MUHAMMADIYAH.OR.ID, YOGYAKARTA—The number of Muslims in Indonesia decreases each year. The population of Muslims was around 95% at the beginning of independence, while it’s 86% now, or the number has dropped 8% within 77 years.
The chairman of Muhammadiyah, Anwar Abbas, mentioned one of the factors of the decreasing number is the economy. Many Indonesian Muslims cannot meet their primary needs such as food, clothing, shelter, education, and healthcare. When Muslims live in a poverty line, Islam may be left by its believers. A proverb says poverty leads to infidelity.
Due to this condition, Muslims become groups of people nurtured by the 1945 Constitution Article 34. The state shall develop a social security system for all the people and empower the poor and incapable society in accordance with human dignity. Nevertheless, the poor are the majority.
The structure of Indonesians seems like a pyramid which the elite class having a small number is at the top, followed by the dominant middle class, and at the bottom the lower class, which becomes the majority of the population. Sadly, the majority of Muslims are part of the lower class.
In fact, only one of the top 20 wealthiest Indonesians is a Muslim. Few Muslims become entrepreneurs or conglomerates. Therefore, Muslims do not govern a capital instrument and cannot contribute to being policy makers.
“It’s concerning. Only few Muslims become entrepreneur, whereas the ones who own capita, not politicians nor officials, will decide are decision makers in this country,” said Abbas at the Dialog on the Organization’s Political Ideology at Universitas Ahmad Dahlan on Saturday (6/5).
Hence, Abbas encouraged Muhammadiyah to be the economic power of this nation. Muhammadiyah, in the second century of its establishment, attempts to change the economic condition of Indonesian Muslims. Strengthening the economy is vital, so Muslims will no longer be objects of the elites’ whims.
“Muhammadiyah should become economic power in this country. If we are united and cooperative, Muhammadiyah can become one of the nation’s economic pillars. We will be more authoritative as an Islamic organization,” said Abbas.
Abbas quoted General Soedirman, “If you want to win, you must be strong. To be strong, you must be united. To be united, you must be diligent in maintaining relationships.”