Who’s the Moderate Muslim?

Responding to the attrocities of Bali bombing, my good friend Nadirsyah Hosen says this in his blog:

“I strongly condemned a recent terrorist attack in Bali. All moderate Muslims must speak out loudly to confront evil ideology behinds this violent movement.”

Now, who is the so-called moderate Muslim?

First, If you, reader of this 50-cent-piece, are a westerner or non-muslim, let me tell you something: the so-called “moderate muslim” is not what, entirely or partially, you think like moderate christian or secular christian or leftist, or whatever.

Second, please remember that this term strictly for Indonesian Muslims. Muslims are not monolitic entitities–Islam is–, hence, different countries could lead to different meaning and interpretation on what fundamentalist, secularist, moderat and liberal Muslim are all about.

What’s not

1. moderate muslim is not the one who’s intentionally not observing the principle-5-pillars of Islam such as 5-times prayer every day, paying alms, doing haj once in life-time, fasting one-month long during ramadan, etc

2. moderate muslim is not the one who’s intentionally doing things which is in Islam considered as major sins such as adultery (fornication), drinking alcoholic beverage, gambling, killing, theft/robbery, etc.

So the different between moderate and fundamentalist muslim are only this: Moderate Muslim consider Islam as a spiritual/moral guidance. period.

while the fundamentalist regard Islam as both spiritual/moral guidance and political movements. hence, violence is justified if necessary just like any other political movement of any culture and religious preference.

Moderate muslim comprising:

(1)traditional muslim in the literal and terminology sense of the term. for example, those muslims in rural area of indonesia who mostly belongs to NU (nahdlatul ulama) socio-religious movement. they are ‘traditional’ in terms of education, way of life, and their attachment to the traditional-cum-religious values and customs.

they dont know and dont care about politics, global affairs, relation between islam and the west, etc. but they will be furious if, for example, somebody/country destroy Mecca in Saudi Arabia ‘coz it’s strongly to do with they daily religious activities.

these kind of muslims represent the majority of muslim-Indonesian.

(2) conversative muslims is just like traditional muslim only in term of education they are more advanced and they belong to urban population and mostly prefer to be under Muhammadiyah socio-religious movement.

this conservative muslims have a full awareness of global relation between islam – the west; about occupation in iraq; occupation of israel upon palestinian land; etc. yet, this group dont want to indulge or involve in violence whatsoever. never ever in Indonesian history post-independence any violence done by those two groups in the name of religion or other.

NU and Muhammadiyah represent two group within the moderate muslims community who you can see and meet in the crowd in day-to-day life whenever you visit Indonesia. we call them SANTRI

apart from these two, there are one group called “abangan” which means a non-practicing muslim. a muslim whose islamic identity only in his/her ID card or may be in his/her conviction and belief in God and prophet muhammad but no more than that. you can find them in the bar, discotheque, singing naked in a hotel or become a nude model in some half- or full-porn magazines or a nude-porn-film-star and anything dirty and nasty like that. having said that, none of the moderate muslims (traditional or conservative)who ever despise this group and disregard it as non-muslim. the abangan still a muslim. they are part of Indonesian muslims which are unique and homogeneous.

it’s a bit difficult to identify them as they are ever changing. an abangan now, could be a SANTRI tomorrow. 🙂

in the lowest of the low lay the tiniest yet most dangerous group: the militant muslim. they who tend to use violence for whatever reason. they have no future in Indonesia as far as the government understand how to alienate and marginalise them from the masses. government should see very clearly who belong to the militant and who dosnt to prevent further proliferation of militanism.


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