Jumat, 13 Mei 2016

Democracy, Religious Diversity, and Blasphemy Law in Indonesia by Prof. Noorhaidi Hasan MA, M.Phil, P.Hd

Indonesia has evolved to be one of the most democratic Muslim countries in the world. The story began with the demise of Suharto’s New Order authoritarian regime in 1998 that heralded a freedom of expression. Despite its success in undertaking the whole process of democratic transition, Indonesia by no means has encountered no challenge in transforming its political landscape. The biggest challenge was related to the rise of militant Islamist groups that engulfed the political arena of Indonesia by calling for jihad and other violent actions. Interestingly, although these groups have lost their momentum to take control over the Indonesian public sphere along with the on-going democratic consolidation and global war on terror, violent discourses and actions continue resonating. Demonstrations organised by conservative Muslim groups, including the Indonesian Muslim Solidarity Forum (Forum Solidaritas Umat Islam) and the Anti-Apostasy Movement Alliance (Aliansi Gerakan Anti Pemurtadan), erupted against minority religious groups. They threatened to close and burn down a dozen churches deemed illegal and suspected to be the headquarters where hidden Christianisation projects are taking place. Conflicts occurred not only between religious groups, but also within religious groups. Key examples of conflict occurring within religious groups include recent attacks on Ahmadiyya and Shiite communities in several Indonesian provinces.
The growing tide of religious conflicts and violence against minorities after Suharto seems inseparable from the failure of Reformasi to touch upon the fundamental issue of reforming the state’s management of religious diversity that requires democracy as a precondition for it to develop. Without a significant touch on this issue, the position of religion  vis-a-vis  democracy  has  remained  problematic  for  religion  is  at  the intersection of a struggle between state, society and political forces. Individuals, groups and political forces thereby compete to represent the right to define boundaries in support of their organized claims and delegitimize those of others. The matter takes more urgency as democracy necessitates sustained responsibility of individuals, groups and the state to promote fundamental values, notions, and principles which are essential for democracy. As Almond and Verba (1989: 340-345) have put it, there is a strong correlation between successful democratization of a country and democratic culture and structure of polity. From this point of view, democratic culture is an amalgamation of freedom and participation on the one hand, and norms and attitudes on the other. It is rooted in a civic culture that features high levels of social trust, civicness, mutual cooperation and responsibility.

This paper will look at how the explosion of militant religious activism and violence against minorities in post-Suharto Indonesia is embedded in the state’s failure to apply a proper management of religious diversity and civic pluralism. In the bottom of this issue lies controvertial Law No. 1 of 1965 on the prevention of the abuse or insulting of a religion, known as the Blasphemy Law. Debates have abounded on the extent to which the Law has transgressed the principles of religious freedom guaranteed by the Indonesian Constitution. This paper will thus also examine petitions filed by human rights activists and civil society organizations to demand judicial reviews of the Law before the Constitutional Court.

*full article: Please contact atullaina.blogspot.co.id

Rabu, 11 Mei 2016

ABSTRAK: Bimbingan Kelompok untuk Meningkatkan Kemampuan Parenting Kaum Ibu dalam Membangun Karakter Anak (Sebuah Alternatif Model Dakwah) by Dr. LILIS SATRIAH, M.Pd.

Tujuan utama dakwah adalah menyeru manusia agar memiliki karakter yang baik atau berakhlak mulia. Adapun terbentuknya akhlak atau karakter terjadi pada masa usia dini melalui proses pengasuhan oleh orang tua atau parenting. Parenting memegang peranan yang sangat penting dalam membentuk karakter dan kepribadian anak, maka untuk dapat menghasilkan anak-anak yang memiliki karakter yang baik atau berakhlak mulia anak-anak harus mendapat pengasuhan yang baik. Oleh karena itu diperlukan para orang tua terutama kaum ibu yang memiliki kemampuan parenting yang baik. Akan tetapi realitas menunjukkan bahwa kaum ibu di Kota Bandung sebagian besar memiliki kemampuan parenting yang kurang baik. Hal tersebut ditandai dengan banyaknya orang tua yang masih menggunakan pola asuh atau tipe parenting otoriter yaitu sebanyak 86,7%. 

Fenomena rendahnya kemampuan parenting kaum ibu di kota Bandung tersebut, mendasari perlu disusunnya model dakwah yang efektif dalam meningkatkan kemampuan parenting orang tua. Sebab jika para orang tua dibiarkan melakukan pengasuhan dengan tipe otoriter, maka akan terbentuk anak-anak yang memiliki karkakter dan kepribadiaan yang kurang baik. Padahal karakter atau akhlak mulia merupakan fondasi penting terbentuknya tatanan masyarakat yang aman damai dan tentram.

