Prof Dr H Haedar Nashir, MSi
Muhammadiyah in the new era of the 21st century modern world will increasingly face new ideas ranged from moderate to extreme. Thoughts on democracy, human rights, civil society, gender relations, social media, and various other contemporary thoughts are very dynamic. These cannot be prevented and avoided, just as it cannot be rejected or accepted without a solid foundation of thought on the basis of Islam.
In dealing with the modern world, Islamic thought is not singular and even conflicting to some extent. Some tend to be liberal, some are conservative and the rests are moderate. Those thoughts challenge each other within the dynamics of dialogue and clashes, with the hope of finding a common ground in comprehensive and multidimensional Islamic thought.
Therefore, Muhammadiyah needs to continue developing the progressive life, social and universal humanity that are based on Islamic values within the true ideal frame of Islamic society. After all, Islam and the Muslim community undoubtedly face the dynamics of social relations in the modern world in which the values of virtue must be reflected.
Islamic Social Relations
Islam is a religion that regulates human relations with God and others and their environment towards the salvation and goodness of life in the world and the hereafter as a whole. Islam and Muslims do not live in a vacuum. Throughout the history of the Prophets to the end of prophet, the presence of Islam has always struggled with its era.
Islam is intended as guidance for human life throughout times. Islam is adaptive at all times and places, shalih li-kulli zaman wa al-makan. In the context of a modern democratic, egalitarian and civilized world, even Islam has a very prominent teaching orientation. According to Robert N Bellah, Islam is a very modern religion, whose birth shook the structure of Arab society, which at that time was completely shackled in tradition.
Muslim life at the time of the Prophet and the main caliphates (Khulafaur Rasyidun) afterwards also shows the success of Islam in creating life order that brings progress and contemporary or modern civilization. Islam once was the center of world civilization for centuries which at that time the West was at the dark era. It was because Islamic teaching contains the timeless values of progress. This is what so called Islam and the progressive Islamic civilization.
Therefore, Islam as teaching of Allah is compatible with the human life system anytime and anywhere. It is including the institutions of modern life such as democracy, human rights, civil society, and things that are part of the social system of a modern society. This also includes social relations between men and women based on justice according to Islamic teachings.
Islam as a teaching is compatible with democracy and contains the spirit or substance of democracy as found in the principle of deliberation. Muslim life at the time of the Prophet and the main caliphs after him also shows the institutionalization of democracy. However, democracy in Islam is not the same as Western democracy and the one in the UN convention, although in a number of ways there are similarities. In Islamic democracy there are always values (al-haq) that must be upheld and are not the result of the consensus or aspirations of the people.
Likewise regarding civil society, that there are many principles of Islamic teachings that appreciate equality, humanity, kindness, openness, prosperity, etc. on the basis of morality and values based on tauhid. The teaching of tauhid itself is not only related to the principle of the unity of divinity in the corridor of habl min Allah (relationship with God), but has a relationship and consequences to the main human principles (habl min al-nas).
Rasulullah Muhammad saw has even built a civil society (civil society, civil Islam), which has the same breath as civil society. The Medina Declaration or the Medina Charter is known to contain a universal statement about the Islamic world view regarding the noble values of humanity, democracy, equality, plurality, and other main matters. The triumphs of Islam during the past five to six centuries, among other things, were built on the foundation of the universality of Islam.
Muhammadiyah as an Islamic movement bases its movement on Islam. Islam is the foundation, frame, orientation and ideals of the movement. The goal is realizing the Islamic society. According to Muhammadiyah (1968), Islamic society is characterized by being devout and religious, brotherly, moral and civilized, with syar’i law, prosperous, deliberate, compassion, progressive, leadership, and discipline.
The statement “Thoughts of Muhammadiyah in the Second Century” contains several important ideas about life and human social relations which are based on progressive Islamic values. That Islam as a progressive teaching nurtures truth, goodness, peace, justice, benefit, prosperity, and the virtue of life dynamically for all mankind. Islam upholds the dignity of both men and women without discrimination.
Islam promotes anti-war, anti-terrorism, non-violence, anti-oppression, anti-underdevelopment, and anti-all forms of destruction on earth such as corruption, abuse of power, crimes against humanity, exploitation of nature, and various kinds of munkar that destroy life. Islam positively shows the virtues that cover the diversity of ethnic groups, races, groups, and cultures of mankind on earth. Islam aspires to create a main civilization as an alternative form of civilization that is physically and spiritually superior. As for the da’wah of Islam as an effort to realize Islam in life is projected as a way of change (transformation) towards the creation of progress, goodness, justice, prosperity, and the benefit of human life without discriminating against race, ethnicity, class, religion, and other social barriers. Progressive Islam presents Islam and Islamic preaching as rahmatan lil-‘alamin on earth.