donderdag 30 maart 2017

International presentation of Islam Nusantara in the Netherlands, 2: Nine heroes of Islam Nusantara

Ahmad Baso is quite negative about the orientalists, who in his view too often qualify anything where Indonesian Islam is different from mainstream or Arab Islam as 'syncretic' and 'impure'. I had myself to give the last presentation on an overloaded first day: concluding remarks. Between 17.00 and 18.00 first a presentation was given byDr. Adib Abdushomad, high official at the directore of Islamic Higher Education of the Ministry of Religion in Jakarta. He gave a warm talk about the strategy of the Ministry to change the Islamic Academies into universities with religious as well as general facylties. This should improve the  sound knowledge of Islam with students in science, medicine and other disciplines. It should also update the religion students in their contact with all kind of academic disciplines.
I gave myself a talk about nine scholars who in the past defended also a broad interpretation of Islam, not yet under the (new) name of Islam Nusantara. 1) Snouck Hurgronje has a long section in his book on Aceh where he defends that 'pure Islam' is found nowhere in the world. It is always practise that local (sometimes pre-Islamic) traditions are included and defended as part of the Muslim tradition. Snouck uses the term of 'popular religion'.  2) Merle Ricklefs has spent his long and rich academic career to an analysis of development in the javanese courts and Javanese society at large and coined the term mystical synthesis where pre-Islamic ideas are mixed with Islam and later (after 1850) were called abangan. 3) I told about the criticism of Prof. Rasjidi on the title of my book (1984) on Islam in 19th century Indonesia. I wanted ti too give the title of Paderi, Penghulu dan Penjual Jimat or P3. Publisher Bulan Bintang accepted the book but its advisor Prof. Rasjidi rejected the title: amulet sellers are not part of Islam. The content of the book remained the same, but its title was less interesting: iBeberapa Aspek Islam di Indonesia abd ke-4. 4) Marshall Hodgson divided the history of Islam in seven Muslim cultures: three classic and basic peoples: Arabs, Persians, Turks. They were followed by the Indian subcontinent, Southeast Asia, Africa south of Sahara. Nowadays we see a seventh Muslim culture growing, Islam in the West. All different but all Muslim. 5) Hans K√ľng has not the geographical but historical pattern of change of paradigm and come to paradigm changes in sevel cultures for Jews, Christians and Muslims that run parallel.
6) The Jesuit priest Jan Bakker wrote a book on Agama Indonesia Asli as Catholic propaganda for its policy of unculturation. But not only Catholics practise this idea, although they are stronger in its outspoken defence. 7) Wilfred Cantwell Smith coinedthe idea of cumulative tradition as the reality in the global religions. They keep changing and including new ideas.. 8) Prof. Hazairin and Hasbi ash-Shiddieqy tried to formulate a mazhab Indonesia. It is a strong idea, but they restricted it to law of inheritance and some more aspects of family law. It should be formulated stronger. 9) Harun Nasution was the man who accepted me as a lecture in Jakarta and Yogyakarta (with Mukti Ali), 1981-8. He wrote a strong article: does the Qur'an include everything? No!  The Qur'an suggests that people should think for themselves. Even the practical rules for prayer are not found int he Qur'an.
These were just nine examples of how the idea od Islam Nusantara continues earlier proposals for a flexible and creative understanding of Islam.

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