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September 30 2013 09:00 | Newman Hall, Urbaniana University

Living in Harmony with Religious Diversity - Nahdlatul Ulama Perspective



Syuhud Sahudi Marsudi


Nahdlatul Ulama, Indonesia
Indonesia is an archipelago in Southeast Asia consisting of 17,000 islands (6,000 inhabited) and it is straddling the equator. Total territorial area is 9.8 million km2, a large part of which (7.9 million km2 or 81%) is sea, while the rest (1.9 million km2 or 19%) is land. Total coastline length of all islands is 54,716 km
Population : Indonesia's 242,968,342 (July 2010 est.) 238 million people make it the world's fourth-most populous state (after China, India and the United States). 
Ethnic groups : At least 300 different ethnic groups have been counted in Indonesia 
Languages :Bahasa Indonesia is the official national language, but there are many different local languages in Indonesia. According to Ethnologies, there are currently 737 living local languages.
Religions :Muslim 86.1%, Protestant 5.7%, Roman Catholic 3%, Hindu 1.8%, other or unspecified 3.4% (2000 census) Muslem in Indonesia is 12.9% from 1,571,198,000  total world moslem.
As the country’s largest Muslim organization, Naahdlatul Ulama ( NU ) has regarded Pancasila as the state foundation and ideology as well. Since the establishment of the beloved Republic of Indonesia, NU has agreed to accept Pancasila as a state ideology. It constitutes the best choice having ever been made by Indonesians. For it contains not only substantive religious values but also the very deeply expression rooted from the Nusantara’s culture. 
Pancasila has become a meeting point especially as facing fierce debates in dealing with the state's ideology, between those expecting Indonesia to be a secular state and those expecting it as a religious one for considering that Indonesia is a predominantly Muslim country. Islamic figures have wholeheartedly accepted a reality that Indonesia has not only recognized one religion or faith. KH Wahid Hasyim, chairman of the Central Board of Nahdlatul Ulama (PBNU) taking part in the Investigating Committee for Preparatory Work for Indonesian Independence (BPUPKI) meeting, for instance, He fully supported Pancasila as the state's ideology and even tolerated the modification of its first pillar, saying the Lordship with the obligations to carry out Islamic law to its adherents to be the Oneness Lordship. 
Pancasila consists of two Sanskrit words, "panca" meaning five, and "sila" meaning principles. It comprises five principles held to be inseparable and interrelated: 
1. Belief in the one and only God, (, Ketuhanan Yang Maha Esa).
2. Just and civilized humanity, (, Kemanusiaan Yang Adil dan Beradab).
3. The unity of Indonesia, (Persatuan Indonesia).
4. Democracy guided by the inner wisdom in the unanimity arising out of deliberations amongst representatives, and (Kerakyatan Yang Dipimpin oleh Hikmat Kebijaksanaan, Dalam Permusyawaratan Perwakilan, dan)
5. Social justice, for the all of the people of Indonesia (Keadilan Sosial bagi seluruh Rakyat Indonesia)
According to NU’s view, inter-faith dialogue today is a suitable  choice. It is a must. In the era of democracy like today where pluralism, inter-cultural and inter-faith should stad in harmony.
For countries with apparent multi-cultural and multi-faith characteristic like Indonesia, holding diverse social groups with different cultures and faiths in a sustainable way is a heavy task. The key ingredient of a successful multi-cultural and multi-faith society, according to NU’s opinion, is moderation (tawassut), which is the opposite of extremism (tatharruf). 
The teaching of moderation in Islam is very clear. Islam emphasizes moderation and balance in every dimension of human conduct. The Koran says: “We made you to be the community of middle path (Al-Baqarah: 143). Prophet Muhammad, Peace be Upon Him, said: “Beware of excessiveness in religion. People before you have perished as a result of excessiveness.” 
Moderation could close the gap between conscience and doctrine, between what can be achieved and what should be achieved, between Das Sein and Das Sollen, and between rights and responsibilities. Together with other virtues, namely peace (silm or salâm), justice (‘adâlah), freedom (hurriyyah), tolerance (tasâmuh), balance (tawâzun), consultation (shûrâ), and equity (musâwah), moderation will make peoples free  from sufferings and guide them to the true happiness here on earth and in the day after. 
NU adopts Ahlussunnah waljama'ah "Aswaja" which refers to the holy Koran, the tradition of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), and that of his rightly-guided Successors (four Muslim caliphs  as well as his friends), and is theoretically and factually linked to the theological concepts of Abu Hasan al-Asy'ari and Abu Mansur al-Maturidi, four mazhab in fikih (Islamic jurisprudence), namely Hanafi, Maliki, Syafi'i, and Hanbali, as well as Sufism traditions of Al-Ghazali and Junaid Al-Baghdadi.  With the basic social relationship teaching as follows: 
 
1.Tawasuth, moderate attitude, which is based on principles of justice and endeavors to avoid any kind of approach, which is extreme in nature. This principle is primarily based on a verse in the Qur'an, 
And thus have we made you an ummat of midding stand that you may be witnesses over mankind, and the messenger may be (a) witness over you. (QS al-Baqarah: 143).
 
2. Tawazun that is balancing attitude in serving for harmonious relationship among human beings and between human and God Almighty. that means staying balanced in everything including in using rational "dalil aqli" rational justifications  and "dalil naqli" justifications (based on the Qur'an and Sunnah). Allah SWT said in the Qur'an:
We have surely sent our messengers with clear signs, and sent with them the Book and the Balance, so that man may stand by justice. (QS al-Hadid: 25)
 
3. Tasamuh, tolerant attitude, which contains appreciation to views of difference and plurality of people's in many socio-cultural background. It also means appreciating any possible differences and respecting those who has not same principle of life. Nevertheless, it does not mean acknowledging or correcting their different beliefs in regard with what they believe in. Allah SWT said in the Qur'an:
And  speak to him mildly, perhaps he may accept admonition or fear Allah. (QS. Thaha: 44)
 
This verse talks about the command of Allah SWT to Prophet Moses (AS) and Prophet Harun (AS) in order to speak to Fir'aun mildly. Al Hafizh Ibnu Katsir (701-774 H / 1302-1373) as explaining this verse said, "Indeed the dakwa of Prophet Moses (AS) and Prophet Harun (AS) to Fir'aun is by using blessing,peace,  soft, easy and friendly words. All this is intended to expectedly be more heart-touching, acceptable and beneficial." (Tafsir al-Qur'anil 'Azhim, vol. III page 206).
 
4.al-i'tidal (the maintenance of harmony). In the Qur'an Allah SWT said:
Oh you who believe, stand firmly witness for Allah with justice and let not the enemity of a nation causes you to do in justice. Do justice that is approximate to piety, and be afraid of Allah. No doubt Allah is Khabir (well-acquainted) with all that you do.  (QS al-Maidah: 8)
 
The basic teachings above can be grounded and applied in Indonesia become the spirit of brotherhood as follows
1.Ukhuwah islamiyah (Moslem brotherhood ), 2.Ukhuwah wathaniyah ( nationality brotherhood), and 3.Ukhuwah basyariah ( humanity brotherhood).
Finally, it is sunnatullah that man or women and all things in the world must be   in “unity in dersity”. They ere not only having one  religion, but also in having immeasurable races, languages, nations and all of these come from  ONE GOD, The universe Creator, and we sould prove that iIslam is a Rahmatan Lil’alamiin        
( Blessing for all of the univers ).
WALLOHU A’LAM BISHOWAAB 
 

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