Progressive Indonesia in ‘Islam Nusantara’ (Archipelagic Islam)

nu muh mukNasihin Masha
THIS week, two largest Islamic organizations in Indonesia held a congress simultaneously. The congress, that always be held in every five years, is not only to picked a new management, but also to formulate new programs for the next five years. Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), established in 1926, held the congress on Saturday (1/8,15), in Jombang, East Java. Muhammadiyah, established in 1912, held the congress on Monday (3/8/15), in Makassar, South Sulawesi.

As an Islamic boarding school-based organization, NU’s congress was held in boarding schools. While Muhammadiyah who grows its strength in educational and medical institutions, held the congress in university. If in the congress, NU has “Islam Nusantara” as tagline, then Muhammadiyah has “Progressive Indonesia/Islam.” Muhammadiyah’s tagline was born first, when they arranged the white book of the existence of Muhammadiyah in their second 100 years. The book was published in 2012. Muhammadiyah’s congress this year is the first congress held in the second century. Meanwhile, NU’s tagline was used as a theme of the congress.

In public, these two taglines is considered as if it is contested. However, it must be recognized that the phrase “Islam Nusantara” has strength, powerful magnitude, and is more contextual. The tagline is able to trigger public dicussion, even a bit controversial. Because of that, public considered Muhammadiyah’s tagline, “Progressive Indonesia/Islam,” to be more flat, but it is beyond Islam.

Actually, the two taglines were simply confirmation. NU has consecrated themselves as Aswaja – ahlussunnah wal jama’ah. A movement that is based on four mahzab – Shafi’i, Hanafi, Hanbali, Maliki – and the theology based on the Asy’ariyah. In short, NU is Sunni, not Syiah. In the time when KH Hasyim Muzadi became the chairman of NU, this organization has a tagline “Islam rahmatan lil ‘Alamin.” It is considered as appropriate when the world condition, especially in Indonesia, was gripped by terrorism and inter-religion conflict. The tagline shows Islam is peaceful and sheltered. Now, when the world condition was teased by salafi and ISIS, NU presents “Islam Nusantara” –an Indonesian typical of Islam. Conflicts that happen in the Middle East and South Asia are conflicts among Sunnis. NU is also Sunni, so that it is necessary to do the differentiation with other Sunnis. Even we can draw a firmer line on Walisongo’s propaganda –nine of them symbolized the nine stars on NU’s logo – as a form of successful propaganda of Islam Nusantara. The new tagline has two dimensions: differentiation with other Sunni and against Salafi waves.

Muhammadiyah is known as a movement that modernizes the people. Modern means advanced. Firstly, it is the war against three problems of people: superstition, heresy, and churafat. To against the three problems, the founders of Muhammadiyah focused on education, health care, and helped orphans. Therefore Muhammadiyah is very prominent oneducational institutions, hospitals and clinics, and orphanages. Now, Muhammadiyah no longer focuses on it. Even in the last five years, they focus only on the Jihad Constitution. They fought for all the rules and regulations to be back to the 1945 Constitution. Jihad this time is toward the economic fields. In these second hundred years, their focus is no longer only on the citizens’ territory. The citizens are part of the nation, Muhammadiyah is part of Indonesia, and the organization is a ‘part’ of the country. Therefore, the citizens should contribute to finish ‘the mansion’. The citizens will be peaceful and prosperous if Indonesia is also advanced, and vice versa. However this does not mean that Muhammadiyah will join the politics of power. Muhammadiyah will enter the dimension of values, spiritual, moral, vision, and influence. The progress of a nation and a society is very close to the ethics and spirit.Sociology of development – mainly initiated by Max Weber – are very close with this matter.

