“Indonesia as a Model,” a seminar on Asian Islam in Politics and Society Institute

Politics and Society Institute held a seminar, entitled “Asian Islam: Indonesia as a Model”, during which the Jordanian Ambassador in the Republic of Indonesia, Abdullah Abu Rumman, presented a reading about the Islamic model in Southeast Asian countries, by reviewing the most prominent features and characteristics of Islam, as a culture and practices in Indonesia, which is the largest Muslim-majority country in the world.

Ambassador Aburumman pointed out that the Indonesian Islamic model, called “Islam Nusantara” (the Islam of the archipelago), is the result of gradual adaptation between the Islamic religion and the cultures and beliefs that prevailed in the Indonesian archipelago, the process of adaptation was characterized by adherence to the essence of the Islamic faith, alongside with respecting local cultures and beliefs, and conforming with them, thus the Indonesian Islam presents, today, the model of moderation, tolerance, concern for preserving diversity, adherence to the civil state, and the rights of all cultural, religious and ethnic components.

Aburumman pointed out that the Republic of Indonesia is the fourth largest country in terms of population in the world, the third largest democracy, and the largest Muslim-majority country in the world, Muslims constitute about 88% of its total population of about 280 million people, and Indonesia consists of an archipelago that includes more than 17 thousand islands, inhabited by 300 ethnic groups, speaking more than 500 local languages, several religions and multiple cultures, all living in a state of harmony and peace, Indonesia is witnessing an economic and development renaissance, as it chaired the Group of Twenty 2022, and currently chairs the Association of ASEAN Countries, which is one of the largest economies in the world and the largest economy in Southeast Asia, it adopts “soft power” in its internal and external policies, as well as the principle of “non-alignment”, as a principle that emerged from the Indonesian city of “Bandung” in 1955.

Based on the introduction and facts, Aburumman referred that the Indonesian Islamic model is one of the most prominent factors of the country’s strength, and a stimulus and impetus of its economic renaissance and development path, and asserts that the five principles of “Pancasila”, which represent the principles of the Indonesian state, which are subject to commitment and respect from all Indonesian Islamic associations and activities, including the “Nahdlatul Ulama” association, as the largest religious association in the world with several supporters exceeding 80 million people, and the “Muhammadiyah” association as the second largest Islamic association in the country and the number of its supporters nearly 40 million people, religious leaders in Indonesia conform to commit by the principles of the “Pancasila” state, respect and preserve diversity, pluralism and personal freedoms, and present Islam as a “mercy to the worlds”, away from coercion, intolerance and isolation.

Aburumman added; the Indonesian Islamic model is also an impetus for development, and is consistent with national goals and the necessities of facing challenges in Indonesia, as the Islamic discourse has focused in recent years on building human resources in Islam, which is the headline that constitutes a priority for the state, religious leaders are also active in supporting the economy of “halal products” and presenting Indonesia as a leading country in this field, in terms of banking, food, clothing, and halal tourism, several branches have been added to it, including several industries, which today represent an important source of strength for the ambitious and rising Indonesian economy.

Ambassador Aburumman pointed out to the traditional Indonesian dress, represented by Indonesian shirts, which consist of local and cultural symbols, and said: This Indonesian shirt “batik”, which entered the UNESCO list as a world heritage, represents a high cultural and communication value, through which Indonesians present a classy face to their civilization in addition to the diversity and harmony of the country culture, Aburumman added that The shirt, which presents drawings and cultural symbols for each island of the Indonesian archipelago, has today become an important communication tool with friendly countries and communities, by adding cultural symbols of these countries to it, and represents an important economic productive sector that provides job opportunities for millions of Indonesians, those are workers in the fashion sector, arts, exports, with its cultural and communication meanings and symbols, the dress also approved for religious, political and social leaders, also it is considered an official dress for the state, which heads of diplomatic missions and official guests of Indonesia are keen to wear as a form of respect and appreciation for Indonesian culture.

In the historical context, of the beginnings of the entry of Islam into Indonesia, Abu Rumman stated that despite the disagreement among researchers and specialists about the early beginnings, the actual proliferation of Islam in the islands of the Indonesian archipelago came through Hadrami and Omani merchants since the first century of Hijrah, and pioneers from the family of the House (Al-Albayt), the Hashemite nobles (Al-Ashraf), who had relations with the Indonesian archipelago locals, and settled in its many islands, early, and among them, the so-called “nine saints” became famous, who established the approach of moderation and tolerance, respect for local cultures and religions, and coexist with them in peace and complete harmony.

On the features and characteristics of the Indonesian Islamic model, Ambassador Abu Rumman said: Islam in Indonesia is the result of an adaptation process between the Islamic religion coming from the Middle East, and the local Indonesian cultures, religions, and beliefs, Islam in Indonesia did not clash with ancient religions and beliefs, and in many cases, it sought to contain them, endorse them, and formalize them by the Islamic character, the first Muslim scholars in Indonesia followed a soft path that avoided clashing with prevailing beliefs, cultures, and customs, and established a compatible agreement with many existing practices, and considered them consistent with the Islam guidelines, and even, in many cases, considered them as unambiguous cultural legacies, Accordingly, the effects of local cultures and beliefs became evident in Indonesian Islam, present in its practices, and ancient rituals merged with Islamic values or guidelines, and Islam spread in a peaceful and gradual manner without clashing with previous traditions, and any conflict with the essence of the Islamic belief based on monotheism, whereas the absolute majority of Muslims in Indonesia belong to the Shafi’i doctrine, and the majority of them are Ash’ari, in addition to Sufi methods, schools, and culture based on tolerance and enlightenment flourish in the Indonesian archipelago.

Ambassador Abu Rumman referred to the “Statement of Islam Nusantara”, which was officially adopted by Indonesia, approved by Islamic societies and organizations in Indonesia, and respected and accepted by Islamic scholars and organizations from a large number of countries, including Jordan, Abu Rumman said that the declaration emphasized that Islam contributes to global civilization by respecting and appreciating existing cultures and promoting harmony and peace, and called on Muslim communities around the world to “remember the beauty and vitality that emanated from the historical interaction between the spirit and guidelines of Islam with the reality of local cultures.”, Which resulted in great civilizations such as those witnessed in the Indonesian archipelago.”, From the perspective of this approach, there is no contradiction between religion and citizenship, and that “patriotism is at the heart of faith,” and the “Islam Nusantara”  doesn’t aim to mobilize its followers to conquer the world, rather urges them to strive continuously for the realization of the values of generosity and nobility, by this manner, Islam can be demonstrated as a blessing and mercy to the worlds, and Islam Nusantara insist to follow and respect the basic guidelines and values of Islam, including moderation, tolerance, and rejection of violence and coercion. The declaration highlights the factors behind the spread of religious extremism, terrorism, and conflicts in the Middle East and the widespread wave of Islamophobia in the West. He believes that this extremism is the result of a misinterpretation of Islam.

In conclusion, Abu Rumman stressed the need to read the Indonesian Islamic model, take advantage of its lessons, and establish institutional communication with specialized Indonesian bodies and centers, stressing that Jordan and its Hashemite leadership are respected and appreciated by Indonesians, the political relations between the two countries are also characterized by a history of harmony, cooperation, and mutual respect, and it is possible to build on these advantages and establish important and qualitative partnerships between Jordan and Indonesia, pointing to the importance of the momentum of Indonesian tourism to religious places and cultural sites in Jordan, in addition to the prospects for encouraging Indonesian students to study in Jordanian institutes and universities and its impact on attracting Indonesian investments in Jordan, in many fields, including tourism, education, agriculture and various areas of food security.

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