FU, UIN News Online – Al-Qur’an is believed to be the one of main inspiration for the development of comparative religion studies or Muqaranat al-Adyan. This becomes an important asset in appreciating the religious beliefs diversity in our daily life.
This was said by the Faculty of Ushuluddin (FU) UIN Jakarta lecturer Media Zainul Bahri to UIN News Online, this week. According to Media, who also serves as the Vice Dean for Student Affairs at the Faculty of Usuluddin, this scientific study has a long history in the tradition of Islamic scholarship. Even today, he continued, Comparative Religion is taught both as a course at a number of Indonesian Universities such as UIN Jakarta and arious universities in Muslim-majority countries such as Al-Azhar University, Egypt and Islamic University of Imam Muhammad bin Saud, Royal Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
“The big question is why does the Muqaranat al-Adyan needs to be taught? The answer is because the main source starts with the Qur’an. It is the Qur’an that speaks of al-Yahud, al-Nashara, al-Majus, and Ahl al-Kitab,” said Media.
He also explained that several letters in the Qur’an also identify someone who was sent as the bearer of the message or also called the prophet. The two suras include Surah Yunus (10) verse 47 and Surah Ibrahim (14) verse 4 which describes the existence of a person who was sent to a particular social community.
Surah Yunus  verse 47, for example, says “Li Kulli Ummatin Rosulun” or “And every nation had a messenger” Whereas in QS. Ibrahim  verse 4 is also mentioned “Wa Maa Arsalnaa min Rosulin Illaa Bi-Lisaani Qoumihi” which means “And We did not send any messenger except [speaking] in the language of his people to state clearly for them”. These two verses confirm that there are many messengers sent by God to various Ummah.
“The definition of Ummah need to be clarified first, is it a nation, group or community? This is because there was no concept of nation-state at that time,” said Media.
Surat Ibrahim  verse 4 explained that the messenger was sent and invited his people to the path of goodness using their language (Bi-Lisani Qoumihi). Therefore, in addition to the treatises delivered to many social groups, the use of the language does not place one particular language to be more special than any other languages.
Furthermore, the Qur’an also revealed the historical truth about the existence of the religious texts which were revealed to the previous Ummah. Even the Qur’an also confirms some important messages of these religious texts such as the pilgrimage as a tradition that has been placed by Prophet Ibrahim and Prophet Ismail.
Related to the justification and preserving the old tradition, he continued, comparative religion studies introduces the theory of continuity. This theory explains the continuity of the Prophets as and messengers send forth by God. This is also to know that the presence of a new prophet also means the presence of new teachings, even though the important values of the old teachings are preserved.
Preservation of old traditions, for example, can be seen from the moral teachings in the Zoroastrian religion which developed in the period 1100-550 BC. Their Prophet, Prophet Zarathustra said that every human being has the freedom to make their own way and deal with the consequences of their own actions, whether those actions and consequences are good or bad.
The moral teachings delivered in the teachings of the Zoroastrian religion are similar to moral teachings in Islam. Islam explains the freedom for humans to choose good deeds and bad deeds with different consequences.
Furthermore, media said, Muqaranat al-Adyan inspired in various surah and verses could be one of the important things in understanding the diversity and committing the good deeds. (usa/zm)