NU and Muhammadiyah are two main machines of the Islamic people, and also for the Indonesia. Those machines are driven. A nice car is not going to be nice if the driver is not good. Leadership recruitment process becomes so important. In this context, the electoral system of Muhammadiyah leaders is more developed. Besides collegial leadership, the process was also lengthy. Congress is just the beginning. A year before the congress, the Tanwir annual meeting be held with 200 delegates. Each delegate proposes three names. The names were then selected by the committee according to administrative requirements. At the Tanwir meeting, the participants select 39 names from the names that qualify. That selected names were brought to the congress to choose 13 names. Then the next 13 names is going to choose the chairman, that will be approved by the congress. This system has been running since 1937, when KH Mas Mansur was elected. It is difficult to play with power or money. Long and tired process will minimize the manipulative elections. However, there is an always strong candidate. This time there are two names: Haedar Nashir and Abdul Mu’ti, they were chairman and secretary of the editorial team of white book of Progressive Indonesia.

This year, NU tried to implement a new system for the election, namely Ahlul Halli Wal Aqdi (Ahwa). Musytasyar and Syuriah already have 39 names. The names were submitted to the NU branches. In congressregistration, the NU branches will pick nine names. The nine names will be Ahwa members. The Ahwa will choose Rais Aam Syuriah andcandidates of Tanfidziah chairman. However, the Tanfidziah chairman still will be chosen with one man one vote system. This system is potentially followed by money politics and fund raising. Sometimes, the focus of the congress is only in the election, not in formulation of the programs. There are three names that compete in Tanfidziah: KH Said Aqil Siradj, KH Asad Said Ali, and KH Salahuddin Wahid. Syuriah is as the higher institution, while Tanfidziah is as the executor of the policy.

Hopefully, NU and Muhammadiyah congress will create a visionary and responsive leader. A leader who not looks only at his members or a leader who sees anything a point of view.

Anyone who will lead these two religious organizations need to pay attention to the following norms. Sometimes, big can mean fat. That means inaction. Ination sometimes be limp. It can also mean great reliability. Indonesia is a country that is in a progress. Indonesia is also still so fragile. In that situation there is always sharp and volatile dynamics. The people need a quick and powerful response. We expects NU and Muhammadiyah greatness, just like an aircraft: strong, central, accommodating.

Congratulation for the congress! Indonesia is in your hands, as you should be in our hearts.


Wed, 5 Aug 2015

nu muh muk kha khh

Former NU Chairman: ‘NU leadership unfilled’

hasyim muzadiAntara


THE NAHDLATUL Ulama (NU) will not have a leadership till a new congress is held to elect “legal candidates” for the general chairmanship position, a former general chairman of the organization said.
“I reiterate that the executive board of the Nahdlatul Ulama is now unfilled. The organization still exists, but it will not have leaders till acongress is held again,” K. H. Hasyim Muzadi, the former general chairman, told newsmen at his residence in the Al-Hikam Islamic Boarding School complex, here on Thursday.

He explained that regional chapters and branches have the legal right toorganize a congress again because the one held in Jombang, which ended recently, did not comply with regulations and procedures and was disorderly. It was legally flawed because organizational procedures were not carried out normally.

Considering this situation, Muzadi emphasized that while there was no leadership, no figure was allowed to act on behalf of the NU’s supervisory board.

Moreover, he admitted that he had rejected to be named the chief of the supervisory board by 29 regional chapters, even though the number met the required quorum, stating, “If I agree, the NU will break up.”

Although 29 regional chapters had left the congress to join the Salahuddin Wahid group in Tebuireng, Muzadi denied that the NU had split because no rival congress had been held.
What happened was a movement to purify the organization from ideologies that would damage its faith and politicians’ adventurous acts, he added.

“This movement will be accepted by the NU because all chapters and branches witnessed for themselves the way the congress was held. Participants were treated unfairly; meetings were engineered; and clerics were treated harshly. The message is that all NU members know how dangerous an infiltration can be,” he remarked.