Bimbingan kelompok yang dalam isyad (Bimbingan Konseling Islam) dikenal dengan layanan fi’ah qolillah belum banyak digunakan dalam kegiatan dakwah. Maka peneliti mencoba menyusun program bimbingan kelompok untuk meningkatkan kemampuan parenting orang tua yang terdiri dari delapan sesi, dengan pokok bahasan: (1) Teknik memantau perilaku anak, (2) Berkomunikasi efektif dengan anak, (3) Menetapkan aturan dan batasan, (4) Menegakkan aturan tanpa benturan, (5) Menstimulasi tugas perkembangan anak, (6) Menjadi pendengar yang baik, (7) Bahasa Kasih, dan (8) Pujian efektif. Setelah melalui serangkaian uji coba model diperoleh hasil bahwa bimbingan kelompok yang dalam kegiatan isyad dikenal dengan dakwah fi’ah qolillah terbukti efektif meningkatkan kemampuan parenting para ibu yang ditandai dengan terjadinya perubahan pola asuh dari otoriter menjadi autoritatif. Maka model ini menjadi model dakwah pertama yang menggunakan metode bimbingan kelompok/ fiah qolillah sebagai salah satu strategi dakwah terhadap kaum ibu.

Islam in Post-Soviet Central Asia by Prof., Dr. Shirin Akiner

(This article was The Search For A Rational Balance Between Religiosity And Secularity In The Post-Soviet Muslim States)

Post-Soviet Islam

When the Central Asian states gained independence at the end of 1991 there was much speculation, within the region and abroad, as to the possible impact of the “Islamic factor” on politics and society. The outbreak of civil strife in Tajikistan in 1992 seemed to many to be proof positive that a wave of rampant “Islamic fundamentalism” had been unleashed in the region. The opposing Tajik factions were described as “Islamists” and “neo-Communists”, and the conflict was depicted in terms of a religious war. As the situation unfolded, however, a more complex picture emerged. Islam was undoubtedly a factor, but by no means the sole cause of the conflict. Rather, it was an aggravating feature in the struggle for power that broke out between the different regional groupings as soon as Moscow’s grip weakened2 . Despite fears of an over-spill effect, the experience of Tajikistan was not repeated in the other states.

Nevertheless, the theory that the “Islamic factor” is the key to the politics of Central Asia is still widely held. Yet any serious debate of the issue is greatly impeded by the fact that very little concrete information is available. In the few instances where field research has been carried out, it has been based on relatively small samples. There are huge regional variations in the historical experience of Islam, as well as in contemporary socio-economic indicators (for example, levels of urbanisation, rates of demographic increase, educational standards, geographic mobility and ethnic heterogeneity). Consequently, it would be misleading to make sweeping generalisations on the basis of such a narrow range of evidence.

To complicate matters further, researchers who have worked in the same area, at approximately the same period, often come to very different conclusions. Given these problems, it is virtually impossible to gain a comprehensive overview of the situation. Nevertheless, some common trends can be identified, though they vary in scope and intensity from state to state, and also from area to area within a single state. They represent an evolution of the tendencies that emerged in the 1980s, but in a more intense and segmented form. They fall into three main categories; these can be described as “traditional” Islam, “government-sponsored” Islam and “radical” Islam. 

The term “traditional” Islam is used here to describe the conservative, overall rather passive attitude to religion that continues to characterise the outlook of the great majority of Central Asian Muslims. As most observers would agree (including fellow Muslims from abroad), Islam here is still perceived more as an ethnic definition than as a religious allegiance. There is a strong sense of obligation “to maintain the traditions of forefathers”. This may be expressed in a variety of ways, encompassing different degrees of religious observance. For a few, it involves a strict performance of the prescribed rituals. Others tend to affirm their Islamic identity in a more cursory, symbolic fashion. Moreover, there is still great attachment to popular practices which, though understood as being Islamic, are contrary to orthodox teachings. Yet whatever the level or form of active participation in religion, the emphasis tends to be on preserving continuity rather than searching for enlightenment, or for a deeper understanding of the faith. 

