by MA Muin · Cited by 4 — extended the concept of people of the book (ahl al-kitab), which includes (The Basic Values of Struggle) later became the ideological manual for members of

117 KB – 16 Pages

PAGE – 1 ============
NURCHOLISH MADJIDÕS IDEA OF INCLUSIVE THEOLOGY IN ISLAM ISLAMIKA INDONESIANA, 1:1 (2014) 65 NURCHOLISH MADJIDÕS IDEA OF INCLUSIVE THEOLOGY IN ISLAM Munir A. Muin Faculty of Ushuluddin Sunan Gunung D jati State Islamic University of Bandung, Indonesia muniramuin ABSTRACT Nurcholish Madjid was one of Indonesian Muslim intellectuals who had shaped specific school of Islamic thought known as neo- modernism. One of contemporary issues that he was concerned with was the problem of religious plurality, which was a fact in Indonesian religious life and had been debated among Indonesian Muslim scholars before him. However, at his era, the discussion of such an issue became more controversial and attracted wider debate. This is because he interpreted ÒIslam,Ó which is commonly understood as religion of the followers of Prophet Muhammad, to mean ÒsurrenderÓ to GodÕs will which is at the heart of all prophetic religions before him. In addition, he extended the concept of people of the book (ahl al-kitab), which includes exclusively the adherents of Judaism and Christianity as traditionalists understand, to cover other religious traditions such as Hinduism, Buddhism, and so on. Drawing greatly on NurcholishÕs works, this article argues that his theology of religious pluralism can be categorized as inclusive, which is different from exclusivism. Keywords: Inclusive Theology, Islam, Indonesia, Neo- modernism INTRODUCTION Nurcholish Madjid was a prominent Indonesian Muslim thinker as well as a controversial figure. His thought often surprises many people and challenges established understanding of religious concepts. Wearing jilba>b (veil) which is understood by many people as an obligation for women, for example, is interpreted by Nurcholish merely as a Òmantel.Ó 1 The word ÒAllahÓ in La> ila>ha illa> Alla>h is translated simply to mean God, not Allah as is usually translated. This translation has been a target of HusnanÕs 1 Nurcholish Madjid, ÒInterview,Ó ÒInterview,Ó Matra Magazine, 77 (December), 1992; idem, Dialog Keterbukaan : Artikulasi Nilai Islam dalam Wacana So sial Politik Kontemporer (Jakarta: Paramadina, 1998), 135 -6.

PAGE – 2 ============
NURCHOLISH MADJIDÕS IDEA OF INCLUSIVE THEOLOGY IN ISLAM ISLAMIKA INDONESIANA, 1:1 (2014) 66 critique. 2 NurcholishÕs (so is he referred to, because Madjid is his fatherÕs name) thought has become a focus of several scholarly studies. Kamal Hassan, for example, focuses on NurcholishÕs idea of secularization as a response to modernization which is the main target of New OrderÕs development in Indonesia. 3 Fachry Ali and Bahtiar Effendy, 4 on the other hand, emphasize NurcholishÕs role in the Renewal of Islamic thought when they describe the development of Islamic thought in Indonesia. Another scholar who is concerned with NurcholishÕs thought is Greg Barton. Similar to the focus of AliÕs and EffendyÕs scholarship, Barton also explores NurcholishÕs Islamic thought, but with emphasis mostly on the typology of his thought. 5 Apart from these studies, NurcholishÕs position toward religious pluralism does not attracts serious attention from scholars. In fact, as far as NurcholishÕs thought is concerned, religious tolerance and pluralism make up the most part of his works. For this reason, Mark R. Woodward calls Nurcholish one of IndonesiaÕs most daring theologians and a vehement advocate of religious tolerance. Moreover, Woodward argues that Òhis visionof Islam is pluralistic.Ó 6 WoodwardÕs assessment of Nurcholish falls short, however, since it does not explain in detail whether Nurcholish should be considered a pluralist or an inclusivist thinker. This paper examines NurcholishÕs response to religious pluralism, describing his interpretation of the meaning of ÒIslamÓ and his notion of people of the book (ahl al-kita>b). Since he interprets the religious concepts contained in the scripture in a contextual framework, his thought can be considered theological rather than philosophical. Before describing his discussion of scriptural concepts, however, I will begin by examining his intellectual background and activities. MATERIALS AND METHODS Basically, this study is philosophico-theological in nature. This is because inclusivism can be dealt with in philosophy, especially philosophy of religion, as well as in theology. Therefore, the method used in this study is analytic, in that this study will analyze the logic of ideas proposed by the figure under discussion and to elucidate the meaning of his concepts. 7 As 2 Ahman Husnan, Jangan Terjemahkan al -QurÕan menurut Visi Injil dan Orientalis (Solo: UlulAlbab Press, 1987). 3 Muhammad Kamal Hassan, Muslim Intellectual Responses to the New Order Modernization in Indonesi a. Kuala Lumpur: Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka, 1982. 4 Fachry Ali and Bahtiar Effendy, Merambah Jalan Baru I slam: Rekonstruksi Pemikiran Islam Masa Orde Baru ( Bandung: Mizan, 1984). 5 Greg Barton, ÒNeo -Moder nism: a Vital Synthesis of Traditionalist and Modernist Islamic Thought in Indonesia,Ó Studia Islamika , 2:3 (1995): 1 -75). 6 Mark Woodward, ÒNurcholish Madjid,Ó in The Oxford Encyclopedia of Modern Islamic World, ed. John L. Esposito (New York and London: Oxford University Press 1995), 3: 254. 7 Michael Peterson, Reason and Religious Belief: an Introduction to the Ph ilosophy of Religion (New

