham (Q. 6:61). The consequence is that Islam does not only have a historical connection, but also has shares a common platform with Judaism and Christianity that both come from the same ancestors, millah Abraham.377 With this common platform, Islam provides a theological basis for its followers to accept pluralism, that is a concept of diversity regarding the existence of other religions, and needs to establish a good relation with the believers.378 In a nutshell, this theological concept describes that the Koran explains how God has sent prophets to every group (Q. 17:15), those whose names are mentioned in the Koran and those who are not (Q. 40:78), and how every Muslim must be faithful toward themthese prophetswithout differentiating one another, as part of diversity (Q. 3:84). The Koran also adheres to the reality principle on religious plurality (Q. 2:62), religious freedom (Q. 2:256), live in peace (Q. 109:1-6), and act positively in relations and cooperation with other communities of different religions (Q. 60:8). The Koran

376

Mohamed Fathi Osman, Islam, Pluralisme, dan Toleransi Keagamaan:

Pandangan al-Quran, Kemanusiaan, Sejarah, dan Peradaban. Translator Irfan Abubakar (Jakarta: PSIK Universitas Paramadina, 2006), p. 2-3.
377

Olaf Schumann, AbrahamBapa Orang Beriman the 124th KKA Series/Year

XII/1997.
378

Take a look at Munim A. Sirry, Fikih Lintas Agama: Membangun Masyarakat

Inklusif-Pluralis (Jakarta: Paramadina, 2003), particularly, p. 17-61. WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

also obliges the Muslim community to behave and act just to Non-Muslim communities (Q. 60:80) and to protect religious places for all religions (Q. 22:40). Besides that, in the Islamic tradition there has also been developed the concept of ahl al-kitab which provides guidance that Islam does not categorize NonMuslims as infidels. In the Koran, it is mentioned that Jews and Christians are categorized as ahl al-kitaba concept that acknowledges the followers of other religions who have a holy book. This does not mean that all religions are the same which is impossible when we bear in mind the diversity of religions in many principle elements (aspects of sharia and faith)but acknowledges the right of everyone to exist with the freedom to carry out their religion and build a civilization together.379 The concept of ahl al-kitab has an impact in the development of culture and the outstanding civilization of Islam, as the result of cosmopolitanism that is based on an open and tolerant social structure. Among others, this is signified by notes of a number of specialists regarding, for example, the liberation (fath) of the Spanish by the Muslim soldiers (under the command of General Thariq ibn Ziyad whose name was commemorated into the name of a hill near the coast of the Middle Sea, Jabal Thariqtranslated into Gibraltar) in 711 M. For at least 500 years, the Muslims created a cosmopolite, open and tolerant social-political structure. All religious groups, particularly the Muslims themselves, and the Jews and Christians, supported and accompanied the development of this brilliant civilization. Cooperation resulted in blood relations (marriages across religion and brotherhood) without interfering in ones religion. Thus, the concept of ahl al-kitabwhich will be further discussedwas once developed and became one of the pillars of the spirit of cosmopolitanism Islam. With a positive mondial perspective and orientation, the Muslims in the classic era with

379

Regarding the concept of ahl al-kitab, take a look at Cyril Glasse, ahl ak-kitab in

the Concise Encyclopedia of Islam (London: Stacey International, 1989), p. 27-28. Also Ronald L. Netter, People of the Book in The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Modern Islamic World (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1995), p. 305-308. WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

the support of all parties succeeded in creating a universal or international dimension of knowledge.380 By a number of ulemas, for example Muhammad Rasyid Ridla (w. 1935), an Egyptian figure of Islamic reform, the concept ahl al-kitab was extended so that it included other religions that had holy books, such as Zoroaster, Hindu, Buddha, Confucianism, and Shinto. The permission for Muslims to consume part of ahl alkitab and marry their women (Q. 4:5), as witnessed from history, indicted that in general the social life of Muslims and non-Muslims has been amiable, and full of tolerance, when seen from the spectacles of tolerance notions and religious contemporary pluralism. For this reason, as a religion and as a history, Islamaccording to those who have defended the idea of pluralismsince its establishment has contained the reality of life in a plural setting, and has even developed pluralism within the contextual boundaries at that time. Some are called the roots of pluralism in Islam. These roots are what have been and are continued to be developed by Liberal Muslim intellectuals so that they may transform into the Islamic perspective on pluralism. What has been proposed above is an intricate illustration of the theological concept of how Islam met and engaged in dialogues with other religions. Such

380

By these interpreters with plural orientations, they affirmed how the concept of

ahlul kitab is an incredible progress in the history of religions. Cyril Glasse in Ahlul Kitab Concise Encyclopedia of Islam wrote, the fact that one Revelation should name others as authentic is an extraordinary event in the history of religions. This concept is seen by pluralist thinkers to be an incredible socio-religious and sociocultural impact, so that Islam is a teaching that introduces the perspective on tolerance and religious freedom to mankind. Currently, this idea has been further developedincluding in Indonesiain line with the development and new challenges. For an elaboration on the challenge of Islamic pluralism and tolerance, take a look at Yohann Friedmann, Tolerance and Coercion in Islam: Interfaith Relations in the Muslim Tradition (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003) WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

meeting was based on the ethics of social interactionwhich we will discuss inspired by the Korans teaching on pluralism. In Mohamed Fathi Osmans words: Muslims, just like other religious followers, must live side by side with nonMuslims in a certain state. Muslims of a state may differ in terms of their tribes and the doctrines they uphold, or even with other Muslims throughout the world. The Muslim unit does not precondition Muslims to form a sole state the caliphate Wherever a person lives, there is a possibility that it is determined by geographical and economic factors. A nation from the perspective of Islam can be considered as an extended family or relative, each having his or her own special interest that does not reduce the togetherness and the universal solidarity demanded by Islam. Categorization into people and groups of the same origin was proposed in the Koran (Q. 49:13), and there is nothing wrong with this as long as the categorization does not obstruct the relation and cooperation of humans that is universally characterized and does not cause harm through arrogance and chauvinistic hatred. The Koran indicates that God and His teachings must be placed above the obedience towards a certain group of area. However, as far as this principle goes, ones obedience towards family, a group of people and also the homeland is permitted (Q. 9:24). As Muslims live in extended groups and in areas where they may develop, they must live side by side with other religions and sects. Furthermore, globalism has currently created unavoidable dependency among mankind, regardless of their innatenatural or obtained differences.381 But how a Muslim sees a text or the history of the diversity of these religions is in fact determined by his or her attitude towards other religions. So far, the development of the theory of religious pluralism has created three attitudes, which

381

Mohamed Fathi Osman, Islam, Pluralisme, dan Toleransi Keagamaan:

Pandangan al-Quran, Kemanusiaan, Sejarah, dan Peradaban. Translator Irfan Abubakar (Jakarta: PSIK Universitas Paramadina, 2006), p. 4. WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

cover: Exclusivism, inclusivism and pluralism or parallelism.382 Elaboration of this attitude is important, as the same text can be understood differently, in line with its religious attitude. From the beginning, it has been emphasized that this book defends pluralism. Pluralism is a perspective that

believes all religions will receive salvation. This does not directly make it easy for a person to convert from one religion to another. Pluralism and religious conversion is not the same thing. To convert has no relation with the issue of salvation in the religious context. (Rachman 2009: 815)

382

The formulation of this exclusivism-inclusivism-pluralism paradigm initially came

from Alan Race, Christians and Religious Pluralism: Patterns in the Christian Theology of Religions (London: SCM, 1983), and Gavin DCosta, Theology and Religious Pluralism: The Challenge of Other Religions (London: Blackwell, 1986). Recently, this term has become popular among religious studies. However, what is most interesting is that in 1996, one of the two people who popularized typology, that is Gavin DCosta, changed his mind and believed that this typology is untenable and a faulty typology. Take a look at Gavin DCosta, The Impossibility of a Pluralistic View of Religions, Religious Studies 32 (1996), p. 233, or more elaborative in Gavin DCosta, The Meeting of Religions and the Trinity (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2000), p. 19-52. Perry Schmidt-Leukel, Exclusivism, Inclusivism, Pluralism: The Tripolar TypologyClarified and Reaffirmed, in Paul F. Knitter, The Myth of Religious Superiority: A Multifaith Exploration (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2005), p. 13-27, and once again defend this exclusivism-inclusivism-pluralism typology. This book follows and agrees with this typology, and follows R. Panikkar, The IntraReligious Dialogue, p. xiv-xxviii. WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

Jalaluddin Rakhmat, Principle of Muthahhari Bandung High School Plus. He is the founder as well as the Chair of the Syura Council of the Indonesian Association of Jammah Ahlul Baikt (UABI) and also the founder of the Islamic College for Advanced Studies (ICAS) and the Islamic Cultural Center (ICC) Jakarta.

Exclusivism is a traditional attitude with strong influence and roots in the Muslim community until today that believes Islam is the only path towards the truth and salvation. Inclusivism believes that Islam completes and perfects other paths. While pluralism believes that every religion has its own path, which are all valid, in order to achieve salvation. Exclusivism. This attitude is a dominant perspective from time to time and is continuously taken up until today. In Islam, this attitude develops based on verses of the Koran, such as Islam is the truest religion (Q. 3:19); Religions outside Islam, will not be accepted by God in the hereafter (Q. 3:85)including various interpretations based on the Koran and Hadith that are related to the conflict of truth among Muslims, Jews and Christians. One of the favorite verses among exclusive Muslims is Never will the Jews or the Christians be satisfied with thee unless thou follow their form of religion. Say: The guidance of Allah that is the only guidance, wert thou to follow their desires after the knowledge which hath reached thee then wouldst thou find neither protector nor helper against Allah. (Q. 2:120). This verse has become a strong justification to differentiate Muslims and non-Muslims. Inclusivism. In Islamic thought, inclusivism began with the understanding of Islam, not as an organized religion, but in its spiritual sense. Islam, which means complete submission (to Allah), an attitude thataccording to supporters of inclusivismbecame the heart of the religious teaching beside Allah. For this reason, all religions that are true are called Islam. The Koran did in fact state that the Prophet Noah taught Islam, and passed on the teaching to his descendants, including the descendants of Jacob or Izrail (Q. 2:130-132). Among the children of Jacob is Yusuf, who prayed to Allah so that he may die a Muslim (a person who is islamicized) (Q. 12: 101). The Koran also spoke of Egyptians who initially supported the Pharaoh but in the end put their faith in the Prophet Moses and also WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

prayed to die as Muslims (Q. 7:126). Then, the Queen Bathsheba from Yamane, South Arabia, who was conquered by the Prophet Suleiman, was in total submission or Islam toward God and the entire of nature (Q. 27:44). And all the prophets of the Bani Israil (the descendants of the Prophet Jacob) as affirmed in the Koran as people who conduct Islam to Allah (Q. 5: 44). Then Isa al-Masih (Jesus Christ) also educated their followers (al-hawariyun) so that they became Muslims, submissive to Allah (Q. 3: 52-53 and Q. 5: 111). Many verses in the Koran mention previous prophets and messengers teaching al-Islam. It is thus not a surprise if today an Inclusive Islamic theology based on the Koran is being developed. The Inclusive Muslims affirm that the religions of all prophets are essentially different depending on the era and time of each of the prophet. Such inclusive perspective in its sense of openness becomes a foundation of the development of true pluralism. Also, on the other hand, the perspective of true pluralism could only be founded on a foundation of such inclusivism. Pluralism. This paradigm believes that every religion has its own path to salvation, and for this reason the claim that Islam is the only path (paradigm or inclusivism) or what completes or fills in other paths (paradigm or inclusivism), must be refused, or more precisely developed extensively, for theological and phenomenological reasons. In understanding pluralism, there are three types of models.383 First, the Model of Physics, for example a rainbow. Different religious traditions are like infinite colors. What is visible is the white light that falls above the prism. Every follower of a tradition, is given the possibility to reach a destination, fulfillment and salvation with ones own way, but in fact at the same time every color (every religion) absorbs all the other religions, and also hide them, because it expressively brings out a color. In Islam, this type of philosophical perspective was developed by the classic Sufi, Jalaluddin Rumi. Currently, the Muslim thinker who is developing the tradition of Rumis pluralism thought is the Iranian intellectual, Sorous. Sorous has influenced many Liberal Islamic thoughts in Indonesia.

383

R. Panikkar, The Intra-Religious Dialogue, p. xiv-xxviii. WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

The second model is the Model of Geometry: Invariant Typology. This states that one religion is completely different with another religion, and cannot associate in peace, until a fixed point of an invariant typology is established. The point may be more than one. The belief that there is a transcendent unity of religions from Frijof Schuon and Seyyed Hossein Nasr, for example, can serve as an example for this model. On an exoteric level, all religions are essentially different, but there is one transcendental (exoteric) point, where all religions meet. This meeting point is God. This perspective is strongly developed by Islamic thinkers who take on perennial philosophywhich we will discuss in the following. The third model is the model of language. This model believes that every religion is a language system. Every religion, like language, is fundamentally complete and perfect. Thus, there is no point, in saying that a language (read: religion) states itself better than another language. For this reason, the meeting of religions can be put into an analogy with the meeting of languages. Here, translation can serve as a medium. The translator must become the spokes person of the foreign language and foreign culture. He or she must be certain on the truth that it carries and enter the tradition that is translated. These three models bring us to the plural perspective that becomes the foundation of this book. This perspective does not consider that the destination to be achieved is uniformity of sameness of religions, because the true notion of religious pluralism stands upon plurality that is not associated with monolithic unity. In Islam, pluralism thought can be revealed in the following theological formula as follows: The true form of pluralism is the regulation of God (sunnat-u lLah) that is permanent, so it cannot be opposed or denied. Islam is a religion that has a holy book affirming complete acknowledgement of other rights of religions. Acknowledgement of their rights itself is the foundation of the notion of social-cultural and religious pluralism, as a decree from God that is permanent (Q. 5:44-50). Awareness on the continuity of religion is also affirmed by the Koran in various places that is accompanied with the order that Muslims must hold dearly to the continuity of the teachings by having faith to all the prophets and messengers, without exception, and without differentiating among them, either those mentioned in the holy book or those not mentioned (Q. 2:136; 4:163-165; and 45: 16-18). For this WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

reason, not only are religion forbidden to be forced upon (Q. 2:256; and Q. 10:99), but also the Koran preconditions that believers of all religions will receive salvation (Q. 2:62; and 5:16). This is the eschatological notion of Islam that serves as the foundation of pluralism. A number of world Muslim figures have attempted to elaborate the perspective of religious pluralism, such as Ismail R. al-Faruqi, M. Mahmoud Ayoub, Seyyed Hossein Nasr, Abu Kalam Azad, Fazlur Rahman, Hasan Askari, Mohamed Arkoun, Mohamed Talbi, Asghar Ali Engineer and many more. 384 In Indonesia, we have Nurcholish Madjid, Abdurrahman Wahid, M. Dawam Rahardjo, Djohan Effendi, Ahmad Syafii Maarif, Kautsar Azhari Noer, Zainun Kamal, Musdah Mulia, M. Syafii Anwar, Amin Abdullah and a group of young thinkers, such as Ulil Abshar-Abdalla, Abdul Moqsith Ghazali, and Zuhairi Misrawi. From such development, it can be said that before MUIs fatwa was issued in 2005, the growth of the discourse of pluralism has been immense. One of the indications is the publication of the book Interfaith Jurisprudence: Building an Inclusive-Pluralist Society (2004)which we will further discuss. This book, written by 8 figures which are known as the defenders of Islamic pluralism in Indonesia among them are Nurcholish Madjid, Kautsar Azhari Noer, Komaruddin Hidayat, Masdar F. Masudi, Zainun Kamal, Budhy Munawar-Rachman, Ahmad Gaus AF, Zuhairi Musrawi, and Munim A. Sirryhas provided a fundamental innovation in the issue of pluralism from the religious perspective, as they have succeeded to give a theological argument on the Islamic perspective toward other religions, including the practical affairs (jurisprudence), starting from the issue of communal prayer to interfaith marriageand since then, the argument of Islam for interfaith marriage has

384

For an elaboration of the thoughts of these religious pluralism figures, take a look

at N.J. Woly, Meeting at the Precincts of Faith (Kampen: Drukkerij van den Berg, 1998), p. 183-370. WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

been established, and has also been developed, as seen from the issuance of the Counter Legal Draft of the Compilation of the Islamic Law.385

Pluralism in Islam What has been understood as the definition and the conception of pluralism above, and also how the Liberal Muslim intellectuals have set it into discourse, have also developed into an extensive and profound discourse in the Islamic World, including in Indonesia. Even today, pluralism has developed progressively in Islamic thought, through further understanding of hermeneutics for the Koran.386 The following analysis will reveal the profoundness of the philosophical and theological reflections of the Muslim intellectuals in relation to the notion of pluralism. Islam does not defy plurality within the society. It can be said that plurality or diversity has been considered as somethingas said by Liberal Muslim
385

Munim A. Sirry (ed.), Fiqih Lintas Agama: Membangun Masyarakat Inklusif-

Pluralis (Jakarta: Paramadina, 2004). The argument on interfaith marriage became popular since the launching of this book. Take a look at two articles from Zainun Kamal and Siti Musdah Mulia in Penafsiran Baru Islam atas Pernikahan Antaragama KKA 200th Series/Year. 17.2003. Also in Maria Ulfah Anshor and Martin Lukito Sinaga (ed.), Tafsir Ulang Perkawinan Lintas Agama: Perspektif Perempuan dan Pluralisme (Jakarta: Kapal Perempuan, 2004), particularly on p. 113-166. The book on Counter Legal Draft A Compilation of Islamic Law, take a look at Muhammad Zain and Mukhtar Alshodiq, Building a Harmonious Family: Counter Legal Draft A Compilation of Islamic Law that is Controversial (Jakarta: Graha Cipta, 2005).
386

For example, in Indonesia pluralism has been developed in-depth by Nurcholish

Madjid. The pluralism thought of Nurcholish Madjid was retrieved from the Koran, take a look at Anthony H. John and Abdullah Saeed, Nurcholish Madjid and the Interpretation of the KoranReligious Pluralism and Tolerance in Suha Taji-Farouki (ed.), Modern Muslim Intellectuals and the Koran (Melbourne: Institute of Ismaili Studies, 2000), p. 6-96. WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

intellectualssunnatullah (the regulations of God). Many of the verses of the Koran contain values of plurality that have been explored in their hermeneutic sense. Among them is Q. 49: 13, which means, O mankind! We created you from a single (pair) of a male and female and made you into nations and tribes that ye may know each other (Q. 49: 13). Based on this verse of the Koran, we know that human beings are made into nations and tribes with the hope that they may interact well and positively with one another. Each is expected to appreciate difference.387 The attitude of Muslims to
387

Every human being, as an individual and as a community, they always need one

another, there is always dependence between one another. There is no single human that can fulfill his or her life without the help of another. In such condition, harmony and tolerance among a diverse mankindincluding those with different religionis a necessity and even a prerequisite, something that must not be unrealized. Hermeneutic understanding of the Koran regarding principles of harmony and tolerance have been done by Liberal Muslims, developed from among others: 1. Let there be no compulsion in religion (Q. 2: 256) 2. To you be your religion and to me mine (Q. 109: 6) 3. If it had been the Lords will they would all have believed all who are on earth! Wilt thou then compel mankind against their will to believe? (Q. 10: 99) 4. Say will ye dispute with us about Allah seeing that He is our Lord and your Lord that we are responsible for our doings and ye for yours and that we are sincere in our faith in Him (Q. 2: 139) 5. Allah forbids you not with regard to those who fight you not for your faith nor drive you out of your homes from dealing kindly and justly with them for Allah loveth those who are just (Q. 60: 8) 6. To each among you have We prescribed a law and an open way. If Allah had so wiled, He would have made you a single people, but His plan is to test you WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

believers of other religions is well defined, as stated in the Koran, that is to do good deeds to them and not religious differences an excuse to not engage in cooperation, or even be intolerant.388 In another verse, it was also proposed that If thy Lord had so willed he could have made mankind One People: but they will not cease to dispute (Q. 11: 118). From this verse, we can understand that if God is willing, it would be very easy to create human beings as one group, monolithic, and one religion, but Allah does not aspire for this. All religions are different. No religions are the same. They are different in terms of doctrines, institutions, leaderships,

organizations,

communities, religious days, areas, spaces, times that are believed to be sacred by the followers and so on. But amongst these differences there contain al-maskut anhu,

commonalities, common pattern that is not externally expressed. This in what He hath given you; so strive as in a race in all virtues. The goal of you is Allah. It is He that will show you the truth of the matters in which ye dispute. (Q. 5: 48) 7. Islam obliges good deeds and respect for the rights of the neighbors, without considering their religion. This act of respect is related to faith in Allah, and faith in the Armageddon (Hadith) 8. Whoever harms the Dzimmi people (the non-Muslim minority who seek protection under the authority of Islam) has hurt me too (Hadith)
388

Humaidy Abdussami and Masnun Tahir, Islam dan Hubungan Antaragama

(Wawasan Untuk Para Dai) (Yogyakarta: LKiS, 2007), p. 117 WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

means that within each religion there are elements of similarities, for

example, their sense of humanities. Thus, what we need now is a new approach. (Rachman 2009: 1037) M. Amin Abdullah, former Rector of UIN Sunan Kalijaga. He received his doctoral degree from the Department of Philosophy, Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Middle East Technical University (METU), Ankara, Turkey (1990) and took the Post-Doctoral program at McGill University, Montreal, Canada (1997-1998).

God shows us the reality that essentially humans are different, and it is upon this basis that humans speak of pluralism. In Q. 2: 213, it is mentioned, Mankind was one single nation. (After dispute emerged) Allah sent messengers with glad tidings and warnings. And with them He sent the book in truth, to judge between people in matters wherein they differed. In this verse, there are three facts that appear. They are the unity of the people under one God; the specialty of religions brought by the prophets; and the role of revelations (the Holy Book) in resolving the issues of differences among various religious communities. The three facts are the fundamental conception of the Koran regarding religious pluralism. On one hand, this conception does not deny the specialty of various religions; on the other hand, this conception also denies the need to acknowledge the meeting point or the unity of humans and the need to grow a better understanding across religions. Pluralism is much appreciated in Islamic teaching, because Islam as al-din is the religion of Allah that is in line with the natural state of humanity. One of the natural states is pluralism that fundamentally originates from religious teaching.389

389

Abdullah Ali, Islam dan Kemajemukan di Indonesia: Perspektif Sosio-

Antropologis . Paper PSIK Universitas Paramadina. Unpublished. WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

The Koran speaks explicitly regarding universality and the diversity of revelations and the prophet in order to enlighten mankind from time to time: To each among you have We prescribed a law and an open way. If Allah had so willed, He would have made you a single people, but His plan is to test you in what He hath given you so strive as a race in all virtues. The goal of you all is to Allah. It is He that will show you the truth of the matters in which ye dispute (Q. 5: 48). Mankind was but one nation, but differed later. Had it not been for a word that went forth before from thy Lord, their differences would have been settled between them (Q. 10: 19). To every people was sent a messenger (Q. 10: 47) Humans were initially created as one mankind and given the teachings of Allah. However, the teachings of Allah was then destroyed by egoism, and caused differences (individual, race, nation). On the basis of the profound compassion of Allah, Allah would always send messengers to deliver again the same teaching that had been adjusted to the mental diversity of mankind, and at the same time test them with His blessings, and encourage them to compete towards kindness and obedienceand such will bring them to monotheism (tauhid) and the truth.390 If the Koran mentions many revelations and messengers as well as each of their truth, the consequence is the entire mankind would accept it with faith. Of course one of the chains of revelations is the Koran itself, which is a holy book that came after a number of holy books previously, and the Koran brought peace and justified the previous holy books (Q. 5: 48). Furthermore, the consequence spoken of by the Koran is that Islam acknowledges the truth of other religions that have existed before it. Thisas proposed in the analysis of the thoughts of Liberal Muslim intellectualsmeans tat it serves as the foundation to the acceptance of religious pluralism.

390

Budhy Munawar-Rachman, Pluralisme Keagamaan: Sebuah Percobaan

Membangun Teologi Islam mengenai Agama-agama, in Sururin (ed.), Nilai-nilai Pluralisme dalam Islam: Bingkai Gagasan Yang Berserak (Bandung: Nuansa, 2005), p. 114-115. WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

Implication of viewing history as the underlying factor of the reason a revelation from the heavens was passed down is that all religions, in one sense or another, have the same destination, known as Islam, that is the teaching of complete submission to Allah. In this case, it is not a coincidence that Islam is the last name of the message revealed throughout the course of history. The conclusion of this theology is that religions should not compete, but form alliance (friends) with other religions. In Islam, the notion of the universality of the revelation of God always plays a key role in forming the Islamic theology on religions. As a result of such faith, Muslims are able to participate in the essence and the religious approach towards other traditions.391 The truth in religions is spoken of in the Koran, Those who believe, the Jews, the Christians and the Sabians, any who believe in Allah and the last day and work righteousness shall have their reward with their Lord on them shall be no fear not shall they grieve. This verse is often denied by the exclusives (Radical Islam) by saying: First, this verse has been mansukh (cancelled) by Q. 3: 85. Second, this verse only refers to Jews, Christians, and Sabina before the Prophet Muhammad SAW. Third, they see Allah as the God of Islam. To answer these denials, the vocabulary Islam in Q. 3: 85 does not appoint to Islam as the formal religion brought by the Prophet Muhammad SAW, but it refers to Islam in the general sense, that is submission to God, which is the mission of the messages from heaven. 392 Such definition can be read in the verse, Behold! His Lord said to him (Abraham): Bow (Islam) thy will to me! He (Abraham) answered: I bow (Islam) my will to the Lord and cherisher of the universe (Q. 2: 131). The Koran clearly affirmed the existence of plurality and diversity of religions (Q. 2: 62) and states the salvation promised by God for those who have faith in Him

391

Yunasril Ali, Pluralisme Agama pada Era Global. Paper PSIK Universitas

Paramadina, 2007. Unpublished.