Furthermore, Muzadi expressed his appreciation of Mustofa Bisri’s decision to reject his nomination for the position of the supervisory board chief, which indicated that he did not want to hold the post through a fake process.
He also expressed his disappointment over the congress and noted, “Regional chapters and branches have an obligation to hold another congress post haste, ensuring that it is constitutional.”

The NU congress that ended on Wednesday, August 5, named KH. Ma’ruf Amin as the new chairman of the organization’s supervisory board and incumbent KH. Said Aqil Sirodj as the executive chairman for 2015-2020.

Said Aqil elected chairman of NU

nu Said-Aqil-Siradj-antara

KH SAID Aqil Siradj was re-elected as Chairman of Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) for the second period, on Thursday (6/8). He leads NU for 2015-2020 and was not chosen by voting.

In the election, there were two names that qualify as candidates of chairman, namely KH Said Aqil and KH As’ad Ali. KH Said got 287 votes, while KH As’ad got 107 voices. Acording to the rules of the election, the candidates should be supported by at least 99 voters.

However, after the results were announced, KH Sa’ad stated that he was not willing to be NU leader. Because of that, KH Said was immediately confirmed as Chairman of the NU.

Besides the two names, there were also other names that qualify to be candidates, namely KH Solahuddin Wahid or Gus Solah who got 10 votes, KH Hilmi Muhammadiyah with three votes, and other five names who got one vote.


NU Chairman: ‘Islam Nusantara’ (Archipelago Islam) not new sect

said aqil siradj

THE general chairman of Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) Islamic organizattion, Said Aqil Siradj, reiterated that “Islam Nusantara” (archipelago Islam) was no a new school or sect.

“It is not a new school or sect but it is the view of the Indonesian Muslims which is blended with the Nusantara culture,” he said at a discussion on “Strategy to Realize Indonesia without Human Rights Violations.”

He said Muslims in Indonesia were closely associated with the cultures of where they are living and this what has been the foundation of the concept of Islam Nusantara. “This is what differentiates us from our brothers in the Middle East,” he added.

He said the Islam Nusantara concept describes Indonesian Muslims who are blended with the local cultures created originally by loca communities which do not run against the shariah. “We must integrate with the culture as long as it is good and not against Islam as it will make Islam more beautiful. We cannot fight cultures so long as they are not against the shariah such as gambling, adultery, drinking and others,” he said.

When asked if he was not worried that it might in the future develop into a new sect Said Aqil said he was not and he believed clerics would always be there to prevent it from happening. “No I am not. I am convinced clerics will be there to prevent it and a lot has been written about it and they may be used as a reference,” he said.

NU is one of the biggest Islamic organizations in Indonesia. Said Aqil is now seeking reelection as chairman of the organization in the next congress in Jember, East Java, on August 1-5 that will also carry out the Islam Nusantara as its theme.

Thu, 30 July 2015


“Islam Nusantara” (Islam of Archipelago) Part 1


Azyumardi Azra

Prof Dr Azyumardi Azra

Prof Dr Azyumardi Azra

‘Islam Archipelago’, the latter term that currently found momentum in popularity, especially after Nahdlatul Ulama executive council (PBNU) made it the theme of the 33rd Congress of the NU in Jombang, East Java, on the next 1 to 5 August, 2015. The theme was exactly reads “Upholding ‘Islam Nusantara’ (Islam of Archipelago) as a civilization of Indonesia and the World “. The terms and this theme – apart of several problematic things were very relevant and timely in the context of a national or international.

The term ‘Islam of Archipelago’ also became discourse of Vice President Jusuf Kalla on various occasions. The last one, President Jokowi also used the term ‘Islam of Archipelago’ on the opportunity at ‘istighatsah kubra’ which held by NU in Jakarta, June 14, in the framework of the National Conference of NU Ulema and welcoming Ramadhan 1436 H / 2015 AD.

The author of (this coloumn of) “Resonance” and then requested a response by BBC London about ‘Islam of Archipelago’ which also mentioned by President Jokowi (Haedar Affan, The Polemic Behind the ‘Islam Archipelago’ term, BBC London, June 15, 2015). What is the meaning of ‘Islam of Archipelago’ term? Is this term something new?

