Monday, November 5, 2007

Caliphate not part of Koran: NU

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The idea of the Caliphate, or Islamic state, has no basis in the Koran or the Hadiths, the sayings and deeds of Prophet Muhammad, a major Indonesian Muslim association announced over the weekend.

The influential Bathsul Masail (problem deliberation) commission issued the statement on the last day of the conference of the East Java chapter of Nahdlatul Ulama (NU).

The commission made the statement after thoroughly reviewing the Koran and Hadith, along with other texts, including Attasyri' al-Jina'i Al Islami, al-Qoish al-Hami' al-Asyarqi Jam'il Jawami', Ad Din Watdaulah watadbikis Syari'ah, and al-fiqkul Islami.

It said that while the discourse on an Islamic state become increasingly popular among the nation's intellectuals and the general public, it found no nash (argument and reasoning) in the books that provided the idea of an Islamic state with a textual ground. It said the books also said nothing about an Islamic state being a necessity.

"The Khilafah state therefore is a form of ijtihadiyyah (interpretation)," the head of the commission's formulating team, Murtadho Ghoni, said Sunday.

Consequently, any effort to replace the country's Unitary State system with an Islamic one was prohibited, particularly when such efforts would bring more problems to the nation, the commission said.

The Tausiyah (recommendation) team made similar comments. Labeling the Caliphate a "trans-national" ideology, the team said NU members should be cautious around it.

"The government, religious and community leaders must be very vigilant toward this trans-national ideology that has threatened the national ideology and unity, and the Unitary State of Indonesia," Tausiyah team head Samsul Huda said.

Influential NU figures have voiced their opposition to the idea of an Islamic state since the opening of the conference.

"This movement has attacked us far too often, once in a while we need to counter attack," Ali Maschan Moesa said.

The three-day conference was held at Pondok Pesantren Zainul Hasan Genggong, an Islamic boarding school. More than 500 executive committee members and influential kyai (traditional ulema) participated in the conference.

The participants elected KH. Miftahul Akhyar as the chairman of Rois Syuriah (the advisory board) and KH. Ali Maschan Moesa as the chairman of Tanfidz (the executive board). They will serve the East Java chapter of NU until 2012.

NU is the country's largest Muslim organization, with more than 40 million members. East Java is its traditional stronghold.

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