392

Jalaluddin Rakhmat, Islam dan Pluralisme: Akhlak Quran Menyikapi Perbedaan

(Jakarta: Serambi, 2006), p. 32-34. WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

and the Armageddon, accompanied by good deeds, regardless of the affiliation of their formal religions. I am confident that as a Muslimwith the religion that I follow. However, of course, what I believe to be true is not the same with others. Because, vice versa the Christians will say that their teaching is the true one. And that it is right according to them; For this reason, what we must develop here is its relation to pluralism as an attitude of mutual appreciation and mutual respect to each faith. M. SyafiI Anwar, Director of the International Center for Islam and Pluralism (CIP), Jakarta. He was elected as an Independent Expert for the United Nation for High Commissioner for Human Rights, representing Asia (20072009). He received his Doctorate from the Melbourne University, Australia. This statement is in line with the opinions of Rasyid Ridla and Thabathabai. According to Ridlaa great thinker from the outset of last century Egyptall those who have faith in Allah and conduct good deeds regardless of formal religious affiliations will receive salvation, because Allah does not prioritize one group over another. Thabathabia great thinker from last century Iranwith different words stated, There is no name and no characteristic that can provide goodness if not supported by faith and good deeds. This regulation applies to the entire mankind. Furthermore, according to Ridla and ThabahabaI, these texts also serve as a response towards the exclusivism that is confined within sectarianism and chauvinism of narrow diversity. Rasyid Ridl affirms, Salvation cannot be found in

WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

religious sectarianism, but in true faith and virtue.393 Muslims are a society of Islamwho is obedient, submissive, with peace (salam) to God, as the faithful believers hold complete trust in God.394 According to Nurcholish Madjid, one of the distortions of the definition of the sharia is the perspective of the majority in which the concept of the sharia only lies within the religion Islam (it can only be found in the final version of the religion Islam, that is the Islam brought by the Prophet Muhammad). While in fact, all teachings of obedience to Allah (the fundamental meaning of the Arabic phrase dinu l-Lah) itself contains teachings of a form of sharia, as sharia itself means a path, and that is the path to God, by following His teachings. The equivalent concept of sharia in the religion Islam are concepts regarding shirath, sabil, thariqah, minhaj, and mansakwhich all have the basic meaning: path, way or method. In other religions, these concepts are stated in their own terminologies, such as dharma, marga and tao. The Prophet Isa al-Masih (Jesus Christ) calls himself the path as by following His teachings humans will be on the right path to God, that is the path of salvation. Besides sharia, the word syirah is also used in the Koran, as the verb syaraa, which means to establish the sharia. (Q. 42: 13).395

393

Rohimin, Respons al-Quran tentang Pluralisme Agama: Pengantar untuk

Penafsiran Perspektif Multiagama, Paper PSIK Universitas Paramadina, 2007. Unpublished.


394

Nurcholish Madjid, Indonesia Kita, (Jakarta: Gramedia Pustaka Umum, 2003), p.

42.
395

The complete verse, The same religion has He established for you as that which

He enjoined on Noah that which we have sent by inspiration to thee and that which we enjoined on Abraham, Moses and Jesus. Namely, that ye should remain steadfast in religion, and make no divisions therein to those who worship other things than Allah, hard is the way to which thou callest them. Allah chooses to Himself those whom He pleases, and guides to Himself those who turn to Him. (Q. 42: 13) WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

According to Nurcholish, if these messages are scrutinized, it is evident that the sharia is the same for all religions that is in its fundamental sense that we should not separate. And it is interesting to observe the affirmation in the message that the calling is to unite in its fundamental sense, and we should not separate, and this callings is so burdensome for the musyrik. This is because they do not understand, or they cannot understand that essentially religions are one, and all prophets and messengers of God teach the same thing, that is teaching of obedience to God (dinu l-Lah), in which the obedience must be done through a submissive and sincere attitude, with a sense of peace (that is al-islam in its most basic meaning). If obedience to God is done by force, without feelings of sincerity within the heart that is based on faith, then the teachings of obedience or din will by itself not be legitimate before God, and those associated will undergo loss. For this reason, in the Koranaccording to Nurcholish Madjidthere is a saying about nomad Arabic people who came to the Prophet Peace be Upon Him and reported their faith with a sense of pride. Thus, Allah ordered the Prophet to respond by affirming that they are islam in the sense of physical obedience, while the faith has not yet entered their hearts (Q. 49: 14). And so, obedience or din, besides obedience to Allah with a peaceful submission (al-islam) is not the right obedience. In the Koran, it is also affirmed that a peaceful submission or islam to God is the teachings of all holy books, but many followers of these holy books adopt different attitudes (3: 19). It is also explained that a peaceful submission is the attitude of all those inhabiting heaven and earth (Q. 3: 85).396 In todays modern era, the discourse of pluralism in Islam is developed by contemporary Muslim thinkers, such as Fritjof Schuon, Seyyed Hossein Nasr, Hasan Askari and Abdulaziz Sachedina. In Indonesia, we have Nurcholish Madjid, Abdurrahman Wahid, Ahmad Syafii Maarif, and a group of younger Liberal Muslim

396

Nurcholish Madjid, Atas Nama Pengalaman: Beragama dan Berbangsa di Masa

TransisiKumpulan Dialog Jumat di Paramadina (Jakarta: Paramadina, 2002), p. 54-56. WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

intellectuals recently fostered by Ulil Abshar-Abdalla. Fundamentally, pluralism is an acknowledgement of the law of God that creates humans not only from one group, tribe, skin color, and religion. God creates humans differently so that they may learn, socialize, and help one another. Pluralism acknowledges these differences as a reality that surrounds us. With pluralism we may better grasp various commitments together in order to fight for something beyond the interests of our group and religion. One of the main elements of religious pluralism is the awakening of an awareness that all religions are in a parallel position and states. The main argument of religious pluralism in the Koran is based on the relation between personal faith and its public projection in the Muslim community. With regard to this personal faith, the Koran takes a non-intervention approach (for example, all forms of authorities of humans must not be disturbed by the spiritual faith the individual). While in relation to the public projection of faith, the Koran is based on the principle of co-existence, that is the willingness of the majority to give freedom for other religious communities with their own regulations. These regulations will form a way to run their affairs and to live side by side with Muslims.397 Thus, based on this principle, the Indonesian society who the majority is Muslims can become a reflection of a society that acknowledges, respects, and conducts religious pluralism. I strongly believe that if Muslims realize the importance of the teaching of the Koran on cultural and religious pluralism as a principle bestowed by God in fostering a communal living that is harmonious among humans, Muslims can avoid violence in opposing a repressive and inefficient government.398 It is the similar to the fact that there is not only one America, one Europe, or one West. There is not one apt explanation that illustrates various groups and people with the same value and meaning. There is also not a single location or a
397

Abdulaziz Sachedina, Kesetaraan Kaum Beriman: Akar Pluralisme Demokratis

dalam Islam (Jakarta: Serambi, 2002), p. 51.


398

Abdulaziz Sachedina, Kesetaraan Kaum Beriman, p. 34. WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

comparable culture that is identical to Islam. And so, a monolithic Islam does not exist. For this reason, pluralism is the foundation of life for religions (ashl al-hayat-I bayna al-adyan). Liberal Muslim thinkers have traced the verses of the Koran who supports pluralism as an enigma from the Allahs ocean of secrets. One them is . It turns out that Allah did not aspire to unite mankind. Now, religious pluralism here is the secret and the will of Allah. Pluralism as the foundation of religion invites us to reveal and understand the secrets of Hod. Religious diversity as a secret of Allah also covers other religions that are known as Abrahams religions.399 Pluralism itself acknowledges a tradition of faith and diversity that is different from one religion to another.400 The language style of the Koran itself has a spirit of pluralism. Every word or verse in the Koran contains possible diverse meanings and interpretations that are in line with the spirit of the era. The birth of various interpretation books is evidence of a

399

In the context of Judaism and Christianity, the Koran mentions them as ahl-

kitabbelievers of a religion with a scripture or revelationwe will discuss this later on. In another verse in the Surah Yunus: 99 If it had been the Lords will, they would all have believed, all who are on earth. Wilt thou then compel mankind against their will to believe? According to the Koran, it does not make sense to hate and force a person to a faith. This verse is specifically directed to the Prophet Muhammad, as he was not burdened by Allah to be responsible in assuring the entire mankind to embrace Islam. In another verse, la ikrah fi-al-din (there is no compulsion in religion) is mentioned. These principles show that Allah does not want compulsion in religion. The perspective and attitude that aspires the entire mankind to have faith in Islam contradicts Allahs will on religious diversity. Take a look at Abdulaziz Sachedina, Negara Tidak Punya Hak Mengurusi Keimanan, take a look at www.islamlib.com.
400

Take a look at Ahmad Fuad Fanani, Islam, Pluralisme dan Kemerdekaan

Beragama, www.islamlib.com. WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

plural understanding of the text of the Koran.401 Besides the editorial data that the Koran is pluralist, the containments of the verses of the Koran themselves have indicated these values of pluralism, and the Koran has even implanted essential regulations for religious pluralism, which include: First, religious freedom. Islam grants ever human being the freedom to determine what religion to follow. Besides granting freedom, Islam also forbids force in religion. This principle is the clearest statement for pluralism in Islam, and also in many verses the Koran explains this principle intensely (Q. 2: 256; 10: 108; 17: 15; 18: 29). Second, the Koran underlines its acceptance toward other religions beside Islam to live side by side. Judaism, Christianity, and other religions have their existence fully acknowledged by the Koran (Q. 2: 62). The Koran fosters Muslims to work together with other people in order to enforce justice and truth. The Koran and the Prophets example support interfaith cooperation and solidarity for justice and truth. This solidarity is supported by the same will for peace and harmony, as well as a fight to oppose injustice in order to create a safe world for mankind. Islams attitude toward religious plurality stands on the principle of equality, tolerance and compliance. This is the best option as religious plurality is better than one religion. One religion will not be able to respond to the dynamics of humanity. With one religion, the state to compete in various good deeds will not be achieved. The tolerance acts and compliance will evidently be better than acts of resistance from tens of religions.402 The existence of a relation created by the spirit of pluralism based on tolerance, is a blessing and a form of perfection. This is the most authentic condition, all religions pray to God Almighty and invite values of love, virtue and justice. Each

401

Gamal al-Banna, Doktrin Pluralisme dalam al-Quran (Jakarta: Menara, 2006), p.

12.
402

Farid Esack, Al-Quran, Liberalisme, Pluralisme: Membebaskan Yang Tertindas

(Bandung: Mizan, 2000), p. 232. WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

religion, with their own advantages competes for a role in building a civilization for you your religion and for me my religion.403 Acknowledgement of religious pluralism in a social community promises the principle of inclusivity (openness)a principle that prioritizes accommodation and not conflictamong them. As, essentially each and every religion has various claims of truth that they would continue to uphold, while the reality of the society that is evidently heterogeneous culturally and religiously. For this reason, inclusivity becomes important as a way to the growth of sensitivity towards various unique possibilities that can enrich human efforts in discovering spiritual and moral welfare. The reality of plurality that can propel towards cooperation and openness is clearly proclaimed by the Koran. Plurality is the policy of God so that humans may get to know one another and open up to cooperate,404 and cooperation is essential in human life.405 Liberal Muslims were very aware that pluralism is part of civilization, which is theologically based on a common platform (kalimat-un sawa) of religions. The Islamic civilization is a pluralistic civilization that is very tolerant toward various social
403

Farid Esack, Al-Quran, Liberalisme, Pluralisme, p. 32. According to the Koran, at the outset, man was one, but disputes emerged due to

404

jealousy. A number of Muslims saw this dispersion as the result of various versions of the one Scripture introduced by different prophets. Why the revelations of the prophets must serve as the dispersing power remains unanswered, except it is a mystery that could be resolved by Allah under his will. The fact that Allah did not resolve this is explained as the granting of various religions to compete with one another over virtue. If Allah had so willed He would have made you a single people, but His plan is to test you in what He hath given you; so strive as in a race in all virtues. The goal of you all is to Allah; It is He that will show you the truth of the matters in which ye dispute (Q. 5: 48) Take a look at Abdulaziz Sachedina, Kesetaraan Kaum Beriman Akar Pluralisme Demokratis dalam Islam, p. 49.
405

Surahman Hidayat, Islam, Pluralisme, dan Perdamaian (Jakarta: Fikr, 2008), p.

43. WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

and religious groups. In order to show the implications of the commitment to human diversity, and common knowledge of the present, what is required is a moral reflection and attention to historical situations,406 as pluralism in Cak Nurs formula is called as a genuine engagement of diversities within the bounds of civility. 407 Pluralism calls for an honest and open approach in order to understand other parties and work together to build goodness for all. Pluralism is a concrete richness of Islam. There are no conflicts between Islam and pluralism. Pluralism is not only a phenomenon in Islam, but also a global one. Moreover, every civilization also has pluralism in the form of madhab, thought, philosophy and political orientation. Pluralism also contains a sense that minority groups can also have a complete and equivalent role like the majority groups in a society, while still remaining to their identities and characteristic differences. Islam teaches a set of values that must be held high by a government, but not oblige a certain government. Even though the Prophet Muhammad SAW practiced a certain form of political governance, it is not part of a strict sharia, which must be strictly followed by the future entire Muslim community. Nur Ahmad Fadhil Lubis, Professor at the Faculty of Sharia IAIN North Sumatera. He received his MA degree and Doctorate degree from UCLA (University of California Los Angeles). He is the Executive Director of YPPIA Medan.
406

Khaled Abou El-Fadl, Cita dan Fakta Toleransi IslamPuritanisme versus

Pluralisme (Bandung: Arasy, 2003), p. 32.


407

Nurcholish Madjid, Masyarakat Madani dan Investasi Demokrasi: Tantangan dan

Kemungkinan, Republika, August 10, 1999. WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

Pluralism must be protected by the state and the law and eventually by international law. Muslims live together with non-Muslims in a certain country. Muslim citizens of a country can have tribal and doctrinal differences in their selves or with Muslims throughout the world. The unity of Muslim does not precondition the Muslims to form a sole state-caliphateas it comprises of various beliefs and tribes.408 A state from the Islamic perspective can be considered as an extended family or relative. Differences among Muslims, although each has special interests, should not diminish universal togetherness and solidarity. Fathi Osman reminds us, as preconditioned by the Koran, that God and His teachings must be positioned above the obedience toward a certain group or area. Muslims should show the attitude of the Koran before mankind by extending their dialogues so that they reach Hindu and Buddha, Tao and other religions. The Koran (7: 172-173) teaches human beings to have their own guidance compass, and has been blessed by God with self-worth (17: 70). On the basis of the same spirituality, morality and self-worth, the entire mankind could develop a universal relation and maintain global pluralism. It is very meaningful that the Koran mentions virtue that is recognized by the healthy mind (maruf) and evil that is refused by the healthy mind (munkar). On such grounds, the universal relation of humans has its own moral and spiritual foundation, where it becomes every persons responsibility to build the world and mankind. H e has created you from the earth and settled you therein (11: 61). All that are mentioned by Fathi Osman are called global pluralism and preconditions knowledge and understanding among mankinds diversity (Q. 49: 113). Reciprocal appreciation prevents suspicion and helps maintain justice. The bond of morality to justice is an underlying element for the success of every legal and

408

Mohamed Fathi Osman, Islam, Pluralisme dan Toleransi Keagamaan, p. 4-5. WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

institutional mechanism. Maintaining a common understanding and justice should direct us to world piece, which is the condition for cooperation.409 In order to actualize global pluralism, Osman continued, we need courage from the Muslim community to engage in dialogues with the believers of other religions. A meeting point of religion or known as a meeting point of faith does indeed require courage, experience, self-confidence as well as personal maturity. A productive dialogue will not be established if each participant is not willing to open their self, not willing to voluntarily and enthusiastically give and receive.410 From the very beginning Islam has encouraged dialogues among

communities, especially Christians and Jews, or the followers of Jesus and Moses. The Koran used the word ahl al-kitab (those who own a holy book), the users of the word ahl, which means family, highlights intimacy and closeness. For an example, this once happened to the followers of the Prophet Muhammad who was forced to leave Mecca in order to avoid torture by his own nation (Arab jahiliyah) and migrate to Ethiopia. There, he was accepted and received protection of the King Nagashi who was a Christian. This event indicated intimacy and harmony between the two. 411 In this dialogue, the commonalities among various religions, cultures and civilizations are put forward, of course by still respecting their differences, so that each religion, culture and civilization can build mutual understanding and respect. In the context of Islam, this is very beneficial, as it can remove the negative image enshrined among non-Muslims, particularly in the West who assume that Islam a religion that is anti-peace, or a religion that opts for violence. With the formation of
409

O ye who believe! Stand out firmly for justice as witnesses to Allah, even as

against yourselves, or your parents, or your kin follow not the lusts of your hearts lest ye swerve (Q. 4: 135)And let not the hatred of others to you make you swerve to wrong and depart from justice. Be just that is next to piety (Q. 5: 8)
410

Mohamed Fathi Osman, Islam, Pluralisme dan Toleransi Keagamaan, p. 117-

119.
411

Alwi Shihab, Islam Inklusif: Menuju Sikap Terbuka dalam Beragama (Bandung:

Mizan, 1999), p. 67. WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

this condition of mutual understanding, interfaith, intercultural, and intercivilization conflicts can be avoided. However, it is irrefutable that these three factors contribute in evoking these conflicts, though only as a legitimation factor. More than that, on the basis of these universal values, the Muslim community can respond to the system or global ideas, such as democracy, human rights, pluralism and many more, as a system or idea that is compatible with the teachings of Islam.412 This dialogue is not intended for a mere intellectual hobby, but a necessity. The truest of dialogues is those conducted in equality. Within a dialogue, principles cannot be disregarded and one should not only aim for a false sense of peace. On the contrary, there should be witnesses in which giving and receiving is in order to progress one another in the search and religious experienced; and at the same time remove prejudice, intolerance and misunderstanding. If a person did repent through dialogue, this reality should be able to be accepted by all parties in a positive and natural manner. Dialogues precondition consistency, openness, humility and honesty so that it can enrich and renew each party. Dialogues require equilibrium of attitude, a firmness and refusal of indifferentism (a notion that sees all religions as the same) and do not aspire for a universal syncretic theology. Within a dialogue, every person must be accepted regarding how one understands ones self. Dialogues do not diminish the loyalty that is whole and honest towards ones own faith, but enriches and fortifies it. Dialogue is an essential element in removing misunderstanding and prejudice that once emerged in the past.413 According to Liberal Muslims, pluralism is a basic notion that needs to be developed so that interfaith dialogues become possible and develop.
412

Masykuri Abdillah, Makna din dan Universalitas Nilai-nilai Agama Islam. Paper

PSIK Universitas Paramadina, 2007. Unpublished.


413

Olaf Schumann, Dialog Antar Umat Beragama, Di Manakah Kita Berada Kini?

(Jakarta: LPS DGI, 1980), h. 19. Take a look at, Munawar Ahmad Anees, Syed Z. Abedin,Ziauddin Sardar, Dialog Muslim Kristen Dulu, Sekarang, Esok, (Yogyakarta: Qalam,2000), h. 15. WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

CHAPTER VII THEOLOGY OF RELIGIONS THE LIBERAL ISLAM PERSPECTIVE In recent developments, the theology of religions serves as the spring of the discourse of religious pluralism.414 Particularly when the definition of pluralism is related to the issue of salvation. And so, we need to systematize how the perspective of Indonesian Liberal Muslim thinkers has liberally and progressively elaborated the issue of the theology of religions. The issues that will be analyzed in this chapter include: the issue of salvation in Islam; the concept of ahl al-Kitab; religious freedom; the rights of non-Muslim minorities; jihad and peace; and the issue of the meeting point of religions. Bear in mind that MUIs fatwa on pluralism undeniably has implications on the issues elaborated below.

Salvation in Islam Before we further discuss salvation in Islam, we will first quote a verse that is related to the theology of salvation. In Q. 2: 62 it is mentioned, Those who believe (in the Koran), and those who follow the Jewish (scriptures), and the Christians, any who believe in Allah and the Last Day and work righteousness shall have their reward with their Lord on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve. This verse evidently illustrates the existence of salvation in religions (whatever the religion is), which depends on the three universal values emphasized by the verse. They are faith in Allah, the hereafter and good deeds. The universal values

414

William A. Bijlefeld, Theology of Religions: A Review of Developments, Trends,

and Issues in Christian-Muslim Dialogue: Theological & Practical Issues (Geneve: Department for Theology & Religious Studies, The Lutheran World Federation, 1998), p. 82 WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

encompassed in this verse apply to all religions, and it was never abrogated (erased).415 Jalaluddin Rakhmat more or less said the same thing. This verse affirms that all religions offer a salvific path as long as they hold on to these three universal values.416 Buya Hamka, a prominent and influential ulema who is known for his exceptionally progressive-liberal thoughts, in his book of interpretation entitled alAzhar asserted that this verse is a guidance that uprights the soul for each and every soul who believes in Allah, whether one is called a believer or a Muslim, a Jew, a Christian, a Sabian, as long as one has faith in Allah, the End of Days and followed by good deeds, one will be rewarded by Allah. These three universal values are the absolute preconditions. However, according to Buya, although a person has proclaimed faith in Allah and the Prophet Muhammad Peace Be Upon Him, if that faith is not verified with good deeds, God shall not grant one the reward. 417 Thus, Q. 2: 62 is a form of Gods generosity for those who have repented.418 In addition to Q. 2: 26, there is another verse that says, besides the Muslims, the Christians, the Jews and the Sabians, the Zoroasters are also promised heaven (Q. 22: 17). The Koran has an incredible outlook that is worth adhering to, particularly on Gods justice in rewarding the good deeds of the people. God will not

415

Abrogation is a method that can no longer be maintained because it is impossible

for a verse to abrogate another verse. Especially when the one behind the abrogation are human beings who do not have the capacity for this. Zuhairi Misrawi, Al-Qur'an Kitab Toleransi: Inklusivisme, Pluralisme dan Multikulturalisme, p. 311.
416

Jalaluddin Rakhmat, Islam dan Pluralisme, Ayat Al-Quran Menyikapi Perbedaan

(Jakarta: Serambi, 2006), p. 23.


417

Buya Hamka, Tafsir Al-Azhar (jilid I) (Jakarta: PT. Mitra Kerjaya Indonesia, 2005),

p. 204.
418

M. Quraish Shihab, Tafsir Al-Mishbah: Pesan, Kesan dan Keserasian al-Quran,

vol. I (Tangerang: Lentera Hati, 2000), p. 214. WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

neglect any form of goodness that has been done by the people, regardless of their religion, tribe and race.419 From the previous explanation, we can conclude that the Koran comprehends that all these religions are called Islam (in its generic sense), whatever the name is (Islam, Christianity, Judaism, Sabian, Hindu, Buddha, Confucianism, Zoroaster, and many more). The believers of any religion are entitled to heaven as long as they hold on to the three universal values: faith in Allah, faith in the end of days, and conduct of good deeds. Moreover, Ibn Arabiwho is followed by many who adopt perennial philosophyhas an unconventional thought in which in the end everyone (in this world) will enter heaven.420 The Koran itself states that there was not a single community that was not sent a prophet (messenger) (Q. 16: 36; 4: 164). In actual fact, the number of prophets is not just 25as memorized by school childrenbut also 313. The number of messengers is even more that that and reaches around 14.000. Many prophets are unknown, as they are not mentioned in the Koran, but in non-Islamic scriptures. They include Isaac, Daniel and many others. For this reason, it is interesting to pay attention to, for example, prominent ulemas, such as Ibn Tamiyah who, in his books, when mentioning Daniel added alayhi l-salam (upon him prayer and peace). Regarding the great number of prophets and messengers, indubitably the dispersal will not only be concentrated in the Middle East. If we also proclaimed the preconditions of the sending of a prophet to a group of people, then a prophet would have also been sent to Java. 421 Though perhaps not bearing the title prophet, but dervish or wise man.422
419

Take a look at Zuhairi Misrawi, Al-Qur'an Kitab Toleransi: Inklusivisme,

Pluralisme dan Multikulturalisme, p. 310-311.


420

Budhy Munawar-Rachman (ed.), Ensiklopedi Nurcholish Madjid, volume IV, p.

3002.
421

A specialist in paleo-anthropology, Renne du Bois, believed that the Prophet

Adam was first placed in Java. When he found trinil (remains of pre-historic humans), and then discovered Javanese humans, pithecanthropus erectus wajakensis, he contemplated: when I consider the Bible, it says that Adam comes WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

Based on this, Nurcholish Madjid asserted that Zoroaster is also a prophet, and the same goes out to Buddha and Confucius. What is more, the late Buya Hamka also stated in one of his messages that Lao-tse is too a prophet. That is why the Muslim community is obliged to believe in all of them. All prophets and messengers of Allah carry the message of Islam. The Koran sees all religions (the true ones, those coming from God) as al-Islam or the teaching of submission to God. Submission or al-Islam to God has become a mandate and an obligation since the day of creation. This teaching has from time to time been brought by prophets and messengers, since the Prophet Adam, the father of mankind, before the Prophet Muhammad Peace Be Upon Him ended it. From here, it becomes clear that religions originate from al-Islam, as they are a continuance of the religions of the previous prophets. They believeas in the view of the Koranthat the heart of all true religions is al-Islam. Thus, al-Islam or submission to God is the origin of a persons divine guidance from God, and al-Islam serves as the universal foundation of mankinds life, which applies to every person, every place and every time (Q. 3: 20). The physical manifestation of al-Islam can be varied. One of the reasons is because it needs to be aligned with the time and place. However, in such diversity, everyone must devote and dedicate himself or herself to the One Form that is God and submit to Him. This is a well-founded affirmation given in the Koran (Q. 22: 34). In Surah 3: 67, it is mentioned, Abraham was not a Jew, not yet a Christian, but he was true in faith and bowed his will to Allah, and he joined not gods with from Java, and what is known as the Garden of Eden is located in the slopes of the river Bengawan Solo. This became the basis of du Bois conclusion. Take a look at Budhy Munawar-Rachman (ed.), Ensiklopedi Nurcholish Madjid, volume IV, p. 3004. However, what is interesting is that according to the most recent research, Adam known as the scientific Adamcame from Africa, take a look at, The Search of Adam, National Geographic Channel, 2007.
422

Budhy Munawar-Rachman (ed.), Ensiklopedi Nurcholish Madjid, volume IV, p.