This situation may be changing, albeit slowly. In the immediate aftermath of independence there was a great upsurge of enthusiasm for mosque construction. In Kyrgyzstan, for example, there were only 34 mosques open for worship in 1987, but about 1000 in 1994; in Uzbekistan, in the same period, the number rose from 87 to 3,000 3 . The same phenomenon was to be observed in the other Central Asian states. Moreover, many Muslim schools and madrasas were opened and courses were provided for children and adults in the study of Arabic, the Qur’an, and related religious topics. 

The physical closeness of places of worship encouraged people to attend services on a regular basis and in the early 1990s mosque congregations grew rapidly. By about 1994, however, the novelty was beginning to wear off and a marked drop in attendance was to be observed throughout the region. Since then, there appears to have been a gradual recovery, particularly in the south. Some researchers claim that this is happening mainly in villages, among males in the 17 to 25 year-old age group. Others insist that it is more typical of traders and businessmen in urban areas, i.e. the emerging entrepreneurial class. University students are also said to be showing an interest in the faith4 . There are no corroborated statistics available on this trend, so it is impossible to judge how strong or how widespread it is, but that there is some shift in this direction seems to be beyond dispute. 

Government-sponsored Islam 

“Government-sponsored” Islam in post-Soviet Central Asia is a continuation of the attempt to co-opt religion to serve the needs of the state that marked official policies towards Islam in the late 1980s. Today, the Constitutions of all the Central Asian countries enshrine the principle of the division of religion and state. Yet throughout the region Islam has been elevated to a status akin to that of a state ideology. This seems to have been prompted by the conviction that unless urgent action was taken to fill the ideological vacuum left by the discrediting of Marxism-Leninism, anarchy would

Selasa, 10 Mei 2016

On the Issue of Supreme Authority in Islam by Dr. Stanislav Prozorov

The issue of supreme authority has been and still remains one of the key problems in the theory and practice of Islam. It was precisely this problem of authority that led to the partition of the early Muslim community into Kharijites, Shi‘ites, and Sunnites, which had an enormous impact on the formation of the religious-political ideology of Islam and on the political destiny of the entire Islamic world. Various interpretations of the nature of authority (hukm) took shape over time as principally different doctrines of supreme authority. Kharijites insisted on communal rule and the unconditional election of the head of the community; shi‘ites supported the divine nature of authority predetermined in the dynasty of caliph ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib (656-661); the middle path between collective and divine sources of authority was presented by the theory and practice of Sunnites, who formally recognised the elective nature of the head of the community-state, but limited the circle of candidates to the kin of Prophet Muhammad (Al Muhammad).1 The history of the Islamic world bears witness to continued attempts to realise different models of supreme rule in practice.

An essential part of the issue of supreme authority in Islam is the correlation between religion and secularism, religious conviction and politics. Due to historical conditions (in particular, the theocratic nature of the rule of the Prophet Muhammad) Islam as a religious system has acquired characteristic features distinct from other religions. Among them is the indivisibility of religion and politics, dogma and law. From this stems the multi-faceted role of Islam in Muslim societies, as well as its structural diversity, apparent in all spheres of social life. The practice of the Prophet Muhammad (Sunna) based on the unity of the religious and secular branches of power has been always manifested as an ideal “Islamic rule” (al-wilaya al-islamiya). The theocratic-authoritarian character of the Prophet Muhammad’s rule was expressed through the concentration of all authoritative social functions in his hands. He was not only a prophet, the supreme religious authority providing guidance for spiritual aspects of life in the Muslim community (umma) on behalf of Allah, but also a military commander, arbiter, treasurer, etc. Yet after the death of the Prophet Muhammad, who ruled over the community by the direct order of Allah (through the Revelations – wahy), the community was headed by men (khulafa’), who neither possessed nor claimed to possess such divine guidance. It became clear to the followers (sahaba) of the Prophet Muhammad that worldly affairs would be managed by a civil authority: the ruler-amir. Disputes between the Meccan and Medinan followers of the Prophet – muhajirs and ansars – concerned only which of them would be chosen amir. The election of Abu Bakr as-Siddiq (632-634) as caliph – “deputy Messenger of Allah” (khalifat rasul Allah) bears witness to this. The division of authoritative functions (court, finance) and their distribution among other mukhajirs also took place at that time.

With the Prophet Muhammad’s death (in 632) the prophecy (nubuwwa; he – khatim al-anbiya’, “The Seal of the prophets”) ceased, and with it, theocratic rule. In fact, a division of power occurred.