PAGE – 3 ============
NURCHOLISH MADJIDÕS IDEA OF INCLUSIVE THEOLOGY IN ISLAM ISLAMIKA INDONESIANA, 1:1 (2014) 67 for the materials, there are two kinds of sources used in this study: primary and secondary. The primary sources consist of NurcholishÕs first hand works relevant to the questions raised in this study, while secondary sources include all writings that deal exclusively with NurcholishÕs thought in general and with his ideas of inclusive theology in particular. RESULTS AND DISCUSSION A. Biographical Sketch of Nurcholish Madjid NurcholishMadjid was bom in Jombang, East Java, on March 17, 1939. After attending a secular public Elementary School (Sekolah Rakyat) and religious school, Madrasah al-Wat}aniyyah (which, incidentally, was headed by his father), he went on to study at Pesantren Darul ÔUlum Rejoso two years, 8 then at Pondok Modem Gontor, East Java, about six years. Nurcholish was strongly influenced by the pesantrenÕs (boarding school) ground-breaking synthesis of traditional learning and modern education. This pesantren called modern because, among other things, it has no affiliation with any socio-political or religious organization with the motto: ÒAbove and for all groups.Ó 9 In the early 1960s, Nurcholish began his tertiary studies at the Faculty of Letter ( kulliyat al-a>da>b ) at the State Institute for Islamic Studies (IAIN, now State Islamic University, UIN), Syarif Hidayatu lah, Jakarta. After two years of study, he started participating in the activitie s of the Himpunan Mahasiswa Islam (Islamic Student Organization, HMI), the largest student organization in Indonesia that presided over by secular university students. 10 In 1967, Nurcholish was elected president of the HMI, thereby becoming the first and the only president who did not come from the secular university. More surprisingly, two years later he was re- elected. Again, Nurcholish became the first and the only person who headed the organization in two terms. 11 Beside his activities at HMI during this period, he also held positions as the President of the Union of Southeast Asia Muslim Students and as Deputy Secretary General of the International Islamic Federation of Student Organization (IIFSO). 12 In 1968, Nurcholish finished his tertiary study with a thesis entitled: al-QurÕa>n: ÔArabiyyun Lughatan wa ÔAm and Falsafa: a Problem of Relation between Reason and Revelation. When Nurcholish returned to Indonesia in 1985, he participated in teaching staff at his alma mater, IAIN Syarif Hidayatullah Jakarta. He also held a position at the Indonesian Academy of Sciences (Lembaga Ilmu Pengetahuan Indonesia, LIPI). Further, accompanied by his friends from the Renewal Movement, such as Utomo Dananjaya and Usep Fathuddin, he established a socio-educational organization called YayasanWakaf Paramadina (Foundation). Initially, this institute was strongly criticized on the grounds that it focused too narrowly on the middle and upper class of Abangan. In addition, due to the fact that the activities of the institute often took place at a luxurious hotel, NurcholishÕs critics declared it must be funded by ÒZionist propaganda.Ó The instituteÕs main activity is the Religious Studies Club (Klub Kajian Agama), a monthly seminar which focuses on a religious theme. Two papers which address certain aspects of religion and modem life are presented in each seminar. The second paper is normally presented by Nurcholish. Most of his books are compilations of these papers. Based on this foundation, he and his friend founded a university, called University of Paramadina, where he served as the rector during the rest of his life. Moreover, as a national figure, he had a significant role in nation building, especially when Indonesia was suffered from economic and political crises in 1998, which resulted in what was known as reformasi era (reform ). He had served as the head of National Commission for General Election in the first period. Since 2004, his health became worse and in August 2005 he passed away because of the failure of heart transplantation. 23 B. Between Neo-modernist and Neo-traditionalist NurcholishÕs important position and contribution to Indonesian problems in general, and Islamic thought in particular, have become the focus of several studies. Kamal Hassan, for example, examines NurcholishÕs response to modernization, and ultimately identifies him as an Òidealist- accommodationalist.Ó 24 This is because Nurcholish understands modernization as an application of Islamic teachings that requires Muslims to devise themselves with an accurate approach toward their affairs. William Liddle, on the other hand, categorizes Nurcholish, and those who are in line with his political perspectives, as a substantia list thinker whose understanding of the Quran is based on the spirit of its 22 Barton, ÒIndonesiaÕs Nurcholish Madjid,Ó 50. 23 Kompas , 30 August 2005; Tempo , 11 September 2005) 24 Hassan, Muslim Intellectual Responses , 97.