3005. WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

Allah. This means that Abraham is not connected to communal and formal religions. The story of Abraham is an illustration of a search for the truth without communal boundaries. The last word of the verse, hanif-an muslim-an, means a natural and authentic spirit of truth as well as the passion to submit to the truth. The same goes out to the meaning of Islam in Q. 3: 85 that is a general Islam which includes the messages of the heaven, and not Islam in its terminology sense, not Islam in the sense of the religion carried by the Prophet Muhammad Peace Be Upon Hum. This is reinforced by other verses, for example (Q. 2: 131132): Behold! His Lord said to him; Bow thy will to me, he said I bow my will to the Lord and Cherisher of the universe. And this was the legacy that Abraham left to his sons: Oh my sons, Allah hath chosen the faith for you, then die not except in the state of submission to Allah. Considering all religions as the same is not the definition of pluralism but singularity. Pluralism is quite the opposite. It does not consider all religions the same. If every religion was the same, what is the purpose of existence of a religion for its people? There would be no importance of God passing down the religion Judaism, Islam and Christianity. It is pluralism that indicates all religions are

different. (Rachman 2009: 1375) Rumadi, Researcher at the Wahid Institute and PPSDM UIN Jakarta. He completed his doctorate program at UIN Syarif Hidayatullah. He is now a lecturer in the Faculty of Sharia and Law at the same university.

The previous explanation confirms that the meaning of Islam in the Koran does not employ a specific meaning that is directed for a certain religion. According to him, Islam is the meaning that is directed to all the religions brought by the WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

prophets of Allah. For example, in a number of verses we notice that the Prophet Noah said to his people, I have been commanded to be one of those who submit to Allahs will, (Q. 10: 72). The Prophets Abraham and Jacob also set a legacy for their children: Allah hath chosen the faith for you, then die not except in the state of submission to Allah (Q. 2: 132). In the following verse, it is mentioned that the children of Jacob replied: We shall worship thy God and the God of thy fathers, of Abraham, Ismail and Isaac, the One True God, to Him we bow in Islam (Q. 2: 133). The Prophet Moses also called out to his people, O my people! If ye do really believe in Allah then in Him put your trust if ye submit your will to His (Q. 10: 84). And the same goes out to the Hawariyun people, the companions of the Prophet Jesus, who said to Jesus: We believe in Allah, and do thou bear witness that we are Muslims (Q. 3: 52).423

423

For Liberal Muslim thinkers, since the very first prophet to the Prophet

Muhammad, their mission remains one God and one religion. The Prophet Muhammad delivered a message to his people that he did not bring a new religion, but continued the religion of the previous prophet. The Koran states The same religion has He established for you as that which He enjoined on Noah that which We have sent by inspiration to thee and that which we enjoined on Abraham, Moses and Jesus; Namely, that ye should remain steadfast in religion and make no divisions therein (Q. 42: 13). And so, the teaching carried by all the prophets, including the Prophet Muhammad, is that mankind is one. God is one and religion is one. This is why in the language of the Koran we can only find the term al-din (religion) in its unitary single form, and the word adyan cannot be found in its plural form, which means religions. However, in addition to Gods unitary religion which in the Koran is referred to as the Kings religion (din al-mulk) performed by Yusuf, religion here means the law that is made by the king (Q. 12: 76), as the Prophet Muhammad once defied the kafir by saying For you your religion, for me my religion (Q. 109: 6) Take a look at, Zainun Kamal, Islam dan Kemajemukan Paper PSIK Universitas Paramadina, 2007. Unpublished. WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

Kautsar Azhari Noer, when understanding the verse, The religion before Allah is Islam (Q. 3: 19), proclaimed that this verse contained the following meaning: The only obedience is obedience before Him which is obedience to Him, declaring our tongue and soul for Him through submission and humility, and submission of our words and soul to Him with obedience on what is commanded and forbidden, humility of our words and soul to Him without displaying arrogance before Him, without turning away from Him, and without associating Him with any other beside Him regarding modesty and divinity. Kautsar did not specifically explain the meaning of the word din424 (and also the word Islam) in the second verse (Q. 3: 85), as it had already been explained in

424

In order to illustrate the complexity of meaning of the word din that will change the

interpretation from an exclusive notion of diversity into a pluralist-inclusive one, below we quote a thought from Kautsar Azhari Noer. The meaning of din in the Koran according to Ibn Arabi, a Sufi from Andalucia who was bestowed the title the Greatest Sheik (al-Syakh al-Akbar), is that din comprises of two types: din that came from Allah and din that came from the creation. Din that came from Allah is din that is chosen by Allah and provided a higher position than din of creation. Allah proclaimed, And this was the legacy that Abraham left to his sons, and so did Jacob Oh my sons! Allah hath chosen the faith for you; then die not except in the state of submission to Allah. (Q. 2: 132), which means those who submit (munqidun) to Him. Din (which is written: al-din), with al-alif and al-lam (the article), which is a din that is understood and known to appear in the message of Allah, The religion before Allah is Islam (Q. 3: 19). Din in this verse means submission (inqiyad). What came from Allah is syar (the law) in which to Him we submit (or what you must obey). And so, din is submission, obedience and namus is syar (the law) that is declared by Allah. This is din as the ideal system that is din which is a legacy from Abraham to his children that is din which is chosen by Allah for those mentioned in the Koran regarding the legacy of Abraham to his children (Q. 2: 132). Din in this ideal sense is one and is the same as it comes from The One God, but it manifests itself into many forms that are aligned with the target culture of WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

the previous verse. This means that the meaning of these two words, din and Islam, in the last verse, has the same meaning as the two words in the first verse that was explained. In fact, there are five words mentioned here, din, thaah, islam, inqiyad, and khusyu, which all have a close origin of meaning that makes it difficult to the people. However, din that comes from Allah will not mean anything when it is not obeyed by the people. Din that comes from Allah cannot be obeyed without first understanding or interpreting it. Humans understanding or interpretation on din is human actions, or human creation. Din that comes from humans is the submission or obedience that they do. Din in this sense is not a system, but is a personal din, the personal quality, the individual quality, which is of course individualist and not collective. Din as an ideal system that comes from Allah when responded (in the sense that it is understood, interpreted and obeyed by humans based on their understanding and interpretation) becomes historical din, din as a historical fact, a historical reality. Historical din is the history of mankind because it is the history of humans that always undergoes a neverending process. Din is understood from various interpretations that in its time will bring way to many orientations, mazhab, and religious sects. The word din in the sense of a system or institution in the Koran is found in Q. 3: 73; 5: 3, but we must not forget the word millah, a word in Arabic, that like din is translated into the word agama in Indonesian (religion in English). The word millah is the synonym of din, which means din (religion) as a system or as an institution. Millah is din as a system or institution, an institutionalized religion, a reified religion, a formalized religion. When din becomes a system or an institution that is institutionalized, reified, formalized, it becomes into millah, which according to Toshihiko Izutsu is a religion that is objective in the whole sense of the word, a formal credo and ritual system that serves as the principle of the unity of a religious community and applies to foundation of the social life of the community. This long quote is from Kautsar Azhari Noer, Makna din dalam al-Quran Paper PSIK Universitas Paramadina, 2007. Unpublished. WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

distinguish them one by one and how in certain contexts they become synonyms for one another.425

The truth does not solely belong to one religion. And so, in the Koran it is stated innama al-muminum ikhwah and not innama al-muslimun. In the Koran, we do not read Ya ayuuha alladzina aslamu, but Ya ayyuha alladzina amanu. Faith is broader than

425

According to Kautsar, What is meant with Islam is obedience, self submission

to God. And so, Islam in this sense can also be found in other religions. In the religion Hind, for example, there is a teaching that emphasizes on self-submission to God. Pandit Usharbudh Arya, a devoted Hindu of the Wedanta Yoga orientation, expressed his total self-submission (Islam) to God with the following words: If I did not seal my hands and devote myself to You, then it would be better if I had no hands. If I see with my eyes an object and within it I do not see you directly or indirectly, it is better than I had no eyes. If I hear with my ears a sole word that within does not contain a hymn of praise to You, O Lord, then let my ears be no more. In every blink of my thought You are the light of my thought, and if there is a light in my mind that I know not to be of Yours, then thrust away my thoughts from me, O Lord, but come and reside directly within me. According to Kautsar, what was stated by Usharbudh Arya, is submission, obedience and compliance to Allah SWT (Islam) as a consequence of tauhid. This submission is also revealed in the Koran as the following: Say, truly my prayer and service of sacrifice, my life and my death, are all for Allah, the Cherisher of the Worlds, no partner hath He, this am I commanded and I am the first of those who bow to His will (Q. 6: 162-163). Take a look at, Kautsar Azhari Noer, Islam dan Pluralisme: Catatan Sederhana untuk Karya Fathi Osman Islam, Pluralisme & Toleransi Keagamaan. PSIK Paper Universitas Paramadina, 2007. Unpublished. WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

Islam. Islam is the legal formality, but what is most important is faith. Etymologically speaking, Islam is total submission. Who knows, there could even be a person who is so close and so submitted to Allah, and yet he or she is not a Muslim. (Rachman 2009: 1395) Said Aqiel Siradj, the Chair of PB Nahdlatul Ulama (PBNU). He graduated from University of King Abdul Aziz, Mecca (1982) and received his Masters (1987) and Doctorate (1994) from the University of Umm Al-Qura Mecca.

Departing from the hermeneutic approach of the verse aforementioned, it becomes evident that the doctrine of salvation in the Koran applies not only for the religion Islam in its physical definition and in its terminology, but also Islam in its general definition which includes all religions (Islam, Christianity, Judaism, Sabian, Hindu Buddha, Confucianism, Zoroaster, Shinto, Sikh and so on). All of them are ahl al-kutub al-mustamilah ala al-tawhid ila al-an (these scriptures all contain the Oneness of God (tauhid) until today).426 These means that people who believe in salvation just because they are (formally) Muslims, Christians, Jewish, Sabian, Hindu Buddhist, Confucians, Zoroaster and other (exclusive) religions are people buoyed or deceived by a name. Their assumption of course fails to make senseif not impossible. The salvation that is in line with the meaning of Islam has a spiritual profoundness beyond formality. The formality of divine teaching of religions and the physical form of their ritual prayers are limited compared to the true meaning that is contained within the

426

Nurcholish Madjid, Dialog Keterbukaan Artikulasi Nilai Islam dalam Wacana

Sosial Politik Kontemporer, p. 264. WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

spiritual aspect of religionsthe more essential.427 We cannot always see which is the essential or the true meaning from the limited, the physical form. We must view these formal forms of religious teaching and their ritual system as symbols, which indicate the fusion of two levels of meanings: the physical meaning and the spiritual meaning. By looking at the actualization of faith towards the One in various forms of religion, we can make these different formal prayers or religious teachings as the ladder toward the Transcendence. And not the opposite that is limiting the presence and the existence of Transcendence in one or two forms of religious symbols. For this reason, in one of his poems, Abdul Hadi W. M., quoted Jalaluddin Rumi, who more or less spoke: I cannot find The One In a temple, a shrine, synagogue, a cross, the walls of a mosque and kabah; Nor in the words of Ibn Sina or Aristoteles. If find thee in the witness of my own soul Before the many symbols of the House of God. From this poem, we understand that what the most important thing that is underlined in religion is not only the symbols and the physical names, but the main message carried by the religion. Because religiosity does not stop at these symbols, but at the appreciation and practice of the values they encompass. In the Koran, people hold on to salvation because names or symbols are ridiculed by Allah as sustaining on dreams: Not your desires, not those of the people of the book can prevail whoever works evil will be requited accordingly not will he find, besides Allah, any protector or helper. If any do deeds or righteousness, be they male of female and have faith, they will enter heaven, and not the least injustice will be done to them.(Q. 4: 123-124).428

427

Abdul Hadi W. M., Kebhinekaan Beragama dalam Perspektif Tasawuf PSIK

Paper Universitas Paramadina, 2007. Unpublished.


428

Jalaluddin Rakhmat, Islam dan Pluralisme: Ayat al-Quran Menyikapi Perbedaan,

p. 27. WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

This verse explains Allahs demeanor to the people who believe in the their prophets and their revelations. They believe that happiness in the hereafter will be achieved just because they are Muslims, Jews, Christians, or Sabians, for example. While Allah has proclaimed that salvation is not due to a religious group (jinsiyah diniyah). Salvation is achieved with the right faith that holds the soul and the deeds that overhaul mankind. It does not become a problem whether they are Jewish, Christians, and Sabian who do not have faith in the Prophet Peace Be Upon Him. Salvation does not precondition faith in the Prophet Muhammad Peace Be Upon Him. For this reason, the belief that the decision of Allah relies on the dreams of Muslims and ahl al-kitab (those who have presumed so are those who will walk the salvific path during the End of Days) is refuted. It has been established that Allahs decision relies on good deeds and a true faith. The following passage will analyze the perspectives of Liberal Muslim thinkers on other basic concepts that have formed the concept of theology of religions in Islam. The (second) concept that will be analyzed is the concept of Ahl al-Kitab.

The Concept of Ahl al-Kitab The Koran has repeatedly acknowledged the existence of pious men in many people, including those called ahl al-Kitab,429 such as the Jewish, the Christians, and

429

The word ahl in the Koran is mentioned 125 times and its use is quite varied. The

word ahl refers to a specific group, such as ahl al-bayt (Q. 33: 33) which means the family of the Prophet, it can also refer to the people (Q. 28: 45) which means family (Q. 11: 40), the followers of a notion of a certain teaching (Q. 2: 1050, etc. Next, regarding the term al-Kitab, in the Koran it is mentioned 319 times, and their definitions are varied: writing, book, provision, and obligation. As for the term which directly states ahl al-kitab, it is found 31 times in the Koran, dispersed in 9 surah, 8 of them are Madaniyah and one is Makkiyah, which is the Surah al-Ankabut (Q. 29: 46). According to specialists of the Koran, the term ahl al-Kitab that is mentioned in the Surah al-Ankabut refers to the Jewish and the Christians. In the Madaniyah verses, the use of this term is more varied. Take a look at Sri Mulyati, Ahl Al-Kitab WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

the Sabians, as affirmed in Q. 2: 62which has been mentioned aboveThose who believe in the Koran, and those who follow the Jewish, and the Christians and the Sabians, any who believe in Allah and the last day and work righteousness shall have their reward with their Lord, on them shall be no fear nor shall they grieve. However, the inclusive verses that have continuously been developed as pluralism thought by Liberal Muslim thinkers are always claimed by exclusive readers to be cancelled (naskh) by various verses that relate ahl al-kitab with infidels (kekafiran). For this reason, to refute this argument of cancellation, Liberal Muslim thinkers have developed a detailed interpretation on the reality that the Koran never perceived ahl al-kitab as kafir. However, before we go further on to the hermeneutics of the Liberal Muslim thinkers regarding ahl al-kitab, it is important to understand that the term ahl al-kitab is a term from the Koran, and not less than 31 times has the Koran mentioned this word. Although in many verses, the Koran is critical and corrective toward ahl al-kitab, in fact the Korans spirit shows appreciation, and even invites them toward the common platform of monotheism which is the basic teaching of the Torah, the Gospel and the Koran.430 For this reason, it is natural to say that

dan Persoalan Minoritas dalam Islam Indonesia PSIK Paper Universitas Paramadina, 2007. Unpublished.
430

There are a number of specific verses that provide a special position to ahl al-

kitab in Q. 3: 64, 113, 114 and 115. Explicitly, ahl al-kitab is also mentioned thirty three times in the Koran. Twice in Q. 2: 105, 109; Twelve times in Q. 3: 64, 65, 69, 70, 71, 72, 75, 98, 99, 110, 113, 199; four times in Q. 4: 123, 153, 159, 171; six times in Q. 5: 15, 19, 59, 65, 68, 77; and once each in Q. 29: 46, Q. 33: 26, Q. 57: 29, and Q. 59: 2, 11; and twice in Q. 98: 1, 6. From these thirty one verses, four of them contained a sense of appreciation: Q. 3: 64, 110, 113 and 199, they were all revealed in Medina. While 27 others were critical towards ahl al-kitab. There were only three verses that were revealed in Mecca: Q. 29: 46, Q. 98: 1 and 6. Take a look at, Tim Perumus Majelis Tarjih dan Pengembangan Pemikiran Islam Pimpinan Pusat Muhammadiyah, Tafsir Tematik al-Quran tentang Hubungan Sosial Antar Umat Beragama (Yogyakarta: Pustaka SM, 2000). P. 99. In the Koran, there are a WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

Islam has responded to the existence of previous religions. In this context, the Prophet Muhammad stated that Islam is the continuity of previous religions, and that he is only a prophet among the other prophets sent by Allah to this world.431 Thus, number of expressions that have equal meaning with ahl al-kitab, they are al-ladzina utu al-kitab (those we provide a book) which is mentioned 9 times, al-ladzina utu alkitab (those given a book) which is mentioned 21 times, al-ladzi utu nashiban min alkitab (those given part of a book) which is mentioned 32 times and al-ladzina yaqrauna al-kitab min qablik (those who read the book before you) 1 time. For a more detailed explanation on these epressions, take a look at Muhammad Ghalib M., Ahl al-Kitab, Makna dan Cakupannya (Jakarta: Paramadina, 1998), 38-47.
431

Islam is in fact the name that is used by the religions of Allah that were revealed

to the previous prophets, such as the Prophet Abraham, the Prophet Ismail, the Prophet Jacob and the Prophet Jesus. Among the verses that point out to this are Q. 3: 67. Abraham was not a Jew, not yet a Christian; But he was true in faith and bowed his will to Allahs and joined not gods with Allah. The words muslim and muslimin that are expressed have an etymological meaning that is islam which comes from the word aslama that means self-submission to The One God. In addition, islam is also derived from the word salima which means salvation and safety. Allahs message is that only the religion Islam can be accepted by Him (Inna al-din inda Allah al-Islam, Q. 3: 19) and this refers to the religious understanding that believes in the Oneness of Allah and the revelations brought by His prophets. Because initially, all samawi religions are the same as they theologically are the same. And so, the Prophet Muhammad once called out to the followers of Judaism and Christianity (called as ahl al-kitab) to put forward the same teachings (kalimah sawa;) among them, that is the Oneness of Allah and not to associate Him with other gods (an-la nabuda illa l-Lah wa la musyrik-a bihi syayan, Q. 3: 64). Thus, monotheism becomes the most fundamental value in the science of theology. However, most of them refused this call, and only a small part of them justified it. This small group is the one promised heaved by Allah, as long as they remain consistently faithful to Allah, the end of days, and faith to His revelations brought by the prophets (Q. 2: 63). Take a look at Masykuri Abdillah, Makna Din dan WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

we can say that one one hand the concept of Islam on ahl al-kitab is a response to the reality of plural religiosity, and on the other hand fortification of the identity of Islamic theology.432 There does not exist a negative relation between the elements of democracy and Islam, unlike the elements of is previously

what

believed. However, this finding has Indonesian characteristic, so if we would like to make a conclusion that Islam is in line with democracy, we must test it in a wider scale. (Rachman 2009: 1431) Saiful Mujani, the Executive Director of the Indonesian Survey Agency and the Director of Research at the Freedom Institute. He teaches at the Postgraduate Program in UIN Jakarta and received his Masters (1999) and Doctorate (2003) in Political Science from Ohio State University, the United States.

The Jewish, and the Christians, are acknowledged as religious communities that possess scriptures that were revealed to them. The Prophet Muhammad affirms that the previous holy scriptures are from Allah and that they who delivered these Holy Scriptures are the prophets of Allah. This is why the Prophet Muhammad did not doubt to acknowledge Abraham, Moses, and Jesus as prophets like him. Although the believers of the holy scriptures (the Koran, the Torah, and the Gospel) realize there a number of differences among them, the Koran focuses more on the Universalitas Nilai-nilai Agama Islam PSIK Paper Universitas Paramadina, 2007. Unpublished.
432

Mujiburrahman, Ahlul Kitab dan Konteks Politik di Indonesia. PSIK Paper

Universitas Paramadina, 2007. Unpublished. WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

commonalities compared to the differences.433 And so, principally, the common platform of these Holy Scriptures must be sought and understood. The Koran sees itself as a consistent continuance of the Gospel and the Torah, and even the scriptures or the shuhuf of the previous Prophets.434 For this reason, Muhammads claim that he is the final prophet and the religion he carries is the pinnacle of growth and the development of religions is not an exclusive claim. Religions before Islam are not positioned as the other. If the prophets who carry the divine teachings were

433

Islamas proposed earlierdoes not differentiate one prophet and another. The

Koran asserts that the Muslim community should declare, We make no difference between one and another of them and we bow to Allah (Q. 2: 136). All prophets are appreciated in Islam. Such appreciation is not only limited to the prophets and those of Bani Israel, but also prophets who are non-Israel, such as Ismail, Hoed, Saleh and Shuaib, Every prophet who was given a revelation by Allah carries different sharia. The Muslim community is commanded to seek a meeting point among this diverse community. The Muslim community is even commanded to study the sharia before Islam. Departing from these normative facts, enlightenment regarding the acknowledgement of Islam upon the teachings of other religions and other religious communities will dawn upon us.
434

The basic teaching of the request to seek a meeting point (Q. 3: 64) is a request

of tawhid to glorify the Oneness of Allah and not associate Him with others. Furthermore, there are no contradictions among the texts of the Holy Scripture, the Koran, the Torah, and the Gospel, as well as those belonging to other religions. The basic message of this request for a meeting point according to them is the key concept and ethics in religiosity. The reality of religious pluralism is not the puzzles of religious conflict that claim truth and blame one another. Religious diversity for Liberal Muslim thinkers contain equality among the faithful and is often referred to as religious parallelism, that is a religious paradigm that states every religion has its own salvific path, and has its own validity. WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

embraced into the brotherhood by Muhammad, the followers or believers of these religions should also be called as ahl al-kitab.435 In general, the term ahl al-kitab refers to two big religions that existed in Arabia before Islam; they are Judaism and Christianity. However, a number of verses also indicate another religion that is outside the area, such as Sabian. Departing from the extension, some ulemas extended the meaning of ahl al-kitab not

435

According to Liberal Muslim thinkers, Islams outlook to ahl al-kitab is quite

proportional. On one hand, the Koran does not hesitate to deliver criticism to ahl alkitab. On the other hand, Islam appreciates the belief and the behavior of the ahl alkitab. This shows the objectivity of the Prophet Muhammad in treating or behaving towards the previous communities before Islam. If there were any ahl al-kitab that had bad behavior then they should receive criticism. However, quite a lot of the ahl al-kitab showed virtuous behavior that should be appreciated. When traced, many of the Korans condemnation towards ahl al-kitab were directed to the Jewish than the Christians. This is understandable because the Medina Jew were of full of deceit and wicked acts. If to a Christian, a Muslim would show respect, then to a Medina Jew, a Muslim would tend to be strict. While the fact is that when in Mecca, the Prophet Muhammad did not have any bad prejudice against the Jews. Quite the opposite, the Prophet realized that the substance of his message is essentially the same as the one received by the Jews in Sina several centuries ago. For this reason, the choice to condemn and fight war with the Jews in Medina was something that the Prophet Muhammad did not want to happen. Muhammad Rasyid Ridla asserted that what is meant with Jews and people who associate God with other gods (musyrik) who are enemies with the Muslim community are the Hijaz Jews and the Mecca Musyrik. Both cooperated to fight the Muslim community. Take a look at Abdul Moqsith Ghazali, Tafsir Atas Ahli Kitab dalam Al-Quran PSIK Paper Universitas Paramadina, 2007. Unpublished. WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

only to Judaism and Christianity, but also religions that have or once had a holy scripture, such as Zoroaster436--and even eventually to all religions. The extension of meaning of ahl al-kitab continues to be promoted by Liberal Muslim thinkers. Nurcholish Madjid, for example, in the lectures he delivered at Paramadina in the 1990s once justified this view by referring to the opinion of Rasyid Ridla and Abdul Hamid Hakim. With this perspective, all religions are ahl al-kitab. The implication of this view is of course distinct. It reaches out to legal formal relations, such as marriage, and socio-cultural relations that take place in daily life, and becomes the foundation of the theology of pluralism for Liberal Muslim thinkers.437 From the perspective of Islam, there are many prophets and messengers sent by God, and it is possible that the big religions of the world are also revealed by God, and also delivered prophets who are not mentioned in the Koran. In the theology of Islam, God is one, humans are one, and for this reason the essence of the true religion is also one. It is due to this perspective that the classic Muslim community can be open and absorb various progresses of civilization surrounding it without fear of losing the Islamic identity. Islams friendly stance to the Jewish and the Christians in Spain in developing science is the proof of the cosmopolitanism of the Muslims that is based on this concept of ahl al-kitab. Our true enemy is in fact the fundamentalism that comes from all directions, whether from secular

ideology or religion. (Rachman 2009: 1461) Samsu Rizal Panggabean, lecturer at FISIPOL Universitas Gadjah Mada. He received his MA in peace studies from George Mason University, Virginia, the
436

Luthfi Assyaukanie, Ahlul Kitab Sepanjang Masa: Perilaku Islam Terhadap Non-

Muslim PSIK Paper Universitas Paramadina, 2007. Unpublished.