In the international seminar NU pre-congress held by Kompas Daily (May 25, 2015) and the Committee of the 33rd Conference of NU, the author of “Resonance” was trying to explain the meaning of the term ‘Islam of Archipelago’. The term contains concepts and different connotations when applied to different regions of the archipelago.

The term ‘Islam of Archipelago’ was basically not new. This term referred to Islam in the archipelago or maritime continent (archipelago) which include not only the area that is now the state of Indonesia, but also Muslim region of Malaysia, southern Thailand (Patani), Singapore, South Philippines (Moro), and also Champa (Kampuchea).

With the coverage like that, ‘Islam of Archipelago’ are equals congruent with the ‘Southeast Asian Islam’. Academically, the last term was often used interchangeably with ‘Malay-Indonesian Islam’. The problem then, was it talks about ‘Islam of Archipelago’ or ‘Southeast Asian Islam’ or ‘Malay-Indonesian Islam’? Is ‘Islam of Archipelago’ has the distinction, both at the level of normative doctrine and social life, culture, and politics?

In the view of the author of “Resonance”, normatively doctrinal, ‘Islam of Archipelago’ was adhere to the Six Pillars of Faith and the Five Pillars of Islam which were similar to the other Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jama’ah (Sunnah or Sunni) in any part of the Islamic world as agreed by majority authoritative scholars.

However, to a certain extent, the ‘Islam of Archipelago’ has its own distinction. This fact could be seen from, for example, Islamic orthodoxy archipelago well-established formed, especially since the 17th century when Jawi students like Nuruddin ar-Raniri, ‘Abdurrauf al-Singkili, and Muhammad Yusuf al-Maqassari back to the archipelago after studying for nearly two decades and involved in the ‘networks of ulema’, based in Mecca and Medina.

The orthodoxy of Islamic archipelago was simple has three main elements, the first, kalam (theology) Asy’ariyah; second, Shafi’i fiqh – though also received three other fiqh madhhabs of Sunni; Third, Sufism of al-Ghazali, both practiced individually or communally or through a more organized and completed of tariqah of Sufi with murshid, caliphs and students, and the ordinances of certain dhikr.

As a comparison, the orthodoxy of Islamic archipelago is in contrast to Saudi Arabia’s Islamic orthodoxy. In two conferences with the circles of scholars and intellectuals of Saudi Arabia in Riyadh and Wadi about 300 kilometers from Riyadh (3-7 / 1), the author of “Resonance” stated, Saudi Arabia’s Islamic orthodoxy contains only two elements, namely first, kalam (theology) of Salafi-Wahabi with Islam literal understanding and emphasis on Islam are ‘pure’.

With a view of kalam like that, in the perspective of the doctrine of Saudi Arabia’s Islamic orthodoxy, do not be surprised if a lot of other Muslims regarded as bid’ah dhalalah (misguided additional ritual) that will take them to hell. Including into bid’ah dhalalah is celebrating the Prophet Muhammad’s Birthday which celebrated crowded by Indonesian Muslims.
Second, Saudi Arabia’s Islamic orthodoxy elements were Hanbali fiqh which was the most stringent madhhab in the Islamic jurisprudence. Saudi Arabia’s Islamic orthodoxy did not include Sufism. Sufism was rejected precisely because it contained a lot of bid’ah dhalalah.

In both of these conference always appeared the question of Saudi Arabia participants which addressed to the author of “Resonance”. “Why do Muslim Indonesia likes to practice Sufism which contains a lot of bid’ah dhalalah?”.

This question could be understood which were departing from bias and prejudice against Sufism which in fact historically played an important role in increasing stages of Muslim spirituality and at the same time maintenance of Muslims integrity to face various challenges and historical reality.