PAGE – 8 ============
NURCHOLISH MADJIDÕS IDEA OF INCLUSIVE THEOLOGY IN ISLAM ISLAMIKA INDONESIANA, 1:1 (2014) 72 Muslims. This means interpreting them without betraying themÓ 31 In this respect, neo-traditionalist also applies to Nurcholish thought. Based on this discussion, it is difficult to identify NurcholishÕs thought into one single categorization exactly. This is due to the fact that his thought itself develops and evolves from time to time in accordance with social and historical change. In thel970s, for example, he proposed controversial terms such as ÒsecularizationÓ, ÒliberalizationÓ and so on, but later he avoided using controversial terms. Nurcholish states: I wished that I had never committed such a tactical blunder that manifest in my speech on January 2, 1970. It was socially expensive, and we suffered almost irreparable damage to our reputation within the Muslim community. If we were able to go back in time, I would follow my previous methods, i.e., penetration pacifique , in introducing ideas. 32 This confession indicates the possibility of changing of NurcholishÕs position in trends of Islamic thought. In other words, the Òone for allÓ categorization of anyoneÕs thought is inappropriate, including NurcholishÕs thought. C. Inclusive Theology in NurcholishÕs Thought The Meaning of ÒIslamÓ For many people, Muslims and non-Muslims alike, the word ÒIslamÓ is nothing other than the religion revealed by God through the Prophet Muhammad. However, according to Cak Nur, ÒIslamÓ in its generic meaning is surrender or submission ( al-istisla>m ) to One God. 33 Islam is also a mode of existence of all beings in the universe. This means that, in principle, all existents in the universe surrender to God consciously or unconsciously. Plants, animals and other natural beings surrender unconsciously to GodÕs Will and Plan ( sunnat Alla>h), so that they live harmoniously and peacefully. Human beings naturally surrender to GodÕs Will because they have fit}rah, that is, an intuitive ability to discern between right and wrong, true and false, good and bad. This fit}rah leads them to have a natural inclination toward the good, the true and the sacred (which is called h}anafiyyat al-samh}ah). Therefore, if they want to live peacefully they should follow their fit}rah, that is, al-isla>m. Only through al-isla>m can human beings acquire peace and salvation ( sala>mah ) as other beings do. Contrariwise, if they live against their fit}rah or al-isla>m, they will never acquire peace and salvation, but will live in conflict instea d. In 31 S.H. Nasr, Islamic Life and Thought (Albany, NY: State University of New York, 1976), 32. 32 Madjid, ÒThe Issue of Modernization,Ó 151 -2. 33 Madjid, Islam A gama Peradaban: Membangun Makna dan Relevansi Doktrin Islam dalam Sejarah (Jakarta: Paramadina, 1995), 2; idem, Islam, Kemodernan dan Keindonesiaan (Bandung: Mizan, 1987), 47; idem, Islam, Doktrin dan Peradaban , 181.