437

Nurcholish Madjid, Ahl al-kitab dalam Islam Agama Peradaban (Jakarta:

Paramadina, 1995), p. 69-90. WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

US. He is now in charge of the Center for Security and Peace Studies (CSPS), UGM.

A more widespread opinion was also proposed by a number of contemporary ulemas. Muhammad Alian ulema from Indiaalso believed that the followers of Christianity, Judaism, Zoroaster, Buddha, Hindu and Shikh are ahl al-kitab. They are not included as musyrikin, as they embrace the religion of Allah.438 When liberating the Indus Valley and seeing Hindu people in their temple with a holy scripture, Muhammad ibn Wasima Warlord at that timestated that the Hindu are also ahl al-kitab.439 Muhammad Rasyid Ridla quoted the opinion of Ali ibn Abi Thalib saying that Zoroaster are also ahl al-kitab. However, ahl al-kitab cannot only be limited to Judaism and Christianity. Zoroaster, Sabian, Hindu, Buddha, and Confucianism can also be called as ahl alkitab. It is true that the Koran did not mention the Brahmas (Hindu), the Buddhists, and the followers of Confucianism. This is only a technical issue. As Judaism, Christianity and Sabian were the initial dialogue partners of the Koran and also because geographically these groups are closest in proximity to the center of the revelation. Arabs did not yet venture to India, Japan, and China, so religions, such as Hindu, Buddha, and Confucianism were not known. The Koran would of course not mention religions that are unfamiliar to the Arabs. When Islam developed to other countries and met various religions, the term ahl al-kitab should in fact include the followers of Hindu, Buddha, and Confucianism.440 In the mean time, Exclusive Muslims often affirmed ahl al-kitab as kafir. This perspective strengthened the anti-pluralism thought. Liberal Muslim thinkers have

438

Abdul Moqsith Ghazali, Tafsir atas Ahli Kitab dalam Al-Quran. PSIK Paper

Universitas Paramadina. Unpublished.


439

Nurcholish Madjid, Islam, Doktrin dan Peradaban, p. LXXIX, and 189-190. Abduh Moqsith Ghazali, Tafsir atas Ahli Kitab dalam Al-Quran PSIK Paper

440

Universitas Paramadina, 2007. Unpublished. WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

deconstructed this Exclusive Islam perspective by stating that the Koran did not directly give the predicate kafir (with the adjective / ism fail) to ahl al-kitab. There are a number of predicates of kafir that are not directly directed toward them. But these predicates are always accompanied by exceptions, such as part, except and many more. Many words of kekafiran (nouns / mashdar) are directed toward them, but are accompanied with such expressions of exception (Q. 2:105; 12:109; 5:78 & 110; 59:2; 98:1&6; 3:69-71&110). This form of kekafiran also applies to Muslims. On the other hand, the Koran explicitly differentiates between the kuffar (the plural form of kafir) and ahl al-kitab (Q. 5: 56). These all show that the Koran never did establish ahl al-kitab as kafir.441 This argument affirms that the term ahl al-kitab is used by the Koran to differentiate Jews and Christians from the inhabitants of Mecca who are considered as kafir people or musyrik people. The terms kafir and musyrik are in fact more general and cannot be placed side by side with ahl al-kitab. Literally speaking, the term kafir means a person who has his or her faith shrouded or a person whose heart is blinded. The Koran considers ungrateful Muslims as kafir.442 The Koran classified the people it once enlightened into three groups. First, those who rebelled to the previous Prophets and the Prophet Peace Be Upon Him. They were threatened to receive wrath above wrath, which is twice as equal to the rebellions, that is to the Prophet Muhammad and the previous Prophets (Q. 2: 90). Next, ahl al-kitab post the Prophet who received his message and joined the Muslim community. Allah promised them twice as big a reward (marratayn) as their faith was twice as big that is to the previous Prophets and the Prophet Muhammad. In other words, this group is ahl al-kitab that has become a Muslim or has embraced Islam (Q. 28: 54). Third, ahl al-kitab that have faith in the previous prophets, but do not join the community of the Prophet Muhammad. The Koran explicitly acknowledges their
441

Review Farid Esack, Al-Quran, Liberalisme, Pluralisme: Membebaskan Yang

Tertindas, p. 206-207.
442

Luthfi Assyaukanie, Ahlul Kitab Sepanjang Masa: Perilaku Islam Terhadap Non-

Muslim PSIK Paper Universitas Paramadina, 2007. Unpublished. WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

faith (Q. 3: 113-114). Many exclusive pilgrims insist saying that the ahl al-kitab referred toS by this verse is those that have embraced Islam (the second group). However, this interpretation does not have a basis because regarding the issue of ahl al-kitab who have embraced Islam, the Koran has mentioned it in another verse (Q. 28: 54). Thus, there is no reason to cancel the inclusive-pluralist verses with various verses that relate ahl kitab with kekafiran.443 On the other hand, ahl al-kitab as faithful people has the same position before God with the position of a Muslim who accepts a revelation from God (the concept of equality among the faithful). The concept ahl al-kitab that is repeated in the Koran must be understood as a concept that lives and can be developed into a concept borrowing Arkouns termthe societies of the book with an intention to discover a new horizon in approaching the concept of revelation in the tradition of Jews and Christians. Ahl al-kitab must be understood as a universal concept that is extensive and goes beyond historical boundaries and literal meaning. More than that, the concept ahl al-kitab must be placed in todays contemporary context that covers the future so that it can respond to the global challenges that have grown increasingly pluralistic.444 The Koran itself uses the term ahl al-kitab for the Jews and the Christians to signal intimacy. Ahl in Arabic Language refers to a kinship in which there is no human relation that is closer than kinship. It appears the Koran would like to explain that among Muslims, Jews and Christians a kinship-like bond is present. In order to reinforce this, and so that this kinship does not break, we find many recommendations in the Koran to act virtuously toward ahl al-kitab. The Koran even invites them to unite perspectives in order to find a common platform regarding monotheism. In addition, the Prophet Muhammad did not cease to explain that the
443

Cecep Ramli Bihar Anwar, Menyegarkan Wacana Ahli Kitab, www.Islamlib.com Take a look at Tim Perumus Majelis Tarjih dan Pengembangan Pemikiran Islam

444

Pimpinan Pusat Muhammadiyah, Tafsir Tematik Al-Quran tentang Hubungan Sosial Antar Umat Beragama, p. 125-130. WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

Koran is fundamentally in line and continues the teachings of the Torah and the Gospel. Besides that, in the Koran, there are a number of parts that show the witnesses of ahl al-kitab regarding the truth of the Koran, and for that a good relation with them must be protected and maintained. The verses in the Koran include (Q. 10: 94), If thou Muhammad wert in doubt as to what We have revealed unto thee, then ask those who have been reading the book from before thee. The truth hath indeed come to thee from thy Lord so be in nowise of those in doubt. In another verse, the Koran orders the relation among Muslims and ahl al-kitab to be well maintained (Q. 29: 46). And dispute ye not with the people of the book, except with means better than mere disputation unless it be with those of them who inflict wrong and injury, but say We believe in the revelation which has come down to us and in that which came down to you; Our God and your God is One; and it is to Him we Bow. Specifically regarding Christianity from ahl al-kitab, the Koran praises the behavior part of them put out, which are intimacy and friendship (Q. 5: 82). The creation of intimacy is proven from the marriage of the Prophet with Maria alQibtiyah, who was previously a Coptic Christian (Egypt). This illustrates the intimacy of the relation between Christians and Muslims. Departing from this evidence, Liberal Muslim thinkers conclude that essentially Christianity does not contradict the teaching of Islam. To conclude, the intimacy established between Islam during its formative time and other religious communities (particularly Judaism and Christianity) has proven Islams openness to other religions.445 This is proven from the inclusivism of the Koran regarding ahl al-kitab which is a very important principle in Islam that needs to be understood to establish an interfaith relation. An indicator of the importance of hos principle can be found in a number of verses of the Koran that has been

445

Take a look at Alwi Shihab, Membedah Islam di Barat Menepis Tudingan

Meluruskan Kesalahpahaman, (Jakarta: PT. Gramedia Pustaka Utama, 2004), p. 9799. WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

historically interpreter. This concept has a positive impact when expressed in the Muslims social-political life, and it allows the Muslims to accept the presence and acknowledge the existence of other religious communities. The impact of the concept ahl al-kitab is deeply felt during the cultural development and the Islamic civilization. For example, victory over Spain in 711, for 500 years Muslims made Spain the homeland for three different religions with one civilization. The Muslim community, the Christian community and the Jewish community worked together to build a victorious civilization at that time with a foundation on religious freedom.446 Religious freedom is ones freedom to choose and express a religious faith without being pressured or discredited over that choice. Below we will analyze Islams perspective regarding other fundamental concepts that have formed the theology of religions in Islam. The concept that will be analyzed (the third) is religious freedom.

Religious Freedom The right to embrace a religion and faith is a crucial matter among religions and faith. This matter continues to instigate debate among Muslim thinkers regarding ones right to embrace a religion or to not embrace a religionand what is most importantly is when a person embraces a religion, does that mean he or she is free to choose a certain madhab in that religion. Or quite the contrary, he or she is free to choose not to be attached to any madhab that is believed to be right and orthodox. 447 A good society is one that is religious, diligent in practicing the teaching of their religion based on a profound awareness that is embedded in their
446

Take a look at Vivian B. Mann et. All. (ed.), Convivencia: Jews, Muslims, and

Christians in Medieval Spain (New York: The Jewish Museum, 1992).


447

Ulil Abshar Abdalla, Membela Kebebasan, in Hamid Basyaib, Membela

Kebebasan Percakapan tentang Demokrasi Liberal (Jakarta: Freedom Institute, 2006), p. 281-282. WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

hearts; and not due to compliance or fear from regulations. For this reason, the obligation to teach religion and embed religious values goes back to the family and the society as an institution. The state and the

government can only provide facilities and legal assurance so that the society can freely conduct their

religious teaching with caution. (Rachman 2009: 1475) Siti Musdah Mulia, Chair of the Indonesian Conference on Religion and peace (ICRP), Jakarta. She was also the head of the Project of Gender Equality at the Ministry of Religious Affairs. On March 5, 2007, she received the award International Women of Courage from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the United States.

The Koran itself sees the issue of religious rights as something important for humans. It is related to humans most essential choice to believe or not to believe, to have faith or not to have faith in something that is seen to be ultim in this life. Ultim as religiosity or non-religiosity is not merely about faith, but more that that, this decision is related to the way of life which will end in death and responsibility in the hereafter (eschatological soteriological issues).448 Islam reveals this with a very frank and stern statement as mentioned in the Koran, Let there be no compulsion in religion truth stands out clear from error (Q. 2: 256). According to the cause of its revelation (asbab al-nuzul), this verse was revealed to the Anshar inhabitants of Medina. At that time, many of the Anshars had children, both boys and girls, and children who had already become believers of Judaism or Christianity, the two religions preceding Islam. When Allah delivered the

448

Zakiyuddin Baidhawi, Kredo Kebebasan Beragama (Jakarta: PSAP, 2005), p. 26. WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

message of Islam to the Prophet Muhammad and his people, the Anshars felt it necessary to force their children who had already embraced Judaism and Christianity to embrace the new religion, Islam. As an answer and an explanation to their wish, this verse was revealed. Principally, Allah forbids them to use compulsion in converting their children to Islam. Verse 256 from Surah al-Baqarah (2), must become our attention so that when delivering sermons the aspect of tolerance and compassion is considered as underlined by God and His prophets. Compulsion is forbidden, as in fact between virtue and evil is clear. To force our will in religion is not humans right. The cause of the issue of a persons faith must truly depart from awareness of the heart that is sincere, genuine and without compulsion from anyone. To force a person into a certain faith, does not only oppose human right but also the will and the fate set by Allah. Because fundamentally religions are one, but with different sharia. And so, do not force a person to embrace Islam as this religion is so real and enlightened, and the argument and thought that supports it is so strong and convincing, we do not need to force anyone to embrace it. Whoever receives guidance from Allah and opens his heart toward the truth and wisdom to understand argument, then he will embrace it voluntarily. However, if a person is so blind so they cannot see the reason (are forced into Islam) then embracing Islam would be pointless.449 God does not agree on the use of compulsion to embrace Islam, but gives them the freedom to choose. A verse from the Koran, If it had been the Lords will they would all have believed all who are on earth. Wilt thou then compel mankind against their will to believe? (Q. 10:99) entirely strengthens this perspective. At least, according to Gods wisdom, if humans were forced to embrace a religion, then God would have created humans with one religion. However, God did not do so, and he left everything to humans themselves. This wisdom according to them is explained in the following verse: If God so willed He could make you all one people

449

Zainun Kamal, Kebebasan Beragama dalam Islam. PSIK Paper Universitas

Paramadina, 2007. Unpublished. WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

but He leaves straying whom He pleases and He guides whom He pleases. But ye shall certainly be called to account for all your actions (Q. 16: 93). The verse that states, there is no compulsion in religion is the principle of the Koran on religious freedom or freedom of faith. Humans are entitled to the freedom from Allah to choose to embrace a religion or not. This means that the consequence is Islam should be tolerant towards the existence of religions and other believers and gives a right to live for each of them to develop. For this reason, it cannot be justified if Muslims intimidate other believers on behalf of faith. The verse on the forbiddance of compulsion in religion and faith contains two legal perspectives. First, the law of religion underlines that there cannot be even the smallest form of compulsion in religion. Second, the law of religion forbids the burdening or the pressuring of humans to have faith and belief under a forced situation. According to the essence of the formation of faith, force will cause humans to work under external influence, and not from the drive from the heart or conscience.450 And so, the verse that explains that there is no compulsion in religion explicitly explains the concept of religious freedom in Islamic teaching. The religion Islam cannot be forced upon anyone as it cannot and should not. The act of forcing someone to embrace a religion is not right, and not practical. Islam does not justify this method, and even condemns it. Compulsion destroys the concept of responsibility that is based on the fact that the physical world of a human is a test in which one is given the freedom to choose. Ironically, usually a person with a certain religion is pressured and forced to follow the official opinion and belief. If differences occur outside the official opinion and belief the person will be made the enemy and even considered as an apostate (murtad). And yet there is not a single verse in the Koran that states that a person who is murtad, who has converted, or is astray in terms of belief and thought, must be forced or punished with a certain law.

Regarding the issue of religion and

450

Zakiyuddin Baidhawi, Kredo Kebebasan Beragama, p. 32. WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

secularization, the clashes are not on the substance of the religion, but how the cultural expressions can be used to represent religion. Of course such efforts are limited by space and time. For this reason, the process of secularization is done in order to deconstruct the bias of space and time and retrieve substantive values from the religion so they can be applied in the very plural society we face today. (Rachman 2009: 1491) Siti Ruhaini Dzuhayatin, former Director of the Center for Women Studies (PSW) State Islam University (UIN) Sunan Kalijaga, Yogyakarta. She is concerned with issues of Islam, democracy, Human Rights, and gender, and also teaches at UIN Sunan Kalijaga.

In the history of jurisprudence, riddah (the law of murtad) in practice is more often used as a death poison for the seeds of intellectual creativity of the ulemas. Claims of murtad, bidah, khufarat and kafir have taken down many ulemas who later on were considered to be heroes in a certain discipline, for example Abu Husain alHallaj and Imam Abu Ishaq. This concept of riddah in todays context must be questioned as it defies the discourse of religious freedom that is fundamentally acknowledged by the Koran. As the content of the verse la ikraha fi al-din (there is no compulsion in religion) shows that Islam is very distant from sermons penetratedS through violence. This means that this verse refutes the assumption in which religion the religion carried by the Prophet Muhammad can be distributed with violence. The Prophet delivered his message with compassion and never justified or

recommended compulsion or aggressiveness to convert a person into Islam. How could he possibly justify an evil or unnatural method in converting a person into WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

Islam, when the Prophet himself fought against compulsion for 23 years. The Quraish of Mecca have put all efforts to take the Prophet away from his religion and back to their belief; they even forced the Prophet to leave his homeland, but the Prophet never gave up to their plans of aggression and he continued to practice his religion. In Medina, the Prophet defended the principle that opposed aggression and showed that forbidding a person to practice their religion or forcing a person to embrace another religion is completely wrong. For this reason, the Korans enlightenment, which forbids compulsion in religion (Q. 2: 256), acts tainting religion, and destruction towards the facilities or assets belonging to another religion, is a form of Gods wisdom in establishing a civilization of religious freedom (Q. 6: 108).451 The state Medina, based on the Medina Charter, a mini state established by the Prophet Muhammad, is a prototype of a pluralist-moderate state that appreciates human rights. In this mini state, there are a Muslim community (1.500 people), a Jewish community (4.000 people) and an Arabic musyrik community (4.500 people). Each community can live side by side in peace. For this reason, the Medina charter can in fact become a moral source that allows a theological basis over the acceptance of a modern constitution that is better in terms of division of power. 452 As a cosmopolite teaching, Islam does not take a native outlook. 453 This means, Islam never forbids the people to engage with other communities. Islam also never taught the people to force others to embrace Islam. Quite the contrary, Islam condemns any form of compulsion, including compulsion to a belief in a religion or certain faith. Religious freedom patterned by the Koran is in line with the natural
451

Fauzul Iman, Kebebasan Beragama di Indonesia: Antara Ajaran dan

Pengalaman Empiris. PSIK Paper Universitas Paramadina, 2007. Unpublished.


452

Take a look at Ali Bulac, Piagam Madinah in Charles Kurzman (ed.), Wacana

Islam Liberal: Pemikiran Islam Kontemporer tentang Isu-isu Global (Jakarta: Paramadina, 1999), p. 254-284.
453

Abu Yasid, Islam Akomodatif: Rekonstruksi Pemahaman Islam sebagai Ajaran

Universal (Yogyakarta: LKiS, 2004), p. 37. WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

state of humans that essentially aspired for freedom. God who created the natural state of humans of course very much understood that humans are powerless when forced to receive His teachings. The method of establishment of the law of God which is taught by the Koran in stages is proof of the fairness of God in implementing freedom. This method also serves as an education for humans in attempt to apply a democratic life in the society. God understands that the issue of religious choice is an issue of the conscience of humans that is correlated with the phenomenon of empiricism of the human life itself. Strictly, the Koran further recommended to know each other, befriend (li-ta arafu), engage in dialogue (jadilhum billati hiya ahsan), and does not require force in following a certain religion including Islam (la ikraha fi al-din).454 Islams attitude toward interfaith relations according to them surpasses tolerance.455 Islam believes in the existence of other religions and invites the believers of these religions to together seek and establish a common platform and a common ground among all religions in upholding the principles of divinity and humanity. Islam affirms religious freedom/freedom in faith and acknowledges the rights of all religious communities, including the rights of the non-Muslim minorities. In the following passage we will analyze Islams perspective on the other basic concepts that have formed the concept of theology of religions in Islam. The (fourth) concept that will be analyzed is the rights of non-Muslim minorities.

The Rights of Non-Muslim Minorities There are many verses in the Koran that were revealed after the migration to Medina in 622 M which emphasized on the internal cohesion of the Muslim community and attempted to differentiate them from other communities, in the sense of nemesis and antagonistic. During the Medina time, the Koran repeatedly ordered the Muslim
454

Amin Abdullah, Dinamika Islam Kultural: Pemetaan atas Wacana Islam

Kontemporer (Bandung: Mizan, 2000), p. 75-79.


455

Ulfat Azizus Samad, Islam dan Kristen dalam Perspektif Ilmu Perbandingan

Agama (Jakarta: Serambi, 2000), p. 118. WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

community help one another, and to not do the same with non-Muslims, and fight those who befriend and ally with non-Muslims. And so the verses of the Koran (Q. 3:28; 4:144; 8:72-73; 9:23 dan 71; dan 60:1) obliged the Muslim community to avoid the kafir people as awliya (friend, supportet) and ordered friendship and encouraged cooperation among the Muslim community. Q. 5: 51 also instructed the Muslim community to not take in the Jews and the Christians as protectors (awliya), unlike how they took in other Muslims, and for those (Muslims) who cooperated with them (befriend), will become one of them.456 Thus, differences that lead to discrimination is very significant in the law of Islam. In the Utsmaniyah dynasty, there is an interesting story to listen to. The story begins when a king is about to kill some Christians as they were fighting with the inhabitants of al-Bunduqiyah. Asad Zamah, the mufti at that time strongly defied the policy of the king. Even when the king threatened to kill Christians, the mufti threatened to coup his power for the king had violated the rights of protection of the ahl al-dzimmah under the Muslims.457 Dzimmah means an agreement, safety and guarantee. Ahl al-dzimmah etymologically means a person who is bound to a contract. This sentence indicates that they are people bound to an agreement with Allah, His Prophet and Muslims, to be able to live under the principles of Islam safely and peacefully. The concept ahl al-dzimmah is the seed of the emergence of discrimination toward non-Muslims. In jurisprudence books, ahl al-dzimmah is a non-Muslim community who has agreed to live under the responsibility and the guarantee of Muslims. They are entitled to protection and safety. They are also entitled to live and reside amid the Muslim community. In jurisprudence books, ahl al-dzimmah are those who are required to fulfill a number of obligations, but are not entitled to receive equal rights and are not
456

Abdullahi Ahmed An-Naim, Dekonstruksi Syariah Wacana Kebebasan Sipil, Hak

Asasi Manusia dan Hubungan Internasional dalam Islam (Yogyakarta: LKiS, 1994), p. 273-274.
457

Munim A. Sirry (ed.), Fiqih Lintas Agama: Membangun Masyarakat Inklusif-

Pluralis (Jakarta: Paramadina, 2005), p. 148. WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

equal to the Muslim community. On this basis, ahl al-dzimmah is often referred to as the second class citizen. The concept ahl al-dzimmah needs to be reviewed once again. There is a significant difference between the spirit carried by the Koran and the Prophets Hadith to provide protection toward ahl al-dzimmah on one hand, and on the other hand instigate a jurisprudence setting that tends to discriminate them. The issue of the rights of non-Muslims is a never-ending issue. There is a tendency for some people to believe that discrimination on behalf of religion is one of the sources of conflict and even war among humans. This concern is supported by the reality of the Fundamental Islam and Radical Islam movements. This is confirmed by the terms that emerge in the old jurisprudence, but remain a discourse in todays modern time that is dar al-harb (war territory) and dar al-Islam (peace territory) in Islamic literatures where there is still a strong assumption that dar al-harb is not protected by the law (according to the perspective of the Islamic law). Dar alIslam must remain in ijtihad until dar al-harb disappears and other religious societies that would still like to hold on to their religion as individual devotees will be left in peace. However, they must perform a number of difficult obligations, among others they must submit to the regulations of Islam and reside in the dar al-islam area while being bound to the law of the Muslim community, as a citizen that must pay the tax to the Muslim community.458 For this reason, Muslim thinkers must go back to the initial concept of ahl aldzimmah that is a defense and protection toward non-Muslims. This attitude is a form of the Korans main commitment to respect the descendants of Adam and act in an egalitarian manner to all humans, as they are created from one origin. In a number of Hadith, the Prophet has in fact given a very tolerant view toward ahl aldzimmah, among others, Whoever harms a dzimmi, then I shall be their enemy. And whoever is my enemy, than so be it until the End of Days. In another Hadith, it is also mentioned, Whoever kills an al-dzimmah then he is banned from the beauty of the

458

Majid Khadduri, Islam Agama Perang? (Yogyakarta: Karunia Terindah, 2004), p.

