By: Prof Dr. H Haedar Nashir, MSi
Muhammadiyah is the oldest Islamic organization in Indonesia that still survives, grows, and develops not only in Indonesia but also extending its reach beyond borders. Muhammadiyah is also widely known for its large charitable endeavors in the fields of education, health, social services, community empowerment, and preach on the basis of worshipers or communities. Muhammadiyah also moves through its women’s organization namely Aisyiyah, an Islamic organization that has led the rise of Indonesian Muslim women. Muhammadiyah is even known as intelligent and modern organizations.
But does the millennial generation that never in contact with any of Muhammadiyah institutions still can possibly know Muhammadiyah? Are teenagers who were born in the latest period, in big cities or remote areas of the country still recognize the existence of Muhammadiyah? This intriguing question is important to take into reflection that may be the newer the generation the less familiar it is with Muhammadiyah. This is why the effort of continuously bringing and introducing Muhammadiyah to the young people, including through social media, is considered as an important measure. Through social media, it is necessary to tell people about what and how Muhammadiyah as an Islamic movement propagates its thought and tajdid missions to bring progress to the people, nation and universal humanity.
Looking Closer at Muhammadiyah
Muhammadiyah has long been widely known by the public, both domestically and internationally. “Who doesn’t know Muhammadiyah?”, President Soeharto said, who declared himself a “Muhammadiyah seed” for he had studied at Muhammadiyah Middle School in Wonogiri. President Soekarno since 1933 even has been known as a member and administrator of Muhammadiyah. There are other important figures such as General Sudirman, Ir Djuanda, Dr. Soetomo, including Muhammadiyah leaders, namely Kiai Mas Mansur, who is also known as the Figure Four (along with Sukarno, Moehammad Hatta, and Ki Hadjar Dewantara), Ki Bagus Hadikusumo (BPUPKI Member), Prof. KH Kahar Muzakkir (Member of the Jakarta Charter framers), Mr. Kasman Singodimedjo (Chair of KNIP, First Attorney General), Dr. Rasjidi (First Minister of Religion), Buya HAMKA, and others. In addition, Kiai Haji Ahmad Dahlan and Nyai Walidah Dahlan as the founders of Muhammadiyah and Aisyiyah, were also declared by the Indonesian government as National Heroes.
Likewise, Muhammadiyah’s educational institutions, hospitals, offices, and charity businesses can almost be found in every corners of the country. It can be said that Muhammadiyah is truly an Islamic organization that is inherent in the pulse of the life of Indonesian. The wider community is very familiar with Muhammadiyah through its charitable endeavors such as educational institutions that consist of Elementary to Higher Education, Hospitals and Polyclinics, Orphanages, and others. Throughout the country there are innumerable figures of Muhammadiyah school graduates, including Prof. Dr. Boediyono, Vice President of the Republic of Indonesia (2009-2014) including graduates of Muhammadiyah Elementary School in Blitar. This is the largest Islamic organization in Indonesia with a variety of practical works that benefit the wider community. So who does not know Muhammadiyah?
Kasman (middle) doc SM figures
Muhammadiyah needs to be recognized and understood from various aspects that is inseparable to the identity of this Islamic movement. Muhammadiyah is an Islamic movement that was established in Yogyakarta on November 18, 1912, or 8 Dzulhijjah in 1330 Hijriyah with Kiai Haji Ahmad Dahlan as its founder. Since its inception, Muhammadiyah has been carrying out the mission of preaching to spread and realize the teachings of Islam in the lives of individuals, families and communities. Muhammadiyah also carries out the mission of tajdid to renew the views and ways of practicing Islam in the lives of Muslims so that Islam becomes a religion that brings progress in life of all human beings on earth. Thus the presence of Muhammadiyah through preaching and tajdid missions can present Islam as a blessing for the universe.
Muhammadiyah recognizes Islam as the principle of the movement. At the same time, Islam became the basis and guidance of life (way of life). By practicing Islam in the aspects of faith, worship, morals, and mu’amalah-dunyawiyah. Thus it can bring happiness to life in the world and the hereafter. The purpose and objective of Muhammadiyah is to uphold Islamic teachings towards the realization of the true Islamic society. With the Islamic community embodied by Muhammadiyah, in a broader life of mankind can be realized what so called Baldatun Thayyibatun wa Rabbun Ghafur, a life that is versatile in the shade of the Divine.
Muhammadiyah is the largest Islamic organization in Indonesia. With a century old experience, it has become a very large Islamic organization in Indonesia. Muhammadiyah is even known as the largest modern Islamic organization not only in Indonesia but throughout the world (Madjid, 1999; Peacock, 1978, 1986). Therefore in terms of quality, it is measured from its modern organizational system; its charitable endeavors in the fields of education, health, social services, economics, and community empowerment; as well as from the progress its thought and its pioneering work in reform; and looking at its social and national work can be said that Muhammadiyah is the largest Islamic organization in Indonesia, even in the world, especially in terms of its quality and organizational system. Parameters in terms of quality are equally important for the Indonesian people. So that not to be proud of mere quantity while the people are weak and left behind. This compliment about Muhammadiyah is a form of gratitude to Allah, not as a form of being arrogant and pompous. As well as appreciation for the role and devotion of the pioneers and successors of the Muhammadiyah movement in carrying out missionary and tajdid mission for the glory of the people, nation, and universal humanity.
Muhammadiyah was born, grew, and developed with a dynamic struggle between ups and downs and through many obstacles and challenges. Its founder Kiai Haji Ahmad Dahlan, who, when he was young known as Muhammad Darwis has founded Muhammadiyah with his fellow students and friends, was truly confronted with much opposition. In the Kauman village of Yogyakarta, the birthplace of this Islamic organization, there were many obstacles faced by Kiai Dahlan and the Muhammadiyah movement he founded. Muhammadiyah was considered as a “new religion” because it brought about a notion of reform (tajdid) which was not yet known at that time among Muslims whose thought were still very rigid (conservative, traditional).