Tolerant Nusantara Islam

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Main Auditorium, UIN News—Islam that is developed in Nusantara always prioritizes the values of tolerance and appreciation towards the pluralistic religious-cultural reality. The combination of the Shafiite Fiqih, Asharite-Maturidite theology, and al-Ghazali sufism has become the capital in growing the attitude of tolerance and appreciation.

This is what was uttered by the Executive Director of Center for the Study of Islam and Community (Pusat Pengkajian Islam dan Masyarakat/PPIM) UIN Jakarta Dr Saiful Umam when he became the speaker of National Seminar “Instilling the Values of Islam Nusantara in Preventing Religious Radicalism Movement (Menanamkan Nilai-Nilai Islam Nusantara Demi Menangkal Gerakan Radikalisme Agama)” in the Main Auditorim, Thursday (22/10). Besides Saiful, member of the III Commision, House of Representatives, Republic of Indonesia Ir H M Romahurmuziy MT was also speaking in the seminar held by Students Union of History of Islam Civilization Department.

“Such combination resulted in the variety of religious practices that is still well-existed,” said the scholar who holds Doctoral Degree from Hawai Manoa University.

According to Saiful, the learning tradition of Shafiite fiqih, Asharite theology, and al-Ghazaly sufism has widely developed in various Islamic monasteries (pondok pesantren), as well as the Muslim society. This learning tradition has become a basis for their acitivism which tends to appreciate differences.

Besides the combination of the three elements, he said, characteristics of Nusantara Islam that is tolerant has been established since the initial spread of Islam. Various figures who spreaded Islam tended to utilize the cultural elements, like local symbols and traditions which are rich in itself, such as the utilization of wayang puppet in preaching Islam.

Besides creating tolerant Islamic society and viewpoint, he explained, the utilization of such path made possible a positive dialogue between Islam and local culture to take place. Ultimately, Islam lied in the spirit of every local activities, in the social, economic, political, and cultural sphere.

“Islam and local culture assimilated into a new form of culture, which in turn made a spirit of Javanization of Islam and Islamization of Java to take place peacefully,” he exposited.

Parallel with Saiful, Romahurziy said that the combination of Ash-arite style of theological behavior, Shafiite style of fiqh practice, and meaning of al-Ghazaly sufism esotheric dimension is somehow needs to be addressed in a manner of gratitude. Meaning, such combination is beneficial in the creating space in the society to have respect towards differences.

“This makes Islamic spirit in Nusantara become a practice of moderacy, tolerance, contextual, and adaptability,” he said.

Recently, he continued, such spirit has been stained by the rise of religious radicalism from Middle East. “Textualism of religious teaching, romantism of khilafah, socio-political tension, and economic gap in most of the Muslim society has become the factors of the rise of religious radicalism,” he mentioned. (TAM) Translated by Muhammad Ichsan Fadillah