Saudi Arabia Salafi-Wahabi Islamic orthodoxy was too dry and simple for Muslims in the archipelago. The Muslim people of the archipelago have been and continue to undergo the heritage to practice Islam which is rich and full of nuances. Author of “Resonance” is referred to it as ‘flowery Islam’ with a ‘ritual’ since Tahlil, nyekar (scattering the flowers to the grave) or pilgrimage the grave, walimatus-Safar (walimatul haj / Umrah), walimatul khitan, tasyakuran up to four monthly or seven monthly pregnancies.

Monday, 22 June 2015

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RI never meant to be an Islamic nation: NU


THE chairman of Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), the country’s largest Muslim organization, Said Aqil Siradj, has said that Indonesia was founded on values of peace and tolerance, and not exclusively on Islamic teachings.

During his speech at the National Resilience Institute’s (Lemhanas) golden anniversary on Wednesday, Said emphasized the role of religious figures in maintaining harmony in the country and how democracy and nationalistic values had kept the country together.

Said gave a speech titled “Peranan Ulama dalam Membentuk dan Membela NKRI” (The Role of Ulema in Shaping and Defending the Republic of Indonesia) in which he recalled the role of ulema or Muslim scholars during the struggle for the country’s Independence.

“Sukarno [Indonesia’s first president] invited members of NU to fight against invaders [colonizers]. [Nationalism] was part of their faith,” he said.

Said added that the NU’s ulema was at the forefront of defending the country’s ideology of Pancasila, which is based on democracy.

“Since [before Independence], members of NU declared that we were going to establish a darussalam [a peaceful country] instead of darul Islam [Islamic country],” he said, adding that the organization embraced the principle until now.

He also spoke of the danger of organizations that wanted to establish an Islamic state, which he said NU had long been fighting against.

“An organization that has the intention of establishing a religion-based state is a threat to Indonesia’s unity,” Said added.

Since the emergence of the Islamic State (IS) movement in Iraq and Syria, Indonesia, a country with the world’s largest Muslim population, has seen growing influence of the movement.

Hundreds of Indonesians have flocked to the war-torn countries to join the movement, including wives and children of extremists that had earlier joined the fight or relatives of members of local terrorist groups.

The government has started to engage in action to curb growing sympathy toward extremists in the country with the help of mainstream Muslim organizations, including NU and Muhammadiyah, the second-largest Muslim organization in the country.

The government has also claimed to be closely monitoring the Internet to stop the local campaigns of the group.

The institute’s anniversary coincides with National Awakening Day, which marks the emergence of Indonesian nationalism.

The institute, which is now under civilian management after restructuring in 2001, has been training Indonesian leaders since its establishment in 1965. The institute also has become a center for strategic studies, including food and political security, according to the institute.

The governor of the institute, Budi Susilo Soepandji, said the institute would continue to provide Indonesian leaders with training on leadership and nationalism, and continue to become a center for strategic studies.

“Lemhanas will continue the spirit of Sukarno when he established the institute. From the date of its establishment [May 20, which coincides with National Awakening day], we can actually tell what Lemhanas was established for,” he said.

The Jakarta Post
Thursday, 21 May 2015

Nahdlatul Ulama awarded internationally on peace

nahdatul-ulama-_republikaIndah Wulandari/Satya Festiani

INDONESIAN Islamic Organization, Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), achieves an international award on its efforts to keep religious harmony in Indonesia and abroad. The award, known as Global Peace Interfaith Leadership Award 2014, was given by Global Peace Foundation during Global Peace Convention in Asuncion, Paraguay, South America.

“Praise the Lord. Nahdlatul Ulama Executive Board (PBNU) has achieved the award,” Secretary General of PBNU Marsudi Syuhud said on Saturday, November 22.

Award committee considered on the theme One Family under God to choose the winner. Win the award meant that the group showed its integrity as a model who recognized diversity in society. “We feel honored by the award,” he said.

Sunday, 23 November 2014