MUHAMMADIYAH.OR.ID, SLEMAN—Muhammadiyah is well known as a modern movement. Many experts, such as Deliar Noer, James L. Peacock, Mitsuo Nakamura, and Clifford Geertz, called Muhammadiyah a moderate modern Islamic organization.
The researchers view Muhammadiyah’s contributions to the community as the vital movement driving the renewal of Islamic thoughts, particularly in Indonesia.
President Muhammadiyah Haedar Nashir said that ‘modern’ refers to the present. In Arabic, modernism is al-‘ashariyyah. Indeed, surah Al-‘Ashr mentions the importance of utilizing time. Due to the specialness of the surah, Imam Syafi’i considered it the main teaching of Al-Qur’an. Thus, it’s not surprising that Ahmad Dahlan taught the surah for months, and the spirit of modernism of Muhammadiyah is derived from an Islamic tradition, not the western civilization.
According to Haedar, western modernism emerged because of trauma to religion. The church fully controlled all aspects of life, such as the economy, politics, and the nation, so anyone who opposed the church was evicted. The circumstance triggered a notion of secular humanism and posited religion on the ritual and personal aspects alone. Western philosophers such as Max Weber, Friedrich Nietzsche, and Karl Marx came from religious families and later became major critics of the diverse.
“Our modernism is different from the West. The western modernism emerged due to religious trauma, and its basis was secular humanism. Religion in the West was all theocentric, was hablu min Allah, and had anti-human tendencies,” said Haedar at the inauguration ceremony for the Integrated Male Class Building at Pondok Pesantren Modern Islamic Boarding School (PPM MBS) Yogyakarta on Saturday (21/01).
Since its inception, Islam has become a modern movement, as mentioned in al-‘Ashr, namely valuing time, moving forward, and innovating. If the spirit of Al-‘Ashr is fused with surah Iqra verses 1-5, it will become the basis of Islamic development. Islam, as a teaching and history of civilization, has abundance of scientific ethos or tradition.
The first revealed verse of Al-Qur’an is the starting point of Prophet Muhammad’s treatise, and it is precisely about “iqra” (to read), which implies imperative commands of intellectual activities.
Hence, Haedar emphasized that Muhammadiyah modernism was generated from Islam. Islam has truly existed as a religion and a prophetic civilization that is cosmopolitan, humanistic, cultural, and scientific. Indeed, Islam is a religion of advancement (din al-hadah) capable of transforming the rural Yathrib area into a city of civilization (Madinah al-Munawwarah).
“The iqra tradition generated advanced Islamic civilization and cosmopolitan Islam. Islam could spread to Western Europe and the Andalusia regions. If we go to Granada, the traces of Islam are extraordinary,” said the Professor of Universitas Muhammadiyah Yogyakarta.