78-79. WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

heavens.459 This perspective shows that religious difference does not trigger discriminative acts toward other religions. Every community that resides under the authority of Islam and acknowledges the basic principle of stateship in Islam, as every citizen has the right to receive the same treatment. However, this one and integral citizenship, according to the aspect of aqidah is differentiated into Muslim citizens and non-Muslim citizens (ahl al-dzimmah). Yet, technically, their treatment remains the same with Muslim citizens. They also have the same rights and obligations as citizens. Even Abul Ala al-Maududia Muslim fundamentalistasserted that The blood of a dzimmi has the same value as the blood of a Muslim. When a Muslim commits murder to another dzimmi, one must receive qishash as when one commits murder to a Muslim.460 According to him, something that is forbidden for the Muslim community stipulated within the effective law, can be something that is allowed for non-Muslims in their effective law. For example, if they were allowed to wed without the presence of any witnesses or wed without mahar, or wed during the iddah period or wed ones own mahram. Thus, consequently the Islamic state must allow this, as what happened during the time of Khulafaur Rasyidin and the others. The Muslim community needs to learn from the history of the Prophet, and the early development of Islam. In the political history of the Muslim community, the non459

Munim A. Sirry (ed.), Fiqih Lintas Agama: Membangun Masyarakat Inklusif-

Pluralis, p. 149.
460

Maududi formulated a work on the Rights of non-Muslims to contribute to the

crisis in Pakistan which at that time experienced difficulty in drafting an Islamic law that was clear on the boundaries of the rights of Muslims and non-Muslims in 1947 the initial time of the independence of the state. By formulating the sources of the works of Imam Hanafi who became the role model of the people of Pakistan, Maududi gave birth to this work, and it has became a typical Islamic view that is conservative and fundamental. Take a look at Abdul Ala al-Maududi, Hak-hak Minoritas non-Muslim dalam Negara Islam (Bandung: Sinar Baru, 1993), p. 16-39. WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

Muslim minority groups were on air and received high acknowledgement. This is due to the concept of tolerance in Islam, in addition to Islams concept on the continuity of religions. Muslims hold closeness or a certain affinity to them (non-Muslims).461 Islam is a religion that serves as blessing for the entire universe. Islams blessing has been historically proven since the fourteenth century until today. As the number of nonMuslim minority groups is not little, they can breathe easily as well as enjoy peace, brotherhood and equality in a state with a majority of Muslim citizens. Looking back at the history of the Prophet, according to the Liberal Muslim thinkers, we discover that when the Prophet was upholding the authority of Islam in Medina, the first state task that he conducted in attempt to establish a harmonious relationship with non-Muslim states was to set agreements with the neighboring tribes (kabilah) who were reluctant to embrace Islam. Among them were the Jewish and Christian groups. According to them, the Prophet positioned them equal in the context of citizenship where Muslims was the majority in power at that time. As a citizen, they were treated the same in terms of rights and obligations, without any discriminative, intimidating and superiority arrogant acts. From the analysis of the history of the Prophet, it is clear that Islam is not familiar with notion that non-Muslim minorities can be discriminated when Muslims are in power. This statement is reinforced and affirmed in the content of Q. 60: 8,Allah forbids you not with regard to those who fight you not for your faith nor drive you out of your homes from dealing kindly and justly with them for Allah loveth those who are just. Here, we can conclude that the Koran strongly commands good deeds and just acts toward non-Muslims, and Islam koshers the act of marrying free women ahl al-dzimmah, and also koshers their food (Q. 5: 5). For them it is very clear that Islam allows the establishment of a global community in which it does not include seclusion of Muslims against the believers of other religions, and there is no barrier for different believers of other religions who live and do their activities under the authority of the

461

Nurcholish Madjid, Islam, Doktrin dan Peradaban, p. 220. WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

Muslim society.462 Thus, there will be no conflict between the concept of Islam regarding ahl al-dzimmah and the concept of citizenship. What is more the concept of ahl al-dzimmah is in line with the concept of citizenship in which every believer of religion and faith should receive the right protection, according to the law and the agreed consensus. Faith does not limit a person to do good deeds to another. Many

Islamic sources, such as the history of the Prophet, support us in

defending others (who have different religion and faith) without ruining our own faith. (Rachman 2009: 1543) Syafiq Hasyim, graduate of UIN Syarif Hidayatullah Jakarta. He received his MA in Islamic Studies from Leiden University, the Netherlands. He was once active in P3M (Association of the Development of Islamic Schools and Communities) and Rahima.

And so, discriminative acts toward ahl al-dzimmah do not receive any form of justification in Islam. Especially in a state that adopts democracy, in which every citizen has the same rights and obligations. For this reason, classic jurisprudence should be set aside as it is insufficient to answer contemporary issues that are severely complex as a commitment to build tolerance, understanding and equality among religious believers. Jurisprudence should essentially carry religious moral messages in order to strengthen the spirit of pluralism. In the following passage, we will analyze the perspective of Liberal Muslim thinkers regarding the basic concepts that have formed the concept of religious

462

Kamal Said Habib, Kaum Minoritas dan Politik Negara Islam Sejak Awal

Pemerintahan Nabi saw sampai Akhir Pemerintahan Utsmani (1 H-1325 H or 621 M 1908 M), (Bogor: Pustaka Thariqul Izzah, 2007), p. 81. WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

theology in Islam. The (fifth) concept that will be analyzed is the concept of jihad and peace.

Jihad and Peace The word jihad is derived from the verb jahada that means struggle. The definition of jihad according to the jurisprudence science (fikih) is a persons struggle with all might to take that path shown by Allah that is to spread the word of religion to others so they may believe in Allah and so that the word of Allah becomes the only true word in the world. Jihad according to the origin of the word means effort. In its general definition, jihad does not always mean war. Efforts to take the path shown by God can be done in various ways, both in the peaceful way and the violent way. 463 The terminology jihad and its derivatives are repeated in the Koran as much as 41 times; 8 times in Makkiyah verses and 33 times in Madaniyah verses in 23 verses. Regarding what is related to the discussion of the conception of jihad and the explanation of the substance of jihad as a religious teaching, there are 3 verses in three Makkiyah surah and 24 verses in thirteen Madaniyah surah. The rest are used in a different context that is unrelated to the substance of jihad as a religious teaching. However, for semantic purposes, the definition of jihad according to language (etymology) is perseverance in accomplishing a purpose.464 The term jihad is also used in the Koran as much as 14 times in the form of ism (the noun form), and 27 times in the form of fil (the verb form). The part of speech used in the Koran has its own meaning. The form ism gives a sense of firmness, while the form fil contains the meaning of movement. The form rafa shows the subject or effort, nashab becomes the object that could mean the absence of efforts, while the form jar gives a sense of interrelation in participation.465 On the basis, the jihad teaching showed in the Koran is a religious teaching that contains
463

Majid Khadduri, Islam Agama Perang?, p. 70. Rohimin, Jihad, Makna dan Hikmah (Jakarta: Erlangga, 2006), p.16. M. Quraish Shiahb, Membumika Al-Quran: Fungsi dan Peran Wahyu dalam

464

465

Kehidupan Masyarakat (Bandung: Mizan, 1994), p. 116. WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

the sense of movement and self-perseverance as an attempt to accomplish the purpose. The importance of the teaching of ijtihad for human beings is repeatedly affirmed through the form of a verb. Muslims and non-Muslims often misunderstand jihad. Muslims often understand jihad narrowly as a war against enemies of Islam. In many Muslim communities, jihad is only understood as a war, while previous ulemas provide alternative meanings. It is not a surprise if jihad is the most sensitive word in the vocabulary of Islam.466 There are four methods that can be taken up by the Muslim community in conducting jihad. They are jihad with the heart, the tongue, the hands or the sword. Jihad with the heart orientates to the war against Satan in order to avoid evil actions. Jihad with the tongue and the hands are done by calling on good things and reminding ones self from wrong acts. While jihad with the sword means war that is fighting against those that are enemies of the religion Islam.467 A number of verses on jihad in the Koran that are revealed during the Mecca period are less in amount compared to the Medina period. The conduct of the teaching of jihad during the Mecca period was more emphasized on self-control and avoidance of being triggered by acts that affect emotion. In Mecca, the Prophet Muhammad Peace Be Upon Him conducted limited jihad in spreading good news and warning. The jihad that was recommended was only implemented in the form of a sermon (Q. 88: 21-26; 81: 27-28). While in the Medina period, the verses on jihad were more oriented on war and explained the law. The command of jihad itself was first revealed when the enemy (the Mecca Quraish) began aggressively attacking Medina. Jihad regarding the sense of the war at that time meant to protect ones self with all might and efforts. This command can be found within Q. 2: 190-193 in which jihad means qital (war).468 However, we cannot always interpret jihad as a war as in
466

Humaidy Abdussalam, Islam dan Hubungan Antaragama, p. 224-225. Majid Khadduri, Islam Agama Perang? P. 71. Ahmad Syafii Maarif, Meluruskan Makna Jihad (Jakarta: Center for Moderate

467

468

Muslim (CMM), 2005), p. 175. WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

the case of Medina, because the war between Muslims and non-Muslims during the Mecca period did not take place. The war did not take place until after the Medina period (Q. 9: 12-15; 4:91). Historically, the Prophets struggle (jihad) in spreading the mission of his message was never separated from the components of jihad and patience. This application is an implementation of the sign in the Koran that is illustrated in a number of verses (Q. 3: 142; 9: 16, and 47: 31), which was revealed during the Mecca period. After entering the Medina period, when the war was allowed and the position of the Muslim society gained more strength, the Prophet still reminded his companions to always be patient particularly in facing threats from enemies. He always taught his companions to prioritize peace, as encompassed in the Medina Charter, which is the peace principle.469 As peace is a noble value that must be realized internally within the Muslim society and other societies. The chief values to create peace among others include patience, appreciation toward humanity of all parties, sharing, and creativity in resolving issues.470

469

Majid Khadduri, Islam Agama Perang? p. 72. Chaiwat Satha-Anand, Agama dan Budaya Perdamaian (Yogyakarta, FkBA,

470

2001), p. 32-33. The following is the story of the Prophet Muhammad who illustrated values create peace. In year 605, when the Prophet Muhammad was 35 years old, the people of Mecca rebuilt the Kabah that was previously damaged due to a flooding. At that time, the Kabah stood tall and was slightly higher than the body of a human being. Various clans gather stones to heighten the building of the Kabah. They worked separately, so that the wall was high enough to have a black stone placed in the corner. Then a conflict of opinion took place because every clan wanted the privilege to lift the stone and place it in its place. For four or five days they reached a dead end and each clan prepared for battle in order to resolve the conflict. The one of the elders who was present proposed to the clans in dispute to follow what was recommended by the next person who entered the complex of the WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

All in all, the paradigm of the creation of peace attained from the actions of the Prophet when he did not have political authority covered four important values: patience, appreciation for humanity of all parties, sharing and creativity in resolving issues. Islam as a faith strongly emphasizes on the absenteeism of structural violence. In the area of direct violence, the concept of jihad is very problematic. This concept is generally understood as a holy war cried out by Muslims against kafir or enemies of Islam.471 Even though jihad is seen as an established foundation in the relation between the Muslim society and the neighboring people, this does not mean that the Muslim society must always be involved in war. This obligation can be comported peacefully and according to them the Muslim society does not always need to use violence against their enemy. Perhaps the story of Muhammad and Hindun, the Quraish woman, can be a model for a religious societyand this is the best example that is often proposed by the Liberal Muslim thinkers. In the year 622, the Prophet migrated to Medina, and this signaled the

Kabah through the Bab-al-Shafa gate (Shafa Gate). All the clans agreed on this proposition. The first person who entered this gate was Muhammad. Everyone was relieved as they knew Muhammad to be an al-amin, the trusted one, sincere. They were ready to follow his decision. After listening to the case, Muhammad requested them tobring to him a piece of cloak, which he spread out on the earth. He then took a black stone and placed it in the middle of the cloak. He ordered every clan to hold each end of the cloak and lift it together. When they lifted it to a right height, Muhammad took the stone and placed it in the corner. And the building of the Kabah was continued until the end.
471

Chaiwat Satha-Anand, Agama dan Budaya Perdamaian, p. 32-33. How the use of

the word jihad in the contemporary political Islam term is used, take a look at, Gilles Keppel, Jihad: The Trail of Political Islam (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2002) WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

commencement of the Islamic calendar. Two years later, the war of Badr erupted, in which the Muslims defeated the Mecca soldiers. In this fight, Hamzah, the prophets uncle, killed his father, relatives and a number of family members of Hindun. In the year 625, the war of Uhud, near Medina, the Mecca people once again fought the Muslims to pay revenge. Hindun was in the battlefield. Hindun had already promised to Wahsyi, an Abyssinia (Habsyi), an amount of riches if anyone could kill Hamzah. When Wahsyi saw Hamzah in the middle of a battle, he threw a sphere towards Hamzah and it struck him right in the stomach and speared him. He left his weapon to strangle him to death. Wahsyi killed Hamzah to win back freedom for the people of Mecca. He ran towards Hamzahs body, dissected his stomach, took his heart, bit a part of it, and chewed it, before swallowing the piece to voice out his vow and spit on the remains. He then came on to cut off the nose, the ears and other parts of Hamzahs body. In actual fact, the most important role of religion is to shape the societys ethical behavior. This means the individuals behavior is framed by universal goodness, which originates from religion. Within the concept of philosophy, the term esoterim of religion is known. This is what needs to be enriched. Bot the symbol or form. If people with their own

differences only talk, then they will never cross paths. (Rachman 2009: 1563) Syamsul Arifin, Head of the Center of the Study of Islam and Philosophy (PSIF) and a lecturer at the Faculty of the Religion Islam Universitas Muhammadiyah Malang. He is the Assistant Director of the Postgraduate of UMMM and a Professor in the Sociology of Religion.

WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

Wounded after the Uhud war, the Prophet found the body of Hamzah in a very terrifying shape. The Prophet reacted with anger and as a result he decided to burden this act of violence to thirty Quraish. However, at that time the verse in the Koran was revealed to him. God teaches us even though equal response towards violence is accepted in Islam in following the retributive justice, it is much better to be patient and wait for the anger to pass. The prophet then put aside his anger and practiced patience. When he returned to Mecca with a glorious victory, he had a choice: to punish Hindun for his violent act towards his beloved uncle, or forgive the killer. He chose the last option, to forgive, aligned with the verse in the Koran that evidently states,472 And if ye do catch them out, catch them out no worse than they catch you out; but, if ye show patience, that is indeed the best course for those who are patient. And do thou be patient, for thy patience is but from Allah; nor grieve over them, and distress not thyself because of their plots (Q. 16: 126-127). In another part of the Koran, it is also explained that part of jihad is forgiveness (Q. 2: 219). The importance of peace is also contained in (Q. 8: 61) that is But if the enemy incline towards peace do thou also incline towards peace and trust in Allah. This verse was revealed when the relation among groups was based on the principle of conflict. Peace among social groups or tribes at that time only occurred when there was an agreement (ahd) between them. However, today the relation among groups or the state is based on the principle of peace, so that contemporary ulemas and Muslim intellectuals can make this value of peace as the basic value in social and state life. There is not a single verse in the Koran, and there is not a single Hadith that promotes the spirit of hatred, dispute, conflict, or any form of negative behavior, repressiveness that threatens the stability or the quality of a peaceful life. There is not a single verse in the Koran that when placed in a textual and historical context can truly allow war with another part on the basis of faith, ethnicity, or their nationality. Conducting acts of violence without a valid reason opposes the value and the principle of humanity. In the Koran itself there is a prohibition to spread hatred

472

Take a look at Chaiwat Satha-Anand, Agama dan Budaya Perdamaian, p. 76-78. WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

(Q. 49: 11), O ye who believe, let not some men among you laugh at others; it may be that the latter are better than the former. The Koran also prohibits the spread of violence (Q. 28: 77). And seek not occasions for mischief in the land for Allah loves not those who do mischief. Q. 49: 11 is a form of advice that must be referred to as a guide for Muslims, especially in following the commandments of God and the Prophet regarding brotherhood that is the prohibition to spread hatred. While in Q. 28: 77 it is mentioned that acts of violence conducted by the Muslim community of course is not in line with the teachings of the Koran, and Allah does not favor those behind destruction. Within religion itself, reactions toward bad acts done by other people towards us must be returned through better acts (Q. 23: 96). Islam comes with the principle of compassion (mahabbah), togetherness (ijtimaiyah), equality (musawah), justice (adalah), and brotherhood (ukhuwah), and appreciates differences. Islam came to save, defend and revive peace. The religion Islam is a religion that aspires for peace. Islam itself comprises of four letters (rubai) that is aslama-yuslimu-islaman which means to bring peace and salvation. Peace is the dream of mankind, so the Prophet placed it in the most important position within the teaching of Islam as shown by the brotherhood of the Anshars (the inhabitants of Medina) and the Muhajirins (the newcomers from Mecca). This spirit of brotherhood is what brings peace in the heart of every Muslim, and generates peace in social relations, including towards non-Muslims. Every Muslim should essentially spread peace in a pluralistic social life. The existence of Islam should be able to bring peace between two conflicts and disputes. The essence of a persons faith is determined on how one can conduct acts of salvation, so that in any issue that emerges amid the society is believed to be resolved in a peaceful manner (Q. 49: 9). The theology of pluralism that brings peace is thus a religious richness that must be embedded in every individual, so that being Islam means living in peace and understanding diversity. Being religious means no more wars, no more hatred and no more disputes. As long as peaceful efforts are put forward that is where the essence of Islam is upheld. The spirit of peace should essentially become the culture that decorates daily life. Every individual, family, society from various ethnicities, WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

tribes, races and religions can bury all forms of doctrines that are not in line with the values of peace. Religion must be able to reveal the doctrine of peace for maslahat on earth, so that the teaching of peace can become one of the realizations of the meeting point of religions. In the following passage, we will analyze Islams perspective on other basic concepts that have shaped the concept of the theology of religions in Islam. The (sixth) concept that will be analyzed is the concept of the meeting point of religions.

The Meeting Point of Religions We need to complete the theology of religions by pursuing the meeting point of religions. This search is done using the perennial philosophy method or perennials. Etymologically, the term perennial philosophy is derived from a Latin term that is: philosophia perennis, which literally means an eternal philosophy. The Perennial Philosophy is eternal wisdom, eternal lesson or also known as eternal essence. These terms commonly appear in the discourse of philosophy. The agenda discussed in religion are: first, regarding the absolute form of linkage, the source of all the forms of God the Most True is One, and thus all religions originating from the One are principally the same as the come from the same source. Second, perennial philosophy aims to discuss the phenomenon of religious pluralism critically and contemplatively. Although there is only one true religion, as it was revealed to humans through historical and sociological spectrums, it takes a pluralistic form. Every religion has a common platform with other religions, but at the same time they also have their own characteristics that make them different from one another. Third, perennial philosophy aims to trace a person or a group through the roots of a persons or a groups religious awareness through symbols, rituals as well as religious experiences. Perennial philosophy believes that the essence of the true religion is only one. However, as religion transpires in a non-simultaneous space and time, plurality and particularity of form and language in religion cannot be avoided in the reality of history. In other words, the message of the absolute truth participates and engages

WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

in symbiosis with the dialectics of history.473 Perennial philosophy tends to be strongly affected by the ambiance of religious spiritually. This is caused by the theme it develops which is eternal lesson which only has meaning and power when it is discussed by other religions. Thus, it is not a surprise that both in the West and in Islam, the birth of perennial philosophy is the result of a critical interpretation of the Sufi philosophers or Sufis that are philosophical in their time through mystical experiences, such as a metaphysical unity of experience or wahdat al-wujud (the unity of form) which illustrates the pilgrimage of the spiritual hike to rediscover the Sacred. In relation to perennial philosophy, the doctrine regarding tauhid does not only serve as the message belonging only to Islam, but also as the heart of the center of each religion. Islam here is defined in its generic definition, that is submission to God, as often spoken by Nurcholish Madjida Liberal Muslim thinker who initially introduced this method in the early 1990sin which Islam means total submission (to Allah), the attitude which serves as the heart of the true religious teaching before Allah. For this reason, all true religions are called Islam. Without this attitude, a certain religious faith does not have trueness. The true religion before God Almighty is the act of sincere submission to Him that is stated in a term in the Koran that is alislam, (Q. 3: 19) and every form of adoption of religious faith besides al-islam will by itself be refused by Allah (Q. 3: 85). The heart or the center of Islam is the Islamicness of the heart itself that is spiritual virtue or ihsan that enables us to see God everywhere (omnipresence) and serve as the eyes, the ears, and the hands of God in this world. The heart of faith or religion is religion or faith in the heart of humans themselves. The heart mentioned by the Prophet, the crown of abundant virtue and compassion. It is within the faith of the heart can one find eternal wisdom or Sophia which radiates like

473

Komaruddin Hidayat and M. Wahyuni Nafis, Agama Masa Depan: Perspektif

Filsafat Perenial (Jakarta: Paramadina, 1995), p. 6. WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

a pearl that is located precisely in the middle of every message from God.474 For this reason, the concept of tauhid in the Islamic perspective does not only lie in the acknowledgement of the presence of God Almighty, because if that were the heart of the matter then even the Devil would believe, but it is more substantial than that, that is acceptance and compassionate response and the will of God that is addressed to humans. Because of this, in the Islamic perspective, the holy people of the past, for example Pythagoras and Plato, are people who embrace tauhid (muwahhidun) as they have expressed the truth that becomes the heart of all religions. In other religions, esoterically, the idea of monotheism can be found in every tradition of religious thinking. The notion monotheism itself has been known for some time, and thus the teaching of monotheism that is preached by Semitic religions are in fact not a novelty, but affirm and clarify once again the notion that once grew but due to a number of reasons faded. In the course of history, humans call God Almighty and Absolute with various names and terms, but substantially all these names point to the same Substance. The One God is called with many names. In Islam, It is Allah, in Hindu it is called Brahman, in Judaism it is called Yahweh and many more. The same applies to the worship rituals by religious believers that are done in many ways. Thus, understanding the One God and (simultaneously) many can be done by viewing the One in many, or the many in One. Or, in other words, the One is seen as the many, and the many is seen as one. Seyyed Hossein Nasr called this understanding the One in many. It can also be reversed as the many in the One. In the concept the One in the many, it can be understood that regardless of the name of the religion, it is always connected to the substance that is the heart of

474

This illustration can be applied in the discourse of religious plurality. Suppose

religion, which is substantially one as the heart of each and every religion, but becomes diverse and plural when passed down to the earths atmosphere, the exoteric nature, or the nasut nature in Mulla Shadras term. However, even though religion is plural, all religions principally can bring humans to its Origin that is God. Take a look at Seyyed Hossein Nasr, The Heart of Islam Pesan-pesan Universal Islam untuk Kemanusiaan (Bandung: Mizan, 2003), p. 383. WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

the religious teaching in which its existence lies beneath its formal form. If only the substance of religion can be transformed into hierarchy, the most primordial substance of religion will only be one. It is perennial, infinite as it is the emission of the Most Absolute. The divine foundation of all existence is the spiritual Most Absolute. The Absolute is God. He can only be reached with love, but He cannot be brought into the mind. True knowledge can only be obtained through the heart; it is not the knowledge of God that is defined, but witnessed. The Absolute is often depicted as, Supposed to water, there is only one substance, but its presence takes the form of the sea, vapor, clouds, rain, rivers, ponds, dews, and many more. Through this perennial philosophy method, we may conclude that religion is the path to God. God has created various religions for the interests of various believers, time and states. All teachings are just the various ways, but a path is not the same as God itself. In fact, a person will reach God whatever path he follows, as long as with complete dedication. We can eat a piece of bread with layers of sugar, either directly or horizontally. The taste will still remain good, whatever layer is put on it. As the one and the same substance water, is called in various names by various nations, one calls it air, another calls it eau, a third calls it aqua, another may call it pani. And such is the Eternal Happiness-Intelligence known to most people as God, and to some people as Allah, and to others as Jehovah, and others as Brahman. It is in this framework, Frithjof Schuon, the most prominent genius of traditional metaphysics, contributed a very original thought by adding emphasis (in a diametric manner) between exoteric (the area of religious plurality) and esoteric (the area of the heart of religions). Every religion has one form and one substance. The form of religions is relative, but within it lays an absolute substantial content. As religion is a fusion of substance and form, religion then becomes something that is relatively absolute. Awareness of this aspect of substance and form will open many alternative ways toward the straight path, without denying that a person who defies a religion or strays from the right path. In an esoteric manner, or in its substantial definition, the claim or statements made by a religion are absolute. Exoterically, or in the definition of a form, or on the level of humane diversity, these statements have no other option but to become relative and historical. The search of God and the path to Him (God) becomes the only destination. WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

Sometimes it must be done in a very dangerous way: that is by plunging into the meeting of all world religions, selecting traditions that are still pure, leaping across the differences among religions. Frithjof Schuons book Finding a Meeting Point of Religions is a very strong evidence how the efforts done are truly serious. The relation between exoteric and esoteric is the same as the relation between form and soul which can be found in all symbolic expressions. This relation will of course be found in esoteric itself, and it can be said that only the spiritual men can only understand the level of Truth that is pure and whole. The soul, which is the supraformal content of shape in relation to what is written, always displays a tendency to break through the limitations of its form. For this reason, it gives an impression that is seemingly in conflict with its outer form. It is on this basis that perennial thinkers find it necessary to readapt religion, and that is the reason revelations were now and then passed down in the history of religions, as a fulfillment of the function of esoteric in relation to the form of the religion preceding it.475

The practice of ijtihad relies on reasoning. And from the beginning of the development had of Islam, this

process

already

existed.

475

For thinkers developing perennial philosophy, life consists of levels. The hierarchy

of this existence, starting from God that occupies the highest level, to humans and or lifeless objects that occupies the lowest level. From the metaphysical aspect, it is only in Godwho occupies the highest levelthat there is a meeting point of various religions. While on a lower level, these religions are different. In relation to this metaphysical reality, from the epistemology aspect, it can also be said that differences between one religion and another narrows down and unites on the highest level, while on the lower level, these religions split up. For thoughts on this take a look at Frithjof Schuon, Mencari Titik Temu Agama-agama (Jakarta: Pustaka Firdaus, 2003), p. 77, 84. WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

However, it was not until recently, the concept ijtihad was preconditioned with heavy conditions. While the fact is as humans have mind, that when perpetually sharpened, the mind will set in motion and develop. (Rachman 2009: 1575) Taufik Adnan Amal, lecturer at the Faculty of Sharia UIN Alauddin Makassar. He graduated from the magister program of Johannes Guetenberg University, Mainz, after he completed his Undergraduate degree in Arabic Literature at UGM Yogyakarta and the Faculty of Sharia IAIN (now UIN) Sunan Kalijaga Yogyakarta.

