dinsdag 8 november 2016

A partial wilayah of Ahok and NU/Muhammadiyah?

Since nearly amonth there a hot debate in Indonesia about Qur'an al-Maídah, 5:51. In translations it read: Take not the Jews and Christians for guardians and confidants (Ali Ünal). Awliya or wilayah is also translated as associates, partners. Ahok, the Chinese-Indoensian Christian who is governor of Jakarta, mentioned that some people use thise verse against the continuation of his position as governor after next elections in 2017. - The quote was also understood as if Ahok rejected the idea absolutely and so rejected the Qur'an. Some people want to take him to court for blasphemy or at least insult of the Qur'an.
While I was teaching in Indonesia, 1981-1988 I experienced quite often a liberal attitude for me. My farewell lecture had as title: Word of God or Toiletpaper? and could be sold in 3000 copies. Also a lecture with the title: Does God sleep caused no protest but some interest.
I had once a more heated debate about sura 17:1, where I quoted John Wansbrough who suggested that travelling by night was here not about the ascension of Muhammad to heaven, but about Moses/Musa leaving Egypt in the night through the Red Sea, because verse 17:2 is also about Moses. Anyway, maybe the situation is now more difficult. Definitely Ahok is a politician and I was just a foreign professor teaching in Jakarta and Yogyakarta.

The idea is also discussed by Farid Esack in his doctoral dissertation Qur'an, Liberation and Pluralism (esp. 180-193; published in 1997). Esack lived in South Africa (his homeland) during the last decades of apartheid. He joined the 'good whites' of the Protestant Church like Beyers Naudé in the protests against this racial oppression. Some South African Muslims said that he should not do this, quoting some verses like 5:51 (60:1+9; 3:28+118; 4:89, 139, 144). They suggested that he should join Ahmad Deedat, fierce and eloquent debater with Christians, defending Islamic doctrines. Esack wanted to create justice and stated that in quite a few verses of the Qur'an the Christians and Jews are also mentioned as believers, because believing is doing good, creating justice. And the believers should cooperate.
Some verses of the Qur'an indeed suggest that there are conflicts with (some) Christians and Jews, but this is not a general rule. Even in Al-Ma'idah 5:51 there is a difference between ba'dahum... and others. So, it is not one block against another, but there must be made a difference between the good and the bad ones.P. 181:  The text under discussion, Qur'an 5:51, like all those prohibiting Muslims from the wilayah of Others, is Medinan and reflects the religio-political tensions of that period. As I indicated in chapter 5, it is evident from the seemingly contradictory texts dealing with the religious Other that these reflect various stages in the Muslim-Other relationship.
In the reports about the protests against Ahok, Nahdlatul Ulama did not take part and also Muhammadiyah stayed away, not allowing its members to use Muhammadiyah symbols during the protests. But it will remain difficult. Sahiron Syamsuddin found it wise to use the word 'outsider' in the title of the translation of my book on Jesus in the Qur'an.  Outsider's view on the Qur'an are even more delicate than insiders debates.
Added on 12 November 2016: Henk Schulte Nordholt discussed this issue on Dutch Television. He added with some angry that Budi Yani, the man who shot the movie of Ahok talking about al-Ma'idah 51 was a former PhD student in at Leiden University but failed to finish or to do any writing and sho he was sent back to Indonesia.

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