Sabtu , 04 July 2015, 03:34 WIB

Islam Archipelago: Islam of Indonesia (2)

Rep: C37/ Red: Julkifli Marbun
Azyumardi Azra
Azyumardi Azra

REPUBLIKA.CO.ID, By: Azyumardi Azra

Islam Archipelago has the distinction not only in the Islamic tradition and practice which were rich and full of nuances, but also in social, cultural and political. Therefore, the mention of Islam Archipelago with looking at religious practice was mere valid.

Indeed there were Muslim scholars circles and intellectuals who think Islam was only one entity; it same for every region and nation. Professor Abdel-Moneem Fouad, Dean for International Students of Dirasah Islamiyah, al-Azhar University, Cairo, in seminar pre-congress of Nahdlatul Ulama said ‘Islam is only one. There is no Islam Archipelago, Arab Islamic or Egyptian Islamic '.

Fouad’s view, according to the author of this resonance, was based on idealistic framework. This view did not take into consideration the empirical historical reality of Islam’s travel throughout history in various diverse regions which have social realities, cultures, different political.

In the view of the authors of this resonance, there is only one Islam at the level of the Quran. But the Quran (along with hadith) need detailed formulation in order to injunction (command) of the Quran could be carried out by any and all Muslims. At this stage that certain verses of the Quran should be interpreted and explained its points. The result was the emergence of interpretation and explanation which on the certain extent was different from each other, which later became sects and streams.

Muslims archipelago was following certain sects and streams that later became orthodoxy which could differ with Muslims in other parts of the Islamic world. Once again, orthodoxy of Islamic archipelago is; kalam (theology) Ash'arite, Shafi'i fiqh and Sufism of al-Ghazali.

The establishment of orthodoxy of Islamic archipelago associated with differences (khilafiyah or furu'iyah) among authoritative scholars in accordance with sects and streams.  Furthermore, also related to the dynamics and historical development of the Muslims archipelago themselves. Since the 17th century, for example, the 'ulama Jawi (archipelago) who returned from Mecca and Medina- the network center of cosmopolitan scholars where they belong; they consolidated the doctrine and praxis of orthodoxy of Islamic archipelago. Islamic orthodoxy as like that, was inherited and faithfully controlled by archipelago Muslims to this day.

Muslims Archipelago not only has the Islamic orthodoxy sourced from authoritative scholars, but the archipelago itself was formed into the realm of distinctive Islamic cultural (Islamic cultural spheres). Region of the Muslims archipelago was one of eight Islamic cultural spheres that have the distinction of each.

Eighth Islamic cultural spheres were; Arabic; Persia or Iran; Turkey, the Indian subcontinent; Archipelago; Sino-Islamic or East Asia; Sudanic African or Black African or sub-Saharan Africa; and the Western Hemisphere. Each of the fields of Islamic cultures has unifying factors such as language, culture and social traditions typical, so the expressions of socio-cultural and political were also different.

Islam Archipelago cultural domain contained a number of unifying factors, which made Indonesian Muslims from various tribes, traditions, and customs were in unity. The unifying factors among others; the similarity of clerical tradition and Islamic scientific, the Malay language as the lingua franca and socio-cultural traditions and customs that have more communality than differences. Thanks to the fluidity of maritime world, the maritime world of archipelago became integrated in the realm of a typical Islamic culture.

But the culture realm of Islamic archipelago was not monolithic. Since a long time there were variations in understanding and doctrine praxis or socio-cultural expressions of Muslims. This difference was associated a lot with the character of ethnic culture was also very diverse. Therefore, for example Islamic expression of Acehnese contained certain differences with Islamic expression of Javanese or Sundanese and so on.

This difference was also evident in the post-World War II when the Southeast Asian regions were achieved independence. Differences between countries were primarily related to relations modes between Islamic countries. In Malaysia and Brunei Darussalam, for example, Islam are the state’s official religion. While in Indonesia, although the absolute majority of Muslims, Islam is not the basis for the state or state’s official religion. Muslims are a minority in Singapore, Thailand and the Philippines; the last two countries, Muslim have a confrontation with the central government in Bangkok and Manila.

In that relationship, Islam of Malaysia and Brunei fully co-opted by state – became a part of the structure integral and the state bureaucracy. On the contrary, in Indonesia, Muslims are almost completely independent vis-à-vis the state. Therefore, Islam of Indonesia as represented by mainstream organizations were move freely as a propaganda organizations, education, social sponsorship and civil society almost without state intervention.

Therefore, when talking about Islam Wasatiyah archipelago, its representation of the most 'perfect' is Islam of Indonesia. This is Islam that are inclusive, accommodating, tolerant and could peacefully coexist both internally with fellow Muslims or with other peoples.