According to Frithjof Schuon, among the various conceptions that cannot be understood by exoteric, at least in certain things, what is most important is regarding the levels of Universal Reality. Universal Reality reveals itself in levels without reducing its essence as the One integrated unity. The lowest level is absorbed metaphysically or synthetically into a higher level. This is the teaching of the cosmic illusion in which the world is not only lacking of perfection or is temporary, but also more than that, it cannot be called being in relation to the Absolute Reality, as the reality of the world will limit the Reality of God and what will be left is the existing. What is more, the Being itself, which is no other than God who is Personal, is in turn beyond the Most Personal and Most Suprapersonal. That is Non-Being in which God the Personal or the Being is only the first determinant in which all added determinations flow and form a cosmic existence. However, exoteric cannot acknowledge the unrealness of this world and the special reality from the divine principle, let alone the natural state of the Non Being compared to the Being or God. In other words, the exoteric perspective cannot understand the natural state of divine impersonality, that is the Highest Reality that becomes real in God who is Personal. Various of these truths are too high in level, and for this reason they become too blurred and complicated to be understood from the aspect of understanding through the common mind. And so, the truth is too difficult to be understood by most people WORKING TRANSLATION

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or do be formulated dogmatically.476 From this metaphysical pluralism statement, it is comprehended that the path of life is wide and plural. It is not as a purpose, but as a path to God. Although physically, this part is very diverse and the differences and even the conflicts are evident, but in terms of esoteric, essence or transcendence, for perenialists, all these paths will reach the same transcendent unity (religions). Although the path taken is wide, diverse and plural, all of them (religious community) will together walk straight vertically toward God Almighty, Most Holy. This formulation makes the approach of perennial philosophy enter the area of the heart of religions, which substantively is only one, but packaged in different forms (containers, paths). There is only one God, but many paths. An intense understanding in the symbol of religion is esoteric. Pure esoteric lies in every religion. The esoteric view is based on ruhul qudus, which is perfect as it is the true intellectual vision that sources from revelation. Esoteric, metaphysics, Sufism, satisfy the need of humans intellectualspiritual talent. And so, metaphysics concern is not only thought, but also the existence of mankind, beyond philosophy and religion in their common meaning. For this reason, the meeting point of religions is not in the formal, external cover, exoteric, phenomena, aksiden and so on paths, so what is seen on the surface is the reality of religious pluralism, as presented by the presence of religions, such as Judaism, Christianity, Islam and so on. This meeting point of religions can only be realized on an esoteric, essential and transcendence level. As a more clear illustration, Suppose religion as the wheel on a bicycle The radian of the bicycle if further away from the as (center), it will be looser. On the other hand, the closer to the as (center), it will get closer, and even unite. Philosophically, it can be revealed that; Whoever only prefers to see differences as something very significant, then suppose the person in that circle is at the sidewalk position. However, whoever is capable of revealing the heart of religions reach the religion of heart, and all religions

476

Frithjof Schuon, Mencari Titik Temu Agama-agama, p. 84-86 WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

(religious community) will meet.477 And so, perennial philosophy is born from the fusion of philosophy as a thinking methodology with mysticism as a spiritual experience that is full of wisdom and revelation. In the eternal Wisdomwhich in the Arabic terminology is called alhikmah al-athiqahgives an illustration that the spiritual dimension in religion is something that is very important as spirituality with dimensions of empathy and compassion is the heart of religion, and the heart of religion is an esoteric dimension (qalb, spiritual) which reflects the compassion of God that allows humans to leave behind egoism, greed, violence, rudeness and self-righteousnesswhat is now the problem is fundamental diversity. Human beings according to their natural state are religious creatures. This state originates from their natural sense to worship or devote him or her to an object or a form that is higher or has more control. The true sense is a path from the inner unconscious urge that is the urge to move towards God due to the result of the primordial agreement with the Creator in the spiritual land. This is the essence of true perennial philosophy. As the urge could not be held any longer, he will find one way or another. If it was not put out well, the urge will come again in the forms of deeds and worshipping practices that would be a loss to humans themselves. According to the divine design, human beings are the highest of Gods creations, the noblest beings. For this reason, humans should not do anything that could diminish the dignity and selfrespect as the noblest human beings, by not submitting to or worshipping anything besides the God Almighty. One of the important paths to appreciate and do all forms of worshipping and devotion to a form that is believed to be more than humans that is God as the purpose of perennial philosophy is tasawuf. In Islam, taswuf is religious practices that are filled with the esoteric dimension (external appearances, formality, the shell),

477

Nurcholish Madjid, Kata Pengantar in Komaruddin Hidayat & Ahmad Gaus AF

(ed.), Passing Over, Melintasi Batas Agama (Jakarta: Gramedia Pustaka Utama & Paramadina, 1998), p. xxix. WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

which could not be touched, by the eternal wisdom and purpose of religion, particularly in the phenomenon of revelation. Perennial tasawuf is the idea tasawuf, mystic, a tasawuf that is truly tasawuf, sufi tasawuf, tasawuf originating from the Koran and the sunna, that is tasawuf as a spiritual path toward Allah, that sources back to noble characteristics, brings humans closer to Allah, stay loyal to sharia, emphasizes on the balance between physical and spiritual aspects, material and spiritual, worldly and non-worldly, siding with the weak and the oppressed.478 For this reason, in the perennials perspective, the highest philosophy is metaphysics. Science is a knowledge that uses inductive method, which is characterized by empirical analysis of limited, relative or probable truth. However, philosophy using a relative deductive or probability truth method is characterized as analogical analysis, truth that is produced as universal self-evidence, essential and goes in line with the laws of the mind itself, which originates in the first law and the conclusion is characterized as absolute rights. Perennial sees this issue off values based on supernatural principles, which accepts eternal universality. Based on this principle, it was not only ontology and epistemology that are based on the principles of theology and supernatural, but also axiology. Particularly regarding human behavior, then humans as the subject has potential goodness in line with their nature, besides there are tendencies and urges to a worse direction. The issue of value is the main issue in perennials, because it is based on supernatural principles that are to accept eternal universality, particularly regarding human behavior. For this reason, humans essence also determines the essence of the actions, and the issue of value is a spiritual issue. In axiology, the principle of thought remains and is still validates. Ethically, the action is in accordance to the rationality of a human, because humans are naturally inclined to goodness. Perennial philosophy provides ontology, epistemology and ethical foundations

478

Kautsar Azhari Noer, Tasawuf Perenial: Kearifan Kritis Kaum Sufi (Jakarta:

Serambi Ilmu Semesta, 2003), p. 13. WORKING TRANSLATION

Note: This document is a working translation and should not be quoted without the explicit permission of the author or the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Indonesia when used as a reference.

for the meeting point of religions.

Exemplar of thought on Pluralism in Religions Interfaith Jurisprudence In the following passage exemplars or examples on the use of pluralism principles to produce an interfaith jurisprudence thought will be elaborated. The book Interfaith Jurisprudence is the best example on how the issue of pluralism for Liberal Muslim thinkers in Indonesia has attempted to develop a new theology of religions. It can be said that the book Interfaith Jurisprudence is an important pillar in the interpretation of theological pluralism in Islam in Indonesia. For this reason, the issues of new Islamic thought, which emerged in the book Interfaith Jurisprudence, will be explained. MUIs fatwa on forbiddance of pluralism in facts refers to this book, especially when the book Interfaith Jurisprudence has its deviation specifically studied by MUI. For Liberal Muslim thinkers, one of the most promising bookin the recent five yearsthat has brought up the issue of the new theology of pluralism is the book Interfaith Jurisprudence: Building an Inclusive Pluralist Society. The project of this book is led by Kautsar Azhari Noer and Munim A. Sirrya specialist in philosophy and Islamic lawwho coordinated the 8 writers from Paramadina.479 I need to emphasize that what I oppose from the Islamic sharia is when it regulates public affairs

regarding civil rights and civil liberties. However, if the Islamic sharia that is conducted is related to the issue of

479

Munim A. Sirry (ed.), Fiqih Lintas Agama: Membangun Masyarakat Inklusif-

Pluralis (Jakarta: Paramadina-The Asia Foundation, 2003). The authors of this book are Nurcholish Madjid, Kautsar Azhari Noer, Komaruddin Hidayat, Masdar F. Masudi, Zainun Kamal, Budhy Munawar-Rachman, Zuhairi Misrawi, Ahmad Gaus AF, and Munim A. Sirry. WORKING TRANSLATION

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desire to revive the Islamic culture, such as veils and many other things, it should not be a problem and must be protected. However, if it is obliged for everyone, then in must be fought off as it is in contra with civil rights and civil liberties. This is what I mean as liberalism. (Rachman 2009: 1625) Ulil Abshar-Abdalla, a researcher and Director of Freedom Institute, Jakarta, a PhD student at Harvard University, Massachusetts, the US, who before completed his MA program in the Department of Religion, Boston University, the US.

This book is the result of the chain of meetings and the intensive discussion of the issue of the method of thinking and interpreting Islam in order to reformulate the presence of interfaith theology and jurisprudence amid modern changes and development. The emergence of this book is foregrounded by a deep concern toward the tradition of jurisprudence, which epistemologically is unable to build a relation between Muslims and non-Muslims. What is more, in many cases there is still an impression that non-Muslims are severely discriminated. This book is a very significant leap in Islamic thought in Indonesia. This book has already answered almost all issues on theology and jurisprudence that are related to interfaith relations, such as the issue of saying merry Christmas to non-Muslimswhich has caused many confusion for common people, interfaith marriages, communal prayers, the tax status of non-Muslims, inheritance for different religions and the concept of ahl al-kitab. Crucial issues contained in this are book is meant to open a landscape of diversity that is more open and tolerant, or to be precise pluralist. In order to develop a pluralist jurisprudence, the writers of this book developed a pluralist theological step by considering the diversity of truth brought by the messengers of God. The existence of the book Interfaith Jurisprudence has brought a polemic WORKING TRANSLATION

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among a number of people, particularly Muslim communities. This polemic does not only enter the domain of discourse but furthermore implicates the resistance among the Islamic conservative group which had transformed into anarchy actions in a soft form that is claims that the book is taken of circulation as it is thought to endanger the aqidah of the Muslim community, and even physical threats for the writers. The publication of this book was foregrounded by a deep concern among Liberal Muslim thinkers towards the issue of jurisprudence that had not been fairly settled, particularly regarding interfaith relations. As a result, the relation between Muslims and non-Muslims was always a non-harmonious and non-friendly one. Departing from this assumption, Liberal Muslim thinkers who were a part of this book attempted to build a theology of religions that could answer interfaith problems. They believed that modern society requires a new jurisprudence that is sensitive towards pluralism. Pluralist jurisprudence is believed to be important in creating a peaceful and healthy religious life. Discussion on al-islam as a universal religionas proposed aboveis expected to be able to find the principles that underlie the possibility of religious sustainability tie of Abrahimiyah. The foundation of these efforts is that God brought teachers and followers of the truth (prophets, messengers) to mankind without exception. The core of the teaching is the same and one that is the teaching of submission and compliance to God that is known as al-islam, which is understood in its generic meaning, and not its linguistic terminology. The core of the Islamic teaching is search and siding to the truth, sincerity and natural goodness, with a center on the notion of God Almighty or tawhid and submission toward Him. Pluralism is an undeniable reality. It is true to say that religious plurality, as other pluralities, such as ethnic plurality, cultural plurality, linguistic plurality, are all a form of natures law. To deny religious plurality is the same as denying natures law. For this reason, to foster the harmonious relation among communities with different religions, the religious factor could not be disregarded. In order to establish a harmonious relation among religions, a new format of theology that can answer how a religion should see itself in relation to other religions. The new theology founded by many recommendations of interfaith dialogues is the WORKING TRANSLATION

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inclusivism and pluralism theology. The inclusivism theology of religions, which is known as inclusivism, acknowledges that other religions also contain truth, but the zenith of truth is in the supporting religion of this theology. Pluralist theology of religions, which is known as pluralism, sees all religions, although differ in paths, move towards the same destination, that is the Absolute, the Last, the Real, God. Pluralist theology is required as a foundation in building and maintaining a harmonious relation among religions. However, pluralist theology in this sense is a theoretical theology, and for this reason it requires a practical theology that serves as a guidance for the practice in the concrete situation among religions. A thesis held faithfully by Liberal Muslim thinkers in the context of interfaith relation is that pluralist theology requires a more practical pluralist jurisprudence. The interfaith

jurisprudence that is in line with pluralist theology is pluralist jurisprudence that can answer these religious issues. For this reason, exclusivist jurisprudence (evident) is not in line with pluralist theology, as it cannot answer religious issues in interfaith relation in todays world and society, in which the pluralist awareness of the people have increased. Because of this, replacing exclusive jurisprudence with pluralist jurisprudence is a necessity to prepare the Muslim community to enter an increasing global world. In the following passage, a number of jurisprudence thoughts developed by Liberal Muslim thinkers with several theological-historical arguments related to religious issues in interfaith problems in the social scope will be discussed. 480 The issues that will be discussed are issues regarding greetings to non-Muslims, communal prayers, saying Merry Christmas and greetings of other religious days, allowing non-Muslims to enter mosques, allowing non-Muslims to enter Mecca and Medina, and performing religious rituals in other religious worship places.

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All arguments based on this book Fiqih Lintas Agama (Jakarta: Paramadina,

2003). The English edition of this book is entitled Interfaith Theology, Response of Progressive Indonesian Muslims (Jakarta: ICIP-The Asia Foundation, 2006) WORKING TRANSLATION

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Giving Greetings to Non-Muslims For Liberal Muslim thinkers, the law for an issue is only established when the context and the situation are known, and so its maslahat and mudarat must also be known. The law must submit to the maslahat and the wisdom of a case. Maslahat is the purpose of sharia, while the law is a way or a path to reach a destination. One of these eventsshown in the book Interfaith Jurisprudenceis what occurred in a Seminar on Religions in Salatiga, Central Java on September 1995. In this seminar, an ulema who was looked up to by many people and greeted al-salam-u alaykum warahmat-ul-lah-I wa barakatuh to all the participants of the seminar, who were all Christians. The greeting was responded by the participants by wa alaykum salam warahmat-u l-lah-I wa barakatuh. Suddenly one of the participants spoke, Why do you greet us al-salam-u alaykum? (Assalamu alaikum) isnt it forbidden in Islam for Muslims to give greetings to non-Muslims? The ulema answered: In the past, the Prophet Muhammad Peace Upon Him forbids giving greetings to the Jewish and the Christians because they were enemies with the Prophet and the Muslims. Today, all of you here, Christians, are friends with me. We are brothers, we are not enemies. For this reason, I give my greetings to all of you. In the past, the Prophet gave his greetings to the Jewish and the Christians because when they met with the Prophet and the Muslims said Assammu alaikum (Death be with you, Misfortune be upon you, Disgrace be upon you) and not Assalamu alaikum (Peace be upon you). Today, when I say Assalamu alaikum, you all answer with Assalamu alaikum. Because of this, giving greetings to non-Muslims is not forbidden. The participants bewilderment evaporated when listening to the explanation on why it was allowed to give greetings to Muslims. There is a hadith that shows that the Prophet Muhammad Peace be Upon Him (began) giving greetings to Negus, King of Ethiopia, through his letter. His letter read: In the name of Allah, Most Merciful, Most Compassionate. This letter is from Muhammad, the Messenger of Allah, to Negus, King of Ethiopia. In this letter, the greeting given by the Prophet Muhammad was: Greetings for you (salam-un alayk). This greeting was directed to Negus, the King of Ethiopia, WORKING TRANSLATION

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who was a Christian. Related to the issue of giving greetings, there is a Prophets Hadith through Anas ibn Malik who said that the prophet stated, When an ahl alkitab gave greetings, answer Wa alaykum, This hadith was narrated by Bukhari and Muslim and it shows that Muslims are obliged to answer the greetings given by ahl al-kitab. Although in the hadith this is known as ahl al-kitab, of course Muslims are not only obliged to answer the greetings of ahl al-kitab but also other nonMuslims. Amid the diversity of the Indonesian society, interfaith marriage is a

sunnatullah. We cannot choose to interact with those who share the same religion with us, similar to how we cannot predict when love comes or choose whom we dedicate our love to. This means that in a very plural society, interfaith marriage is a necessity that should truly be

supported by the state law. (Rachman 2009: 1661) Yanti Muchtar, the founder and Director of the Circle of Alternative Education for Women (KAPAL Perempuan). She is active in developing a model and module for feminist education and pluralism; she is conducting a research on education and relation among groups.

A Hadith narrated by Muslims through Abdullah ibn Amru can be used as a reference to know whether giving greetings to non-Muslims is allowed or forbidden. This Hadith narrates a man asking to the Prophet Peace Be Upon Him on which Islam is the best. The Prophet answers: Giving food and giving greetings to who you know and who you do not know. For Liberal Muslim thinkersas reflected in Interfaith Jurisprudence, the Hadith stated firmly that Islam is a religion of solidarity and peace.

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Saying Merry Christmas The tradition of saying Merry Christmas in Indonesia, as in other states, is done not only by Christians, but also non-Christians, including Muslims. Saying Merry Christmas is of course directed at Christians, as Christmas Day is the Christians religious day. For example, the Christians in Ambonpost the interfaith conflictthe celebration of Christmas is a very special day. This is because on Christmas day, the Christians in Ambon today can participate in mass peacefully without pressure from any other parties. They are busy receiving greetings Merry Christmas and visits from their Muslim relatives. Muslims there say Merry Christmas to their Christian relatives. The border that separated the residential area of the Christians and the Muslims in Ambon has been removed. The ambiance of the celebration of Christmas in Ambon is full of peace and friendship. Today, Liberal Muslim thinkers have completed in solving the theological issue of saying Merry Christmas. One of the most prominent ulema in Indonesia, M. Quraish Shihab, stated that there is a verse in the Koran which eternalized the greeting of Merry Christmas which had never been spoken by the Prophet Jesus and how it was not forbidden to say it and it was not wrong to say congratulations to anyone, as long as they understood and felt what it meant in the Koran: So peace is on me the day I was born, the day that I die (Q. 19: 33). If this is meant as congratulations, then saying Merry Christmas, and other sayings that uses congratulations is not forbidden. What is more important and serves as the theological reasoning is the purpose of saying Merry Christmas for Muslims is for social, brotherhood and friendship reasons. Social, brotherhood and friendship aspects are maslahat. The same applies to saying Happy Day of Silence, Happy Vesakha, Happy Chinese New Year to other religions is not forbidden. The law is the same as saying Merry Christmas. What is more, if the saying Merry Christmas can be put together in the same boat as praying for Christians, this saying is also allowed as it is seen as a prayer for non-Muslims. Communal prayer that aims for maslahat, such as peace, harmony, brotherhood, and solidarity, are of course allowed and to be increased so that they are recommended.

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Allowing Non-Muslims to Enter Mosques Allowing Non-Muslims to enter mosques and do mass (salat) have been done since the time of the Prophet Muhammad. Below are the arguments that have been developed by Liberal Muslim thinkers. As narrated by Ibn Hisyam, in al-Sirah alNabawiyah, the Prophet once received a visit from 60 Najran Christian figures. According to Muhammad ibn Jafar ibn al-Zubair, when the group arrived in Medina, they went straight to the Mosque. At that time, the Prophet was performing the Ashar Prayer along with his companions. They came wearing cloaks and turban, clothes that were commonly worn by the Prophet Muhammad Peace Be Upon Him and his companions. When the time for mass came, they did not have to find a church. The Prophet allowed them to perform their prayers in the Mosque. Based on this event, Ibn Qayyim al-Jauziyah concluded that ahl al-kitab are allowed to enter the mosque and are even allowed to perform mass in the mosque. When the late Buya Hamka was still alive, many non-Muslim foreign tourists visited Masjid Agung Al-Azhar, Kebayoran Baru, South Jakarta, and Nurcholish Madjid who at that time was an undergraduate student at the Faculty of Adab IAIN Syarif Hidayatullah Jakarta was always asked by Buya to guide the tourists into the mosque. When the tourists came into the mosque and Buya saw Nurcholish Madjid there, Buya instructed him, Nur, there they are, guide them into the mosque! Unlike the experience in the late 1960s narrated by Nurcholish Madjid, there are increasingly more mosques that are not allowed to be entered by non-Muslims. From these two events, we learn how one of the goals of Islam is to provide peace for the soul and for those who follow the teachings the guarantee of individual freedom and conduct of prayer safely and peacefully. All religions have the same freedom in following beliefs, the same freedom to state opinion, and the same freedom to conduct the mission of religion. For Muslim communities, there are no theological constraints in entering other religious places. This is because all Islamic teaching on the surface of the earth, as long as it is holy from najis, can be made into a place for bowing and worship. This argument is based on the story of the caliph Umar ibn Khathab when he went to Jerusalem. The second caliph, who was given the title Amirul Mukminin (Commander of the Faithful) has done a proliferation of Islamic teaching outside the WORKING TRANSLATION

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normative limitations of religion that is understood by most people at that time. For example, when he performed Prayer on the stairs of the church. It was told that Umar Ibnu Khaththab came to Siam, and tied the peace agreement with the people of Ramaala regarding their requirement to pay jizyah (non-Muslim tax). And so, Umar came to them and wrote the agreement of safety for the text (in part) which is: In the name of Allah Most Merciful and Most Compassionate, from Umar ibn Khaththab to the people of Aelia (al-Bayt al-Maqdis or Jerusalem) in which their souls, their descendants, their women are safe, and their churches shall not be occupied or destructed.

When religion enters a public matter, religion must undergo a process involving substance and rationality. In other words, the process of

secularization must take place. This means that religion could not appear suddenly without quotation towards verses, and even the essence. It must be transformed rationally into open languages and can be tested by the publics rationality court. (Rachman 2009: 1669) Yudi Latif, Executive Director of the Reform Institute and Leader of the Islamic School of the Science of Humanities and State (PeKiK-Indonesia). He is founder and member of the Special Council of Nurcholish Madjid Society, and received his MA and PhD from the Australian National University in political sociology.

Umar ibn Khaththab entered al-Bayt al-Maqdis and arrived at the Qumamah (Qiyamah) church and stopped in front of the plaza. When the time of prayer came, he told the Patriakh, I would like to pray. The Patriakh answered: Pray in your place. Umar refused, and then prayed on the stairs near the gate of the church WORKING TRANSLATION

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alone. Umar refused to pray in the church not because of a theological foundation, but Umar felt it ethical to protect the security of the church to avoid the future assumptions that Muslims had seized the church.

Building Synergy Among Religions Islamic thought on pluralism awakens us on the authenticity of the teachings of peace in Islam. However, on the other hand, they realize that jurisprudence is a product of classic thought, and is not yet a religious science that has been fairly translated. Nevertheless, it is one of the branches of science that has remained for quite a long time, because jurisprudence is a primary necessity of the Islamic community. Yet, it cannot be denied that the presence of jurisprudence can be said as one of the causes why religious doctrines are made sacred. The only problem is that jurisprudence cannot be approached through sociology and anthropology. Jurisprudence has become one of the influential sciences that have a strong gravity. History proves that there has not been any orientation that has remained as long and as experienced in extensive diaspora than jurisprudence. A number of issues that have been explicitly illustrated in exemplars of social reality are jurisprudence related to interfaith relation. The issue of interfaith relation has long been realized by Liberal Muslim thinkers as a serious problem faced by modern society. The complexity that appears is not only on a textual level, but also on the historical background and the objective condition of the Muslim society, which often sees other groups as threats. These problems have caused an unharmonious relation between Muslims and non-Muslims. Below are a number of dilemmas faced by the jurisprudence of interfaith relation, as listed in the concept of ahl al-dzimmah, the concept of jizyah, interfaith marriage and inheritance for different religions, and how Liberal Muslim thinkers have attempted to discover the initial solution to these issues.

The Concept of Ahl al-Dzimmah (Non-Muslim Minority) As proposed above, Liberal Muslim thinkers are very much aware of the concept of ahl al-dzimmah (non-Muslim minority), which is the seedlings of the emergence of placing second or discrimination against non-Muslims. In the books of jurisprudence, WORKING TRANSLATION

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ahl al-dzimmah is the non-Muslim community, which agreed to live under the responsibility and the guarantee of the Muslims. They received protection and security. They also received the right to live and a residence amid the Muslim society. In the books of jurisprudence ahl al-dzimmah is the people who are claimed for a number of obligations, but did not receive equal and aligned rights as the Muslim community. On this basis, ahl al-dzimmah is often called as the second class. For Liberal Muslim thinkers, the concept of ahl al-dzimmah needs to be reviewed once again. There is a strong difference between the spirit brought by the Koran and the Hadith of the Prophet, which provides protection for ahl al-dzimmah on one hand, and on the other hand a jurisprudence ambiance that tends to position them second. In developing a liberal thought, Muslim Liberal thinkers dig more on the ambiance of the Hanafi mazhab thought, the most rational jurisprudence mazhab. According to the Hanafi mazhab, ahl al-dzimmah is allowed to perform their rituals and their law in line with their teachings. They received freedom to express their diversity openly. While Ibn Qayyim al-Jauziyah in Ahkam Ahl al-Dzimmah sheds the perspective of a Muslim in marrying a woman of ahl al-kitab, the husband must appreciate and must not force the women who would like to drink khamr. In a number of Hadith, the Prophet in fact shared his perspective, and a most tolerant one, toward ahl al-dzimmah: among others: This perspective shows that a difference in religion would not cause any discriminative actions toward other religions. There is no conflict between the Islamic concept of ahl al-dzimmah and the concept of citizenship. What is more, the concept of ahl al-dzimmah is in line with the concept of citizenship, in which every believer of a religion and a faith must received protection to be aligned with the law and agreed consensus, disregarding the religion. Especially in a state that adopts democracy, which is the most recent phenomenon that is unavoidable. The true jurisprudence can bring moral messages to confirm the spirit of pluralism.

The Concept of Jizyah (Non-Muslim Tax) The concept of jizyah is a vulnerable point in jurisprudence of interfaith relation. Jizyah is tax paid by non-Muslims (ahl al-Kitab) as a return for their liberation from WORKING TRANSLATION

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the obligations to defend the state; or return over the guarantee of their safety and protection as well as various civil rights as citizens that are in line with Muslims. This perspective has a normative foundation in the Koran (Q. 9: 29). This verse is often used by many jurisprudence ulema to oblige jizyah for non-Muslims. When observed deeply, this verse has a certain historical background that is war. For this reason, it cannot be implemented in a normal situation. There is an element of jurisprudence that justifies this perspective that the legality of the law lies in its cause. If the cause of the law does not exist, the law itself would be cancelled (al-hukm yadur-u maa al-illah wujud-an waadam-an). The absence of war between Muslims and non-Muslims, by itself it removes the law of the payment of jizyah. The concept of jizyah is one of the ways used by the Koran and ordered by God not only to coerce and second place other religions, but as a way to build an agreement between two mutual parties.