PAGE – 9 ============
NURCHOLISH MADJIDÕS IDEA OF INCLUSIVE THEOLOGY IN ISLAM ISLAMIKA INDONESIANA, 1:1 (2014) 73 other words, they are acting against GodÕs ÒblueprintÓ and their own nature. Nurcholish quotes the QurÕan to corroborate his position: Do they seek for other than the Religion of Allah? While all creatures in the heavens and on earth have, willing or unwilling, bowed to His Will (accepted al-isla>m), and to Him shall they all be brought back. Say: ÒWe believe in Allah, and in what has been revealed to us and what was revealed to Abraham, Isma’ll, Isaac, Jacob and the Tribes, and in (the Books) given to Moses, Jesus, and the Prophets, from their Lord. We make no distinction between one and another among them, and to Allah do we bow our will (in Islam)Ó. If anyone desires a religion other than al-isla>m (submission to Allah), never will it be accepted of him; and in the Hereafter he will be in the ranks of those who have lost (all spiritual good). 34 ÒIslamÓ for Nurcholish is qualified as natural human submission to God. Whoever follows his or her fit}r ah or al-isla>m regardless of space and time ca n be considered a Muslim, or, to use Mut}ahhariÕs term, a Muslim fi}tri (natural Muslim). 35 However, human beings also have weakness, that is, to see the long-term consequences of actions due to the lure of short- term expediences. In other words, the desires of short-term expedience often leads them to ignore their natural submission ( al-isla>m ) to God. 36 For this reason, He sent prophets and messengers to human beings to remind them of their fit}rah (nature) to surrender to their Creator. Nurcholish also argues that ÒIslamÓ is not a specific religion for the Prophet MuhammadÕs followers, but rather the religion of all prophets revealed by God throughout the history of human beings before the Prophet Muhammad. The QurÕan, Nurcholish argues, recognizes Abraham (Quran, 3:67), Jacob and his descendents (Quran, 2: 132), Joseph (Quran, 12: 101), Nuh (Quran, 10: 72-3), Lut (Quran, 51:35-6), Jesus and his disciples (al-h}awa>riyyu>n ) (Quran, 3: 52), and even PharaohÕs sorcerers who later followed Moses (Quran, 7: 126), as Muslims ( al-muslimu>n ). Those prophets and people lived long before the advent of the Prophet Muhammad, but the Quran acknowledges them as Muslims. This indicates that ÒIslamÓ, which means submission to God, is a religion of all prophets. 37 In other words, the message of all prophets is the same, that is, 34 Abdullah Yusuf Ali, The Holy QurÕan: Text, Translation and Commentary (Maryland, USA: Amana Corporation, 1989), 149 -50. 35 Murtad}a> Mut}ahhari>, Al-Ô Adl al -Ila>hi>, Arabic trans. by M. ÔAbd al -Mun Ôim al -Khaqqani (Beirut: Muassasat al -WafaÕ, 1981), 281. 36 Madjid, ÒIn search of Islamic Roots f or Modern PluralismÓ, in Toward New Paradigm , ed. Mark R. Woodward (Arizona: Arizona State University, 1996), 101. 37 Madjid, Islam Agama Peradaban , xv; idem, Islam, Doktrin dan Peradaban , 434-36; cf. Muhammad Shahrur, Al-I slam wa al -Iman: Manzumat al -Qiyam (Damascus: al -Ahali li al -TibaÔah wa al -Nashr, 1996), 31 -3.

PAGE – 10 ============
NURCHOLISH MADJIDÕS IDEA OF INCLUSIVE THEOLOGY IN ISLAM ISLAMIKA INDONESIANA, 1:1 (2014) 74 al-isla>m .38 Although the message is the same, it does not follow that the language used to express the message is also the same. Nurcholish cites the Quran in this regard: ÒWe sent not a messenger except (to teach) in the language of his (own) people in order to make (things) clear to them.Ó 39 Thus, the difference in the messages of the previous prophets and of the Prophet Muhammad lies only in language and not in substance. 40 In addition, Nurcholish also recognizes that the difference in methods of expressing the message, as the Quran suggests (5: 48), occurs among the prophets due to the differences of place and time. In view of these differences, Nurcholish, following IbnTaymiyya, classifies ÒIslamÓ into ÒgeneralÓ and ÒspecificÓ. The former indicates the religion of all previous prophets with their own methods and laws, while the latter refers to the Prophet MuhammadÕs religion with its own methods and laws owing to a different place and time. In other words, Òspecific IslamÓ is a continuation of and consistent with Ògeneral Islam.Ó 41 Although there exist general principles among the Ògeneral IslamÓ and the ÒspecificÓ one, Nurcholish says that this does not mean that human beings are free to embrace whatever religion. Rather, they have moral obligation to choose in accordance with the latest development, which is the Òspecific IslamÓ of the Prophet Muhammad. 42 As with his idea of secularization, NurcholishÕs interpretation of ÒIslamÓ also raises many serious critiques. Daud Rasyid, for example, strongly criticizes NurcholishÕs interpretation of ÒIslamÓ and even condemns it as Òa digression covered by scientific style.Ó 43 Rasyid argues that ÒIslamÓ as mentioned in the Quran is an organized religion revealed by God to the Prophet Muhammad. This interpretation is based on the ProphetÕs hadith : ÒBuniya al-Islam Ôala khams [Islam is built in five pillars] Ó44 This means that one can be considered a Muslim so far as he or she observes these five pillars, otherwise they are not Muslim. Moreover, the word ÒMuslimÓ applies only to the ProphetÕs followers and not to the followers of other religions. For example, the Quranic description of Abraham as h}ani>fa> muslima>, is interpreted by Rasyid to mean a Muslim without any explanation. 45 Ahmad Husnan proposes other critiques. Parallel to RasyidÕs idea, ÒIslamÓ is meant to be the name of a reli gion. To support his idea, Husnan refers to the Quranic verse: ÒThis day have I perfected your religion for you, completed my favour upon you, and have 38 Ali, The Holy Quran, 150. 39 Quran, 14:4; Ali, The Holy Quran, 604. 40 Madjid, Islam Agama Peradaban , xiv. 41 Madjid, Islam Agama Peradaban , xiv. 42 Madjid, Islam Agama Peradaban , 2. 43 Daud Rasyid, Ò PembaruanÓ Islam dan Orientalisme dalam Sorotan (Jakarta: Usamah Press, 1993), 11. 44 Rasyid, Ò PembaruanÓ Islam dan Orientalisme , 46. 45 Rasyid, Ò PembaruanÓ Islam dan Orientalisme , 42.

