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M. Saekan Muchith: Social Jihad: TheJihad of Indonesian Muslim

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Notes For Muslim in The World.//

Jihadis generally understood as an earnest effort to eradicate any violation or mischief to religious, social or national norms. There are commonly some phenomenon which inappropriate with the norms of religion as well as the country: transactional justice in law enforcement, tax evasion, violence in the name of religion, defamatory in social media platform, terrorism, suicidal bombing by jihad for religious reasoning, and violation in educational activity done both by the teacher to the students and vice versa, as well as done by the student’s parents to the teacher.

For the Muslims, jihad is a suitable way in facing the challenges above. However, jihad is unlikely heard when Indonesia is in crisis; when Israel began to invade Palestinian land, the Muslims together is in one voice, declaring jihad in the name of God.

Looking from the substances and benefits, jihad is important to note in challenging injustice, legal mafia, tax mafia, education mafia, bureaucracy mafia, political mafia as well as other mafias, compared to shouting out loud, stand up for Palestinian in the name of God.

Most of the time jihad is understood as a holy war, which is done by using weaponry or suicidal bombing. This leads to violence, crimes, terrorist, inhuman, violating human rights and democracy. This type of jihad contains a negative meaning, scared others, hated by many and even could become the public enemy for everyone; both religious community and the country.

Although it is often associated negatively, according to some, jihad is understoodas anholy effort to fight disobediences in society. This group believes in jihad based on the Holy Scripts: “Fight in the cause of Allah those who fight you, but do not transgress limits; for Allah loveth not transgressors”; as well as this verse: “And fight them on until there is no more Tumult or oppression, and there prevail justice and faith in Allah. but if they cease, Let there be no hostility except to those who practice oppression.” (Holy Quran Ch.02 Verse 190 and 193). Moreover, in another chapter is explained: “Those who believe fight in the cause of Allah, and those who reject Faith Fight in the cause of Evil: So fight ye against the friends of Satan: feeble indeed is the cunning of Satan.” (Holy Quran Ch.04 Verse 76),

For those who apprehend verses above textually, are believed to committing an anarchist jihad, lead to some kind of behavior or movement in “radicalism”, “extreme”, “militant”, “non-tolerant”, or even could be “anti-west”. This jihad will give birth to some movement or action that considered harsh or irrational, as seen from the general perspective; such as destroying places that considered unmatched with the teaching of Islam (as what they believed). Some pub and bar are harshly taken down; from the assumption that they are the source of mischievousness, acting roughly to those who sell foods in daytime during the holy month of Ramadan, sending suicidal bomber to several hotels or restaurants who are believed to be owned by the American or non-Muslim; even though there are many Muslims working in those places as well.

This kind of jihad above is clearly ineffective in struggling for Islam, as it is out of line with present values in society; locally, regionally and globally. Demands and culture have changed drastically, compared to past, back in the time of Prophet Muhammad. Nowadays, enforcing democracy and human rights values are put in top level, so that jihad is expected to be in line with those values. Consequently, anarchist jihad should be substituted to the humanist jihad, which is described as a way to spreading out the teaching of God peacefully, without violence, well-mannered, tolerance and upholding the human rights values.

Social/Humanist Jihad

In order to create “Humanist Jihad”, there should be begun from the socially comprehension of the scripts of the Holy Qur’an and the Hadith. Jihad  in modern day concept cannot be understood by weapon and warfare.

Jihad is originally described as a way to counter injustice and oppression; helping who are oppressed without violence. God has said to the mankind to spread His words out only by appealing and persuasion, in peaceful: It is part of the Mercy of Allah that thou dost deal gently with them Wert thou severe or harsh-hearted, they would have broken away from about thee: so pass over (Their faults), and ask for ((Allah)’s) forgiveness for them; and consult them in affairs (of moment). Then, when thou have taken a decision put thy trust in Allah. For Allah loves those who put their trust (in Him).” (Holy Qur’an Ch.03 Verse 159).

God has clearly forbidden mankind to be unjust and acting in hostility: “Allah commands justice, the doing of good, and liberality to kith and kin, and He forbids all shameful deeds, and injustice and rebellion: He instructs you, that ye may receive admonition.” (Holy Qur’an Ch.16 Verse 90).

According to those verses, it is already clear that Islam does not give any space to violence, anarchism and act of evil. This matter is in line with the main mission of Islam; to be a Mercy for the universe:“We sent thee not, but as a Mercy for all creatures.”(Holy Qur’an Ch.21 Verse 107).

Islam does not forbid warfare; the allowed war within Islam is a war with the main principle to value humanity, as pictured in the speech of Khalifa Abu Bakar when sending forces in an expedition to Syrian border: “In your march be not hard on yourself or your army. Be not harsh with your men or your officers whom you should consult in all matters. Be just and abjure evil and tyranny, for no people, who are unjust, can prosper or achieve victory over their enemy. When you meet the enemy turn not your backs except to maneuver for the battle or to re-group, for he, who does so, earns, the wrath of Allah. His abode will be hell, and what a terrible place it is! And when you have won a victory over your enemies, kill not women or children or the aged. Do not slaughter any beasts except for eating. And break not the pacts that you make with other people. You will come upon persons who live like hermits in monasteries, believing that they have given up all for God. Let them be as they are, and do not harm their monasteries..”(Sahih Muslim vol. 3, p.940).