Interfaith Marriage In many cases in the Indonesian societyalso part of the Islamic Worldmany resistances toward interfaith marriages still occur. Generally, in the case of the kosher and the haram (legally forbidden) of an interfaith marriage, ulema always hold on to the verses of the Koran (2: 221) and (60: 10). This verse carries a special message so that Muslims do not marry musryik women and vice versa. Some ulemas believe that a number of verses in the Koran calls Christians and Jewish as musyrik. However, this perspective does not guarantee truth, and does not make it as guidance, because in another verse, it was also revealed another paradigm on musyrik. Every act of syirik does not necessarily make the person a musyrik. Because in reality, the Jewish and the Christianslike the Muslimscan also do shirk, but Allah does not mention and call them as musyrik but as ahl al-kitab (take a look at Q. 4: 171; 5: 5; 3: 64). The difference between musyrik and ahl al-kitab is so important that their meanings should not be mixed up; in which musyrik is defined as ahl al-kitab and vice versa. For this reason, the perspective, which includes non-Muslims as musyrikas done by Radical Muslimsmust be refuted. Regarding the allowing of marriage with non-Muslims, there are a number of WORKING TRANSLATION

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the Prophets companions who married Christian and Jewish women, among them: Hudzaifah, Thalhah. Then what about the opposite, the marriage between Muslim women with non-Muslim men, Christians, Jewish or other non-Semitic religions? In this issue, there is not a single holy text, both in the Koran, and in the Hadith that allows or does not allow such marriage. The issue of marriage between non-Muslim men and Muslim women is in the area of ijtihad and is bounded to a certain context, among them is the context of the Islamic sermon at that time, in which the number of the Muslim community was not as large as today, so that interfaith marriage is something forbidden. Due to its position as a law that was born from the ijtihad process, it is possible that when a new opinion was initiated in which Muslim women are allowed to marry non-Muslim men, or in other words a wider interfaith marriage is allowed, whatever the religion or the faith is. This refers to the spirit brought by the Koran itself in which pluralism is a sunnatullah that cannot be avoided. In the Koran, God mentions that the differences of the sexes and tribes as a mark to unite with one another and get in acquaintance. Interfaith marriage can be used as one of the rooms among religious believers to know one another better. The spirit carried by Islam is liberation, and not shackles. For this reason, there is no prohibition to do interfaith marriages. An issue of the same complication to the numerous issues before is inheritance regarding different religions. The verse that is often used as a legal basis is Q. 4: 141 which explains that Islam forbids inheritance among different religions. However, there is still different opinion among ulemas regarding the law of a Muslim to pass down to non-Muslims. Ulemas are still seeking an alternative in relation to other religions. However, the perspective of Liberal Muslim thinkers who defended the rights of non-Muslims that provide a space of inheritance for different religions is an effort of ijtihad. It should be known that in a deeper perspective, these things forbidden in the right of inheritance is not something established or absolute. At times, the law can change according to different contexts. Change and social dynamics must erect above the text. The interest of humanity must be put forward before the text.

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The Issue of Uniformity of Religions As a summary to close this chapter, it is interesting to know that the discourse of the Koran can easily support the ethics of difference, tolerance, and pluralism. The Koran did not only expect, but also received the reality of differences and diversity in the human society. Classic interpreters did not rely on exploring the implication of this diversity, or the role of the resolution of conflicts peacefully in carrying out social interaction that was born from a society that knew one another (li-taarafu). The Koran also did not provide a regulation or a special order on how the knowledge of nations and tribes was acquired. However, in reality, there exists diversity, as the main purpose of creation, as revealed in the Koran, still does not develop in theology, let alone classical Islamic jurisprudence. During the zenith of Islam, all

civilizations can enter. The Muslim community was intact with any

religion and culture. Such intact took place, as the area of the power of Islam was so wide. And so, Islam was still forced upon. Especially during the time of the Abbasiyah, the kingdom was so vast and split into smaller kingdoms that were led by sultans. This phenomenon is a form of

secularism. Religion is placed not only as a symbol, but also their spirit. It is during this time that Islam reached the zenith of glory. (Rachman 2009: 1707) Zainun Kamal, the Dean in the Faculty of Ushuluddin and Philosophy at UIN Syarif Hidayatullah Jakarta. He is also a lecturer at the University of Paramadina and also taught at the postgraduate program at UIN Syarif Hidayatullah, University of Indonesia, University of Islam, Jakarta, University

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of the Science of the Koran (PTIQ), and the Institute of the Religion Islam AlAqidah.

Pre-modern Muslim ulemas did not have a strong urge to explore the meaning and the implication of the agreement of the Koran regarding the diversity and the interaction of cross-culture. This is partially caused by political dominance and superiority of the Islamic civilization, which made Muslim thinkers have a sense of over-confidence. Even so, it is still sufficient to say that the Islamic civilization is a pluralistic and a very tolerant one towards various social and religious groups. However, in order to show the implications of this commitment to the diversity of mankind and common knowledge today, what is needed is an ethical reflection concern on historical situationsomething that is not missed by the theology and the doctrine of conservative, fundamentalist, and radical Muslims. Besides a general agreement on the diversity of mankind, the Koran also receives a more specific perspective on the plurality of faith and religious law. Even though the Koran clearly affirms that Islam is the divine truth and demands trust to Muhammad as the last messenger in the tree of Abrahams prophecy, the Koran does not erase other paths toward salvation. The Koran affirms that the wisdom of God does not rely on anyone to give His compassion to anyone. In a chain, once again, Muslim theologians have not put it under theory; the Koran acknowledges various faith and valid religious law. To overcome plurality, it is also important to understand how the society was educated in order to see the potential of the plurality of the society as a communal potential to build an Indonesian society that is more democratic. For this reason, it is in this context, that the contribution of the plurality of religions in Indonesia to the society and the nation of Indonesia is meaningful. It also needs to be affirmed, as analyzed that what is meant is pluralism and not relativism. Pluralism is not a notion that crushes the faith. Pluralism also does not encourage converting to another religion or forcing a person to convert to another religion. In order to avoid misunderstanding, we need to foster a joint program for communal interests and also conduct activities of alternative education that is directed to the development of the WORKING TRANSLATION

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pluralist society of Indonesia that is just, open and democratic. This is because one way or another in todays global context, no single person can survive only within ones own community. Sooner or later, often or rare, we will interact with another group. Recently, the condition is concerning with situations in which groups admit themselves to be the most righteous in committing violence towards another group. However, creative tension triggered by the condition of plurality of course is in its own a challenge. This challenge is a crisis as well as an opportunity for spiritual development. It is called a crisis, as it does not seal the possibility that will implicate the chaos, as minim knowledge and understanding of religions. On the other hand, this serves as an opportunity, because it forces the responsibility of religious men, intellectuals, to formulate and reinterpret precisely the message from God and the entirety of its meaning. Such creative tension is what becomes the concern of Liberal Muslim intellectuals in the future of religions in Indonesia. The messages of God The Cherisher and Sustainer of the Worlds (Q. 1: 1) can be beneficial in directing their followers toward a universal pluralism. However, because of the same texts in the divine sources, it is possible that they appear in contrast. This is because these texts principally respond to different situations; the common faithful people may fail to understand these texts in their holistic sense. Instead of making a difference between the general principle and the specific situation, they incline to personal or group interests in certain conditions in order to adjust to chauvinistic acts that are opposing. Hermeneutics must given a responsibility to provide an accurate interpretation regarding the message of God in the entirety of the meaning and to protect the faithful to defy the shallow acts of diminishing the guidance from God though siding and inequality that will create a wrong depiction of closeness and bring about unethical acts, discrimination and injustice.481 This concern of course is not seen as an overstatement regarding that recently many religious conflicts are often caused by a theological sentiment. The

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emergence of claims of truth and salvation on behalf of religion is a widespread phenomenon in our society. The strengthening of conservative, fundamentalist, and radical groups in the body of the Muslim community is truly a serious threat for the development of pluralism. For this reason, what is required is so that one group can understand another, and exchange of understanding takes place. As a result, affection among one culture and another grows. Many experiences and local intelligence can be learned. Failures and misdoings in the past can also be studied. What is more, other societies outside Indonesia that have many experiences and thoughts. And so, there is no wrong in making it a comparison. For this reason, openness and absolute wisdom is required to review and find a solution to this issue. The issue of pluralism in Indonesia should be underlined, developed and implemented by seeing the problems that emerge due to violence in religion. Because of this, once again we must not force ourselves to take a single value. Various approaches are needed to overcome the issue of religion and conflict. Secularism in the Islamic Worlds needs to be put forward. This is because, like the West in the

Medieval Times, the Islamic World too (particularly since the Dynasty of Muawiyah) always experiences

intervention from religious institutions within the state. Religion which is supposed to be a moral force in order to create a just political life, it is used as a media to secure power. (Rachman 2009: 1739) Zuhairi Misrawi, Director of Moderate Muslim Society (MMS). He completed his undergraduate education in the Department of Akidah-Philosophy, University of AL-Azhar, Cairo, Egypt. Before MMS, he participated actively in P3M (The Association of the Development of Islamic School and Society),

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Jakarta.

The conception of nationality, stateship and citizenship has currently motioned further and more complex that what had been practiced during the time of the Prophet. Even so, the spirit of Media to guarantee openness, equality, freedom and solidarity for citizens remains actual, particularly for nations who have a majority of Muslims, with a high plurality condition like Indonesia. Indonesia, from the very beginning, has been destined to become a plural nation. Not a single person can refuse this fate. Plurality has educated us to become humans that are used to face differences, in terms of tribes, cultures and religions. This should make us able to live hand in hand and still maintain our differences. To believe that we are the most righteous would be an inappropriate action. For this reason, in todays pluralistic life, it is important to introduce a religious perspective that is comprehensive in order to appreciate differences. The Muslim community must think of a way to resolve fanaticism in religion. In understanding the sources of Islamic teaching, the Koran and Sunna must not only be interpreted by specialists of religion, but also other specialists so that the understanding may further approach the truth. Besides that, religious teaching is not only about religious doctrines, but also development of philosophy and humanistic sciences as well as multiculturalism studies so as to be aware that plurality is a historical necessity. It is exactly at this pointas analyzed previouslythat in order to make plurality something productive, pluralism is required. Because, it is undeniable that as seen in the religious phenomenon in Indonesiaplurality contains the element of fragmentation. It is the threat of fragmentation that requires tolerance, openness and equality. Religious plurality is a reality. In accordance to the definition of pluralism itself that is an ism about plurality, for this reason, we cannot accept that plurality is seen as a reality, while pluralism is refuted as a notion, as stated in MUIs fatwa. From the analysis of this book, it can be summarized that all religions are good and right.482 There are a number of reasons why religion is said to be good
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M. Dawam Rahardjo, Mengapa Semua Agama Sama, Tempo Magazine Edition

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and right (not explicitly saying that all religions are the same!) First, the statement that all religions are good and right needs to explain with the note for the believers. This is based on the reality that every religious believer has faith that their religion is the best and most righteous. For this reason, the statement that Verily, the religion accepted by Allah is only Islam, is true for the Muslims. While for the Christians, of course they believe that salvation can only be found within (faith of) Christ, as stated by Vatican before 1965. Afterwards, the Vatican II Conciliation acknowledged that salvation could also be found (and achieved through) in other religions. What is more, specifically, Vatican II very much appreciated the faith of Islam. And so, it is acceptable to claim that a certain religion is the right one, but for their believers. Second, the truth and salvation of religion can be categorized into two types. The first one is exclusive truth, the other is inclusive truth. Exclusive truth is a certain truth that is believed in a certain religion. For example, the doctrine of the Trinity. While the teaching of compassion in the religion Christian is an inclusive truth that can be accepted by the believers of all religions. Third, all religions are the same in the sense that all religions in their own perspective, essentially are paths toward truth and goodness. Not all religions teach the wrongness or the bad and the evil. However, the substance of the truth and goodness are different from one religion to another. Fourth, every religion contains the truth, not only for the religious believer, but also for other religious believers. For example, the Muslim community or the Christian community can learn the truth from the book of Baghavad Gita or the books of Taoism and Confucianism. Fifth, there is the meeting point of religions. For example, the basic teaching of the Ten Commandments from Allah in Judaism, it can also be found in other religions. The teaching of fasting can be found in other religions, even though not all religious believers can preserve this tradition in todays modern era. However, other religious believers can assume that this teaching of fasting is the true teaching, because the purpose is to educate humans ability to control their instinctual desire and be in taqwa. Sixth, all religions, regarding their birth and their details, or on the level of WORKING TRANSLATION

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sharia are varied, because on this level, the thought and the formulation by man already has a role that is influenced by the condition and history. However, on a higher level, commonalities will be seen and in the end a meeting point on a transcendental level (essence) will take place. The system of prayer or different religious teachings must be perceived as the entrance gate to religions and also the ladder to climb up to the highest essence or the deepest in a religious teaching. The form should not confine, because if so it will obstruct our understanding to achieve the essence of religious teaching. This is the transcendent unity of religions in perennial philosophy that has been optimally developed by Liberal Muslim thinkers for a deeper understanding on pluralism. The believers of perennial philosophy believe that the heart of religion and authentic tradition contains the same message of truth which is known as the heart of religions. For this reason, every religion and faith has the same distance to the center of the Awareness and the Truth that is God. With this act of diversity, it is expected to be able to produce a more pluralist and cool thoughts. Seventh, all religions are seen to be good and right. This is the perspective that should be taken by the state or the government. Because, a state must act justly to every individual and group, and must not believe that there is only one individual and group that is good and correct, while the others are wrong. Indonesia that holds the ideology of Pancasila sees every religion to be the same and right. And so, every religion is hoped to contribute to the development of the state and the society. Thus, pluralism may allow harmony in the society, and attempt to be accommodative and as sensitive as possible to the smaller and weaker groups. God blessed the entire grandchildren of Adam with respect and dignity (Q. 17: 70) regardless of their differences. For this reason, theologically, Muslims are encouraged to develop a notion of religious freedom, and that truly there is no compulsion in religions. Seeing the complexity of the reality of the issue which develops in the society, as proposed earlier, Liberal Muslim thinkers affirmed the importance of reformulating studies toward classic jurisprudence which all this time could not answer the challenge of the era. This empirical reality shows a gap between jurisprudence and humanitarian reality. Hereas affirmed by themit is a necessity to see classic WORKING TRANSLATION

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jurisprudence critically. And here it is also seen that hermeneutics can also be used as a tool to reveal the commitment of the universal revelation. The revelation of doctrines which were made guidance among Fundamental and Radical Muslims as an urgent necessity, and in order to conduct themas realized by Liberal Muslim thinkersserious efforts are needed, and this is in fact the big agenda of pluralism belonging to Liberal Muslim thinkers, as analyzed previously. Liberal Muslim thinkers have developed an interpretative culture that is open and tolerant in order to return the commitment of the universal and pluralist revelation. In order to solve the complexity of this issue with is full of discourse, a liberating interpretation is needed, an interpretation that will become the blade of analysis to see the problem of humanity, consider culture, remove dependency on the reality of a certain history, and this makes the religious doctrine as an ethical source to do change. The hermeneutics that is meant is not only revealing and relies on the limited revelation given in the text, but it is further applied in functional hermeneutics that is how far a text can liberate the reality of humanity. The text will be called revelation when it can liberate the oppressed, side with the poor, fight against the despotic ruler and appreciate plurality and differences. As long as these functions are not reflected in the text, we cannot call them revelations, because revelations are the reality of culture, history, semiotics and anthropology. True pluralism believes in the essence of maslahat and translates that value into the social context. These two things must be done in synergy. To separate one from the other is something impossiblesomething that cannot be done. The explanation is that religion shall not stop on symbols and rituals that are personal, but must also touch the public area that is more plural. For this reason, the theology that fosters pluralism will propel the formation of a just, open and civilized society. To acknowledge and appreciate diversity is part of the law of history or sunnatullah where the Koran itself indicates accommodation for its development. One of the issues that often appear among religious leaders is that they often deny this reality and aspire for the formation of a single religion on the surface of this earth. This is impossible and contradicts the blueprint of God. For this reason, efforts to build the perception that Islam indeed contains WORKING TRANSLATION

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teachings that support pluralism needs to be further developed. What is more, it can be assured that the reputation of the Liberal Muslim thinkers is built above their ideas on pluralism. These Liberal Muslim thinkers develop pluralism to support interfaith dialogue. They based the perspectives on the verses Q. 2: 62 and 5: 69, which are verses to promise salvation to all religious believers. Faith will not end with issues of formality, because many people

diligently pray and go for haj but also do corruption. Many among them also want khilafah but when we look back historically, the model itself exists by committing murder, as seen during the Utsmani Turkey time. (Rachman 2009: 1765) Zuly Qodir, lecturer at the Faculty of Social Science and Humanities of UIN Sunan Kalijaga, Yogyakarta. He received his masters in Islamic Studies from UII Yogyakarta and his doctorate in Sociology from UGM Yogyakarta.

By departing on these pluralist action and perspective, efforts and thoughts in interfaith dialogue have been pioneered and developed. From this interfaith dialogue is then put into discourse in interfaith cooperation with purposes that are adjusted with the demands of the situation and the need of each of the participant of the dialogue. Here, it needs to be emphasized that it is not that important on which level is this dialogue done. However, what needs more attention is how the dialogue continues to an act of mutual understanding and appreciation to efforts that not blockade interfaith cooperation in various aspects of life. For these Liberal Muslim thinkers, pluralism and interfaith dialogue can take place in various forms, among them are dialogues regarding life, social works, theology and theology. The dialogue regarding life is the simplest form of the interfaith meeting. Different religious believers meet in daily life. They blend in social activities normally. They do cooperation in various social activities without looking at the identity of each of their religion. WORKING TRANSLATION

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Dialogue regarding social works is the continuance of the dialogue regarding life and has directed to forms of cooperation that is motivated by religious awareness. The historical foundation of the dialogue regarding social works and interfaith cooperation has been found in the tradition of various religions. The sociological foundation is acknowledgement of pluralism so that a trust society is formed. In this context, pluralism is actually more than acknowledgement of the reality that we are plural, but also be actively involved in pluralism. While the basic doctrine is the must to find a meeting point or kalimat-un sawa (Q. 3: 64) and avoid things that prevent dialogues and cooperation. Humans are created by God to know one another, and they see them regardless of their sex, tribe, and religion, they are claimed to cooperate various goodness among humanities. While dialogue on theology cannot just be disregarded if we want to establish a more true interfaith relation. Dialogue regarding theology is more important to be done as a foundation for the harmony of the religious community. Dialogue regarding theology aims to build the awareness that outside our belief and faith all this time, there are so many beliefs and faiths outside our religious traditions. Dialogue regarding theology faces the issue how we position our faith amid the faith of others. For Liberal Muslims, dialogue regarding religion began by developing the inclusive-pluralist theology. The first theological source is the Islamic doctrine that is inherently open. Islam acknowledges previous prophets and affirms the holy books that they brought, as stated in the Koran Q. 2: 62 and Q. 5: 69. Islams acknowledgement toward other religions is the precondition for faith (one of the Pillars of Faith). In the dialogue regarding theology, what is the most important thing is various religious experiences, and not debates let alone refusals. Dialogue is the best way to resolve a problemas stated in Q. 29: 46. The last is a dialogue regarding spirituality, which moves in the esoteric area that is the inner side or perennial religions. As known, every religion has a physical (exoteric) aspect and spiritual (esoteric) aspect. The theology and ritual system of religions is the exoteric aspect. On the other hand, the experience of faith and the experience of God is individualist and is the esoteric side of religion. In this spiritual dialogue, pluralists ask religious community to read and see the holy books from the spiritual aspect. They developed the concept of love in order to see differences as a WORKING TRANSLATION

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blessing from Allah that must be blessed. For this reason, pluralists always appreciate differences that can be found in this life, including religious differences. The concept of love became the basis for the establishment of brotherhood of the religious community. Love bases the meeting and the dialogues among other religions. This is because in love there is no prejudice or fear of the loss of religious identity. Spiritual dialogue aims to enrich spiritual experience and through it we will be increasingly ascertained that all religions are essentially good and right.

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CHAPTER VIII CLOSING

Democracy and pluralism are a basket. Is this basket universal? What is the view of Islam on this issue? In the world at large, as well as within each civilization, there is a conflict between those who have one vision to be imposed on the entire humanity and others, who subscribe along the lines of pluralism to diversity. Islamic civilization is no exception. Regardless of these different views, The Quran teach us diversity. Bassam Tibi483

Discourses on secularism, liberalism and pluralism have been predominantly addressed time and again since the reform era and for the most part following MUIs fatwa on the forbiddance of these three issues. This book has highlighted the progressive growth of secularism, liberalism and pluralism notions, particularly those propagated by institutions promoting Liberal Islam, within Islamic thought in Indonesia ever since the issuance of MUIs fatwa. Theoretically, secularism is a notion of segregation between religion and the state/politics. Secularization is an inevitable process that partakes the process of modernization in the society, while secularism is a notion that develops out of humans response to the development of political life in the society, chiefly regarding the relation between religion and the state. The rise of secularization cannot be separated from the growth of the notion of democracy that positions the sovereignty

483

Bassam Tibi, Islamic Civilization and the Quest for Democratic Pluralism: Good

Governance and the Political Culture of Non-Violence in Karlina Helmanita (ed.), Dialogue in the World Disorder: A Response to the Threat of Uniolaterism and World Terrorism (Jakarta: PBB UIN Syarif Hidayatullah, Jakarta, and Konrad-AdenauerStiftung, 2004) WORKING TRANSLATION

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of state life in the hands of the people. Understanding secularization and secularism is preeminently indispensable. Because through these two concepts, understanding of religion will all the time more become rational and in the end will generate balance between religion and the state or religion and politics as two pillars that jointly contribute in the founding of a nation. Such understanding indicates that religion belongs to the personal sphere and the society; and not a state affair. Even so, this does not automatically mean that within a state that implements secularism religion will suffer retrogress and oppression, as religion can still be practiced and developed by individuals and the society; but of course without any form of assistance by the state. In other words, secularism denotes how the influence of the state does not entirely diminish, but remains in the form of moral claims. This is why in recent development, it would be inapt to perceive secularism merely as an ideology that aims to set aside the existence of religionthe decline of religionfrom the public sphere. What occurs is quite the opposite, as shown from the notions elicited by Progressive Muslim thinkers in Indonesia. Through secularism, religious communities can develop their religious lives optimally in line with their own religious spirit, and it has also became increasingly of awareness that without secularism, the principles of democracy cannot be wholly actualized. If one religion receives a more special position compared to other religions, there will be no equality among the believers, because there is a certain group of believers that will receive a higher position than other believers. Democracy as a governing system places secularism as somewhat unquestionable. The aim of secularism is to provide freedom for all religions in order for them to be able to grow in the hands of the society, because religion cannot interfere in all public matters. Political and state domains cannot be intervened by religion in words of one syllable. In the case of religion, the state must remain neutral so as to guarantee the principle of justice of equality for all religions and faiths before the state. On the subject of secularism developed by Progressive Muslim thinkers in Indonesia, these Progressive Muslim thinkers bear out a secular state (A Pancasila State) that nevertheless provides room for religion. Religion cannot command the WORKING TRANSLATION

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state, and vice versa. What must be fought for in a secular society is a system that is based on constitutionalism and Human Rights and to a great extent espouses religious freedom. All the same, Indonesia entails and maintains the 1945 Constitution, including the preamble that contains Pancasila, which does not allow the state to transform the law of religion into the law of the state. Pancasila, as a common platform, according to the Progressive Muslim thinkers, serves as kalimatun sawa (the meeting point of religions). Pancasila amply holds the aspired values of an ideal structure. Pancasila is formulated based on a plural society, which includes tribal and religious differences. Therefore, Pancasila must be accepted by all religious communities, and for this very reason it should not be referred to as an Islamic state concept in the sense of state - religion. According to Progressive Muslim thinkers, Indonesia fits well with todays model, in which the state is not formally based on religion, but the substance of religion inspiresor becomes the soulin the process of nation and state building. In other words, the state does not defy the existence of religion, but it does not make a certain religion the official religion or the foundation of a state. And so, it is evident that Indonesia is a secular state, but in the sense that it is a state that provides a constructive room for the development of religion. Without this newfangled definition of secularism, it becomes quite difficult to visualize a state that can act justly towards each and every religion that belongs to the people. Secularism explains how the relation between religion and the state distinguishes the authority that each of them posses. This is because if religion takes over the public role of the state, a personal legal product will be created, as it only applies to the believers. The same goes for religion when manipulated by public interest in order to win power. Dogmatism, closure, fanaticism, and clashes will unfold and in the end lead to violence. If Indonesia aspires for the democratic system to run well, once again there is no other option but to become a secular state. A constitutional democracy must be established based on the agreement of plural elements of the society. When there is one group that attempts to put forward legal regulations that oppose the constitution, which is supposed to be plural, the democracy is no longer a constitutional democracy. This is why a government that is WORKING TRANSLATION

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not controlled by a certain religion by itself becomes a tool to oppress thoughts or notions that are believed to be astray by the elites dictating the authority of that religion; and does not constrain the religious rights of other religions. However, religion cannot play a role in the political domain, as it will cause a practice of political identity. Religion may possibly inject itself in the domain of the civil society as a moral reasoning for the development of the society. It is within the civil society domain that religion can actively partake in resolving problems of the society without discriminating different religions or faiths. And so, secularism offers a wider space for liberalism and pluralism notions. When one converses of secularism, it will be inevitably continued by talks of liberalism and pluralism, as the three of them are associated to one another in responding the issues of religious freedom, which recently has been under the spotlight of many people. Liberalism departs from the notion of freedom. What is meant by liberalism is civil right freedom: freedom to think, freedom to express an opinion, freedom to embrace a religion and faith. The principle of liberalism cannot be deducted only to the issue of freedom. Let along be understood at liberty. This is because within liberalism lies the rule of law. In reality, in a state that adopts the liberal system, such as developed Western states, freedom is well guaranteed. Every individual has the right to express ones opinion without obstruction, and it is ensured by the state. Religious neutrality within the notion of liberalism signifies that the state does not grant special treatment to a certain religion, even though it is the religion of the majority. This is why liberals will unendingly proclaim that religion must be viewed critically. A liberal spirit will foster a condition within the society where people feel safe, unafraid or keen to acknowledge and express their religious faiths. In other words, freedom must be accompanied by efforts to appreciate one another. Religious liberalism is in actual fact a form of openness and an ability to conduct self-criticism, which is very important within plural life, without removing or erasing religious identity. Regarding pluralism, liberalism places it in an autonomous space that is not intervened by the state. The state has no authority over the WORKING TRANSLATION

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existential decision of an individuals very own safety. Orientations of particular values, such as religion or ethnicity, are under the authority of these particular groups. In order to eradicate religious totalitarianism, the state must excessively act through uncompromising actions toward violent effects from religious absolutism. Liberalism is a strategy to encounter the problems of absolutism or religious totalitarianism. We often fail to differentiate Political Islam and Islamic politics. Political Islam denotes Islam that is

transformed into a political vehicle. And so, when it has succeeded to achieve its goal, the aspiration of the Muslim community will be renounced. Islamic politics, on the other hand, is how we embalm the teaching of Islam to be aligned with the concept of rahmatan li al-alamin. This is what should truly be lived through again. (Rachman 2009: 59) Abdul Hadi WM, a poet who dwells in Sufism and the intellectual treasure of the Archipelago. Today, he teaches and is a professor at the Faculty of Falsafah and Civilization Universitas Paramadina Jakarta and Islamic College for Advanced Studies (ICAS), Jakarta.

