MUHAMMADIYAH.OR.ID, YOGYAKARTA—Education should be oriented to the development of science and technology besides faith and piety. Chairman of Muhammadiyah Syamsul Anwar said that Islamic backwardness in science and technology is a consequence of a historical error.
In the tenth and eleventh centuries (945-1055 AD), the Shia dominated the Islamic world. For 110 years, the Buwayhid dynasty, which was a sect of Shia, controlled the Abbasid Caliphate palace. At that time, the Caliph was nothing more than a symbol of political legitimacy, while the real power was controlled by the amir (authority) under the Buwayhid dynasty.
Meanwhile, the grand Fatimid dynasty stood outside the Abbasid palace. After they managed to take over part of North Africa and resided in the Haram land, Medina, their next and primary goal was to control Baghdad, which was the center of power of the Abbasid dynasty. They carried out propaganda several times through terrors and open debates.
After 110 years of the Buwayhid dynasty controlling the Abbasid Caliphate and being under the shadow of the Fatimid dynasty, their political movement slowly began to fade. This condition was, then, exploited by the Seljuk dynasty of Turkey to take over Baghdad and reestablish Sunni dominance throughout the entire Abbasid Caliphate.
To eradicate the Shia ideology in the Abbasid, the ruler of the Seljuk dynasty Nizam al-Mulk established educational institutions in various major cities of the Abbasid Caliphate, including Baghdad, Nishapur, Isfahan, Mosul, and Basra, under the name of Madrasah Nizhamiyah. As a response to the Shia ideology, Madrasah Nizhamiyah focused more on religious education, especially those of the Ash’ariyah theological and Shafi’i jurisprudential schools.
According to Syamsul, that was the time when the historical error occurred that Madrasah Nizhamiyah was not designed to develop science. The educational institutions were clearly Sunni-oriented and aimed at opposing the Shia teachings that were once brought by the officials of the Buwayhid and Fatimid dynasties. The portion of religious education was greater than the science.
“The historical error is that those schools did not teach science. Finding a Muslim doctor was difficult, as Imam Al-Ghazali said. Therefore, Risalah Islam Berkemajuan (the Treatise of Progressive Islam) mentions that we have to develop science,” said Syamsul, the Professor at the Universitas Islam Negeri Sunan Kalijaga, at the Ramadan Preaching on Saturday (25/3).