The complexity of war principles which had been formulated by Khalifa Abu Bakar points out that war can only be done in emergency and very critical condition. Muslim should not easily act in violence, by mentioning jihad or struggle for the God, in their reasoning.

Ibnu Taimiyah in Zianudin Sardar (1985), in the book of “The Other Jihad: Muslim intellectuals and Their Responsibilities”, has explained that jihad is achieved by heart, mind and hands. Heart means patience in facing every life problem and challenges, while mind refers to knowledge that useful for the mankind. Hands, in similar representation, lead to a real action in order to creating peace and welfare for all mankind.

Gary Legenhausen (1985), explained that generally jihad is understood as a way of struggling of the people in order to receiving certain spirituality guidance so that they can purifying themselves.

According to those opinions, God and His Prophet have commanded jihad by continuously self-evaluation, in order to developing self-capability countering any oppression for creating peace morally, academically and socially. “Humanist Jihad” could be shown in daily life as follows:

First, jihad as educational practitioners; always put an effort in managing educational activity squarely, in transparency and do no foul in any forms. The National Exam is expected to be done fairly, so that the Exam can be the real process evaluate student’s quality, by measuring their real capability in examined subjects.

Second, as political practitioners; always uphold the ethics and good values in fight for the society’s aspirations. Century Bank’s case as an example should be done fairly according to the law, not to be used as political commodities which only benefit certain group.

Third, as law enforcers;fighting injustice according to the law, truthfully cracking down law offenders, helping society and save the country’s fund in order to creating a welfare, prosperous society.

Fourth, as economics practitioners; respecting the rule and doing business fairly, no more account break-ins, no money laundering, no fraud and scams, etc. Being in a bureaucracy should always serve the society, not the other way around.

Fifth, as students; delivering aspirations should not be taken advantages by certain group, so that it potentially creates anarchist movement which surely harms the society.

Ministry of Religious Affairs’ Roles

The understanding of the society towards teaching of a religion cannot be separated from the role of Ministry of Religious Affairs. As one part of the Government’s Offices which actually has running for some period of times, the Ministry should be able to contribute in development of the country, especially in religious affairs. It is claimed from the main duty of the Ministry to bear a part of Government’s duty: religion’s development. Thus, there should be a role’s optimization within the Ministry in deciding a correct religious’ comprehension.

The optimization needs to be done by improving the empowerment role owned by the Minsitry, such as: First, optimizing the role of Religion’s Counselor (Penyuluh Agama). It is happened that the role of the counselor is significantly low compared to the Preacher in giving religious teaching to the society, who believes more to the preacher than the counselor owned by the Ministry.

Second, optimizing the role of educational supervisor owned by the Ministry, which role is to developing, supervising and reporting the performance of teacher and principal in a school/madrasah. Based on Government Decree No. 32 2013 in Standard of National Education, there are eight eligible factors that must be fulfilled by the supervisor: content, process, graduated competency, educational staff, facilities and infrastructures, management, funding and the evaluation. Consequently, they need to master the school management and educational challenges. The idealism of supervisor’s role still need to be improved.

Third, the Ministry should establish a center of religious study center; at the moment, this role is done by the Research and Development Agencies that only responsible to the provincial level. In the future, the Ministry should own a special unit in religious study which is established from the top level in Jakarta to the regency level in every province; bearing roles to identifying, analyzing and seeking the solution of society’s religious problem.

The Ministry at the moment is considered only to be anadministrative office, which runs the role in religion’s development physically, formally and quantitatively. It can be observed by the increased budget to develop educational institution, pesantren, and religious social organization. There are many rehabilitation assistances in basic and middle educational level, assistance for Madrasah Ibtidaiyah and Tsanawiyah, as well as scholarship to the student of religious school; while the awareness of religious quality for Muslim is surely unknown.

Consequently, the Ministry needs to be able to improve its role in qualitatively, such as:

First, the Ministry as the Organizer of Hajj. The success factor cannot be observed by the good order in organizing good managerial for the Muslim when performing the ritual only, but also on how the ritual shall make better quality of the Muslim, in accordance with the spiritual goal of Hajj.

Second, the Ministry is a body for collecting and distributing zakat, the success is not only from how many zakat that successfully raised, but also how they are able to manage zakat in poverty and ignorance alleviation.

Third, as the organizer of formal and non-formal educational institution, the success is not only from the big number of assisted schools, status-improved schools or accredited schools; but also how the educational institution owned by the Ministry shall be able to create students who are intelligence, well-mannered and skillful for good.


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