Within liberalism, religious freedom is something absolute and for that reason it must be ensured. Freedom is a blessing from God. Humans do not have the right to shackle and seize another persons freedom. The reason why God blessed humans with freedom is so that humans may embrace sincerity and genuineness in faith and religion. In liberalism, a person who violates another persons freedom may WORKING TRANSLATION

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be sanctioned. This can be seen in the praxis of the freedom of the liberal society itself. Freedom in a liberal society is stabilized by a system of rights. Liberalism is the par-excellence of modern ideology principled to sustain individual freedom, political freedom in democratic participation, equality among humans, and pluralism. Liberalism inspires the spirit of freedom of the mind in the society in order to seek the best solution for the issues currently being coped with. Through liberalism, democracy can be ensuredin which democracy serves as the way out to all issues in the society. When we refer to Islam, from the outset the initial mission of Islam is liberation from oppression, tyranny, and various practices of injustice. This spirit needs to be further developed, so that it no longer becomes a hegemony of the truth in interpretation, including the fatwa that considers certain notions to be misled and misleading. Liberalism is also acknowledged by the Koran, although the term is not explicitly explained in the Koran. Islam ensures religious freedom as one of the chief aims of the sharia. This is revealed in the concept of al-kulliyat al-khamsah, the five chief elements in the sharia, which comprise of: protecting religion (hifzah al-din), protecting reasoning (hifzh al-aql), protecting descendants (hifzh al-nashl), protecting wealth (hifzh al-mal), and protecting dignity (hifzh al-irdl). In hifzh al-din, the teaching of Islam ensures a persons freedom to embrace his or her religion. The Koran also affirms that, There is no compulsion in religion. Liberalism is also related to pluralism. Pluralism is a notion that acknowledges the plurality of reality. It encourages every person to realize and be in acquaintance with diversity in all aspects of life, such as religion, social affairs, culture, the political system, ethnicity, the local tradition, and many more. Plurality is a reality and what is more it has increasingly become a must with regard to todays development. This means that the society is motioning towards plurality. In order to regulate plurality to be productive, pluralism is required. It is due to the threat of fragmentation that a tolerant attitude and openness to mutually learn, and equality are needed of. Pluralism fosters harmony in the society and not conflict. With the notion of pluralism, every person is entitled to the same, just and equal freedom. However, it is also

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recommended to engage in a dialogue that is of reciprocal understanding, tolerant, and actively involved in building the civilization. Pluralism emerges as a notion that departs from differences, and not commonalities. Those who propagate pluralism automatically acknowledge

differences and commonalities. For this reason, the opinion that pluralism views all religions as the same is not only shallow, but also unfeasible because principally pluralism acknowledges differences. Pluralism has a lawful place in the religion Islam. Islam acknowledges all religions and faiths have rights to live and develop. Pluralism concedes that every religion and believer is entitled to the same right for existence. If all religions are considered noble, people will be propelled to learn from one another. In the absence of pluralism, one will only cling to ones own religion and will be reluctant to learn from the wisdom of other religions. It is true that a person who believes in a religion must be ascertained that his or her religion is the most true religion. However, on the other hand, there must be acknowledgement that every religion has its own sense of trueness. Progressive Muslim thinkers affirm that Islam encompasses affinity, i.e. there lies some truth that is the same as that of Judaism and Christianity. Thus, there is an affinity of truth from various religions that must also be acknowledged as a continuity of the Abraham tradition. The fact that Muslims or Christians have faith in their truth to be the truest of truth does not mean we look down or disapprove other religions. In unison, we must also be aware that another persons religion may also have that very same faith. Such social awareness is known as religious pluralism. And so, pluralism is a position, a faith, a way of life, a doctrine, a teaching or an ideology that acknowledges all religions to be authentic, valid, true and encompass values and potentials that transform the human attitude. Religions have a positive purpose to direct humans toward the holistic life known as salvation. Acknowledgement that all religions are noble paths toward salvation blessed by God should make them appreciated and none must undergo discrimination. In affirmation, pluralism acknowledges that every religion, which is authentic, is a unique path towards salvation.

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This book has given us the idea about the nonappearance of logical conflict between being faithful and being tolerant. It is in fact quite the opposite. Tolerance originates from true faith and should be a part of religious identity. Often, militancy and tolerance are placed on opposite poles, as it is impossible to have them as one unity: a militant person cannot be tolerant, and vice versa, a tolerant person cannot be militant. Militant tolerance is a perspective in which struggle to actualize interfaith tolerance is part of the battle of the true faith of religious citizens. The core purpose of Islam is as a blessing for the universe, in which seculars, and even atheists, will also experience this blessing. In other words, we do not have the rights to banish them from the face of this earth, except when they have

disturbed or violated the positive lawand even that, once again, in relation to the violation of the positive law that applies in nation and state life it should not become a religious affair but a state affair. (Rachman 2009: 179) Ahmad Syafii Maarif, Advisor to PP Muhammadiyah and founder of the Maarif Institute. He received his MA from Ohio University and his PhD from University of Chicago. He was the former Chair of PP Muhammadiyah for the period 2000-2004.

A true faith does not dehumanize humans from other groups by perceiving them as enemies, infidels or strays but fosters efforts to build mutual understanding. A person who is tolerant in a militant manner is a person that is not easily wavered WORKING TRANSLATION

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amid a pluralism of values, but becomes a laissez faire towards his or her own faith. He or she will attempt to discover cosmopolitan references from religiosity to support tolerance, and thus a situation that mutually fertilizes each and every faith is established. This is why pluralism encourages dynamics and propels every individual to learn a lesson from experiences of other believers. This book concludes that in order to attain true pluralism what is needed is courage from the Islamic world to engage in dialogue with the believers of other religions. Within this dialogue, humans will seek to mutually understand and appreciate one another. A productive dialogue will not take place when each of the participants is reluctant to open up and unwilling to give and take voluntarily and enthusiastically. An introvert attitude in dialogues is in fact not the true foundation of faith, but of instability. The purpose of dialogue on a doctrine level is shared growth and on a practical level is unity to overcome problems, such as natural disasters, war, lack of common sense, poverty, unemployment, health education by establishing social cooperation that concentrate on existing resources, time, skills, and science, so as to face problems more effectively. This will be successful when done together, compared to when done individually. In a democratic state every citizen, regardless of the religion and ethnicity, has equal position before the law. Differences are blessed by God not only for us to know one another, but within them explicitly lie a calling to exchange values of civilization to give and receive happiness. Liberal Islam is only an attempt to further understand this issue from a new approach and a more detailed one that is aligned with the challenges of todays modernity. The issue regarding Fundamental Islam remains the same: to answer their challenge by making them see that Liberal Islam is not a wrong path, and it will not meet a dead end. Typically, Fundamental Muslims emphasize on the claim why must Islam be liberalized?, isnt Islam already complete, perfect, universal and applies to every era? This type of polemic has existed since the past century, and

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has always become a tug-o-war issue between Liberal Muslims and Fundamental Muslims. However, in point of fact, a Muslim thinker cannot say no, and in the end must face the challenge of redefining Islam to face the world we live in today. Liberal Islam is one of the responses of the new ideas of the era. It is worthy of note to view hermeneutics from the interpretation of Liberal Muslims. In general, they employ an interpretation of suspicion in the sense of interpretation as an exercise of suspicionsuspecting traditional thought. And this is implemented in how they read and interpret the sharia. There are three ways taken up by Liberal Muslims in reading the shariaas once proposed by Charles Kurzman, and then followed by many Progressive-Liberal Muslims in Indonesia(1) Liberal sharia (sharia that is liberal); (2) Silent sharia (sharia that remains silent regarding this issue); (3) Interpreted sharia (sharia that needs reinterpretation). These three terms are thought provoking, because until now there has never been any sharp categorization in reading the sharia. This shows us how even among liberals, disagreements in interpreting Islam can occurin which everyone claims to be in pursuit of the authenticity of Islam. With regard to liberalism in Islam, questions always come from Western thinkers, such as how liberal are these Liberal Muslims? What is Liberal Islam like? Can the liberalness of the Muslim community be compared to the liberalness of the West? For example, the West accepts the position among humans to be equal as stipulated in the notion of Human Rights (HR), thus can Islam also acknowledge something like this? For example, another issue that is related to interfaith relations is can Islam introduce the other as the same in the capacity of humanity, and not as in a group, like in the concept of ahl al-kitab. Here, there is a new challenge, particularly on Huma Rights. Abdullahi an-Naima contemporary Muslim thinker once said that today the Islamic sharia faces a great dilemma between becoming authoritarian (because it implements notions that is inapt with todays vision), or opting for secularism (by instantly adopting the Western liberalism). And yet, it is said the Muslim community actually needs a win-to-win solution that is hard to come WORKING TRANSLATION

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upon without having a basic transformation in theology, i.e. democratic sharia. But can we build a democratic sharia? This is the challenge of Liberal Islam that was previously analyzed in this book. In the mean time, in addition to the inevitable challenges of the era, the Muslim community also needs to maintain authenticity. The question is when we intend to be liberal, does the Koran command this or not? And so, the issue of authenticity becomes very significant. Liberal Muslims generally find it necessaryin the process of establishing a Progressive Islamic thoughtto reveal what is known as authenticity. That is efforts to return to the main sources of reference of Islam, such as the Koran and the Sunna; also in conducting revitalization toward the philosophy of Islam. This is the reason why they care about the shariathis is different than the definition of Radical Islam on the sharia. It is also unlike what is imagined by the fundamentalists that when one is liberal one no longer cares about the sharia. From what has been proposed earlier, in relation to the sharia, there are at least three models of readings or hermeneutics that belong to Liberal Islam. The first model is liberal sharia. Those who are in this category state that the sharia itself is naturally liberal, when understood correctly. The argument put forward by the followers of liberal sharia is usually that from the very beginning Islam already has solutions for the problems that we face today as an issue of contemporary Islam. For example, appreciation over the plurality of religions, Islam has a unique experience, perhaps even the first of its time that is formulated in the Medina Charter. In conversing the issue of social-politics, they often underline the liberal verses of the Koran. Another example, khutbah al-wada (the Prophets last sermon) or what is elaborated as the pioneer of the notion of Human Rightswas established before the Universal Declaration on Human Rights. Liberal sharia to a great extent underscores the importance of authenticity and this explains whey they are always looking for support from verses of the Koran and the Hadith to reinforce their notions of Liberal Islam. They are assured that being liberal is part of Gods commandmentand so it is the commandment of religion. For instance, Nurcholish WORKING TRANSLATION

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Madjid often said, The Muslim community themselves are sometimes more conservative than the Koran! At times, the argument put forward by the followers of liberal sharia is apologetic by saying that the liberalism of Islam came before Western liberalism. For example, the notion of democracy that is transformed in the thought of liberal sharia. They apologized by saying that in Islambefore Western democracy existed democratic values had already subsisted. The main theme of liberal sharia is enthusiasm in showing the liberalness of Islam, particularly the issue of democracy, or furthermore issues surrounding social-political problems, such as the civil society, and human rights. Regarding the issue of interfaith pluralism, they are often capable of showing the liberalness of Islamic teaching. They agree with the opinion that the closer it is to the Prophets era, Islam becomes increasingly tolerant. The closer it is to the center (in Middle East), the increasingly tolerant Islam becomes. Alsoand this is what is most importantit gets increasingly closer to the essential meaning of the Koran, Islam becomes more tolerant, and provides space toward diversity. Liberal sharia is customarily vulnerable toward the attacks of Radical Muslims that claim that they have compromised Islam with the teaching of Western secularism. Whatever existed in the West was adapted, and then customized into Islam by seeking verses that reinforce them. However, even so, the issue among the followers of liberal sharia is not as controversial as others (silent sharia and interpreted sharia). Silent sharia attempts to build the authenticity of Islam based on the assumption that the Islamic sharia does not speak much about contemporary issuesfor example the six issues of Liberal Islam above. The person who pioneered the issue regarding this in Indonesia, for instance, is Harun Nasution. He asserted that not all problems are discussed in the Koran. The number of verses in the Koran is (only) around 6000, but those that regulate social life only reach up to around 500, which is very little. And so, it is understandable that many social-political issues today are not covered by the Koran. Because sharia does not speak anything about modern issues, according to them, it is possible to think about it creatively. WORKING TRANSLATION

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Particularly when dealing with mualamah issueswhen we use the language of Islamic jurisprudencethat are issues related to social life, which indeed requires new creativity. Creativity is not allowed when it comes to prayer. They believe that the Muslim community should be sensitive and responsive toward changes that occurred due to the development of the era. A most expressive example is Ali Abd al-Raziq, when he spoke about the absence of a notion about the state obliged by Islam. He strengthened a notion against theocracy. According to him, the sharia never spoke about the state. For this reason, we are allowed to think about (for example) liberal democracy for Islamic states. The thought regarding the form of an Islamic state did transpire post the colonialism and post the destruction of the Turkish Empire. Afterwards, no caliphates existed, and this forced the Muslim nation to rethink the form of the state: Kingdom? Republic? Islamic Republic? Liberal? Socialist? And so on. According to the silent sharia, religion never specifically regulated state affairs. For this reason, the Muslim community is allowed to think of a notion of a modern statewhich emerges from the philosophy of politics. When the sharia does not speak about many issuesor what we now call as modern issuesthis does not mean that God forgot. Claims from fundamentalists and radicals toward the silent sharia are because they consider that the silent sharia assumes God forgot about this issue. For example, why state affairs are not regulated in the Koran, or in sacred texts? Radical Muslims say that If Islam regulates how Muslims enter the bath roomfor example step in with the left foot, and step out with the right foot, the prayer, and so onit seems ridiculous that Islam does not regulate about the state; an issue that is fundamental for the life of society? Silent sharia sometimes relies on the Koran, but they do not have a heavy burden that is related to proving these holy texts (such as the Koran and Hadith) because they say that the true sharia does in fact not regulate all the issues related to life norms. Silent sharia considers the Koran to speak more about moral and spiritual issues than details about social and political life.

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According to silent sharia, in fact in the Holy Scripture, there are also themes that are not liberal, such as possession of slaves, ransom of prisoners of war, amputation of certain body parts of perpetrators. In facing this kind of problem, silent sharia opens a space for interpretation, which brings outor will be worked on by another group that is interpreted sharia. Towards an issue like this, the Sudanese Muslim thinker, Muhammad Mahmud Thaha, for example, attempted to seek an understanding of the Koran that is seen as something that always has a context. Mahmud Thaha called the verses that were revealed in Medina as the First Message. However, the purpose is not on the First Message but on the Second Message which was revealed in Meccaand not Medinathat is more egalitarian, humanist, and visionary. All social religious issues must be interpreted in this manner. Looking at the way Liberal Islam is read, the most controversial hermeneutics is the way of the interpreted sharia where the sharia, according to them, needs to be reinterpreted. And from the perspective of the West themselves this group is the one most closest to the sensibility of liberalism in the West. However, this group is to a great extent controversial, even though in the end, it is through them that the pursuit of the authenticity of Islam can be seen. In general, theywho in this book are called Progressive Muslimsput forward an epistemology that affirms the necessity of diversity by interpreting religious texts. And so, there is not only one Islam, because in reality there are many Islam. The religion Islam itself is a clear revelation that is the One. The truth is One, but the One Truth is always read and understood in different ways. For this reason, there is a diversity in understanding. It is very necessary to allow disagreement in an interpretation, if we would like to revive the spirit in Islamic thought. And so, they defend understanding on truth that requires dialogue. The word dialogue means to continuously study religion, not as a noun, but as a verb. For this reason, they support democratic acts in religion, because democracy is an acceptance of the different opinions in interpreting religion. Especially when they consider religion has been mediated by interpretation. The sharia does not come down straight from Allah, but the sharia is always the

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interpretation of humans. Development of the science of sharia is also a formative process. This is why theythe interpreted sharia grouptry to do interpretation. In general, Progressive Muslim thinkers in a Muslim state are part of this group. Their issue in particular (that is controversial) is the issue of the pluralism of interpretation. And in general, the concern of interpreted shariaover the claims of Fundamental and Radical Muslimsis to be called an apostate. Radical Muslims when annoyed by the liberal thinkers from the interpreted sharia usually call them apostate. Like Nasr Hamid Abu Zaid from Egypt (now a professor at Leiden) who was once called a apostate, because of his very liberal perspective on the hermeneutics of the Koran. He then left Egypt, and moved and taught at University of Leiden. The emergence of the idea of the

pluralism

departs

from

assumption that religions are not the same and because of that pluralism is needed to answer the reality of the society that is plural. Because there is a reality that is plural in the society, we need to act in a pluralist manner that is accepting and appreciating this plural reality. This is the message brought by pluralism. (Rachman 2009: 309) Djohan Effendi, former Chair of the Indonesian Conference on Religion and Peace (ICRP), Jakarta. He was once the Staff of the Secretary General of the Ministry of Religious Affairs (1973-1978) and former Minister of State Secretary (2000-2001).

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The themes that are discussed in Liberal Islam thought in pursuit of the authenticity of Islam are: first, interpretation that is against theocracy, a theme which until today remains controversial. The issue of an Islamic state is in fact very modernthis means, during the time of the Prophet there was never any debates on whether an Islamic state was needed or not. However, when the concept of state was founded, and a new definition on modern governance was found, then people began to think of a state that is Islamic. And so, the issue of statesuch as an Islamic stateis in fact related to the new development of the Islamic World postcolonialism, and not an issue based on an eternal sharia that is permanent. The theme against theocracythat is related to secularismis usually talked about in a silent sharia manner. The second theme supports the notion of democracy which is usually talked about in a liberal sharia manner. The liberal sharia group supports the notion of democracy by considering that Islam already has democratic values that are inherent in the doctrine of religion, even though the form is still very simpleand is usually elaborated through the traditional concept of syura. The third theme, regarding women rights, is related to the interpretation of Liberal Muslims on the issue of genderor feminism. An issuethat when confronted with Fundamental and Radical Muslimsis entrenched with controversy. Unlike democracy that has already been interpreted liberally, related to the issue of gender equality and defense over women rights, Liberal Muslims must fight against the interpretation of statements in the Koran that all this time in tradition has been interpreted with a misogynistic approach (prejudice of hatred toward women) in the patriarchal culture. As if the Koran has affirmed gender inequality between men and women. For example, multi-marriage for men, mens rights to divorce wives, rights of inheritance of men that is bigger, a larger authority in the witness of the law by men, traditions related to veil or hijab, gender segregation, inappropriateness for women to become leaders and so on. This issue of inequality in tradition has received legitimation of truth from the Koran. Liberal Muslims who fought for this theme struggle to create a new interpretation, and theybecause they are faced with sacred texts that have been believed to justify the inequality of genderas a result WORKING TRANSLATION

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cannot take a liberal sharia position. Their position is to restudy comprehensively, and thus the model of hermeneutics for interpreted sharia was born. They then did something that possibly opposes the literal meaning of the text of the Koran. Or they might even have to reread the Koran. The fourth theme is about the rights of non-Muslims. I believe that this issue has received a great attention and is very controversial when confronted with the older perspective that theologically is exclusive. One of the controversies is the speech given by Nurcholish Madjid at Taman Ismail Marzuki in 2002 which proposed an understanding of Islam that is hanifiyah samhaha notion that diversity must not be seen from its formal diversity, but more from its substance that is the outlook of the heart towards the Divine in the sense of religiosity aspects. Today, many people have tried to plunge into these interfaith issues by building a theology of Islam that is pluralist. Even some thinkers have already thought about the possibility of building theology of religions. The most important question in this issue is: Is there salvation in other religions? Is it true that in our religion there is no place for other religions? The notion of pluralism serves as the heart of this issue. And today, many Muslim thinkers are increasingly aware that religiosity must consider other religions. Moreover, being religious today means being interreligious. For this reason, all religious concepts in Islam that have been known to encompass injustice, inequality, as well as judgment over others among fellow people who have faith in Allah need to be reviewed. It is quite often we use the following anecdote: in fact Islam appreciates religious freedom, even towards infidels as long as they do not disturb the Muslim community. They even have the freedom to worship their God guaranteed. However, when a person has embraced Islam, that person becomes entrapped and no longer has the freedom to leave Islam. If a person leaves Islam, he will receive the stigma apostate, and this means that person will be under the riddah law, and may be killed. This type of Islamic jurisprudence today has become a lengthy debate. And the standard used by Progressive Muslims is the benchmark of Human Rights, particularly regarding religious freedom. Also issues, such as the old concept of dar al-Islam and dar al-harb, the Islam territory and the war territory. In the Islamic WORKING TRANSLATION

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jurisprudence, it is stated that outside the area of Islamthe war areaanyone can do anything. It is so extreme that often Radical Muslims apply daar al-harb to places that are not Islam. If it has reached such extreme levels, it becomes justification of a notion, which in fact cannot be justified by religion. However, we find such arguments in certain Islamic groups that apply the argument of the old Islamic jurisprudence that does not consider the others. For that, many Islamic thinkers today are beginning to think whether the categories of the old theology that we have regarding interfaith relations are still relevant? The fifth relation, regarding freedom of mind, is very important because it is associated to the actualization of the old concept on ijtihad. And today, ijtihad needs to be reemphasized as an important motor so that religion becomes dynamic, and responsive to issues of progress, in which the acceptance of the notion of progress becomes the sixth issue. This issue of freedom of the mind is generally managed into liberal sharia. Progressive Muslim liberals agree that freedom of the mind is part of the precondition of progress for a society. A society that is shackled and is forbidden to propose opinions is a fixated society that has no future. For this reason, a liberalization movement is needed to make text, mind and civilization balanced. The dialectic between the three is without question. If not, the Islamic World will once again fall into stagnation and rigidity. In the richness of the Islamic intellectual, the concept freedom has been long known. In the tradition of Islamic philosophy itself there is freedom of the mind that seeks to provide an alternative for orthodox understanding. For example, the tasawuf discipline identifies the doctrine of freedom. This discipline puts forward freedom in understanding the text of the Holy Scripture. Because of this, the roots of liberalism in Islam can be traced to two disciplines. They are philosophy and tasawuf. Philosophy provides an intellectual and rational foundation, while tasawuf provides a spiritual foundation. The generic meaning of the word liberal itself is freedom. And Islam is freedom. Islam provides space to think freely. Monotheism itself is no other than WORKING TRANSLATION

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liberalization over the shackles of polytheism and nature. This means that liberalism has in fact occurred for a long time in Islam. Based on this, humans need to be given space to express their freedom. In this context, liberalism becomes a positive notion. Liberalism in Islam is a desire to bridge the past and the present. The bridge is reinterpretations so that Islam becomes a living religion. For this reason, we live in a dynamic and forever changing religion. To make religion always remain relevant, we need a new perspective, or a new way of interpretation in viewing and understanding religion. We need to reinterpret so that there is sustainability between Islam in the past and Islam in the present. In its extensive sense, in order to resolve the complexity of issues that are entrenched with discourses, we require a liberating interpretation technique, an interpretation that will serve as the blade of analysis to view the problems of humanities, consider culture, reduce reliance on a certain historical reality and make religious doctrines as an ethical source of change. Now in order to face absolutism, liberalism is the most effective strategy to face the problems of absolutism and religious totalitarianism. It is liberalism that can protect and maintain religious balance, because thinking liberally, rationally and critically is something that cannot be disregarded in the pursuit of aspiration and progress. Liberalism is a perspective that aims to reveal humans true position, with their rights and liberty in this life. One of the purposes of Islam is to provide peace for the souls of those who follow the religion with a guarantee over each persons freedom to perform their prayers safely and peacefully. According to progressive thinkers, as elaborated above, all religions have the same freedom in believing a religion, the same freedom in expressing an opinion and the very same freedom in running the mission of religion. Every believer of a religion and a faith must receive the right protection that is aligned with the law and the agreed consensus regardless of the religion. Particularly in a state that adopts a democratic system in which every citizen is entitled to the same right.

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