ISLAM IN INDONESIA: DISSEMINATION OF RELIGIOUS AUTHORITY IN THE TWENTIETH AND EARLY TWENTY-FIRST CENTURIES

MOCH NUR ICHWAN, JOHAN HENDRIK MEULEMAN (2003) ISLAM IN INDONESIA: DISSEMINATION OF RELIGIOUS AUTHORITY IN THE TWENTIETH AND EARLY TWENTY-FIRST CENTURIES. In: SCIENTIFIC PROGRAMME INDONESIA-NETHERLANDS, 12 FEBRUARI 2002, BANDUNG.

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Abstract

Within the framework of Dutch-Indonesian scholarly cooperation, Islam is a theme of major interest. Firstly, Islam receives increasing attention worldwide, both in general or popular discourse and in the more limited discussions of the academic and political elite. Because of phenomena of large-scale Muslim immigration to Western countries, numerous military and political conflicts involving Muslim communities, and, last but not least, the dramatic events of 11 September 2001, most of these discussions have recently tended to become less balanced and less based on in-depth knowledge. Research in conformity with the highest academic standards may help in-vert this regrettable trend. Another, obvious reason for which the study of Islam earns a primary position within this bilateral cooperation programme is the fact that Indonesia has the largest Muslim community in the world. The third reason is that Indonesia and the Netherlands have a long-standing and unique experience in this field. Scholarly activities that originated in the colonial context may very well be continued in a post-colonial situation of common interests and shared mana-gement. Previous educational cooperation in the same field has shown so.7 Another reason for which the Islam in Indonesia programme occupies an important place within the Scientific Programme Indonesia-Netherlands (spin) is its contribution to a sound understanding of the relationship between the political and the scholarly interests of research activities. According to a rather simplistic standpoint, the existence of any political or social dimension of a research project automatically disqualifies it as a scholarly enterprise. The Islam in Indonesia programme is evidence to a more balanced and realistic standpoint: scholarly research activities should not be meant to serve the immediate political interest of a particular government, party, or group. However, they may very well lead to a better understanding of social mecha-nisms leading to conflicts, which will help various political actors to look for solutions to situations and transformations that are considered as problematical according to broadly accepted standards. A concrete example, mentioned during the February 2002 Bandung presenta¬tion of this programme, will clarify the purport of this principle: the researchers involved are no intelligence agents and their task is not to answer questions such as the one of whether or not al-Qaeda (al-Qa`idah) possesses a basis in Poso, Central Sulawesi – a hot question at that moment. On the other hand, the results of their labour are expected to contribute to a better understanding of the mechanisms underlying communal strife in the Moluccas. Competition for leadership and party adherence among the Indonesian Muslims, and similar questions; nevertheless, it is the task of others – Indonesian politicians and citi¬zens at large in the first place – to solve the various political and social problems they are facing. Therefore, general political and scholarly interests of research programmes do not necessarily exclude each other. The opposite is often the case. The detailed analysis of the Islam in Indonesia programme, below, will show that it serves interests of both categories. From yet another point of view, this research programme has gone beyond too rigid ideas about what excellent research should be like. It does not limit itself to research in the strict sense of the term, but rather includes a – top-level – educational component: in addition to a number of senior researchers, six Indonesian PhD candidates are involved, who will be trained as fully-fledged experts through their participation in this international project. In this way, the programme has adopted the integration of research and education that has become the hallmark of strong academic traditions in most parts of the world. A final particularity of the Islam in Indonesia programme, testifying to its dynamic understanding of what a contemporary research project should be like, relates to its bilateral character. Although the programme is based on Indonesian and Dutch scholarly institutions and traditions, it has been con-sciously anchored in a global framework. From the viewpoint of the personnel involved, this is reflected in the participation of a number of senior researchers from third party countries – even representing three continents other than Europe and Asia. From the thematic and methodological perspective, this global framework is reflected in the adherence to scholarly debates in various countries. Cases in point are the discussion on shifts in religious authority and the endeavour to combine text-based and social-scientific research in Islamic Studies. The initiative to invite Brinkley Messick from Columbia University, New York as the keynote speaker for the first annual seminar of this Dutch-Indonesian programme was precisely related to these two examples. Not only the Indonesian, Dutch, and other researchers of the programme showed much interest in this American scholar, who has done extensive research on the development of authority in Islamic justice in the Yemen; the opposite proved true too.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Subjects: Artikel Dosen
Divisions: Artikel (Terbitan Luar UIN)
Depositing User / Editor: Miftahul Ulum [IT Staff] ---- youtube : ulum virgo -------- Facebook : digilibuin
Date Deposited: 10 Jul 2015 08:30
Last Modified: 10 Jul 2015 08:30
URI: http://digilib.uin-suka.ac.id/id/eprint/16230

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