MUHAMMADIYAH.OR.ID, YOGYAKARTA—Muhammad Abduh (1849-1905) was one of the Muslim scholars influencing Muhammadiyah thoughts. Chairman of Muhammadiyah Agung Danarto mentioned key ideas of the thoughts at the Ramadan Preaching 1444 H conducted by Muhammadiyah at Universitas Muhammadiyah Yogyakarta on Saturday (25/3).
Abduh, the Egyptian Muslim scholar, believed that the decline of Muslims was due to the concept of jumud or being frozen, static, and resistant to change. The jumud mindset caused Muslims to resist change, refuse to accept it, and hold on tightly to tradition.
“Abduh also believed that various innovations (bid’ah) caused Muslims to forget the true teachings of Islam,” said Agung.
Abduh, along with Rasyid Ridha, criticized the tarekat-sufistik tradition, which they believed was one of the factors that led to the decline of logical thinking in the Islamic world. Abduh called on Muslims to return to the original teachings but adapted to modern conditions.
Abduh andRasyid Ridha criticized the Sufi-tariqa tradition, which they viewed as one of the factors behind the decline of logical thinking in the Islamic world. Abduh encouraged Muslims to return to the original teachings, adapted to modernity.
According to Agung, Abduh’s thoughts were often influenced by Ibn Taymiyyah’s perspective. Referring to Ibn Taymiyyah’s view that Islamic teachings can be divided into two categories, namely ibadah (worship) and mua’amalah (interactions). Abduh believed that ibadah has clear and detailed characters, while mu’amalah only has basic and general principles that can be adapted to the demands of the time.
Abduh contended that ijtihad (independent legal reasoning) is not only permissible but also essential. Only qualified individuals are allowed to practice ijtihad, while those who are not qualified must follow the ijtihad of experts or scholars. The area of ijtihad is only applicable to mu’amalah. Ibadah is not the area of ijtihad for the modern era.
“Speaking of ijtihad in Muhammadiyah, it is done collectively. If we try to find someone who meets the perfect qualifications (to become a mujtahid) individually, it would be difficult,” said Agung.
Abduh viewed that taqlid (blindly following) needed to be fought against because it makes one stop thinking, and the mind becomes rusty. The Qur’an speaks not only to the hearts of humans but also to their minds. Islam views the mind as having a high position. A person’s faith is not complete if it is not based on the mind. If the apparent meaning of a verse contradicts reason, Agung quoted Abduh as saying that an interpretation that makes the verse consistent with reason must be sought.
Abduh believed that taqlid (uncritical acceptance of authority) need to be fought against because it halts thinking and allows the mind to become rusty. The Quran speaks not only to the human heart but also to the mind. Islam views the mind as having a high position. A person’s faith is incomplete without being based on reason. If the apparent meaning of a verse contradicts reason, an interpretation must be sought to reconcile the verse with the reasoning.
“This is different from Wahhabi. The belief in the power of reason is the foundation of a nation’s civilization. Reasoning will think and find a way forward. Reason is what generates knowledge,” said Agung.
The belief in the power of the mind led Muhammad Abduh to the belief that humans have freedom in will and action (free will and free act or qadariyah). He agreed with the opinion that the decline of Muslims was due to adopting the jabariyah doctrine (fatalism).
“Muslims should prioritize education. Modern schools needed to be established, and the teaching system at Al-Azhar needed to be modernized. However, Abduh’s project failed. Muhammadiyah is more successful in this area,” said Agung.