The image of Muhammad as a prophet and ideal ruler inspired Muslims to collect and interpret information about his words and deeds (hadith) and promoted the study of the divine Revelation (al-Qur’an), which led to the formation of a class of religious authorities – muhaddiths, qaris, mufassirs (Qur’an readers and commentators) and faqihs. It was these Muslim theologians and jurists (‘ulama’), not caliphs, who formed public opinion on religious matters.

The confrontation between the two branches of power continued throughout almost the enitre history of Islam – theologians attempted to subordinate caliphs, while the latter, on their side, strove to control religious affairs. Formally, caliphs symbolised the unity of religious and secular authority, but in fact they did not have a real impact on the religious aspect of public life. This was proved by the unsuccessful attempts of the ‘Abbasid caliphs al-Ma’mun (813-833, with interruption) and al-Qadir (991-1031) to legalise certain systems of dogma in the ‘Abbasid Caliphate (750-1258). In spite of the universal Islamic ideal of the unity of religious and secular rule, the paths of religion and state in fact diverged.

The idea of the indivisibility of spiritual and secular authority concentrated in the hands of the Muslim community’s leader (amir al-mu’minin) was more consistently defended for centuries by shi‘ites, who believed in the divine nature of authority and the divine selection of its possessor. The doctrine of the Imamate as a supreme authority, consisting of the principal regulations of shi‘ia dogmas, is preached as well by modern ideologists of “Islamic rule.” The latter is considered as a sort of “matrimonial union” of religion and policy, secured and legalised by Allah and therefore indissoluble. In essence, “Islamic rule” is an attempt to introduce an ideal model of theocratic rule, following the example of the rule of the Prophet Muhammad.

Considering the rise of propaganda of the idea of an Islamic “revival” and the establishment of “Islamic rule” in Muslim countries, including Central Asia,2 it is particularly relevant to note that social stability in these societies, to no small degree, depends upon a reasonable balance between religious authority as represented by the local traditional clergy (‘ulama’) and secular authority. The history of Islam bears witness to the fact that forms of interaction between religious and secular authority in different regions of the Islamic world vary due to natural differences in levels of historical self-consciousness among Muslim nations, and in their cultural, social and judicial, including governmental-legal, traditions. A particular feature of Islam is the diversity of its ideological forms, the so-called limited pluralism caused by the very close connection of Islamic culture with the spiritual substratum of Islamicised nations, with their particular religious and cultural traditions, social and legal institutions. Islam has taken root in many large historical and cultural regions in such form, in which it has adapted the religious-ethical ideas, legal norms, customs and cultural traditions of the local inhabitants.3 Attempts of Islamic “purists” to establish in the Muslim societies of the so-called “peripheral” regions “Islamic” models, formed in other cultural regions under distinct historical conditions, inevitably have a confrontational character. From the scientific point of view, it is unjustified to put “pure Islamic” traditions in opposition to local Islamic customs; moreover, from the general political view it is even fraught with dangerous conflicts, destabilising ethnic-religious relations in Muslim countries with a multiethnic structure of population. The absence of objective criteria in defining the model of “pure” Islam provides an ideological argument for the equivalence and self-sufficiency of regional forms of Islamic practice, including the choice of the form of supreme authority.

An alternative to the ideology of religious political extremism, which can find a breeding ground in the low level of religious knowledge among Muslims, can be the revival of national culture and the dissemination of authentic information about the history of Islam and the different forms of its existence.3 In turn, this will lead to the growth of historical self-consciousness and self-sufficiency of local traditional forms of Islam, as well as to an increased immunity for Muslims against the ideas of religious-political extremism.

*** The author of this article is publishing an encyclopedic dictionary, dedicated to studying regional forms of Islamic practice on the territory of the former Russian Empire – Eastern Europe, Bashkortostan, Tatarstan, Caucasus, Central Asia: Islam na territorii b vshey Rossiyskoy imperii. Entsiklopedicheskiy slovar’. 1st-3rd issues. Edited by S.M.  Prozorov. Moscow: Publishing Company “Vostochnaya literatura”, Russian Academy of Sciences, 1998-2001.
1 For more details see: Muhammad ibn ‘Abd al-Karim al-Shahrastani. Kniga o religiyakh i sektakh [The book on religions and sects]. Part 1. Islam. Introduction, translation and commentaries of S.M. Prozorov. Moscow, 1984.
2  Prozorov S.M. From the editor, in: Islam na territorii b vshey Rossiyskoy imperii. Entsiklopedicheskiy slovar’. 1st issue. Moscow, 1998, pp. 4-9.
3 About the forms of existing Islamic practice in Central Asia see: Muminov A. Centralnaya Aziya, in: Islam na territorii b vshey Rossiyskoy imperii. Entsiklopedicheskiy slovar’. 1st issue. Moscow, 1998, pp. 102-105; Meskhidze J. Checheno-Ingushetiya, in: ibid, 1st issue, pp. 105-108; Jandosova Z. Kazakhstan, in: item, 3d issue, pp. 47-52; Mukhametshin R. Tatarstan, in: ibid, 3d issue, pp. 100-103; Demidov S. Turkmenistan, in: ibid, 3d issue, pp. 104-107.