PAGE – 11 ============
NURCHOLISH MADJIDÕS IDEA OF INCLUSIVE THEOLOGY IN ISLAM ISLAMIKA INDONESIANA, 1:1 (2014) 75 chosen for you Islam as your religionÓ 46. He also relies on the Prophetic h}adi>th: ÒI favour upon Allah as God, Islam as religion and Muhammad as the Prophet and Messenger.Ó 47 Based on these references, he believes that ÒIslamÓ means nothing other than the religion of the Prophet Muhammad. In fact the objection underlying their critiques is the possibility of equation of Islam as a religion with the other religions. If ÒIslamÓ is meant to be simply a Òsubmission to One GodÓ, then its shari ah will be threatened. Moreover, without observing the shari ah some people can claim to be Muslims even though they are from outside Islamic religion. Rasyid draws an example of Frans Magnis SusenoÕs statement: ÒMy own personal hope is that I belong to Islam, although as a Christian I believe I do not belong to Islam.Ó 48 Husnan, on the other hand, draws upon a statement of an orientalist, W.M. Watt: ÒI am not a Muslim, but I hope I am to be a Muslim meaning one who submits to God.Ó 49 Thus, in their view, there is no the difference between a Muslim as the Prophet MuhammadÕs follower and one who is not Muslim. The Notion of People of the Book (Ahl al-Kita>b) As mentioned before, ÒIslamÓ of the Prophet Muhammad is a continuation of previous religions. Therefore, it is obligatory for Muslims to believe in the prophets before him and in the scriptures revealed by God through them. The Quran refers to these communities as Òthe people of the bookÓ (ahl al-kita>b). According to Nurcholish, ahl al-kita>b is a Quranic unique concept that recognizes the adherents of other religions who have the scriptures to live and practice their teachings. 50 Nurcholish maintains that ahl al-kita>b is often used to refer to Judaism and Christianity ( al-yahu>d wa al -nasa>ra>). This is because they are the first communities of scriptures that the followers of the Prophet Muhammad encounter. Moreover, their religions are immediate predecessors of Islam 51. However, there is a controversy among Muslim scholars whether or not this concept includes other religious communities outsideJudaism and Christianity. Two other communities that the Quran refers to explicitly are the Majusi and the Sabeans: Who those believe (in the Quran), and those who follow the Jewish (scriptures) and the Christians and the Sabeans and who believe in God and the Last Day and work righteousness, shall have their reward with their God; on them shall be no fear, nor shall they 46 Husnan, Ilmiah Intelektual dalam Sorotan (Solo: Ulul Albab Press, 199 3), 21. 47 Husnan, Ilmiah Intelektual, 22. 48 Rasyid, Ò PembaruanÓ Islam dan Orientalisme , 47. 49 Husnan, Ilmiah Intelektual , 17. 50 Madjid, Islam Agama Peradaban , 69. 51 Madjid, Islam Agama Peradaban, 72.

117 KB – 16 Pages