Prof. Dr. Haedar Nashir, MSi
Indonesian Muslims are such great force in this country and in the Islamic world because the very large number and diverse as well as a more moderate character with relatively safe and peaceful living conditions. This positive circumstances certainly needs to be appreciated as a gift of God that must be utilized to achieve grat progress in all aspects. So that Indonesian Muslim can be khayra ummah. Not only large in number or quantity and cultural attributes but also excel on quality in all aspects of life.
The excess quantity and moderate character of Indonesian Muslims in the eyes of the world sometimes looked in an excessive quality, as if Muslims in this country are perfect and have become determinants of world civilization. So often even turned into a commodity that shows the ananiyah hizbiyah, as if we are all good and others are bad. Indonesian Muslims seem to have transformed into the best people on earth by building that perception, while at the same time tend to denigrate the Muslim nation in the Middle East or other countries. Such excessive pride and such rhetoric emerge through national and international speeches and seminars, as if Indonesian Muslims are truly superior.
Though honestly must be admitted, that in fact things are still far behind. Although large in number, the majority of muslims are still left behind or not yet advanced in the economic and scientific fields as a primary indicators of the progress of civilization
Poverty and social inequality are still part of the everyday life. In politics Muslims also not yet become independent and a decisive force, or can be seen more as a complement to sufferers. Many other Muslim countries, including in the Middle East, are superior in a number of aspects, especially economics, science and technology, and other developments. Some countries such as Syria and Yemen as well as Egypt, Iraq, Libya, and others are indeed being hit by The Arab Spring and due to hegemony of external forces; but that does not mean their stuggle are finished. We must empathize insted of showing off on the tragedy of our brothers in those countries.
Islam in Indonesia
Islam in Indonesian archipelago, has historically existed and developed in a long and through diversed set of process, and it wasn’t done overnight. Instead, it has involved countless ulama who has spread Islam through dakwah. Islam in Indonesia is not only single and linear in character, it has grown through the dynamics of continuity and change and has been undergoing the continuous formation since the seventh or thirteenth century until today. Islam will continue to experience ups and downs according to the theory of change which is entirely written in history.
The experts has examined the diversity of processes and actors of Islamization in this country dialectically. At the time of its spread to Indonesia, Islam has dealt with the Indonesian culture at that time which relied on the stratum of the peasant community that was heavily influenced by animist beliefs (Dobbin, 2008: 185). Islam came to Indonesia when Hinduism was deeply entrenched in the local community. the process of “Hinduisasi” or more precisely “Indianization” has taken place mainly on the island of Java, which penetrated deeply and left a very enduring mark (Benda, 1974: 36). Islamization in Indonesia has been done through the socio-cultural and socio-economic processes carried out by Muslim propagators and merchants in the archipelago (Kartodirjo, 1993: 7).
The presence of Islamic organizations at the beginning of the 20th century is a chain of a long, broad and multi-layered Islamic history in a more modern and organized style. Such as the birth and presence of Islamic organizations like Jami’atul Khair (1905), Sarikat Dagang Islam (1905), Sarekat Islam (1911), Muhammadiyah (1912), Al-Irshad (1914), Islamic Unity (1923), and Nahdlatul Ulama (1926), and other Islamic organizations spread throughout Indonesia.
The first Women’s Congress in 1928, where ‘Aisyiyah – Muhammadiyah women’s organization was one of the initiators and organizers, was the starting point for the rise of Indonesian women and eventually became an integral part of the national movement. All of them shared the struggle for the formation of the development and progress of the Muslim community and the Indonesian people who continued with the presence of Islamic movements afterwards until now.
Therefore it doesn’t seem right if islam in Indonesia is narrowed or reduced in the format of Islam nusantara only with a singular style. Including either only for moderates or mere relying on cultural insight of the archipelago
Islam Nusantara if it is attributed to the past Indonesian Islam, it is definitely not singular, but also diverse and dynamic. Its followers weren’t only the trustees with mythological-laden characters, but very diverse, among the most prominent were the merchants.
Thus the Islam Nusantara or more comprehensive Indonesian Islam is very diverse and dynamic, not singular and traditionalistic. These complex and dynamic elements in the past acquired its character from the presence of Muslim merchants who acted as preachers and movers of Islam and from reforming Islamic figures and movements that have spread the progressive seeds in the body of Muslims from the past to the present. This diverse and dynamic style is what further attributes Indonesia Islam!
Indonesian Muslims, is growing to become the majority in this country, with the proportion according to the Central Statistics Agency 87.21% of the total population in 2010. This large number is certainly a gift of God as a result of the long struggle of the propagators or mujahids from diverse and widespread call from Aceh to Papua throughout the Indonesian archipelago. The Islamization process also moves culturally so that it generally breeds moderate people as a result of long adaptations, struggles and involvement of all elements that are widespread in this country.
Indonesian Muslims should not show excessive arrogance and pride. Muslims in particular and the Indonesian people in general still have to work hard to improve their competitiveness in the face of people in other nations. The ability to improve the competitiveness with people and other nations, including the neighboring countries in the current era of the Asean Economic Community. In a number of ways we are still behind Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand. Indonesia which is predominantly Muslim is more often equated with Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar.
The majority of Muslims at the grassroots are still more positioned as an object than a subject. We’re still asking for help if we want to build a mosque and other infrastructures, because there are not so many people that are independent. So the question arises, what can be contributed to the international world especially the Islamic world when Indonesian Muslims are still weak like that? Like the sound of a frog that is loud, but can not do much except jumping on its place.
Speaking grandiose is certainly easy, but standing in the real world to push the progress of the people is really not easy and requires maximum hard work
If through international forums or seminars and so on we can easily declare ourselves as the best ummah or people. Similarly, to show the the great number is easy. Especially when associated with melancholy of cultural issues, so many are feeling superior and ahead of others. But are Indonesian Muslims truly superior and highly competitive?
The Prophet’s said, “Ibda’-bi-nafsika,” or start with yourself. Islamic leaders and organizations must be honest in looking at themselves. Indonesian Muslims still have to struggle to build their quality, including their competitiveness in the economic field and the advancement of science and technology. Dont look away from the people who are still experiencing many difficulties in life, low economy, formal education is not yet accessible for several people, and left behind in many aspects of life. If Muslim want to act as rahmatan lil-‘alamin and become an example for the Islamic world, then Muslim shoud be strong and independent in order to be uswah hasanah. How can we possibly take care of others if our own homes are not well taken care of.
The majority of people in this country must put forward concrete steps to build independence and competitiveness through various empowerment programs. Muslim should improve the quality of human resources through the best and highly competitive education, develop resilient and alternative micro and small economic businesses. To build various facilities and infrastructure to make people easier to gain access and to be productive. If Muslim own sufficiently strong capital in all fields and the high competitiveness, Muslim will certainly be able to emerge as a great and giant power.
Indonesian Muslims must prove themselves as great ummah in all aspects of life. Even if it has certain advantages, it is not appropriate to show arrogance accompanied by attitudes that appear to humiliate Arab and Middle Eastern Muslims, even others. All Muslim countries and nations have their own advantages and problems, so what must be put forward is ukhuwah and easing each other’s burdens. Our strengths not suppose to make Muslim arrogant and overly confident. At the same time, Muslim should contemplate and reflect, is it true that Indonesian Muslims have become great ummah? How is exactly the internal condition of Muslims in this country? Do not let yourself to be fed by the ambitious to export Islam to foreign countries, but the internal situation itself is still far from good. As the Arabic proverb says: “faqir asy-syai la yu’thi”, which means “if we nothing we might not be able to give!”.
Source: SM Magazine 2016/11th edition