Minggu, 08 Mei 2016

The Development of the Secular State in Latin Europe

The Development of the Secular State in Latin Europe

Prof., Dr. Tilman Nagel (Göttingen, Germany)

Quite often one hears that state and religion are inseparable in Islamic culture. This assertion largely corresponds to the historical realities that have developed in the Islamic world during its existence. Such a proposition does not constitute an analysis of the situation, however. The same can also apply to the thesis that the Modern age in Europe so much under the sway of Latin Christianity was characterised by the separation of religion (church) from state. Both arguments aim to call attention to different, if not contradictory, social conditions and their perception by those involved therein. It is clearly impossible to deal with all the issues relative to this subject and all the more so to provide answers to them within the scope of this article. My goal is, therefore, to illuminate only some fundamental points of history and religious history, which in my view will help to gain a new insight into the above issues and to provide a dispassionate analysis of the facts.

Let us first consider the different reasons behind various approaches that Christianity and Islam take towards any manifestation of man’s creative activity based on religious and cosmological ideas. In the Qur’an (2: 31) God tells Adam the names of all things; thus, all the knowledge about the created world comes from God. Man is not in a position to extend this knowledge; this point is made clear by, for example, Muhammad ‘Abduh (d. 1905) in his comments to the above sura from the Qur’an.1  As a matter of fact, knowledge is a product of the ever-lasting process of divine creation, which at every given moment defines everything that happens in this world, and covers any place and any period in time. The world thus created is conceived by us to be the cosmos not because of its inherent causality, but only because through his wise and untiring acts of creation God has made it all precisely the way it is now, without revealing his reasons for doing so. Numerous variations underlying this main idea of Islamic cosmology and theology have been voiced throughout its long history from the times of al-Ghazali (d. 1111) to the present day.

Man is assigned the role of God’s vicegerent in this cosmos which is entirely defined by the will of the Creator (Qur’an, 2: 30). What is the meaning of this? There are different answers to this question. Let us first take up the answers which are given by Sufism and the law of the shari‘a, as both exert an especially profound influence upon the minds of many people today. Sufism maintains that only he who is able to renounce his own “self” and devote his whole life to the disposition of Providence, will be able to execute the will of the Most High and at some rare and happy moments will even acquire an ability to participate in His creative acts (tashrif). Al-Shatibi, a scholar from Andalusia (d. 1388) who is highly popular among modern scholars, believes on the contrary that man’s role as “vicegerent” will be accomplished only when, after a profound examination of the sources of the law, and a strict implementation of the results of this inquiry, man’s intentions then coincide with those of God.2

Political thought in Latin Christianity rests on a completely different foundation. In the Old Testament God leaves it to man to name all other creatures (1st Book of Moses, 2, 19 and further), and gives him the world in what may be called trusteeship, since God takes a rest on the seventh day. Of course, it is occasionally difficult for man to cope with the task assigned to him, and God has again and again to intervene in the course of events. He directs humanity along the path he has predetermined, punishing man for his mistakes, etc. Despite man’s inherent imperfections and sinfulness God shows him his boundless love and sacrifices His son in order to show sinners the road to salvation, making it known to them that they, too, can have hope, if they “will follow Jesus.” Jesus compares his deeds with the toil of a sower: most of his seeds will fall on the barren ground and will die, but some will sprout, take root and will yield fruit (Mark, 4, 9). Sowing – a holy act – has already begun; not everybody understands this, but those who have, act without delay. The truth is that many do not know how to respond to God’s message. And Jesus says unto those unsure and doubting: “I am come to send fire on the earth; and what will I, if it be already kindled? But I have a baptism to be baptised with; and how am I straitened till it be accomplished! Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division: for from henceforth there shall be five in one house divided, three against two and two against three.” (Luke, 12, 49-52). Thus, it is only thanks to the coming of Jesus Christ that the imperfection of the earthly things man creates becomes visible, and man himself can make decisions about the afterlife. But instead of bringing harmony to the world, this decision will only emphasise the state of