الجمعة، 1 أكتوبر، 2010

Compatibility between Pancasila and sharia-based Islamic teachings | The Jakarta Post



Compatibility between Pancasila and sharia-based Islamic teachings
Nurrohman, Bandung | Fri, 10/01/2010 9:40 AM | Opinion

If we follow the news on terrorist crackdowns in this country, we are not able to escape from the discourse of sharia and the Islamic state. “Initially, I want to enforce sharia in order to convey to Indonesia a better path, because only with sharia will Indonesia be better,” said M. Sofyan Tsauri, a former police officer involved in terrorism (Kompas, Sept. 24, 2010).

They wanted to turn Indonesia into an Islamic state, said National Police chief Gen. Bambang Hendarso Danuri in Medan after the killing and arrest of suspects implicated in a CIMB Niaga bank heist (The Jakarta Post, Sept. 21, 2010).

It is right that acts of terrorism have increased at an alarming rate and that we need to declare total war against terror. But we should never allow ourselves to justify all means to eliminate terrorism.

Terror cannot be overcome by terror, although it often looks effective in the short term, said this paper in an editorial published on Sept. 24, 2010.

So how can we fight terrorism? Besides law enforcement and other hard power mechanisms carried out by the police, we should also dare to challenge the rhetoric or discourse often used by terrorists and their supporters in Indonesia.

While we, as Muslims, respect sharia as the religious norm that is morally binding and therefore supposed to be performed voluntarily, terrorists in Indonesia tend to forcefully impose it on people who are confessed Muslims.

While we, as Muslims, based on religious conscience, are able to conduct sharia with or without the presence of an Islamic state, terrorists tend to see the Islamic state as an inevitable tool to enforce sharia.

While we generally see sharia as religious norms that can be adjusted and developed based on a different time and circumstances and therefore has a different appearance in different regions, terrorists tend to conduct sharia in an exclusive, immutable, rigid and intolerable manner.

While Muslims generally see sharia as something seperate from aqidah (creed), as indicated by using conjunction “and” in Mahmud Syaltut’s phrase al-Islam Aqidah wa Syari’ah, terrorists tend to see both sharia and aqidah as a creed that should be applied to other people by force in order to “save” them from the hellfire.

“In a state where Muslims have been given the freedom to conduct sharia norms, the need to establish an Islamic state is no longer relevant.”

While we can generally accept the compatibility of Islam with democracy and proudly call Indonesia the largest Muslim country that proves Islam, democracy and modernity can thrive together, terrorists tend to oppose democracy and yearn to return Islam to its past classical period such as what can be seen in Afghanistan when ruled by Taliban regime.

While there are many criteria used by Islamic scholars to define the Islamic state, terrorists tend to pick a model of state or caliphate that tends to be theocratic. While other Muslims can see many ways to conduct jihad or to establish an Islamic state, terrorists who actually more prefer to be called jihadists see armed struggle is the only way to establish an Islamic state.

The critical question that can be exposed is: Whether sharia should really be implemented through violence or by force. Discussion on this question can be initiated by questioning the main mission of the Prophet Muhammad. If we refer to history of the prophet or Islam as a whole, it is clear that Muhammad, the messenger of Allah, was from the beginning tasked to perform a moral mission.

Muhammad was never ordered to fight for power or to establish a state. Muhammad was even forbidden to force others to become believers. There is no single verse in the Koran that clearly orders Muhammad to form an Islamic state.

Montgomery Watt’s book entitles Muhammad: Prophet and Statesman, often referred by supporters of Islamic state as a proof that Islam is din wa dauwlah (religion and state).

It is correct that when he migrated to Medina, Muhammad was trusted to become the leader of plural society consisting of many tribes and religions.

It is right that the society led by Muhammad in Medina could have appropriately been called a state if measured by the criteria of statehood: territory, government, people and sovereignty.

A further question is whether the acceptance of Muhammad as the head of the pluralistic state in Medina was directly ordered by a revelation from God or because of his discretion (ijtihad).

By assuming that there are two kinds of actions taken by Muhammad, either directly ordered by revelation or based on his own discretion, in my mind, the acceptance of the prophet as a political leader in Medina was based on his individual reasoning.

Muhammad intended to set an example on how to become political leader in the context of a plural society like Medina.

The Medina charter, which is often called the first constitution in history, was made through a process of negotiation and deliberation among the “founding fathers” of this nation.

Since negotiation and deliberation are actually the essence of democracy, the state made by the Prophet in Medina could surely have been described as a constitutional democracy.

Therefore, principally, there is no difference between the Medina constitution and Indonesia’s 1945 Constitution.

As mentioned above, the application of sharia for Muslims is part of their religious obligations. As such, despite the fact Muslims agree to use sharia as their social norms, not all Islamic scholars in the classical period agree on obliging Muslims to establish state or political power.

In a state where Muslims have been given the freedom to conduct sharia norms such as Indonesia and other secular states, the need to establish an Islamic state is actually no longer relevant.

In addition, if we nurtured opinion of professor Hasbullah Bakry in his book Bunga Rampai Tentang Islam, Negara dan Hukum (Collection of Essays on Islam, State and Law), Indonesia is substantially, based on five arguments among others is the compatibility of Pancasila with Islamic teachings, can be called an Islamic state despite Islam not being formally declared a state religion in the Constitution. Violent persuasion can never be justified by the dissemination of religious norms.



The writer is a lecturer at Sharia and Law School and part of the Postgraduate Program at Sunan Gunung Djati State Islamic University, Bandung.

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